Our Haunted Home: 63 Maple Street

03 November 2022 | Haunted houses, Haunted locations, Your Stories, Your True Encounters

About the town, the Haunting of 63 Maple Street took place in…

Belišće, Croatia, the quaint little town that I moved to back in 2017, sits in a corner of southeastern Europe that is near the Slavonian and Hungarian border. It is a place with quite an interesting past, to say the least. The contents of this book center around the history and events that occurred on and around one particular street in town; Maple Street, as it used to be known before the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. The town was originally made up of peaceful working-class people who flocked there from all over Europe, for the most part, to work at the giant sawmill (one of the largest of its kind) created by the founding family of Belišće, the Gutmann family.

The Gutmann’s were extremely successful in the area, mainly as a wood-producing company harvesting humongous centuries-old Slavonian Oak trees along with other commonly found local timber. The company went on to eventually dabble with chemical processing and producing metal, synthetic materials, and corrugated fiberboard. The family’s holdings were eventually so enormous and elaborate that they even constructed a palace that rivals the centuries-old castle just two to three miles away in nearby Valpovo.

My wife’s family was among the first waves of Europeans to settle in the town. Today, the town is just as ethnically colorful as ever – with roughly two dozen nationalities inhabiting the town. The significance of this fact is in the wide variety of cultural teachings and belief systems that have been a part of the town since its inception.

But, not all that glitters is gold – there is much more than meets the eye to the happy little town of Belišće. As with virtually every other town ever founded and shaped by humans, parts of the history are dark indeed.

During the 20th century, for example, the town fell under Nazi control during World War II. The German occupation resulted in major friction between the diverse nationalities that make up the town. It seemed to be the beginning of the end of a certain amount of love and respect between many neighbors in the town. God only knows what some of those poor souls endured over the course of the war, and the times directly before and after.

In 1945, directly after the war ended, Communist party members captured and killed the very wealthy Jewish factory owner that had done so much in regard to establishing the town. Interestingly enough, the Nazi party was not his demise, rather, radicals from his own homeland, Many locals from the region met a similar fate, either at the hands of the Germans or by the Partisans before or after the outbreak of the Second World War.

Unfortunately, the story turns far darker from here for the citizens of this little town before it gets better.

The Communist party took over a German facility, turning it into a “working camp”, the Yugoslavian equivalent of a concentration camp, on the outskirts of town. The ruins of the camp are still visible today in Belišće. Entire families, fathers, mothers, and their children, as well as what seemed to be randomly selected people of all ages and sexes, were rounded up and housed in the camp. This particular camp, according to the records, was only operational for one year. Within that short time, many of those “workers” were outright killed, tortured, or starved to death.

The world soon moved on from the horrors of World War II, and the destruction it left in its wake. Many sacrifices were made from the citizens of the ordinary citizens of the world during those times, the hardest of which was almost always from those regular everyday people, like you and me, who lived in the areas ravaged by the war. Croatians, from this particular small town, or otherwise, seem to have always been amongst those suffering and sacrificing.

From the time that Charlemagne the Great marched into the region in the year 791 A.D. and declared what is now known as Croatia, as a vassal state, Croatia has been involved in approximately ninety major conflicts (not counting the country’s modest aid during the current war in Ukraine) and wars, eight of which have occurred in just the past century alone. If any country has been affected by the wars of recent centuries, if a land has been left haunted with too many lives cut short too soon too many times, it is Croatia and the entire Balkans for that matter. To believe such a place to not be haunted is as foolish a thought as a sound-minded person could fathom.

In the early 1990s, shortly after the death of the Yugoslavian dictator, Tito, and the seemingly systematic dismantling of Yugoslavia, the residents of Belišće yet again gritted their teeth and suffered through another major conflict; the Homeland War, also known as the Croatian War of Independence. For two long years, the citizens were forced to take shelter in their basements and bomb shelters.

There were, of course, many casualties during those times of war. Most of these untimely deaths were caused by enemy snipers, grenades, and mortars. Though as anyone who has lived through a war knows, there are many sorts of casualties of war than mere fatalities. There is nothing clean about war, and nothing cut and dry. People disappear, neighbors turn to enemies, trusted friends become brutal betrayers, and unthinkable things occur in places and at times that one could never imagine beforehand. But, fortunately, for those who’ve been blessed enough to avoid witnessing the wars of mankind, in the flesh, the scope of horrors that were experienced here, by the people of Belišće was beyond rational logic and comprehension.

For several years after the war ended, spontaneous violent crimes were committed by former soldiers, and other victims of the war, drifting through the region. From both “sides” of the war, individuals took the opportunity of the crazy times to settle old scores. Murder, rape, and even torture were not unheard of in the Balkans during those times. Furthermore, it is unknown how many people went missing, never returning home. Some of the missing were surely victims of atrocious crimes, other possibly dead since the war and their bodies simply never found.

Nearly three decades have passed since violence and destruction last plagued the town, as I sit and pen this work, and by all means, the town appears to me to be as strong and thriving as ever – if not possibly more so. But, then again, some parts of Belišće are still afflicted by the lingering spirits of the townsfolk who lost their lives during World War II, the Homeland War, and other earlier conflicts, and the horrible types of crimes that always accompany outbreaks of war. Maple Street is one of those areas in town that many of the superstitious townspeople (who are willing to discuss such matters openly) admit as haunted.

Now that you know a bit about how creepy the town, and area in general is, it shouldn’t be so hard to understand how haunted it may be…

But, before in order to REALLY understand, you need to grasp just how haunted the street the house sets on is.

Unofficially known as Maple Street, the street is more often remembered by many of the residents of Belišće as Maple street than by its official name. I have personally heard rumors as to where the street’s old name came from originally.

One rumor has it this old nickname was based on the surname of one of the first residents to build a home there.

The other story I heard suggests that an old man on the street made the best maple syrup for miles around, and hence the locals referred to it as Maple Street or the street where you’ll find the “maple man”, the man who makes maple syrup. I don’t claim to know which, if either, of these versions, is more accurate, or if they are the fact at all. I am, however, passing along the information just as it was presented to me.

In addition to the fact that at least every other home on the street has seen untimely deaths in their families over the past several centuries, Maple street has a strangely twisted history of its own. According to multiple locals who grew up on the street back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, of the 20th century, the street is supposedly located within three hundred yards, or less, from not one, but two, ruined cemeteries. I say ruined, rather than just old, because the cemeteries have literally been trashed – a landfill was placed directly on top of both of them in the not-so-distant past.

One of the cemeteries is reported to be a rather old Jewish cemetery, the other is an even older Celtic cemetery. Both claims make perfect sense once you have a basic understanding of the town’s history, which was founded by a wealthy Jewish family. Likewise, the region was inhabited by, and traveled by, Romans and Celts for centuries before the town was born. In fact, my wife and I have unearthed Celtic and Roman coins in our yard (on Maple Street street) that date back to approximately 300 AD.

Even more, the official cemetery of Belišće is also located roughly one hundred to two hundred yards from the corner of the street. This cemetery is around a century old and is likely as full of haunted spirits as any graveyard. These days, especially with the COVID pandemic raging on and off, it seems that hardly a few days go by without new funerals taking place and adding to the ranks of potential ghosts that hang out and about the place.

On Maple Street, there have been a dozen or more deaths since I moved here in late 2017. In fact, as odd as it may seem, our neighbors, on three sides of our home, have died recently – one right after the other. These deaths have occurred over the course of the past two years, the most recent being just months ago from the time of writing the outline for this book – and the only “natural” death of the three.

None of these neighbors showed any particular signs of physical illness either, which makes the circumstances stranger. Granted, two of these unfortunate deaths were suicide. Stranger yet, one of these neighbors, a man I met myself just once or twice even though he lived directly beside me, disappeared around Halloween time in the late 2010s. At first, all that was found were his shoes and an abandoned car. Both were found near the Drava river, a couple of hundred yards from his home. Eventually, his body surfaced a few miles downstream.

Over the years, many bizarre deaths have occurred on Maple Street. Others have occurred elsewhere, but can be directly associated with the street. In these cases, long-time residents of the street moved to other regions/countries and shortly after committed suicide. One of these is the daughter of the original owners of the home that we now own. Another is an old acquaintance of my wife that lived on the street for several years until moving to the coast. Almost immediately after leaving Maple Street, the man died from his own hand.

As far as suicides go, the street has quite a grim history when it comes to this particular subject. Standing on the front porch of my home, I could throw a rock and hit two or three homes where owners took their own lives. Although to be fair, the entire region has a significantly higher suicide rate than many countries in the European Union. At any rate, most of the suicides on this street were hangings, though a few of them were by gun or bloodletting. Still, some of the fatal incidents that occurred here were much more violent.

