Reader Submission: A House Possessed

abandoned cottage ireland

“It all started in 1967 when my dad had a stroke in the front room. I was then 10 years of age. My parents bought this old cottage in 1963, but the house was built in 1740 and there had been no problems in the house prior to 1967. When my dad came out of hospital, he was paralyzed down the left hand side and was unable to speak. That’s when things started to happen in the house.

It All Begins
The first thing that happened was my parents were in bed and suddenly all the blankets waved and rolled completely off the bed. Also, the wallpaper in the bedroom would become soaking wet for no reason, then be bone dry the next day. As the months passed by, my father regained most of the use on his left side, but he never regained his speech. My father also became nasty after the stroke and violent towards me. I had to put a bolt on my bedroom door as he would wander about in the middle of the night and come in my bedroom and stare at me, sometimes waving a fist.

One night I was in bed and I woke up to the bed rocking on its own. I put on the bedside lamp and jumped out of bed screaming. I unbolted the door, shouting for my mother, and as she entered the bedroom the bed was still jumping on its own accord. We both ran downstairs. My father knew nothing as he had had some sleeping tablets. We talked for awhile to calm down and then went back to check. The bed had stopped by then so I got back in bed and left the light on. I had no choice. We did have a third bedroom, but to come and go I had to pass through my parent’s bedroom, and as an 11-year-old boy I was scared of what my dad would do next so I had to stay in the room with the jumping bed.

The Scream
On another night, my mother and I were watching television. It was about 11:30 p.m. We heard a terrible screaming coming from the small cast iron window which led into the back garden (near the television). We didn’t dare speak to each other. The screaming stopped after about four minutes. NEXT, the television, which was on four screwed legs, began to walk towards us, rocking from side to side. It only stopped when the main cord pulled tight. We were by then petrified. The screaming noise had awakened my father who came downstairs shouting. However, due to his stroke the words were not making any sense. He ran into the back sitting room, and my mother said “go get your dad or he might have another stroke,” so off I went.

The Figure in the Garden
Upon entering the room, it was pitch black and everything happened so fast I didn’t think about turning on the light. I looked at the back window which faced the very private, unlit garden. A greyish white figure floated past the window, offering me a very defined view of its side. He had a three-cornered hat, a white beard, a walking stick, and a long trench type coat with three buttons on it. There were no legs visible. I ran out of the room, leaving my father who was looking out of the other window and hadn’t seen anything. I ran back to my mother in the other room. I was unable to speak properly to her for at least an hour. My father just wandered back to bed.

In desperation, my mother contacted a medium, and she said the spirit was called Jacob Issock Benshaw who was only trying to help us through this difficult time. The medium said he had been a gardener who was killed when a horse fell on him.

The End
Things became so bad with doors banging and strange sounds in the middle of the night. My father, who everybody was scared of, was no help. I had an older sister, and she moved out in 1968 to get away from the situation. In the end, my mother put the house up for sale in 1972.

Our last night there was terrible. My father was in bed asleep (sleeping tablets again), so he was unaware of everything. My mother and I were huddled up in the front room, and we stayed awake all night with the doors banging, floorboards banging, moaning noises, etc. When dawn broke at around 6:30 a.m., everything stopped and went calm. We couldn’t wait to move out, and after we sold it nobody lived there longer than 18 months. The house became empty 25 years ago and grew somewhat derelict. However, lately someone put a new roof on the house, so whoever owns it now must be trying to sell it.

I go past the house sometimes and wondered if it all happened. It’s like a dream now, but I assure you everything happened as I have described. We moved into a small terraced house, and my father died in February 1973 after a third stroke. We later found out the garden had been raised years ago, about 3 feet, so that would account for the spirit not having any legs showing as he would have been standing on the original floor.”

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