The House I Grew Up In: A real-life ghost story

The House I Grew Up In: A real-life ghost story

Richard Barr talks about his younger years spent growing up inside a real-life haunted house… 

It could be because it’s a very old house, with all that that entails – the still original pipes singing; draughts worrying the squeaky hinges; those creaking, uneven floorboards that groan under the lightest foot.

But as anyone who’s ever spent a night or two in the place will testify to, it’s more than that.

We moved there in 1983. As soon as we arrived I ran up to my new bedroom and stood between its blank, empty walls, picturing how it would look when we got everything unpacked. I remember that’s when I first experienced it: a body on the outskirts of my vision. I even flexed my shoulders and turned, reacting to its sudden appearance…

The Shadow People

The years passed in this same house. As a family we spent most of our time in the kitchen – a sort of open-plan arrangement, where an old-fashioned, bucolic look give way to soft furnishings and a big JVC television in the corner of the room – a small corner that served as a general living space for us.

It was when I’d sit in there that I’d notice them, these orphaned shadows – shadows without a physical human body there to stencil their dark shape around. Sometimes they’d creep up walls and scuttle across the ceiling, but mostly they’d just stand and watch.

The piecemeal research I’ve done on this phenomenon refer to these figures as Shadow Beings, bleed-in penumbras of souls unable to navigate the ether. They’re like a dial stuck between stations.

All around us there are those unseen vistas, the worlds of the ultraviolet and the infrared, which are outside our human discernment. If it is the case that this is a real thing, something that science just won’t or can’t acknowledge, it must be that that house served as a way station for those souls that get lost on their way back.

However, while these presences can be seen, they have as yet not affected those things that take up the material plane, i.e. real-life objects. This is the other phenomenon at work in the house, activity that could broadly be described as things moving on their own.

Where to begin with this one…

Mysterious Red Lines

What has been witnessed first-hand by myself and others includes everything from the relatively harmless – keys shooting out of locks, plates tumbling from cupboards, footsteps moving around in adjoining rooms – to the mortally dangerous: my mother one afternoon coming home to find that all the dials on her gas cooker had been turned to their highest setting.

‘One little spark and…’ she said.

However, the one truly bizarre episode, bizarre even by these standards, presented itself to us a few weeks before I left home.

My brother returned from work this night with a ½ bottle of vodka for us to share, and a carton of cranberry juice for mixer. I let him in the side door as usual, into the kitchen, and we got started, adding plenty of ice to stretch proceedings out.

Conversation-wise the night was pretty uneventful. We went to bed around 5.30am, with the vodka and the cranberry well and truly spent.

At around 7.30am, hardly two hours later, mother hauled us both from our beds and led us by the scruff of the neck, like boys, down into the kitchen.

On the floor lay the empty carton of cranberry. Above us, on the ceiling, four long, straight red lines ran lengthwise from one end of the room to the other, all evenly spaced one from the other, continuing down the wall and stopping at the floor.

It was the precision in the evenness of the spacing between them that really struck me. It was like somebody had got a ruler and marked it off before starting. Not a feat easily accomplished having had a few glasses of vodka, which I pointed out to my mother.

‘How else would it have happened, eh? It was youse two, off yr head, blacked out and destroyed my beautiful kitchen!’

‘A few glasses each is all you get to a half bottle,’ said brother.

‘Hardly fill a hole in your tooth,’ I said.

‘We wouldn’t have done this and not remembered.’ Brother again.

A few days passed before she stopped blaming us and came around to our way of thinking.

After all, besides these four red lines that ran the length of the kitchen ceiling, we also found this material daubed on the walls and all over the countertops, up in the plug sockets, inside the microwave and the oven – just everywhere. The amount of it all far exceeding what juice came in the carton to begin with.

We got the feeling that the empty carton had been left there on the floor as a sort of decoy – a gun the crooked cop plants on the dead suspect he’s looking to frame.

We decided then that this red stuff all over the place wasn’t cranberry at all, but something else. A conclusion reinforced by the fact that one small patch of it on a light fitting in the ceiling in the kitchen couldn’t be shifted by bleach, spirits, nothing.

It’s still there to this day, and it still looks like a blood stain.

In Conclusion

You could surmise on a million possibilities for what the cause of it all is. As I mentioned earlier it’s an old house, though its history is not something I’ve really looked into. It could be that over the years my mother had no end of mediums and clairvoyants through the place, requesting that these entities step forward and reveal themselves. These occult experiments, I feared, was the spiritual equivalent of putting a ROOMS TO LET sign in the front window.

Then, after I left home, I got afraid sometimes that the phenomenon would follow me.

But it didn’t. It is still in the house. And my folks are still there, too.

That living space in the corner of the kitchen appears to have shrunk. I notice as well that their favourite armchairs are moving closer and closer to the back door, as if year by year, slowly but surely, the house is evicting its last two occupants.