One particularly violent suicide occurred on Maple Street during the early 2000s when an ex-military man climbed the stairs to the second story of his home, and without warning to his family, pulled out a left-over hand grenade that he acquired during the Homeland War (or as Croatians sometimes refer to them, a “Kinder Egg”) and blew himself up along with the top of his house. Luckily, no one else was injured in the blast, even though members of the family were present at the time of the explosion.

Aside from copious amounts of suicides, and not one, but two desiccated graveyards, along with the solemn casualties of war over the course of the 20th century, the street has no shortage of additional, even more gruesome, tales of madness and murder.

In the early 2000s, a domestic disagreement between ex-lovers turned into a morbid scene that the residents of Maple Street won’t soon forget. The deranged husband pulled up in front of the house, got out of the car with a rifle, and walked into the house. A barrage of shots rang out on Maple Street as the husband emptied his rifle into whatever targets he could find. The house belonged to the wife’s brother and sister, who lived there with their young children. All three adults were gunned down mercilessly, but as fate would have it the children escaped through a window and fled to a nearby house for shelter.

Fortunately, the wife of the shooter survived. A fact that must have been described as truly bittersweet, as she was the sole survivor; her brother and sister had succumbed to their gunshot wounds on the spot. This particular house is empty to this day and has a yard full of overgrowth. On one corner of the property, you can still see a bit of the weather-faded crime-scene tape that was never removed.

Another love story gone wrong that unfolded on Maple Street in the early 2000s, though not nearly as dark as the previous tale, goes like this: a man fell madly in love with a woman from the street. The two soon married and he moved in with her and her family, in their home on Maple Street. Everything was great between the two until suddenly it wasn’t. It isn’t clear what exactly transpired between the two, but at any rate, the woman ended up leaving the man. Not being able to cope with his new maddeningly lonesome reality, the man is said to have gone crazy and burned the house down. Amazingly, the man lived and no one was reportedly hurt during the fire.

Another fire-related story took place on the opposite end of Maple Street as the houses numbered 63 and involves an older woman that lived alone. One day, the woman somehow caught on fire while in her home, alone, going about her regular everyday business, and perished due to her burn injuries.

The two above-mentioned fires are far from the only ones recorded as having taken place on Maple Street. Of the several other house fires on the street, one was a neighboring house that is caddy-corner from our home. It is unclear if anyone died in the fire, as it was several decades ago and little information is available about the event.

If you are not yet convinced, as to the sinister energy that infects Maple Street, and haunts the families who are brave enough to live there, there is one more aspect of the street’s history you need to know about: its history of witches, curses, and black magick.

It is no secret to the townsfolk of Belišće that Maple Street is, and apparently always has been, the home of witches as well as practitioners of the dark arts. I point out the separation between witches and those who practice black magick with full knowledge that not all who practice witchcraft are working with dark forces. In my experience, many witches are simply nothing more than natural healers, fortune tellers, and what we simply would call “country folk.”

As far as the witches of Maple Street are concerned, there is plenty of evidence that suggests both nature-based witchcraft and black magick have been long at work in the neighborhood.

One story, given to my wife by a close friend that she grew up with, and believes to be nothing less than 100 percent honest, refers to an argument that took place between two neighbors some decades ago. Both parties involved were women. The senior of the two reportedly became highly irate at some minor offense she had perceived from the younger woman, or possibly even from a family member of hers. That said, whatever the actual offense or argument was about seems to have been all but forgotten. The results, however, are far from forgotten.

When the sun came up the very next morning after the bickering match between the two neighbors, splattered eggs painted the entire side of the younger woman’s home. The yard was littered with enormous amounts of broken eggshells as well.

To hear the story told from an eyewitness’s standpoint of the scene, it sounds as if someone stood by the property’s edge and threw hundreds of eggs in a deliberate “attack.” The problem with the story is that no one saw the old lady throwing dozens upon dozens of eggs at the side of the house and yard of the women she’d been arguing with. One would think that if she had physically stood there, throwing egg after egg that someone would have heard something or seen something. But, not one person had seen her do it.

In Slavic mythology and indeed folklore and mythology from around the world, eggs are seen as a symbol of fertility, wealth, and many other positive aspects. Hence, for cursing someone, eggs have been, and are to this day, used in such a manner – meaning, for performing rites and rituals that fall into the realm of the dark arts or casting “spells” based on black magick.

Another strange tale that is associated with Maple street is that of the “Drekavac”, though residents aren’t quick to talk about the subject. One resident of the area, who we’ll refer to as Nadya, grew up on the street and had an encounter with this legendary creature, alongside an entire group of children from the street that often played together, one summer evening while traveling back home along the railroad track that runs along the backyards of the properties of one side of Maple street.

The Drekavac, in plain English, translates to the “screamer” or “screecher”, a nickname, according to those poor souls who’ve borne witness to it over the centuries would more than agree is more than accurate. That night, traversing the railroad tracks as they did regularly, the group of children was suddenly aware of something rapidly approaching them along the tracks. Turning and looking over her shoulder to get a better look, Nadya saw a dark sphere-like being moving towards them with a rolling-type motion.

A terrible sound that she could only later describe has something like a darker version of the noises made by the famous cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil, radiating from the direction of the thing. Just as she was about to look away from it, the entity stopped moving for a moment, revealing a strange column or pillar-like shape. She saw no defining features about it, however, like a mouth, nose, or eyes, and neither had any of the other kids. Is it possible the youngsters were too afraid to look the monster in the face? Or had the thing literally had no face? Besides the missing facial features, the encounter is picture perfect match for the Screamer, or as the Slavs would call it, the Drekavac.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had the great pleasure of talking at length with the husband of one of the possible Drekavac witnesses, from the encounter shared above. And, although we did not discuss the actual topic of the Drekavac during our chats, we did swap war stories on many unrelated yet paranormal topics, including UFOs, and other strange encounters. One of the encounters this particular man shared with me took place just a few short years later in the nearby region of Herzegovina and shared many similarities with the Drekavac encounter on the tracks behind Maple street.

The man, who we’ll call Igor, was visiting the home of a relative with his mother, and at some point was alone (to be fair, I can’t remember if he was inside or outside) when he was taken aback by a small whirlwind. Igor went on to tell me that a devil-like being occupied the center of the supernatural tornado-like wind that whipped around him in his ancestral home. Because of the physical description, and the way it moved, this thing easily fits the description of the Drekavac.

UFO encounters are another unexplained phenomena that regularly occur in the vicinity of the town, I have found during my time living in the area. Igor, the man from the second possible Drekavac sighting mentioned above, is but one of the locals to confide in me of a UFO encounter. My wife and I have also had our fair share of UFO activity, directly over Maple street, as well as above the nearby Drava river. In fact, one of the strangest UFO encounters I have ever been witness to occurred right before my eyes, and my wife’s, beginning in our yard, and lasting the entire span of the street as we moved up the sidewalk that night.

And now, we begin to get into the real meat of the story: the origins of 63 Maple Street (or as we call it, home sweet haunted home)…

There are many more such tales of witches, unearthly creatures, supernature beings, and other unexplainable things that go bump and thump in the night that have, at one time or another, been reported on Maple Street. One of these stories centers around the house where my wife and I live, and the family who originally built the home; the haunting of 63 Maple Street.

The home addressed “63 Maple Street” was built by a couple whom we will mainly refer to as “the old man” and “the old woman” throughout this book. The old man and woman built the place from scratch and did a good job of tailoring it to their specific needs with what they had available to them. After they were both retired from their careers, they spent the majority of their time working gardens in the quarter of an acre yard and selling produce to neighbors and locals at the farmers market in the center of town. They also raised and cared for pigs and chickens as well.

The couple had a single child, a daughter whom we will call Iva. Eventually, their daughter had a single child of her own, a son whom we will refer to as Boris.

The child’s father was a Croatian man that relocated to the USA while Boris was just a baby. Eventually, Iva’s son would relocate to the United States where he still resides to this day, after spending all of his holidays in the USA with his father over the years. Shortly after moving away, the boy’s mother committed suicide in an apartment situated in a well-known city along the beautiful Croatian coast.

Not so long after Iva’s death, the wife of the old man hatched a plan to get rid of him. She made the appropriate phone calls and scheduled the appointments, and then informed her husband. So, when the ambulance arrived in their driveway to take him away, he was calm and relaxed, believing they were heading off to a standard doctor’s visit. In reality, the old man was delivered and deposited to an assisted living community or nursing home directly after a short visit to the doctor. It was a seemingly cruel and calculating move on his wife’s part, but then again, we don’t know the full extent of their relationship or general history.

At any rate, right, wrong, or indifferent, the old woman returned home, promptly listed the home for sale, and began selling off all of their belongings. Around this time, my wife, whom I hadn’t met yet, was searching for a home to buy. Remembering the witchy vibe of the home, and having always liked the property’s vibe, she happily contacted the old woman. A few months later, my wife was the ecstatic new owner of the property.

