This story took place during my childhood in the 1970’s. We lived in Manchester, UK in a council property in a, now, derelict part of the city. Back then the houses we considered old and were quite rundown.
That house always had a strange feeling for me, particularly the cupboard under the stairs. I never felt comfortable leaving the living room unless I was with one of my parents. I always got a feeling of real dread anytime I approached that point of the hall and used to run full out of the living room to the stairs and run all the way up them, then rush down them. I never ever saw anything but the feeling was sheer terror and horror.
One night my dad had taken me up to my bed and tucked me in, leaving the door slightly open to allow a little bit of light to come in from the upstairs hall landing. I fell asleep quickly that night. Sometime later I was woken by a hand on my right shoulder As I opened my eyes and turned around, expecting to see one of my parents, I was shocked to find an old woman whom I’d never seen before leaning over the bars of my cot bed looking down on me. I let out a scream and started shouting for my dad. As I done this, the old woman whose face was heavily wrinkled, with her hair pulled tight into a scruffy bun, wearing a typical Granny type apron and her dress with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow, began backing off bringing her hand to her mouth and ushering me to “shhhhhh, shhhhhh” before saying “it’s ok…shhhhhhhh.” She continued to back off into the far corner of the room, all the time urging me with “shhhhhh”. She eventually vanished into the darkest corner of the room moments before my dad, came running into my room.
I had him search the room from top to bottom but no one was there, no sign of anyone. He checked the window, it was locked, he checked my wardrobe, it was empty other than my clothes and it was too small for anyone to hide in including me.
A few years after we left that house one of my aunts told us she’d been talking to a local resident, when she’d asked specifically about the house we had lived in. The woman then told her about a couple who had lived there sometime in the late 40’s through until the mid-70’s. It seems they couldn’t have children though she desperately wanted to. Over the years she became more bitter and resentful to her husband to the point where she would lock him in the cupboard under the stairs for days on end. He died sometime around the late 60’s. She lived until a year before we took on the property, apparently dying in the house and being found in the front “box” room, which later became my room.
Submitted by Fred Jones, Manchester
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