When I saw the house, I knew this was the place. Sitting on a stone foundation 20 feet from the street level it loomed over Washington Street. The house was built in 1820 by a Mr. Cross for his son, a Mr. Ambrose Cross and his new bride Abagail. Ambrose was an Engineer at the Harpers Ferry Armory and lived in the house until his death in 1863. His wife and children also lived here until about 1910. After that the house changed hands several times. I could feel the history radiating from the red brick. I could sense that this place was solid. When I was shown the interior, my thoughts were confirmed. There were two grand front rooms, a wood-paneled back room that was a porch, two bedrooms, a full attic and a basement that was at one time the kitchen. It was dusty and dark, in need of a good cleaning. Boxes and old office equipment were stashed in some of the rooms. The air was stale and dry. ( it had been empty for five years after all) But the house had good bones, solid and firm. The foundation the place was built on was strong and the wood that made up the house was intact and solid. I agreed upon the contract with no hesitation.
The owner and the agent both told me at the signing “Now, we should tell you that the place is purported to be haunted.” I laughed and smiled. That wasn’t a deterrent, if anything that was more of an incentive to rent the place. I am a paranormalist, and a fan of all those things that go bump in the dark.
It started with small things, a bump on the wall, an odd footstep on the stairs, a door slowly creaking open, or a small object missing only to be found later where it wouldn’t have ever been placed by me. Things that one could easily shrug off. “I must have laid that there…” or thinking the door opening was just age and old hinges. The footsteps on the stairs was most likely my cat or the “wood settling”, as my Father would have said. (I would laugh at this, if the wood hasn’t settled in almost 200 years, then it probably wouldn’t ever settle) You tell yourself all sorts of things when the sun is bright and hanging high in the sky. The shadow that you saw cross the hall must have been something from the other side of the street, or something cast from outside. The door opening was a stray draft in the house. RIGHT? Being a paranormal investigator with over 20 years experience, I know a little better.
The small little things became bigger, more frequent…more insistant. The footsteps on the stairs would escalate from a random step or two to the sounds of someone walking up the stairs. More than once I have gotten out of bed because it was so firm of a sound that I would have sworn that someone was in my house. The small things that would go missing would now just be thrown from their resting place. The shadows that would flit in the periphery of my vision became something I would focus on in the dark of my room, and try to figure out what it was before it would disappear into the black from whence it came. The doors would switch from creaking eerily on old hinges to all of them closing at once. This has happened on more than one occasion. And to answer the unspoken question, yes it did scare the hell out of me. I would hear whispers become conversations in the wee hours of the night. A male and a female voice…sometime arguing, sometimes talking, sometimes pleading with one another. Never could I make out clear words or what exactly was being said. It was like listening to someone with your ears stuffed with wads of cotton. Sometimes music too would float through the air of the house. Soft, lilting and slow music, like from a phonograph far away would make itself heard. Occasionally when I would come home and walk through the back yard, I would see shadows pass the upstairs windows. Solid enough that I thought maybe my wife or our daughters were there. Only to get inside and find the place empty, save for the cat and the dog.
Well now I’ve taken to documenting and recording the evidence that surrounds me every day. This will be the first in a series of blog entries that will chronicle the investigation of my house on Washington street. In the posts that will follow this month I will present any and all evidence I may find. Any photographic, video or audio evidence will be posted here, in full for any and all to review. There is always the chance that someone out there will hear or see something that I do not. I will not draw any conclusions, rather I will let you draw your own. Perhaps I will uncover the identity of the woman on the stairs, or perhaps I will uncover something darker.
I will present you, my readers with a narrative of the investigation, some videos and all sorts of photographs.
Until next week…