|I had a great childhood. I guess you could say it was one of those “Leave it to Beaver” childhoods. Nothing particularly crazy ever happened to me as a child that I can remember. Looking back, the early years of my childhood seem to have been coated in pastel colors where the sun was always shining and life was always good. But as picturesque lives often go, sometimes there can be something hiding underneath, something a little off, and maybe a little strange.
Such is the case for the first eight years of my life in Coffeyville, Kansas.
In 1986, my family and I moved into a two-story house on Ellis Street. It was a beautiful house that sat right on the corner of Ellis and another street which conveniently featured a hill that was perfect for sledding down in the winter.
It was the perfect house to grow up in, with 4 bedrooms, a basement, a beautiful fireplace, and a big yard to run around and play in. What more could a kid ask for?
However, as beautiful a location as it was, something wasn’t quite right about that house.
When I was a kid, my parents always told me there was no such thing as ghosts. And I believed them for most of my childhood.
But certain things happened in that house that just can’t be explained.
One of my earliest memories of that house was when I was about three years old. I remember lying in a crib and waking up one night to hear a scratching sound coming from the wall. As I adjusted my eyes, I saw a picture that was hung on the wall rotating rapidly in a counter-clockwise a motion. No one else was in the room at the time and nothing else in the room was moving. I remember crying for my mom and she came in and the picture had stopped before she came in. She told me not to worry and that I was probably just dreaming.
I didn’t think much about it after that.
Fast-forward a few years. My dad starts wondering if the house has an electrical problem. Some nights we’d go to church and come home and every light in the house would be on, including closet lights and lamps. This happened on numerous occasions, and again, I didn’t think much of it and shrugged it off as probably an electrical fault of some kind.
One very strange night when I was four, I was sleeping with my brother. I often did because I was afraid of the dark, and he, being seven years older than me, reluctantly allowed me to climb into bed with him on occasion when I was scared.
In the middle of the night, I remember waking up suddenly from a deep sleep and sitting up in the bed. I felt completely helpless as if some force had taken over my body and I couldn’t move. My eyes were open and I could see, but I couldn’t control anything at all.
My brother woke up and in a tired voice asked “Corey, what are you doing? Go back to sleep!”
He seemed puzzled when I didn’t respond to him. I remember staring blankly at the wall, when suddenly I began mumbling something, again, with no control over what I was saying.
My brother claims it sounded like a different language, but he wasn’t sure what.
I was completely aware that I was doing this but still had no control over myself.
I’m not the kind of person to sleepwalk, either. I have never been known to sleepwalk, and if I ever did, no one ever told me about it.
After mumbling what seemed like gibberish to me, I suddenly had control over my body again and rapidly fell back into bed and was out cold.
My brother woke me up and asked me what on earth had just happened, and I told him I had no idea, only that I had no control over what I was doing.
Still, I refused to believe in ghosts during that time and wrote it off as if nothing ever happened.
After the previous incident where I mumbled gibberish, the footsteps began soon after. My brother and I slept in separate bedrooms upstairs, and we would wake up nearly every night to the sound of footsteps going up and down the stairs. We’d both get up together and look, but no one would ever be there.
Of all the rooms in the house, one stood out in particular for its creepiness. It was a bedroom upstairs that we never used. In the room were an old wooden vanity and a bed used for guests to sleep in. We rarely had guests stay at our house, so it remained empty most of the time.
When I was a child, something about that room didn’t feel right. I never spent much time in there, and in fact, it was the same room that I remembered seeing the picture on the wall move rapidly. Maybe that’s why I never ventured into the room.
One day my mom was in the room doing some cleaning. I walked into the room to see what she was doing, and suddenly I lost my voice. I tried speaking over and over again, but couldn’t. Then I stepped out of the room, and my voice came back to me again in an instant.
I never spent much time at all in that room after that experience.
A few years passed, and my parents decided to move out of the house. What they didn’t tell me at the time was that they suspected it was haunted and wanted to get out as soon as possible. Still oblivious to the existence of anything paranormal at the time, I figured we were only moving because my parents wanted a change of scenery.
What I later found out was that on the very last day we were moving out, my mom had unplugged the living room TV to prepare it for moving, and noticed something strange on the screen of the TV. Upon closer inspection, she discovered that a face had appeared on the screen – the face of an old woman wearing a hat that looked as if it was from the Victorian era. The woman’s demeanor, she said, seemed angry, and her eyes seemed to have hatred in them.
My mom screamed and ran out of the house. I don’t think she ever went back inside after that.
We moved out of the house in 1994. Fast forward a few years to 1999, and I’m a 15-year-old intrigued by ghosts and such (what teenager isn’t, right?).
I started having weird dreams where I’d be in the old house again, and each time the dreams would end the same. I’d walk upstairs into the spare bedroom, and things would start twisting and turning on the walls, and I’d hear creepy laughing and a feeling of uneasiness.
