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In the Valley of Shadows

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In the Valley of Shadows

The Haunted Apartment

This year’s final account took place where this author lives. Well, right next door, anyway, to my upstairs, four-plex apartment.

I and my immediate downstairs neighbor have been here for many years. The other side of the building, closer to the street, has seen a progression of tenants over the years. The last tenant before the current occupant moved on was a single woman about my age who, unfortunately, did not take her health very seriously. In mid-January of this year, ‘09, her heart stopped and she apparently died in her sleep. It was two days before she was discovered by a sister.

I had seen a couple of days’ worth of Daily Bees at the door, but thought nothing of that, nor of the fact her car was still under the carport as she had often gone off with one of her sisters for several days.

Within the first week after the new tenant and her teenage son moved in, things began happening. The two of them, along with a niece and nephew, were arranging furniture and unpacking. The woman began cleaning her curio cabinet with a common glass cleaner. Immediately upon the first spray coming into contact with the glass in one small pane, it blew violently outward all over the carpet.

The next incident involved the new tenant’s TV. She set her VCR to tape soap operas while she was at work, so as to watch them later. She came home one day and, sitting down to watch, saw instead of “The Guiding Light,” a recording first of the satellite program guide, then a sudden switch to a crafts channel which had been recorded for more than an hour.

Thinking her son had skipped school, she questioned him and he promptly denied it. He pointed out that he had a TV in his room and, in any event, wouldn’t watch the craft channel to save his life. A call to the school confirmed her son had been at school all day.

Not long afterward, one Sunday, my new neighbor—a huge race car fan—left the TV tuned to a station showing a NASCAR race while she and her son made a quick snack run to the store. Upon returning, the set was once more on the crafts channel.

The previous tenant was an avid crafts maker and buyer, and had filled the apartment with many eclectic pieces.

On a number of occasions while alone in the living room watching TV, the front door, which was closed and locked, would slowly begin opening as if someone was entering, then gradually shut, freaking the woman out.

One other bizarre thing: the “shadow” of the former tenant’s bed headboard seems to have been imprinted on the wall. All the washing in the world won’t remove it, and the new occupant finally painted it over.

A twin, my new neighbor’s sister was so unsettled after being told of these things, she won’t even come inside.

Since late summer of this year, the odd occurrences seem to have abated and relative peace has reigned for the now solo tenant, her son having moved in June to Oregon to live with his father. Could it be that the previous occupant did not care to have a male living in her home, but is now content that there is once again a single lady living where she had for more than four years?

This account and others I have both written about and plan for future columns could be attributed to the actual ghost or spirit of a person. Those who die violent or unusual guests may have unfinished business. Another theory, however, is that after death, whether or not it is of an unusual or unnatural nature, more of a psychic impression is left at the site of the death. Not a conscious entity, but a replay of the motions that the deceased went through in life, such as watching a certain type of television program, or reacting against something that was outside the habits or experience of the person while they were still alive. A recording on the fabric of reality as we perceive it. We see and hear only a narrow portion of the visible light and audio spectrum. There may be a plane we cannot see nor measure with instruments that allows for such things.

The explanation or explanations for a haunting or poltergeist phenomenon may be more varied and complicated than we can imagine. There are many possibilities in this universe... and here, in the Valley of Shadows.

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

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