Please hear me out. I know this is an absurd claim, but if you have the patience to read this, you’ll be in for a treat. No trick! I have always been of the sort that enjoys a good scare, specifically around Halloween; I grew up an avid lover of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series (Those illustrations still nostalgically haunt my dreams), and nothing gets me going like a good ghost story. That being said, I feel that there is a time and place for such a thing, and it’s usually not on a sweltering day in June that creepy tales or feelings start to arise. In my case, the June of 2010.
I was finished with college and working full-time for a marketing company. It was my first Big Boy Job, and I was figuring out how to be an adult and live on my own. The year prior, I made the unfortunate mistake of living with a girlfriend-soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend in a one-bedroom apartment, but that’s another scary story. The search for a place to live started like they usually do: Putting it off until the last minute, then frantically searching Craigslist for a mediocre place that didn’t look like a murderer’s hangout.
I luckily found a nice-looking pool house in a safe neighborhood. The walls were all black, but in the least creepy way I can explain; the pool house had been used as an occasional theater for movie parties, so one wall had a giant screen and a projector was mounted on the ceiling. The only other separate room was the bathroom opposite of the screen, and the rest resembled an efficiency apartment. It looked cozy and was affordable for a year’s lease, so I made the arrangements to meet the landlord.
All it took was meeting the family that owned the pool house to make me feel at ease. The husband was a young, well-to-do doctor and his wife was pregnant with their first child. They didn’t really have time to use the pool house for parties anyway, so it only made sense to rent it out. I took the place immediately and moved in the following week.
Is this boring? Sorry, I don’t know if all of these details are truly necessary. I guess I could have just said, “I found a pool house. It had black walls. One wall was for projecting movies. The family was young and nice. I moved in.” I’m sure you’re skipping around to get to The Good Part, so I’ll make haste and get to said Part.
To save words, I sketched up a layout of what we’re dealing with here:
The only window in the main room is on the door, there on the right. The bathroom has two translucent windows and the walls are baby blue. It’s also worth noting that the main room is tiled and there is separate tiling in the bathroom.
My First Night
I moved everything in and prepared for my first night in the place. I was extremely exhausted and self-loathing from moving all the stuff I forgot I even owned, so I had no trouble getting to sleep that first night. As noted above, the only window was on the door, and I had yet to get a curtain or blind for it. I lived in what felt like an upper middle class neighborhood (There was a pool house, for goodness sake), but still had that feeling someone could see in on me. This is the only shred of what might be called a strange feeling, and that was fleeting. I hardly thought anything of it and made a mental note to buy blinds the next day.
What follows is what truly happened to the best of my recollection. I know this was in the middle of the night and I realize that dreams can feel very real, but I’m still going to explain this as if it happened beyond a dream’s capacity. I’ve had those Real Dreams and they can feel very realistic, but this realness was in a freak camp of its own insanity.
I woke up deep in the night and stumbled to the bathroom (follow along with my horrible drawing, won’t you?). The pool house hilariously had an actual urinal, so I opted to break this one in for my first Late Night Alleviation™. After doing the deed, I turned around to head out of the room. There were no lights on in the place, but a dim streetlight nearby came in through the bathroom windows. My eyes were adjusted enough to see my way out, so I expected to turn around and see remnants of the doorway leading back to my bed. I got this sinking feeling, and a huge weight that felt as much like an emotional burden as it did a physical one push on my shoulders. What I was looking at didn’t make any sense; I knew there was another room in front of me, but it wasn’t. The rest of the pool house had been sucked into this vacuum of nothingness. But that nothingness was right in front of my eyes, I felt it (“it” being who knows what) looking right at me as I was brought down to the floor. I was not pushed nor tripped down, but rather placed—almost gingerly. This thing was at my feet, and I was looking in the direction of what was supposed to be my new pool house theater efficiency apartment. My feet were brought up over my head, and I began to move. My shirt trailed up my back as the feeling of being pulled away from the bathroom came over me. I could feel the cold tile on my bare back as we crossed the threshold from the bathroom to the rest of the pool house. I looked at this whatever it was pull me slowly across the room, between the couch and loveseat and towards my bed. All of that faint light that directed me before was gone. I felt eyes on me, and I was dragged up from the floor onto my bed, flat on my back. There was absolutely nothing in front of me but void darkness, no sign of a bathroom doorway or a door window with no blinds. The weight on my shoulders was now over my entire body. I felt 100 pounds heavier as I felt some overwhelming, ineffable presence convey to me something to the effect of, “Look, I don’t know who you are or why you are here, but if you are going to be here, this is where you need to stay.” My body was cold and damp with sweat. My heart was trying to get out of me, and all I could do was shut my eyes in terrifying silence.
