Location: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Date of Encounter: August 1999 – October 31, 2003
Growing up in an Hispanic family, one is use to hearing ghost stories, many of which are passed on generation after generation. I had always been a believer but with very little personal experience. After moving to New Mexico from southern California in 1999, all doubts would be removed forever.
I have been employed for the past 3 years at The Lodge Resort, nationally known for its haunting by the ghost Rebecca. Although I have experienced many things that cannot be explained during my employment (a story for another day), the haunting at The Lodge is minimal in comparison to the events that occurred in the house in which I lived just a short time ago. I am still not able to provide a logical explanation to what my family, friends, and myself have been witness to in that house…. only a stone's throw from The Lodge Resort.
The details of all the events that had occurred over the 4 years I lived in that house are too numerous to list. I will try to remember only those events that seem to be the most significant, but I apologize for what I'm sure will end up being a lengthy story! To be honest, the idea of having to recall such experiences is unnerving.
From the moment my four young children and I moved in, something didn't feel right. Even the events leading to the previous tenants moving out seemed suspicious having only managed to stay 5 months of the 6-month lease they had acquired. The gentleman did not have a clear reason why he was moving other than driving distance to work (a mere 20 minutes). He also did not want us to go downstairs at all. When one views a house they might potentially be moving into, it's abnormal to be told you can't see all of the house. I had no idea of his reasoning but I was desperate and took the house anyway. Long-term rentals are extremely hard to come by in this village.
I thought perhaps it was just the sensation of an unknown house and did my best to dismiss it, unsuccessfully. In the evenings, I found myself unexpectedly fearful of passing by the staircase leading to my bedroom. I had no idea at the time why it would affect me in such a way. The only other time I can recall ever feeling this kind of unexplained fear was as a child while living in an apartment complex in California (which I later discovered was also haunted). It would be a long time before I would be able to sleep in my own room, and that would end up very short-lived.
Two family members who had visited the house with me on separate occasions prior to my moving had strange reactions to the house as well. Both seemed unnerved when they explored the downstairs bedroom. Eventually, one of them was never to return. She was too afraid to be in my house after the things she experienced. The other relative asked if I wanted him to board up the bedroom. I was surprised at his extremely odd offer. Who does such things? He never did give a reason for wanting to do it. We had not been in this house long enough to know there was anything to be fearful of.
The bedroom had a separate smaller room I used as an office separated only by a sheer curtain in a doorway. The room itself had no door to shut it off from the rest of the house, only a staircase leading to the hall upstairs where my children's rooms, and the rest of the living quarters were located. There were two doors in that room, however: one leading directly outside, and one leading under the house.
I had explored the area under the house a few times before moving in and was disturbed at the discarded candy wrappers, baseball cards, and trinket toys I found. This space had dirt for a floor with a single light illuminating only the doorway. After just a few steps inside this doorway one must duck to avoid the low ceiling and plumbing. I was bewildered why anyone would allow their children to play in such a dark, damp, bug invested place such as this.
While exploring, I had found an old crib and stroller discarded under the house. I also found something else farther towards the back end of this space where one would nearly need to crawl to reach it. The corner of the house was very dark being so far from the doorway and placed right in the middle of this shadowy emptiness was a single wooden chair. The way it was placed gave me a feeling it served a purpose but I dared not think what.
The door, which opened inward under the house would not latch to stay shut, so eventually I put an eyehook latch to keep it closed and tried to disturb that area as little as possible.
Shortly after moving in, the voices came. Having children, one grows use to the sounds they make, the laughter, the singing, the crying. It was not noticeable at first that the sounds I had heard were not my children.
On one afternoon, just moments after my little ones arrived home from school I passed by my daughters' bedroom and heard one of them singing a song, like little girls do when playing with their dolls. Knowing they are suppose to go directly to the kitchen table and do homework after coming home, I was not too pleased to see one of my daughters off playing. Their bedroom door never seemed to stay open on it's own so I found myself talking through the door to my daughter and telling her to do her homework first. The singing immediately stopped but she never came out of the room. I called her again (noting only months later how odd it was that I did not enter the room as I would normally have done) and heard her voice reply from behind me down the hall. She had been in the bathroom all that time and no one was in that room. All my girls were at the other end of the house.
On another occasion, the entire family was perched on one of my daughter's beds while I read a story to them. It was dusk and all was quiet in the house except the sound of my voice reading. I suddenly heard a noise that I should not have been hearing given the circumstances and shushed the children for a moment while I listened.
[You should understand that I live in the mountains; a small village with a population of 700 villagers at best. There is a decent amount of space between us and the neighbors, and I was the only family on this side of the neighborhood with children. As a general rule, the neighborhood was always quiet. I could never hear any of my neighbors from inside my home, even when they had company.]
