Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
A Fresh Start
This story was sent to me via social media by a woman named Megan Stout.*
Although many tales of haunted dwellings have come my way over the years, this one exemplified what happens when past energies take hold of a dwelling and refuse to let go.
Megan's ordeal began in July of 2002, shortly after she and her long-term boyfriend decided to part ways. Since the home they had shared was in his name, the break-up had forced Megan to find new accommodations. Her search would lead her to an old apartment building in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia.
The structure, which was built in the 1920s, had a gothic look to it that immediately caught her eye. Though obviously past its prime, the building's charm was undeniable. Megan recalls that she felt strangely at home as she sat on the stoop waiting for the manager to show her around.
After getting a rundown of what was expected of her as a tenant, Megan signed a one-year lease on the apartment without giving it a second thought. Something about the space seemed to call to her, literally. She didn't acknowledge it at the time, but she says now that a voice in her head, which she thought was that of her deceased mother, had urged her to stay.
Within days, Megan had settled nicely into her new home. Everything went smoothly at first, but the place wasn't without its quirks. One thing that she found a bit off-putting was the fact that the lights in the building's hallway seemed to always be either flickering or out altogether. Since she didn't want to get off on the wrong foot with the building manager, rather than complaining, she used a small flashlight to guide her way when she stayed out after dark.
A few weeks into her residency, Megan started noticing that things were being moved around her apartment even though she was the only one there. A jacket that she had a habit of hanging on the back of a kitchen chair would somehow make its way into the bedroom closet. She would often find the salt and pepper shakers that normally sat on the stove stashed away in a cabinet or, on one occasion, in the refrigerator.
Those weren't the only disturbances that gave her pause. An antique snow globe that had been gifted to her by her grandmother would suddenly play music in spite of the fact that it had been wound too tight and was no longer functional.
Around the same time, Megan started receiving calls, sometimes late at night, in which there would be no one on the other end of the line. If someone had been trying to communicate, she wasn't able to hear them through the wall of static.
Other electronic equipment also began to malfunction. The television, which she had never had any trouble with before, would inexplicably run through the channels at random. The process would sometimes go on for so long that she would give up and turn off the device. It was a glitch that would recur again and again during the months she spent in the apartment.
A shower radio that ran on batteries also fell victim to whatever was interfering with the other gadgets. Megan would hop in the tub and tune in to her favorite station, only to have it switch to a different frequency. No matter how many times she moved the dial back to the correct spot, the music that played would be a jazzy variety that was not her style. When it became clear that this was going to be an everyday occurrence, she took it in stride and listened to whatever music the radio allowed.
At night, music that seemed to be coming from an old Victrola would fill the air. At first, Megan thought that it was coming from a neighboring apartment. It was only after following the sound one evening that she made the unsettling discovery that it was originating from the back corner of her closet. To her dismay, she was able to pinpoint the exact location from which the music was emanating despite there having been no sign of a phonograph.
Even as the evidence mounted, Megan refused to entertain the possibility that her home was haunted. In time, she would have no other choice.
Who Goes There?
Megan's resolve was put to the test one night when she was awakened by the sound of the computer in her bedroom cycling on. As her eyes adjusted to the scene, she saw forms moving about in the light that now filled the space. Within seconds, dozens of bluish figures could be seen flitting about the room.
Fully aware of her surroundings, Megan knew that she was not dreaming. Although the shapes that milled all around her lacked identifiable characteristics, she felt certain that they were human, or at least had been at some point.
Gazing at the clock on the nightstand, Megan noticed that it had stopped at 2:47. Too frightened to move, she had lain perfectly still until the computer abruptly shut down, plunging the room into darkness once again. She doesn't know how long the phenomenon lasted but says that it felt like an hour or more. Coincidentally, as soon as the light went out, the clock resumed functioning. How the two were connected was something she was never able to figure out.
From that night on, the bizarre goings-on escalated. One day, after returning home from working a twelve-hour shift, Megan found a note pinned to her door asking her to contact the property manager.
When she spoke to the man, she was informed that a noise complaint had been lodged against her by the people next door. According to them, she was throwing wild parties at all hours of the day and night. They claimed that when they tried to voice their frustrations to her in person, she had ignored their persistent knocks even though they could hear the shindig taking place inside.
