I was about four or 5 when we moved to Ohio from California with my dad after my parents divorced. My dad bought an old colonial home near Kent, Ohio, on Emerson street.
As I recall, I always sort of felt creeped out by that house. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, but it was strange. Sometimes you could hear sounds coming from places in the house that didn’t make sense or broken voices or pounding on my bedroom walls.
My dad said it was the house settling, and it was all in my head; you have heard it all before. Bla Bla Bla
Anyhow, after I was about 21, my father died and left the house to me in his will. Soon after, I got engaged, and my fiancé moved in with me.
I said it was a strange house, but I have no idea how to describe what happened there to this day. My now wife, Sandi, and I were newlyweds, and she was between jobs, so she was home alone a lot. She wasn’t the skittish type or anything like that either, and she liked being alone so she could work on her macrame projects. It was the late 70s then, so it wasn’t unusual for one person in the home to stay home and the other to go out and work.
One afternoon something happened that I had all but forgotten until later, but I had gotten a strange call from Sandi while I was at work.
I was typing up some reports for my boss and slowly trying to move up the corporate ladder when I got a call from my wife.
“Jerry? I need you to come home. “
“Is everything alright?” I queried.
“No, I mean, I don’t know. Just get home as fast as you can.”
Now that Sandi was a sort of non-hysterical woman and more of a realist, I figured it must be dire.
“I looked at my watch and realized it was near quitting time, so I made an excuse. I had a headache and left for the remaining part of the day.
When I got home, my wife was drinking a glass of wine, which was unusual for her to do this early in the day. I took one look at her sitting on the stairs and stopped.
“I don’t even know what to say.”
“Well, damn it, Sandi, I left work early. Tell me what the hell happened!” I was getting annoyed.
“Jerry, I need you to listen to me, and please, whatever you do, don’t make fun of me.”
This was going to be good, I told myself.
“I was in the laundry room in the basement this afternoon just hanging up some clothes to dry. Well, I walked over to the other side from where I was standing, and I don’t even know how to describe it.”
“Okay?” I looked at her, puzzled, wondering where this was going.
“I wasn’t in the basement anymore. I was like in the woods, and these people were around me. They looked so scary. One had a painted face like a Native American, and the other was bloody, and his face…Oh my god, Jerry, his face!”
She had started crying into her wine and lit a cigarette. I took a deep breath. I sat beside her on the stairs and put my hand on her shoulder.
“I think that maybe we need to get you some rest.” She agreed, and I took her into the house and put her to bed. Maybe she had just seen one too many stories in the news lately about wars and such. Too much alone time can spark the wilds of the imagination.
The next day I was working at my desk and got another phone call. It was Sandi, but she was calling my name.
“Jerry? Can you hear me? Jerry, are you there?”
“Honey, we must have a bad connection or something. I’ll be home in 30 minutes.”
I thought it was strange but thought no more of it because it was a Friday, and I was glad to be getting off early and going home to enjoy the summer weather.
Later that day, I was in the yard, and Sandi came out with a glass of Lemonade. She seemed okay and no longer worried about the incident from the day before. Whatever it was, it was now forgotten.
We talked a while about the yard and the fact she still wanted a little curb appeal. We planned to go to the garden center in town later that day. Sandi and I went into the house, and we prepared dinner.
Shortly after dinner is when things got really strange. I was in the kitchen preparing some meat for the grill when I saw Sandi go into the fridge and pull out some potatoes. As she was cutting them, she cut her finger on the knife she was using.
“Gotta be careful, hon,” I said, looking at it.
“I know. I’ll be right back going to go grab a band-aid.” With that, she went to the bathroom just off the kitchen, and when I tell you I saw her go in, I saw her walk in and shut the door. I even heard the sink running.
After about 15 minutes, I started to get worried. I went to see if Sandi was okay and knocked on the door. I opened it, and nothing but the sink was still running water, and my wife was gone.
There are no windows in the downstairs bathroom. It consists of a toilet and a sink with a little medicine cabinet that hangs below a little mirror. In other words, it isn’t anything special. Sandi didn’t even shut the door all the way. I mean it when I tell you she went in but didn’t come out. I have no idea where she went. I never saw her leave the bathroom, and I was facing the bathroom at the counter in the kitchen. At the same time, I worked on seasoning my meats and cutting up vegetables.
I turned off the sink and quickly looked around. Maybe I was going crazy or something. I looked around the house for her. I looked outside too. Both cars were still in the driveway, and I yelled to my neighbor Bob, who was outside washing his car across the street. He, too, had not seen Sandi.
When I went back in, I realized that something felt off. One thing I knew, my wife had vanished into thin air. I started to freak out a bit. How could she just disappear? It was impossible by all accounts. This stuff didn’t happen in real life.
I tried to remain as calm as possible, but an hour turned into two, and three days had passed before I knew it. I was scared to death at this point. I had reported her missing, and when the detective spoke, he looked at me like some sad sack whose wife had run off with another guy.
A few days turned into a week, then a week into a month; before I knew it, I had lost track of time. I stopped going to work and had to take medical leave because they figured what the detective had that my wife had left me, and I had a nervous breakdown.
Finally, years passed by, and Sandi never came back. I eventually moved on and met another woman by the name of Mary. Mary was really into the occult and was always reading about new age philosophies. We weren’t married, but she moved in with me after two years of dating.
