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A Haunted Place: The Terror Within

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.

Crystal and Dan Mayer purchased a home similar to the one depicted in this photo.  They would soon discover that they were not alone.

Crystal and Dan Mayer purchased a home similar to the one depicted in this photo. They would soon discover that they were not alone.

New Beginnings

Nearly every house has at least one room that it used as a glorified storage space. For Crystal Mayer and her husband, Dan, this designated dumping ground was a small area they referred to as "the back bedroom."

Crystal contacted me through social media after learning that I collected stories of hauntings and other paranormal experiences. She explained that she had firsthand knowledge of the events that can occur when a home plays host to an unknown entity. This is her chilling tale.

When the Mayers purchased their country home in the spring of 1996, it was like a dream come true. The front of the house faced a small patch of woods while the back boasted a breathtaking view of a stream that flowed into the mighty Ohio River.

Dan had recently retired from a local chemical plant and the pair had been looking for someplace special in which to spend their golden years. They thought that they had found it in the bungalow by the water.

Crystal decided right away that each room should serve a purpose. She and Dan would sleep in the bedroom that was closest to the bathroom. The middle bedroom would be reserved for visiting family members and the back bedroom would be a storage area. All of the pieces were falling into place as the couple made themselves at home in their new abode.

In the beginning, Crystal didn't notice anything unusual about the small storage room that seemed to be set apart from the rest of the house. She admits that a couple of things did bother her, one of which was the fact that there were no windows in the room. Another was the drab interior. Whereas the rest of the house was wide open and well lit, the back bedroom was dark and musty.

When they had first viewed the house, the realtor had explained that the area had been intended to be used as a dark room by the original owner. It seemed like a small thing at the time and neither Crystal nor Dan were particularly bothered by it. They reasoned that they could always have a window installed at a later date if the need should arise.

Several months would go by without incident as the couple settled into their new home. Crystal says that they did notice the odd noise coming from the back of the house from time to time, but it hadn't been anything to get alarmed about. The time for fear would come later.

The back bedroom of the Mayer home became a hub of unexplained activity.

The back bedroom of the Mayer home became a hub of unexplained activity.

The Back Bedroom

Crystal took great pride in her new home and spent countless hours turning it into the cottage she had always envisioned. In the months they had lived in the house, she and Dan had painted and wallpapered nearly every room. The only area that they had left virtually untouched was the back bedroom. Since it was used mainly for storage, it had simply been too cluttered to worry about.

The door to the room was kept closed since it was nothing more than a catch-all and a bit of an eyesore. Things took a strange turn one day when Crystal noticed that the door was standing wide open. Dan wasn't home at the time and she knew that she had not been in the room that day. Thinking that it might have had a faulty latch, she closed the door and went about her business.

Later that same day, Crystal remembers hearing a loud thump on one of the walls. She was in the living room at the time and wasn't sure where the sound had come from. She only knew that the impact had been so violent that it felt as though the floor had moved beneath her feet.

As she jumped up to see what had happened, she noticed that the door to the back bedroom was, once again, standing wide open. Crystal knew, without a doubt, that she had closed the door earlier--she had even pushed on it to make sure that the latch had caught.

In the months that they had lived in the house, Crystal had been inside the back bedroom dozens of times and had never felt the least bit uneasy. On this day, however, she says that the entire atmosphere of the room had been altered. She describes feeling as though she was being watched by a thousand eyes as soon as she set foot in the room. For reasons she cannot fully explain, she turned tail and fled to the kitchen. She remembers her hands trembling so badly that she couldn't grip the can of soda she had been drinking earlier.

When Dan arrived home, Crystal told him about the banging noise that had shaken the house. She said that she thought it had originated in the back bedroom. When Dan went to have a look for himself, he found that the door was jammed. Try as he might, he could not gain entry into the room.

Thoroughly frustrated, Dan stormed out to the shed where he kept his toolbox. Crystal waited patiently in the hallway while her husband went to fetch something that could be used to pry open the stubborn door. Before long, he returned with a crowbar and a screwdriver. He figured one or the other of them would do the trick.

As Dan began to work on the hinges, the door suddenly flew open. Crystal attests to the fact that the door hadn't simply unlatched or somehow become unstuck. Rather, it had flung itself open with such ferocity that Dan had toppled over backwards.

Crystal recalls seeing all of the blood drain from her husband's face in an instant. Dan was not someone who was easily spooked, but on that day she saw real fear in his eyes.

Once the couple had come to their senses, they took a look around the back bedroom. Nothing seemed to be amiss or out of place. There were no signs that anyone, other than the two of them, had been inside the house. They could find nothing that would explain how the door had flown open of its own volition.

