I moved into my haunted house in May of 1998. The house is a beautiful stucco two level with a finished basement and cool attic space. The house was constructed in 1931 and has many ornate and appealing details like crystal doorknobs, hardwood floors, a brick fireplace, and cool wrought iron light fixtures on the stairs and upstairs hallway. And, after all these years, none of the original woodwork except the bathroom, had been painted, such as, windows, doors, six-inch cornice and base molding. The house is beautiful and that’s why we couldn’t believe our luck when we got it for such a low price.

The minute we moved in it felt like we were being watched, and the energy felt heavy. Our two cats and two children especially seemed aware of something. At first, I blamed the heaviness on the drab paint and ancient carpet, but the more we worked on the house painting and decorating the worse things got. I found out later ghosts don’t like when their space is changed its disorienting or something. Beginning the very first night I would try and lie in bed reading but felt like the bed was surrounded by people just staring at me maliciously. When I put my children to bed they insisted I stay till they were asleep, they were sharing the same room while we painted my daughter’s room. Once they fell asleep, I felt guilty and some trepidation leaving them alone as every space in the house felt negative and unwelcome.

Things were just annoying at first. I had an office in the attic, believe it or not it was the least haunted space in the house, I was working on homework as I was studying at university. I heard a child crying, and thinking it was one of mine, I went down the stairs and checked on them. They were sleeping soundly so I yelled down to my husband who was watching TV if there was a baby crying on the program and he said no. The crying happened again and again all night. The first few times I checked on the kids just in case but finally gave up more frustrated than scared.

Another night after I was done with my homework I went to the bathroom and was sitting on the toilet, my friend said later “its good you were on the toilet when that happened,” because this time I was terrified. As I sat there the crystal doorknob, which was difficult to turn, turned all the way to the right, then to all the way left, then all the way right again, and then back to center. I was so afraid I couldn’t move for what seemed like minutes. I finally decided I had no choice and opened the door. Weirdly, my two cats, who usually were never in the same room together, were standing right outside the door. Looking for any explanation I tried to pull my largest cat’s paws up to see if he could have somehow turned the knob, ignoring the obvious physical disadvantage of paws over hands, he was also at least a foot too short fully stretched. I checked on my kids and husband and they were sound asleep, plus the old hardwood floors outside my bathroom are horribly creaky so how could someone approach unheard.

I began to see the Hat Man all the time, sometimes nights in a row on and off for weeks, then a little break then all over again.

One night around two a.m. I wrapped-up with homework and decided to sit in the living room and watch TV before bed. Where I sat on the sofa the stairs were just to the left of the TV. During a commercial I glanced up at the landing and saw a woman in a white dress like something from 1940 or 1950 that went to just below the knee with a poufy skirt and tight waste. Her face was obscured by the architecture of the ceiling. I looked away and when I looked back she was gone. I figured I was just tired and blew it off, joking about it the next day to my husband. About two days later I was getting myself and my children ready for a long day at daycare and school running around the house frantically. My daughter who was in daycare, and about three years old, kept saying over and over I need sunglasses, I need sunglasses. I was in a hurry and sometimes ignored her childish chattering. I went through my day, picked up my kids, and on the drive home my daughter began the same chanting, I need sun glasses, I need sunglasses. We got home and as soon as we got through the door she began again following me around the house. I finally asked. “Why do you need sunglasses?” And she said. “So, I don’t have to see the Lady anymore!” My hackles went up, I didn’t want to ask leading questions. “Where was this Lady?” She pointed up at the landing where I saw a lady. “What was she wearing?” “A dress,” I couldn’t believe my ears. “What color was the dress?” “White,” she said. I couldn’t believe she saw the same Lady I had seen. Weirder yet, years later when she was about eleven, we were watching a haunting show on TV because so many things had happened over the years I watched as many shows as I could. I hadn’t told my children about my experiences. During a commercial my daughter started acting funny wanting to tell me something but thought I wouldn’t believe her. I finally got her to tell me. She told me that once when the babysitter was over they were watching TV and the babysitter went to the kitchen for a drink, and when she was gone my daughter said she saw a woman standing on the landing. There was no way she remembered the incident when she was three or four. I asked the same questions; it was the same woman.

