Robin’s Encounter: An Unusual Ghost Story ...by Bill Knell
I was contacted in 2004 by a woman I’ll call Robin because she reminds me of someone by that name. After speaking with her on the phone several times, my wife and I met her and her husband at their home in Arizona. In their twenties, the couple had run across my Website after reading an article that I wrote about Ghosts. While I cannot be too specific on the details of her experience for a number of reasons, Robin did ask me to share her story with my readers and Website visitors without revealing her identity.
A year and a half before she contacted me, Robin had been part of a student film project at a university film school in the Southwest USA. Inspired by The Blair Witch Project and Scariest Places On Earth, she wanted to combine the two concepts. Rather than creating a fictional folktale and design a film around it, Robin had the idea of building a film project around people experiencing real and recurring supernatural phenomenon. Hardly a true believer, she approached the project as an interested observer. Along with two other students, Robin wanted to create a film that captured the everyday reality of people who believed they were haunted by ghosts.
While researching possible subjects for the film project, Robin came across some comments posted on a message board regarding an alleged haunted house in a Los Angeles suburb. The posting asked for help or advice. After going back and forth with a couple of postings and several emails, she managed to convince the people involved to invite her over. The three bedroom home was owned by a working couple in their thirties who purchased it in 2000.
From the time they first moved in, weird things happened. A new thermostat for a new central air conditioning unit kept resetting itself down to between sixty and sixty four degrees. Foul smells occasionally occurred in various parts of the home without apparent cause. Dark spots appeared and vanished without warning inside the house. These were areas where, despite the best lighting, it was difficult to see. While all of these things could easily have conventional explanations, they weren’t the end of the story.
Just after moving into the home, the new owners noticed that their four year old female cocker spaniel was acting strangely. She always wanted to go out into the back yard. In their previous home, she would go out to take care of her personal business and then bark to get back in. In this home, she stayed out and showed no interest in coming back in until they enticed her with doggie snacks. Without showing any signs of illness, their dog passed away suddenly just five months after moving into the new house. The couple also underwent some changes.
Although they felt the same, people started to perceive the couple differently. Their friends and coworkers kept asking if they were alright, getting enough sleep and eating correctly. Despite no obvious physical changes they could perceive, others said that they looked tired or stressed out. They would stare at a wall or out a window as if daydreaming or distracted by something for up to thirty minutes at a time. It might have gone on longer except for the interruption of a phone call or someone speaking to them. The couple didn’t remember doing anything like that. Eventually, their odd behavior subsided.
The couple might have taken all this in stride, but a new and more disturbing element entered the situation about eight months after the couple moved in. Both people began to feel someone brushing up against them when no one was there. It would happen in the house, backyard and garage. The brushing was sporadic and subtle at first, but the incidents increased and became more annoying. The worst part was having it happen while they were in bed. It got to the point where they were woken up at least twice a night.
Thinking there might be a conventional explanation for their problems, the couple spent hundreds of dollars with repair companies in an attempt to locate the source. Nothing was found that could account for what was happening. Likewise, the utility companies came out and found everything to be normal. With few other options available, they decided to post some requests for ideas, suggestions or help on a couple of message boards. Most of the replies were sincere, but not helpful. After a few replies from paranormal investigators, they finally decided to allow a paranormal research group from another state to come and see if they could help.
It was early November and the couple were hoping to get their supernatural problems, if that’s what they were, solved by Thanksgiving. It was at that time that Robin contacted them and explained her film project in very honest terms. While they were doubtful about allowing her to use their home in her film project, they did invite her over to witness the paranormal group’s investigation and anything strange that might happen. If nothing else, she would gain the experience of visiting an apparently haunted house.
Robin arrived at their home around two o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday. The paranormal group was supposed to have arrived a few hours earlier, but called to say they were delayed. That worked to Robin’s advantage as she was able to have a nice conversation with the couple and get the lowdown on what was happening in their home. She took notes and ran through a short list of polite questions. The couple answered them honestly and seemed genuine in their belief about what was happening in the house.
It was now almost four o’clock and still no sign of the paranormal researchers. After an enjoyable lunch courtesy of the couple, they escorted Robin through their home, backyard and garage. Despite their claims, Robin either felt or experienced anything out of the ordinary. In an effort to help fill the time, Robin shared some of her ideas about the film project with the couple. They were intrigued, but concerned about their privacy. To keep things light, she also told them a bit about her experiences in film school and how she tracked down and visited locations where television and motion picture projects were being filmed the summer before.
