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April 21, 2012 / mylifewithghosts

The Beginning, Part 1

This blog is about living with ghosts. Yes, that is what I said. I am one of the minority of people who actually lived in a haunted house. I lived there from February 1970 until the end of 1973. It was a two story house on Lake Travis near Austin, Texas. My family was large compared to the typical family. My mom and dad had six kids, of whom I am the oldest. I have two sisters and three brothers. I will only use first names for my family. I am Ken. The rest of my siblings from oldest to youngest are Karan, Carl, Rick, Kathy and Dale. You will learn more about them as this blog progresses. The house was right on the bank of Lake Travis, which was a very fun place to live with direct access to the lake. The house was a boxy house, totally rectangular with a flat roof. These days, it has been renovated to the point that it looks nothing like it did in 1970. I have a picture of what it looked like then and will try to post it with this blog. I could show a satellite picture of it today, but the current owners may not like people appearing there trying to see a ghost. So I will keep that secret.

The first floor of the house had been inexistence for several years. I do not know how old it was in 1970. The previous owner had started a second floor. It was dried in, but the interior had not been finished. You could come up the stairs and and see the entire second floor,with only the studs for the walls visible. The rooms had been laid out with just studs. This visibility of the entire second floor will be significant later. The second floor had a 8ft deep balcony running across the entire front of the house, which faced the lake. There were two sets of sliding glass doors going to the balcony. One set was in the intended master bedroom and the second set was in an intended family room. There was another bedroom framed at the top of the stairs and two bathrooms. We did not start the job of finishing the second story for a couple of years. By the time we moved out, we had completed it. The 1969-70 school year was my freshman year in high school.

The first floor had two bedrooms, a family room, a dining room, a kitchen and one bathroom. There was a utility room that ran across the entire back of the first floor. It was probably 10 feet across. This is where the stairwell to the second story was located. It had the breaker box for the second story and was the location for the washer and dryer. A door to the outside was at each end. There was a door to the outside from the second story also. The house was built on a lot that had multiple levels. There was a parking lot at the top level. The house was at the second level. There was a road on the second level that eventually made its way to the main road. It was hard to drive, so we rarely used it. There were several more levels in the yard on down to the lake. A trolley ran from the parking level down to the lake, with a stop at the house level.

You are probably wondering how 8 people lived in such a small house, since the second story was not usable. Well, my dad and I converted the door in the utility room that faced the second level road into a window. We put up a wall just under the stairs, installed a dropped ceiling and installed vinyl tile. We then put in two bunk beds for me and my three brothers. The room was big enough to hold a desk and a dresser. The window was nice because there was a mercury vapor light in that part of the yard which shone in through the window at night. We could see quite well at night even when the lights were off.   My two sisters shared one of the bedrooms on the first floor and my mom and dad had the master bedroom. So, that is how a family of 8 fit into a rather small house.

You are probably wondering where the ghost comes into this story. My brothers and I were the first to experience the ghost. I do not know how long we had been in our room under the stairs, but one night we heard someone walking around upstairs. All four of us were awakened by the sound of the footsteps. It was fairly late at night, so we were wondering what was going on. I could not see any light coming under our door, so I did not think that our mom or dad were running around up there. Besides, we did not hear anyone go up the stairs. The footsteps went to the stairs and then down the stairs. They came right up to the door and then the door knob started turning back and forth. As I said, the light outside lit our room up pretty well and we could clearly see the door knob moving. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck raise up when I talk about that experience. Although the knob was turning far enough to allow the door to be opened, the unknown visitor did not open the door. After turning the knob back and forth a few times, it stopped and we heard the foorsteps go away from the door and back up the stairs. The footsteps went back into the future family room and stopped. I got up enough courage to run out our door, flip the light to the upstairs on (the switch was downstairs on the railing) and carefully poke my head up just enough to see the second floor. Now remember that the entire second floor was visible at the time. To my amazement, there was no one there. The unknown person did not go out a balcony door, nor did he or she go out the exit to the outside stairs. Both ways out made enough noise that no one could go out one of them without me hearing them. Plus, since the footsteps had stopped in the middle of the floor, the person would have had to fly to get to one of the exits without me hearing. At that time, the idea of a ghost did not occur to me. It was later that we started realizing that we had someone living there that most likely was not of the physical world. I eventually realized the my brothers and I were the first to encounter this strange visitor from the land of the dead.

It is very interesting that the ghost remained silent until my dad and I started the project of finishing the second floor. The ghost seemed content to silently inhabit the second story until we started messing with it. It is also interesting that the ghost’s excursion to the first floor was a very rare occurance. I cannot think of a single time, after his trip down the stairs to check out the new addition to the house, that he came down the stairs. Of course, the bedroom under the stairs was the only modification we made down there. So it might not have been as interesting as our modifications to the second story.

Well, I am going to stop at this point in the story of my family’s introduction to the world of ghosts. My next blog will pick up from this point. Have fun and hug your favorite ghost.

The House today:

Lake House Today

 

 

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