THE PERSISTENT SALESMAN
A few years ago I went to party with a few friends. After a few hours of mingling, the conversation slowed and one of the other girls pulled out an old Ouija board. I’d never seen one before, but a chill fell over me. I had been warned of the dangers of contacting the other side, of inviting spirits into the real world. Everyone gathered on the floor in a circle to begin the ritual. My pulse quickened. I made an excuse and hurried out, returning quickly to my parents’ empty, dark home. I was startled a few minutes later when I heard the doorbell ring. I answered the door and saw a dark figure of a salesman. Some- thing was off. I immediately felt strange. What kind of salesman goes door-to-door in the middle of
the night? I told the man I wasn’t interested in buying anything, but he repeatedly pleaded that I allow him into the house to demonstrate his products. Finally, I shut the door in his face and locked it, going upstairs to call my dad. I entered my bedroom to find the same man staring at me through my second- story window. Somehow, in the time that it took for me to walk up the stairs, he had climbed onto the roof. I screamed at him to leave, but he continued to stare at me, unflinching. I called my next-door neighbor and asked her to send her husband outside to help me. Minutes later she called back to tell me that he hadn’t seen anything at all. But he was there, I was staring right at him. Suddenly, I heard the back door open and my dad called up to me. At the same moment, the man disappeared.
THE LITTLE MEXICAN BOY
During college at BYU I lived all over the place. Almost every semester I lived in a brand new apart- ment. And the grosser the apartment the better, because it usually meant low rent. I actually looked for lead pipes, broken air conditioners, mold, flakey paint and leaky faucets. In my searching one semester I heard about an old apartment complex in South Provo that was supposedly haunted, and my ears perked up. I didn’t believe in ghosts (at the time) so I thought I might be able to find a great bargain. The landlord was eager to have me sign a contract, and after I heard the price I was eager to sign too.
A couple days later I’d moved in with a friend named Laura. And a couple days after that, we realized why we were getting such a great deal. An old, heavy, wrinkled Latino woman struck up a conversation with me in the laundry mat. Apparently about three years ago there had been a little Mexican family who lived in our apartment. There was a 9-year old boy who was playing soccer in the parking lot with a few young friends, the game got heated and the soccer ball crashed through a living room window
on the lower level of the apartment complex. The residents ran outside and started to scold the boy, who was the oldest in the group, and then his mother stepped out and began to do the same, yelling that he should have been more responsible. The boy was irritated and hurt that he was being blamed for something he didn’t do and began running out of the parking lot. He turned to scream something
at his mother as he reached the street, and then he was struck and killed by a speeding car. His family was devastated. They moved away shortly thereafter. And everyone who has lived there since has
only stayed for a few weeks, claiming that weird things were happening. Even though I didn’t believe in ghosts, I couldn’t help but notice when things were strangely out of place. Perhaps I just began to notice them more, but soon things began to get stranger and stranger. I came home to broken plates and opened drawers with clothes spilling out of them. I began to believe. One evening in the middle of the night, the lamp in my living room fell off the coffee table and crashed on the ground. That was enough for me. I moved a few days later and incurred a huge fee for leaving before my contract was up. Which should really mean something considering how poor I am.
-Richard B. 31
THE MAN ON THE COUCH
One day when I was coming home from fifth grade, I ran into my house, through my living room and into my bedroom. When I got there I paused and thought for a moment. There was a young man who had been sitting on the sofa. I looked back in the living room but nobody was there. Later I told my sister about it, who was 15 at the time, and she suddenly seemed frightened. She had seen him too. Multiple times. She even described him to me. Weeks went by and things started to get stranger. Our radio would turn on at obscure hours of the morning blaring heavy metal music. We’d turn off the radio and change the station, but it would turn back on shortly thereafter. Our parents would bang on the walls and tell us t turn it down. They refused to believe that we weren’t dong it. We bought a new house and prepared to move. We took a week long vacation before the whirlwind of packing hit, and I’ll never forget the day we returned home. No one had been on our house, and yet we opened our bedroom door our barbies were scattered around the room, a lamp was tipped over and the water bed (that we both slept on) was sloshing around. We screamed and our parents ran to us, but they refused to believe that we hadn’t made the mess. Coincidentally, the water stopped rippling right as they arrived. To this day they still don’t believe my sister and I, but we know what happened… Leaving that house was such a relief. I never wanted to go back there.