By this time I figured the house had been haunted, and I wanted to do some research on it. So I grabbed a pen and paper, went to the Coffeyville library and wrote down the names of all the people who had lived in the house since it was built in 1928.
I then attempted to contact those who still might be alive, and I questioned several people, and a majority of them told me they had experienced strange things in the house, too. I hit a dead end though because none of them seemed to want to go into detail about it.
Then I called the last person on my list, a woman who lived there during the time I made the phone calls. She told me she had seen and heard things in the house, such as footsteps, handprints appearing on her bed sheets, and said she had an overall feeling of creepiness while in the house.
I asked her if it would be possible to come to the house to talk to her. She agreed and seemed pretty enthusiastic about it.
However, when I showed up at the house, things didn’t quite go the way I’d planned.
Having spoken to the then-current resident of the Ellis house, I was invited to come to the house to meet with her and discuss some strange happenings that had occurred there since she moved in.
It was a sunny day in July of 2001. I rode my bicycle across town to the house with my friend. I hadn’t been to the house since 1994, and excitement was boiling up inside of me.
When we arrived at the house, my friend and I parked our bikes and I walked up to the house while my friend stayed behind. I rang the doorbell, and after a few minutes, the front door slowly cracked open a few inches.
“Who are you?” said a woman’s voice.
I then explained who I was and that I had talked to her on the phone the day before and that she had invited me over to talk. The door slowly opened wider until I could see the woman’s face. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t talk to you. I’m busy right now,” she muttered. Then she slammed the door shut.
The woman’s demeanor had completely changed since I’d spoken to her on the phone the day before. This didn’t make much sense to me. As I began walking down the front porch stairs, my friend shouted to me that we needed to get out of there. He said he thought he heard a voice whispering my name to him while I was at the front door, and it had freaked him out.
So, we left. It was disappointing, and I didn’t think I’d ever continue my investigation of the house after that.
I’d given up on the house after that. I’d hit a brick wall and had lost all motivation to continue.
However, during Thanksgiving of 2002, my brother, who was in college at the time, came home to visit for the holiday.
He walked into my bedroom and told me I wouldn’t believe what happened to him.
He said he had gone to a psychic the week before just for fun while on a date with his girlfriend.
He explained that as he entered the room that the psychic was in, she sat up in her chair and began to tremble. He hadn’t spoken a word at this point when the psychic said: “Oh my goodness, you used to live in a haunted house, didn’t you?”
My brother simply replied with a “yes.”
“Oh my, I am so glad you and your family got out of that house when you did,” she said with a nervous tone to her voice.
She went on to say that there were three spirits haunting that house, which included a man, his wife, and a little girl. She described the man as being very violent and abusive toward his wife and daughter and said he didn’t want us to live in his house.
My brother asked the psychic how the spirits came into the house, and she said they were attached to a certain object inside the house, but couldn’t pinpoint precisely what it was.
At last, another tidbit of information had come to me about the house. But was it true? Are psychics really to be believed, or was this just a scheme concocted by someone eager to get a few extra dollars from one of her customers?
I didn’t know, and quite honestly I didn’t care. Any information was good information to me at that time.
When she mentioned a little girl, I remembered having a recurring dream throughout my childhood of a little blonde girl, probably between 5 and 7 years old, standing next to a certain table we used to own that was passed down from several generations in our family. In the dreams, she would always be standing by the table in a white dress, never saying anything, with a sad look in her eyes.
The table was unique, as it was over 100 years old and featured a creepy brass lion’s head on a drawer that pulled out from it and brass lion paw-shaped legs.
The table was always in the spare bedroom upstairs when I lived there. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
The final piece of information I gathered came in 2006 when my family moved to Edna. I was visiting them one weekend while I was attending college, and they had recently demolished an old storage shed in the backyard that once housed old school folders of mine and various other items from my childhood.
The shed had been reduced to a pile of dirt on the ground. I was outside talking to my dad when suddenly I looked down and noticed the edge of what appeared to be a journal was just barely sticking out of the ground. Curious, I dug it out and discovered it was a school journal I had in first grade. I opened it up, and for some strange reason, I turned to a page that said, “Yesterday my brother and I saw the tall man again in the garage. My brother went to see where he went but he just disappeared.”
At first, I thought maybe my wild imagination had created this story back in 1991, but I asked my brother if he remembered anything about a “tall man,” and he did, in fact, recall seeing something in the garage when we were kids that fit that description. Strange, but true.
Were there really three spirits in that house? And if so, with the table moved out of the house when we moved, why would residents continue to experience paranormal activity there? These questions have remained in the back of my mind for years now, and though I’ve given up researching the house, I’ll always wonder what really happened there during my childhood. Perhaps one day the current residents of the house will speak out and find the truth. I suppose time will tell. appropriate to revisit this.
“My Ghost Story”
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