Haunted Houses – Part One

In my last blog, I made a comment about all the houses I’ve lived in were haunted in one way or another – which brought up this week’s questions.

How haunted were they?  and the ever-popular – Where do you come up with this stuff?

It’s a good time to point out that in the 1970’s – the only handy reference I had to ghosts and paranormal information was from the church and the movies. We didn’t have access to reality television with its plethora of ghost hunting shows. There was no such thing as a friendly ghost – and I’m not counting Casper, the cartoon. It wouldn’t have been a subject that I would have looked up in the library because I was scared to death of them.

Understandably, my memory, perspective, and point of reference from that time period might be a bit skewed.

But there is one house my family lived in – that every single member of my family agrees (which in itself is somewhat of a miracle!) was haunted.

San Francisco, circa 1976. The Great Highway and Noriega Street.

SF House
SF House

My family and I were moving out of a flat on Judah Street and into our very first house. No, they are not detached, you still couldn’t put a credit card between the houses – but it wasn’t an apartment or flat where someone else shared the same entry and lived on top of you – and it had a yard more than 100 square feet. Those of you who are familiar with San Francisco living should appreciate that. Cross the street, run across four lanes of highway, climb some serious sand dunes, and we could be on the beach.

Sounds crazy now, but at the time, it was a piece of cake!

Every new house has its quirks and with the excitement of moving, no one was looking for anything to be wrong with it.  After coming through the gate entry and front door, my room that I shared with my sister, was through the garage on the left and the rest of the living area was upstairs.

We had a lovable Great Pyrenees, Charlie whom we thought would love the big yard.  We were wrong – he hated going outside or walking through the garage. It was a chore dragging a dog that weighed close to a hundred pounds through the door.  He also flat out refused to stay in our downstairs room. If you could manage to drag him past the door, he would bark frantically to be let out.  He had to be man-handled to go outside where he would race to one corner of the yard and freak out – every hair on his body would stand on end.

My sister and I would lie in bed and hear strange noises all night long. Rustling, whispering and scratching. So, of course my dad thought it was mice or something and we would clean out the storage and set traps, but there were never any signs of rodents – ever. My sister and I were scared to death, but it was a very cool room, away from the rest of the family and perfect for two teenage girls. We got pretty good at rationalizing and pulling the covers over our heads at night.

One night, we were coming down the stairs, my sister stopped on the landing and pointed into the garage. There was a huge shadow on the wall – complete with horns. We stood there and the only light source was from the stairwell – we weren’t casting the shadow. We moved and waved to see if it would move and wave. It did not. We looked at each other and screamed before running back up to tell our parents. Of course, it was gone when they came to look. We were pretty much patted on the head and  rushed off to bed.

I never walked easily through the garage again. I would run. The washer and dryer were on that wall and my sister and I would stand there together, never doing laundry alone.

One day we were sitting in our room, with a step-sister who was visiting, listening to the radio, doing our makeup, curling our hair and getting ready to go out somewhere. The washer was running normally.  All of a sudden, it started clanking like it was off center –it walked four feet away from the wall – and the radio laughed!

Talk about terrifying. That wasn’t the worse part. After laughter came through the station, the voice said – and I quote – “I can make it go back again.”  AND IT DID. More maniacal laughter erupting from the radio had us screaming and heading for the stairs.

It was every girl for herself at this point.

To be continued next week…


  1. GIRL! That’s some SRSLY scary stuff, there. When I was in high school, my family and I lived in town in this house that was built probably in the 1930s. My sis and I shared a bathroom that was situated between the two bedrooms. I had a door to access, and she had a door to access on the other side of the bathroom. Anyway, our dog at the time absolutely refused to go into my bedroom and my room was always colder than the rest of the house. My dog would lie down on the threshold of my room and the living room and stare at me, but she just would not go in there.

    One day, I was sitting on my bed working on a novel (one of the atrociously bad novels I hand-wrote when I was in high school). It was summer, and I had my window open. My door to the bathroom was closed. As I was sitting on my bed, I heard something and I looked up and the doorknob on the bathroom door was turning. Slowly. Then the door kind of eased open, like somebody was peering around it to look at me. I freaking froze. There was nothing there, but clearly there was something. So I said (and how stupid is this), “Can I help you?” And the door slowly closed and I heard the click of the latch. Holy crap I was out of there so fast I probably made the curtains blow.

    Another time, my mom was in the living room up late talking to one of my adult cousins who was visiting. At one point, my cousin looked past my mom into what at one time had been a dining nook, and said, “Hi. Is there something you need?” To my mom, she said, “Do your neighbors always come in this late?”

    My mom whipped around, but there was nobody there and my cousin got kind of freaked out. She said she’d seen an older woman standing there, dressed like from the 40s.

    I always felt like somebody was watching me in that house. Somebody who disapproved of teenagers (that would have been me and my sister). The doors to the bathroom (either side) would also end up open after we’d closed them or closed after we’d opened them. And we’d hear weird noises at night in the bathroom, too. I did sometimes think it was a bummer that a ghost ended up having to hang around a bathroom. Maybe the bathroom wasn’t original, and it was a smaller room or something else back in the day. Regardless, I was glad to be out of that house. Bad ju-ju.


  2. Very nice! I love watching shows about ghosts (real ones). I’ve seen things and experienced things before too. Nothing like this though. Can’t wait for next week.


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