Strange Company

We live in a house in Holyoke MA that was built in the late 1880’s and will remain unidentified for obvious reasons.  It’s a humble eight room place with garage and old carriage house.  When it was built the city looked much different from the way it does today. Many landmarks have recessed into history and are almost forgotten.   There used to be a small pond at the bottom of the hill where a street full of houses now stands.  Not far away was the old slaughterhouse – from the time before the city crept away from its start further downtown.  Holyoke was the first planned industrial city in the United States and during its inception planned the streets around mills that were prevalent in the area at the time.

We’ve only lived here a few years, but it was evident from the start that the house was already occupied by others before we moved in.  We’ve had the usual doors opening and closing by themselves, the sound of footfalls where the living weren’t walking, unusual raps and knocks, and course fickle lighting that goes off and on at will.  Occasionally one can even catch a glimpse of someone walking around that soon vanishes when they realize they, also, are being watched.  These things are all o.k.  It’s the other one that is a bit disturbing….

I think it’s old, it’s definitely strong, and it’s black.  Darker-than-night black.  We didn’t believe it at first, but as time went on it proved itself to be here.  This thing – and I doubt it was ever a person – can emit unusual smells.  That, in and of itself, isn’t so bad, but it can mess with your head, too, if you let it.  Initially we wondered why, all of a sudden, one or another of us would get an encompassing feeling of such grief that crying was inevitable.  For no reason.  Other times, it is overpowering depression – a dark downer.  It can also manifest and share anxiety and anger.

It likes to enter where you’re sleeping and stand beside the bed looking at you until you wake up or turn over.  Its large blob of a self is darker than the night and you can feel its stare.

It took a while to understand what was going on….it was subtle at first.  Getting a handle on this thing has provided some protection against it.  Banishing rituals have also been useful in mitigating its ability to influence your feelings.  But this thing doesn’t like these rites.  I’ve gotten scratches that bleed from something unseen when nothing or no-one else was close enough to me to do it.  Suddenly, it’s just a sharp hot that takes some time to heal.  Hair tugging happens, too, and isn’t as bad as bleeding.

 

I’ve done a history on the area of the house and there doesn’t seem to be anything here – that I can find – that would contribute to this activity.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t somehow associated with the land.  Many Native American settlements were close and I’m sure there were skirmishes.  I don’t think it was anyone who lived or died here, either…. as I said, don’t think this thing was ever human.

It’s still here and probably always will be.  It’s a matter of who’s will is stronger….  so far – we’re one up.

—  ashanta

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