And now, unto the loads of supernatural activity that my wife and I have witnessed over the years, here at 63 Maple Street:

**The Lobby**

What better place to begin the story of our home than with the Lobby? Our lobby is a bit different from other lobbies on the street in shape and size, inside and out, and we are guessing in regards to paranormal activity as well.

The old man and woman who built the place had added it to the home, as their next-to-last addition to the house. For that reason, what used to be the largest window in the house (imagine a big square four-and-a-half feet tall by four-and-a-half feet wide window beside the front door to the house) is now situated inside the lobby directly beside a door that leads to our home’s living room. This window, and living room door (which was the original front door to the home before the lobby was built), are on the opposite end of the lobby from the new front door.

This particular area of our home has been a hotbed of paranormal activity. Long before I left the USA and headed to Belišće, my wife told me stories about potential ghosts and things that go bump in the night in the home – many of which were centered around the living room door and that big old window. Shortly after arriving in Croatia, and spending quite a bit of time alone (writing), while my wife was away at work, I quickly took note of the same sort of strange and unexplainable activity.

Granted, most of the activity that I became aware of shortly after I first came to Croatia several years ago, and to this particular house, was not limited to strictly the lobby – which we will discuss in the remaining chapters of the book. However, many of the first encounters and strange happenings did indeed involve the lobby. Just as my wife had described to me during our constant hours-long FB messenger phone conversations, odd sounds from the lobby disturbed and distracted me from my work as I sat writing at a desk situated against a wall of the living room that is adjacent to the interior lobby wall. The wall with the door and window in it.

Things would randomly fall over, such as a broom or coat rack, or tumble off of the window ledges (there are three large windows on the exterior wall of the lobby that look out onto the yard) and crash onto the floor. Loud bangs from the lobby also caught my attention and left me a little nervous as I was the only one home when much of this happened in the beginning.

One winter evening in 2018, I was home alone and writing as usual at the desk by the window that looks out into the lobby from our living and was startled by a sudden series of bangs on the other side of the wall. I knew immediately these sounds were different, and not simply a broom falling over or a set of keys dropping from the window ledge. This bang sounded hard and loud, like a deliberate donkey kick against a piece of furniture.

Stepping outside, I quickly noted that the sounds had obviously come from inside the large wardrobe that sits against the interior wall of the lobby. There was nothing else in the lobby, furniture-wise, that could have accounted for such sounds.

I quietly stepped back inside the living room, retrieved a staff that I kept tucked in the corner of the room beside a bookshelf, and silently, slid back out into the lobby and crept up to the wardrobe on tiptoes so as to not make any noise and alert whatever may be inside. At this point, I was just beginning to adjust to the house, so my rational brain was telling me that a wild animal must have somehow gained access to the lobby and trapped itself in the wardrobe.

Stopping beside the first of the three doors to the wardrobe, I slid the first panel-door open with one hand. The other hand gripped the staff. I was unsure of what type of species it could be as I was still fresh off the boat to Europe from the United States. When the door slid open, the compartment was empty, aside from shoes and coats. I repeated the process and found the rest of the large wardrobe was equally empty. Nothing seemed to be out of place. There was definitely nothing inside that I noticed which could account for such sharp and loud banging.

Not long after this incident, the wife and I were relaxing in the living room one night and experienced the same sort of sound; loud and deliberate-sounding banging from the inside of the wardrobe. Of course, we checked it, and again, there was nothing inside to account for the sounds. No animals, no crashed coat rack or boots that had fallen off of the top shelf. There was simply no explanation for it that we could conceive of by any stretch of the imagination – unless it was something paranormal, which began to make more and more sense as time went on.

During this same time period, other strange and unexplainable sounds continually disturbed me while I was home alone writing. Again, much of it came from other areas of the house that we will get to later in the book, but the lobby was definitely full of mysterious and creepy activity.

As I sat at the desk banging out thousands of words day in and day out (I was writing for ridiculous amounts of time then, something like ten to twelve hours each day) my ears picked up on all sorts of eerie happenings in and around the lobby. One of the most unnerving repeat occurrences from the lobby in those days was the opening and closing of the front door, apparently of its own accord.

The first time or two that I heard these particular sounds, the door swinging open and a second later, about the amount of time needed for a person to step through the entryway and into the lobby, the door shutting with an audible thud as if it had been pushed closed, I didn’t even stop writing. I did, however, take notice when a minute later no one had walked past the big interior window, or come through the living room door. It was after the second or third time that I heard the door opening and closing on its own that I started getting up and stepping into the lobby whenever the door opened. Most of the time, it was of course my wife returning from work. But, there were several occasions that, upon hearing the door open and close, I stood up to investigate and by the time I opened the living room door that leads to the lobby and stepped out, the space was empty.

These experiences continue to this day. In fact, over the past couple of years, the other two doors connected to the lobby (the back door, and the living room door) have begun opening and closing by themselves as well. And, to be absolutely clear, there is no way that the wind is the culprit. These are not old doors, having been installed just a few short years ago and are quite modern, including tight weather-proof seals and solid latches.

Another compounding factor that makes things even more nerve-wracking, is the accompanying footsteps that can be clearly heard with the opening and closing of the lobby doors. Just one week ago, a few days before Christmas of 2020, I was again home alone and heard the door open and close as well as the unmistakable sound of footsteps. The sound of someone stepping through the doorway and into the lobby was so clear that I was positive my wife had come home early, or that our daughter may have decided to visit unannounced. I was, of course, busy writing and didn’t even look.

When a full minute passed and no one had yet exited the lobby and entered the living room, I looked up from the computer and looked at the clock before stepping out into the hall. It was still several hours before my wife was expected to be home. The lobby was empty. I stepped outside into the terrace connected to the backside of the lobby and had a look around but there was nothing to see. I walked back into the lobby and to the front door. Stepping outside onto the front stairs, I looked around in the yard and towards the street but there was no one around.

Aside from sounds, we have also had paranormal sightings in the lobby from time to time. My first sightings in the lobby of this house date back to the winter of 2017 and 2018. Again, I was sitting at the desk writing when it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some movement. Not some little flicker or blur, like floaters, but something big and well-defined like an adult person. To be more precise, an adult female with long flowing hair of a much lighter shade of hair than my wife or daughter who both have dark brown hair that appears as black as mine does. This woman’s hair color was a mixture of strawberry blonde, which has a slight tinge of orange or red to it, and dirty blonde.

I was taken aback the first time I saw her. But, with each passing sighting of her, I became less unsettled because I felt nothing threatening about her presence. Discussing the encounters with my wife, who had also witnessed similar manifestations, we became convinced that it may be the spirit of a deceased acquaintance of my wife. If it was her, she had died a sudden and unexpected death due to a very unfortunate accident at home.

The circumstances of the girl’s death, which had occurred several years ago, when she was a teenager, were enough to explain why she might be restless. Out of respect to her family, we won’t go further into the details surrounding her death – but will say that some may say that they were rather suspicious and untimely. Further, prior to her death, her relationship with my wife would also explain why she might want to visit our home in particular. They hadn’t been friends for too awfully long before the accident, but they had developed a mutual respect and genuine friendship – which, apparently, for this particular girl, real friends were not so easy to come by.

The first few times I saw the girl’s ghost, she was walking by the big lobby window and I had a side view of her face. It was from the depiction of what she looked like that my wife was able to put two and two together as to who this ghost may be. After being visited by the girl multiple times, always walking from the front door past the window, one day she continued on to the living room door and stopped with her face peering into the living room through the glass panes on the door. Needless to say, the sight gave me the chills. Thankfully, they passed quickly.

We saw her several more times that winter, through the window as well as through the living room doors glass. Eventually, we decided to perform a ritual designed to greet, welcome, and release her spirit. If it were her, and she was indeed trapped here, distraught over her early demise and hoping to be comforted by her old friend (my wife), then we would do our best to see that she would, at last, have a bit of peace and rest. That said, it must have worked because her ghost has not been seen again (that we know of).

In addition to the above-mentioned experiences, shadow figures passing by the windows and doors of the lobby and unplaceable noises are often observed by my wife and me as well. These occurrences take place mostly at night and happen on almost a nightly basis. Needless to say, we have become more than used to the level of creepiness that our home exudes.

**The Living Room**

The living room in our home is truly just that; the room that is lived in the most. The wife and I spend the vast majority of our time in this room as it is situated between the bedrooms and the kitchen and bathroom. In our house, this room is really the central location. I also did most of my writing in the living room as I hadn’t taken the time to put an office together until recently.

