I believe that everyone has stories they don't tell because they don't want people to think they're crazy.
I'm just crazy enough to tell mine...
I started this blog to recount my adventures fixing up our cute little house at 419 S. Taylor. I wanted to document the transformation of the house as I put all my "FREE" energy into it. I was able to do quite a bit to it, as you've watched. But I wasn't done yet.
Unfortunately, we had to discontinue the "freesourcefull" project. I'm about to tell you why.
We moved out of 419 S. Taylor in early June. We had signed a contract with the owners to rent it until we could buy it but they sold it out from under us. There was a fairly large profit to be made from flipping it and I am very sad that I didn't get to finish with all my plans for it but, in the end, it was a relief to let it go. Let me tell you why...
I don't believe in evil. At least, I don't believe in an active force of evil. I believe there is a benevolent force in the universe that most people refer to as God (by whatever name they choose to call it) and that we are either aligned with the force of good or out of alignment with it. But I do not believe in active evil. At least I didn't.
I happened onto 419 S. Taylor on July 19th, 2009. It sat dark and empty, looking cute and innocent enough in the summer sun with a "For Sale" sign in the window of the enclosed front porch. I peeked in the windows and saw the original 1915 woodwork and the back sunporch with a jillion window panes. It was quaint and old-fashioned, a great canvas for my creativity, and a place to stay when we were in Enid. This was a huge improvement on paying for hotel rooms and having five kids in one hotel room. At $250 a month for rent, it was the equivalent of 3-4 nights in a hotel. Mark was spending 50-90% of his time in Enid so he needed a place to be settled and we needed to quit blowing so much money on hotels.
We were SO excited about the house. It was our first house together. It was like the little newlywed house we never had. It was a place to have our whole family together with all five kids under one roof. It was our little love nest when the kids were elsewhere. We marvelled that we had driven by Taylor street every day going to and from Enid High School and never suspected that one day we would be married and have our first little house down that little street just a half mile or so from the high school. We were going to paint it pale pink -- inspired by John Mellencamp's song "Little Pink Houses". It was, as you know, the subject of my blog. It was all going to be so good.
Twenty-two months later, we feel like we have walked through the deepest darkest hell.
There is something in that house. There is something dark and evil there. Something that I would never have believed in if I hadn't experienced it. We lived in it's evil grasp for almost two years -- Mark especially -- and we feel we have been shown things that most people wouldn't believe. Most people will think we are crazy -- or imaginative, at least. I asked Mark this morning what percentage of him believes there is an evil spirit in that house. His answer: 100%. Mine is 90%.
I am uneasy just writing about it. As if giving it attention might give it power. For this reason, I'm rather glad that I'm writing this while sitting in the church where I work. I definitely need God on my side in this.
At first we thought the house was haunted. When we first moved in, we had a minister come and bless the house out of good faith and also because the kids thought the house was "creepy". I guess it this didn't eradicate whatever was there. Maybe it would have been worse it we hadn't had it blessed in the beginning?
In the time since, we hae come to believe that what is in that house isn't a "who" but, rather, a "what".
It started with knocking on doors. Mark would go to answer the front door after a definite, sometimes a very LOUD and insistent, knock, and no one would be there. The knocking continued on different doors, both interior and exterior. One day Mark and I were talking in the middle bedroom. The kids were all in the front of the house. There was a soft but definite knock on the door to the back sunporch that I was sitting two feet away from. I assumed one of the kids had gone through the kitchen and was knocking to come in. As I turned to open it, Mark said, "There won't be anyone there." I told him of course there was someone there as I had just heard the knock plain as day. He was right. No one was there. All the kids were still in the front of the house. I checked and I asked them.
Next there were footsteps. There always seemed to be someone in the kitchen or walking toward the kitchen through the dining room at night. It became normal. The kitchen was definitely it's domain.
There was the sound of fingernails tapping on the headboard at night. It stopped when one went to look for a source of the noise.
Then things really started to fly!
One night Mark heard a huge crash in the dining room in the middle of the night. He flew out of bed expecting to find intruders. No one was there. But the little phone table from the 40's or 50's that some previous owner had built and securely screwed into the wall was laying on the floor. It had been there for 60 or 70 years -- 3/4' thick and a foot long, the wood was split as if part of karate exhibition.
Another night, Mark heard a huge crash in the kitchen. He ran in to find that two shelves full of dishes from above the stove were stewn across the floor. The plate rack was all the way across the room at the far wall about eight feet away. Curiously, none of the colorful vintage dishes were broken and nothing had landed on the stove directly below the shelves. The dishes must have flown outward from the shelves before falling. They didn't just fall down. They flew out!
Interestingly, Mark had been on the other side of the wall, facing the wall, and was very angry when it happened. We started to consider that he might be telekinetic -- that, when extremely angry, his energy could cause objects to move. Kind of like in the Stephen King movie "Carrie". We watched over some time and the events seemed to correspond with intense negative emotion in Mark.
