I grew up in an old house in Durham, North Carolina. The house was once a hotel for the train station across the road. I was told it was built in 1776.
When I was little, my entire family — my mom, dad, and sister and I — used to sleep in a room upstairs. As a kid, I hated that room. My mom told me that when my grandparents were gone someplace, she and my dad would hear doors slam downstairs. When my dad would go check it out, he would find the doors wide open, the way my grandparents had left them.
One night, when I was five and my sister was ten, she and I were in the living room, dancing to the radio. My sister suddenly stopped and looked at the steps, her mouth hanging open. She ran into the kitchen where our mom was and I, being only five, ran after her. I heard her telling my mom that she’d seen an old lady with a long black dress and her hair up in a tight bun gliding down the steps. I never saw her, but my sister swears up and down that she saw the woman.
When I was 16, I slept in a room upstairs — not the room we all slept in when I was little, but another room. I used to wake up every night between two and three a.m. to hear footsteps going up the steps toward my bedroom door.
One night, I had this dream: I was standing next to this old man who looked like he was in his early 60s, maybe early 70s. I stood there looking at this man with my mouth dropped like I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and then the dream changed to me standing at the foot of the stairs by myself, and I was hearing footsteps going up the stairs toward my door.
I woke up and lay there, thinking, “Why did I dream that?” Then I started hearing the footsteps getting closer and closer to my bedroom door. At the time, I had long hair, and was laying on my left side. I felt something pick up my hair and sling it over my shoulder.
I was so scared that I couldn’t move or scream; I was frozen in place. A few years later, my boyfriend moved in with us, and one day I was in the dining area where we all sat to watch TV. My boyfriend came running downstairs, looking like he had seen a ghost.
He told me he was sitting on his bed, watching TV, when he saw a lady with long blond hair and a white dress standing in front of his bed. He said he got up and ran as fast as he could. A few minutes later, he decided to go back upstairs to his room — he was braver than I was.
He came running back downstairs a second time, yelling that she appeared to him again, only this time he asked her what she wanted and her answer was “I want YOU!”
I have never seen him so scared before.
It didn’t take the both of us long to get out of that house.