The Year Of The Haunted Apartment

I got that feeling you get when someone is staring at you – no, glaring at you – as I flipped on the light in the living room. While I was still looking at the switch, it flipped itself back off again.

That was my first encounter with the ghost in our apartment on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. It was 1993, and we had moved into a brownstone building erected in the 1930s, rather fancifully named Biscayne Towers.

The building. Those are my parents in front.

1930s brick apartment building with a turret and two people standing at the doorway

Me on the day I moved in.

Young woman leaning against a cabinet with glass doors

I didn’t really believe in hauntings. I’d convinced myself that there was some explanation for a childhood Ouija board incident, and mostly, I never thought about ghosts at all. But in this apartment, I often got the feeling I wasn’t alone. One night, I was going into our tiny kitchen when I felt like someone else was in there and didn’t want me to come near. I thought to myself, Get out, and pulled the chain for the overhead light. The light bulb in the fixture exploded, leaving sparks and glass everywhere.

Less than a week later, when I stepped into the bathroom to wash my hands, I had that strange feeling of being watched again. The bathroom had two doors, one to the bedroom and one to the living room, both open. When I looked up into the mirror, both doors slammed shut in unison.

I was pissed. It wasn’t like this bitch was paying any rent.

When I complained to my husband about the incidents, he tried to think of plausible explanations, and pointed out that nothing like this had ever happened to him. “That’s because she likes you and not me,” I said. We had a CD player that held 50 CDs at a time. We always kept it filled with CDs and had it set to play songs at random. It began to play a song that he liked and I hated, and I said, “See? She’s playing that song for you.”

At the end of the song, the carousel thing inside spun around, and then the stereo played the same song again.

This happened fourteen times, until I turned it off and unplugged it. It never got stuck on a song like that before or again.

My husband may not have believed in our ghost, but when he was asleep, he talked to her. One night when I stayed up late, the bedroom door, which had been all the way shut, banged open. From the bedroom, I heard his sleepy voice: “Where’d she go?”

“I don’t know, honey,” I answered. “She just stormed out of there.” Another time when I went to bed after he was already alseep, I whispered good-night to him and he said, “I love you guys.”

“Me and who?” I demanded.

“Oh.” He still wasn’t quite awake. “I thought there was two of you.”

She pulled the light switch trick a few more times, and slammed more doors, but she only scared me once. I was home alone at night, reading, when something crashed in the next room. I thought someone had thrown a brick in the dining room window, but there wasn’t any shattered glass.

Two pots had been sitting on the stove in the kitchen. One of them had been flung up over the little half wall into the dining room, in an upward trajectory, to smash into the top of the window frame. At the same time, the other had shot in the opposite direction, leaving a dent at the top of the kitchen cabinets.

I checked the stove, and it was turned off. There wasn’t anything to explain flying pots. I didn’t really expect there to be.

We didn’t renew our lease.

Seven years later, Biscayne Towers and the brownstones next to it were torn down to make way for a McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant and new high-rise apartments. I don’t know what happens to a ghost when you destroy her house. Maybe she just moved into the fancy new digs.

Round seafood restaurant with a glass dome in front of a modern high-rise building

Or maybe she was somehow destroyed along with the building. If that were the case, I would almost feel sorry for her, but not quite.

Published by

Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

22 thoughts on “The Year Of The Haunted Apartment”

  1. I decided to read this at two in the morning, which freaked me out. Unfortunately, when I get freaked out by ghost stories, the ghost in my house decides to mess with me. Just as I got to the part about the part about the pots being thrown, the glass sitting on my nightstand flys off onto the ground. So, thanks? :)

  2. For a while I suspected my apartment might be haunted, because I couldn’t think of any other explanation.

    Then I read up on night terrors. Yeah, I was just having those.

    Quite frankly, my night terrors are so traumatizing I think I might prefer a haunting.

  3. I tell myself I don’t believe, but it scares the crap out of me so obviously I believe something.  :)

    Growing up, the family cat would occasionally creep towards me realllllly slowly and growl at a point just above my right shoulder.  It was creepy as hell. I would always get up, grab her, and tell her to stop.  I honestly didn’t think too much of it until after she died and we got a new cat.  The new cat does the same thing to me.  :-/

    Do you know what ghost stories really creep me out? Hospital ghost stories. Many of my coworkers have stories to tell.  My old unit, for one, was definitely…weird. It was an oncology floor and I felt like I was being watched all of the time. Most things I could explain away. My patients were on tons of pain meds…so clearly they were hallucinating the person they were telling me that was in the room.  And so what if some stretcher was just 20 feet further down the hallway–it had wheels…it could have rolled on it’s own. But yeah…all of it still freaked me out because what if?

