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Totally Scared: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses

Chapter 1

True Stories of Haunted Houses


Living With Ghosts

     Amanda of Bangor, Pennsylvania finds living in a haunted house most distressing.

     "I live in a very old house – we’re talking almost 300 years old – and of course I’ve always been convinced it was haunted even though I’m the only one who ever notices anything."

     The paranormal activity in the house occurs primarily in her room.

     "I don’t know much about the history (of the house) other than my best friend’s aunt died in my room where my bed is," she said. "Also downstairs in our living room, we have a huge door and when we asked why it was so huge, we were told it was because they used to lay bodies out in our house and it was so big so they could carry the caskets out."

     The paranormal activity includes heavy footsteps, the door shaking, foul odors, loud bangs from inside the walls, crying, children playing, men laughing and ethereal voices.

     "I will smell a very foul odor in my room..." she said.

One night as she was just falling asleep, she heard a voice clearly say, "Come here."

     "The banging on the wall next to my bed can get so unbelievably loud, it’s not even funny," she added.

     Amanda said she asked the unseen spirits what they wanted, but got no response. As well, she finds that items in her room move by themselves.

     "I will be sitting right there looking at something moving and I’m not scared but I can clearly see something or someone moving it," she explained.

     Amanda said the paranormal activity in the house was so unsettling that it frightened a friend of hers, who said she saw "a man smoking a cigar by the window." Her uncle was also spooked in the house when he awoke and heard a voice say, "It’s 7 o’clock." As well, her sister’s ex-boyfriend claimed he saw a ghost.

     Dawn has been in continuous contact with Amanda through emails and advised her to have the house investigated. However, her parents have decided to sell it and have already begun packing. Though there was a lull in paranormal activity for a few weeks, this activity seemed to get it going again.

     Amanda said she heard her name called and it’s gotten to the point where she’s more than a little anxious to get out of the house altogether.

     "I’m home alone during the day and truthfully, I’m completely fine. It’s at night that I refuse to stay in my room."


Helpful Spirit

     For Mary Castillo, an author living in Southern California, a ghost by the name of Mary Ann proved to be an unsettling but protective spirit. Mary’s experiences began when her parents moved into a modest post-war home in late 1973. The house was built on former ranch lands in National City, California.

     "Mom was about six months pregnant with me," Mary explained. "My parents would hear each other calling their names and always from the hallway. For example, my mom would come from work while Dad was working the night shift and hear him call, ‘Marty!’ When she’d follow the voice to the hallway, he wasn’t there."

     Mary said when she and her brother got older they would hear their names called as well by a voice that sounded much like their own mother’s.

     Visitors to the house were also surprised by paranormal activity.

     "When family and friends would stop by, they would see a woman walk by the large front window by the door," she said. "Once, my dad’s friends thought he and Mom were pretending not to be home. When they banged on the door, something on the other side rammed into it, throwing them back. Those friends never came over again!"

     Mary explained that her mother was a spiritual woman, who did not believe the resident spirit would cause them any harm. However, she could not help noticing that a woman often parked in front of their home and sat staring down their driveway. One day, when she went out to speak with her, she quickly drove off. Recalling the friends who had visited and were frightened away at the front door, her mother decided to ask a neighbor if they knew whom the woman might be.

     "The neighbor explained that the couple, who lived in the house before my parents, had died shortly after one another. First the husband suffered a massive heart attack at work and then his wife, Mary Ann, died from a broken heart. Mom later learned that it was an accidental overdose or possibly suicide. The woman in the car was Mary Ann’s sister."

     Was it Mary Ann who still hung around the place thinking it was still her home? Perhaps she felt that visitors to the house were intruders and decided to scare them away. Mary said that an even more dramatic event occurred one Saturday in the summer of 1984, when two burglars broke into their home.

     "They did quite a number on the house, taking everything from the VCR to jewelry to some bath towels! Unfortunately my room, which had been the original master bedroom in the house (my parents added a master suite to the house in 1982), had been completely trashed. The police estimated that they robbed the house between 10 and 10:30 that morning. They were taken into custody at 11:30 a.m. after walking into a Dunkin’ Donuts carrying a VCR and two radios in a skiing bag."

     Mary explained that the family attended the sentencing portion of their trial and were stunned to hear one of the burglars claim that their home "was possessed by Satan."

     "The interpreter looked like he was going to keel over as the defendant told the court how, when they walked into the front bedroom (my room), the door suddenly slammed shut and the windows began rattling like someone was banging on them. They ran for it."

     The family realized that Mary Ann had done everything she could to protect their home and there was no reason to be afraid of her. When Mary was 17 years old, she decided to look up information on Mary Ann to find out where she was buried.

     "We found her and her husband t Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego," she said, adding that every so often, she’d take flowers to their gravesite.

     Mary said the spirit still resides in her parents’ home today.

     "Every now and then a light will turn on, a door will close or I’ll suddenly feel her in the room. We’ve learned to ask her not to scare us and if she needs us to pray for her. When we pray for her, she seems to be content."


Too Good To Be True

     Living in a haunted residence was not so comforting for Richard, who moved into a trailer home with his new wife at a bargain rental cost. He was told outright that the trailer was haunted but thought nothing of it and they moved right in. The very first night, the couple wished they had not been so hasty. The lights in the living room starting blinking on and off, so he got out of bed to check them out. When he reached the living room, he felt extremely cold, despite the fact that it was a warm summer night.

     Thinking logically, Richard decided to have his brother-in-law come over the following day to check the electrical wiring. After a full inspection, nothing was found wrong. That evening, as the couple relaxed watching television, the unseen presence turned the bathroom light on and then turned on the sink tap sending water flooding out. Richard continued to stay calm, going to the bathroom to turn everything off.

     However, he no sooner sat down and the bathroom light went on again. This time, the tub tap turned the water on full force. Still determined to stay calm, Richard grabbed a wrench from his truck and turned the water to the trailer off completely. Well, whatever spirit was behind these pranks was not about to let a little thing like that stop him. Not only did water stream from the bathroom sink and tub but also the kitchen sink. Needless to say, the couple got out of there the very next day!

     It is difficult to say why a ghost would behave in this manner. It could be that the spirit lived in the trailer for a very long time and just did not want anyone else to live there. Perhaps the person died there and still felt it was his home.


Excerpt from Totally Scared: The Complete Book on Haunted Houses by Dawn Colclasure and Martha Jette. Published by Saga Books.

ISBN-10: 189751235X

ISBN-13: 978-1897512357

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without the authors’ permission.

If you want to share your paranormal experiences, please email Dawn at