A few years ago, I moved into an apartment with my partner and I thought this was the perfect place. There was so much to look about the apartment. Unfortunately, not long after moving in, the demographic of the building began to shift. The building consisted of working class couples/young families and elderly couples but after a few months more seedy characters began moving in. My partner and I worked opposite shifts so I found myself alone a lot in our apartment and afraid of the new individuals moving in (I have witnessed so many things that have scared me and put me on edge but those are stories for another time). This led me to isolate myself in the building and avoid as many people as possible. I only knew my landlord and her family.
Skip forward a few months…I receive a knock at my door. My apartment is easily accessible by the front of the building so I find we get a lot of traffic (confused patrons, drunkards, and the like). I looked through the peep hole and recognize the delivery man. Even though I hadn’t ordered a package, I open the door. He informs me that my neighbour has a package but he is not answering. He asks if I can sign for it and give it to him. I’ve had to deal with this delivery company before and if you miss the drop-off, they send it to their head office over an hour away and they only keep it for a few days before they return to sender. Having been through that, I decide to sign for the package. I knock on my neighbour’s door and nothing. I leave a note identifying myself and that I have a package for him. Later that night, he knocks on my door. He looks like a nice older man in his sixties with messy white hair and a kind smile. He thanks me for my kindness and we chat. I learn that he has been in the building for over 20 years and has seen the many phases of the building. As the weeks go on, I see him occasionally and always exchange pleasantries. He doesn’t speak to too many people either but he always makes an effort to be pleasant to me. For a few weeks I don’t see him or hear from him. I know he is a bit of a hermit and also a hoarder (I saw into his apartment once and it was staked floor to ceiling) so it doesn’t seem unusual but I always keep an eye out just in case.
One day I get a knock on my door while I am home alone. I don’t answer but I listen through the door as the gentleman on the phone starts speaking loudly to my landlord about paperwork and collecting valuables. I continue to listen as my landlord meets him and walks to the nice gentleman’s apartment. I come to find out that he passed away very suddenly of pancreatic cancer and no one had really noticed but me.
I’m not entirely sure if he died in the apartment or if they found him first and he died in the hospital, the point is, no one knew he was sick. By the time he found out it was too late and he died within about a week. He didn’t have many friends or family left so it is just his brother that came to deal with his estate. Due to the fact that he was a hoarder, it would take a long time to clear out the apartment and renovate it for the next tenants (I suspect some of this had to do with the fact that it looked stuck in the 80’s with green carpet and outdated fixings).
This begins the slow process of sorting through his stuff. Whenever the door was open you could just see piles and piles of stuff. He literally had a small path that he would use. As people walk by the open apartment they comment but can’t remember who was there. Literally no one missed him in our building and it made me so sad.
This is when I begin to see black shadows in my hallways and my cats begin staring in corners or hissing with no explanation. I have had cats all my life and I am aware of their behaviours but this was different. It all began with staring. It then advanced to my cats hissing, spitting, and hunching their backs at these random spots. It happened all around my apartment.
I used to have my computer in a spare bedroom (kind of like a guest room and office). Due to our building being heated by radiators, we only had so many places to put the computer. It was placed along the long wall so while I was sitting there I would be parallel with the hallway. I began to get very uncomfortable in my apartment; more so than usual. My building was always at a stifling temperature but I would get very cold and experience cold spots in my home. My cats would hide and they rarely chilled with me anymore.
This is when I started noticing the shadows in the hallway. They were darker than the dark and they would dart by while I was working on the computer. Now…could it have been a trick of the light? Maybe. Could it have been my eyes misadjusting to the computer and the dark? Possibly. Was it lights from passing cars? Probably not because my blinds were always closed and they were blackout curtains. Was it my cats? No. It was about 5’5-5’7 based on where I would see it against the wall in relation to my things. It was only ever one shadow and I felt like it would peer at my from behind the door frame. It would watch me. I would get chills down my spine. When I would look straight at it, it would be gone and as I would turn my attention back to my computer, it would dart past.
The feeling in the office began to change. It felt oppressive and I couldn’t stand being in there. I became scared to be in my own apartment. So my boyfriend moved the computer to the living room help me feel more comfortable.
The cleanup crews continued to work and I would hear them or see them pass with things from the apartment. That was when it hit me, the activity only started after they began cleaning out the apartment. Plus, he was a shorter man about the size of the shadows I had been seeing. To test out my theory, I talked about the old man and the development of his apartment to my boyfriend before he left for work. When I was home alone, I noticed the shadow man came back. He waited until the night and I saw the shadow man hiding in the hallway but he didn’t enter the living room. He blended back into the darkness.
I became obsessed and I would see the shadow all the time. I would create a light force field in the living room but if there was any dark rooms or hallways, the shadow would be there. I became so upset that I would demand all the lights be on all the time. I am ashamed to admit that I even had to sleep with a nightlight. Even though I suspected it was the nice old man I was still scared; seeing something move in the dark when nothing should be there was unnerving. It was hard because my boyfriend never saw it. I could tell that he didn’t believe me and it was hard because he wanted to believe me. He wanted to see it. I wanted him to see it too but it just never happened until Halloween night.
After handing out candy with my family, we went to bed late. I was exhausted and had to get up to go to work the next day. My boyfriend had taken the night off so he could sleep in the next day before heading to work. He said that around 3 am he awoke to go to the washroom. While in the washroom, he noticed the light in our kitchen flickering. At first it didn’t bother him because it’s an old building. He went to the kitchen to check the light. We always leave it on because we both have a tendency to wake up and go to the washroom in the middle of the night. The weird thing was that the light switch was off. He flicked it on and there was no change. He stood right under the light and it continued to flicker. Remembering my experiences, he asked if someone was there. The light turned off. He was standing in pitch black. He went to the switch and flicked it on. The light came back on without problem. A little unnerved, he went back to bed. That was the last thing that happened in relation to our neighbor. About a week later, the place was finished and by the end of the month someone moved in. It’s been about a year since this all happened and I still think about it every now and then. I like to think our neighbour was watching over his estate and he stayed with us because he trusted us. At night, I will look into the darkness and wonder if he is still there but I think he has moved on. I hope he has finally moved on.