Nodding, its great
head rattling like a gourd, And locks like seaweed strung on the
stinking stone, The nightmare stumbles past...
(Robert Penn Warren)
N I G H T M A R E S I N
K E A N E S B U R G
When I first moved to
Jersey in the end of 2000, the first place that I lived in
was a really old house in Keanesburg, right down the street from the beach. We
(some roommates & I) were
renting the upper floor. Although the place was slightly forbidding looking from the
outside, we were excited cause the rent was cheap and it was so close to the beach, so
we didn't pay it much mind... maybe this was a mistake on our parts!
What follows is the story of my experiences in that house.
below, a few snapshots from the
Keanesburg house. Notice the "orb" in the creepy living room near the ceiling,
pic on right:
T H E N I
G H T M A R E S B E G I N
The first night I slept in the
house was kinda creepy; we didn't have electricity yet, so we had to
navigate by flashlight. That night, as I slept on an inflatable
mattress (no furniture yet either) I had a really bad nightmare. In
fact, I woke up in a panic, drenched in sweat. I had dreamt that I
was walking down the long, dark hallway which ran the length of the
house, with nothing but the flashlight to light my way. There was a
drop-down attic door in the ceiling, right in the middle of the
hallway. As I moved under the attic door, it suddenly swung open and
a ghastly pale, wizened old man with a maniacal face popped out of
the opening, grabbing me from above and dragging me up toward the
inky dark hole that lead into the attic. I was kicking and
screaming, but unable to break free as I rose up into the
darkness... it was terrifying. So vivid and real! I really couldn't
sleep much the rest of the night, and I could've sworn I heard
muffled noises from the attic a few times that night, although in my
heightened nervous state, that could have been anything...
As morning came, I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy the process of
settling into the new place. This was easier said than done, though... as I always had
this strange, nervous feeling anytime I was in the house. I didn't matter what time of
day, the feeling was always there. Of course, it got more intense if I was there alone,
and especially at night. At first, I chalked this up to being in a new, unfamiliar place
as well as dealing with a lot of life changes. But, no matter how I tried to rationalize
my feelings, they remained the same. The nightmares about the old man in the attic
continued unabated. I just did not feel comfortable in that place. The worst parts of the
house to be in for me were the living room
and the hallway. I hated that attic door and hated walking under it.
Unfortunately, the hallway lead to every part of the house- bathroom,
kitchen, living room, bedroom... so I had to walk under it constantly.
Passing under the attic door always made me feel as if ice water was
being poured down my back. And there was a creepy closet in the corner
of the living room that I didn't like either. It was always cold and
drafty near the closet, and it also became the focus of another terrifying series of
dreams. I would dream that I was wakened in the dead of night... I'd feel myself rising
out of bed, walking down the dreaded hall toward the living room, where I could see the
form of an extremely skinny, miserable looking old woman covered in bruises and standing
motionless, staring at me from in front of the closet door. I would always wake up really
freaked out from these nightmares.
F E A R A N D
D R E A D
There were also lots of weird things happening
constantly... certain doors would not stay closed, no matter how often we closed them...
like the closet door in the guest room.
The televisions would change channels, volume would go up and down, and the sets would
even turn off or on... all by themselves. More than once we found the
stove turned on by itself, flames burning high. And I was starting to feel like an extra in a
Freddy Krueger flick, as I was afraid of going to sleep due to the awful dreams I would
have. The nightmares about the maniacal old man in the attic persisted,
joined by the recurring nightmares of the thin woman in the living room
closet. My roomies said I was talking in my sleep, as well as tossing and turning fitfully,
every night. I was beginning to feel fatigued and sick from these feelings, and the lack
of sleep. The only time I felt better was when I was outside the house, so I liked to walk
down to the beach a lot, day or night, just to get a break.
When I finally had my dog
shipped to New Jersey,
I was happy because I wouldn't be all alone in the house all day anymore. However, one of
the creepiest things began to happen, as my dog would sit stiffly at the doorway
of my room peering
out into the hallway and growl, her body quivering with tension. Now, this dog is really
mellow and gentle. She rarely barks or growls at stuff. And she had
never exhibited behavior like that before Keanesburg, and never has
since (she is now 12 years old) But, there was something she clearly
didn't like about this place. I had to agree with her.
Once, we were putting
some boxes up in the attic. My roommate asked me to hand him some of the
remaining boxes, and I had to climb up and poke my head into the attic
to do so (to my dismay!) The attic was cram-packed with a whole bunch of
stuff that was left behind by generations of past tenants. Then,
something caught my eye- a rather large hunk of long,
grayed-blonde, seemingly human hair caught on the hinge of the attic
door... almost like it had been torn from someone who had been dragged
through the opening. It was super creepy- eeek. I got off that ladder
fast, and told them I didn't want to go up there again, no way.
A P P A R I T I O N
I N T H E S N O W
One wintry night in January, we
were watching movies in the living room. It was snowing heavily outside,
and had been for days. I was cuddled on the couch with a blanket, and
fell asleep. Sometimes around 4 a.m. I awoke. It was dark, the TV. was
showing a blank blue screen and everyone had fallen asleep. I saw the
snow had stopped, and went over to the window to see how deep it had
ended up getting. When I pushed the curtains apart and looked down at
the snowy yard below, my heart leapt in my chest. There, on the lawn
just below our window, stood a skinny, pale old woman. Just like
the woman in my dreams in fact... and she was staring directly up into
our window. Her legs were bare and she wore no coat despite the snow,
and her hair hung in stringy clumps around her haunted face. I called
out to my roommate, I was really freaked. They woke and asked me what
was wrong. I told them that there was a lady outside, and they rushed
over to the window. But, when we looked back out there, there was no
lady. And, that's when I noticed that there were also no footprints in
the 6 inches of snow on the yard, or anywhere on the sidewalk or street,
as far as I could see.
I was and still am
reasonably sure that I was awake, and did see her standing in the
yard. But maybe it was a nightmare? I don't know. It shook me to
the core and really scared me, whatever it was.
Well, that was the last
straw. I decided I wanted to move and started looking for apartments a few days later,
and had the luck to get one of the first places I saw, in Jackson NJ.
I moved out of that place as fast as I could, even though I still had almost a month of
paid rent there. I was just happy to get out of there, to a place where we could sleep
comfortably at night. And, I didn't have any nightmares in Jackson.
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