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Over the course of a few weeks, the visitor’s steps seemed to grow bolder.

May 9, 2011

I’m a skeptic, but I do have an unexplained tale.

Years ago I rented a “slave quarter” apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans that had a few notable prior occupants. Vincent Price had lived there for a time, and Natalie Wood lived in the apartment while filming “This Property is Condemned” in 1965. I found out much later that she had attempted suicide while living there, but I don’t know if it occurred inside my apartment or not.

Now frankly, there were lots of odd noises around the place. I could attribute plenty to drunken street noise or the old knob-and-tube wiring, creaky old wooden floors and a long wall of drafty french doors. My bedroom was on the second floor with a long gallery across the width of the building overlooking a private courtyard. The sound of someone coming up the old iron staircase and walking that gallery is very distinct. Heavy steps make the railing vibrate and rattle the french doors – there’s simply no mistaking the arrival of a visitor with any of the other usual sounds.

Shortly after I moved in, I began having a very regular “visitor” in the night. I would hear a man’s heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. This was no hallucination – my dog heard it too and would watch the gallery with her fur on end, growling. We’d wait for a knock at the door that never came, and on inspection, there was never anyone outside.

Over the course of a few weeks, the visitor’s steps seemed to grow bolder. At first, they stopped at the top of the stairs. I never heard a descent and they never came forward. Just up to the top, and nothing. Then they began walking the gallery. First partway, then later they would come all the way to the door at the far end nearest my bed. Each step rattled the doors (there were 5 sets of french doors in all, with the next-to-last set being the actual entrance. The rest were always locked from the inside).

By the time I moved (I only lasted 2 months there), he would come up the steps with a rapid and deliberate stride, then pace the gallery up and down. My dog would growl and tremble. If I stood to investigate or called out, the noise would drop to silence. Afterward, it might start again in less than an hour, or many hours later in the night, or maybe not until the next day. The unpredictability had me living on edge and I slept fitfully every night I spent there.

I’ve tried to consider every explanation. Wind? Ha! Not in the New Orleans summer. Wiring? Doubtful – there were no wire connections on the gallery or stairs. Rats? Possibly – but I’d rather believe in ghosts than a rat that could make that much racket and rattle my doors.

Whatever it was is irrelevant though. I moved as quickly as I could even though the apartment was ridiculously cheap for the location (maybe that should have been a clue). I am not prone to being freaked out, but I was dreading any further action from my visitor. It had gone far enough already…what could happen next when the steps stopped at my door? A sinister knock? A slowly turning knob?

Screw that. I didn’t stick around to find out.

– Posted by Firebelle; Fark

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