I lived in a haunted house. Before you write this off as a story from some superstitious idiot, let me say a few things.

Not the house itself but the general place

First, I did not believe in ghosts of any kind before this experience. Second, I am quite well-educated. I am also a very skeptical person by nature. When people tell me that they’ve also lived in a house that was haunted, I look them in the eye and tell them they haven’t. They’ve lived in a house where the floor boards creak, where mice are in the walls, where old pipes knock in cold weather, where the foundations settle during the evening cool, or where the electrical system was installed during the days of Edison. I’ve lived in places like that too. I flat out tell people they’re wrong because close to 100% of the time, people who claim to have seen these things have witnessed something far easier to explain. My case, however, involves a series of events that were far less explicable, especially when taken together. I lived in more than 20 different houses before the one I’m going to describe here, often by myself, and have lived in more than a dozen since. I’ve never so much as momentarily suspected any other house of the same situation.

It began on the second day that I moved. At that point, I had housemates who were going to move out in several weeks. On my first morning there, a Sunday, I set my alarm for 7:46am. The next day I would begin taking summer classes at Michigan Tech and I had an 8am lecture to attend, which I wasn’t enthusiastic about. I decided to practice getting up early the day before to prepare for it. I did and that was that. The next morning, my second in the house, I was sleeping very peacefully when somebody began knocking on my door, very loudly.

“Who is it?” I called.

The knocking continued.

“Who’s there?” I shouted.

Still more knocking on the door.

“Goddamn it, what do you want?” I angrily shouted as I hopped out of bed and threw open the door. I opened it mid-knock and was startled to find no one was there. The house was silent, my other housemates asleep. I struggled to understand how someone could have banged on my door and disappeared mid-knock just as I opened it. My door was next to another housemate’s room. I banged on his door and threw it open.

“Hey,” I said, “were you knocking on my door?”

The kid barely opened his bloodshot eyes. “Wha-, huh… why the fuck are you in my room, get out of here man!”

He threw a pillow at me and went immediately back to snoring. I closed his door and returned to my room, scratching my head. At that very moment, my alarm clock sounded. It was exactly 7:46am. Whoever had knocked on my door had awoken me exactly when I needed to get up for class. I thought that was kind of odd and then went to my physics class.

It’s a funny thing, though… that knocking continued, once or twice a week in the mornings for the three months I lived there. It occurred when I was the only person in the house, which is a little strange. This wasn’t some distant far-off knocking sound or a tapping in the walls, it was the unmistakable sound of someone banging on the other side of your door. The funny thing, though, is that it always happened in the morning, waking me up. I’m very groggy when I first wake up and every time it happened, I didn’t realize what was going on until I was fully up. I’ve got one humorous example from my stay there, at a point where I was the only person living in that house.

A friend of mine was over a few days earlier. He was an energetic, over-caffeinated guy… the kind of person who seems to constantly be buzzing with energy. He was on my couch.

“Hey man!” he suddenly said, “I’m going to come over sometime and make you waffles!”

“No,” I said, “I don’t want your waffles, I don’t eat breakfast and I don’t get up early on the weekends.”

“You’ll love my waffles, man!” he said. “I’ll make ’em for you some weekend.”

That Saturday, I was sleeping peacefully when someone started banging on my door in the morning. I looked at the clock. It was 6:30am. That overcaffeinated freak and shown up, I figured.

“Go away man,” I shouted. “I don’t want your waffles.”

I fell back to sleep. Soon a knocking on my door woke me up again. I looked at the clock. 7am.

“Knock it off, man, I don’t want breakfast!”

Back to sleep and then knocking again. The clock reads 7:30am.

“Get out of here, man, I don’t want your goddamned waffles!”

This continues every 30 minutes until 10am.

“Damnit, man, I will come out there and kick your ass!” I finally shout. Suddenly, my brain begins to function properly for the first time that morning. Who on Earth spends 4 hours knocking on your door, trying to serve you breakfast? I sprang out of bed and threw open the door. The house was empty. I was alone, the front door to the house was locked. I went to the kitchen and made myself breakfast.

These knocking events occurred on 15 or 16 mornings, though the one I just related was by far the most ridiculous. The knocking usually occurred just before my alarm was set to go off. I got the feeling that whoever or whatever was knocking on my door might be trying to get me up for class. I started to get the feeling that there might be somewhat of a maternal, grandmotherly presence in the house. I went to my school library and looked through the records for the incredibly old homes in my area. I searched the records and found that an elderly couple had, indeed, died in my home during the 1960’s. There didn’t seem to be anything insidious about it, though- there was no mention of a gruesome murder or anything else that would be newsworthy. Just some old people lived there and then they died. There must be millions of unhaunted homes like that.

Knocking was not the only thing that went on there, however. Spices from the back of the pantry would slide out and crash to the floor without a reason, but strangely only when I was cooking there, scaring me to death every time it happened, which was only a couple of times happily. They didn’t slide an inch or two, they slid a foot or two, which was a little odd since the shelf was level and covered with a textured paper.

One night I had to go to the bathroom as I slept. The house was old enough to have been built before the advent of indoor plumbing. There was no toilet in the upstairs bathroom. I had to walk downstairs, through the living room and kitchen and out the side to where an old Finnish sauna had been converted to a small room with a toilet. I stumbled downstairs and passed through the living room. I entered the kitchen and flipped on a light. In the center of the kitchen stood a large table and on that table, a metal baking tray. As I walked by, the baking tray slid from one side of the table to the other. It slid noisily and at an unnervingly constant slow speed. It did not suddenly accelerate and then decelerate. It moved at about 3 inches per second, sliding across the table for three seconds, and then stopped. I froze in my tracks and stared at the tray and the table. It had never done that before, and since this was the only way to get to the only toilet in the house, I’d passed that table and tray many times without that happening.

