Welcome to Mysteries over Martinis! This blog is a mix of unexplained phenomena and personal encounters served up with a mystery-themed cocktail. It’s a recipe for intrigue!
1 oz Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Frangelico
1 oz Coconut Rum
Directions: Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well-blended, then strain into a chilled martini glass.
When someone mentions a haunted house, our minds usually paint an image of a big, creepy house sitting atop an overgrown hill. Almost every town has such a place, which serves as a background for urban legends and rites of passage. We often leer from a distance with nothing but a dilapidated fence to separate the known from the unknown. However, most hauntings are not experienced based on a dare to enter an abandoned home. On the contrary, most claims of paranormal activity occur in the sanctity of one’s own home. What should be a place of safe haven often turns into one’s own personal hell. Activity is often stirred when someone moves into a new home or begins renovations on an existing property. There is also a belief that some homes, as well as those who reside in them, can be a magnet for ghostly activity. Whatever the reason, the chilling phenomena leaves a lasting impression on those who have encountered it. The following stories were submitted by readers who had their own brushes with the bizarre.
Amy in Iowa: When I was 19 I got married in Atlanta, lost my school funding and had to move back home to Iowa. Afton, Iowa specifically. My family was from there but I had only lived there a couple of years before Atlanta. My husband was in the Army and had been in a horrible car accident in Germany. He was stationed at Fort Benning. I went home to find us a place to live. Afton had a population of maybe 800? I found this old house in town. A two bedroom for $195.00/month. Holy cow! It was a cute mid- century (1930-40?) house. The farther bedroom was on a corner. Next to it was the second bedroom with a door going into the bathroom. I began moving into the house in August, it was very hot. The house had no air but was tolerable. I opened the door to the second bedroom and could literally see my breath. I thought “Well, it is in the middle of the house, maybe more insulated from the heat???” This bedroom also had a very pervasive, stifling feeling. I stored a few things in it and kept the door shut. I ended up being bitten by a Brown Recluse within two weeks. Not really odd in and of itself but compiled with everything else I include it.
I worked at a little corner bar across the way and would often stumble home. LOL! I started at times going to sleep, hearing pounding on the shared wall of the bedrooms. On occasion, I would also hear noises while in the bathroom coming from that bedroom. My husband came home, finally, after a few months. He noticed the same coldness and feelings from the second bedroom. We always kept that door shut.
A friend of my husband’s came to stay with us for a couple of weeks, sleeping on the couch because NO ONE liked the second bedroom. He had a duffle bag he kept at the end of the couch. On about five occasions, after we would leave and come back, his duffle would be PACKED and sitting by the front door.
One night a group of friends were over and we were playing some game where we had to flip a coin. The quarter was flipped in the air with all eyes on it. It never landed. No noise, nothing. We tore the living room apart. No quarter.
I got a kitten and two weeks later it was found dead a block away. We got a dog and it would only come out from under the bed if someone was home. It was terrified. The pounding noises were escalating and others heard it too. When my son was born, we had been home less than 48 hours and he quit breathing. He was blue before I realized it. I flipped him upside down and smacked on his back until he started breathing again. Not sure if you could associate that with the house either but it sucked! I think we lived there about a year.
My husband and I divorced within eighteen months after this. He was really mean to me while in that house. About 6 months after moving out, I was asking a local in Afton about the house. Actually, I think I was relaying the spider bite and they said “Little wonder since the house had been vacant for so long.” I asked why and they told me that a man had shot his wife and hung himself in the second bedroom. I’m like, “Thanks small town Afton, thanks!”
Anonymous in Massachusetts: I used to hang out at this kid’s house. I don’t know about the history, but let me tell you, it was like walking into a statically charged cloud. The house was a 3 decker in Massachusetts. When you drove into the drive way it felt like all eyes were on you. Walking up to the house, it felt like there was an aura surrounding it. When you walked around to the front entrance, it felt like you weren’t alone. But when you walked up the stairs, it wasn’t as bad. We mostly hung out on the second floor and that was not much fun. The only places that didn’t feel like something was there was the living room and the kitchen. There were also 2 bedrooms on that floor and they were always dark. Even though the doors were open they felt closed. It felt like something was looking at me saying, “Stay out!” That scared the hell out me.
One night, I was staying over. My friend took his dog out for a walk and I was hitting the sack. I felt this presence slowly creep up on me. I got scared and threw the covers over my head. The presence came over me from my feet to my head. It felt like something was rolling up on me. I could feel his face was right on mine. Then, my friend came up the stairs with his dog and the spirit rolled off me and the air felt clean again.
