I need to preface this with the fact that I generally don't believe in creepy nonsense. Sure, I think you should listen to your gut about all sorts of things, usually because it's telling you what you feel deep down about a choice you have to make given what you already know. But nothing supernatural or psychic or any of that. I don't believe in ghosts or that sort of thing.
However, no one is leaving me in an abandoned asylum so I can prove that theory. I'm of the opinion that I don't believe, but I'm not leaving the door open to be proven wrong either. *ahem*
On the outside, it looked pretty. Granted, a couple acres away next door, there was a house on stilts (yes, stilts - NO idea why) about 10 feet off the ground, and gigantic sheep braying constantly (but you couldn't really see them.) I was optimistic.
Once I approached the front door, that optimism started to wane rapidly. There were odd wires coming from strange places that made no sense. Fixtures missing, that sort of thing.
Now, the realtor explained that this was a foreclosure, so people will often take many things with them, even going so far as to rip them violently right out of the wall. OK. I can handle that. Replacing a light fixture is not that big a deal. My parents bought a foreclosure and spent a decade fixing what the prior owners did. I was no stranger to that.
Inside, things went from not so great to worse. There was drywall missing from some of the walls, and all the stair railings were gone (I can't imagine what someone would do with a stair railing, but I have this image in my mind of someone struggling to tuck it under one arm and saying "Well, they're not getting THIS! This is mine!") There was a caged area under the main staircase (weird.) There was damage to the floors, unfinished areas all over the place, but it also had the most gorgeous fireplace, and a wall of windows that went around the kitchen. Very pretty.
Still, I was starting to get some weird vibes...
It was then that my son started calling me from upstairs. I had no idea he had even gone up there, so off I went to figure out where my youngest had gotten to. Once I finished climbing the stairs, my stomach just started flipping over and over, and I started to feel sick. The layout upstairs was absolutely baffling. I noted what I could, but hurried off to my son who said "Mom, I heard voices in this room! Listen!"
I waited. The fire alarm beeped (low battery) which made me jump, because I was getting creeped out by the minute just standing there. Then suddenly a voice filled the room, and I felt my anxiety spike for a second...
"Warning! Low battery!"
I started to snicker, and my son gave me a wry grin. I explained that it was just the smoke alarm.
"It scared me so bad mom, when I was up here by myself and suddenly someone started talking to me! Hey... where's my sister?" Never let it be said that my son misses an opportunity to scare the beejeebes out of his older sister. He called her upstairs, and got her to go into the room and "just listen" and then left her as he wandered back down the hallway/other room.
At that time, I had decided to start exploring the baffling layout of the second floor. Some rooms you had to step up in, others were weirdly around corners. There were hidden, excruciatingly narrow and twisting stairways that went up into secret, claustrophobia-inducing rooms in I guess what would be considered attic or third floor spaces, that often had little areas where you could peer into the bedrooms or walkways below. The bathrooms were made out of this weird black stone, and it honestly reminded me of something you might see in an old prison (remember, this house is only about seven years old!) There was a dead tree branch sticking out of a wall at one open sort of common area, and open holes and access points all over the second floor. (It reminded me a little bit of the Winchester house, with the weird building decisions.)
I was sitting down in that common area when my daughter came tearing down the hallway! She skidded to a halt breathing fast, and said "ZOMG! Mom! This place is so creepy, and he got me to stay in that room by myself and the fire alarm beeped and that scared me bad enough to turn around and start heading back, and then suddenly there was this voice and IwaslikeOMGIhavetogetoutofhereI'mgoingtokillmybrotherifIevergetmyhandsonhimGAAAAH!"
This was the only time I really felt cheerful in that house at all. I started cracking up, and told her it was just the fire alarm warning of a low battery, to which she exclaimed "Isn't the beeping bad enough? What creeper would make it talk to you too! Imagine if it did that in the middle of the night! I'd DIE! Like, right there! Dead. Dead teenager, and all because of your fire alarm. Whomever thought that up was just mean! I had already started back because the beep startled me, and then when I heard that voice I just RAN!"
My son came up then, grinning ear to ear at his sister while she glared daggers at him. Then he stopped smiling and said "Mom, there is a black room up there (one of the sets of creepy tiny, steep and twisted hidden staircases) and there are faces painted all over the walls with big black eyes and weird poems written all over the walls and floor. Mom, this is a like a MURDER house or something!!!" To which, my daughter just had to go and see (and then agreed with, upon her return.)
The realtor came and sat down by where I was. I was taking a break because my stomach had started to cramp up, and I just chalked it up to still being sick. I did confide to her that I found the house just... unfriendly. It just felt wrong, the layout was awful. There was no flow, and my husband said it was like the architect deliberately tried to break every rule he could think of when designing the house. My mother came to sit down and voiced that her stomach was upset and she thought the house was weird too. The realtor said that she thinks the people who owned it before went into foreclosure because of a bad divorce, but she wasn't really sure.
My stomach was feeling even worse, and then the kids both came back complaining that they felt sick. My husband wandered in from another side, and he too said his stomach was upset and he was feeling unsettled and HATED the layout. My father was still exploring all the weird nooks and crannies and staircases and more, but he popped his head out from one of the attic spaces and said he was ready to go too.
I can't explain it, but I didn't feel good at all. I wanted OUT of that house. I don't believe in superstitious nonsense, but there was just something... sinister about that house. That's the only word that fits. Sinister. It literally felt BAD. Worse, all of us felt bad physically. One of my thoughts was carbon monoxide, perhaps it was gathering in the empty house? But it had detectors, so that couldn't have been it. I don't know. I only know that there is NO WAY I'm ever going to live in a house like that!
We drove over to the house that we like (the one with the weird offer that fell through.) By the time we arrived there, everyone's stomachs had settled down. Isn't that peculiar?
My father hadn't seen it before, and he really liked it. For us, it was nice to step into a house that didn't feel bad at all (the house we like just feels empty, like it's sleeping and will wake up when a busy family moves in. Right now, it's full of college kids renting it together, and is empty for the most part of anything.) More, it didn't feel overwhelming like it did the first time I saw it. This time, it felt like it all fit. I visited the studio space again and I could just see my set-up and how wonderful it would be (I'm thinking a lot on this today, as I'm actually painting at my kitchen table again.)
We're at a final tipping point with the house search. Our realtor is coming over with her team on Tuesday to evaluate our house and see if we can even sell it at what we need to. If not, that seals the deal and we stay put. If we can sell it for enough, then we have to decide if moving is really the right choice and whether to make an offer on the house we like.
We made a pros and cons list, and weighted the items on it, and it's at a dead tie between the two options! Totally unhelpful!
At least I'm thinking critically about it all now. I just don't want to make the wrong decision in regards to where we're living, the children and their school situation, and more. Not to mention the stress of being on the market and trying to keep a house presentable with two teenagers, three dogs, two rabbits, a cat, and 25 chickens. Well, the chickens are outside, but still. The sheer size of that task is completely daunting. It's weird to be in a situation where we don't have to move at all, this is just an opportunity to make things better. It's hard to figure out what the right choice is. The easy one is staying put, of course, but it doesn't make it the right one necessarily.
At least no matter what, either way, we won't be living in a creepy house like that other place! It still gives me the shivers! I'd use it for painting, but I really go towards the charming Halloween themes, not the scary as heck ones!