The house in Ducor, Calif., seemed perfect. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and enough acreage for Tammy’s horses, cats and dogs.
It was also near family.
“In 1996, my three daughters and I moved here from Texas,” she said. “My husband had passed away recently and we needed to be near family.”
And the rent, Tammy had found anywhere from $600 to $1,500 a month for something of that size, was only $350 in Ducor.
“I couldn’t believe my good luck,” she said.
But she soon found the reason the rent was so cheap – it was haunted.
“One of the first things we noticed was the wallpaper in the bedrooms,” she said. “One of the rooms had wallpaper that made it look like a padded cell. It literally looked like it had mattresses stuck around the room. The next room had barbed wire wallpaper around it, but the best was yet to come.”
The ceiling in the master bedroom was black, surrounded by dark purple walls. Tammy later wondered if the house had decided the decor for the former occupants.
The first night in the house seemed quiet, but Tammy’s middle daughter sent terror through Tammy over breakfast.
“(She) told me that she had seen the shadow of a man kind of float past her bedroom window,” Tammy said. “I thought she meant outside the window but she said that, ‘no, he was in her room.’”
Tammy hired men to install alarms around the house and yard the same day. But that night, when something invaded the rooms of Tammy and her daughter, the alarms didn’t go off.
“I woke up feeling as though something or someone had sat down on the edge of my bed,” she said. “But when I opened my eyes no one was there so I thought I was dreaming.”
Then the water faucet in the kitchen came on.
“I went to see if one of the kids was up getting a drink of water but no one was there,” she said. “As I started to walk out of the kitchen to go back to bed the door to the fridge flew open.”
Although she couldn’t explain what happened, Tammy went back to bed.
“The next morning my daughter again told me about the guy who walked past her window,” she said. “But this time he had lay down on the bed next to her and was breathing and whispering in her ear.”
When Tammy asked why she didn’t wake her up, the girl said she was too scared to get out of bed.
“She just pulled the covers up over her head and went to sleep,” Tammy said. “That began a nightly ritual for her and for some reason she never went to my room to wake me up to tell me.”
Tammy’s family began living with the faucets turning on by themselves, the television and stereo blaring in the middle of the night, and the refrigerator and the front and back doors standing wide open. But there was more.
“One evening, as my daughters and I were watching television in the living room, a roll of toilet paper flew down the hallway, landed on the floor in the entrance to the living room and rolled into the kitchen,” Tammy said. “We were the only ones there and there was no explanation as to who had thrown the toilet roll down the hall.”
Tammy took her daughters out of town one weekend and asked a family friend to stay at the house to care for the animals. When they returned home, the friend was gone.
“He had left a note,” Tammy said. “It said that he would never set foot in that house again and he advised me to get my family out of it ASAP.”
When she later spoke to him, he told her about the faucets, television and stereo coming on by themselves, and that something invisible had thrown a two-liter bottle of soda at his head.
“That was the last straw for me as well as I didn’t want to put my children through anymore than they had already endured,” Tammy said. “If a bottle of soda could be thrown at someone who didn’t live there, what might happen to my children if I stayed?”
Tammy didn’t try to discover what was haunting the house – she wasn’t going to be in the house long enough to care.
“We moved out a week later and never went back to that house,” she said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.