Just around five o’clock, Robin started to notice something odd. It was a strange odor which she described as ‘unpleasant’ and ‘persistent’. The couple said nothing, so she wondered if they even noticed it? She didn’t ask, but Robin became increasingly uneasy with her surroundings. A short while after the odor started she felt something brush up against her leg. With no pets in the house, she wondered if the stories told by the couple were true?
The paranormal investigators finally arrived at the house around 6:30pm. Three men and two women in their twenties came in a van with a phone number and Website address painted on it to report paranormal phenomenon. They wore tee shirts sporting the organization’s logo. The couple was taken aback having requested that they arrive quietly and keep a low profile.
The investigators unloaded a ton of video equipment and some tech stuff from their ghost mobile and made their way into the house. Making no apologies for their tardiness, the group began to set things up. The couple had reservations at a nearby motel and planned to abandon their home to the ghost folks for two nights. They hoped to make their two day absence from the house a romantic getaway of sorts, but the late arrival of the investigators had already cost them a dinner reservation.
By seven-thirty, all the equipment was up and running. The investigators were ready to interview the couple, but they seemed annoyed and voiced concerns about being filmed. They understood that the home would be filmed and had given permission for that. However, they had also made it clear before the investigators even decided to come that there were to be no on-camera questions. The couple felt they were not ready for that.
One of the women commented that they had hoped to capture some visual anomalies on camera as they spoke to the couple. One of the men added that investigations like this one were costly. It would help if they could film them and add the video to others being sold to raise funds for their group. However, the couple still preferred not to be filmed at that point. One of the men reluctantly shut off the video cameras and ran a cassette recorder instead. While all this was going on, the strange odor in the home seemed to increase. The couple noticed it and commented. The paranormal investigators said that they noticed it as well, but had no immediate explanation..
By nine o’clock that night the investigators had finished with the couple, walked through the home, taken a number of photos and settled in for a weekend of ghost chasing. The couple headed off to their motel and Robin sat in the living room watching the investigators as they sat at a folding table filled with electronic devices. At that point, the group tried to get Robin out of the house. They kept asking her if she had all she needed and seemed to be oblivious to the fact that she had plans to stay there for most of the night and watch for anything that might happen.
The reason for their attempt to exercise Robin from the premises became obvious about an hour later. Another man and woman arrived at the home. The woman was a psychic and the man identified himself as an observer. Robin later determined that he was a free lance journalist who had showed some interest in writing a story about the investigation at the couple’s home. This was something she was sure they would frown on.
The group spent a lot of time filming the psychic who seemed to feel that there were a number of spirits in the home. At times she seemed possessed by the ghosts. Moaning, crying and calling out a number of first names, it was a scene right our of a low budget horror flick. Meanwhile, Robin noticed some unusual darkness in corners of the living room and central hallway. Blinking her eyes repeatedly, she thought maybe it was just eye fatigue from the long day.
Walking over to the hallway, Robin turned on an overhead light, but the area remained unusually dark. She tried pointing this out to the investigators working in one of the nearby rooms. They seemed to feel that if anything strange were going on, the psychic would sense and respond to it. And there were always the cameras. That gave Robin an idea.
She walked over to one of the video monitors on the folding table to take a look at the view from the camera facing the hallway. The view looked normal with no dark area. Looking up, the dark area was plainly visible to the naked eye. One of the investigators sitting at the folding table saw the same thing and tried to get the attention of the others, but they were still in the other room filming the psychic who continued to moan and cry.
“It was a disturbing scene.” Robin said, commenting on the paranormal investigators, the over the top behavior being displayed by the psychic and the strange happenings in the house. “I wanted to call someone for help, but I wasn‘t sure who that would be.” she continued. “I promised them (the couple) that I would come alone and I did. They didn’t want a houseful of people making all sorts of noise. Privacy was a big thing with them. Neighbors might call the police or complain to the Homeowner’s Association.”
Robin decided to leave. Things had gotten out of hand and with the psychic crying and moaning, the police were sure to be called as the night wore on. While gathering up her notepad and a few other items she had brought to the house, Robin again felt that strange sensation of something brushing up against her legs. She told one of the ghost chasers that she was leaving and departed.
