It was in the summer, around 1967. We lived in Hyatsville, Maryland, in an old three-floor apartment complex (called Hyatsville Apartments), and our apartment was on the second floor. The laundry facility was in the basement.
Let me first note: The stairwell was made of metal. Anyone coming or going from floor to floor, the sound could not go unnoticed, especially on a late quiet night. The entrance door, located one flight up from the basement floor was a huge, heavy metal door; it also could not be opened or closed without one hearing it screeching, even from our second-floor apartment.
I had gone down late that night (after midnight, all was very quiet) to the laundry room to retrieve my laundry from the dryer. As I stood facing the dryer with my back to the doorway (by that time I had taken all my stuff out of the dryer and had my basket ready to lift off the dryer and head back upstairs), I suddenly "just knew" I wasn't alone. I felt, as they say, the hair standing up on the back of my neck and head. Actually, it was this strange "magnetic pulling" feeling. I instantly knew someone was staring at me.
I immediately looked over to my left, and there stood this man, a rather thin, gaunt figure, dressed in apparel from what looked like the late 1800s or early 1900s: a rumpled, very worn-looking suit, dirty white shirt, and he wore this hat from the same period, like the shorter version of a top hat. He looked as solid as anyone alive! He had such a forlorn look in his large, sunken, dark eyes. His mouth was hanging slightly open. He was staring straight at me!
In the same instant as I looked at him, I was thinking, "There was no one in this room when I entered!" I had been in that room dozens of times, and anytime others were present or entering or leaving, one could easily hear their feet on that gritty cement floor! It was then I noticed his feet weren't standing on the cement floor, but he hovered quite solidly about 8 inches to a foot above it! All this was happening in seconds, but I was beginning to feel the fright/flight thing. Yet at the same time I was still looking into those imploring eyes of his and thinking he seemed troubled or sad, and for a second I thought to ask him, "What is the matter?"
However, fear of the unknown had, by that time, gripped me, so I took my eyes off this apparition just long enough to grab hold of my basket, and as I was turning to run toward the entrance door, I also looked back to my left, only to discover he vanished! I guess I made record speed getting up three flights of stairs to my apartment!
Once there, I was even more terrified to realize/rationalize that there was no possible way to explain his sudden instant disappearance! Had it been a live person, I'd have been right on his tail getting out of that room, since there was a good 20 feet to that door. Also, no sound of any footsteps whatsoever, except my own! If he had somehow managed (impossible!) to get out before I got turned around from the dryer, he couldn't have gotten up the stairs and left from the entrance door to the building without making a sound, since that big door screeched and slammed very loudly, often waking people in the night! Also, no one could have run ahead of me up the stairs to the entrance door without me hearing the footsteps on those metal steps!
As for the area under those metal stairs on the right of the laundry room entrance door, I was very alert at that point in time to look there on my way out, since in this very short time, from the onset to my terrified escape, I was still trying to rationalize that it was a live human! No one was crouched there in hiding! Just the neighbors' kids bikes were parked there!
As all these years have passed, I have often thought of this experience. I question myself as to why this ghost person appeared to me, and more so, wishing often that I had somehow helped him, since he seemed ever so imploring. A lost soul? I don't know.
In my later years, I studied much on lost souls and how we can help them to move on. I've also wondered why I was able to clearly see this apparition then and haven't seen one since? If I could then, why not now? Did I cause a block to this ability because of that fear I experienced? The really eerie thing is, we definitely made eye contact. He was looking directly at me, and I strongly felt him "knowing" that on a cognizant level!
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