My First Morning
After this happened, a defense mechanism helped convince me that it wasjust a dream. I had just signed a year’s lease on this place, so I wasn’t about to scare myself into leaving. Whatever this entity was, I felt that the best thing I could do was go on normally, respect it for what it was and stay the hell away from the bathroom at night.
I read up on sleep paralysis, although I had never experienced it before in my 23 years. Some people experience waking up in the middle of the night, still in a dream-like state. Their bodies are frozen but their brain keeps on dreaming. It can be a hallucinogenic-like experience, and sometimes that’s terrifying (so I read). However, what happened to me wasn’t like that at all. I got up and moved my way to the bathroom; nothing was weird and I felt totally fine. What was most strange, in fact, was how lucid I actually was. I wasn’t even in a groggy state when I sauntered into the bathroom.
Halloween Movie Night!
All that being said, I went on living in this place. Did it ever happen again, you ask? No, not like that. I did have a few moments of unease, though. My lady friend and I watched The Exorcist at my place for Halloween that year. I know, what was I thinking? But that crazy event had happened months ago. In my psychological state of denial and suppression, I felt that I was at a place where I could enjoy even a scary movie with my girlfriend. So, we watch the thing (My first time seeing it. Fantastic movie. Really terrifying.) and then went to sleep. She was the little spoon and I was the big spoon, and we’re facing the corner with our backs to the rest of the room. Although we had just watched a scary movie, I really wasn’t even scaring myself with any particular scenario—plus not being alone made me feel quite alright. Then the heater kicked off and made this odd click I hadn’t noticed before. It sounded exactly like somebody opening a Zippo lighter. Then, what felt like silence before was now deafening. I felt like I had tinnitus and there was a strong ringing in my ear, that kind of silence that was so quiet it was loud. I opened my eyes, looking at the corner and spooning, but not moving. I felt a horrifying feeling all over me, terrified that the entire room was blind to me. Everything in my body told me that the last thing I wanted to do was look behind me. Even though my girlfriend was there, I had never felt more alone in my life.
My Last Day
Moving day had come, and I started preparing to move everything out. I had hardly spoken with the landlord family due to differing schedules, but I had a chat with the husband a few minutes before hauling out. We start talking about the pool house, and I asked him how many people had lived there before me.
“Honestly, you’re the first person to stay there. Right before you, this girl signed a lease, moved all of her stuff in, stayed the night…Well, next morning she hastily apologizes and says she’s breaking the lease. She doesn’t explain it, but willingly pays the fee, moves all her stuff back out, and I never see her again. I don’t know, she was young. Guess she wasn’t ready to move away from home or something.”
I’m pretty sure I know why she moved out.
Postscript: A few years after this happened, I got a Facebook message from the current landlord of the pool house. I had had some mail delivered, and she wanted to forward it to me. Not being able to pass up the opportunity to ask a new person about the place, I asked in the most vague way possible what she thought about the pool house. That piqued her interest immediately, and I told her the fillet of what I experienced. She replied with a shocking account of her friend staying in the pool house and feeling so uncomfortable that she began crying in the night, vowing to never stay there again unless she slept with a Bible on her chest.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe there really are things that just can’t be logically explained away. I personally feel that certain places have a spirit of place, and we can pick up on those spirits/energies if they are intense enough on the spectrum of Good and Bad. This one might have been a not-so-good one, therefore a number of people were able to feel that negative energy in their own way.
Just to be safe, I recommend not staying in black pool houses with urinals.