During the drive home, Robin thought about all the events of the day. She saw great potential in a film about the house despite the circus atmosphere created by the ghost folks, but was sure that the couple would never agree to it. Besides, the events at the house had been far more pronounced than she had expected and Robin wondered if she would be able to deal with it all? Once home, she fell asleep quickly and slept until late morning the next day.
Robin spent most of Saturday afternoon calling the others that were to be a part of the film project. They were amazed at her report, but skeptical regarding all the goings on at the couple’s home. The students met later that day to discuss the project further. Whether the events at the house were caused by the supernatural or not, the others decided that the prospects for a film like that were just too good to ignore. They urged Robin to contact the couple again and try to persuade them to cooperate with the film project.
Robin was staying at her Aunt’s home to save money on school expenses. Her Aunt lived close to the school, was single and had two spare rooms in her home. The rooms were set apart from the rest of the house and had their own shared kitchen and bathroom. She rented these to students year round. The extra money paid the mortgage and helped with the upkeep on her home. Robin occupied one of the rooms while another girl rented the other. Her Aunt refused to take any money from her and she appreciated the generosity.
Still exhausted from her experience on Friday, Robin was glad she had a light weekend ahead. She worked on a few papers that were coming due and did some reading. Sometime late on Saturday night, Robin began to notice that the room seemed to darken a bit from time to time. This had happened before whenever her Aunt was vacuuming or running the washer and dryer at the same time. But it was late at night and she heard no sounds coming from the other side of the house that might indicate anyone was using the vacuum or any other power hungry appliances.
Robin knocked on the door of the other girl renting from her Aunt. She wanted to see if the same thing was happening in her room, but the girl wasn’t home. Back in her room, she was certain that her imagination was simply getting the best of her. She came from a very normal background and had a stable family life as a child. She admitted that it didn’t take much to rattle her. The events of the past few days had certainly been more than enough to do that. Robin fell asleep.
Robin called the couple late on Sunday morning. They weren’t at the hotel, so she tried the house. They were back home. As she had predicted, a neighbor had called the police because of all the noise coming from the home on Friday night. After confronting the paranormal investigators at the house, the police contacted the couple. Angry and disappointed, they kicked the ghost chasers and their friends out of the house.
Despite the problems with the investigators, the couple had no problems with Robin and asked her back the following weekend. All during that week Robin felt a sense of dread, but thought it might just have been a reaction to the problems caused by the ghost investigators. She wanted to face her fears and visit the couple, so she put the odd feelings out of her mind.
She arrived at the couple’s house in the late afternoon. Explaining that her partners wanted her to discuss their film school project with them further, she had a few ideas how a film might be made about their house without revealing their identity of the location of their property. Feeling a bit guilty because she couldn’t offer any explanation for their situation or resolution to their problem, Robin offered to contact several professors at her university that had an interest in the paranormal. They might be able to help.
While the three chatted, Robin again noticed the foul odor and began to feel very uncomfortable. Twice she felt something rub up against her arms. It was enough. She excused herself and left. All during the drive home she felt frightened and sick. She realized that going back to the house had been a mistake. Whether it was all in her head or actually happening, Robin knew that she was not prepared for this kind of thing. After returning home, she felt better. However, it was a few weeks before she was able to shake the feeling of dread. During that time she felt as though something was watching her constantly.
Robin convinced her film school project partners to go in a completely different direction, but she was unable to complete the project with them. Back at her parents home in Arizona for the Christmas Holiday, she decided to take a break from school. The pressure of student life, along with the events at the house, had been too much for her. She took a part time job and got reacquainted with someone she had dated for several years.
The decision may have been a bad one academically speaking, but it was good for Robin in the long run. She and her boyfriend were married that spring. Robin helped her husband run his successful business and the two seemed very happy when my wife and I met them. Despite putting the events at the house behind her, Robin wanted people to know what had happened and get some help for the couple.
After reading an article that I wrote about paranormal investigation methods, she visited my Website and contacted me. She was looking for some help for the couple. However, when we contacted them, they had sold the troubled house and moved on. The new owners hadn’t contacted them about any disturbances, so it seems the incidents had come to an end. The couple told us that nothing unusual had happened to them since the move.
Robin has a message for my readers: “Since the events at the house I have met Bill and a couple of other paranormal researchers that have helped me get past what happened. The researchers that came to the couple’s home really upset me. It’s comforting to know that not everyone involved in paranormal research behaves the way they did. I still not sure if what happened had anything to do with something supernatural. I am sure that no one would want to feel the way I did during those experiences. Be careful.”
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