November 2004 Page 25
When I was 21, I was going to college in Baton Rouge and had just moved into a new apartment. It was literally new – newly built, new carpets, paint, appliances, everything. I found this a bit strange because all the other buildings in the apartment complex were obviously older, and the monthly rent in my building was significantly less than that of the older buildings in the complex. However, I never said anything or asked any questions because I was happy to be getting what I thought was a good deal on an all new apartment.
It wasn't long before I noticed that something was wrong, though.
The first night I stayed in my new apartment, I awoke in the middle of the night – around 3:45 a.m. – in an absolute panic. I flew out of bed, frantically slapping at my body with my hands. I felt like I was engulfed in flame, burning all over. After a few seconds, I regained some composure, realized I was not on fire and told myself it had just been a dream. But I could not deny how real the feeling had been. Just a few seconds ago I had been completely sure that I was about to die, burned to death. I never was able to go back to sleep that night.
In the following months that I lived in this apartment, this scene was repeated dozens of times. I would awake in a flash, flying out of bed and beating at the phantom flames that surrounded me. Occasionally, I would have friends or girls stay over, and they were invariably quite unnerved to see me leap out of bed in such a panic. Strangely, when this happened, it was always at around 3:45 a.m.
Besides the fiery wake-ups, other unexplained things happened in my apartment. Dishes would come out of the cabinets on their own and shatter on the floor when I was in the other room. Anytime I set a cup on floor and left the room, I would come back to find it spilled. Within a few weeks, the new carpet was a rainbow of multicolored stains. Once I ejected a tape from the VCR and it flew – literally – 10 feet across the room. Posters and pictures would fall off the walls. The toilet would flush on its own and the TV and radio would come on without my touching them. Fire alarms would go off all over the building.
But the most troubling thing was the noise that came from upstairs. I had lived on the bottom floor of my previous apartment and was accustomed to hearing noise from the neighbors above me. For this reason, in my new apartment, I never took much notice of the sounds that came from upstairs. But sometimes it would get really loud, with things crashing around, heavy footsteps and stomping, even occasional screams. I just figured that the people upstairs were a bit wild, but didn't think much more of it.
One night I was studying and the noise was particularly bothersome, with heavy thudding and crashes. I was tired from a long night of studying and finally got pretty angry with my unruly neighbors. I decided to go up and say something to them. My apartment was on the second floor, and with a realization that hit me like a ton of bricks, I remembered that THERE WAS NO THIRD FLOOR IN MY BUILDING. All the other buildings in the complex were three stories, but mine was only two!
That night I left and stayed with friends. At the end of the month, I cancelled my lease and paid nearly $1,000 for breaching the contract, but I could not stay there anymore.
A few months later, I ran into an old friend who I had not seen in a while, and who had lived in the same apartment complex years before. As we talked and caught up, I told her about my experiences in the apartment and that I had moved out. As I told the story, I expected her to nod politely, with a touch of patronization and disbelief, as most people did when I told my tale. Her face, however, turned to stone as I told about waking up "on fire," things breaking and the third floor neighbors that weren't there.
When I had finished, she looked at me sincerely, without a trace of deception, and said, "When I lived there a few years ago, that building burned down early one morning. Two people on the third floor were killed – burned as they slept. You really didn't know?"
Even now, thinking back on her words, I am completely covered in goose bumps. I've never even gone near that building since.
you have a paranormal tale to tell?