The door slammed shut as a cold breeze brushed up against my arm. A moment later, as the sound of light footsteps seemingly inched their way towards me, I heard something unseen whisper into my ear—”Here I am.” In hindsight I shouldn’t have gone looking for trouble; I shouldn’t have dared the unknown to prove its existence. I stood in my friend’s living room, shaken but yet intrigued, still a skeptic but standing on the precipice of belief.
My friend Sarah had always talked about the ghost in her apartment.
“There is something in this place,” she would say as we played Phase 10, “Weird shit happens here, ask Matt!”
Matt was her boyfriend—slim build, athletic, and a Word of Warcraft pro. He would often walk that thin line between agreeing with her and not wanting to be considered weird by the boys.
“Yeah, weird stuff does happen here and there but for the most part some of it can be explained away,” he would say.
At this point Sarah would proceed to give us a quick summary of her latest encounter—stories full of circumstantial evidence and mere coincidence. However, there was one story she told that sparked my interest and lead to the dare that would leave me alone in that apartment a couple of nights later.
“Matt had to work late a couple of nights ago,” she said. “I took a nap earlier on in the evening, woke up around 9:00pm and decided to watch some shows on Netflix from my laptop while still laying in bed. The lights were off. I watched two documentaries—you need to watch Blackfish by the way—amazing documentary.
“Anyway, by the time I got sleepy again it was around midnight. I got up to use the bathroom and as I turned on the bathroom light, I saw what seemed to be a human-like shadow disappear into our blue shower curtain. At first I dismissed it as just my eyes adjusting to the light after watching Netflix shows in the dark. But as I was trying to play it off logically, I noticed the shower curtains move as if something had brushed against them and walked past me. I took a step back and as I tried to make sense of it all I heard something crash onto the floor behind me. I turned around to see what had happened and it was my laptop, shattered to pieces in the other room. Something had flung it against the wall.
“Without even giving me a moment to fully digest what had happened, something shoved me back into the bathroom and slammed the door shut. I heard things being tossed around the room. I tried to open the door—pulled and tugged—but even as it opened ever so slightly I could feel something pulling at it from the other side. As the door kept on cracking open and slamming shut again; as I involuntarily played tug of war with this thing, I swear I saw the face of an old lady staring back at me on the other side through the reflection in the mirror. The moment we locked eyes, the door just flung open— but there was nothing there except a messy room. I dashed into the living room, across the hallway, out the front door.”
She ran out the front door of her second floor apartment, down the stairs, and into the parking lot. She said her initial impulse was to run towards her car but as she got closer she realized she had left her keys in her room. She stopped, looked back at her apartment—checking to see if she was being followed while contemplating going back for her keys.
Still wondering what she should do next, she stared up at her second floor window and saw a human-shaped silhouette looking down at her. Her boyfriend Matt would be home within 30 minutes so she decided to just sit in the parking lot and wait. She never took her eyes off the shadowy figure—she was too afraid to look away, afraid that if she turned her head for a second, it would be standing right next to her when she turned back. Her plan was simple, “As long as I could see it and it wasn’t moving, then I wouldn’t move, but the moment it moved an inch, I was going to just run to the gas station a couple of blocks down and wait!”
Matt showed up about fifteen minutes later and was surprised to see her outside. She told him what happened. He looked up at the window and said he saw nothing—at first—but suddenly, as he opened his mouth to say, “I don’t see anything”, the shadow moved. Matt ran across the parking lot, up the stairs and into the apartment hoping to see what was there. He was greeted by a cold chill and a sickening smell as he stumbled into the living room. But there was nothing.
The next day Matt and Sarah told me the story, and being the skeptical person I am, didn’t believe.
Frustrated and annoyed by my stubbornness, Sarah said, “Fuck it, I dare you to spend two nights in there!”
And I replied, “Why two nights?!”
Her reason was that two nights would increase the probability of me experiencing something. I agreed. We made a plan to switch apartments. I would sleep at their place the following weekend and they would sleep at mine.
The weekend came and there I was, alone. The first night was quiet. Apart from a little bump here and there, nothing that seemed supernatural or out of the ordinary happened.
The next night was a different story. Feeling bored, I had decided to try something new. I would call it out. If there was something there I would taunt it. Call it names. Agitate it, and as a result, perhaps coax it out.
I walked into the living room, and said, “If you’re here, do something. Then again you might be afraid of me since you only pick on girls!”
As soon as I got the last word out, and as if on cue, I felt a shove on my right side. It wasn’t a small nudge, but a push so forceful it made me stumble sideways. As I quickly regained my balance I caught a whiff of a musty, moldy smell that was not present moments before. It was a stench that was accompanied by some breathing. It wasn’t loud, but it was still audible. My first instinct was to run but my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to stick around a bit longer. Stupid perhaps, but logical nonetheless.
I proceeded to taunt it once again. “It’s easy to push someone when they can’t see you,” I teased, “How about you use words next time like grownups do!”
The room went silent. The breathing seemed to move a little further from me to the point where I couldn’t hear it anymore. I could still smell the strong stench so I guess whatever it was I was dealing with had moved away from me but was still in the same room waiting, watching. The next moment made me realize I had misjudged its location in the room, and moreover, bitten off more than I could chew.
You see, I thought it had moved to the other side of the room when in fact, it was right behind me. I suddenly felt it breathing into my ear and down the back of my neck almost as if it was about to whisper something.
“Here I am!” it said in raspy, deep, smoker-like voice.
I ran through the narrow passageway headed for the door. I heard it run behind me as its feet seemed to drag across the wooden floor. I got to the door and in my panic struggled to open it. I felt it beside me. Felt fingers with seemingly unclipped nails poke and probe the side of my face. I finally got out, left the door ajar and headed for the stairs. I looked back, saw nothing, but heard the door slam and lock behind me. I ran into the parking lot, looked back up at the window and just like Matt and Sarah, saw a shadow looking down at me—an unmistakable human shaped silhouette whose outline was clearly contoured by the lights I had left turned on in my haste to leave.
The odd thing about this whole experience was that only Sarah and I had had physical confrontations with this entity. Apart from the shadow Matt saw and the smell he experienced, he had never had any encounters. In fact, Matt was the only person this thing had actually run from. It makes you wonder why it avoided him.
Now I can’t tell you whether this story I just shared is true or false. What I will say is that I have friends who’ve had amazing and spine tingling experiences. Friends who’ve played with Ouija boards and have claimed to have interacted with spirits on numerous occasions. One or two acquaintances have actually made me listen to recordings of spirits—audio files that are now in my possession and ones I hope to share with those who have guts to listen. Anyone that knows me has often been amused by my fascination with the supernatural. Those who don’t know me well might think it’s because I’m a believer, while those who know me better understand that it’s a curiosity born out of skepticism. I’m not trying to say that ghosts don’t exist. Just simply saying that to me, majority of what people claim to see is either their mind playing tricks on them or something that can be explained by science or logic. However, there are those instances and moments where science, logic, and mental lapses can’t explaining an event or encounter.