A few moments earlier up on the second floor, Matthew had quietly snapped, “What the heck was that?” as he looked over his shoulder as he and Jacob walked towards the stairs. Jacob looked back, then at the top of the landing with a startled expression on his face, “I didn’t hear anything, are you sure it came from behind us?” Matthew started to laugh, “I’m just kidding you little buddy, there are no ghosts in this house.” At that very moment they heard the girls yell an extremely load and blood curdling scream, as if their lives were in danger. Matthew hit Jacob in the arm, “Come on, let’s see what’s wrong,” and the two of them raced down the stairs to where the yell came from.
As they entered the sitting room, they were puzzled by their friend’s expressions. Jessica and William were just standing there looking very confused. Sarah, Alexis and Samantha were huddled together, their eyes were welling up with tears, showing the fear they were feeling. Their mouths were open, but none of them was making any sound at all. They appeared to be frozen together, almost like statues.
Matthew didn’t really believe in the paranormal. He never took much seriously, and he always seemed to be in the wrong place whenever anything happened. Jacob is a shy and polite boy who was trying his best to fit in with his new friends. After they overcame their initial response to their friend’s reactions, Matthew looked over at Jacob and shook his head in a fashion that indicated his annoyance with the situation. He looked back at the girls who were huddled together and then over at William and Jessica with the confused looks on their faces.
Matthew: “Now what’d we miss out on?”
William just looked over at Matthew and grinned, saying “Not much, just the most life like apparition we have ever seen”.
Matthew, with an angry look on his face replied, “You’re freak’n kidding me, right? You telling me you saw an actual ghost?”
William began to give a detailed account of what they just witnessed, “This transparent figured formed right there beside the sofa. It slowly floated from the sofa across the room towards the window, and vanished, just as mysteriously as it appeared.” Jessica interrupted, “Shhhh, I think it’s still here.
As they listened to the sound of the floor creaking they started panning the room with their camcorders and snapping pictures with their digital cameras. The sun was starting to break through the clouds and brighten up the room as the wind blew one of the curtains open through the broken window. At this point they realized that whatever was in the room was gone. Even the three girls who were huddled together felt relaxed enough to let go of one another. “What the heck was that”, blurted Alexis. “I’ve never been so scared in my life”, whispered Samantha as she wiped the tears from her face. “I’m not sure but whatever or whoever it was sure didn’t seem too happy to see us,” said Sarah. The three girls in unison said “I think we should leave.”
After a few deep breaths to help get herself composed, Jessica looked at the girls, then the rest of the group and suggested it might be a good idea to leave and try to see if they caught anything on one of the cameras or voice recorders. William and Matthew reluctantly agreed, even though they initially wanted to keep looking around to try to find any proof that it wasn’t just a trick someone was playing on them. Everyone gathered up their things and started to walk towards the front door of the house.
They were walking out of the sitting room and through the hallway to the front door. While going passed the stairway to the upper floors, once again they all turned their heads at the same time to look up at the landing, as if they were sure someone was standing there staring at them. All they could see was the suns reflection on the walls and handrails. They all started to shiver from the instant chill they felt come over them, like someone just cranked up the air conditioner. They quickly turned back towards the door and continued walking, although a little faster now. William muttered quietly, “That was just weird”.
As they left the house, and were turning onto the road, the three younger girls were still visibly shaken. Sarah looked back at Jessica and William who were talking amongst themselves, until she noticed William look up at them. William mentioned to Jessica that the younger girls were probably going to have nightmares about this for weeks, and they decided to pick up their pace so they could catch up to the girls. Once they did they both put their hands on the girl’s shoulders to comfort them, and Jessica said in a calm voice, “Remember, if it can walk through walls or other objects, it can’t hurt you.” Then William added in a rather authoritative tone, “They may scare the heck out of you, but they will never physically harm you, unlike what you see in the movies and television shows. They put that in to help add to the fear factor of the shows only.” The three girls looked at Jessica and William, then at each other and cracked a little smile and giggled. “Boy do we feel silly” said Sarah, sounding relieved. Then William added, “There has never been an actually scientifically substantiated case of a ghost physically harming someone in the real world.”
Jacob was walking backwards, still staring at the windows in the house. It looked like a typical vacant house with peeling white paint and bare wood showing, a few small broken windows here and there, and an over grown yard full of weeds and shrubs that seem to have just grown anywhere. Matthew clipped Jacob in the back of the head, “What are you looking back for, nothings following us.” Jacob turned around and looked up at Matthew and excitedly said, “I was just hoping to see what they saw. I figured maybe it would be looking out the window to make sure we left or something.” “Judging by the expression on their faces when we entered that room, I don’t know if you really want to see what they saw,” Matthew said quietly.
Jessica, who though very attractive and feminine, seemed far more technical then emotional for a teenage girl, was jotting down notes on her smart phone in point form while the experience was still fresh in her mind. William peeked over to see what she was typing. He saw the words:
Suddenly he realized she was describing what they had just witnessed. He decided to pull his smart phone out to document the event and started typing what he remembered seeing in the sitting room as well:
He stopped typing and was reading the notes on his smart phone. He realized his first four points were exactly the same as Jessica's. With all the excitement, William forgot one of the most important rules of “hunting”, and that is “Document any and all occurrences as quickly and accurately as possible, while they are still fresh in your mind.” He also realized that by looking at Jessicas notes, he had already potentially corrupted his own memory of the events. He then continued with his own point form notes:
As they continued walking down the side of the dirt road, Matthew was looking around at the area they were walking through that had very little around it other than some trees, fields and old derelict buildings.