My son got drums for Christmas one year. He was down in the basement playing when all of a sudden, he came flying up the stairs screaming. Apparently while he was playing, a sock, which was lying on the floor to the right of the drum kit, flew up into the air, over the drum kit, and landed on the floor to his left. He never played again.

One night my son had a friend sleepover. At two in the morning everything electronic turned on in his room, the lights, TV, and alarm clock. They were terrified and stayed awake the rest of the night in the living room with all lights on and TV blaring. The kid never came back. Weirder still, the next day my son realized his alarm clock wasn’t even plugged in.

Since, my son wasn’t playing drums, I decided to play them. My mother had died and I needed an outlet for my grief. Once my family had gone somewhere so I was alone in the house. I had locked all the doors and was playing happily when all of a sudden, I smelled an old man’s cologne, it smelled like something my grandfather, or even great grandfather, would have worn. It was so strong it was like someone had poured it on a rag and placed it below my nose. I was terrified, not thinking of a ghost but an intruder. It took me forever to get the courage to search the house but I did, and no one was there. Another time I was playing my drums, I remembered locking all the doors. I always closed the two kitchen doors to try and contain the sound for our neighbor’s sake. As I pushed the door open to the dining room I was immediately taken by how cold it was. I glanced to the right toward the sliding glass doors and the sliding glass door was standing two feet open, it was December and very cold and snow was blowing into the dining room. How could this be? I know I didn’t leave the sliding glass door wide open in December. I can be spacey sometimes but not like that! Our dog Molly often would bark at a spot, a corner right by the drum kit, but no one or thing would be there.

My son decided to try guitar. He had a friend over after school; they went down to the basement to play guitars. His friend was bent over the amp and was adjusting it when all of a sudden, he flew back almost knocking my son down. He said while he was adjusting the amp someone suddenly walked by from right to left just a couple of feet in front of the amp. He was terrified.

My daughter ended up with a bee’s nest in the exterior wall to her bedroom. She was forced to sleep on the couch until the fumigation killed the hive. She was dozing on the couch and several times she opened her eyes to find the back pantry light on in the kitchen which cast enough light to be noticeable from the living room. She had to get up turn the light off only to have it come back on a few minutes later. She had turned the light off for the second time and was trying to fall asleep when she heard a weird rolling then clunk it was the desk chair in the dining room alcove where the family computer was. She figured it must have rolled off the rug due to some form of potential energy; the chair was right on the edge of the rug then rolled off. She had her eyes half open as she theorized and then she watched as the chair turned toward her like someone seated had turned to look at her. Her heart began to pound but then she deduced it was the momentum of the roll that turned the seat, but then moments later the seat turned back the other way facing the desk.

My husband and I had decided to create a little concrete patio with a fire pit off the back deck. The first day the workers dug up the grass and dirt in the shape of the patio and staked the perimeter for the concrete the next day. That night there was a torrential downpour. My husband is almost obsessive compulsive about checking the locks and doors, he would never leave a door unlocked let alone opened. The dining room with sliding glass doors is next to the living room. The rooms aren’t large, the sliding door can be seen from the stairs to go to the bedrooms. We had gone to bed and for some reason I couldn’t sleep and felt compelled to check the downstairs. The dining room sliding glass door was wide open and rain was showering into the dining room. There is no explanation!

One night both my children were at sleepovers. My husband and I always slept with the door open partly to hear sleeping children but also to be aware of sounds in the house. The hall light had to be off because of the orientation of our bed, the light would shine directly in our eyes. One night I woke-up and the hall light was on. I thought for sure we had an intruder. I woke my husband and we searched the house with a baseball bat but no one was inside.

In addition to all of the major events we’ve had numerous objects disappear sometimes they show up later in weird places or we never see them again.

I’ve lived in a haunted house for 20 years now. Prior to moving into a haunted house, I would have laughed at these stories but now I’ve seen those from the other side for myself. I learned about ghosts and helped many move on, and worked on changing the energy in my house to a more positive energy. The ghosts that remain are protective.

My haunted house changed my attitude about ghosts, but also, in this house is when I learned that the Man that came to me at night, The Hat Man, wasn’t just a lucid nightmare but a terrifying phenomenon happening to potentially hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. I still live in this house and wouldn’t have it any other way. Ghosts are just dead people like you and me most likely confused looking for direction and/or validation, but The Hat Man…