When I was about 17, I took a ride with some friends to the town of New Brunswick, NJ, to meet up with some people I didn’t know who were sharing a house there. I don’t remember the purpose of the visit – I think perhaps one of my friends had a romantic interest in one of the Rutgers boys there, or somebody wanted to score some pot. Anyhow, we parked the car and made our way to the house.
The street was nothing fancy – just your standard New Jersey small city neighbourhood feel, with older, small suburban-style houses closer together than in the actual suburbs. As we approached the house in question and started up the front path, however, a sudden feeling of acute uneasiness gripped me, and I found myself stopped in my tracks. I looked around; the day was fine, the lawn was green, the house was clean if a bit careworn. Yet, when my gaze traveled up the front steps and settled on the door, I found myself seized with inexplicable fright.
By this point, my friends were knocking on the door, then pausing to turn around and ask what was keeping me. I distinctly remember saying “I feel weird; something is wrong, guys. I don’t know what it is, but I do not want to go in that door.” They questioned me a bit, but I could give no other explanation but that something just felt bad and wrong about the place. The door had an unusual, round, porthole-like window, but other than that, appeared to be like any other door. We went back on forth on this for a minute, until they began to tease me, as I’d already been annoying them with an adolescent bad mood on the way. One of the resident boys answered the door then, and I had no choice but to push myself to enter, all covered with gooseflesh, even though my brain was telling me to ask for the car keys so I could circle the block – anything but enter that door.
Still, we went in without incident, and after going upstairs to the second floor and a bit of conversation, my friends finally joked about how I’d had some weird episode and didn’t want to come in the house. The boy who lived there was instantly intrigued, and began to ask me what I’d felt. All I could say was what I’d already said – that I didn’t like that door, it felt forbidding, somehow – and, to be frank, I wasn’t thrilled about the front hall and stairway, either. It was then that things got even stranger. “No way,” the boy said, “that’s so weird that you said that, because we all think that door is haunted.”
It took a minute of bemused questioning from our group to get the story. Apparently, before the group of students had rented or bought the house, the residents had been a gay male couple. Details were sparse, but apparently one night, after weeks of constant arguing and a late returns, one of the lovers opened the front door to the other and killed him on the spot, then killed himself. Since then, the residents could not keep the door locked or unlocked. They would lock it securely at night, only to find it gaping open in the wee hours, or leave it standing open, run to the car for groceries and return to find it closed and bolted, with no one else in the house. There was a good reason I’d felt weird about that door: the ghost of the murderer and/or murdered lurked right there!
Well, of course, I did not want to believe this. I thought they had to be putting me on. “Very funny,” I answered, but the boy was insistent. “C’mon, we’ll ask my roommates,” he urged, dragging me down to the first floor. It was there that two other roommates, who had not been privy to any of the previous conversation were playing video games. “Hey,” the boy asked them, “guess what? She was afraid to come in the door earlier, and said it gave her a bad feeling!” Again, I got a chorus of “no way”s. “Tell her what happened,” the boy prodded, and the next thing you know, the other roommates, who could not possibly have heard the story he told me, repeated the exact same story.
You can best believe I got the hell out of there as quick as I could, despite them telling me that nothing more sinister had ever happened there, save little things going missing and a few lights being turned on and off. That was enough for me, and my friends, after they’d paid their respects and gotten whatever they came for, were pretty freaked out as well. There was a lot of nervous laughter, and peering at me out of the corner of their eyes on the ride back, like I was different. Later, I would find out just how I might turn this unexpected ability to discern lingering energies and presences on and off, but for then, I just wanted to forget it, even though I never would…