Another night, Mark heard one of our vintage radios playing. It was playing the voice of President Harry Truman givng a speech about the Korean War. And the radios don't work. And none of them were plugged in.
Later that night, an apparition appeared in the same room. It was a bright white, faceless figure in a shade of white Mark says he could never describe because it is not of this plane. It was no more than five feet tall and it said to Mark a line that was of great meaning to him.
Another night, as Mark was sitting in an armchair in the living room, around the corner behind him, the door to the front bedroom slammed with such force that Mark couldn't believe it was possible to slam a door that hard. And he couldn't believe that nothing fell off the walls as they shook with the force of it. Furthermore, that door catches on the carpet and COULDN'T slam that hard. But it did. Or at least Mark heard it. We've wondered if it was a sound trace from another time. We've wondered a LOT of weird things!
That was the only time Mark was scared enough to leave the house. He spent that night at his mother's house. Whatever had slammed that door had intimidating strength and power.
Other things started happening as well. We fought bitterly at least three times a day. The bottom fell out of our financial situation. Mark lived in that house with no utilities much of the time. In the winter he had electricity so he could have a space heater but we had no money for gas and water service. A lot of the time he, bravely, lived there in the dark.
We've researched the history of the house. The owners that stayed the longest were the Littles. They lived there from 1947 until 1979. It was their home for their retirement years. They were in their late 50's when they moved there. They lived there until they died -- she in 1975 and he, a few years later, around 1979. I've wondered what kind of man Mr. Little was. Was he angry? Was he abusive? It it HIS energy in that house? Or did whatever was in that house make him into a monster? Or was the nightmare just for us?
There was a stray cat that came around a lot last summer. She and Mark became buddies even through he tries not to get attached to animals. Finally, we decided she needed a name. We agreed to each think up a name separately and then compare names. When we came back with "our" names, they were the SAME (almost) and they had both "just come" to us. Mark's was "Mabel". Mine was "Maybelle". Clearly, we realized, this was her name. We settled on my version of it and she was "Maybelle" from then on. Only later did we realize the erie connection to Mrs. Little, the previous long-term owner of the house. Her first name was , yes, Mabel.
We went with the theory that Mabel Little was our ghost for awhile. But then things took a darker, more sinister turn that we didn't think a little old lady named Mabel was capable of.
I've learned what evil is. I've seen the way it finds your weaknesses and uses them against you. It rattles the cages of your inner emotional demons. Any weakness, any mental illness, any addiction, any jealousy, any insecurity, any anger, fear, sadness, despair, it amplifies into a hellish fireworks show. Just for it's own amusement.
This was a deep, inky, black, sticky, oozing hell that felt like the boney, reaching fingers of a lurking nightmare -- our own little La Brea tarpit! We were deeply mired in it for many months.
There's a lot I can't talk about. There are figurative "ghosts" from our pasts and "skeletons" in our closets that need not be aired publicly. But, trust me, the evil force in that house dragged them all out and paraded them through our lives, our hearts, and our marriage in the cruelest ways. There were nights I wasn't sure Mark would live through.
When we were in that house together, we fought constantly -- like no where else. We had huge scenes that I'm sure made the neighbors wonder. But I suspect they'd seen it before. The people who lived there before us had gone through very hard times. As had the people before them. They had financial problems, legal problems, relationship problems, drug problems. One young mother, about 20, was addicted to meth. Her baby died of SIDS in that house. I can't imagine the hell she went through. And I wonder what part the evil in that house played in it.
It all came to a head a couple of times. The worst one I can't even tell you about. The night we figured it all out, we were both out of our minds and at each other's throats, saying the meanest things we could think of, things we wouldn't normally say -- mocking, vicious, scathing lashes at each other. Mark finally stormed out to the back steps to try to cool down. As soon as he was outside, he could see the dynamic more clearly.
We had talked, on occasion, about the evil spirit getting into us at times and making us not ourselves. This night, Mark saw that it had managed to get into BOTH of us at the same time. As soon as he recognized this, the evil lost it's grip on him.
He called to me, "Anne! Come here!" His voice had a level of alarm in it that made me think he was scared for my safety. I wondered if he was seeing something supernatural and wanted to get me away from it.
I had pulled up a news app on my iPhone to try to distract myself and calm down. I was waiting for a news story about street fighting in Libya to load when he called me. Because of the alarm in his voice, I got up and went out on the back stoop where he was. As he started to tell me that he thought the evil spirit had gotten into both of us, suddenly, loud sounds of yelling, fighting, angry voices, and bitter conflict filled the air. At first, I didn't know where it was coming from. The sound was just all around us. Then I figured out that it was coming from my iPhone in my hand. I hit the button to turn it off but it wouldn't stop. I started pressing buttons to no avail. It was jammed on and intent on spewing the sounds of hate. Finally, I got it to turn off. It had somehow started playing the video version of the street fighting in Libya -- as if the evil had found a soundtrack for itself to enjoy and to go along with our fight.