When we were hanging out, my friend told me that back in the day they used a Ouija board. They asked if anyone was there and they met a spirit named Freddy. The lamp flickered when they asked his name. The family believed he was a civil war soldier because they would often see a torso floating wearing a civil war uniform. They would also hear footsteps which they assumed was Freddy. Everyone saw him but me.
There was this time when we were chilling in the kitchen and we noticed the bathroom lights were flickering. We were like “that’s weird,” so we moved to the bedroom. The lights stopped in the bathroom, but then the bedroom lights started to flicker.
On another occasion, I was sitting in the kitchen while my friend took the dog out. His cat was meowing and walking in circles. The odd thing was that when he was walking in a circle, I saw an impression as though he was getting patted by someone. This behavior continued for a few minutes more.
As I was taking out the trash it felt like something was at the bottom of the stairwell. I shut the door and I had my hand out. I felt this warm glow go from my fingers to my forearm. I just stood there and then it went away. His family also reported seeing the apparition of a child and a lady in white.
The following is an excerpt from a book in progress by Cory in Illinois, Co-founder of Nexus Paranormal Investigations: I was born in Wisconsin, in a small town and left it shortly after being born and returned to the family’s home town. We moved in with my Grandmother who had a rather large two story home that was built in the1800’s, around the time our town was beginning to take shape. You know the kind, large Victorian homes, every small town in America has houses like these with slate siding, large windows, and limestone foundation. My Grandmother lived on the ground floor of the home, at the time, sharing it with her mother, my Great Grandmother. It was a happy and loving home. My Grandmother, the anchor of the family and a cook, who always made sure there was something cooking in the home, just in case anybody happened to pay a visit. Oh, how I miss her butter cookies. We, my parents and self, lived on the second floor. Connected by, what seemed like a very large and long staircase that appeared to reach to heaven. The house had the original wood floors throughout and area rugs laid out in many of the rooms. With the age of the home came the creaking floors and stairs, the kind that you cannot sneak up or down the stairs, or across the floor without someone hearing you up and around.
My bedroom, which you turned left and then right at the top of the stairs to get to was on the North side of the house. I remember two very large windows in the room, side by side, seemed to be from floor to ceiling, covering the North wall. My mother had hung toy soldier wallpaper on the East wall behind my bed. Soldiers, who if I remember correctly were about four feet tall in their red coats, tall blacks hats and white pants. It was a little boy’s room, what can I say?
My very first experience that I can remember happened in that room. I was around two years old at the time.
Understand, I had no idea how to read a clock nor was there a clock in my room. I was lying in bed, in the dark, with the only light being that of the moon and ambit lights from the neighborhood coming from the outside. I was awoken by the noise of little feet running around on the other side of the wall, which was in the direction of the living room. At this time, we had no pets and I am an only child. I know that my parents were both asleep as I could hear them sleeping just down the hall from me.
I got up on one elbow trying to figure out the noise being caused out there. It then ran down the short hallway, past the top of the stairs and stop at the doorway to my parents’ room. I remember calling out for my parents, and heard nothing in return. Whatever this was seemed to react to my voice and began to run down the hallway towards my room. Calling out again for my parents, I got nothing in return. No more had the words left my mouth, I was up on both elbows and watched a figure appear in my doorway. Standing maybe three, four feet tall staring into our bathroom which was located to the right of my room.
I called again. It appeared to be a little boy standing there. He wore a blue coat, with white piping up the sleeves and a little felt baseball sewed to the left chest. A matching ball cap on his head. I could not really make out facial features or hair.
I called out again. This time the little boy slowly turned his head towards me, just the head, very slowly, keeping the body very still. It began to grin at me, but not a normal grin, more like a snarl. I yelled out for my parents.
This little boy turned with such speed to face me that it looked more like a modern day special effect than anything back then. It then charged at me into the room, with an incredible speed and leaped at me. Its face changed into that of, what I can best describe as a demon now. Red eyes, snarling, foaming at the mouth, making some form of noise.
I yelled like crazy, ripping the covers over my head for my parents. I felt this thing land on my bed, I felt its weight on top of me, trying to pin me, I could feel its hot breath coming through the sheets at me, it said something to me, that I have never been able to remember. It had a deep voice, like something from deep within the Earth. It may not have even been English for all that I can recall. It may be locked down, deep, and somewhere that my psyche does not want me to remember. I do recall wetting the bed from fright as this struggle continued as it got heavier and began to laugh, in deep vibrating tones that shook me deep inside, to my soul.
