Invisible Presence

It’s been days since I’ve felt welcome in my own home. Why did you have to do a séance? I thought, staring at my reflection in the mirror. Since that night, a presence has plagued my every waking minute; even my dreams have all turned to nightmares.
From the dark circles under my eyes, there is no doubt that the lack of sleep is hindering my daily routines. I feel like I’m slowly losing my mind. I’m not alone.
The thread that binds me to reality is fraying, reality is no longer in my grasp. The house feels alive. Footsteps echo through the hallway when no one else is home, and I swear that figures are moving through the rooms.
This place is no longer safe. My sanctuary is in complete disarray. I need to get out while I still can…while I still can…

 

© Kristen Ricketts
Photo from Pixabay

Invisible

Premonition

I woke with a start.
The feeling of dread was overwhelming, like an icy hand gripping my heart. Outside, the sun had not yet risen; the pale bluish, white glow from the moon penetrated through the drapes. The quiet was almost deafening as I sat up, and put my bare feet on the freezing hardwood. Quickly scanning the room, I wondered why I was so overcome with fear.
Out in the corridor, the clang from the grandfather clock struck two; The Witching Hour, I thought as the chimes faded into the darkness. Immediately, as if having a premonition, I turned toward the door, and waited.
As if on cue, footsteps began on the far end of the hall. The sound increasing, I suddenly recalled being roused from my sleep every night since moving into this cabin. Tonight, however, felt different.
I listened breathlessly as the footsteps stopped right outside the room. With only the faint light from the window, I watched as a white mist began to materialize. The translucent particles began to take the form of a figure dressed in a vintage gown. From the bed, I could distinctly make out the long sleeves, and high lace collar; the fabric from the skirt billowing behind her. She continued forward, her gait struggled as if she were fighting against invisible ties.
Long, dark hair obscured her features from my view. Unable to move, I watched as she came closer. The temperature around me dropped with each step she took, and little puffs of my breath formed in front of my eyes with every exhale. Soon, she was standing right in front of me, her bony, pale hand reaching up to move the hair from in front of her face. I was mesmerized as she pulled the tendrils away; I was staring directly at myself…
I woke with a start.

 

© Kristen Ricketts 2018
photo from Pixabay

premonition

You Were Meant to Know the Night Writing Prompt Challenge: One with the Night/Kristen

I recently submitted this piece to the blog Brave and Reckless. Hope you enjoy it!

Brave & Reckless

“You were meant to know the night,” she whispered into my ear. Her hold strengthened with inhuman force as she braced me against her body; steadying me for what was about to come. I had long since given up the struggle against this exquisite creature. The power she held over me was unrelenting.

The edge of time seemed to be nearing at a quickening pace, the unyielding hunger in her eyes expressing her desire. Tracing their way my chest to my throat, her icy fingertips lingered for a moment over the gently palpitating skin. I knew that she could feel my pulse quicken as the seconds dragged on.

Paralyzed from fear of the unknown, I waited for an eternity. She had forewarned of the indescribable pain would soon consume me as I take my last breath and awaken a nocturnal animal; forever destined to lurk in the shadows.

Her scent…

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Haunted Histories 4 Part 2: Gettysburg Battlefields