Over the past decade, since my wife and her daughter first moved into the home, there has been a fairly enormous amount of paranormal activity associated with the living room. An interesting aspect to note, if one believes in ghosts, is that many of the possessions of the original homeowners are still here. In the living room, for example, a heavy oak coffee table, and in the corner of the room a heavy old oak cabinet. Until rather recently, even more of the old folks’ furniture and belongings were still being stored in the home. At this point, there are a few pieces left inside but the rest have been removed, recycled, burned, or sent off to the nearby landfill to forever rot in pieces.

Strange sounds, including constant banging and frequent footsteps, are a regular occurrence in this room. My wife has witnessed more episodes of paranormal activity in the living room than she can remember since moving into the home in 2010. As for myself, I’ve been living in the home for just three years now and I have already experienced more supernatural happenings here than I can count as well.

The first time I experienced something out of the ordinary in the living room was back in the winter of 2017 and 2018 when I first moved in. My wife was at work and I was sitting at the desk in the living room and writing up some content for a client when I heard what sounded like a light switch flipping. I didn’t think much of it until I got up from my work to relieve my bladder and grab a fresh coffee. When I opened the bathroom door, which was closed due to the draft, I was surprised to find the light on. It should not have been on because I had turned it off a couple of hours earlier when I had pulled the door shut after my first bathroom break that morning.

At any rate, I just shrugged it off and went about my business, and around thirty minutes or so later I heard it again. The distinct sound of a light switch being flipped. This time when I heard it my curiosity peaked and I rose from my computer chair and walked across the room to the bathroom door. Opening the door I again found the light, which I had recently turned off, shining brightly.

I was definitely confused and a bit creeped out but I told myself that it must just be some difference between European light switches and the American switches that I was used to that I wasn’t aware of, that maybe European light switches were poorly designed and sometimes turned themselves on and off. After telling my wife about it when she got home that day, I changed my mind. Apparently, she had been dealing with the phenomena for years.

I have since gotten used to the lights turning themselves on and off from time to time. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother us. But, there are times that the timing makes our skin crawl – as if someone or something were playing games with us. Like when we are coming home, or leaving, and see lights turn on or off as if someone else is in the house flipping switches. Or, especially, when we’ve cut off all the lights for the night and are headed to bed just to hear them click back on, or off if we left one on somewhere, just as soon as we get to the opposite side of the house where our bedroom is.

Even more spooky than lights that turn on and off themselves, however, are the doors that open and close themselves and the regular banging and thumping from the room.

One day I was writing in the living room and got up from the desk to retrieve something from the other side of the house. By the time I had made it into the room that was at one time our daughters and is now our sons, I heard, extremely clearly mind you, the front door open and close. The sound was immediately followed by the bathroom door opening and closing as well.

Chills shot up and down my spine at the sounds of the doors opening and closing because I knew my wife wouldn’t be home yet for a few more hours. Turning on my heel, I strode quickly back to the living room where I found both of the doors closed. Opening them, one by one, I stuck my head through and looked all around but there was no one, or thing, in sight.

I was quite creeped out by the events, as I had not yet witnessed this particular sort of paranormal activity in the house, and quickly exited the living room through the lobby, out onto the terrace, and into the yard. I walked every inch of our yard, wasting no time looking up and down the sidewalk in the front of the house, as well as along the fence in the backyard. I even stepped out of the fence and out onto the railroad track that runs parallel to our backyard… but there was simply no one around that could have opened and closed the doors and retreated so quickly. On the way back to the house, I checked inside our outside storage areas and outbuildings as well all to no avail. There was simply no explanation.

Something like fifteen minutes later, I remembered what I had been doing when I heard the doors open and close and again exited the living room on my way to the master bedroom. This time I made it to the bedroom and was busy searching for something or another (more than likely a notebook) when I heard the lobby door open yet again.

I straightened up, from where I had been leaning over a nightstand rifling through its interior contents, and headed towards the living room at a quick pace. However, by the time I made it about ten steps, which couldn’t have been more than a couple of seconds, the door slammed itself shut so hard that I could feel the vibrations.

I reached the living room and stood there with my mouth hanging up in shock. The lobby door was closed but the bathroom door was standing wide open.. and the light was on again. I wasn’t able to focus on writing for the rest of the afternoon.

For the past ten years at this point, five of which I had been around at the time of writing this book, my wife has experienced similar events in the living room. One of the things she has noticed that seems to set off extra-active bouts of paranormal happenings is whenever we get rid of or move around, some of the old furniture or belongings of the original owners. When she first removed the bedroom set upon moving into the home, she noticed a higher amount of activity in the room. Likewise, as she removed pieces of furniture from this room or that room, the paranormal activity in the rooms increased accordingly.

On another note, personal items going missing is also a rather frequent occurrence in our home. Things go missing from all the rooms, but mainly from the living room and kitchen. Keys, identification papers, bank cards, socks, shoes, and just about anything else that you can think of disappear, and after searching the entire house multiple times, low and behold, the very same items are found exactly where they were thought to have been left in the first place.

Cliche? Maybe so. But, true – and extremely annoying – nonetheless.

I had borne witness to so much potential paranormal activity in the living room of this home in just the first few months of moving in that I started leaving a voice recorder on whenever my wife was away at work and I went out and left the home unattended. As you’d probably guess, it didn’t take long for me to collect a few EVPs worth relistening to.

Most of the recordings were of loud and unexplainable bumps and thumps. We could easily account for the familiar sounds of the gas heaters kicking on and off as well as the other recognizable noises like the water heater and other appliances doing their thing. We quickly separated the rest of the explainable recordings from the potentially paranormal EVPs and relistened to the recordings many times to try and further distinguish what we’d actually captured.

We believe at least half a dozen of the EVPs were authentic paranormal activity caught on tape, without a doubt. Possibly more. The most intriguing EVPs captured during the winter of 2017-2018 were footsteps walking through the house, doors opening and closing, and light switches toggling themselves on and off. These particular EVPs, of course, gave my wife and me the chills, for sure. But, none of the sounds caught on recordings were actually new to us, we had both encountered all of the above within the walls of this home ourselves. The recordings were simply a nice bit of evidence, reassuring us of our sanity, and convincing us even further of just how haunted our house indeed is.

**The Kitchen**

The room which currently serves as the kitchen in our home is a small rectangular one that was originally used as a storage room by the old folks who built the place. The living room, one of the larger rooms in the house, was their kitchen back in those days. Sometime before selling the home, the old folks remodeled the place – I believe it was then that they added the lobby onto the side of the house. That said, our kitchen may be small, but it is definitely not exempt from strange happenings.

From items that are constantly disappearing and reappearing to the sounds of things falling over, cabinets opening and closing, and occasionally footsteps, the kitchen in this house sees more than its fair share of paranormal activity.

The strangest thing that ever occurred in the kitchen was witnessed by both my wife and me.

One night around 2 am to 3 am we sat chatting about some mysterious and unknown topic or another as we often do. We never in a million years expected to bear witness to what happened next.

I was sitting directly beside a frosted glass window that looks out into the neighbor’s side yard, which put me within earshot of the direct vicinity on the opposite side of the glass. We normally keep the window cracked open for fresh air and this night was no exception. On this night, as we chatted about this and that, I thought that I heard something scratching on the roof and wrote it off as a bird. Birds often landed on our roof or flew past the window so it was nothing out of the ordinary outside of how late it was in the night.

No sooner than I had written off the sound, we locked wide-eyed glances, unable to comprehend the obvious sound that we had just heard; the sound of a dragon screeching, just like in a Hollywood movie.

Before either one of us could find the words to speak, a second sound drifted in through the window, a noise neither one of us will ever forget (as if we could ever forget the first sound either). It was the sound of something that must have been massive, flapping giant wings. The sound was something similar to what it sounds like when a large raven flies overhead and you can hear its wings beating the air. The only difference is that this sound was insanely loud in comparison and there were only two distinct whooshes of air from the wings.

Imagine our shock at our conversation being interrupted by what sounded to be a legitimate dragon on our roof followed by two incredibly eerie gusts of wind and then dead silence. There are no words to describe how surreal the experience was, nor words to paint a clearer picture of what occurred. Believe me, it is just as unreal right now, writing this book, thinking back on it, as it was the moment it happened.

This particular situation took place less than a year ago, which we find extra interesting given the number of winged-humanoid sightings taking place in the world these past three years or so. I’m not suggesting that we heard an actual dragon, but I am not denying it either. Likewise, I am by no means claiming that we witnessed a flying humanoid – because we didn’t see anything, we merely heard it.

After pouring over all the creature sightings we could find, regionally, as well as old Slavic myths and creatures that fly, the only real conclusion that we have found that makes any sense is that it may have indeed been a Zmaj (the Croatian word for Dragon) or Pozoj (another Croatian word for Dragon found in regional folklore).