Mark said, "Don't you see? It's got both of us! It's IN both of us!" As soon as we realized this, it seemed to lose it's power over us. Instantly, the anger melted away and what was left was fear. I wondered if the evil would escalate now that we had gotten the upper hand over it. I thought (but didn't say aloud to Mark yet) "Tomorrow, let's pick what we really want out of this house and leave the rest and get out of here."
It was Mark that knew that recognizing the evil force neutralized it. He had lived with it more than I had and he knew it more intimately. He was also determined not to let it drive him away.
Previously in his life, Mark had lived in a 1909 Sears and Roebuck house (you could order a house from the catalog back then and the pieces arrived on the train) in Cherokee, Oklahoma with his first wife and her young son, Kota. The house was a beautiful vintage Victorian with tons of character. It was also haunted. There were footsteps. The dryer door would slam forcefully when no one was on that floor. The bistro table moved six inches across the floor one day as Mark sat next to it, watching. The cats would all, simultaneously, watch something invisible move across the kitchen, their heads all turning at the same angels at the same time as they watched it.
The most amazing thing that happened came one night when Kota was about 5 or 6. Not long after having been sent upstairs to bed, he came back down and said "Strange things are happening up there." Mark and Traci decided to just go up and go to bed with him, so they all climbed into his bed and turned out the lights. A few minutes later, all the mechanical toys in the room came on at once. Some of them were broken. Some lacked batteries. But about a dozen of them came to life at once. Mark, surprisingly, wasn't scared but, instead, was angered by this intrusion. He said in a booming and commanding voice, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I COMMAND YOU TO STOP!" Instantly, everything stopped.
To this day, Mark says he doesn't know what gave him the idea to say what he did, but he has found great comfort in the way it submitted to the name of the Lord.
This principle also came into play on Taylor Street. Mark faced up the the evil spirit and knew, from his past experience, that he could fight it. At least to some extent.
The day after our big scene at Taylor, as we came and went and tried to work on things in the house, I could see the evil spirit get into us from time to time. I could see the way it used Mark to prod me to anger. It knew the buttons to push. I believe it fed off the negative energy it created.
During that afternoon, I wasn't feeling well. We came back to the house and "it" was able to take hold of me the instant I walked into the house. As soon as I crossed the threshold it was able to use my physical weakness. I was instantly furious with Mark and went off on him. The transition from being ok to being out of my mind was immediate. This time I recognized it. We decided to get out.
Over the next couple of weeks, we wrestled with a moral dilemma. How could we let someone else come, unsuspecting, into the grips of the spirit in this house?
Soon, however, the decision was taken out of our hands when the owners violated the contract we had with them and sold it out from under us -- claiming that we had refused to sign a renewal of the agreement that they had never offered to us.
It was a blessing.
As we began to move our things out of the house and into storage, the sun started to come out in our lives again. Financial matters began to look more hopeful. Our relationship improved. All the weaknesses that "it" had used against us began to heal and strengthen.
Over the next few weeks, as Mark moved out gradually and I was in Fayetteville, I could tell by his demeanor if he was in the house or had been in the house recently. It could still get ahold of him.
Since the last time we walked out the door of that house and left the property for good, "it" was still able to draw Mark back there one night. He called me. He was upset and driving to Taylor Street. He said he felt drawn there. I told him to turn around and not go there, not let it get it's grips on him again. Fortunately, he listened. I don't know what would have happened it he hadn't.
Ever since, when I drive down Garriott, the main street through Enid that Taylor street comes off of, I make a point, not only of not driving down Taylor, but also of not looking down the street or even at the street sign. I don't want any part of that evil in my life ever again.
I hear that the house is for rent. I worry about the people who will live there next. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go fill the next door neighbors in because they are the ones who are best situation to warn whoever comes next. Maybe I can just mail them a copy of this blog post and not go there.
The last time I was atTaylor, I left a message on the blackboard surface on one of the kitchen cabinet doors. I wrote: "FYI: This house really IS haunted." and I wrote the link for my blog about the house. I wonder if they just laughed and erased it.
For now, I am relieved to have that chapter of our lives over with. It has taken me months to write this blog piece. It's uncomfortable and distasteful to "go there" mentally -- to think about and to write about and to re-experience what happened there. I am glad to finally fill everyone in. I am glad it's all over. And I am glad to have gotten it all written and out of my system.
In the aftermath of what we've been through, I wonder: if there's a place of concentrated evil, maybe there's a place of concentrated good. I want to find the BLESSED house!
Perhaps I already live in it? Our house in Fayetteville has never been lived in by anyone but US. It was built on land that previously held a greenhouse (which I've always felt was good, healthy, "growing" energy). We've put 16-years of growing children, busy family life, kids, dogs, cats, love, laughter, and memories into it. I think I'll just stay right where I am.
I do, however, think I'm up for another "freesourcefull" house project. Just a dinky little something that needs a little love and attention. Let me know if you know of something cute and cheap!