True ghost stories from readers: A haunted apartment, a skinned boyfriend, and rotting flesh

by DGO Web Administrator

During my first year of college, I was walking with friends back up to campus. We had missed the last bus of the night and were walking back in pure darkness, save for some lights. As I was walking, I could hear the trees swaying and water bubbling. Curious, I turned my head to see into the forest next to us.

There, in the midst of the trees, was an extremely tall, broad-shouldered figure. It was darker than everything around it, and had a weirdly shaped head. Like something pretending to look human. I got the feeling that I was looking at something I was not supposed to look at. Then it moved, glided up the hill towards me, and I screamed and ran up the road. My friends had no idea what had happened and tried to dismiss it as something mundane.

I calmed down and went back to my dorm, trying to forget it. However, the following two weeks would reaffirm the fact I had done something wrong. Smells of rotting flesh, piles of dead bugs, and a great feeling of unease; all of it contained in my dorm room. Then I started getting large cuts and bruises. Normally I’m a skeptic, or I try to ignore things like this, but at this point, I knew something was haunting me.

I asked my friends for help and they told me that I was paranoid. But one friend listened. She asked to inspect my dorm room. Later we went back and she asked to be left alone in my room, and told me not to come in. I obeyed, waiting in the living room until she came back.

A non-human entity was in my room. Together, we prayed and smudged the room, as she has experience with such things. She prefers her privacy so I will not elaborate more on her knowledge and background. With that done, she told me to sleep, and for the first time in two weeks, I felt better than ever.

— Kayla ShaggyThis building (Riff Raff Brewing Co.) is one of the oldest in Pagosa. It was built in 1896. Over the years, it’s been a number of different things. It was a doctor’s office. It’s been a residence. Probably the most interesting – it was a mortuary.

But we’ve had people come in, and they will say there’s a presence here. And so they ask to go downstairs, or I’ve had one guy come back to the brewery and, it was pretty goofy, but he had a flashlight and he was trying to communicate. People have a lot of different reactions.

But Arabella, that’s the name that we decided on of the ghost. And it’s been reported from other people that have occupied the space that she’s a woman in a brown dress. And when Shelley – Shelley is one of the co-founders (of Riff Raff) – when she was looking kind of at the history of the building, she found the name Arabella somewhere and she mentioned it to one of the previous owners of the building and she said both of them just got chills. So they just decided that was the name and she is a trickster. She loves throwing pennies at people or leaving pennies in really weird spots.

Like we did a barrel-aged green chili beer, and when we emptied it and lifted it up, there was a penny underneath it. How did it get there? You know, all kinds of things.

I’ve had a couple weird times. The most recent one – we are closing down – my friend, Steven, he was the floor manager that night, and I was bartending. It was midnight or so by the time we’re locking up and getting out of here. There’s a CO2 monitor here and if anything with the soda kegs or anything like that is off, the CO2 monitor will trip and then you have to go and reset it. We hadn’t touched the soda for a couple hours at this point. We shut at 10, so we’re back in the office closing up, locking up, (and we) come out and the CO2 is scrolling. Well, that’s really weird. So I go and reset it, and then I go back down to the basement, which is also terrifying late at night, and come up, check it out. We’re sitting there waiting to see because if there’s a problem, it’ll trip again in two minutes. So we’re sitting there waiting, and all of a sudden the brewhouse music kicks on. Nobody had been back there for hours and it’s just hooked up to an iPod, right? All of a sudden the music kicks on, and I don’t remember the name of the song, but it was this metal song, and the first couple lyrics were like, ‘You’re not alone.’ And my friend Stephen and I were like, ‘This is bullshit!’ So I like pushed him and was like, ‘You have to go turn it off!’

The other weird thing that had happened is when we were trying to set the alarm, one of the doors wasn’t communicating with that monitor, so I was trying to override it, and what I accidentally did was triggered a call to the alarm company who calls here and if we don’t answer, then they send a call out to EMS. So EMS is on the way, and we did not know that cops were about to walk in the door either. All of a sudden this officer comes in and he’s just like, ‘Is everything OK?” It’s like, ‘Tell me, sir, do you believe in ghosts?’ He said he didn’t, so I made him walk around everything. Like this is the most crazy night. It’s just like a series of weird events. So we blamed Arabella, for sure.

— Madeline Bergon, Riff Raff Brewing Co.Back in the early ’70s, there was a young couple riding into town from the dryside. On Blue Hill they got a flat. The girl’s boyfriend got out to change it … and then nothing but silence. After panicking for two hours (no cell phones then) the girl got out, started walking, and caught a ride into town. She reported her boyfriend being missing. The next morning La Plata Sheriff went out to investigate. They found her boyfriend hanging from a tree, skinned.

— Erich FowlerI was working at an alt-weekly in Dallas after years at a paper in Houston, and I was having a pretty hard time adjusting to north Texas. Part of the issue was that I couldn’t find a place to live that wasn’t totally sloping-floor trash or tiny (as in lay-on-the-floor-and-stretch-your-arms-to-touch-both-walls tiny). So, when I found an affordable place in a cool ass old building on the east side, I was stoked. I probably should have known something was wrong with the apartment from the price, but I’m dumb. I moved into the apartment, which had a HUGE bedroom with two closets and cool old wood floors, but something about the place was unnerving. I was totally creeped out by the bedroom and couldn’t bring myself to sleep in there, so I started sleeping on the couch instead.

The bathroom was even more disconcerting. Something just felt…off. I HATED showering or peeing in there, but there wasn’t really any reason for it, other than the off-putting feeling of being watched. But, I had to shower, and one day, I was doing just that, when an econo-sized bottle of conditioner FLEW off the shelf with such force that it hit me square in the face. But, I figured my paranoia was getting to me, and justified that this was a figment of my imagination and the bottle had simply slipped, not been thrown by an invisible hand. This started happening every time I’d shower. The bottles of body wash, shampoo, and conditioner would launch at me from their spots in the shower every. single. time.

Then, one night, I had like six too many shots of Fireball and I passed out face down on the bed in that creepy bedroom, which I NEVER did. I was woken up with the room still pitch black at 8:45 a.m. by an old man, who was leaning over me and tapping my back. He kept saying, “Excuse me. Excuse me,” and gesturing toward my clock. I was so panicked about being late that it didn’t seem odd at first that some VERY TALL dude with gray hair and sad, black eyes woke me up. It wasn’t til my extremely hungover ass got into the car that it hit me: I don’t know an old man in the apartments, nor did anyone have access to my place. I can still feel the way the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I realized a stranger had woken me up for work.

I stayed the hell out of the back half of that apartment until I moved out a few months later (thank Beelzebub for six month leases). I still have NO idea what was in that apartment, or why it was worried that I was late to an editorial meeting, or WHY it hated my shampoo. Whatever it was, I can tell you that I was effing traumatized by it, and I have not been able to reconcile any of this as simple paranoia in the years since. Something was in that apartment, and while it did me a solid by keeping me from missing work, I don’t fully believe it was all kind and good. Shit was weird, man.

— Angelica Leicht


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