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Take Nothing

The golden rule of Urban Exploring is well known to everyone who ever browsed pics related to climbing into old, abandoned buildings and taking photos. "Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints."

It was on every page I visited, until my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do some exploring myself. I was well-prepared, wearing gloves to prevent old nails or something from pushing into my hands at the climb, an extra flashlight and some other handy things.

 All with all I felt pretty confident. After all, my target would be this old, abandoned farm on the brink of our village. I hadn’t ever seen anyone there, and to my knowledge, even the local boys kept their distance.

I figured it was because of hidden cameras. But I wasn’t worried. I didn’t plan on doing anything illegal or destroy it, and there wasn’t a sign saying it was prohibited to enter. All with all, if anything would happen they'd be a blessing. They'd see it.

The old, wooden doors were locked. The iron rusty. Nonetheless I didn't want to kick in one of them, so after a hike through the knee-length grass, I decided to take the more subtle route and climb in by the windows.

The glass was all broken, and all that was left was a row of giant wooden frames, a thin, stained curtain with a flowery pattern hanging out. At if to greet me. I took a few steps back, focusing on the old, wooden edge. Took the leap, and jumped.

It was higher than I thought, but, thanking my occasionally trained body and fingers used to playing guitar for hours on end, I managed to pull myself up. The remainders of the glass trying to push themselves into the flesh of my hands.

My arms burned, my fingers hurt, but after a minute or so I semi-dropped over the edge. Barely managing to stay on my feet.  The first thing you'll notice about abandoned buildings is the silence. It’s like stepping underwater.

Before entering, the road nearby would cause the occasional noise. And cyclists would ring their bells. But now there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. I took a few seconds to look around. The remains of the vintage-looking, flowery wallpaper looked as if many people had tried to go over it, then ripped their layer off again.

The wood creaked underneath my boots, but that wasn’t what caught my action.  You know how you can sometimes feel how someone is in the room, even though you don’t literally see them? That’s exactly the feeling I had.

It was so strong and I was really surprised at how REAL it felt. And how detailed. As if I really shared a room with them. It felt like a very depressed, grumpy man and two energetic, happy little girls.

That was just the energy contaminating the air. One older, darker but non-threatening person and two smaller, more energetic presences. So the house didn’t feel empty. In fact, it felt pleasant, like you're walking into the home of a family.

It was so weird, like the layer of my reality and theirs had grown incredibly thin. It’s hard to describe, but I felt as if I could stretch out my hand, or make a sudden movement, and the kid would see it.

I know my imagination. This wasn’t imagination. I actually called it imagination, until little footsteps sounded behind a door. They seemed to go up. After snapping out of my surprise, I went to the door and gave it a push. It opened.

There were small stairs there, and a coldness went past me. I stepped aside as if letting someone pass. Goosebumps on my arms. I then heard a whisper, it was female, but low in tone. As if it didn’t want to be discovered.

But it was still high pitched and sounded pretty young. That spooked me for a moment. But the spooky feeling vanished quickly. It didn’t feel threatening, if you know what I mean. It felt casual. And so I was spooked, but not scared out of my mind.

I continued my walk from there, exploring the rooms I could open, skipping places I felt weren’t safe, feeling the occasional presence or hearing something strange, and ended up in a small room leading to the kitchen.

The summer light fell in through the thin, ragged veil barely covering the window framework, and there were drawers stored there. I remember wondering what it would be used for, it was too small to be a bedroom.

But too large to be just a storage room. 'Sides they wouldn’t put windows like this in a storage room...  Suddenly, I felt one of the girls again. As if she was standing beside me. My arm flinched a little involuntarily, but I could feel she was only amused, and interested.

I felt like she moved to my right, to the drawers, and I turned with her, lightly touching the dark, cracked wood. It looked antique. The presence seemed to vanish into thin air and I was left at the drawers.

Wondering why the former owners hadn’t sold it or anything. It must be so old, and for some reason I felt like it was part of the house here, not bought as antique somewhere else. But it was in the wrong place. It didn’t belong here. It belonged in the living room. A strong urge came over me, almost a NEED. I tried to move it, but the thing was too heavy and stacked onto a thick, crude wooden table. Better leave it in place.

That was the first time I almost broke The Rule that day.  I moved back to the kitchen, since it seemed to lead to the stables, and I hadn’t been there yet. The door was surprisingly small, but all doors here were, so I didn’t mind it anymore.

I stepped in the wide, darker space. Scarcely illuminated by smaller windows on the side. I recognized the iron bars on the side as places to keep cows. Having grown up in a small, Dutch village for a large portion of my life, you tend to recognize these things.