Megan didn't know what to say. She had been gone all day, as was her usual during the week. She pleaded her case until the manager agreed to drop the matter so long as it didn't happen again. With that chapter closed, another soon opened.
All That Remains
Things settled down for a while until Megan decided that it was time to do some spring cleaning. As she was getting rid of items she no longer needed, she came upon a photograph she had never seen before lying tucked away in a dresser drawer.
The black and white snapshot featured a woman with two men on either side, none of whom were familiar to Megan. Dressed in formal attire, the group was gathered together in a place that looked to her like an old-fashioned version of her living room. Thinking that it had been left behind by a former tenant, she tossed it in the bin along with the other items she was purging before resuming her chores.
A few minutes later, while she was working in the kitchen, she heard a loud crash in the living room. Rushing to see what happened, she found the ceiling fan on the floor and a gaping hole overhead where the appliance should have been.
How such a thing could have occurred was beyond Megan. The fan had not been in use and she had not cleaned it that day, or ever for that matter. Try as she might, she could think of no reason for the fan to have fallen, but that's exactly what happened.
Although she dreaded it, Megan had no choice but to call the manager. Later that afternoon, he showed up to survey the damage. As it turned out, he was as flummoxed as his tenant. After taking a look at the fan, which was still in one piece, he couldn't explain how it had become dislodged. The gravity of the situation hadn't dawned on Megan until he made the offhanded comment that it was a good thing she hadn't been standing under it when it fell.
After assuring Megan that he would send a maintenance crew up to take care of the problem, the manager went on his way. It would be days before they arrived, during which time a number of other things fell from the hole in the ceiling; among them was an empty money clip, a barber's shaving brush, and another old photograph.
The picture that was found lying on the living room floor was similar to the one in the drawer in that it depicted one woman and several men. The subjects, all of whom looked like they had stepped out of a silent movie, were smiling from ear to ear.
On the night that she found the second photo, Megan says that the flame of a candle she had left burning on a stand in the bathroom had somehow shot up so high that it left a black mark on the ceiling. She was no expert but knew the minute she saw the damage that such a thing was not possible, and yet the proof was staring her in the face.
She also recalls hearing voices that she at first thought were coming from a neighboring apartment. Although she couldn't make out much of what was being said, she had the uneasy feeling that they were talking about her when they mentioned "the girl" numerous times.
After spending a year in the apartment, Megan decided to forgo renewing the lease. By that time, she had become convinced that entities who had no business in this world had laid claim to the rental space. Before long, she would learn that she wasn't alone in her beliefs.
On the day that she handed over her keys, the owner happened to be on the premises. Seizing the unexpected opportunity, Megan enlightened her about the disturbances she had endured as a tenant. The woman didn't seem a bit surprised by the revelations. Older and wiser than the property manager, she knew a thing or two about the building's history.
Apparently content to share her knowledge with Megan now that she was moving out, the woman explained that, back in the day, the structure had housed a brothel that was rumored to have been run by the mob. As such, it was often the site of violence. She couldn't swear to it, but she claimed that several murders had taken place in the building over the years, all of which had been covered up by officials who were in the pocket of organized crime.
The landlady added that Megan wasn't the only one who had complained. As it happened, nearly all of the tenants, past and present, had experienced disturbances that were decidedly unnatural. Even so, there were seldom any vacancies.
Megan was intrigued by the account, even though she wasn't sure how much of it she believed. Relieved that it was no longer her problem, she said her goodbyes to the place for the last time.
Although she continues to reside in Richmond, Megan says that she goes out of her way to avoid the street where the old building still stands. As illogical as it might sound, she doesn't want whatever dwells inside to sense her presence and hitch a ride.
After moving homes, Megan's life returned to normal. She no longer found her possessions in places they didn't belong. Neither did she hear or see things that defied explanation. To this day, she doesn't know exactly who or what was behind the phenomena and has no interest in finding out. Sometimes, letting go of the past is the only way one can move forward, a lesson that not everyone is ready to learn.
*Name has been altered in order to protect the privacy of the subject involved.