The Conjure Woman

The Conjure Woman
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Haunted Apartment, Old Louisville

The ghost on the 3rd floor of the house on third street greeted us upon arrival, as butler's do. The first night his footsteps echoed up and down the hall, moving to and from the servant's stairs. I would have blamed this on the acoustics of an old house and a restless house-mate downstairs, if it had ever been heard again. Pacing tends to be a habit, not an isolated behavior.

The next day, as I was unpacking, a statue, concrete, mind you and far too heavy to fall un-provoked, certainly too heavy to fly across the room. Yet it did both, seemingly hurling itself off the mantle and onto my foot, though I was at least ten feet away. An angry ghost, it seemed.

That night I saw him. It was the only time I actually saw the ghost. At first I thought someone was looking in the window. It was late at night and I was unpacking. Terrified, I froze and gazed straight at him, a man in white, balding and in his late 40s. In a few seconds I realized that I was on the third floor, so no one could possibly be standing in the window. He stared straight ahead, unseeing and I realized that the figure did not so much look like someone standing outside looking in as someone standing inside looking out.

Activity in the apartment continued the entire time I lived there. It was sporadic. There would be frequent incidents for months then for months nothing at all. Things happened by day an night, without any identifiable rhyme or reason. Faucets and the television turned on and off, I would have attributed this to pipes and wiring if, as with the pacing, they had occurred consistently. Instead, they would go on for months then stop, etc.

A strange sound like the shuffling of cards or someone running their finger up a venitian blind would start and stop in what had been the butler's bedroom, always sounding like it was right beside your ear. The butler's cabinet in the kitchen, (an impressive installation that filled an entire wall, had numerous doors, drawers and boards that pulled out), was also a frequent site of activity. One night a necklace came off of a nail without it or the nail breaking or bending respectively. The only way it could have fallen was if it had been lifted. Another time, in the butler's room, an object flew off of a windowsill and struck someone in the leg hard enough to leave a huge bruise. No windows were open, nor could wind have blown an object that far or thrown it with that much force to start with.

The cabinet was the site of what I think was truly the most incredible occurrence in the apartment. Awakened late one night by a loud racket in the kitchen, I was at first convinced someone had broken in. Armed with a lamp, I went down the hallway. I found no one in the kitchen, (and had, in fact realized how unlikely it was that someone had broken in at all, there were three flights of Victorian stairs to get up and down and apartments on the first and second floors). The cabinet doors, however were flung open, the boards were pulled out, food had been flung everywhere, flour spilled, cereal, it was a disaster. The whole thing was far, far more than animals could have concievably done and furthermore there was no other incident at any time that suggested racoons or anything of the sort.

The house had been built by a steel magnet in  the 1890s as a memorial to his wife, who had died in the Miami huricaine. At first I thought it must be he who haunted the place, but with time I came to think it was the butler. The third floor had been where the servants lived, (the room that I saw him in was the billiard room but the others would have been 'his') and no one reported any other activity anywhere in the house. Also so many things happened in his room or the cabinet he used. I suppose he didn't want to stop taking care of the place, even after he was gone.

1 comment:

  1. makes me scared cause i got a 3rd floor apartment on south 3rd street 2

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