Amityville Revisited: My Red-Roomed House
Once upon a time, many more years ago than she would like to admit, this writer fell in love with her prince. As young couples are wont to do, we went in search of our very own castle—to rent, thank heavens, and not buy, because the castle we chose turned out to be a little…odd.
An older home, it had a plethora of issues, from broken sinks and multiple layers of peeling tile on the floors, to filthy windows and a desperate need of paint…right on down to (cue spooky organ music) its very own Red Room.
Yep, tucked into the far corner of what had previously been a converted basement apartment was a Red Room that could—and may—have been taken straight out of a horror movie. Windowless. Every square inch painted red: floor, ceiling, walls, closet. And with a slide bolt. On the outside of the door.
But we were young and naive (okay, stupid), and so we were willing to overlook the house’s issues in favour of the its charm: hardwood floors, wide baseboards, original doors with crystal knobs…it just had such potential. We signed a lease that gave us several months free rent in exchange for doing renovations, and then plunged into painting, refinishing floors, and replacing sinks. The Red Room? In truly blissful naïveté, we simply ignored it…along with the rest of the basement. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Other things, however, were a little more difficult to ignore.
In the process of painting, we discovered that the two bedrooms on the main floor, side by side, had closets which backed onto one another…and which contained a narrow opening to allow passage between them. I have to admit to serious heebie-jeebies on that one. I mean, really…who needs to go from one room to another through the closets when there are perfectly good, legitimate doors so near to one another? Creepy, I tell you. Soooo creepy.
We decided to use the second-floor as our bedroom instead, in part because I just couldn’t deal with secret passages in my bedroom (shudder) and also because it was such a lovely, large space: sloped ceilings, a walk-in closet/dressing room, hardwood floors…and a half-dozen doors, secured with slide-bolts, onto tons of attic storage space.
This, my friends, is where the story gets weird.
My husband and I both worked shifts, which meant I spent many nights alone. Because there were only two of us in the place, we had ample storage without using the attic spaces, and so we left them closed…or at least, we tried to. Because despite repeated efforts, I kept finding the doors unbolted and standing ajar. At first, I thought it was my husband opening them for some reason—perhaps even as a prank. He denied ever touching them, however, and so I began to pay more attention, thinking I’d catch him in the act. That’s when I realized that the doors were never open when he was around. In fact, if I found them open and closed them while I was home alone…? Oh, yeah. They’d be open again when I went back upstairs. O.O
I’ll admit that I started getting just a little freaked out at that point.
But I persevered. While it became more and more difficult for me to go up to our room if DH wasn’t in the house (even in broad daylight, never mind the dark), I was a rational person and not about to give into my imagination. Night after night, I valiantly climbed the stairs, closed and bolted the access doors, left a light burning in the dressing room area, checked under the bed, and somehow managed to get to sleep.
One night in the middle of winter, however, that changed. Following my usual “alone” routine, I made tea, read for a while in the living room, watched the news, and, at a little past 11:30, headed for bed. As always, the dog and cat preceded me, vying for who’d get the best spot on the bed. Then, at the top of the stairs, the cat stopped dead in his tracks, the hair along his spine standing on end, focused intently on the room beyond. Suddenly, with the circumference of his tail tripled, he turned and bolted past me. When the dog growled and wouldn’t budge another step, my brave intentions were no more.
The three of us slept on the couch that night…and every other night that DH worked a nightshift for the rest of our time in the place. I never looked into the history of the house, but I would swear on my own life that something unpleasant happened there. Whatever energy remained wasn’t the nice kind, and it didn’t like me anymore than I liked it. Ever since that experience, I’ve trusted my instincts when we’ve looked at a house. A couple of times, I haven’t made it past the front door because of the negative energy I’ve encountered. Who knows? Maybe there were Red Rooms in those, too…
How about you? Any weird vibes in a house where you’ve lived (or considered living)? And is it any wonder we’re fascinated by the supernatural??
Linda Poitevin lives just outside Canada’s capital, Ottawa, with her husband, the youngest of three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, a cats, two rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. Turned down in her pursuit of a police career after a faulty height measurement, Linda vicariously lives out her dream of being a cop through her characters. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden in the summer, hugging the fireplace in the winter, or walking her dog along the river in any season.
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