Getting Weird

My life with a ghost

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018

For two years, up until the beginning of this summer, I lived in a haunted house. Call me crazy, but I know what I saw. I know what I heard. I know, without a doubt, it was haunted.

My old house was on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Lake Street and was built sometime around the 1870s by the Blackwell family. Fred Blackwell, the family patriarch, owned the Eau Claire Book Bindery on Barstow Street, now known as The Plus.

My old roommate spent hours one weekend sorting through historical records at the L.E. Phillips Public Library in an attempt to uncover the history of our house. What she found certainly explained a lot.

She was able to find burial records for all the Blackwells who died in Eau Claire, before the rest of the family moved to Oregon, except she could find no record of one person: Fred Blackwell.

After doing a little research and quite a bit of brainstorming, we came to the conclusion that Fred Blackwell was likely buried in our backyard. This not only explains why we could find no record of his burial, but why we had been experiencing such strange things in this house.

Before I go on, I would like to make one thing clear: the ghost of Fred Blackwell was not malicious. In fact, he was pretty tame as far as ghosts go. I guess we really lucked out with Fred because things could have gone much, much worse for us. After seeing “The Conjuring,” I realized we had it pretty good.

Still, we were haunted.

I began to notice some paranormal activity the first week I moved in, which must have been in January of 2017. I would be home alone, sitting in the living room perhaps reading a book of E. E. Cummings’ poetry (which I was super in to at the time) when I would hear a strangle rustling in the kitchen.

Thinking one of my roommates must have snuck in without me noticing, I brushed it off and ignored the sounds of cabinets opening and dishes being stacked. But, when I entered the kitchen expecting to see one of my two roommates, I was greeted by a surprise: No one was home.

The first few times this occurred, I didn’t think much of it. The house was old and I was accustomed to hearing weird creaks and moans throughout the days and nights. I was able to ignore the weird kitchen sounds, but then things escalated.

Once, I was standing in the living room when I felt someone walk up behind me. As I turned my head to say hello to whoever had entered the room, my stomach sank as I realized no one was there. This became a frequent occurrence.

Craving validation and confirmation that I was not losing my marbles, I questioned my roommates and discovered I was not the only one experiencing this. In fact, they informed me it had been happening as long as they had lived there. I was relieved.

Now that we had broken the ice, we began to talk openly about our ghostly experiences. Though most of our interactions with the paranormal were relatively blasé, we collectively realized that all three of us had been having the same recurring dream. The ghost of Fred Blackwell was trying to tell us something.

For as long as we lived there, we had never been able to get into the attic. Each time we tried to pull the door open, it seemed permanently shut. We gave up trying to get through the door and were left to imagine the secrets and wonders of the un-enterable attic. Soon enough, the attic entered into our dreams.

One morning, I was describing my dream to my roommate. The dream began at the attic door, which I was surprised to discover was  wide open. I climbed the stairs to find not a typical, musty attic, but an entire house. My roommate stopped me, wide-eyed, and said she had been having that same dream nearly every night for a week. Once my other roommate got home, we asked him about the dream. Sure enough, he had had that dream several times.

To this day, we have no idea what’s in that attic.

After two years spent dealing with mysterious sounds, creepy presences and weird dreams, the three of us decided to kiss our haunted house goodbye. Once I had moved out, I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders.

Nowadays, I’m grateful to live in a house that is solely populated by people who are very much alive. Nevertheless, my heart aches a little when I walk by my old place. Living with Fred was anything but dull. When I’m home alone, I sometimes feel myself longing for a ghostly presence or a disembodied sound.

Don’t let the movies fool you — living with a ghost isn’t all that bad.

Anderson can be reached at [email protected].