When I was in the seventh grade, we moved to Weston, Connecticut into a home we rented from the old-time movie actress, June Havoc. This house was incredibly eccentric. It was a huge split level ranch, with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two random rooms with drains in the middle of the floor, bedrooms with two doors. Another bedroom with a sink and tons of closets everywhere. There was a third floor that stretched the entire length of the house and held just a sink and a tub (which was where the actress supposedly bathed her seven+ dogs). The third floor also boasted a tiny little room that reminded me of a room in the novel, The Amityville Horror. It was hot and stifling in there and I once remember seeing a dead fly on the windowsill (to a 12 yr old, dead flies are SO GROSS). But this room was awesome because Ms. Havoc had left it filled with trunks and memorabilia from her old Vaudeville days. She had asked if she could keep her stuff in there and I would go up and just look around now and again. I wish I had been older to have appreciated that room more, but as I was twelve, all I really did was look inside and usually just run right back out because it freaked me out too much. There were other oddities around the house. Outside the living room was an unused, broken indoor greenhouse and an abandoned stable, which is I think is where she kept goats.
But the house wasn’t just eccentric and creepy for no reason. It also had a history. June’s husband died in there (apparently in my bedroom because that’s where he slept) and on these lovely five acres there is a worn, wooden chair that sits on the edge of a trail and looks over the river that ran through the backyard. It was supposedly where he used to sit and relax.
And to further add to the creepy factor, this house was haunted. We would hear people running across the hall upstairs, and if you went upstairs, the running would commence on the third floor. My mother was known to have called the police multiple times because she’d be in the bathroom upstairs and hear people entering the house. There was one night my sisters and I and my dad all woke up and met in the hallway – and none of us knew why. My father looked at us and said “Go back to bed, girls.” There were the times the cat would “skitz out” and hiss and dart from the room. The time our six-foot, five inch tall friend was once house-sitting and was found slinking around the house with a kitchen knife in his hand, in the middle of the day, because he heard someone running around and couldn’t find them. And then there was the living room and that whole side of the house outside. We hated that room. My parents seldom entertained in there. Right outside the living room there was a wonderfully beautiful empty plot of land with no trees – the only place on the property you’d think we’d play, build snowmen, whatever. But no. For some reason we avoided it like the plague. I would bet you someone is buried back there. We lived there for about eight months and then we were out of there.
You’d think this experience would scare me off of horror movies and books – but not a shot. The Shining is one of my favorite movies. I have written a bunch of short horror stories and a dream prompted my newest horror novel. In the dream, this man was resting his hand on the back of a very little boy. They stood on a hill and were looking down at a decaying mansion. When I woke up, I had the idea for my quirky horror novel THE MANNEQUINS. It’s about a film crew that breaks into an abandoned house and gets transported to a different reality run by a man they call, the Preacher. I just launched it and I’ll have it for 99 cents through Halloween if you’d like to pick up your copy. The links on Amazon are here:
Have you ever lived in a haunted house or experienced anything “supernatural?” Love to hear! If you’d like to join my newsletter for the next update in the Kelsey Porter or Flying series, please contact me here.