Author Archives: Jesse Bissen

A Series of Hauntings

While interviewing a fellow USC student, Jasmine Gould, I quickly realised she had much more to say than I anticipated. She told me she had a “ghost story,” however she began to describe a series of events throughout her childhood that surely would frighten any juvenile. Jasmine, though, looks at the situation differently. She said, “No, I mean, we were never seriously worried. I mean, it was scary, these things, but I never felt worried. These were just things that happened. It actually made things kind of interesting.”

Jasmine, her sister, and two parents all lived in Seattle throughout the duration of the hauntings they experienced. Without much hesitation, she suspected that the events that took place near and in her home may be related to a suicide in the house neighbouring hers. I agreed, but considering the diversity in the stories I was told…these really are a mystery, to me at least.

The first experience, at least after Jasmine’s birth, occurred while she was an infant. She said her nanny told her it went like this:

“So umm, when I was a baby I was just chilling in my crib, and, I kind of forget what happened, but my nanny told me she was in the basement and like heard all these noises coming from upstairs. Then I guess she could also hear me crying on the baby monitor, so she like ran upstairs and checked on me. I guess I was fine so she went back downstairs. Then she immediately heard all these weird noises on the monitor, like static and stuff. She got really weirded out, so she went back upstairs, and then she like grabbed me and just brought me down with her. Then when she came down she like…closed the basement door and quickly heard the same noises from the monitor coming from behind that door at the top of the stairs. My dog apparently was like looking directly at the stairs, just like staring at them so intensely. My nanny said like all the, uh, hairs on the back of my dog were standing up straight and she just like started barking frantically at nothing. I don’t know, she said it was really, really scary.”

In the same house, several years later, something much different yet very obscure happened to Jasmine’s sister, Grace.

“Um, yeah, so one time my sister said she was like in the shower and she like saw a really long arm like come at her or something. So she like flipped and fell and no one was behind the curtain. I guess it looked like it was trying to hit her. She ran downstairs and was freaking out while telling my mom and I about it. Right after she stopped there was this eerie silence and then there was like a wind followed by this really frail voice that whispered, ‘Grace…” like really, really clearly. Thats my sisters name. There was no one else around us, I swear. We were all just like, ‘Um, like what the fuck.’ That freaked me out more than it did to her, I think.”

From these first two stories, Jasmine definitely seemed much more worked up while describing the shower incident. Perhaps this is because she was only an infant for the first story. However, she made it clear that the following story was the most jarring at the time. This occurred while her and her nanny were looking at the vacant house her neighbours had just moved out of. The house where the owner’s son had committed suicide.

“So this is the one that actually involved me. I think I was like nine at the time. My neighbours son had committed suicide a few years prior to them leaving and trying to sell it. We were thinking of like buying their lot. Anyways, my nanny and I, we like decided to go walk around and check it out. Right away, like, it was just so ominous. So we were just kind of like fucking around for a bit, then we decided to head up the stairs leading to the attic. We didn’t know this, but the attic was like where the guy killed himself. So, there was a door before the stairs, and we opened it and all of a sudden head footsteps up in the attic. We were like, ‘What…?’ and before we could even do anything we saw the door to the attic at the top of the stairs start to open, so we just fucking booked it down the stairs as fast as we could. We were so scared we just left the house completely, while screaming. Of course, my nanny left her wallet on the stairs, so we had to go back. And so, we like went back, and the exact same thing happened. Footsteps, then door creaking. We left again, and just never went back. We ended up buying the house and then a few years later we sold it.”

After Jasmine described all of her experiences I made an attempt to try and find similarities between the stories, perhaps to see if there were any connections. I ended up interpreting them as a series of distinct and different events. I still question why they all happened to appear near these two houses, and so did Jasmine. I asked, “Had you always been a believer in ghosts? Or did these experiences create that belief system for you?”

She said, “Yeah, I mean, I always kind of had this interest in ghosts, even from a really young age. I felt and still feel like I have no real reason not to believe in them. It’s not like I’ve been like, ‘Oh my God, theres a ghost right next to me!’ but I still feel like there is no proof saying that they definitely are not real.”

All of Jasmine’s stories leave me perplexed. They seem as though they should be in a cliche horror movie, and because of that it is really interesting to hear how they affected her and her family members separately. I’m not too sure why they still chose to purchase that house after Jasmine’s attic experience, but I find it rather respectable that they were able to endure such a broad array of hauntings.







