I have always been sensitive to spirits/ghosts. It runs in the family and I cannot think of a single person in my close family who doesn't have a few stories to tell. By the age of 8 or 9, I had mostly become accustomed to the strange sounds and abnormal occurrences that I experience from time to time and I was more likely to be startled by one of my cousins jumping out from behind something than by voices in the night or strange visitors appearing in my room.

For 20 years, my mother, sister and I lived in a town home next door to my grandmother's house. The story I'm about to share occurred when I was 12. We had lived there for 5 years and by that time, we had become used to the home's otherworldly residents.

My mother worked a late shift and didn't get home until near midnight, so my sister and I would finish our homework and chores, have dinner, and be asleep well before Mom made it home. This night was no different. I went to bed, closing my door so that my two kittens, Peter and Leon, would sleep with me. The kittens awakened me around 11PM, crying at my bedroom door.

I got up, assuming that they needed to use the litter box, which was downstairs. When I opened the door, instead of going down the stairs, Peter and Leon went to my mother's bedroom, which was right next to mine, and began sniffing at the door. The door was cracked open a few inches, but they did not go into the room.

I heard a hiss and turned to find our 3rd cat, sitting atop the ironing board hissing in the direction of the door and the kittens. Our fourth and final cat, Leo, was sitting a few feet away, at the top of the stairs, looking down.

I initially figured that Tiga was hissing at the kittens: She was the mother of the two kittens and once they were weaned, she made it very clear that she had little tolerance for their presence. I reached over and closed my mother's door so that the kittens wouldn't go in and get into anything. Our home back then wasn't in the best repair. The bedroom doors did not have locks, so Mother installed eye latches (I believe they're called) on each so that they could be locked with a pad lock.

I put a clothes hanger in the latch on her door so that the cats wouldn't push it open again. Peter and Leon began hissing when I closed the door. I turned my back to the door to ponder Tiga, who was also still hissing and quite excessively even for her at this point. As I turned to look at the cat, I heard the creaking of the springs of my mother's mattress. I froze and listened to the sound intently. It was light, not loud enough to be a person, but definitely larger than the cats who were all accounted for anyway.

It could have been one of our 3 dogs, but they were all locked in the basement for the night.  I crept into my sister's room and tried to wake her, telling her that someone was in mama's room. She turned over, telling me to go back to sleep and it was just one of the animals. Having no luck waking her, I crept back into the hall and stood there for a moment. I was terrified and didn't know what to do. The noise in mother's room had stopped. The cats had quieted, but Peter, Leon, and Tiga kept a steady watch on the door.

As I stood there, dumbfounded, Leo suddenly jumped up and bolted down the stairs. I approached the staircase and called softly, “Leo? Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. Leo?” Suddenly a vigorous scratching began on my mother's bedroom door and the other cats scattered. I ran into my sister's room again and grabbed the phone and called my aunt who lived next door with a good portion of our extended family.

I told her that someone was in the house. She and my uncles and cousins came running, brandishing bats and other make-shift weapons.  I had to build up the courage to go downstairs and let them in when they came banging at the door because the entire first floor was dark and there was no way to turn on the lights without venturing into the darkness.

They rushed in, ready to do battle. A moment of preparation before removing the clothes hanger lock, then they burst into the room to find... Nothing. Not a thing was out of place. The window was not only closed and locked, but had a broomstick secured behind it as an extra precaution. The searched the tiny space and came up empty handed. By this time my sister was awake and irritated insisting that she had seen one of the cats exit the room when the door was opened, but I insisted that was impossible. As our family members returned to their home, my mother was just arriving to ours. I told her what happened, but it seems that everyone was intent on believing that my imagination had gotten the best of me or that I had accidentally locked one of the cats in the room.

As things died down and the night once again became still, I went back to my room and replayed the event in my head. I realized what I had been too frightened to notice in the heat of the moment: While whatever was in that room was scratching on it, that door did not move at all. Our doors weren't that secure. A light breeze would cause them to rattle in their frames, yet there was no shaking of the door while something that sounded like it had very large, broad nails scratched desperately at it.

From then until the time we moved away 13 years later, I have never ventured into that bedroom at night again, and if I entered in the daytime, I would take my dog with me. I had many more experiences in that house, but none scared me as much as that. And, ironically, that's the one experience that no one believes me on. We moved 4 years ago and I still wonder how the people who live there now are getting along with what we came to think of as “our ghosts”.



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