I wandered further down the building, seeing a discolored plastic tricycle, an old but very broken typewriter with some paper beside it, and more things like that. I peeked in the papers, and found out that one of the previous owners had been a biologist.

These were all typed notes about his study. I still don’t remember for what reason, but somehow I felt like glancing to the side. That’s when I saw my treasure.  It was small, round, and slightly shimmering in the light.

I stepped to the thing, and gently picked it off the floor.  It looked like an antique knob. It seemed too small to be a doorknob, really, but it looked like one, the iron part was terribly rusty, even though it lay on dry ground when I found it.

The larger, round part seemed brass, and partly hand-made. The nail on the underside didn’t have a cross-pattern, even though the thin lines on the thicker edge looked like it was factory-made. But the model I had seen before.

On antiques. It just seemed so special to me. So beautiful. Old as it was. I decided to take it home.  A few days after, the strange things started happening. It started with the cold creeps. I'd get them every time I entered my bedroom.

It was always the same corner. The same corner where I proudly put the little knob on display. It felt angry, and hostile. I began having terrible nightmares about dead bodies in my room, and always the same young (thirteen or so) girl standing there in the corner.

Hair tied into braids. Staring at me angrily and wearing a dress that almost touched the floor. I could sketch every detail to this day. Then I started waking up with scratches. I don’t have pets and I couldn’t have done it myself- I bite my nails, I can’t make marks because they're too short- also, there was nothing that could have caused it in my bed.

Days went by. I slept less and less. And the creeps intensified. Sometimes I'd look into the mirror and catch a glimpse of her in the corner. Soon enough I felt like she followed me in the house. I'd be in the kitchen making lunch, and I'd feel like she was right there behind me.

But without kindness and amusement this time... It actually took me a while before I figured she wanted the knob back. But when I returned to the old farm, someone had hammered every nook shut.

And tossing it in the garden wouldn’t be enough. I knew I was trapped.  Around that time, I visited grandma. She was born in Indonesia, and still lived there for a while. We just had some chats when suddenly she brought up grandpa.

He had been dead for decades. She told me how she used to feel him in the house. How she used to hear his old leather chair move sometimes. As if someone sat down in it. But only for a while. Then he moved on.

Even then, I originally brushed it off as a byproduct of widow's grief. Until she continued about how not all spirits were nice. How she grew up with stories of spirits that were angry, and how they could haunt you.

But, also, how some people could send them away.  ..Maybe grandma was onto something.  I returned home that evening, after cleaning out the dishwasher and sharing a wine and a laugh with her.

Asking around for someone like that was out of the question. Nobody in my social circle would believe me. I'd never be able to find someone needed for the job. So, I decided to mess around myself. I used to spend time meditating, concentrating and trying to force the energy in my body outward.

Burning incenses made me feel like it was working better. One night, the cold creeped up on me again, but instead of cowering away in a corner of the bed, I started meditating. I calmed myself as I felt her threatening form closer and closer to me.

I made my thoughts very loud, VERY LOUD:

YOURE NOT WELCOME HERE. GET OUT. GET OUT. DONT EVER COME BACK. I DO NOT WANT YOU BACK. ONLY KIND PEOPLE CAN COME IN HERE. PEOPLE WHO DONT MEAN HARM. I AM SORRY THAT I TOOK WHAT WAS YOURS, BUT I CANT BRING IT BACK AND YOU NEED TO ACCEPT THAT. GET. OUT. GO HOME. DONT EVER COME BACK HERE. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN THIS HOUSE.

Simultaneously, I tried to force her presence out with my thoughts. I focused my energy on her and pushed, harder and harder, until the cold was gone and I was left heaving in my bed. Wondering how the hell I did that, because I never expected it to work, really.

I expected her to continue to haunt me, with me being helpless and weak.  That night, I lit an incense, watched it burn out, then slept like a baby.  Somehow it worked. I still don’t know why. I still feel her sometimes, but she's much weaker and less angry.

I allow her to be here now, but if she grows creepy again, I block her out of the house again for a long while. It still takes a LOT of energy, but I'm getting better at it. I also made a little altar beside my bed.

It’s made off of little things that are special to me, like rings and shells I found when I was a small child. I feel like it works wonders, especially when I light a little candle in a small pot painted with different patterns.

I’m still open for the possibility that it was all psychological, but that doesn’t explain the scratching. To me, it was something truly paranormal. I only know what I experienced, and that was it.

Please don’t take anything out of abandoned places.

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