Something uninvited resides in the house in Independence. Eighteen-year-old Michelle’s family has lived there for 12 years, and she knows it’s a spirit. It touches her.
“Before I go to sleep I can feel it,” Michelle said. “I look at my closet and I can tell when it’s going to happen.”
Michelle’s room sits over the furnace and is warm in the winter, unless the unseen thing is there.
“When I don’t feel the sprit, it’s all white walls and it’s warm. It feels warm,” she said. “Whenever it’s there, it feels cold, sharp and distant. It always comes from my closet, but I can’t see it.”
If she feels the presence early enough, she found noise will keep the spirit at bay.
“I turn on my radio. It doesn’t come when there’s sound on,” she said. “If it’s silent I feel it will come right before I go to sleep.”
This is when it attacks.
“I can’t move anything,” she said. “But my muscles (flex) because I’m fighting. The whole bed will be shaking because I’m fighting it and then it’s gone and I’m exhausted. I pass out.”
The attacks are known as “Old Hag Syndrome” because some people who experience them report seeing an angry old woman sitting on their chest during the attack.
Michelle’s attacks began too early for her to remember, but a few years ago they occurred as often as twice a week. Psychologists refer to these experiences as “sleep paralysis,” but Michelle said she isn’t suffering from a psychological manifestation – she knows the attacks are real.
“I used to think it’s a dream,” she said. “But it’s not.”
Although the spirit hasn’t attacked anyone else in the house – or has attacked Michelle anywhere other than in her room – an ominous feeling often follows her through certain parts of the house; her room, the back of the living room, the kitchen and the space directly below these in the basement.
“My sister and I neither like the basement,” Michelle said. “She can’t go in the basement by herself. I feel creepy when I go to the basement, too, but I sing really loud when I go down there. I don’t know what it is, it’s like (there’s) somebody else. We have trouble going to sleep at night.”
Michelle and her sister Stephanie sometimes hear the faucets in the bathroom turn on and off and Stephanie has seen something in the yard.
“Stephanie knows there’s something,” Michelle said. “There’s flowers at the front of our house and she saw a little boy playing with flowers. Then he was gone.”
But inside the house, Michelle’s mother is the only person who’s seen anything strange – and she doesn’t talk about it.
“Mom knows there’s something,” Michelle said. “Everybody was in the front part of the house. She looked down the hall and all of a sudden she saw a tall dark man go from our bathroom to her room. She was sure it was Dad, but when she said his name he called from the other side of the house. ‘I think I saw a ghost,’ she said.”
Michelle thinks the figure her mother saw might be the thing that attacks her in her bedroom, but the attacks have disappeared since she’s gone to college. However, she’s worried about a younger sister, Danielle, who now lives in her room.
“It’s creepy,” she said. “My room is not natural.”
Copyright 2009 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 email@example.com. 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.