**The Master Bedroom**

There are two bedrooms in our home, a master bedroom and a kid’s room. Originally, the master bedroom belonged to the daughter of the old folks who built the house. The room that was our daughter’s room, and now belongs to our son, once served as a living room, and then as a secondary bedroom. However, the old folks preferred to sleep in the kitchen from all I have heard.

Both of the bedrooms have a long history of being haunted. From the time that our daughter was a little girl, when my wife and her first moved in, until these days, the paranormal activity in the kid’s room has been off the charts. The master bedroom has also had its fair share of ghostly happenings. In fact, I had my first paranormal incident via FB video call late one night while my wife was sleeping in the room.

Before I left the USA and relocated to Croatia, my wife and I spent hours upon hours of our time each day talking on FB messenger. Most of the time we chatted via video calls. Our calls were long, to begin with, and each time we talked, they got longer and longer. Eventually, we began leaving our video calls up even overnight. On this particular night, that is exactly what was going on.

My wife and I had finished our conversation, said goodnight, and set our phones to the side, cameras pointed towards ourselves. Being able to wake up and see each other first thing in the morning was comforting to us both. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to a video feed of my wife’s bedroom filled with clouds of smoke. I sat up in bed, grabbed my phone, and shouted at her to wake up but she was sleeping too deeply and did not respond.

I sat and stared at the phone, watching the smoke swirl around over the top of her sleeping body. Within a few short moments, as I was growing more and more concerned, I began hearing what sounded to be a man and a woman talking. They sounded as if they were just out of camera range. I clearly heard their voices drifting through the air and the various tones of their laughter. They sounded as if they were having a grand old time.

At first, I was of course a bit pissed off, wondering who was in my wife’s bedroom watching her sleep. I grew more concerned, as the smoke continued to billow into my phone screen from the foot of her bed. I began to feel panicky inside and considered cutting the call short and trying to call in order to wake her up. But, just as I picked my phone back up, finger hovering over the disconnect button, I saw the strangest thing.

A shiny multi-colored diamond-shaped orb drifted down the screen, from top to bottom. It moved at a slow pace, slightly moving side to side as it went, like a leaf sinking to the bottom of a pool of water or a dandelion seed floating through the air. My jaw hit the floor when the orb finished its flight across the phone screen because, as soon as it was gone, so too were the voices and every last trace of smoke. They simply vanished the moment the orb disappeared from sight.

I sat in stunned silence wondering what in the hell it was that I had just seen. Up until the point at which the orb had drifted across my wife’s camera I had not even believed in orbs, let alone ever seen one. Quite honestly I had thought the entire idea of orbs was nothing more than fanciful thinking. Further, I believed, right up to that moment, that if orbs were “real” they were simply dust particles reflecting light from their surroundings caught on camera or even tiny flying insects.

When my wife woke up, she of course had no idea what I was talking about as I excitedly stumbled all over myself in my attempts to explain to her what I had witnessed while she slept. However, interestingly enough, once she began to get an idea of what I was telling her she was quick to figure it out – or so we believe.

The daughter of the original owners, as I mentioned before, was the first person to claim the room as their own. Also, as mentioned in the first part of the book, she was a particularly heavy smoker. Even more, rumor has it that she was a real looker and constantly the center of attention by would-be suitors. These few facts made perfect sense. The room had been filled with smoke, and there had been both a man and a woman that sounded to be a bit more than friends if you know what I mean. As strange as it is, I believe I witnessed a residence haunting the bedroom via the FB video call between my wife and me that night. I mean, to be fair, everything lined up right.

The smokey love affair, as well as the shimmering rainbow-colored diamond-shaped orb, was just the beginning of the extraordinary activities that I would witness in the bedroom. To this very day, the bedroom is a real hotspot for weird happenings. Just a few days before we began to work on this book, as a matter of fact, I had an encounter – one that encouraged me to pick up the pen and tell these stories. Individually, each paranormal event may not seem so significant but when you couple them together, and look at the vast amount of them, as well as the wide range of variety, they begin to appear like something on a whole different level. Or, should I say a whole different level of darkness?

One autumn evening, my wife and I were lying in bed when she suddenly sat up and began feeling around her arms and torso. She looked from side to side around the room as well as leaned over to peer down at the floor on her side of the bed. When I asked her what the matter was, she told me that she had felt something, rather someone, touch her arm. At this time, having lived in the home for just over three years, I was not surprised by the situation. I had felt something “grab” me in both the kitchen and the living room myself the previous year. She wasn’t surprised either.

Of course, however, these things always make you stop and think about a million things; what was it that touched me? Is it a ghost? Is it a demon? Are ghosts and demons even real? So on and so forth, these questions, or similar ones, are sure to follow these experiences no matter who you are or how many times you’ve witnessed or encountered something unexplainable.

Flash forward to two weeks ago, lying in bed with my wife, around the same time of night, and the same thing happened only this time I was the one that was touched. We had just put the son to bed and closed the bedroom door when it happened. I was focusing on Art Bell, whom I love listening to before bed, or even while falling asleep for that matter, when I heard the pitter-pattering of what sounded to be little feet (think a two-year-old running at full speed) on the floorboards in front of the window in our son’s room (which is directly on the other side of our bedroom door – which was closed, or so I thought).

To my surprise, the steps came closer at a rapid pace simultaneous to the sound of the bedroom door cracking open. The steps came even closer, directly to the foot of the bed. This caught my full attention and Art Bell fell to the wayside for the moment as I believed that our two-year-old boy had somehow figured out how to escape the playpen he was sleeping in. I was just about to sit up and jump out of bed to check on him when I felt little fingers grab both of my feet through the blankets – like our son has been known to do.

I of course shared what had happened with my wife, and asked her if she had heard anything, to which she replied that she had indeed heard the footsteps as well as the door creaking open. She hadn’t, however, felt anything touch her this time.

This little event stuck in my head for a few days. Again, those same old questions swirled around; was this a ghost, if so who, and what did they want, sort of questions. But, this time, in addition to the typical questions I had additional considerations.

The thought occurred to me that due to the sound of the feet, and the size of the fingers, our son could have very well possibly somehow figured out how to astral project himself out of the playpen, push the door open, and run straight to our bed and grab my feet – which he was doing directly before we put him to bed, and he had been protesting this profusely. He had really wanted out, specifically so that he could come and play on the bed some more. But.. could that have even been possible? For a two-year-old boy to fall asleep, and almost the same second, astral project himself to his desired destination? It surely seemed likely.

On another note, cold sweat broke out on my forehead as a second idea crossed my mind: it could have been a spirit, or demon, mimicking our son’s behavior.

**The Kid’s Room**

What is now the kid’s room in our home used to be the living room when the old folks who built the place lived here. It is situated between the master bedroom and what is now the living room. Needless to say, a lot of energy has been collected in the space. The old man, his wife, and their daughter spent several hours in the room, every day, for years.

One could assume that a spirit bound to this world, and this house, in particular, might feel most comfortable in the room they spent the most time in – and that is exactly what we believe is happening.

Long before my wife and I met, Stella, her daughter, and her first child lived in this particular room. Our son now occupies the room.

Stella was a young girl when they first moved into this house. It wasn’t long before she began to complain to her mom about the ghosts in the home. One ghost in particular, that seemed to bother her the most, was, as she described, an old man. Apparently, there was even a specific corner of the room that he preferred to appear in.

She also heard constant footsteps, scratching, and other strange noises in her room day in and day out. My wife, being well aware of the reality of things unseen, believed her and tried to console her. She told her that there were bugs in the wall making strange sounds, and mice in the ceiling and floors. This of course wasn’t really what my wife believed – and it is doubtful that Stella did either.

Over the years Stella continued to feel the presence of the old man and other ghosts in the house which she mentioned on numerous occasions to her mother. But, by the time she was a teenager, however, she had grown somewhat uncomfortable with the home, but home is home and the human mind has a way of rationalizing even the oddest aspects of things she stopped talking about the strange sounds she heard. More than likely she was able to block out or ignore it, after dealing with it for so long. That said, to this day, she doesn’t have particularly warm feelings about the house.

Flash forward to 2018, when our son Ivan Troy was born, and to 2019 when he was just a few months old. Whenever we were changing Ivans’s diaper, or clothes, while he laid on his back on the changing table, his eyes always drifted up above and a big precious smile would appear on his face shortly after. His eyes would seem to adjust as if he were tracking some sort of movement and pure joy and amusement would be written all over his face. Sometimes he would even laugh about it. It wasn’t long until we put two and two together; the changing table we set up for him just happened to be in the same area of the room that Stella’s old man resided in.

On the other hand, we also considered the possibility that his Grandfather, one of which he was named after (we named him after both of our fathers), was perhaps visiting him and watching over him. He was obviously too small to question it, and when he is older he will have long forgotten whatever it was that seemed to be playing with him or otherwise catching his attention and amusing him so often.