Surely, I figured, these old floors caused the table to shift and the tray to move. I retraced my steps backward, expecting the tray to slide back. It did not. I walked back and forth several more times, it still did not move. I jumped up and down, rattling the entire house. Nothing. I grabbed the table, which I was certain must wobble, and tried to shake it violently. The table did not wobble and, despite all my shaking, the tray did not budge- not even a fraction of an inch. My experiments concluded, I returned to my room and decided I could wait until morning to use the bathroom.

A very annoying thing kept happening as I slept. We were having some very hot nights and the house had no air conditioning. The problem was that every night, I would kick my heavier blankets to the bottom of my bed and I would wake up a couple of hours later, in the dark, covered by those blankets and sweating profusely. This would happen four or five times every night during that hot weather. Each time, during the night, I would kick the blanket further and further down, to the edge of the bed, and each time I would wake up later in a pool of my own sweat and tucked in. I was getting really pissed off at myself because it was very clear to me what was happening. Obviously, in my sleep, I must have been feeling a little cool and as I tossed and turned, managed to pull the blankets up. Maybe I was even, as I slept, pulling them up with my feet and unconsciously reaching down with my hand to pull them back up. It was annoying, I hated waking up soaked and cooking alive.

One night I decided I’d had enough. I got up and pulled my blankets off of my bed. I threw them into a corner of the room and fell asleep, blissfully cool and having finally come up with a solution to my problem. Two hours later, I awoke, soaked with sweat and tucked into my blankets which were on the bed. I glanced around the dark room as I stewed in my own sweat and then figured someone must want me to be tucked in for the night. I decided to just live with it.

The scariest event of my life came to pass near the end of my stay in that house- I was only staying there through the summer and living elsewhere during the regular school year. I was up very late, around 2am and was watching the Travel Channel. This was 15 years ago when they used to show travel programs. I was also the only person in the house that night. Anyway, I started wondering why I was still up and grabbed the remote to turn the tv off. In the background of the program, I could hear people talking quietly off-camera, which was strange. The program went to commercial and I could still hear the voices. I muted it and could still hear them, turned off the tv and could still hear them. That was kind of odd, I figured, the voice must be coming from outside, but this is normally a very quiet neighborhood. I looked outside to the street beside my window, but no one was out there. I put my ear to the window and listened, but the voices actually sounded quieter when I did that. I opened the window and put my ear to the screen. Now I could hear nothing. I closed the window and could again hear the voices. Opened the window and again they were silent. I close the window and listened to them again. It was very strange, but I could turn my head this way and that and could tell from how loud the voices sounded in either ear that the sounds were coming from the neighboring room, which adjoined the kitchen.

That room was completely empty and the light was on. There was nothing there, not even furniture. Except voices. I got up from the couch and walked cautiously to the entryway for that room. I stood there looking around at the empty space. No one was there, but the voices were quite a bit louder now. I could also hear two distinct voices, one seemingly male and the other higher, probably female. It sounded like heated whispering back and forth, like a couple arguing quietly in a separate room so that the guests don’t hear. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I listened for over a minute as this whispering went back and forth. I began to get seriously creeped out and left to go up the stairs to my bedroom. As I walked up the stairs, I could feel myself being watched intensely- I’ve never felt such an intense feeling as that in my life. I dared not look back at the room beside me and hastened upstairs.

Once in my room, I calmed myself. Whatever was going on down there could go on down there, I was up here now. I grabbed my toothbrush and walked past the top of the stairs to the half-bath near my room. I brushed my teeth and tried to put everything that’d happened out of my head. I walked back to my room. As I passed the top of the stairway, I heard a very distinctive creak.

These stairs are incredibly old and had a bit of character. They were bare wood and ancient. Each one creaked and groaned very distinctively such that I could close my eyes and know which step someone was on based on the sound that particular stair made. The creak I’d heard came from the stair sixth from the top. I froze and looked at the step that the sound had come from.


The fifth step’s high pitched creak.


Fourth step from the top


Third step from the top.

I was terrified, standing frozen at the top of those stairs. Something unseen was approaching- if it was actually there, it would be close enough to touch. I stared in horror at the stair I knew would come next.


The second step from the top flexed downward under an unseen weight. I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. The. Wood. Flexed. I sprinted for my room, slammed the door and threw myself face first onto my bed. I’ve never believed that a ghost or spirit, if they even did exist, could harm a person. I was pretty sure all I could do is scare myself to death so I resolved not to open my eyes again until morning, regardless of what happened. Nothing further happened and I turned all of the house lights off at 8am.

The next few days were uneventful and then I moved out. I’ve been in lots of scary situations. I’ve been on an island of rock surrounded by lava, I’ve been trapped in a tiny cabin alone as a wild bear entered with me, I’ve dangled from a cliff by my fingertips without a rope, I’ve been told I had six months to live by a quack St. Joseph’s doctor and I’ve turned around to find a wild mountain lion watching me from two feet away. A lot of scary stuff. And you know what? The scariest was that weird, probably harmless shit I saw go down in that f*cking house. That was 13 years ago. I lived in a lot of places before and a lot of place since. Never have I encountered anything like that since nor do I expect to ever again.


To the inevitable doubters, no I have not made this story up. I hate when people accuse me of lying. And to those who will try to explain to me why ghosts can’t possibly exist, no I don’t have an explanation. What I saw doesn’t fit into any belief system I’ve ever held and it doesn’t change the fact that some really weird stuff happened. No, I am not insane and no, I’m not a dumbass- IQ above the 98th percentile and graduate degrees. I’m just a guy who saw some really weird and freaky stuff.



Craig McClarren

Geologist, a lover of all science, father of a young child, published writer on Forbes and Mental Floss