Unwelcome

As told by James A. Sheets

It is only fitting that as the caretaker of this site, that I include a tale of my own. This one concerns the former residence of my maternal grandmother on my mother’s side. This was a run down two story affair, with dirty green shingle siding. The first floor held the living room, sitting room and kitchen. The second floor housed the three small bedrooms, and bath. This is the area of the house where my story takes place in the early 1970’s.

I have never been afraid of the dark all my life. Hollywood can do it’s worst in any of it’s films, and I’ll still get a good night’s sleep. My mother worked nights, and as she was divorced, and I had to spend numerous evenings alone by myself. Never once was I ever scared to sleep because no one else was in the house with me, but the second story of the old house in German Village was a different story. It was a place to visited for short periods in the daytime, and avoided at all costs at night. The problem as you may have figured out on your own, is that the only toilet in the house was up there! To complicate matters, the light to the upstairs was one of those pull string affairs in the center of the upstairs hallway.

I was around 14 years old or so when my mother elected to stay late at her mother’s. Around 9 P.M. or so I couldn’t hold off my expanding bladder any longer, and had to ascend the dark twisting stairs to the second floor. After entering door to the stairwell, the stairs were to your left, and a door to the alley adjacent to the house was directly in front of you. The only light in the stairs was provided by light coming in from this door from the street light outside. After ten steps or so the stairs twisted to the left at 90 degrees, and this delivered you to the head of the upstairs hallway. Like a drowning man clutching at a floating piece of wood, I would grab for the drawstring to the light. Quickly I would finish the call of nature, and then begin the trip back down the steps. This was the part of the trip that I dreaded. I always felt like someone or something was glaring at me from the darkened end of the hallway. On this trip I decided that I was acting like four year old and vowed not to hurry my steps down the hallway. As I moved toward the light in the center of the hallway my fear increased. I felt like I had a set of eyes boring into the center of my back. I stopped and turned looked back to the door to the spare bedroom. There in the shadows was a five foot column of dark mist, or more like a area of air that was darker than area surrounding it. I bolted for the stairwell. I leapt to the landing mid-way in the stairwell, and then jumped to the base , shaking the whole house. My mother promptly launched into one her lectures on what a brainless child she had. I received the how my grandmother was poor, and how I was a thoughtless boy for leaving the light on upstairs later on as well.

I never again left the light on upstairs, but you would have sworn that a herd of buffalo was coming down those steps everytime that I had to use the bathroom at night. I also refused to ever sleep upstairs, and the couch became my sleeping area. I think my grandmother knew more than she was willing to let on, as she always leapt to my defense against my mother, and step grandfather everytime they scolded me for leaping down the steps. She would have the blankets on the couch every time I went to stay the night, and I will always remember her whispering “Sweet dreams my angel” before turning off the lights and going upstairs to bed.


My grandmother past away when I was sixteen years old, and my step grandfather moved to a different house there after. The house still stands on Fifth Street just off of Livingston Avenue in German Village in Franklin County. I will not publish the address, or photo of the house out of courtesy to the current occupants whom I do not know. The area is somewhat nicer than it was back in the 1970’s, and the house now has beautiful brick siding. I do hope that what ever dwelt in the bedroom at the far end of the hallway has departed with the remodeling of the old house. That is for the current owner’s sake. I still would not stay the night on the second floor of that house by myself without a good reason even to this day.


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.