After a short silence I began to read the story again and was interrupted once more, this time by my 7 year-old daughter. She told me she had thought she heard something to. I asked her what she heard having not previously mentioning what I had heard. My stomach dropped when she said the very thing I experienced…. the crying of an infant. What's worse, the sound was coming from inside the house. By this time I was already suspicious of the house and chose not to investigate the noise. I ignored it and dismissed it like so many other events that my sanity was not ready to handle.
The first year was full of minor events: things going missing, items falling from shelves but somehow ending up much further away from the shelf than what would seem reasonable. Children's laughter could be heard, and whispering from behind closed doors of empty rooms. Events occurred more frequently when the children were away for the summer and ironically enough, usually at dusk. And the lights…. they flickered constantly or went out completely.
I spent more money on light bulbs and replacing broken appliances than I ever did before or since. Toasters, vacuum cleaners, TVs, VCRs, my PC, even my car were constant mechanical headaches. There was so much static electricity in that place that the bedrooms would light up at night with blue static light simply from moving blankets around. I remember what a marvel that was for the children. This was an every-night occurrence.
After the first year I decided, being a Christian, I would take the children around the house and anoint every door with oil. I felt a little silly doing such things but was desperate and willing to try anything that might help me feel comfortable in my own home for once. We prayed and blessed the house and then tried to forget all about what was happening. I didn't tell the children the real reason for the blessing so as not to scare them. They had no idea what was happening to us in the house.
Funny thing, it actually worked…. for two years. Nothing unusual happened. And like anything else, when something dwindles away slowly, you hardly notice it happening and then forget about it all together. I had finally grown accustomed to the house and did indeed "forget". Two years later that would change for the worse.
A few weeks before school was to end and the children would be going away on vacation it dawned on me that the house was "still". I had forgotten all about our blessing and suddenly realized how quiet everything was now. I couldn't help but smile and chuckled at myself for not noticing sooner! That day it came back, and worse.
Doors would open in front of me as I was passing through the hall, blocking my way. The toaster rattled when no one was near it. Items continued to disappear and things continued to be knocked off shelves.
A remote control toy car that had been placed on the kitchen counter moved and stopped intermittently across the tiled countertop. I even managed to call the kids into the kitchen on time to witness it. It would move forward then stop – again — then nothing. It did this several times and my counters appeared to me to be very level. The wheels on this car, being an old toy were quite stiff for it to roll on it's own. Each time it moved we could clearly hear the little motor inside rev. Out of curiosity I checked the remote that was also on the counter. I thought perhaps a button was stuck on it causing the car to function on it's own. I was shocked to find that there were no batteries in either the car or the remote.
One evening while putting away magazines next to my TV it shut off. Having burnt out a TV as well as two VCRs simply by touching a button (considering all the static electricity in the house) I was thinking perhaps it had something to do with my hand being somewhat close to the side of the television. To test this theory I again moved my hand toward the TV after turning it on at the power button. Again it shut off. It did this several times. Each time I reached for the TV it shut off. There were no other adults in the house and my children were in bed so I am certain no one was playing with a remote around the corner. And being so far from the neighbors, most homes being vacation rentals anyhow, it's highly likely that another neighbor's remote could be activating my TV. It happened every single time without fail about a half dozen times or more. When I reached to turn on the TV with the power button yet again, fascinated by this phenomenon, instead of waiting for me to turn it on so I could watch it shut off on it's own it actually turned ON this time before I could touch it. That was the last time it happened. It never did that again for the rest of the time I lived in that home and I still have that same TV even to this day and it's not happened since.
Shortly afterward my daughters experienced a loud noise one night in their closet. I had heard nothing from downstairs so they investigated on their own and found that a heavy box of books had fallen from their closet shelf. I had a lot of boxes stacked up there but this box, having no lid had been placed all by itself on the middle of the shelf. It fit entirely on the shelf and did not hang over the edge in any way. I could find no reason for this heavy box that my children could not even reach with a chair to have fallen.
They brought me the books in armfuls the next morning before school and told me the story. After they left I thought about putting the books away but have to admit, I was a little freaked to go back into their room. About an hour later, my excited 2 year old took me by the hand and quickly dragged me to his sisters' room. Not having any toys in the closest he had never had reason to go in there before that day but that is exactly where he dragged me to. He pointed at the one empty spot on the shelf where the box of books had been, and this very non-verbal child looked at me and said "mosser" meaning monster. Before then I hadn't known that he even knew that word. He was a smart child but chose not to communicate much with words until he was about 3.
The closer it got to the children leaving, the more fearful I became. I could clearly see things were stepping up a bit.
I was in my room one evening reading a book in bed while everyone in the house was asleep. I noticed out of the corner of my eye the curtain I had put up at the bottom of the staircase to give my room a bit of privacy started to move. I ignored it but it happened again. Finally, telling myself, "you can do this" I stared straight at the curtain and waited. I know how tired eyes play tricks on people so I was determined to be sure what it was that I thought I was seeing. It happened again. This was not just a curtain but rather a very heavy drape. It hung a bit too long for the stairway so a good portion of it dragged on the floor. The curtain was moving sideways, not forward and back like a breeze blowing through, but sideways. How does a heavy drape dragging on the floor with no open windows or doors actually move sideways several times?
