A ghost story for Christmas
In the late summer of 2009, I moved from Maine to Minnesota to begin graduate school in Minneapolis. My husband, however, still had a semester remaining of his own graduate studies in Massachusetts, so he did not initially move with me. He instead rented a furnished room for his final semester, in a house occupied by several fellow students.
At the end of December, I went to Massachusetts to spend Christmas with him. Our plan was to visit local attractions, to make a trip or two back to Maine, then to pack our car with his remaining possessions and return to Minnesota together. This holiday trip was my first and only time visiting him at this house.
The moment I rolled my suitcase through the front door, I was uncomfortable. I felt someone standing in the living room through a wide doorway to my left, staring at me. Not staring as much as studying me, transfixed. I turned to address this person with a proper introduction. But I was further taken aback when I saw there was no one was actually standing there. I looked around the room, then called to my husband, asking who was there with us. He yelled back that no one was. His roommates had all left for winter break.
Throughout the next few days, I was repeatedly struck with pangs of ill ease, suddenly and seemingly at random. Once while preparing food in the kitchen. Another time, while taking a shower, I was so overcome with the feeling of being watched, I yanked back the shower curtain, shrieked, and nearly fell over when I caught my own reflection in the steamed up mirror.
The disturbances escalated the night my husband went to bed early, and I watched a film alone in the living room. After the movie, I rested my head on a pillow and closed my eyes. Not long after doing so, I heard what I can only describe as a radio static-like sound, all around me. I was consciously aware that the television was turned off and that I wasn’t asleep. I kept my eyes closed and focused on the static. I could make out two men’s voices. They sounded like they were speaking to each other, talking about a crime of some sorts. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the static sound fizzled out, and the living room was again quiet.
The experience that gives me the most trepidation came near the end of my stay. I still don’t have it in me to tell it publicly. But it was traumatic, occurred in the middle of the night, and erased any lingering doubt I had that there was something terribly wrong with this house.
On the day of our departure, we were almost done loading the car when a neighbor walking by struck up a conversation with my husband. I finished the packing and waited in the car while they spoke, blasting the heat in preparation for our cross-country drive. After they finished speaking, my husband got into the car. A few heavy moments passed before he said this neighbor told him troubling things about the house’s history.
The local newspaper archives I later perused confirmed the neighbor’s tale: Decades earlier, before I was even born, police found a woman just outside the house who had been repeatedly stabbed. She was taken to a nearby hospital, and died of her injuries shortly thereafter.
Her case, however, went cold.
Her murderer has yet to be apprehended.