I continued to yell and scream until the lights came on in my room and parents came running in to see what was the matter. My memory tells me that my parents kept telling me it was a dream, or my imagination. If that were true, why has this episode stuck with me for over forty years? Why, when I go to bed at night, even now, do I still wonder if that thing is still around? Is it still in that house, or was it a message to me or for me? I never experienced that, “thing” again, or at least, that I can remember in that way. I believe it has “friends” though, that have had effects on my life, more on that later.
I do recall some time later, could have been weeks later, months later, not really sure, but there was noise again in the living room. It sounded as if my parents were hosting a party or had friends over for an evening of talking and fellowship. They were known to do this from time to time, and being a youngster having an early bed time, that was not unusual. I remember waking, hearing voices, many voices, laughter, the clinking of glasses and good time being had. The strange thing was, not seeing any lights on, or my door standing open, usually closed to keep the noise and light from waking me up.
Getting out of bed and going into the hallway, there was still no light to be seen, however the noise continued, more defined than lying on my bed, someone was telling a joke, many other voices were laughing. Were they speaking of me? Of my family? Or was this a rip in the fabric of time. Upon turning left to pass the stairs and enter the living room the noise stopped, immediately. So quiet that you could feel it. Like when you go outside after a snow fall and the whole world is just wrapped in silence. No one was around. So where did this noise come from? I had passed my parents room and they were snug in bed, lost in sleep, so there was no friends over, so why the noise? Why was I the only one to hear this? Was something trying to reach out to me, communicate with me? I’m a kid, who is going to listen me? All I was ever told was that I had an active imagination, or was having nightmares. How does a kid, this young, even know or understand what he is seeing, feeling, hearing? These things truly did happen and were happening to me.
I was always uneasy in that house. At the top of the stairs, in the ceiling, was the hatch to the attic. This little area, was sheer terror for me. This area was maybe four feet by four feet square, but one that always forced me to run as fast as my feet would carry me, through it. There were times I could hear knocking coming from the hatch, as if someone trying to gain my attention or trying to figure out how to open it. Again, noises that only I could hear. Asking my parents what was up there and why there was noise up there, I was told nothing, just storage, dirt, dust. That there was nothing making any noise and it was just my imagination, yet again. Now you may ask, come on, there were raccoons up there, rats, mice, opossum. This is a two story house, with no trees surrounding it, no way for anything to get on the roof, no way for anything to gain access to the attic without going through that little hatch that scared me so.
There were other areas in that house that bothered me well. As I said earlier my Great Grandmother was living there for a time, I remember her passing away, but I do not remember if it was in the home or not. After her passing, my Grandmother kept her room intact and this is where I was to take my naps while my parents were at work. My Grandmother helped to raise me and I am eternally grateful for her love and wisdom she passed onto me. She would watch me during the week while my parents worked. Since the second floor of the home scared me too much to be left alone on, I would spend my days with her, downstairs. The unfortunate thing was having to take naps in the Great Grandmother’s old room. I remember bits and pieces about her. Like watching wrestling with her on Sunday mornings and Roller Derby, I was told later on, when I was a teenager that she may have suffered from what we now know as Alzheimer’s. She was a very small, frail woman. Having grown up and married in Iowa, married to a miner, had many children, not much of an education, but back then you didn’t need one. Story has it in the family that she, as a small girl, came West with the wagon trains and her family settled in Iowa.
When I would be forced to take a nap in that room, after her passing, it was always a very uncomfortable feeling. I can remember feeling anger, hostility and extreme sadness in there, as well as a sense of loneliness. I can remember times lying there, trying to remain calm and do as I was told, and feeling as if someone crawled into bed right next to me. If I was able to fall asleep, I would have very vivid dreams and nightmares. Ones that my internal clock would tell me that nap time was over. There was always a presence in that room, one that moved around a lot. There was a smell of a perfume, not sure of what, that always seemed to move around the room. Even if the windows were open. I usually fought to take my naps in my Grandpa’s chair or on the couch, opposite of where my Grandmother liked to sit.
I wish I knew then what all that meant. The “visit,” the noises, the voices, whatever was in the attic and was that my Great Grandmother trying to reach me or was she a confused spirit not realizing or understanding that she had passed on.
I’d like to thank Amy, “Anonymous” and Cory for sharing their terrifying experiences. I know this subject isn’t always easy to discuss so I appreciate your willingness to open up about it. You are all very brave in my book.
If you’ve had a mysterious encounter you’d like to share, please e-mail me and be sure to like the Mysteries over Martinis Facebook page. Weirdness is always welcome.