-Anna L, 23
We were living in park city at the time and [my sister] May and I were sleeping in the attic, that’s where our bedroom was. We were to sleep and I woke up with someone, a woman, standing to the side of the bed. I can’t remember now if she was old or young, or what she looked like. I kept kicking May, and pinching her to get her to wake up because I was scared, but nothing would wake her up. There was a window on the North end of the room and finally the woman turned and walked right out of it and that was it, that’s all there was to it. The next morning my mother asked me, ‘what’s happened? You look white as a sheet!’ I told her, and I’m not sure if she believed me. Who it was, or why, I don’t know. Both of my grandmothers were alive at the time. But from that day to this I shut my eyes when I go to sleep and I don’t open them. It really had a lasting effect on me. I can still visualize it when I talk about it, that person standing by the bed. Whether there was something there or it was a dream, I’ll never know.
-Alice P., age 83
I moved into a new place in Northern California, it was a little house owned by an older woman. It was furnished, with a cute little piano with beautiful gilded gold legs. The woman who owned the house told us that the original owner, an old man had made it. I couldn’t play the piano, but every time my roommate would, I would see a face appear in the window and flashes of light would scatter through the room. I started seeing things move in the house, like dust moving through sunlight, but I would only ever catch these in my peripherals. I never talked to my roommate about it. One day, my roommate and I pulled up to the house and our headlights illuminated the basement cellar door that was buried in front of the house. The doors, which always remained padlocked closed, were ajar.
We were both terrified. We sat in the car trying to decide what to do. We started comparing stories about our creepy experiences with the house. We had both seen the face, the light, the movements in the house. We had even been having he same dream about being choked. We pulled out of the driveway and moved the next week.
That place, the air was thick with movement, with people, and things there. But it all came back to that little piano.
She was in the old racing factory when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned to see a man standing there in the shop, as if he had been working. Then he just disappeared, right in front of her.
-Erin P., on the experience of her mother, Judy G.
Daytime dreaming is always strange. There’s something about sleeping in the light that keeps your mind from releasing completely. I believe it never quite lets go of conscious thought, of its ability to receive. So I wonder, if our minds aren’t willing to spin the visions, who do they allow to take over?
I sat in the center of a small cylindrical room. The walls stretched high above my head, out of sight. Around me, the room shone with a dazzling spectrum of kaleidoscopic light that filtered through the thousands of stained glass windows filling the walls. I sat at a piano, ancient and upright, built of a dark stained wood. On it sat my great-grandmother, my babushka, a woman long dead. During her life, I had never known her as a young woman, but somehow I recognized her now. She leaned gracefully on one arm, her legs in a long gown flowing over the edge of the instrument. She smiled down on my as
I played, just she and I, the piano, and the beautiful windows. I awoke to the half darkness of evening light filtering weakly through my blinds. I lay staring at them for a long moment, allowing life to creep slowly back into my limbs. I stretched and slid out of bed, staggering slowly down the long hallway
to the kitchen. My mother was peeling something into the sink for dinner. I leaned heavily against the counter and explained my odd dream to her, “I was playing a piano. It was huge and upright and dark brown, with curling carvings decorating the sides. Grandma just sat there on top, watching me.” That is so weird,” my mother exclaimed, dropping the vegetable on the counter, “I just hung up with grandpa Kondratieff. He was asking if we’d like to have great-grandma’s piano, the piano you just described. -Anastasia W. 21
THE LADY THAT DANCES ON THE TABLE
We had just moved into a new house after the divorce. My two daughters and I were pretty shaken up, and we felt more alone than we ever had before. The new house never felt quite right, but we were going through a lot of changes and some weirdness was to be expected. My daughters tried to sleep in their own rooms, but they just couldn’t do it. They’d always come and sleep in my bed and say they had nightmares, so I’d let them. I actually enjoyed their company. After a few months though I decided they should start sleeping in their own beds again. But they were hesitant. I tried to gently shew them into their bedrooms and they began to cry, saying they didn’t want to leave my room at night. Apparently, they told me, they’d each seen a woman dancing on our kitchen table in the dark. She wore a white dress and spun and spun as they watched. It disturbed them so much that they cried and shivered when they told me about it. I know this might sound simple, but you have to understand my daughters. They don’t tell imaginative stories or see ghosts. That was so out of character for them, and I could tell by the tears in their eyes, they meant what they had told me.
-Wendy K, 54