This Weeks Story
July 4th, 2000
Closet in Hoboken"
No, it's not one of those creepy commercials from late night television
where you hire a bunch of strangers rebuild your closet
with those scarey space-saving dividers!
It's really a personal encounter straight from the
Frightening Memoirs of
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Bad Closet in Hoboken
Hailing From: Hoboken, NJ
Where it Happened: My parents' home in Hoboken
I've had several encounters in my life, not the least of which have involved the "bad closet" in my bedroom where I grew up in Hoboken. I'd like to tell you all the things that happened there and elsewhere, but I think this is probably the event that started a lot of things for me.
I also feel I need to explain that I write Horror Fiction ... scary stuff has always been a big attraction to me ... but I admit that I am a bonafide coward. I've had friends who gleefully wish out loud that they could see a ghost and I shake my head frantically that I'd rather not. I've seen many things, experienced many things that I'd really rather I hadn't ... and while I've written about many scary things, I never write about what actually happened to me and try to pass it off as fiction. I think I'm afraid that if I put it on paper it will come back and haunt me.
I was about 12 or 13 when this happened. I lived in my parents house in Hoboken which was an old, Victorian two-story house with a finished basement. The basement apartment was where my parents had set up our living area. The three bedrooms on the first floor were mine and my two brothers. My room was the large room that faced the street. There were two large closets with heavy wooden sliding doors flanking on either side the door leading to my oldest brother's room. The one nearest my bedroom door was my personal closet, the other one on the other side of the room was for my Mother's out-of-season clothes. To this day I refer to it as the "bad closet."
It was a Sunday. I was sitting on my bed reading when I heard a scratching sound. It was a slow, rhythmic scratching. I looked up and it stopped. I went back to reading and the scratching began again. This time I got up to look around the room. I figured that my brother might be playing a trick on me. The scratching was very loud and consistent. I went out the hallway door and walked around to the hallway entrance to my brother's room thinking I'd surprise him. I was startled to see that no one was in that room.
I went back to my room and closed the door. No sooner had I sat down did the scratching begin again. This time I went downstairs. My father and my youngest brother were watching a ball game. My mother was cooking in the kitchen. I was afraid to tell either of my parents. I asked where my oldest brother was and my mother told me he'd gone to the movies.
I felt uneasy as I went back up to my room.
This time the scratching began as I shut my bedroom door. I remember being frightened, but very curious. I had to know where the sound was coming from. As if a game of "hot-and-cold" had been initiated, the sound became louder as I searched the room. I walked around my bed, peering out of the window - as I approached the closet furthest from the hallway door the scratching became extremely loud.
I remember feeling shocked when I realized the sound was coming from a spot behind the heavy sliding door directly in front of my nose.
I bolted into the hallway and ran up the stairs to my grandparents' apartment. I knew I could trust my grandfather to come to my rescue. I can still see him as we walked down the stairs to my bedroom. My heart was pounding wildly in my chest. I don't know what I expected to see in that closet, but I knew it was going to be horrible. My grandfather fearlessly stepped up to the now silent closet and slid the closet door open. The door revealed a nearly empty closet with a few winter coats and many empty wire hangers dangling from a wooden dowel.
Grampa rattled the hangers about, just in case something or someone was hiding in there, but it was obvious the closet was very empty. I can still see this scene in my head - still hear him saying to me, "There's nothing in here, sweetie. It was probably a mouse or something."
I was shaking my head wildly, "Grampa, this was something big. It was scratching at the top of the door, not the bottom."
Grampa told me it was probably the vibration of the trucks driving by or something. He was totally unconcerned. He could see for himself that the closet was empty. I watched him with dread as he mounted the stairs to his apartment. I was standing in the doorway of my bedroom, afraid to be in there alone. I watched him open his apartment door and enter.
As soon as he closed the door behind him a terrific racket came from my bedroom closet. I spun around and watched in horror as the closet door - the heavy, wooden sliding door - buckled at the middle, the top and bottom flapping like a rubber sheet as something inside the closet pounded frantically, furiously.
I remember screaming, "I'm not afraid of you!" and then racing down the stairs to my parents' apartment.
I didn't tell either of them about that incident until many years later when I was an adult. I don't remember, and I cannot imagine how I managed to sleep in that room that night. But I have always maintained an intense fear of that closet. I never went in there after dark. There were nights that I was more afraid than others and the fear wouldn't go away until after 5:00 a.m.
I've had many horrible experiences - some dreams, some not - associated with that closet. Some are a little too detailed and embarrassing to relate in this submission. One thing I know is that whatever was in my closet, never really left and I still believe it's there now, maybe dormant, but still present. I was told by a Wiccan friend of mine that there was a portal in my closet and since I was sensitive to psychic activity it would always be active. She said that she believed this thing was a minor demon and performed two cleansings on my closet to bind it so that it wouldn't bother me anymore, yet I can still feel it there.
I don't live there anymore, I've since moved out, but when I visit my parents' house I can still feel it. I'd like to make other submissions about other things that happened in that house and to me, in general. I've learned to deal with my psychic sensitivity, but it's been a bumpy road since I was a kid. I've gotten much better and much stronger as I've grown older.
Perfect story for Independence Day, doncha think? I mean, not that it is related to independence, but it is one heckuva good story just in case you decide to roast marshmellows tonight and tell stories around a campfire (or BBQ pit, whichever your situation calls for -- me personally, I'm making one of those beer can chickens you can find the recipe here on Ghostories ;)
But there I go again, flying away on a tangent -- for sure, thanks for sending it in, Florence. We really appreciate it. Actually, to tell you the truth, I had a noise in my room last night, but my search was actually after a cricket that had escaped from my sons' gecko acquarium and fled down the hall to my room (no, really, I'm not poking fun) and so you see I can sympathize with anyone who is trying to determine where a sound is coming from. After about an hour I realized that this little scoundrel had crawled into a potted plant and made his home. So everytime I moved the plant to see behind it, the sound moved -- after a while it was like a Three Stooges episode. Silly me, took me an hour to figure out I was the one moving the cricket and not the other way around. Hmmm....do you think there is a parrallel universe moral to the story here? I wonder ... what made me think of that cricket anyway?
Okay, okay, now in your case, I thought the scariest part was when you came nose to nose with the source of the sound ... that had to be really frightening!
(As for my experience, we just delivered the cricket back to the gecko and he was eaten almost immediately. Ah meeeeeee ........)
Ain't this fun?
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