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Haunted Couch

June 3, 2011

Standard preamble: This is a true story. I don’t expect you to believe, but it is absolutely true. I’m a hard atheist, and I don’t believe in anything supernatural. But I still don’t know how to explain these events. Another thing to note is that I didn’t suspect anything supernatural at the time, it was only about a year later that I was able to make the connections. The story ties together in a very sort of subtle way, but I think it’ll be fairly obvious in my retelling of the events. It wasn’t obvious at the time though.

This took place two years ago. I had started my third year of college in Manhattan. My roommate and I just rented a nice little apartment in East Village, and it was a great find; spacious living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms — ideal for two college students. (For those of you who know the area, I was around 12th and Avenue A)

To give a quick layout of the place, there are four rooms. The living room (which also had a kitchen sink, fridge, stovetop, and microwave) was connected to the front door. This room was also connected to the three other rooms: my bedroom, Vince’s bedroom, and a bathroom. The living room is where all the spookiness happened.

In the hectic two weeks in which my roommate and I were furnishing / cleaning up the apartment, we purchased a couch off of Craigslist for the low price of 35 dollars! (under the condition that we pick it up and transport it ourselves). It was a nice two person couch, maybe a little shabby looking but VERY comfortable. Everyone gasps in surprise the way you just SINK into it. The young woman said that her mother had given it to her, but she was upgrading to a bigger couch and had no room for it. We threw it in our living room, behind a small coffee table.

Minor arguments started occuring about two weeks into the school year. And it primarily concerned one thing. We would sometimes wake up and the living room light would be switched on.

My roommate is a hardcore advocate of conserving electricity, and the first few times he chided me gently; he told me that I must have “gotten up in the night, and forgotten to turn them off”. I thought it was probably him who did it, but I let it pass.

This phenomenon would continue to happen. Sometimes twice a week we would wake up in the morning and find the living room light on. My roommate was infuriated when I suggested that perhaps HE left the light on. I then suggested that maybe there was something funky going on in the wiring, but the building’s super (who is also an electrician) took a look and said everything seemed fine. I then grew worried. I had never lived with Vince before. I was certain that he must have some sort of sleeping disorder that either caused him to sleepwalk, or to get up in the middle of the night and forget about it the next morning. My suspicions were vindicated one night when I could HEAR footsteps outside my door: they walked across the living room to the front door. I could hear the front door open, and then close.

I was having strange dreams. I have to pause here to explain that I’ve always — my whole life — had strange, recurring, and sometimes obviously symbolic dreams. For just one example, when my life is getting a little hectic, I dream that I’m driving a car but losing control and crashing into things. Very cliché.

Anyways, I started having the following dream a few times a week. I’d be in a long hallway, and it’s very dark, covered in shadows (although I don’t notice this DURING the dream, I only realized it after). There are mock paintings on the wall, but I can never really remember what they are, I think they were something scenic.

The main characteristic of the dream is a strange feeling I have: I want to sit down. My legs and feet are overwhelmingly exhausted, and I just HAVE to sit down. It almost feels like a force of gravity is pulling me. I look at the ground and prepare to sit down, but I then notice that the ground is wet, covered in a thin layer of murky water. And that’s the dream. I must be working too hard in school or something.

The following month, three things happened that started to mystify me. I’m a skeptic, but I love a good spook, and I used to joke about these three things with my friends (I wove the mysterious living room light into the tale as well. By this time, Vince and I had accepted it to be an electricity malfunction).

Here are the three things:
1) I was using the toilet one day, when I heard my roommate call out: “Where are you?” It sounded distant, in retrospect I’m not even sure if it sounded like him. But at the time my mind instantly registered it to be my roommate, and I called back “Hold on, I’m taking a shit”. When I left the bathroom, nobody was in the apartment. I called Vince; he told me he had been playing tennis uptown for the past few hours. Hm.

2) One day I came home from school, and the living room sink was turned on. The water was overflowing onto the floor, and my M-Audio speakers were fucking ruined. Annoying.

3) This one isn’t a single event, but a recurring one. Remember the sound of the footsteps in the living room I mentioned? It ended with the front door opening and closing? Well, I started hearing these sounds on a weekly basis. The footsteps never sounded quite the same. Sometimes they moved sort of questioningly, sometimes confidently. Sometimes they sort of circled around a few times. Sometimes there even seemed to be two people. Once I think the footsteps even ran. But it always ended with the front door opening and closing. Like I said, I had just assumed that my roommate was walking in his sleep, when something suddenly struck me. The door that opened and closed sounded NOTHING like our front door. It was completely different. The door I heard at night sounded large, heavy, and kind of old, absolutely nothing like our door.

Okay, so this must have all been a little confusing, so let me lay out all the evidence.

Three recurring things:
1) I have the hallway dream.
2) I hear footsteps and the door at night.
3) The living room light is turned on in the morning.
Two isolated incidents:
1) The tap was left on.
2) I heard someone calling to me when I was on the toilet.
Then something else happened.

It was finals week. My roommate had already left for home (winter break), and I was living in the apartment by myself for a few days. I had just gotten back from a Recording Technology exam, and I crashed onto the living room couch. It was about 11am, and I hadn’t slept a wink the night before, as I was studying. I instantly fell into a deep sleep, and throughout the entire following dream I had a strange (almost pleasant) floating sensation.

I was in the hallway again. The paintings were on the walls, and the ground might have been wet, but I didn’t notice it this time. This is because I didn’t feel any urge to sit down this time.

Everything was dark. Yes, I could actually note that everything was dark DURING the dream this time. In fact, this time it actually felt like I was in control of my actions. In the other dreams everything seemed premeditated and predictable; like I was just a puppet being guided by strings. This time I was very much there, and very much lucid.

I turned around, but there was a dead end behind me. Just an empty wall. The only way to move was forward, down this narrow hall. I didn’t really want to move down this hall, but I felt like I had no choice. I sort of stood there contemplating.

In the distance, I saw a figure moving forward ahead of me. I could hear footsteps as well. I felt sort of relieved: “Good, someone else is here, and this person is moving down the hallway first. I guess I’m supposed to follow suit”. I moved forward, into the darkness. I heard the person ahead of me open and close a door, and eventually I reached this door myself.

It was a very old fashioned door, with a wooden knob. With some difficulty I turned the knob — it was a little bit stiff — and looked into the room ahead.

This room was PITCH BLACK. I mean, the last room was only dark and shadowed. In here, I couldn’t see two goddamned feet ahead of me. The air was a little cold and damp. I had the feeling that it was a VERY big room, but of course I had no way of knowing. It felt like there was something very large in there, but once again, there was no way of knowing.

Where was the person I followed in? I called out: “Where are you”. The only response is a slight echo. It was a big room.

I was suddenly gripped by fear. I didn’t want to move in, but I didn’t have a choice, did I? I decided that there was no way in hell I was moving forward. So I gripped the wall to the right of me, and I inched to my right, guiding myself along the wall.

I was surprised that the wall felt like any ordinary, indoor wall. I expected it to be stone or industrial, given the cold damp air in the room. I inched further and further into the room, and eventually I came up to a light switch. Goody! My finger was half an inch from the switch when suddenly, an elderly hand shot out from the darkness and snatched my wrist.

I screamed and awoke with a start. I was sitting on my living room couch, and the microwave clock read 4:00 am. I panted for air. I could still physically feel where the cold hand had clamped my wrist. It felt so real. But dreams are dreams, and I had returned to reality. I sighed. I was back in familiar territory. Everything seemed normal.

In fact, I guess the only thing that wasn’t normal is that the living room light was switched on.

– Posted by funkychow; Nosleep

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