Our son is now two years old and is a happy and outgoing boy, and he still seems to notice something in his room from time to time. When he is alone, we can hear him babbling, as if he is talking with someone. He laughs a lot, at whatever it is. Just the other day we spied on him through the cracked door when we heard him talking and giggling like he does when we play with him.

To our surprise, he was breaking his neck to look up directly above him. He was smiling and laughing like crazy. We watched as he seemingly tried to communicate with some unseen thing, just as he had as a baby. He was so enthralled with whatever he was seeing and talking to that he fell over twice, jumping back up and peering back up with a big smile for his unseen friend each time.

Other strange activity in the room includes footsteps when no one is there as well as scratching, tapping, and bumping or thumping sounds. My wife and I assume it is the old folks making their presence known. But, sometimes we are filled with such a sinister feeling that we have to stop and question whether or not it is simply the original owners of the home… or is it perhaps something far more disturbing.

On numerous occasions, both my wife and I have heard voices as well. Mostly the voices sound like one of us is speaking to the other, only to find out that neither one of us had actually said anything. These occurrences are one of the main reasons we wouldn’t be surprised if something much darker is lurking in the kid’s room, and within the house in general, because some seem bitter, jealous, and up to no good.

**The Attic**

Shortly after arriving in Croatia back in the winter of 2017 and 2018, I had some of my very first strange experiences with this house that would eventually lead me to believe that the house is haunted – or, at the very least, is a magnet for paranormal activity.

During that winter I spent a lot of time home alone as my wife was working full time, our son wasn’t born yet, and our daughter spent most of her days and nights with her then-boyfriend Ivan (whom we did NOT name our son after – sorry, buddy!). So, as you could probably guess by now, my days and evenings were largely spent banging away at a keyboard or scratching into a notebook. It was from my writing desk that I heard these first tell-tale signs that something was not quite right in this house.

As I sat writing at the desk one day, the sounds of banging and thudding from the attic started up. The sounds carried on for a few seconds and then fell silent. Only a few minutes later though the noise began again and this time they were even louder. The sounds originally sounded to be above the kitchen, this time they had moved to the area of the attic right above my head in the living room.

At first, I tried to ignore the sounds. But, after a while, the sounds had evolved from simple bumping and thumping. Before long it began to sound as if there were two separate “animals” making a ruckus up there as I clearly heard noise from two different areas of the attic at that point. That said, no sooner than I realized it must be more than one of whatever it was up there, I heard the sounds of things being knocked over, or possibly thrown around.

I stopped to give the noises my full attention and was simply floored at how much it sounded like a wrestling match going on. In my mind’s eye, I had the strangest vision of two gnomes, or domestics, like Dobby from the Harry Potter series, rolling around and fighting over something. I could see them knocking things out of place and wrestling around while making a complete mess of things up there.

The attic in the home stretches across the entire length of the house. It is an old and creepy attic covered with dust, cobwebs, and a smattering of possessions stored away and long forgotten by the original homeowners. I had not yet explored the attic, but my encounters during December 2017 and January and February 2018 would soon entice me to do so.

The first time I heard the unusual sounds coming from the attic I wrote it off in my mind as some sort of wild animal. Being new to the region I was not yet familiar with the sorts of animals that live here. I was unaware that there aren’t many squirrels, and virtually nothing like the raccoons and opossums homeowners have to deal with back in the United States.

When I went to explore the attic, at the end of the winter that year, I had been informed of this fact. I also discovered that the only open entrance to the attic was a small hole in the front end of the home, the size of a single brick standing straight up. These sorts of holes were commonly used for ventilating attics in these old homes.

The discovery was significant as it clued me in on the fact that larger animals wouldn’t have been able to get in through the hole to begin with – so it must have been something else making all that racket. Even more, the attic was in a bit of disarray, though to be fair I hadn’t seen what sort of order it was in prior to the sounds that had caused me to go and take a look in the first place. My mind again popped up with an image of a couple of house gnomes rolling around engaged in combat and crashing the attic.

I continued hearing similar noises from the attic that winter, most of the time when I was alone though I believe my wife was home a time or two when such sounds occurred. By the spring the sounds had ceased and they never did start up again. To this day, we haven’t heard those particular sorts of sounds coming from the attic.

Another strange sort of sound, however, did start occurring within months of the first series of strange noises ending. This time the sounds were very clear; heavy footsteps ran around from one end of the house to the other. And again, most of the sounds I observed coming from the attic happened while I was home alone.

One day we were lying in bed preparing for sleep and both of us heard three distinctly clear and heavy footsteps. We have since then begun referring to this incident as the sound of “cement boots.” This time the steps were directly above our heads and they sounded rather fast.. and oddly enough, they sounded particularly small like the footsteps of a toddler running full speed. It was also rather curious how they came out of seemingly nowhere and disappeared just as quickly.

I again had a bizarre vision in my mind’s eye, but this time it wasn’t of house gnomes or domestics, but of the old yard gnome left here by the original owners. I saw the stone statue, very much alive, jump down from a rafter, land above our heads, take a running start, and jump up and out of the one entrance/exit in the attic which just happened to be right above our heads. Strangely, in my vision, I saw the gnome shrink down to just a few inches in height and width in order to fit through the hole.

The next image that passed through my mind was of a gargoyle flapping its wings and hovering just inside the attic entrance. Knowing nothing about gargoyles at the time, but having recently had a dream about a gargoyle, in our home, the vision seemed even stranger. It wasn’t until later on, after a year or two had passed, that I became aware of how much the image actually made sense as gargoyles are known for protecting their claimed territories from other creatures. Oddly enough, garden gnomes are known for the similar role of guarding their owner’s property, particularly at night.

The question has since passed through my mind many a time; was it indeed a gargoyle and garden gnome that I had heard wrestling around up there? Perhaps fighting over whose duty it was to protect the home? I again think of that extremely vivid dream that I had around the same time the noises had originally begun, the dream of being dropped off in the yard by a space shuttle of some sort and having a gargoyle-like creature escorting my wife and me back into our home.

**The Bathroom**

I start this section by saying that, “The Bathroom” almost didn’t make it into the pages of this book – for, shouldn’t the happenings within the confines of one’s very own bathroom be left unspoken to the outside world? However, for the sake of being as fully accurate and thorough as may be, concerning the haunting of Jospia Kozarca 63, I feel it my duty to include an encounter or two worth mentioning, about each and every single room in the house… even the bathroom. That said, it is undoubtedly, and rightly so, the shortest and straightest to-the-point chapter of the book.

The original bathroom, as laid out by the old man and lady who built the place, isn’t recognizable anymore, as it has been fully renovated by my wife and me at this point. The claw-toed bath rub was the first thing to be removed, and the space was reoccupied with a tiled floor and a European shower, as well as a washer and dryer. The sink, toilet, cabinets, and original mirror have also been replaced. Whether or not remodeling the place has had an effect on the amount of paranormal activity we’ve experienced in this particular room, or not, is a question I have pondered long and hard, and one that I don’t have an answer for.

My wife and I have both heard footsteps coming and going from the bathroom, as well as witnessing the light turn itself on or off. In my case, the lobby and the living room, as well as the back porch, are the only areas I have heard more footsteps coming from while living in this home. As for the light switching turning itself on and off, it remains the undefeated champion of this whole haunted house. And, I know what some of you are thinking, and the answer is yes, we have indeed changed this switch, and even had the wiring redone, twice. It still turns itself on and off as much as it ever did.

All things considered, in regard to supernatural occurrences in the bathroom, over the years, I have had one recurring experience in the bathroom that is much different in nature than the activity witnessed there by my wife, Stella, and potentially even our young son, Ivan.

One day, I can’t recall exactly how long it had been since I was living in the home, I stripped off my clothes in the bathroom and stepped into the shower to wash. I’ve never been one to dillydally in the shower and was going about my business as normal when all of a sudden I felt someone enter the room and immediately after smelled cigarette smoke. There was no mistaking the smell, as I’ve been an off-and-on cigarette smoker since 1999. I was so sure of the presence I felt, and the smoke I smelled, that I assumed it was my wife, who has also been an off-and-on smoker, more on than off lately, as well. It would not have been out of the ordinary for her to come into the room for something or another while I was in the shower.

That’s why I shouted something at her over the sound of the shower, though the exact words of my question or statement, are beyond my memory of the incident. When she didn’t answer, I looked over my shoulder, and noticing the glass was a bit steamer than normal for just a few minutes of the water running I cleared a swatch of the see-through shower door with my hand and realized my wife was nowhere to be seen – I was alone in the bathroom, and it still smelled heavily of smoke.