The Man in the Window

Before I turned ten years old, I frequently visited my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Austin Minnesota for casual visits. Austin, a town in rural Minnesota with a population of 25,000, is famous for it being the headquarters for the famous canned meat SPAM. However, upon further exploration, there may be an even more significant presence there, perhaps something less discernable: ghosts.

To be more specific, my Aunt and Uncle claim to be visited by the ghost of a man that passed away in their home many decades ago. This was unannounced to me only until several years ago when they chose to modify their kitchen so as to reorient their windows in an attempt to escape their frequent ghost sightings. When asked if their son (my cousin) had ever seen this ghost, my aunt replied, “Oh yeah. We’ve been seeing him ever since we moved in. So did Dave.” There is a large age gap between my cousin and my aunt and uncle, so it is rather interesting how an entire family seem to all experience the same ghost with the same visualizations.

When I asked my aunt to describe their first experience with this ghost, this is how it went:

“Well, it started when we moved into the house. We’d be in the kitchen, and uh, we’d see an image go past the window umm, heading towards the garage, and we would assume he was heading towards the back door. Now, I say ‘he’ because, well, I suppose I don’t know why. I guess it’s because we were told a man passed away in our room some 30 years before, so I guess whenever we saw the image walking past the window we just assumed it was the man. Anyways, we never could really see a uh…. defined image of a person per se, it was more or less a shadow or something similar. He would walk quickly by the kitchen window, but when we would walk out to check…he never actually made it to the door. Pretty soon we just got used to it.”

Both my aunt and uncle claim to have seen this mysterious man walking by their window quite a number of times. I wanted to make sure this wasn’t an experience specific to them or my cousin, so I asked my aunt if any of my other relatives had seen anything similar. The conversation progressed like this:

“So, Aunt Susan, I know I personally have never seen this man, maybe because I don’t remember much of the memories in your home before the kitchen was modified, but has anyone not in your close family ever had a similar experience?”

“Oh my goodness, yes! Actually, I was talking to your aunt Teresa the other day and we were talking about this one night when she was over here baking and at one point that evening she said, ‘Susan, there is someone at the door.’ I just said, ‘No there isn’t.’ She insisted, and eventually, I just had to say, ‘Trust me, no one is coming.’ Nobody came.”

She made it clear that they chose to never discuss these mysterious happenings with anyone. In her words, “we never wanted you guys to be afraid of visiting us. But when Teresa saw it, um, I guess it sort of validated what we’d been experiencing.”

It was obviously very clear that this man consistently appeared through their window, but I wanted to see if they had seen him anywhere else. She responded with this:

“Well, yeah of course. It started with the window sighting, and then, ya know after we remodelled he just seemed to appear in our south window in the back instead of the front. It was crazy. Then one day, and this was just mind-boggling, your uncle and I were sitting on the front porch holding our cell phones out so we could chat on the speakerphone. Then, all of a sudden, we turned our heads at the exact same time because we heard someone running down our driveway towards the backyard. We heard the footst- the, the feet. It was almost like it was rehearsed, Jess. I immediately got up and ran, because I just had a feeling it wasn’t really true, ya know? So I run to the backyard, and of course, everything is fenced in back there, so I look around and nobody is back there. Not even footprints, which was weird because there was a ton of snow in the backyard so I would have seen the steps if they were there.”

“You’re sure it couldn’t have been anything else? Definitely footsteps?”

“We heard footsteps. Guarantee it.”

I was curious to see if perhaps they were merely perceiving these things, only because they were already believers in all things ghostly and also knew that there had been a death in the house. This was not the case. They had only learned about the death three years ago, which would be almost two decades after they first began to see this man walk by their window. In fact, my aunt provided a rather interesting point of information after I asked about the role their knowledge of the man’s death played in the sightings.

“The funny thing is, after we um…heard about the death, he hasn’t come back.”

I really wish I would have had an opportunity to see this “ghost”. I myself am hesitant to say I’m a believer in spirits like these, mainly because I simply have not had such an experience. However, if I were in my aunt’s situation, it is safe to say I would be a strong believer. I think it is important to note that while seeing a man walk by your window and run around your home definitely seems frightening, the inflection in her voice suggested the opposite. She was excited to reflect on her experiences and says she is glad her and other family members were able to validate their beliefs.