Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Thing on the Stairs

The house in South Euclid, Ohio, had been on Telhurst Road since the early years after World War I. It was a Sears Modern Home, a mail-order house popular before the Great Depression. Nobody lived in the house long, and, during the years of 1967 to 1975, Lisa Falour discovered why.

“The house had already had numerous owners and changed hands often,” Lisa said. “It always felt creepy to me.”

Repairs were seemingly endless; especially the roof. It always leaked. But what bothered Lisa’s family most was the cold.

“It was impossible to keep the place warm enough in winter, and Ohio winters by Lake Erie are deadly nasty,” she said. “The family room was the kitchen, as it was usually the only warm place in the whole house. Even when the living room chimney was lit, what little heat we had ran up the flue.”

The cold continued in Lisa’s bedroom; it was the coldest room in the house and she usually did her schoolwork in the kitchen.

“I spent quiet evenings at the kitchen table, doing my homework. It was impossible to study in (my room),” she said.

But from the kitchen, she could see unwelcomed visitors – black human shapes punched into the fabric of the dimly lighted dining room.

“I constantly saw shadow people walking around in the dining room while I sat at the kitchen table,” she said. ”They were normal sized and silent, and though usually out of the corner of my eye, when looked at straight, they would just quietly move on. It wasn’t a trick of the eye.”

When she turned on the dining room light, the brightness drove these shadows from the room.

“They annoyed me, but it’s hard to know what to do about such a thing,” Lisa said. “I spoke to my mother about the shadow people, and she just calmly said, ‘well, maybe the place is haunted. If they don’t hurt you, don’t worry about them too much.’”

But Lisa had other things to worry about. She also saw a door in the dining room – a door that wasn’t there.

“I repeatedly saw ‘another’ door,” Lisa said. “It may have been at another point in time, as the house was constantly worked on and changed. It was just slightly to one side of the ‘real’ door leading to the bathroom, cupboards, TV room, closet …”

But if her parents believed the house was haunted, Lisa never knew.

“You have to understand, ours was a typical family in denial. Very typical of the times,” she said. ”We just tended not to talk about ‘real issues.’ My father certainly was no believer in the supernatural, as far as I could tell.”

Visitors to the house never knew the things Lisa had seen, and were never told it was haunted, “just that it was creepy.” But every guest she brought home saw something in the house … something that shortened their stays. Lisa’s second husband saw it, too, in her old bedroom while she was sleeping.

“(He) heard a thing climbing the rickety old wooden stairs, then showing itself at my old bedroom door where we were sleeping,” she said. ”He was aghast, and angry at me for subjecting him to this.”

He couldn’t describe the thing in detail. He only said it was a huge creature “and utterly ghastly.” Lisa had heard the footsteps on the stairs while growing up in the house, but never saw what made them.

“I just always kept my eyes closed tight, but I used to hear it creep up the steps and stand at my door,” she said.

Lisa moved from the house on Telhurst Road when she turned 18, “and never lived there again.” She would stay with her parents on short visits, again seeing the shadows that walked in the dining room.

The house is no longer in Lisa’s family, which doesn’t bother her at all. She does, however, wonder if the new owners have experienced shadow people or the thing on the stairs.

“I never heard a sound from the shadow people, and didn’t feel particularly threatened, but I did feel uneasy and not happy they were there,” she said. “It made me not like the house. All I can say is the house was creepy.”

Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at: tsup.truman.edu, www.amazon.com, or visit Jason’s Web site at www.jasonoffutt.com.

14 comments:

Jeff said...

Food for thought...strange to think of a modern(ish) prefab house being haunted.

PrinceofSwords said...

A Sears home is not a modern(ish) prefab house, they were house "kits" that included lumber cut to fit, all the nails that were needed, plumbing, wiring etc. The house had to be built just like a regular house of the time, and the older ones included design features like cool cupboards. They were available in a number of styles, and are generally better constructed than other houses of the same period.

Anonymous said...

well it sounded like she was doing her homework therefore lights should have been on. then it said dimly lit dining room lights should have been on. then it said she turned on the lights

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