Like I mentioned in the first post on Gettysburg the Farnsworth House Inn offers different kinds of ghost tours. One of the tours that we decided on was a tour that gives you the opportunity to use paranormal equipment to investigate one of the bloodiest battlefields in the area. Oddly, this also happens to be directly behind a local school’s football field.
Reading the descriptions of the tours offered now, the Farnsworth House Inn still offers a tour where you can use the equipment but the locations have changed a bit. Now, they offer the opportunity to investigate the basement, and after my experience there I would love to go back and take this tour!
On the night of the tour, my husband and I met up with the rest of those who had also booked this excursion. We did a quick tour of the area then we were broken up into smaller groups. Armed with dowsing rods, an infrared night-vision camera, and a digital voice recorder the four of us (we were paired with two teenage girls) set out onto the moonlit battlefield.
Dowsing rods are supposed to interact with the spirit’s energy whenever a question is asked. Ours were L shaped rods that we held  apart, and in response to a yes or no question they should either come together and cross or move further away. During this investigation, we didn’t get any replies using these.
As for the digital recorder, the guide collected everyone’s recorders for review. She had said that if she got anything good she would email us but we didn’t hear anything back.
At the time of this trip, neither one of us had watched many paranormal investigation shows so we weren’t at all familiar with the equipment. The groups were spread out over a large area and we were using the infrared camera. All of us stared at a black screen, not realizing that it wouldn’t show anything other than the infrared light spectrum. We continued walking, and out of nowhere a bright white figure materialized on screen. Thinking that it was the group ahead of us I stepped in front of the lens completely obstructing this incandescent form. When looking at it, it had the distinct shape of the human figure and we were even able to make out that it appeared to be wearing a forage cap, common to civil war era soldiers. We watched in awe as this being walked across the battlefield only to dematerialize into the ground without leaving any trace.
Keep in mind, this was the time of the low resolution flip phone camera so neither one of us even thought to take it out to take a picture or video of this unexplained event and the infrared camera frustratingly wasn’t equipped to record anything. Had we have known better, I would’ve used my digital camera that I had on me to document this.

Here are a few photos from our ghost hunt.

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Orb in Gettysburg Battlefield

 

I don’t want to lead anyone on what I see in the photo below, so if you are able to make anything out feel free to comment below.
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Under the football field bleachers
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While touring the area, there is a respect for the grounds and the history that I haven’t felt before. It’s somewhere I would recommend going if you are into either history or paranormal. The monuments that are built to commemorate the great battle are miraculous and hold the memories of those who lost their lives during the Civil War.
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Monument with large orbs

 

Haunted Histories 4 Part 1: Gettysburg: Farnsworth House Inn

Let me start out by saying I had every intention to only do one post for my number 4 Haunted Location: Gettysburg, but I feel that it would be better suited broken into 2.

It’s been almost 10 years since by husband (at the time we were just dating) and I went to Gettysburg. I had been there before with my family, but it was his first time visiting. On a whim, while googling places to stay I came across the website for the Farnsworth House Inn. Touted as one of the most haunted inns in Gettysburg, I was immediately interested and easily talked him into staying there. See, I’m the kind of person who believes in most things until they are proven otherwise but my husband is the complete opposite. For him, he is a skeptic first and foremost until he sees it for himself. This is probably how I get him to go along with all of my crazy ideas.

For this trip I booked us in the Custer Room, which is located outside of the main house with its own private entrance. At the time, I also booked two different ghost tours through their website. I’ll be detailing the first ghost tour in the 2nd post.

 

Inside the Custer Room

On night two, we were supposed to go on a walking tour of the battlefields but due to extensive rain the conditions kept us from continuing onto the walking part of the tour. Instead, they took us into the Farnsworth House basement where they told us stories of the property. The guide was very knowledgeable about the location, and the stories were extremely interesting. I hung on every word that was spoken until all of a sudden I felt pressure on my legs. I leaned over to tell my husband what I was feeling but I  just tried to play it off as dampness in the air. That was until the guide made mention of the spirit of a child that liked to sit on people’s laps in the basement. I couldn’t believe that more than one person had experienced the same odd sensation that I was feeling.

As the story of the child continued, the guide stated that he liked to move objects in the rooms as well; that if you left a quarter in one place you would find it on the bed. I was intrigued, and instantly wished we had left some change or something out on the nightstand to see if it would be moved when we returned.

Around 10:00 we made our way back outside and up to our room. I decided to wash my face, and when I looked at my hand I was missing my ring that I knew I had on when we left the room earlier. The ring had fit snuggly around my finger so I knew it didn’t just fall off, but I started to panic. I asked my husband if he saw it when we went to the basement and he said that not only did he see it, but had felt it on my hand. The entrance to the basement was on the outside of the house and since it had rained almost nonstop, there had been a giant puddle at the bottom of the steps. In order to make it over without falling into the water (which I am more than capable of doing) I grabbed onto his hand to make sure I made it over, and it was here that he noticed that I was wearing it.

