The events I’ve written about in this serial took place over the course of about two years, from summer of 2007 to spring of 2009. As I said in my last post, I don’t have a Hollywood ending for this story. I’ll tell you what other people have said, what we think, and where we are now, and you can decide.
FM Paranormal came to the conclusion that my house has residual hauntings, which is like a playback of a previous event, a release of stored energy, and also intelligent spirit hauntings.
A nationally known psychic medium from Minneapolis told me the encounters might have been centered around the hallway and bathroom area because it’s a vortex. That’s where the elements come together. Earth, air, water, you know.
A caller to my radio show in 2008 said the black shapes my son saw in the house are shadow people. Author Heidi Hollis wrote a book on the subject of shadow people, described as “dark silhouettes with human shapes and profiles that flicker in and out of peripheral vision.” Some of the people she interviewed for her book reported the figures had attempted to “jump on their chest and choke them.” Exactly what shadow people are is open to debate, just like everything else in this supernatural arena. Some say ghosts, some say inter-dimensional travelers, and still others insist shadow people are demonic or otherwise evil entities.
Shadow people have also been associated with sleep disorders like night terrors and particularly night paralysis, cases in which a sleeping person’s brain awakes and yet their muscles remain in a paralyzed sleep state. Victims of sleep paralysis sometimes report shadow people approaching them in the darkness. The relationship to sleep disorders intrigued me since I had suffered from sleep disorders in my childhood. Perhaps my boy had inherited some of it.
I don’t know what more to say about these theories, except to say that I’m glad I don’t have to think about it too much anymore, because things are much better today than they were in 2009. In the two years that these things were happening, my wife and I were at all-time lows, personally and professionally, and we had a whole series of serious personal challenges, one after another; some unlucky and some just self-destructive. It almost destroyed our family, physically and economically. For reasons I’m still not clear about, our activity almost entirely disappeared for about a year around this time. Since that time, as we’ve continued to find our way back, the activity has been mercifully tame.
With the clarity that comes from years spent wondering and replaying events in my head, this is what I think.
The gray shape that looked over my shoulder while I was examining the abstract for my house has become a familiar sight to me over the years (to my wife too, but I won’t speak for her) and I’ve dubbed her the “Gray Lady.” In truth, she is a featureless humanoid shape, and I can’t tell you a lot about her, except that she’s always ready to startle you when you pass a doorway. I’ll have an armload of laundry, walk by the bedroom door, and she’ll be standing in there, just in the perfect spot for me to catch a glimpse of her as I walk by. She also likes to peek around stuff — the shower curtain or a doorjamb, for example, which is particularly creepy. I don’t know why I think it’s female, it’s just the impression I get. I still see her on a fairly regular basis and occasionally I hear her walking around on the floor, making the floorboards creak.
The little boy in blue that we saw on the day we moved in was around for awhile from 2007 to 2009 and was pretty scary for awhile. He was standing in my darkened bedroom one night with just his face protruding into the hallway, so when I walked by, I jumped like you wouldn’t believe. A face, three feet off the floor, staring at me from my bedroom door with what my friend Terry describes as “grudge eyes.” He had a habit of showing up when you least expect it and scaring the shit out of you, so it makes me happy to say I have not seen him in years.
I don’t know what they are so I’ll just call them things — these two things are the only manifestations we’ve seen on a repeated basis. Neither myself nor my wife have ever seen the black shapes my son reported six years ago, and he has never said anything about them since.
As for why my house might be haunted, I am similarly without answers. It was only built in 1950, which doesn’t strike me as particularly old for a haunted house. Does it have something to do with the fairgrounds that stood two blocks from here a century ago? Maybe. That could be why we captured some recordings that sounded like carousel music, I just can’t say for sure. Native people lived in this area going back to the end of Lake Agassiz seven millennia ago, plenty of time for the kind of tragedy that might result in a haunting of this spot on the prairie. Anything is possible, I suppose.
We still live in this house, which I think can be attributed to a number of things. First, the subsiding activity since 2009 has made it more tolerable to live here. Second, we’ve always viewed the occurrences with a skeptic’s eye, which makes it easier for my wife to simply chalk it up as “nothing” when she catches a glimpse of the gray lady in the living room, or to convince herself the cat is not staring intently at anything in that dark hallway behind her, he’s just being a cat. Finally, and most importantly, the reason I think we’re still here is because we’ve never really felt interacted with in a way that was meant to terrify us — the scares have been largely incidental and not particularly menacing.
We’ve learned to live with it in the last few years, even enjoy it at times. When something strange happens, the gray lady makes a convenient scapegoat.
I’ll end with the same words I used when I began:
In the course of my life, I’ve had a few run-ins I would characterize as supernatural or paranormal, but the experiences we would have when we bought our first home would leave no doubt in my mind about the reality of the supernatural. With Halloween not far off, I thought this story would be appropriate.
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Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.