It was then that I noticed smoke swirling around outside of the shower, peering through the glass harder as I was still somewhat in disbelief that my wife wasn’t actually there and but a split-second later that chills ran up and down my spine. Another sensation came after me shortly after, one not quite appropriate, nor one I choose to experience but was nonetheless feeling. Goosebumps raised all over my arms and legs, no matter that I was hot, wet, and naked; because it was also then that I recalled Iva, and her infatuation with both men, and ironically, smoking cigarettes.

If you made it through the first chapter of this book, the one about Maple street, in particular the part about the family who built 63 Maple Street, the house that I sit in writing this book, you may recall that their daughter, Iva, was said to have had a “way” with men. It is said that her fetish with the opposite sex was so consuming that a doctor diagnosed her with a special disorder, more or less explaining to her family and loved ones that she was incapable of being with a single man.

Take it as you may, though these statements are not made in slander, but are only mentioned to shed light on the nature of the ghostly encounters I have been prone to in the bathroom once frequented by Iva. It is also important to note that Iva was a chain smoker, often lying around and smoking packs of cigarettes back to back, whether in the company of men or alone.

In hindsight, the area of the bathroom the phantom smoke appeared that day and has since done so on more than one occasion, right outside the shower, is roughly the same air space Iva’s cigarette smoke would have wafted up to and hovered when she’d taken a bath in the old clawfoot tub that used to set there. I found out later that she had a habit of taking hot long baths and smoking several cigarettes while she did so.

To this day, our bathroom is a real focal point for paranormal activity. We still hear footsteps, the light still switches itself on and off from the panel on the living room wall, things still thump and bump there in the night, and yes, I still get the feeling of being watched while showering and the occasional whiff of cigarette smoke finds its way to my nose.

**The Outside**

The incredible amount of paranormal activity that has occurred, and continues to occur, at 63 Maple Street is not constrained to the actual confines of the home itself; the entire property itself seems that it must indeed be haunted, for just as many strange occurrences have taken place, and continue to take place, outside the home, on the lawn, and within the walls of the outbuildings, as do inside the walls of the house itself. Furthermore, all of the activity that takes place here at our home has been written off as mere ghosts, ghouls, and other supernatural creatures of the night either; some of the phenomena occurring at this address center around UFO activity.

The winter of 2017 to 2018 was the first one I spent at the property with my wife. Stella spent part of her time at our house, part of her time at her grandparent’s house, and some of her time at the homes of her friends, as she was a popular teenager at the time, so the wife and I had the place mostly to ourselves that year. In hindsight, I often wonder if our being alone for such long periods of time increased the potential for UFO activity, including the possibility of alien abduction. Later than usual one night, we ventured out of the house and into the yard, making our war down the sidewalk towards the front gate that lead to the street. Out of nowhere, the night sky lit up brightly once, and as I looked up to locate the source, the sky lit up again and the sky directly above our heads was temporarily illuminated as if a giant camera, miles high up in the sky, had snapped a picture with the flash on.

We had both stopped in our tracks upon the first flash, looking up to the sky. My eyes quickly landed on the little dot of light right before it flashed the second time and I couldn’t peel them away. I watched as the light began moving; it had been hovering in place while flashing but now it was shooting off to one side of the sky. I was unable to stop looking at the thing and immediately noticed additional lights. The new lights were clearly fighter jets of some sort, with red and white flashing lights nothing like the solid cream-colored light they chased after.

The three jets tore through the night sky in pursuit of the mysterious light, and just as they began to seemingly close in on it, as the visible distance between them was getting less and less, right there before my eyes, the light blinked out for some fraction of a second, reappearing in a laserbeam-like streak of light across the sky momentarily, before disappearing into the distance. The jets lagged behind ridiculously, appearing to follow the general trajectory of the light, regardless that it was plain to see that their clunky designs lacked even remotely adequate speed to begin to keep up with whatever the UFO was.

This UFO encounter would possibly not stand out among the multitudes of similar reports, at least in my own opinion, if it weren’t for the dream I’d had the night before it occurred. In the dream, I woke suddenly, as the shuttle that my wife and I were on came to a soundless stop, landing on the sideyard, beside our house. A door on the side of the shuttle opened and we stepped out of the small bird-like ship and into the grass. I remember being confused for a moment, as I had just woken up after all, but then a calm and quiet little voice in my head told me to hurry inside and to help my wife along as well.

Taking my wife’s arm, we made our way out of the yard, and as we did, I looked up over my shoulder and watched the shuttle ascend from the yard, its wings shifting positions as it rose, and then suddenly shut off into the sky, a bright bolt of light like a tracer round fired from a high powered rifle. I noticed three jet fighters approaching from the other side of the sky, swooping off towards the light, and a sense of uncontrollable fear and paranoia came over me and I tore my eyes from the sky and ran up the steps, through the front door, and into the lobby. It was at the exact moment that doors opened that the gargoyle-like entity zipped by us, literally in a flash, and into the home. That is when the dream ended, and I actually woke up, in my bed.

I stood there in the sideyard, the night after the dream, jaw hanging open, watching the fighter jets slowly make their way across the sky. They would never catch whatever it was, I remember thinking that the UFO could have probably flown around the world and back before those jets made it as far as the thing had appeared to blink and teleport in a single fraction of a second. When I remembered the dream from the night before goosebumps riddled my arms and legs, and hair stood on my neck. I turned to my wife and without mentioning the dream, exchanged a few exciting words about the incident with her before we made our way out onto the street and began strolling down the sidewalk headed toward the center of town. But, this UFO sighting wasn’t over yet.

We made it almost all the way down the street before the light reappeared in the sky, much closer and larger than before. It seemed to now be flying approximately parallel to the local railroad tracks or possibly over the nearby Drava river, which more or less ran in the same direction as we were moving down Maple street.

As we approached the corner, attempting to watch this light up above us in the sky, which was moving much slower now, and keep our feet moving forward along the sidewalk without falling over each other, the light arced up into the sky and began plummeting down towards the ground, spinning and swirling erratically. As the light came lower and lower it lit up ablaze, as a meteor or space capsule breaking through Earth’s atmosphere would. The flaming tail of the UFO turned from orange and yellow to hues of green and blue before disappearing from our view. We braced ourselves, waiting to hear the impact, but no sound ever followed. The light never reappeared.

I would take note of strange lights in the sky over our home for years to come, each sighting was taken with a slight chill and a few goosebumps as I recall that first particular UFO encounter. However, far more spooky situations than mere lights in the sky unfolded outside our homes. Some of these situations would make your skin crawl (and possibly make you consider pulling your hair out, peeing your pants, or promptly moving away and putting the home up for sale).

During that first full year I spent living at the property, I experienced several strange incidents outside, alone, and accompanied by my wife. Many of the incidents from that first year centered around the old structures In the yard, the old man had built a few outbuildings; one for pigs, one for chickens, one for smoking meat, and one for storage, as well as a cellar. I would thoroughly explore, clean out, and even start to deconstruct a few of these buildings over time, beginning that winter.

The old man and woman had used the buildings for decades, but they’d been in disuse for quite a few years before my arrival and exploration of them. My wife hadn’t utilized the buildings for their original purposes, simply using one or two of them for storage space. Aside from my wife’s father, and brother, no one had touched the buildings or their contents. In other words, I was among the first individuals to rifle through the old couple’s things, and more importantly, to disturb their old belongings.

One building in particular, towards the back of the property, appeared to have once upon a time been a woodshed of sorts. It was loaded with old chunks of wood, fence posts, planks, and other various odds and ins, including some metal pipes the kind you use for wood stoves or possibly gutter downspouts.

As I moved the junk out of the building, I separated what materials were worth saving, and which needed tossed in the burn pile or thrown in the garbage can. Eventually, I began handling the pipes, as they were towards the bottom of the pile of leftover debris. It was then that I found the first egg. I lifted one end of a particular section of pipe that looked like an old downspout for the gutter measuring around 6 feet in length, and a chicken’s egg rolled out of the opposite end. I had no idea how or why an egg would have been there, laying in that old metal pipe, for who knows how long and found it quite peculiar.

Picking the egg up, I found that it felt as light as if it were made of paper. It lacked the weight of a typical egg, and I knew that it therefore must be empty inside, a thought that confused me even more. I told my wife about the egg, and her response gave me chills. Apparently, an old Balkan form of black magick, a type of curse performed by witches in the region, centered around such eggs. How these witches made these eggs appear was unclear, as are most dark and shrouded magickal practices carried out by witches, but whoever disturbed such an egg, or god forbid broke one, was said to be cursed by the witch who’d hidden or manifested the egg.

Unfortunately, for me, I had indeed broken the egg while cleaning up that old wood shed, a fact that I downplayed in my mind, and also kept from my wife at the time. I opted for an “I don’t exactly remember what I did with it” sort of answer, rather than risk upsetting my superstitious wife with the news that I may have fallen into some witch’s trap, cracking up the cursed egg.

