Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Alan Loewen vs. The Haunted Staircase: A True Story

The following story is true and is a companion to two other entries:
Ranger Loewen vs The Night People: A True Story
Alan Loewen vs. The Oak Fairy: A True Story

However before I tell you about my supernatural experience, allow me first to give my apologia:

noun: apologia; plural noun: apologias
1. a formal written defense of one's opinions or conduct

I do not believe in ghosts that is, if you define ghosts as the spirits of the departed who have remained in this world.

My belief centers more around the logistics of the "Bad Place," and there may be an endless number of explanations as to why some places are "haunted." My pet theory—and let me be honest and let you know it is not a belief I am willing to die for—is that locales can pick up strong emotion and play them back to certain people. Of course, I also confess I do believe that some places are genuinely evil, but my story does not touch on that subject, and I have no pleasure in discussing such a phenomenon.

In the early 1980s, I worked for a computer company that shall go unnamed near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They had set up shop along a busy road in an old farmhouse that served as a store, computer repair facility, and office. A beautiful piece of architecture, the vast limestone farmhouse had a grand old staircase sweeping up from the first floor to a landing that had a small window that overlooked the parking lot. Another set of stairs then continued up to the second floor.

Being single at the time and fascinated by the Apple //c's and the newly released Macintosh computer, I used my privilege as the assistant to the store manager to stay late and play with computers until late in the evening. Having no life outside of the store, I would play computer games, study computer manuals, try to master a new programming language called Lisp, and indulge in this new and mystifying world.

However, I always left before midnight and, as I locked up the store and headed out to the parking lot, I still had this eerie feeling that something was watching me from the window at the landing of the farmhouse's staircase. Without fail, the hair on the back of my neck would stand on end and almost always in my anger at my childish fears, before I got into the car, I would force myself to look up at the window.

There was never anyone there. The window was merely dark and the little security light that we kept on during the night was visible through the glass.

This went on for over a year.

One night, I had to stay and complete a significant report, and as the time wore on, focused as I was on my work, I did not notice that the clock had ticked past midnight.

Needing something from the upstairs office, I left my desk and strode up the stairs, intent on the report in my hand.

My right foot hit the landing.

With a scream, I leaped for the second set of stairs to get off that square of wooden floor, landing two steps up above it. Trembling and terrified, I looked back at the landing, brilliantly illuminated by the ceiling lamp.

There was nothing there to see.

What I had experienced cannot be explained. I lack the words, and as I attempt to describe it, rest assured, it was infinitely worse. The moment my foot touched that landing, my entire body experienced an electric shock of intense cold coupled with an overwhelming feeling of immense dread as if I was in mortal danger.

With a childhood prayer on my lips, I backed up the rest of the steps. Later, I descended via a smaller set of stairs that connected what used to be the master bedroom to what used to be the kitchen.

I left the farmhouse immediately, and as I fled to my car, once again, the hairs on my neck stood on end as I felt the overwhelming knowledge something watched me from the little square window. I lacked the courage to look.

I never told anyone about my experiences. I was too ashamed, but I never again stayed in that farmhouse after dark.

But life had one more little kiss of horror for me ...

Two weeks after my late-night experience, one of the repair technicians who had fallen behind in his workload stayed behind to catch up.

The next day as I delivered some paperwork to him, he looked at me quizzically, and after a pause, he asked, "Have you ever noticed anything odd about the stairs at night?"

(1) Those whom the gods destroy, they first teach Lisp.

No comments:

Post a Comment