This story a part of the True Ghost Stories Archive at ghosts.org. Please do not copy or distribute without permission.
Subject: the Black Dahlia, our apartment, and us (VERY LONG)
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 08:17:30 GMT
Well, here’s a ghost story, experienced by me:
A few years ago, I left grad school in New Mexico and returned to Oklahoma. I stayed with my mom for a while, then Mom said she was tired of the three bedroom house she’d rented for about ten years, so I roused myself from my funk and found a furnished apartment in a somewhat seedy part of town. It was cheap, and I had next to nothing, having moved back to Tulsa with all my possessions crammed into my car, so I moved in. I was at the time part of a Wiccan coven, and two of my fellow coveners lived downstairs, so that was part of the reason I chose that building, besides it being cheap and the landlord being pretty decent.
I didn’t really feel too unsafe there at first despite the fact that the apartments across the street were home to a nest of drug dealers, but as they kept a low profile I figured as long as I left them alone… anyway, a month or so after I moved in, an old friend from college called, needing a place to stay, since he’d just gotten a job in town. Well, in a couple of months he and I were an item… bear with me, this does have some bearing on the story!
During this time I became aware of a vague feeling of discomfort when I was alone in the apartment. I had a rather large ficus tree in the living room, and every so often when I would pass by it on the way to the bedroom, I saw movement, sometimes glimpses of a hand and a face out of the corner of my eye. Kris (my boyfriend) said that the place made him uncomfortable also, so it was just as well that we weren’t spending a moment apart anyway, since being alone at night there was kind of unnerving.
Kris was at the time very interested in the Black Dahlia murder case. (She was a drifter named Elizabeth Short whose mutilated and sawed-in-half body was found in a vacant lot in 1947 in LA. To this day, no one knows for sure who killed her.) One night we were lying in bed, with a few candles burning in the room, talking about this and that, with the stereo on and the door to the bedroom open. Suddenly we were both quiet. Both of us felt someone or something enter the room and stand just inside the doorway. I sat up in bed and was overcome by a feeling of awful grief. I began to cry. As we looked, there was a shadowy form against the off-white wall of the bedroom. I could see something like a hand moving. Kris suddenly grabbed my arm. Both of us noticed, with a shock of horror, that some of the clothing lying on the floor was positioned in the shape of a body, with a line between the different-colored clothes just where it would be if that body had been sawed in half — closely resembling the pictures we’d seen of Elizabeth Short’s body as it was found in 1947. We were, pardon my French, scared shitless, and immediately threw ourselves into bed with the covers over our heads, after first destroying the “image” by shoving the clothes into a random pile.
Later, we discovered a penny, dated 1962, in the entry to the bedroom. At the time, Kris was reading a book entitled Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer written by a woman who claims that her father killed Short. According to the book, this man died in a car accident — in Claremore, Oklahoma, about 30 miles from Tulsa — in 1962. Kris had cleaned the apartment that day, and picked up all the loose pennies lying around on the carpet (we tended to drop pennies here and there and miss them in the dark color of the rug) and he swore to me that there was no penny there before. We still have it.
I don’t know if the presence we felt there was the ghost of the Black Dahlia, but I will never forget that night. We began to wonder if there wasn’t some other entity attached to the place, one that we might have believed was Elizabeth Short. We went to the library and searched for information about the building; all we found was that the apartment had been built sometime in the ’70s. Lots of things could have happened in that time.
There were other times when we would be talking or sleeping, and would awaken or stop talking to notice that we were definitely not alone. Not to toot my own horn, but I am sort of sensitive to those kinds of things, and Kris is too, and there were several occasions when we knew that someone/thing was in the room with us. Sometimes it felt harmless and vaguely interested in us; sometimes it definitely sent chills up the spine. I have had some training in utilizing my own “psychic abilities”, for what it’s worth, as part of my coven training, and through my own studies. The most important thing I ever learned and put to use was to trust my own gut feeling. After thinking about all this for a while, my gut feeling told me someone, or something, was there that night we found the penny, and was probably in the apartment at various times, but I still don’t know what to make of it.
I do know that both Kris and I, and several of our friends, all saw things moving out of the corners of our eyes while in the apartment, and some of us have seen faint images of faces and hands on the edges of one’s field of vision. There was also a mirror over the dresser in the bedroom, a mirror shaped like a door with a lintel, and it made many of my friends nervous — and me too. I always felt as though someone was staring at me through the mirror, and tried my best to cleanse, seal, or otherwise de-contaminate it through various means, but the feeling never went away.
A friend of ours stayed in the living room for a few months while searching for an apartment, and he told me years later that he saw things moving in the darkness. He is not an overimaginative sort, and he’s an atheist to boot and doesn’t tend to look for that sort of thing, so I figure he did see something.
Several attempts were made to “cleanse” or “exorcise” the apartment by myself, the high priestess of my coven, and a few other people, but the feeling still remained till we moved. Kris and I moved out of there in 1996, to an apartment in a better part of town that is at least as old as the other, but which has never had the same creepy feelings, strange presences, or sights that the old one did. My covener friends have also since moved out, but even though they lived in the same building, they never felt uncomfortable or had any unwanted phenomena happen in their place.
One last thing: when we moved out, we cleaned the apartment without power, since the electricity had been switched to the other apartment. Kris says that when he walked by the open bathroom door on his way to get more paper towels, he saw, for a moment, what appeared to be bloodstains on the shower!
I still don’t know for sure what all that was about, but I am fairly certain that the apartment was the scene of something unpleasant, perhaps a suicide or even a murder. One thing’s for sure, I’d never rent the place again. Since moving out of that place, we haven’t had anything comparable happen in our new apartment, so I think the place is definitely haunted. By what, I have no idea.