I came home one afternoon from work, and I found a note from Mary that she had gone to the store. To be honest, my coming home from work and not finding Mary there gave me that odd feeling I had from when Sandi went missing. In the back of my mind, I was always afraid of what might happen to Mary if she was alone too long in that house. I had even been looking for a place to move to so I could sell this house.
Mary came home after her store trip, and we discussed my interest in buying a new place. There was just that odd feeling I had of guilt. What if Sandi came back? What if she came back and I was gone? It had been 12 years by this point, and Sandi was gone, and I knew she would never return. I loved Sandi, and I couldn’t just forget her. I reluctantly moved on, and Mary and I rented out a unit for a new-age shop, and we lived in the apartment just above it.
Now here is the strangest thing, as if the rest of this wasn’t weird enough; when Mary and I put the house up for sale, I had no takers for another 10 years. I tried switching realtors time and time again. They would bring people by to look at the house, but they were never interested. I ended up keeping the old house on Emmerson street. I used it as a storage unit basically, and we continued to live in the apartment over Mary’s shop.
It had been 22 years since the event, and Mary and I still lived together. We never got married, nor did we have any children. We lived in a happy, “take it as it is” existence.
Then one day, I got a random phone call from a young man named Jason, asking if he could rent the house with his two buddies. He was in town to attend college at Kent State, and the place was close to the main campus. I ended up going ahead and renting the house. By now, the house was paid for. Mary and I could use the rental money we received to save for a cruise we planned to be going on.
I put my things in the old house’s attic and rented the two lower levels out. Overall, they seemed like good kids, then I started getting the phone calls.
One evening not long after they moved in, Mary and I were lying in bed, just about to fall asleep, when the phone rang.
“Hello?” I answered groggily.
“Hi, this is Jason; I’m sorry to bother you, but have you or your wife been here today?”
They didn’t know Mary wasn’t my wife, but I was too tired to correct them.
“No, um, why?”
“Well, someone was banging on the door from the basement, and it was going on for a while, and I thought maybe you were down there fixing something.”
I thought perhaps this kid was on drugs.
“Why would I not tell you I was there fixing something? No, neither of us was there today. Are you sure it wasn’t just raccoons?” I felt like my dad. He always turned bizarre things into everyday things. The kid sounded as confused as I was but we let it go for the moment.
Then a few nights later, I got another frantic call from Jason.
“Hello, Jason? How can I help you?”
“Sir, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think you should know your wife has been calling us at weird times during the day and night on the phone. She always asks for you, and I always tell her you don’t live there. I just wanted you to know because I think she may need a doctor or something.”
I hung up the phone and told Mary. She was as confused as me, but there was only one thought I had in the back of my mind. I tried not to think of Sandi; what if she was calling me? Yet, from where and how?
My 20- year old nightmare ended a few days later. I was at work, and I got another call from Jason. He was frantic, saying the house was haunted and that he kept hearing weird knocks on the walls and always from the downstairs bathroom. He insisted on me coming over, so I left work and went to my old house to help my tenant.
To say I was annoyed was an understatement. I walked up the front porch of the house and knocked. He came to the door, immediately opening it and frantically telling me about the odd goings-on he had been experiencing. He was talking so fast that I asked him to slow down.
I gathered that he often heard a woman’s voice yelling and other people pounding on the walls.
I sat down and put my head in my hand. I had often heard the knocking when I was a little boy. It was the same thing that happened to me as a kid. I would often hear pounding and discombobulated voices. I could never make out what they were saying, but it always sounded like someone in distress.
I heard the same pounding, and Jason and I looked at each other in horror.
As Jason had explained to me on the phone, no one was at the house. My first thought was, who was making all the pounding? My fear was maybe an intruder, but that was soon a fear I tossed aside as I began to shake with tremors I had never experienced before.
The bathroom door began to shake, and the handle twisted hard and fast like something unseen was on the other side of the door. I saw a strange glow of light from under the door then slowly, the handle began to turn.
The door opened slowly, and there stood Sandi. She was unchanged by time and space. Her hair was up as it had been the day she walked into the bathroom to mend her bloodied finger. She had a band-aid on her finger and smiled till she saw me.
She stopped in her tracks and looked around the room. I could see the confusion on her face, and it had to mirror my own. Sandi was unchanged as the day she entered the bathroom. It was like she was frozen in time.
“Sandi, where were you?” I asked, stepping forward, dying to touch her once more as I stood in awe.
“What is going on, Jerry? You look so tired. Is dinner almost made? I’m starving! Who is this young man? Is he staying for dinner?”
Twenty-two years, and Sandi didn’t skip a beat. I knew I looked different, and so much had changed.
“Sandi, I think we need to talk,” I said, sitting her in front of me at the kitchen table. I held her hand and told her the story of her missing.
I wish everything went back to normal, but it didn’t. Mary and broke up after, and I moved into my own apartment. Sandi moved in with a relative and tried to piece those missing years back together. To say we were all living in a sort of shock was an understatement.
I have tried to come to terms with this entire event. Sandi recalls the only thing as she went into the bathroom and came out, and everything was different. She only remembered talking to me when she said she recalled calling me on the phone at work before my coming home the day we had planned to have a barbecue. I wondered if those phone calls Jason kept receiving were somehow Sandi calling me from the past like a time loop.
I had no idea it was like she was in another space or time in that old house on Emerson street. I have one thought that still creeps me out. All those years as a kid, I would hear banging on the bedroom walls and voices. Who or what was still inside that house trying to escape?