And remember that door in my room that led under the house? The one that would never latch shut? On one evening, at dusk as it would have it, I was sitting at my desk right next to that door typing an email to my sister when I noticed the sheer curtain that separated my bedroom from my little office moved. It actually lifted completely upward as if someone was brushing it aside to come into the room. I had actually believed someone WAS coming into the room. The movement was slow, and I watched it move aside then fall slowly back in place. The second it was back in place the door beside me slammed shut. I have not one clue just HOW that could happen when the door was already closed within the doorframe. It was up against the doorframe, but simply not latched. How could a door slam with nowhere to go? I unlatched it and pushed on the door. It would not budge. I realized it was latched and opened it up to look under the house. I saw nothing but didn't stay long to really know for sure. The sooner I shut the door the happier I'd be. When I tried to shut it the door would not latch again. I yanked and pulled that door with all my might and could not close it. A male friend who happened to be at the house at that time tried with all his strength to slam that door into place. It was not going to happen. That door would just not latch again.
Finally, the day came in early June when the children left for vacation with their father. My youngest, who stayed home with me, stood outside the front door with me to wave goodbye. I watched as they drove down the road and out of sight. When I turned around to go back inside, I found I couldn't move. I realized, with them being gone, and my son not being all that verbal at his young age, if I were to hear voices or laughter, I could no longer explain it away and attribute it to my girls. I would have to stop the denial and face the reality of what I was dealing with. I finally forced myself to go back inside.
I didn't know what to do with myself with the girls gone and I really wanted to get the house out of my mind so I put a movie on for my son and I to watch. We both fell asleep on the couch before the movie was over. I woke up… yes… at dusk. I laid on the couch for a few minutes watching the ceiling grow darker as the sun began to set. I could hear my son breathing heavy next to me, still asleep. Then she spoke.
I heard the voice clear as day, though what was said was not so clear. It was clearly a female, a small girl. And the way one's tone of voice rises at the end of a sentence when it is a question gave me a clear indication that that was exactly what she was doing. It was clearly three syllables long. She was asking me a question. My instinct tells me she was asking, "Where'd they go?"
Her voice sounded like it was coming from just down the hall, either from my girls' room or from the staircase leading to my room downstairs, which was right outside my girls' room. It had a strange echo quality to it. It is very hard to explain but it was as if you record a voice on two separate tape recorders and then play them back at exactly the same time. An echo, but occurring at the same time, not right after… I guess by definition, not really an echo then? I suppose you could say it sounded like she was talking in a tunnel. It was very loud, there's no mistaking that I heard it or that it was coming from inside my house. I had been awake for at least 15 minutes or so, so it's doubtful I was "dreaming".
The second I heard her voice my entire body stiffened and froze. I could not move. I didn't try, but if I had I don't think I could have moved at all. I felt my son's body stiffen as well, and his breathing seemed to stop. When the voice stopped he took a deep breath, rolled over and stayed asleep.
My first reaction was to grab him and run. I can't explain exactly why I didn't. All I can say was that somehow, if I had run out of that house, I knew that I would never be able to come back. There was nowhere to go and everything we owned was in that house. I had to stick it out until I could find another place to live. To run now would only mean defeat and never being able to come back. Instead, I grabbed a phone and called a friend. I had no intention of ever telling anyone what had happened, not even my friend. I simply needed to hear a real voice. I needed some form of contact with a reality outside my own little world of fears that I couldn't escape. After only a short time, I could not help myself. I broke down crying and finally told her what had happened. My son and I slept in the living room for at least 3 weeks straight after that incident…. with the lights on.
I prayed that God would get us out of that house and just 3 months later, after having dealt with this thing for 4 years, I was told the owner was selling the house. We HAD to leave.
I finally found another place to go, but it was over 100 years old. When I first opened the door to check this house out my son said, "This a skeery house mommy." I just wasn't sure what to do. I went back 7 times, often bringing others with me and secretly watching their reaction to get a feel for this new house. Just when I decided to take it, I sat down and prayed that if this house was not good for us, slam the door on my opportunity. The next day I was to meet with the reality to sign the paperwork but she had rented it out from underneath me. It wasn't meant to be. About 2 years later, around 6 a.m., that house, once again vacant after having many tenants come and go in such a short time, unexplainably burnt down. Had we moved into that house, we would have been asleep at that hour. I learned a short time later from the realtors daughter that she had frightening experiences in that house and believed it to be haunted. God was watching out for us!
Is it the town? Is it the rich history of the area that causes so many things to happen in such a small place? I'm sure I'll never know, but I'm content with that as long as I will never have to deal with such situations again.
We did eventually find a home. And as luck would have it, we moved out on October 31st, to a house just around the corner. I'm still cautious every time I pass by that old place. I don't want it to follow me home!