Not wanting to wait till the morning to try to find the ring, we started out the door to retrace our steps. I turned to make sure that we had the room key, and across the floor something shiny caught my eye. I went over to it, and there behind the leg of a luggage holder was my ring on the floor. Now the first reaction would be It fell off of my hand, but the floor was tile and we would’ve heard it hit then roll to where it lay. I was relieved that we had found it, and I was anxious to get a good night’s sleep before having drive back home the next day.

But, as fate would have it a peaceful night’s sleep was not to be had. At about 2 am, I woke to the feeling of an icy hand grasping my shin. To this day, I can still remember what it felt like that night with the imprint of a hand lingering on my skin.

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featured image from Farnsworthhouseinn.com

Haunted Histories Part 2: Hill View Manor

Over the weekend my husband, our friend, and myself toured the Hill View Manor in New Castle, Pa. Before going, I watched the Ghost Adventures episode to get an idea of what we could possibly encounter. However, I never thought that we would experience what we did.

First, some back story… When the Hill View Manor opened in 1926 as The Lawrence County Home for the Aged, it operated as a poor farm. It was home to convicts just released from prison, unwed mothers, elderly, and the mentally disabled. One of the stories we were told while on the tour was about a man Eli Saurri who died in the original boiler room (We weren’t able to go into this section due to pipes that have fallen). They say that his friends found him drunk outside, and took him to the boiler room to sleep it off. Unfortunately, he died from potential alcohol poisoning and exposure.

Here is the entrance to the original boiler room

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In the late 1960’s the building was renovated to become a nursing facility. One of the more notable deaths of this time was of a woman named Amanda. She was around 100 years old and blind. Staff put her room across from a hallway that led to the outside so that she could easily wheel herself out in her wheelchair to feed the birds. Our tour guide told us that there are actually two theories about how she died. One, she got confused (and made a few extra turns instead of going the straight route to her room) and ended up falling down the stairs to the basement. The second is that one of the other residents pushed her down the steps. They think this might have happened because there have been multiple EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) captured on the stairwell saying “pushed” or “fall”.

Our tour began in the main entrance. We opted to take a 3 hour tour; 1.5 hour guided tour then 1.5 hours of us just roaming the facility ourselves. From the moment we walked through the doors, there was a different atmosphere to the place. Original documents and furniture transported us back to before 2004 when the facility closed. There was even still a calendar of events that hung on the wall.

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While walking the first floor, our friend got a feeling coming from a specific room near the nurses station. When he asked the tour guide if something happened there, the guide looked shocked. He was getting ready to tell us about this room; it belonged to Amanda. There was definitely some kind of connection between Amanda and our friend.

From the first floor, we went down into the basement. Our guide admitted that he didn’t like going down into the basement alone, and I’ll admit there was a different feeling down there than in the rest of the building. It had a heavy darkness to it that kept you on edge. Once there, the guide took us through the “Belongings Room” where they store things that the residents left behind.

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This was the only section of the basement that any of us felt comfortable in.

Next, we went to the boiler room (not the one where Eli Saurri died). There is said to be a spirit of a man named George who inhabits this space. As the tour guide stood in the pitch black, he jumped and grabbed at his arm; he said that he felt someone touch him. Entranced, I hung on the stories that he told until I noticed a dark shadow behind him move from behind one of the machines. I stayed quiet, not wanting to draw attention to myself or whatever the figure could be. Not wanting to be left behind in the basement as the others walked away I vowed to go back once the guided tour was over to get pictures. (More on that later in this post)

We followed on for the next hour, listening about the history and taking note of the newer parts of the building as well as the ones that were falling apart. The Hill View Manor does offer Paranormal Investigations so things are moved around or set out to be used as trigger objects. I don’t think the 3 of us would ever try to use anything like that to contact the other side.