Matthew: “Why are all haunted houses always in the middle of nowhere or on the edge of town? It’d be nice to find one closer to home”
Jessica: “They’re not all in the middle of nowhere or at the edge of town, but are you going to admit the place you live in is actually haunted or has strange happenings? And even if you did admit it, would you let a bunch of teenagers come into your home to check it out?”
Matthew: “Are you kidding? Being a kid believing in ghost is one thing; people assume you’re just using your imagination.”
William: “Exactly, and adults have been programmed to not believe everything they see and hear through years of being told by everyone that they should know better. Society basically programs them to only believe what is generally accepted as fact.”
Jacob: “Growing older sounds like it sucks; I don’t see why people can’t believe what they want without people telling them their crazy? I think if you see something, it’s real.”
Not wanting to get into a deep discussion, William and Jessica looked at one another and shrugged their shoulders and just smiled.
After walking for a few minutes with everyone still a little stunned from the experience, William told the group, “I guess we can go back to my place and see what we’ve caught on tape or on the cameras; you know my dad’s cool with us hanging out in our basement, and I have a surprise to show you guys.”
William’s dad always let the kids hang out; he even built a rec-room in the basement so they would have a place to go that wouldn’t disturb him when they got together. Because his father grew up on a farm and worked construction since he was 16, he was a big, powerful man, but yet he was always smiling like life just couldn’t be any better. There wasn’t a kid in the neighbourhood who didn’t like and respect him. Part of the reason may have been the powerful, authoritative tone in his voice. Whenever he called you, you would go see what he wanted, you would never just shout back to him.
Not all adults were like him though. Some would drive by the group giving them dirty looks and shake their heads, or just stare at them like they were doing something wrong. Even the ones in their yards acted different. Some would say hi or wave and smile, while others would just turn and walk away into their homes, while looking back over their shoulders. It seemed if you were a group of teenagers hanging out together, you must be planning something bad.
All of the seven lived in a relatively clean and quiet neighbourhood. It was a working middle-class area, where most people still had strong work ethics and family values. William and his dad lived in a large house that was very well kept. As they entered the front door William shouted, “Hey pops, my friends and I are going to the basement.” His father, who always sat in the same chair watching TV or playing cards, glanced up and said “OK, just not to loud.” As the group walked in, they all said “Hi Mr. Rogers”, to William’s dad. He just smiled at them and said “Hello”. He never really pried into what the kids were up to, partially because he had always told William that if he ever got into trouble while living under his roof, he would remember the lickin he got for a long time, and William believed it, though he never actually received one.
The group headed downstairs to the rec-room. William turned on the lights, revealing a well laid out set up of computers, and other equipment that is crucial to search through the evidence they had collected.
Sarah excitedly said, “When did you get all this stuff and set it up?”
William calmly responded, “Last week. My dad and I picked it up last weekend after we went to an auction from an office building that was being renovated, and we picked this stuff up cheap. It was piled behind some filing cabinets my dad wanted, and the auctioneer said it was all included, so he gave it to me.”
Matthew: “That’s a sweat deal. And your dad gave it all to you?”
William: “Yeah, he says a computer cannot drive nails or pour concrete so he has no use for them. It was a little funny too because some people there were a little ticked off because they thought it was all a separate group of items for the auction, so they didn’t even bid against my dad for the filing cabinets.”
Jessica (rather relieved): “This set up will cut our reviewing time by more than half. And everything is in working order?”
William: “Definitely. The only thing was the laptops and computers still had the data on them, so I deleted all of it off the computers and most of the business software. I was surprised they didn’t just remove the hard drives, or at least wipe them clean. I guess they left town in quite a hurry.”
Before this, the team used to hook up their equipment to one computer they picked up at a flea market or an old TV to search the cameras and a couple old headphones to check the audio. Now, thanks to a company growing too big too fast and going bankrupt, the team has equipment that is only a few years old, with a few laptops and computers, a 32” LCD TV, quality head phones, and even a back-up drive to store data that is unexplainable.
William and Jessica, being the oldest and most experienced hunters, decided to assigned different tasks to each member of the group. Matthew was given the camcorder he used with Jacob, as well as Jessica's; Jacob was assigned the audio recorder they used; Sarah was tasked with her group’s video recorder; Samantha was given all the cameras and Alexis was given her groups voice recorder. William then hooked his camcorder to the TV so he could review it on a larger screen. Jessica looked around and saw that everyone was getting ready to review the data they were tasked with, and she figured they had it under control. She picked up her purse and told the group, “I’m heading uptown to see what type of historical records I can find at city hall on the old house.”
As she walked out the door she felt a chill go through her body. Jessica shrugged it off and started walking down the walkway. Just before she reached the side walk, she felt like someone was staring at her. She turned and looked up at William's windows and saw nothing. She looked at the neighbours windows and between the houses but still saw nothing. Puzzled, she continued to walk to the side walk and head towards down town. The entire way down town, Jessica kept looking around; as she couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched.
Back at William’s house, the younger group members were starting to frustrate William. First Alexis asked William to listen to a strange sound that sounded like talking. It turned out that it was just a couple group members talking in another room to one another. Then Sarah asked him to look at a portion of a video that seemed to show a figure moving past a door. William pointed out to her that it was the reflection from a mirror in the bathroom. Samantha asked William to look at a picture with a bunch of “orbs” in it. William explained that it was just dust in the air that is very often caught on digital photos. Jacob wanted William to listen to something that sounded like a floor creaking when someone walks on it. William told him that because it couldn’t be determined whether it was them walking or another group member that it would need to be discarded as it wasn’t definitive enough.