Friday, April 01, 2011
The following story is true and centers around my daughter Carmen when she was five years old. The poor economy required us to move into an older modest house in western Pennsylvania. From the day we moved in Carmen began to have, what I considered at the time, terrifying nightmares. She would come running into my bedroom in the early morning hours screaming, claiming she had witnessed "something very bad." After a while, I would calm her down and convince her to return to her room. In a month's time the situation was at a point where she totally refused to go back to her own room. So she began to sleep with us...unfortunately, no one was getting any sleep.
One day I asked her to tell me what was really bothering her in her room at night. She told me instantly that an scary woman with no face would come into her room, close the door and stand in front of it so that Carmen couldn't get out. She said the woman had long hair and was dressed in a bloody dress. I thought to myself "where did she get theses ideas from?" So in order to prove to her that there was nothing to be afraid of I agreed to sleep with her in her bed that evening.
That night, after she'd already been asleep for a few hours, I lay awake wondering again how she dreamed up this scary scenario. But what happened next convinced me that something was not right. Suddenly Carmen sat up in bed, out of a dead sleep, and clutching the covers against her she said "Mommy...you scared me! I thought you were the woman!" I hadn't made a sound...but she woke instantly. It seemed like she could sense that something was in the room even though she was sound asleep. I calmed her down and we soon fell asleep together.
Around midnight, I heard what sounded like a gun firing or a large firecracker. It was so loud it seemed to go off in the room. I assumed it was just a dream and my mind playing tricks on me. Carmen was sound asleep, like nothing had happened...so I went back asleep. Just as I drifted off, I woke to the sound of something downstairs. I sat up and realized that someone was banging wildly on the front door. I ran down the stairs and looked out onto the front porch from a side window. The light was kept on, but I could see that there was no one on the porch. I went back upstairs and woke my husband to see if he'd heard anything. He looked up at me like I was crazy and said "go back to sleep." What the hell was going on, I thought. I got something to drink, went back to bed and slept through the night without any further disturbance.
The next morning I felt awful. I'm one of those people that needs to get a certain number hours of sleep or I can't function well the next day. At about 10 am, the owner of the house came by with a plumber to work on a leaking pipe. She was wondering how we were getting along, so I briefly told her what had been going on, especially my experiences from the previous night. It sort of spooked me when she started to nervously looked around as I described the incidents. I asked her if there was anything wrong...she said 'no' and said that she was going to check with the plumber. She got up from her chair, walked over to the basement door and started walking down the basement stairs. Now what was that all about? After the plumber finished, he left the house...but the landlady asked if she could talk to me for a minute. She softly said not to be alarmed, but after what I had described to her she needed to tell me what had happened previously in the house. I didn't like this already.
She started by saying that the woman that lived there before us was very strange and had told her numerous stories about odd incidents. She had dismissed these stories to her eccentric behavior and the fact that the woman was known to drink heavily on occasion.
Many years before that, a young woman had rented the house. She had expected her fiance to move in as well but on the very same day she moved in, he called to say that he'd met someone else in another city and that he didn't want to see her again. She attempted to call him back several times, threatening to commit suicide if he left her. Each time he hung up on her. Later that evening, the calls stopped. The fiance became worried and tried to call her but after an hour without success, he called the police. When the police arrived they woke the landlady in order to get a key to get in.
It was around midnight as the police banged feverishly on the front door (the same time I heard banging on our front door). When they got no reaction they let themselves in, only to find the young woman in the room that Carmen now slept in. She lay dead by the door after she had shot herself under the chin. She had used a large caliber handgun and the gunshot had completely disfigured her face. This had to be the loud noise I heard while in Carmen's room. There was a dark stain on the hardwood floor by the door but I never gave it a second thought. I asked the landlady about and she admitted to me that it was blood, and that they had never been able to completely remove it.
I assume it's possible that this young woman had been visiting my child the night. We didn't wait to find out...we moved out shortly after.
'Phantoms and Monsters'