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Southern Gothic by obiwan [Reviews - 2]

Subject: WWW Form Submission
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 12:04:49 -0700 (PDT)
Name: Curt Rowlett
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Southern Gothic: A True Ghost Story

by Curt Rowlett

In 1987, I was living in a rented house in Atlanta, Georgia, along with four roommates. We lived there for just over a year and during that time, we had several experiences with what we later became convinced was an actual ghostly presence.

The house was located in an area of Atlanta known as Grant Park and was well over a hundred years old; a beautiful old Victorian that had been built sometime just after the American Civil War when Atlanta had been burned and destroyed by Union forces. We were all pretty young (in our twenties) and trying to get started in our respective careers, so the prospect of sharing the rent for a wonderful old two story, five bedroom house with both an attic and full basement was an attractive one.

One week after moving in, we were all asleep in our rooms when we were awakened by screaming from our roommate, whom I'll call Hanna. We all jumped out of bed and rushed into Hanna's room. She was sitting up, saying that she had woken up to see the dark figure of a man standing next to her bed, looking down at her. She said that when she had screamed, the figure turned and walked out of the room. She was very scared and highly agitated. Myself and the other male roommate (the housemates consisted of two male/female couples and one single female) immediately checked out the inside and outside of the house, but we could find no intruder. (This happened around two or three o'clock in the morning). We finally got Hanna to calm down and everyone went back to bed. The next day, we just chalked up this first incident to nervousness about living in a new home that just happened to be a creaky and somewhat spooky old antique house. (However, Hanna would not hear of that explanation and in the ensuing days, continued to insist that she had seen this dark figure standing by her bed. She refused to stay in the house alone after that).

About two weeks after that first incident, we were again all asleep when suddenly there was a very loud crash and the sound of tinkling glass from the hallway that separated all of the bedrooms and a common bathroom. Once more, we all jumped up and ran out into the hall where we found that a full-length mirror that had been mounted on the bathroom door had shattered into hundreds of pieces all over the floor. Since everyone had been asleep, we could not figure out how this had happened as the mirror frame was still securely fastened to the door and only the glass itself had broken. (Atlanta is definitely not prone to earthquakes and the street was not a busy one as far as vehicle traffic, so we ruled out the possibility that a large truck had passed by and caused vibrations to occur inside the place).

Later, similar "poltergeist" activity would manifest itself in many other ways: There was one instance when I was home alone in the house watching television when, for no good reason that I could later ascertain, three candles that were sitting on the fireplace mantle suddenly fell off onto the floor, almost as if someone had swept them off with a hand. Then there was the phenomenon that we all experienced at one time or another where personal objects and other items would go missing, only to turn up later in a place where the owner would swear that he/she had not left them. (On one occasion, missing car keys were found lying right in the middle of the person's bed after a thorough search had been conducted for them by everyone home at the time). Other strange activity came in the form of knocking and tapping sounds heard coming from either the attic or the basement when it was certain that no one was in either space.

The only other incident that involved the sighting of an actual "entity" occurred about two months after we had moved in. We were having a small party at our place and a houseguest, who none of us had met prior to the party, was taking a personal tour of the place on her own. She suddenly came running up from downstairs saying that she had just seen a man standing in the corner of the basement. She said that when she had called out to him, he simply disappeared! We immediately went down to the basement to check and of course, found nobody there. This was most interesting because there was only one entrance leading into or out of the basement and a person who might have been trying to play a trick would not have been able to escape past anyone without being seen. (As noted, the houseguest who saw the figure in the basement was a new acquaintance whom we later determined had no prior knowledge that our place had any sort of "unusual" activity connected to it).

After about six months of all this, things seemed to quiet down and no more "ghost" activity was noticed or reported by anyone. We began to convince ourselves that maybe we had all overreacted to some degree and perhaps we were just being overly-imaginative about the whole thing.

Finally, toward the end of our time living in the house, my wife and I were out at a restaurant one evening having a drink and dinner. We struck up a conversation with another couple sitting at a table nearby, two people who were complete strangers to us and whom we happened to meet that night by total chance. When they asked us where we were living in Atlanta, we told them about our place in Grant Park. They said, "Really, we used to live in Grant Park. Which street do you live on?" When we told them, they said, "That is interesting, we used to rent a house on that same street. What is your address?" When we gave our address to them, they said, "Oh my god, we used to rent that exact same house ourselves," immediately followed by the women saying, "Have you seen the ghost yet?" Well, you can imagine that both my wife and I were completely flabbergasted to have received such validation about our "ghost problem" from two complete strangers! We ended up comparing notes with them and they told us about many strange happenings they had witnessed in the house that were quite similar to our own.

That experience thoroughly convinced me that there really is something to the whole subject of ghosts and afterward, I no longer dismissed similar stories that I heard from other people quite so easily.

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