It sounded Like A Child

19 February 2019 | Haunted houses, Your Stories, Your True Encounters

Even journalists experience the paranormal it seems…….


When I was in my mid-20s I worked at a newspaper in upstate New York along the Pennsylvania border.

This was exactly the kind of place that inspired Washington Irving to write the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” with its terrifying headless horseman, a Hessian soldier forever looking for the head he lost in the Revolutionary War. In fact, there were a few graves of real Hessian soldiers scattered among the ancient cemeteries there.

The landscape was rugged hills and dark hollows. Small railroad towns and secluded farms dotted winding river valleys.

I arrived in early October and moved into a huge red brick carriage house that had been converted to a garage and apartments, tucked away behind a Victorian mansion on a maple-lined street. It was a young writer’s dream.

Until the creepiness began.

The first time something happened, a young couple upstairs invited me to watch football on TV. A windchime hanging in a corner came alive like it had been forcefully struck by an unseen hand. It was wintertime, and the windows were closed tight. I was startled, and so were my neighbors. Not long after that, the couple moved out. The upstairs apartment stayed empty the rest of my time there.

Then the scratching began. Every evening. Inside an interior wall.

It’s just bats, said the handyman. He might have been more convincing if he hadn’t been so creepy himself. He had a strange habit of showing up unannounced at random times and without tools.

About the time I convinced myself he was right, the scratching stopped, and something even more maddening began.

Sleigh bells began jingling. Where ever I was in the house, they jingled like they were with me in that room. I looked inside and outside but never found a source.

I began hearing footsteps running over my bedroom at night, along with the sound of a ball bouncing on the floor above. It sounded like a child.

I convinced the handyman to take me upstairs one afternoon to look around. All we found was a big empty space where a hayloft had been.

Some people would have been gone already. Since I was a poor, young reporter and really needed my security deposit back, I waited a few more months for my lease to end.

Then, like my neighbors, I left as fast as I could.

— Mark Wilson, Courier & Press reporter

© 2024, G. Michael Vasey & My Haunted Life (Unless indicated otherwise by author’s own copyright above). All rights reserved.

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