Shortly after getting married, my parents purchased an old house, years old, that had once been the only house for miles, surrounded by peach orchards. My mother grew up nearby, and bought the house without even seeing it. My parents had married with 5 children between them, and planned on a few more. This was a BIG old house, 4 bedrooms upstairs, one on the first floor, one in the basement, and a finished attic to house more children if needed.
The boys room was a small one at the foot of the attic stairs. The stairs had been cut out of what once was a closet. For some reason, us girls simply would not sleep in that room, or go in there to play at night. Since there was no closet in the room, there was a coat rack that my brothers used to hang their clothes on. It sat in front of the door to the attic.
Often during the day that rack could be heard sliding across the wood floor of the room, and if you investigated, the door could be found open. As children, we would often play in the attic during rainy days, as there was lots of room up there, and we could leave our toys scattered when we were through.
If we were still playing up there as the sun began to set, we could often sense being watched, but were never fearful. All 8 of us just thought of it as the “man in the attic.” The Man In The Attic was never really discussed, he was just part of the house, and he never ventured out of the boys room, as a matter of fact, other than opening the door and looking out from the bottom step never really entered the room at all.
As we grew older, and stopped playing in the attic, and the boys moved out of the house, the man in the attic became forgotten. I was a young mother, getting a divorce, and moved back home until I got on my feet. My young daughter was put in the boys room, as she was small, and a lack of closet was not a problem.
I was not aware of what was happening, my mother just wrote it off as childish fear of the dark, but pampered Tabitha by putting both the dresser and a rocking chair in front of the door each night as she kissed her goodnight. In the morning, she pulled them away again. When Tabitha was about 4, when Mt St Helens was preparing for the big blast, (the house is in Portland, Oregon, less than 50 miles south of the mountain) we had an earthquake one night.
Tab had been put to bed shortly before this, and was still awake. I noted the shaking, and ran for the steps, KNOWING she would be scared. Sure enough, on the third step up, I heard her start to scream. When I got to her, she was in the corner of the bed (a double bed) by the head, curled in a ball against the wall screaming.
I had to crawl across the bed to get to her, and she clung and sobbed, refusing to stop until I had her out of the room. When she finally calmed down, she was sure that the “man in the attic” had come out, got under her bed, and was shaking it. I asked her about the man, and she said he often opened the door and watched her from the bottom step.
I then remembered him from my childhood. My sister heard this, and said that the same “man in the attic” scared her as a young child and was the “boogie man” that kept her from being willing to go upstairs alone until she was 12 or 13. She said she never saw him after that time.
Well, this was all too weird, and we began to investigate the history of the house. It took a while, but we found that there had been a man who owned the house, had missed many payments, and the house was foreclosed. Apparently the man was mentally unbalanced, and climbed the ladder to the attic, and nailed himself in, and eventually died up there.
The next buyers of the house, unable to get in through the trap door in the attic, and knowing there was a bad smell up there, cut through the ceiling of the closet, and found his body. They then put in the stairs through the closet. I would guess that the man was still unwilling to come out of the attic but was unwilling to scare or cause harm to anyone.
Of course my daughter and I moved out of the house, and the Man In The Attic was not mentioned again. Several years later, we gave Tab a boom-box for Christmas. Now, knowing batteries would be an ongoing expense, we never put any in it, she had to plug it in to use it. The poor kid was SO miserable that we kept yelling at her to turn it down (she was about 8 at this time) and she ALWAYS claimed she had not turned it on at all.
One night, at about midnight, I had had it, and headed into her room to take the darned thing away from her. She was sleeping, and the stereo was across the room blaring, unplugged, no batteries. I walked in and it stopped. I removed it from her room, and she was not allowed to have it in her room after that because I couldn’t figure out how she had turned it off from across the room.
Several years later, she was now 12, we moved. Her grandfather was helping, and he spanked her for playing music loudly in her new room (the stereo had been placed in there.) She was very upset, and came to me in tears. “Charlie keeps getting me in trouble, and I wish he wouldn’t have come with us, can’t we just send him away?” I walked into her room. This was a console stereo, and it was blaring, yet unplugged.
I got to thinking, the man who died in the attic was names Charles, although I had never told her so. I did not want to scare her, so said nothing about it. Apparently her wish to have him gone angered him, and for many years, weird electrical occurrences happened in her presence. Lights, appliances, especially TV or radio would turn on and off at will.
When she married and moved out, they stopped happening in my house, but seemed to follow her. When she left her husband, and returned home, they started up again. It seemed that Charlie had finally accepted someone past puberty when he began to leave the rest of us alone.
Charlie also seemed to find our station wagon rather appealing. When she moved out again, he stayed, in the car. It is very weird. He turns the radio on and off, and scans it through stations between songs. He also seems to be enthralled with the electric locks. Often they will rattle up and down rapidly, first one, then another, and another, and another.
Other times they refuse to work at all. The fancy computerized lights come on and off at random, the heater will turn on after you remove the keys, or will refuse to come on with the car running. We have replaced the wiring harness, and had it gone through thoroughly. There is nothing wrong, nothing that is but Charlie.
I don’t know if he will move on when we sell the car, or if he will stay with us. There are no children in my life now (until I get grandchildren that is) and maybe I can get rid of him before that occurs, I don’t know, but I am thinking that if he is still around, we will just have to tell the grand kids about Charlie before he scares them.
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