This short story is based off of a true experience I had as a young girl, while staying at the historic (and haunted) Bleecker Hall.
*I’ve changed the little girl’s name in this story to Susie, it felt weird typing Brooke!
It wasn’t the out-of-place African masks in the old Victorian mansion that sent a chill down Susie’s back. Things like that were expected in her worldly Grandma’s home. No, the first thing that set Susie’s nerves on end was the cold chill that rushed through the house when the old grandfather clock struck the hour. But the thing that bothered Susie the most, was the feeling of being watched.
Susie had visited her Grandma here before, but never for this long, never overnight. Susie’s Mom had a reunion she wanted to go to and her Grandma needed help going through all of the rooms of the old house.
Grandma was getting divorced and the house was being sold. Susie comforted herself with the knowledge that she’d never have to visit this creepy house again. She didn’t care about its history, something was wrong with this house.
When Susie’s parents left her with a babysitter for the night, she almost asked them not to go. She didn’t want to be left here. It was too late though. They were gone and she was in bed, alone, in the dark, with a wall of African masks.
A door opened somewhere deep in the belly of the house. Susie stopped looking at the masks and rolled over to look at her bedroom door. Footsteps started, just one set. A shiver traveled down Susie’s back, like a trickle of ice water.
The footsteps grew closer. Susie slowly shifted her gaze to the ceiling. But, no, that was impossible. No one was on the third floor, the third floor was used for storage.
The footsteps grew closer still. Susie couldn’t believe it, didn’t want to believe it. It had to be her Mom and Dad. The footsteps suddenly stopped directly above. Susie forced herself to look at the door, forced herself to shove the fear down. She had to believe that Mom and Dad were going to open the door and say goodnight.
Heavy keys jingled, but not at the door. Susie couldn’t help it, cautiously, as if testing out thin ice, she let herself look up at the ceiling again. The keys jingled once more and Susie flinched at the sound. Mom and Dad weren’t here, they weren’t coming.
The footsteps sounded again and quickly moved away. Doors slammed shut and the sound of locks turning into place echoed heavily through the house.
Susie couldn’t take it, she leapt from bed and flung the bedroom door open. Her babysitter was there, but the momentary relief Susie felt disappeared on a cold breath of air.
Her babysitter was curled into a ball in the corner of the hallway, crying. Susie edged towards her hysteric babysitter.
“Are Mom and Dad home?” Susie ventured on a whisper.
The babysitter’s crying abruptly stopped and she looked wildly up at Susie. Then the babysitter began to yell, “What are you doing out of bed! Get back to bed! Go!”
In that moment, Susie knew the truth. It was real. Susie sprinted back to her room, tears blurring her vision. She jumped into bed and threw the comforter over herself. Maybe if the ghost couldn’t see her, it would leave her alone. Maybe.
The next morning Susie woke to her Mom’s hand gently shaking her shoulder.
“Mom!” Susie cried in relief and jumped into her Mom’s arms. Then Susie recounted what happened in the night. To her horror her Mom frowned and didn’t dispute her.
Instead her Mom said, “Well, the house is haunted. Mrs. Pinkerton was probably just playing tricks on you. She used to do it to me all the time when I lived here.”
“It was real? Why didn’t you tell me! Why did you leave me here? And who is Mrs. Pinkerton?”
“I didn’t want you to worry. I was hoping Mrs. Pinkerton would leave you alone. She’s the ghost of a lady that died in the house a long time ago. She’s mostly harmless. Still, this is why we have never spent the night before. I wanted to protect you from this. It couldn’t be helped this time though, but don’t worry. You will never have to stay here again.”
“I want to leave, now.”
“We will sweetie. We’ve got to finish helping your Grandma and then we will leave this place for good.”
The rest of the day Susie clung to her Mom. When they finally got into the car to leave, Susie turned around to look back at the mansion. There in the third floor window was a glimmer. Susie’s breath caught as she saw a lady in a Victorian blouse nod in her direction. She blinked and the woman was gone.
Susie turned away from the house. She was glad to see it gone.
If you are curious about Red Hamer and his picture, then check out this article circa 1992. They mention my Mom’s family in it and how they used to hear the ghost in the attic.
My Mom and her family were out of town when Hamer came to photograph the house. They gave him permission to come take the photographs. My Mom also told me they had the blouse in the photograph dated and that it matched with the time period of Mrs. Pinkerton’s death. CREEPY!
I should also mention that despite my hate for the haunted house, my Grandma loves it. She would likely be horrified that I’ve painted it in such a creepy light here. She believed Mrs. Pinkerton just liked a good laugh.
One night my Grandma woke up to see Mrs. Pinkerton standing at the end of her bed. Grandma said she felt honored. It has been said that Mrs. Pinkerton only shows herself fully to those that truly love the house.