The Arnone’s had just moved into their new house in a quiet suburban neighborhood near Cleveland, Ohio when they started to notice some strange things that were not revealed by the previous occupants that had sold them the building.
Although the majority of the neighborhood was built in the housing boom of the late fifties and early sixties, their house was one of the original homes on the block. It was renovated and expanded over the years, but the square frame of the old house in the center of the home was still pretty much as it was when originally built. There was still an old coal chute in the front corner of the house and the outside hatch now sat in the den.
The first thing they noticed was the noise coming from the basement every night.
In the wee hours of the morning, just as they switched off the late night talk shows they could hear it coming up from the duct work. It sounded like a party was taking place in the large dark cellar. They could hear people’s voices in muffled conversations and strange music playing in the background. There were also distinct sounds of ice dropping into glasses and the glasses being clinked together as if in a toast.
But whenever the husband ventured down in the basement he heard nothing, and the sounds ceased to waft up through the heating system. After this happened a few times, he made a joke that perhaps he was not invited to the party.
However, it seems that his wife was invited.
One Saturday morning while she folded the laundry fresh from the dryer she smelled cigar smoke in the air, and since nobody in the house smoke, she walked around the dark basement to see where the strong smell was coming from. As she rounded an old cement support pillar she saw the man sitting in the middle of the air. He was in his late fifties and in a dark suit. He casually sat there like he was in a bar after a hard days work and interacted with objects that were not there anymore. His cigar flipped ashes at chest level into nowhere and with the other hand he pulled a drink from the long gone table top and gave a quick sip before putting it back into time and space. He hung there in mid air for a good ten seconds as she stood there speechlessly observing him, and then he began to fade. Still going about his leisurely business he vanished into nothingness.
It did not frighten her in any way, seeing the specter from the past in the air before her. To the contrary it made her more curious as to what exactly was going on in the house.
So the next time the mysterious party sounds wafted up from the basement, the wife decided to go downstairs instead.
The noises did not stop. She saw nothing like she had the week before when she saw the spectral bar patron. But the noise of a party was all around her. But even though the noise was quite loud and each individual noise was quite distinct, she still could not make out what the voices were saying. The noises seemed to ebb and flow and then fade away after a few minutes. She did not know what to make of it, it did sound like she was standing in the middle of a party. But there was one thing she did get out of the experience that she grounded it in reality. She recognized the music that was playing in the background. It was "Bei Mir Bist Du Shön" by the Andrews Sisters.
It was popular in the late 1930s.
The parties came and went during the course of many weeks and then they just stopped. They attempted to record some of the sounds, but almost in a reverse EVP the sounds could not be heard in any recordings.
Was the house haunted or was there some sort of temporal rift or vortex there that allowed sounds and images to pass through the generations?
But even more astonishing than these visual and auditory specters are the incidents that happened in the early spring of their first year at the house.
Frank and Becky had three children, a 13 year old boy, a 9 year old girl and a troublesome 5 year old boy who always got into mischief. In early April while the other children were at school, the young boy came running in the house crying. He said an evil squirrel had attacked him in the back yard and had been throwing stones at him. The mother was perplexed for she had never heard of such a thing, but given the other odd experiences she had gone through she would rule nothing out. She looked him over and saw a small bruise on his back where he said one of the stones had hit him. Then satisfied what he said was true she wanted her son to show him the evil squirrel but the little boy refused to back into the yard, “It has a monster face” he pouted “I don’t want to see it again.”
So the mother ventured alone into the backyard to find the ‘evil’ squirrel, but after searching everywhere she could not find any trace of it. However she did find a disturbing set of footprints in the spring mud by the huge oak that dominated the backyard. They unlike any animal tracks she had ever seen. In fact they looked like little barefoot human feet. And the footprints led to the base of the oak tree. A foreboding sense of dread overwhelmed her as she scanned the trees for any sign of the squirrel and for a split second she thought she saw something crawling in the branches. But the shadow looked like so squirrel she had ever seen. There was a head, body and tail- but the tail whipped about in a manner that seemed more snakelike than like that of a small rodent. Cautiously she made her way back into the house and did not let her little son play outside for a few days.
The next to see the strange animal was the thirteen year old. His bus usually arrived before the girls at about 3 in the afternoon. It left him and a few others off at the bus stop about a block away and he walked the rest of the way home. As he walked next to the low lying hedge next to his backyard he noticed something odd in the backyard.
