Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 14:43:19 -0700 (PDT)
The story I’m about to tell is something that recently happened to myself and my roomate. About a month and a half ago my friend Margo (now my roomate) had a fire at her apartment. Her apartment building was built around the turn of the century and is situated on the third floor over a barber shop and a wig shop. The halls aren’t very well lit and the landlord at some point painted all the walls a butterscotch brown. For the color of the walls, we can only reason that there must have been a sale somewhere on this paint. I had only been to her apartment after the fire to help her clean up anything that was salvagable. The fire started mysteriously enough in the kitchen near the hot water heater. She noticed smoke and immediately ran around the building to notify the other tenants of the fire. She was dubbed a hero by our local paper. Not realizing how quickly the fire would spread she took her two cats and stuck them into a closet but when she returned the fire w! ! as too out of control to get back in.
Despite firefighters efforts both cats died during the blaze. It was a devastating loss to her. She moved in with me not long after and we started making trips over to the burnt out apartment to start the clean up process. I never liked the stairway leading up to her floor. Her apartment was the only one on that floor and the stairs just gave me the creeps. I was suppose to meet her over there one Saturday afternoon and got tied up doing some other things. When I finally got over there later on in the afternoon she had already left. It was deathly still and quiet. You could have heard a pin drop despite the fact that several other families inhabited the building. I thought I heard a noise like a door slam on one of the floors below me. I leaned over the balcony to listen and didn’t hear any sounds at all. I got kind of spooked and decided to leave. My legs felt like jelly as I descended the staircase. Once Margo got home I told her about the feeling on the stairc! ! ase. She said she had felt it too on numerous occasions. We never felt anything threatening; just a strange feeling. This past Saturday we got up early to make one of the last of many trips to the old apartment. Around 10am her friend Kathleen came up to join us in the help of labeling boxes and cleaning soot off of different things. Kathleen lived downstairs from Margo and they had been friends for many years. We were out working in the hallway when I kept feeling like maybe I was coming down with something. I would bend down to do something and lose my balance. Then there were these cold spots. I thought I was getting a fever but then it would pass. My stomach started to feel a little queezy. It was getting toward noon time and we decided to break for lunch. I associated how I was feeling with the fact that I had had two cups of coffee on an empty stomach. Once I had some fresh air and some food in my stomach I started to feel better. The three of us continued back to finish the work we stil! ! l had left at the apartment.
Once I reached that third staircase the feeling came back over me like a wave. I started to feel disoriented and dizzy. I tried to put it aside and went along my business of packing things up in the back room with Kathleen. Margo was doing something in the kitchen when I heard her call for me. I went into the burnt out kitchen. That is where the fire started and the room is completely black with soot. The large windows are now boarded up and the old stove is turned over. As I walked into the room I could feel the goose bumps rising on my arms and all the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Chills ran down my body and I felt another wave of dizziness and nausea come over me. She asked me if I could feel it. I started backing out of the room and then I broke out into tears. It was like standing in the presence of someone very big and very pissed off. I didn’t see anything but it was like the air in the room was alive (or dead). I told her I couldn’t stay there. ! ! Kathleen was still working in the back room and didn’t hear what was going on. Margo and I raced down the stairs into the parking lot behind the building. As soon as I stepped outside I lost my lunch. She was coughing and gagging. She said loudly, “what the hell was the hat?” I said I didn’t know but it didn’t seem to be too happy. She had lived there for 10 years and never had experienced anything like that. In all my 30 years I don’t think I have ever felt something so strongly negative! The last time I sensed a presence like that was in a restaurant ladies room at an old building in San Jose, California about a year ago. Then the time before that was when I was about 14 but that’s another story for another day. I was worried about Kathleen who was still alone and unaware of what had just happened. Margo didn’t want to scare her where she still lived in the building. She also said that she didn’t think Kathleen was intune with that kind of stuff. I sat down on the pavement and caught my brea! ! th. Margo lit a ciggarette. We were both shaking and felt very strange. It took a long time to feel normal. It was like this negative presence had permeated our very being and it slowly faded after awhile. We decided to go back in, grab a few boxes we were taking with us, and get out of there. I took a deep breath and then I blessed myself before entering the apartment. We got to the top of the staircase and I knew ‘it’ was still there. I said out loud that whatever it was was still there. Margo said she could still feel it. I walked into what use to be her bedroom and avoided looking into the kitchen at all costs. I grabbed some boxes and headed down the stairs. She said she would meet me downstairs. Kathleen still had no clue to what was going on. I tried to get myself down the dimly lit staircase all the while fighting the feeling that I was going to be pushed from behind. A few minutes later a very nervous Margo and an unaware Kathleen came down the stairs w! ! ith stuff to load into the car. The three of us went back to my house and we didn’t bring it up again until the next day.
On Sunday morning Margo and I sat at my kitchen table drinking our coffee and discussing what had happened the day before. I asked her when she noticed that something was odd. She said she had been in the kitchen tying up a trash bag when she just got a wierd feeling that she was being watched. She said there was a shadow against the boarded up window. She said it was very large and dark. She thought maybe it was her own shadow until she moved and the shadow didn’t. That’s when she called me into the room. After I had left the building she told the she was tossing empty boxes over the balcony right outside her apartment door when she felt someone shove her as she leaned over the railing. She got the rest of her things, locked up, and got the hell out. Right after that we both came down with what I can only describe as the flu. Complete with fever and other flu-like symptoms. It has since faded. My roomate is over at the apartment as I type this. Luckily her Dad ! ! is with her and she brought over a couple of religious items for protection, including holy water.
On Monday morning I awoke from a restless night of sleep. I was dreaming about her apartment. I was up above and looking down at her as she was throwing boxes over the side of the balcony. It was very vivid although not very scary. Then I was helping a very old lady down the stairs. It was all strange. Margo got up not long after and she said she had a terrible nights sleep. She had also been dreaming about the apartment but wouldn’t elaborate on what she dreamt. What or why it happened, we don’t know. The town she lived in is very rich in history and from what I’ve heard the Historical Society has taken very good records of the town over the years. We are thinking of doing research on the building and I’ll post anything we find. One thing we did find strange was that Kathleen’s grandmother has lived in the apartment building for 50 years and when asked about the past of the building she refuses to talk about it. Anyway, that’s my story. Strange but true.
What I want to know is if any other readers have experienced this feeling of being sick or being disoriented after a run in with the paranormal. When I started crying after leaving the kitchen I felt extremely sad and I had been in a pretty good mood all morning. Any ideas?