So far this blog has been about mainly smaller houses, but today I’d like to introduce a rather large house.
This is the house next door, and I’m glad the small cottage is situated in the betweenspace. This house was once one of the most grand mansions in the area, and now has fallen far beyond disrepair. I’m not sure how long it’s been abandoned, for the deterioration, I’d say ten-to fifteen years, but it could be longer, it could be shorter. You never know with a haunted house.
Because unlike the cottage, with it’s unknown but friendly presence, this house is like a hornets nest. Whatever’s in there has been there for a long time, and it’s angry.
Much like the smaller cottage, the history of the place is buried in bad blood and silence, but I’ve managed to pick up a few snippets of story. You see, the main road between Bergen, the capitol of west Norway, and Oslo, the capitol in the east. Called the king’s highway it used to run right past here, right along our house, along the cottage, and along this. The road was constructed in 1776, but it was based on a much, much older path, which I think deserves a post of it’s own. Anyway, this house used to be, among other things, a telegraph station. By the looks of it, it must have been built sometime around the mid 1800s, but there might have been another house here before that.
I also know that the current owner hates the place with a passion. It’s not just that he doesn’t care, he has expressed a wish to, quote; ‘see it rot’. Now, this man doesn’t seem like the friendly sort at all, he has among other things razed down a whole glen that stood here, for absolutely no reason. And the currant bushes around the abandoned house is still covered in nets to keep the birds from eating the abandoned berries. Or rather, they were, because Even and I removed the nets when we saw a bird stuck in one of them. This, in turn, caused a huge fight with the owner, who may not have wanted the currants, but they were, and I quote again; ‘his currants’. If his ancestors had the same attitude, I don’t wonder the mansion is haunted by hostile spirits.
But how do I know it’s haunted? Well, there have been sightings. While I, being the tactile sort, usually sense ghosts as a pressure in the air, or sometimes a touch, I have a friend who’s more visually oriented and sees the things I feel. From the first time we passed by the house, it gave me a draining, uneasy feeling, and if I went to close, when I returned home, everything would appear colourless, broken, and I would for some reason feel poor. All those little charming signs of wear and tear would seem like rot and decay, every crack in the paint would show and every battered floorboard look ugly. Now, usually I have no problems seeing the difference between signs of loving use and signs of neglect in a house, but something from that mansion would rub off, and I felt poor and dissatisfied. The feeling would vanish after a little while, but leave a lingering sadness for days. So I don’t go near often. But when we have visitors interested in the strange and unusual, I do show them the place. And one such guest was my friend with the vision gift. And one August evening, just as the early autumn twilight was creeping in, we went over.
As she came near the house, she startled, overcome by the feeling of being watched by something. I has not told her anything about my feelings about the place, only that it was a cool and creepy house next door. Approaching the place with caution, she tried to put into words the feelings the house evoked, of not just one presence, but several, as if it was packed full to the chimney with resentment and anger. And then she saw him.
From the second floor window on the right, a man was glaring down at us. She saw him clear enough to describe his look, a longish face with a balding head, protruding forehead and large nose, and his clothes, a dark suit with a high collar. The look he gave was of such intensity that she shivered and we hurried out of sight around the corner to the back of the house. Later, she would describe the look in his eyes as not just hate, but of a burning envy. This man hated everything out there, anything alive, free, warm, breathing.
We had to walk for a while after that, looking at the flowers and listening to living things around us. I told her how the house has made me feel, and we talked about how things could not just get stuck between walls, but ricochet back and forth, further reinforcing itself, growing on it’s own emptiness. She talked about how the house itself felt wrong, like the wrongness was built into the walls from the start.
This is something I also considered in building my house, and something I think all houses should take into account. You need a fire escape for the soul. Just in case you meet your demise indoors, the house should not be built so enclosed that it traps the spirit.
Yet the most chilling part of the evening came when we came back in, and I lit candles and opened a bottle of wine, putting on calming music and bringing us warm blankets to recover our spirits. I decided to have another look at the local archives online, this time trying to match the name on the mailbox with old photos. And then we saw him again. This must have been the, probably grandfather of the current owner, who is old himself now. In the photo his look was more of self satisfied contempt. And his clothes were slightly different, but it was the same man as my friend had described in detail. I still don’t know what might have happened to make him stuck there, or if he just won’t leave. And I don’t think he’s the only presence either.
Now, knowing what’s in there, will I be entering? Yes of course. The door is locked and I won’t be breaking in, but if one day I pass, and find that locked door to be open from a gust of a storm or ill fate, you will be getting a new update from inside the creepiest house I’ve ever encountered.