The guide left us on the 3rd floor, and we began to explore alone. Nothing happened while we were exploring this area.

Picture from the nurses station on the 3rd floor with a photo of 2 residents

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We made our way back down to the 2nd floor. There was a section that the tour guide told us not many people go to because of what happened there. He said that a woman who lived at the poor farm with her son had been raped in the back room. We went down this corridor, and again you could feel an uneasiness surround you.

Another place we spent extra time is what’s called “Angelo’s hallway”. While looking through the rooms, we heard a few unexplained bangs and as I walked into the main corridor I heard a note from the piano two rooms over in the kitchen/cafeteria.

Angelo’s Hallway

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While walking through the many corridors, the guide suggested that if we take a picture of a hallway to do it over our shoulder. Many people have caught figures while doing this. I followed his suggestion a few times through the manor, and got this.  Feel free to comment if you see anything.

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There was one other room on this floor where all three of us experienced unexplained smells. In this picture, I highlighted a few areas that could be orbs. There is a fine line between an orb and a dust particle, but due to the shape and the brightness I don’t think these are just dust.

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Outside of this room, something brushed against our friend’s hand.

Almost directly below this room is the Chapel on the first floor. The guide had said that people received EVPs if you read from one of the many hymn books that are out. I was sitting in the chairs facing the riser and took this picture. I’m not quite sure what the area highlighted is, but it was only in this one photo. I took the same shot multiple times.SAM_2611 2.jpgSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Before leaving this area I began to look through the hymns. Almost instantly I felt a coldness (like when you stick your hand in a bucket of ice water) on my elbow and an energy wave wash over me; it felt like someone was holding on to my arm.

We finished the tour of the first floor, again stopping at Amanda’s room before moving back down to the basement for my pictures of the boiler room. I led the way down the steps, and for some reason could not bring myself to open the door; I had to have my husband open it. The feelings that I had the first time we went down there were intensified for no reason.

Turning on our cell phone flashlights, we hurried back into the “belongings room” where a calm once again fell over us. We took our time exploring the different suitcases, tables, papers..all of us interested in different things. I was looking in a cabinet when I heard a loud growl coming from the corner of the room. Frightened for the first time in the 3 hours, I suggested going to the boiler room then leaving.

All of us stopped in the doorway to the hall, frozen in place, looking into the darkness. I pulled my camera out to take a picture as the others noticed something dark move at the end of the hall. I hadn’t seen it since I was looking down, but I snapped a picture and went to step forward when I saw a dark figure crouching across from the boiler room entrance. Sheer fear washed over me, and I couldn’t get out of the basement fast enough. Words can’t describe what I felt or saw in that moment.

So much for a picture of the boiler room… but I did get this picture of the basement hall. (The creepy bunny was left by someone) The bright lights at the end of the hall are reflections of my camera flash. Again, if you see anything please feel free to comment.

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In all, if you are looking for a place that has history and is known to be an active paranormal location the Hill View Manor is definitely a place worth seeing.

Breath and Bone Writing Prompt Challenge: Endless Night/Kristen Ricketts

I wanted to share a short fiction piece that I submitted to braveandrecklessblog.com.

Brave & Reckless

The lights from the house shined brightly against the ominous night sky. This place that once encompassed so much happiness now keeps me anchored to these grounds. Barely more than breath and bones, I am like an echo between planes; not much more than a whisper in the wind.

Below my feet the leaves that fell overnight no longer crumble under my weight. I am a remnant of the person that I once was, destined to live eternity in endless solitude. The scent of jasmine hangs on the breeze; another reminder of all of that has been lost. The grass has finally started to grow on the haphazardly dug grave below the weeping willow, covering what lies beneath the muddy soil. I can feel the decomposition beginning on my body, a web of secrets entwining me with the earth.

Around me, the night begins to come alive with nocturnal creatures…

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