In time, Dan would convince himself that he had overreacted and that the door had not been stuck in the first place. Sometimes, the mind can conjure up whatever it needs to in order to protect one's sanity. Crystal, on the other hand, feared that they might be facing something more troublesome than a contrary door. She would soon learn that some places are isolated for a reason.

Behind the Door

After the incident with the door, Crystal steered clear of the storage room. Dan, on the other hand, refused to acknowledge that anything strange was going on in their house. That being said, according to Crystal, he avoided the back bedroom at all cost.

Even though the room remained undisturbed in the weeks that followed, unexplained noises could be heard coming from behind the door at all hours of the day and night.

Crystal stated that the room seemed to be on some kind of cycle whereby if it was quiet during the day, there would be activity at night and vice versa. At times, they might hear a constant banging that would go on from early in the morning until late into the evening.

When this occurred, Crystal says that the hammering would abruptly stop when the sun went down. Afterwards, the room would be deathly silent until morning when the whole process would begin again. This would go on for days or even weeks only to stop as suddenly as it had started.

On other occasions, the back bedroom would be peaceful all day long and then become a hub of activity after nightfall. Crystal remembers sitting in the living room with Dan at night and listening to items being hurled against the bedroom walls. The disturbances would go on for hours with no let up.

As much as Dan liked to put on a brave face, Crystal says that he would focus on the television or a book and pretend that he didn't hear what was happening in the bedroom. Neither Dan nor Crystal had the nerve to open the door and bear witness to whatever was happening inside the room.

Only on the following mornings, when the room had fallen silent, would they dare to venture inside. It was then that they would discover that the room had remained untouched by the mayhem that they had heard on the previous night. And so it went, day after day and night after night.

The back bedroom was rumored to have, at one time, been the site of satanic rituals.

The back bedroom was rumored to have, at one time, been the site of satanic rituals.

Dark Secrets

Some may wonder why the couple stayed in a house that was clearly plagued by something not of this world. Crystal explains that, since all of the disturbances in the home were limited to the back bedroom, she had felt perfectly safe in the rest of the house. Her philosophy had been simple: if they didn't bother it, it wouldn't bother them.

There were still times when the door of the back bedroom would open for no reason, forcing either Crystal or Dan to close it. There were also times when they needed to retrieve something from the room only to have their plans thwarted by something they could not explain. On those occasions, they would attempt to open the door only to discover that it had been locked from the inside which prevented them from entering. They learned, in time, that the door would eventually open again on its own.

Even though the couple talked about selling the house and finding a place less complicated in which to live, they loved everything else about their home and weren't ready to move on. There was no chance of calling in spiritual help. Dan didn't believe in it and had forbidden Crystal from telling anyone about the room she felt was haunted.

This hadn't prevented Crystal from doing a little snooping into the history of their house. Although the area was isolated, there were other homes that sat along the dirt road that led to their place. She didn't know any of the residents well, but decided that now would be a good time to introduce herself. It would also be the perfect opportunity to do a little digging.

Crystal was always careful when she broached the subject of her house to her neighbors. She didn't mention any of the strange goings-on for fear that they would think she was unstable. Instead, she would casually inquire if they had known any of the previous owners.

Most of the people she spoke to knew a bit about the house's history, but nothing that seemed significant to Crystal. She didn't find out anything that would explain the chaos that continued to erupt in the back bedroom. After visiting nearly every other home in the area, she had almost given up on her quest for answers. That is until, purely by chance, she met a man who claimed to have known the original owner.

The man happened to be visiting his daughter on the day that Crystal had stopped by to introduce herself. After a few minutes of small talk, Crystal had told her hostess that she was researching the home's history and wondered if she could tell her anything about the people who had lived in the house before she and Dan.

The woman explained that she had only recently moved into the area herself and wasn't familiar with any of the neighbors. She did, however, know someone who might be able to help. Her father was the owner of the house she was living in and he happened to be staying with her at the time. Since he had lived in the house sporadically for decades, he had seen many families come and go over the years. The woman led Crystal outside to the back porch where the elderly man was relaxing on an old fashioned glider.

The woman introduced her father, Carl, to Crystal who remembers him as being very pleasant and welcoming. Carl's daughter told him that Crystal lived in one of the houses by the stream and that she was curious about the previous owners. When Carl asked which house, Crystal gave him the exact location.

Crystal says that his demeanor changed immediately when he found out where she lived. He began to shift uncomfortably in his seat and wipe sweat off of his face with his hands. Carl's daughter must have noticed it, too, because Crystal recalls her rushing off to get him a glass of water.

Crystal remembers wanting to ask a million questions, but being too afraid to say anything until the man's daughter returned. Once Carl had taken a few sips of water, he let out a deep breath and sat silently staring off into the distance. It was his daughter who finally spoke up and asked her father if he knew anything about the house.

