Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part series about the Torres family who, after moving into their new home, discovered something was already there.
When Sammy Torres and her family moved into the mobile home in 2004, they knew something was wrong. The former tenants had left in a hurry.
“The people who had owned it before had just up and left without taking any of their belongings,” she said. “They left their furniture, their appliances, photo albums with baby pictures and other family photos. They didn’t even take their clothes. I have tried to find anyone who may have known the people that lived here before to see if anyone knew anything about them or the reason they fled as they did.”
Neighbors don’t seem to know.
Unpacking boxes the first night Torres’ family stayed in the home, Sammy saw something she couldn’t explain.
“I was sitting on the floor in front of the television unpacking a box of DVDs and videos and putting them away,” she said. “The television was off and I saw on the blank screen a young girl with very long braided hair walk behind me from the direction of the bedroom towards the kitchen.”
Thinking it was her youngest daughter going into the kitchen, she kept unpacking the box – then she realized the girl never left the kitchen. She looked in the kitchen; no one was there.
“I got up from the floor and went to check on my daughter but when I poked my head inside her bedroom she was fast asleep,” Sammy said. “I thought maybe I had been so engrossed in what I was doing that I didn’t see her go back by.”
Then, day after day, strange things began to work their way into the Torres family’s life and Sammy began to realize it hadn’t been her daughter she’d seen in the television screen that first day – something was in her house.
“Things began to happen pretty regular,” Sammy said.
The cabinet under the bathroom sink randomly opened and slammed shut when no one was around, Sammy heard footsteps in the hallway when no one else was home, and everyone heard voices that didn’t belong to anyone in the family.
But the children experienced much more than Sammy and her husband.
“My eight-year-old son would tell me about a Hispanic girl who would go into his room and sit on his bed,” Sammy said. “I thought he was either dreaming or had an imaginary friend as some children do.”
The boy was adamant the girl in his room was real.
“He insisted that she was there and not just his imagination but he said that she would just disappear,” Sammy said. “He said she would be sitting on the bed or standing by the door one minute and then gone the next. My son said she was a ghost. I was pretty sure he was right.”
The experiences escalated. Family members would see something in the corner of their eyes that would dart across the hallway, they heard whispering and conversations although no one else was in the room
“When my two-year-old grandson would come to visit he would play hide and seek with someone only he could see,” she said. “He would stand in the doorway of my son’s room and tell his invisible playmate, ‘You can’t get me. You can’t find me.’ He would run, jump on the couch and get behind me and say, ‘she’s coming. She’s going to find me,’ as he was peeking around me and looking towards the bedroom.”
When Sammy asked her grandson who was going to find him, he would say, “the girl in Uncle’s bedroom.”
One day, Sammy saw the invisible entity play back.
“My grandson was sitting on the floor in the hallway playing with a ball,” she said. “He would roll the ball down the hall, the ball would stop and roll back to him as though someone had stopped it and rolled it back to him. This happened several times.”
Then there was the whistle.
“Sometimes late at night, usually between midnight and 1 a.m., we would hear the whistle of a train that sounded as though it were in the far-off distance,” she said. “There are no trains that run through our town or even near our town and hasn’t been for a very long time.”
Her husband, who seemed immune to the whistle, eventually heard it.
“Finally one night as we lay in bed talking we heard the faint far off sound of a train whistle blowing,” Sammy said. “My husband who loves trains said that it was the whistle of an old steam engine. He said those are not around anymore so there was no reason for that whistle to be heard. That was the last time we heard that train whistle.”
But the paranormal occurrences didn’t stop with the whistle, and they began to become more real to the entire family – Sammy and her husband saw the girl.
“We see the apparition of a young Hispanic girl with very long braided hair peek around the corner of the bedroom door and then disappear,” Sammy said.
In Part Two, the entities show themselves.
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, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, 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.