    Needless to say, if I had random pots flying around my kitchen, I’d be out of there. :) Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. I tell myself I don’t believe, but it scares the crap out of me so obviously I believe something.  :)

      I’m the same way. I can’t bring myself to believe, for it goes against my scientific atheist upbringing, but I also can’t discount people’s experiences. And it scares the piss out of me, so…

    2. I had a really terrifying experience with my dog in my old apartment. After explaining some weird staring that she would do to the vet, she told me “it’s probably ghosts”, which I rolled my eyes at (and it didn’t concern me because Peggy always seemed curious rather than scared or angry). But a few months later I woke up in the middle of the night to Peggy standing over me and growling at something above my bedside table. Her fur was standing up, and she was very agitated. Then she moved her focus, as if whatever she was growling at was swooping around the room, and finally settled just above my head in the bed. I was terrified. It took about 30 minutes for Peggy to relax and lay back down, but she was definitely still on guard for the rest of the night. I laughed at first about my vet telling me so matter-of-fact that it was ghosts, but I’m definitely not so sure now.

      I work in a hospital too, I’m tempted to ask my colleagues if they’ve have any experiences here now!

  4. Rationally I don’t believe in ghosts, but I have seen too many weird-ass things happen both at the civic theater I did a bunch of shows at in high school and one of the theaters at my college. One of the women who worked at the civic theater’s summer camp even wrote a novel based on the day all the kids saw someone sitting in the audience; turned out one of them saw a picture of him out in the lobby later and told her it was the same guy. He was a former regular there who had died not long before.

    The college ghost had a thing for redheads and started fucking with me after the redhead a couple classes ahead of me graduated. I’d hear my name whispered in the lighting booth while the theater was totally empty; lights that were on a single circuit would flicker randomly but stop when my scene partner turned around to look. When I designed lights for a student production of A Christmas Carol, the actor playing Scrooge walked onstage one day and the lights turned on by themselves and then the follow spot came on when he sat down center stage. When I went up the the booth, the lighting board was in the cue for the entrance of Marley’s ghost. And one day I was in there working in the catwalks alone and tripped at the top of the spiral stairs several floors up while carrying a 20-25lb lighting instrument in each hand. I still don’t know how I managed to set one down, wrap that arm around the rail, sit down on a step, and set the other light safely in my lamp. All I remember is thinking, “Oh, shit!” and then I was ok.

  5. Apparently there’s an iPhone app that allows you to “talk” to the ghosts in your home?  I was skeptical at first, but my aunt’s hair salon (where some weird shit goes on) hired a medium who told the owner to download the app so that she could communicate with the woman and two little girls who were there.  Every day before she leaves the salon for the day (no matter if she leaves early or late) she gets a message saying “I will go with you,” and has to say aloud, “No, you stay here.  Don’t worry I’ll come back tomorrow.”  And then gets back a message saying “Ok.”  At one point while she was in the basement getting hair dye, she heard the shelves crash upstairs, and then got a message that said, “Sorry.  Children climbing.”  So of course my aunt got the app as well since she lives in a 150 year old house.  She’s been getting messages from all sorts of people, which leave their names.  She’s been checking with the oldest people in the area, and the names are all names of people who lived in the house.  It’s creeptastic.

  6. At my college campus, there were student apartments on the hill above the part of campus where the dorms and academic buildings were. To get to the apartments, you had to go out to the street and walk up the hill where the sidewalk meandered through a poorly lit stand of trees. It was easy to get spooked in there, but there were so many times that I felt I was being watched or tracked by a predator, and most of the young women I knew who took that same route felt the same. We all think that something terrible had happened there in the past.

    Normally, I would have just crossed the street before that point and walked in the light of the streetlamps to avoid the creepy part, but there was a dog in the yard across the way that was very aggressive and always barked when it sensed someone was near, and I never trusted that it wouldn’t be able to jump the fence and come after me.

    1. I spent a day and a night there about ten years ago, and I couldn’t wait to leave. It creeped me right the fuck out, for some reason.

      That said I’ve never had any ghost experiences at home, and one would think Ireland has a lot of opportunity to ply people with ghosts.

  7. My parents built a house as an addition/renovation of my stepdad’s grandfather’s barn. I’d put money that it was Grandpap’s ghost chilling in the house. He loved the barn more than any other place in the world. He also had a huge collection of clocks. There were always weird noises, but the clocks with no workings that ticked and chimed were the point that I was sure of something weird going on. It was completely harmless stuff, not so much creepy, it just became a regular occurrence.

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