Carl, who had been so friendly and outgoing only a short time earlier, was now unwilling to say anything. He told his daughter that he didn't feel like talking anymore. When she asked why, he refused to answer.

Feeling very uncomfortable at this point, Crystal apologized for bothering them and got up to leave. Carl, who had seemed to have forgotten that Crystal was even there, suddenly grabbed her hand and held it in a grip so tight that she let out a gasp. He told her to get out of that house, pulling on her hand as he spoke.

Crystal didn't say anything in response. The two of them stared into each other's eyes for a moment until the old man finally released her hand and turned away. His daughter led Crystal back inside the house and apologized profusely for her father's behavior. She said that it had been completely out of character for him to lash out at anyone. Crystal can't remember how they ended the conversation, but she felt that they were on good terms.

That evening, over dinner, Crystal told Dan about the man's strange reaction when she mentioned the house. She had felt that he knew exactly what was responsible for the disturbances in their home, but for whatever reason, he chose not to share the information with her.

A day after Crystal's encounter with the elderly neighbor, his daughter paid her an unexpected visit. Even though Crystal invited her to come inside, the woman said that she would prefer to speak on the porch. She went on to say that her father had felt terrible about the way in which he had treated Crystal. He told his daughter that he didn't know what had come over him.

After he had calmed down and come to his senses, Carl had shared what he knew about Crystal and Dan's house with his daughter. He had actually known several of the previous owners and tenants, but only one stood out in his mind. He told his daughter that it had been an open secret back in the day that the man who built the house had dabbled in the occult.

According to Carl, the man had constructed the house by the stream decades earlier. At the time, there were very few other homes in the area which afforded the locals a great deal of privacy. Carl told his daughter that he had only come face to face with the original owner of Crystal's house on a handful of occasions. Even so, he had never forgotten him--try as he might.

Carl told his daughter that the man, whose name he couldn't remember, had been someone he had disliked on sight. It had not only been the arrogant way in which the man carried himself, but also his appearance--specifically his eyes-- that had caused Carl's visceral reaction. He described them as being more akin to those of a goat than a person. He also recalled that the man had been wearing black gloves each time they met, even in the dog days of summer. It had bothered Carl that he had never seen the man's hands.

The woman explained to Crystal that her father had always been someone who liked everyone. She had never heard him utter a bad word about anyone, until now. He also told her that rumors had circulated among the scant number of neighbors that the man who lived by the stream was a devil worshiper. Some even went so far as to claim that they thought he was the Devil himself. Those were the ones who, like Carl, who had looked into his eyes.

Carl had never been inside of the man's house, but he said that he had heard from others that there was one room set aside for rituals in which the homeowner would make sacrifices to Satan. He had heard that, after the house had changed hands, the people who moved in had to paint over satanic drawings that had been etched onto the walls and floor.

He couldn't say for certain that the stories were true, they were simply what he had been told. After meeting the man who was the subject of the dark accusations, he believed that anything was possible.

Apparently, that was everything Carl knew about the house except for the fact that it had changed hands dozens of times over the years. No one seemed to stay there long. He couldn't remember what happened to the man with the cold, emotionless eyes. All he could say was that he was there one day and gone the next. He didn't know of anyone who had seen him move out.

When Carl's daughter had asked him why he hadn't shared this information with Crystal, he didn't seem to know himself. He did say that he had felt a rush of fear when Crystal mentioned the house. There was evil there, he had known it in his gut from the moment he laid eyes on the man who built it.

The Compromise

Crystal and Dan mulled over all of the things that Carl's daughter had shared with them. They took most of it with a grain of salt. Dan, especially, didn't believe for a moment that black magic had been performed in their home. He would eventually admit that the occurrences in the back bedroom were probably paranormal in nature, but not the result of occult activity.

Even with everything they knew about the house, both fact and rumor, the Mayers thought long and hard about whether or not they wanted to remain there or sell the property. At the end of the day, they compromised.

Since winters in the area were brutal, Crystal and Dan decided to buy a trailer in a retirement community in Florida. They would live there for most of the year and spend only the summer months in their country home.

Before they made their move down South, the couple hired a company to remove everything from the back bedroom. They had all of the items that they had been storing there hauled away. For reasons that Crystal can't quite explain, they no longer wanted to be in possession of anything that had been kept in the room.

Once the space was completely cleared out, Dan sealed the door off so that it could no longer be opened from either side. They still hear sounds emanating from the room during their time in the house, but the door no longer opens on its own. Whatever inhabits the back bedroom has yet to find its way into the rest of the house.

Although this would hardly be an acceptable arrangement for most people, it has worked out well for both Crystal and Dan. They know that their methods are unconventional, but they are unconventional people. Crystal realizes that the time will come when someone else will have to deal with the back bedroom. Until then, it will remain as it has for years--undisturbed.

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