After hearing my wife’s possible explanation of the strange egg, I decided to be skeptical about the whole thing. I wrote it off and went about my business clearing out the old buildings, condensing the junk into a pile on the backside of the property.

Later that year, I came outside one day to find black chicken feathers scattered all over the side yard. In my mind, it was nothing more than a mess caused by one of our dogs. The thing is, at the time, our dogs hadn’t figured out that they could get out of the yard, as they would soon discover the next year. At any rate, I grabbed a trash bag and gloves and started cleaning up the mess. It took several minutes to pick them all up. Each time I thought I grabbed the last handful, I noticed a few more here or there. Eventually, the scattered piles of feathers led me to the back fence where I immediately noticed a large black trash bag just outside of the fence.

Unlocking the back gate, and stepping outside the yard saw that feathers were scattered all over the little strip of yard between the back fence and the railroad tracks. I retrieved the bag and had a look inside; its contents were a big black rooster with a broken neck and a ton more loose feathers. The bird in the bag seemed to have all or most of his feathers intact.

I cleaned up the mess and then told my wife what I’d found. She clued me in on more supposed black magick rituals that witches performed with chickens, roosters, feathers, and blood. We both thought the incident was strange, but in my mind, I tried to write it off as something the dogs had somehow been guilty of. In fact, I half expected to hear about it from a neighbor, but no one ever mentioned anything about a missing rooster.

It wasn’t but a few days later that the wife and I were exiting the property via the front gate when we noticed more feathers scattered around, this time in the yard just outside the front fence. And, they weren’t chicken feathers this time, but rather crow feathers. Amongst the feathers, we quickly noticed there was an entire crow’s wing lying there in the grass. It looked like it had been severed from a crow with a laser beam. It was cut so smoothly, there were zero cut marks or evidence of the use of a saw.

I have to admit, the crow’s wing gave me a deeply disturbing feeling. It made no sense to me. I’d never seen or heard of such a thing. The only thing about it that made sense to me is that it must have been done purposefully. That said, whoever had done it, and whatever their meaning was, was completely lost on me. Another thought occurred to me at the time that gave me pause; my nickname was Crow.

That same summer, we crossed paths with two more severed crow wings, looking exactly the same; as if they had been removed from the birds with a precision laser cutter. Putting it down into words, it doesn’t seem like much, but let me tell you, finding those wings like that, lying directly in our path, three times that summer was more than creepy to me. I felt a deeply sinister vibe about it and felt that it must have been purposefully done.

Looking back, the entire year was a strange one. Barely a week or two passed that we didn’t experience something bizarre.

Several times, returning from evening walks, or visiting friends or family, we entered our yard through the front gate only to immediately feel as if we were being watched, or as if we had disturbed someone or something. These particular experiences were more feelings than tangible experiences, though they are more than worth mentioning and including as part of the overall story of this old haunted house and all that has happened here.

On one such evening, we can home through the front gate and both saw what appeared to be several silhouettes of people retreating from the garden area and rear of the house and disappearing into the shadows. The thing is, they made no sound and seemed to glide rather than walk or run. This particular occasion was so startling that we both stopped in our tracks momentarily, double-taking the situation and scanning the darkness towards the rear of the house before heading up the front steps and into the house.

Neither one of us mentioned what we saw exactly until we were inside the house with the lights on and the door locked. It never crossed my mind until years later that whatever we saw out there that night could be the same shadow people we’ve encountered in various rooms of our home over time.

That same year, a week or so before our son was born, around Halloween, the wife and I were sitting outside around a fire and chatting outback near the pile of rubbish I’d made with all the leftover junk that needed hauling away to the dump. Every few minutes, I would walk over to the heap, pull a few pieces of wood or other burnable junk, and add them to the fire. On one such trip to gather more fuel for the fire, I knocked over one of the old metal drain pipes I’d removed from the woodshed before I dismantled it.

To my horror, an egg rolled out of the end of the pipe, rolling to a stop right by the tip of my boot. I called my wife over to have a look at the egg and her gut reaction was the same as mine. This looked to be another witch’s egg. I had placed the pipe there myself, and it had no egg in it when I did so. I knew this for a fact. We tried to scoop the egg up with something, with exactly what has slipped my mind, but as we did so, the egg crumbled a bit, revealing a scentless and empty interior. This time we kept the remainder of the egg, securing it in a cloth and setting it away somewhere for safekeeping until we decided what to do with it.

It was right around this time that I was digging through an old oak corner cabinet that the old man and old lady had owned for years and years, that was still in use in our home, and still is to this day, that I came across a strange knotted cord. There was no way I could mistake the knot magick. However, there was also no way for me to tell who had made it, what their intentions were or any of the other particulars of the obvious black magick talisman. I removed it immediately, dealing with it swiftly and surely, in an occult manner. It was at that moment that I stopped ignoring the obvious; someone, or something, was clearly attempting to harm us, or at least one of us, and they were using old black magick to try and make it happen.

Shortly after our son was born, we woke one morning to find another chicken and feathers strewn all around the yard. Thankfully, it was the last one. Feathers, however, scattered along the front fence, and back fence, have since then appeared a handful more times over the years. I always tried to write these incidents off as nothing more than dogs, or kids, having fun, whenever they happened, but… deep down, I knew better.

The spring after Ivan was born, I spent a great deal of time outside the house, yet again rooting through the old man and woman’s leftovers that’d been shoved into storage. I’d finished removing the obvious garbage, old building materials, and rusty scarp the year before. Now I was getting down to actual personal items, tools, and other useful items that require a bit more consideration before simply tossing them in the trash or deciding to keep them. I must have filled the trash can up twice that march or April, with old stuff that we’d clearly never have a use or need for. It was during one of these cleaning expeditions that I opened up an old cabinet that’d been locked and overlooked for some time.

At first, the stuff inside that cabinet seemed typical, more old tools, some photographs, and a few nick-nacks. Then, in the very bottom corner of the thing, I spied a small leather satchel. It was homemade and tied shut with two leather straps. My curious nature led me to open it immediately. Inside was nothing but dust, a small bone, and a few teeth. Mind you, this was no satchel of the tooth fairy, for these teeth were not juvenile, but appeared to be adult teeth. As for the small bone, I had no idea and wanted no idea, of what it was or where it came from. The old man and woman had raised both hogs and chickens, and that is exactly what I told myself the bone was from.

Obviously, the discovery of this satchel was somewhat startling, especially in combination with the witch’s eggs, the cord with magick knotwork, dead chickens, clipped crow’s wings, and everything else that had already occurred inside the home in the little over a year I’d been present on the property. Around this time, the wife and I began to seriously discuss the who, what, why, when, and where type questions regarding all of the strangeness centered around our property, and our lives.

It was then that my wife told me of other sachets and hairballs that she found in the home years earlier, directly after moving in. She also described various paranormal encounters much like or identical to the ones that I myself had experienced in the home. Days of discussion, sometimes for hours at a time, about this subject, led us to many new revelations about the old folks that’d built this old home, as well as much of the paranormal activity that occurs here.

One must also not forget to include the local folklore and mythology when attempting to get to the bottom of potential paranormal experiences. In our case, such creatures, entities, and beings as dragons, fairies, vampires, house gnomes, and the Drekavac, must be considered. The fact that we have an old well in our yard, as do ninety-nine percent of the homes on our street, means we must also entertain the idea of “Aquarius”, also known as the “water man”, an entity that is said to be a frog or fish-like being that is thought to be part creature, part man, and possibly part demon or dragon.

These possibilities are discussed more in-depth in the following and final chapter of the book. At any rate, we have realized, or rather suspect, that there may be far more at play, causing the haunting of this property, and the greater region, than simple ghosts of the past and their mixed residual energies of angst, injustice, anger, and sorrow.

Much of the mystery and phenomena that happen here in our home, however, seems to go far beyond the angst of the old man and woman’s spirits. Some of the activity may have even been much closer to home, so to speak, than my wife or I could imagine. Betrayal, you see, is something that only comes from those you love and trust the most. An enemy isn’t typically in a position to betray you, so they must openly attack you. That is why it seems that someone, or something, beyond the simple disdain, felt towards us by the ghosts of the old man, old lady, and their daughter, was sending us cryptic messages.

One thing about our current situation at the home seems clear though; the happier we seem, and the more optimistic about life in general, the stranger the phenomena continues. But, then again, who knows? Perhaps the same amount of paranormal activity would currently be taking place here in the home even if we were an unhappy miserable couple, as the old man and lady who built the place must have been towards the twilight of their lives here at 63 Maple Street.

(this is a modified excerpt from a 30K-word book my wife and I recently self-published about our haunted house “The Haunting of 63 Maple Street

You can find more Black-Eyed Kids stories here....

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

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