My sister and I were home alone one night at the house in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the one we were pretty sure was haunted. My mom was taking an evening class. My brother was away at school.
Emily and I had just finished watching the scariest movie ever made (Jacob's Ladder) and, for some reason, decided to go to sleep straightaway. I brushed my teeth and got into bed. I heard the water running down the hallway, as Emily finished up in the bathroom. The water stopped and Emily called out, "Dan? Did you hear that noise?"
"What noise?" I shouted back.
Just then, from what seemed like the bottom of the stairs, a sound erupted--unlike anything I'd ever heard. It was a yowling, howling, growling noise. An awful, hungry animal sound. Deeper than a dog, harsher than a large wild cat. When it stopped, the house was stunned into silence, which made the sound all the more frightening.
I leapt from my bed and dashed down the hall. I found Emily cowering in the bathroom, her toothbrush still in hand. Her eyes were wide--stunned. I probably looked the same way. It was a late fall night, so all the windows were closed. The sound had definitely come from inside the house.
Maybe it was our imaginations reacting to the scary movie that turned what might have seemed, on any other night, like an ordinary noise, into a horror-show... but we didn't think so. This sound was as real and as crazy as anything I'd ever heard.
"Okay," I said. "Let's be calm." I grabbed a disposible shaver from the counter (because that would protect us!) and trying to be a "big brother," decided we needed to check it out. You have to understand that until this point, we'd be hearing and seeing things in this house for years... so what was one more disturbance?
Hestitating, my sister slowly followed me down the stairs. "Hello?" we called out, but received no answer. After quickly, scanning the kitchen and the dining room and finding nothing, Emily and I decided to turn on the lights and watch some television, something cheerful and silly, until Mom got home.
But after a few minutes, from the other side of the house came a loud banging noise. Immediately, Emily grew frantic. "Let's call the neighbors."
"No, wait..." I said. I didn't want to get anyone else involved... since we'd dealt with stuff like this all the time. "Let's check it out." Emily followed me to the living room, I think, mostly because she didn't want to be left alone in the family room. Along the way, we turned on the rest of the lights. Once in the living room, we found nothing out of place... nothing that could have created the banging sound we'd just heard.
We crept back to the television and turned it up even louder...
Minutes later, we heard a noise in the family room, where we sat. Something was brushing against the walls. We rubbed against the heating vents, creating a soft shing-shing-shing sound, over and over.
That was the final straw. I grabbed the phone and called a neighbor. I told them I thought someone was in the house, because I was pretty sure they wouldn't have come if I told them that I thought we were being haunted.
The neighbors showed up just as my mother came home. We all searched every corner of the house but found nothing out of place... I'm not sure how I got to sleep that night, but eventually I did.
Later, my older brother, Brendan would make fun of me and Em, for claiming to heard that howling, growling noise at the bottom of the stairs. After several years though, at a party, he pulled me aside and said, "I need to apologize to you."
He'd been watching one of those paranormal phenomenon shows on the Discovery network, this one being about Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP. EVP is the capturing of ghostly voices on tape... for "scientific" purposes.
Brendan explained that the final section of the show described people who had heard growling and howling sounds in their houses and captured them on tape. Brendan said they played some for him. The noises gave him chills. They'd sounded exactly what Emily and I had described years earlier.
At this point, I'd never heard of growls being heard in haunted houses by anyone else, but my brother's apology certainly freaked me out.
I never heard anything like it again. Thank goodness.
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