It was a little fur covered creature that was gathering sticks into a bundle. It ran quickly back and forth gathering up the small twigs and laying them into the pile. It’s fur was brown but it’s tail looked like it had moulted exposing black skin. The thick tail whipped back and forth as the being ran to and fro. That was when the oddness struck the teenage boy. It didn’t run on all fours. It ran like a human being, upright on its hind legs. As he stood there watching it put a few more sticks into the pile, the animal put its hand into its side and pulled out a small cord and quickly bound the sticks together. Then as it turned to run towards the tree it noticed that it was being watched.
The animal stared at the boy and dropping its pile of sticks it slowly began to walk toward the young boy in a steady and meaningful gate. As it slowly drew closer he could make out that it had features that mocked the face of a human, but something was wrong. It was as if an artist blind from birth had attempted to make a sculpture of a human face. There were two eyes, a nose and a mouth but they were just….wrong. And the creature’s skin was totally black like a leather shoe. It was then also that they boy noticed that the fur the creature sported was not its own.
It was a cloak.
A cloak that looked as if it was made from a squirrel hide.
The small creature began to pick up speed and made a run for the boy, and filled with fear even though he towered over the animal the teenager ran as fast as he could for the front door.
That night when the father came home they both went out searching for the little creature once more, but like the mother before they did not see anything but small footprints that looked disturbingly human. And as they turned to go back into the house something hit the teenager in the back.
It was a small rock.
It had come from the direction of the oak tree.
That night at various intervals the house was pelted by small stones until the wee hours of the morning.
The next day determined to find out what it was that lived in the tree and was harassing the family Frank took the ladder over to the tree to investigate it’s limbs. After about 15 minutes of searching he found the hole. It did not look natural, in fact upon close examination you could see the tiny carvings into the dried wood of the tree. It was hidden where a large branch came out from the tree. He would have missed it if it were not for the bones. Dozens of tiny bones from small animals littered the opening to the hole. The hole was dark for it seemed to recede deep into the tree, and he could only see a few inches in. So he went back inside the house to get his flashlight. On his way up the ladder he was about 3/4th of the way up the 40 foot ladder when something pushed it from the top, and Frank came crashing down to the ground. Luckily his wounds were only a broken arm and two ribs. If he did not roll and had fallen on his back he could have been seriously and permanently wounded.
The incident just reinforced that something had to be done. They had planned on buying dogs before but had put it off because they did not have any idea what kind they wanted. The younger ones wanted small cuddly mutt but Frank and his older son wanted a huskier dog like a German Shepard. The unwanted visitor in the backyard swung the decision toward the men. Instead of buying a puppy the family brought home a full grown Shepard from the rescue shelter. They fenced in the backyard and let him loose.
It took only a few days before the two encountered each other. Becky was doing dishes when she heard the dog barf furiously, then she heard it squeal in pain. As she ran upstairs she saw the dog under the oak tree with its front paws on the tree as if attempting to climb it. It was frantically barking up the tree, and as she came out to it, she saw another stone flung from the tree and hit the dog on the head with a thud. Once again the dog let out a painful yelp but with determination it again took is spot under the tree and defiantly challenged the creature to come down. Becky was afraid that the dog would really get hurt and she dragged it back to the house, all the while the dogs eyes never left the tree. They kept it inside for the night, and only let it out to relieve itself.
But in the middle of the night the family was awoken by a crash.
The family ran down the stairs to see what the commotion was and saw the back screen door had been smashed in and the dog was gone. Turning on the outside lights they went out to the backyard to see the dog tearing something apart near the tree. The attack was savage as if the dog was seeking vengeance for the pain the creature had caused.
There was not much left to really see what the thing was, except for the small thick tail covered in black skin.
They gathered up the remains that they could find and burned it in a burning barrel with some other kindling.
They were never bothered by the little thing again.
Franks teenage son swears the creature looked like a tiny little devil. If it was a supernatural being, it died like any mortal creature.
Perhaps they were mistaken and it was nothing but a real ‘evil’ squirrel.
Or perhaps it was something else, something connected to the strange echoes from the past that manifested itself in the old basement.
The Arnone’s had a few other odd experiences at the house before they moved. Lights turning on in the middle of the night, and there was a time when they heard whispers coming from a closet. But nothing like the party from the 30s in the basement and the little devil in the oak tree.
They now live in a much quieter house.
And they get a lot more sleep.
Until Next Time,