The story I’m about to tell you might sound like a campfire tale…some twist on an urban legend or something…at least, that’s how it seems whenever I think about it, or tell the story to someone. I can assure you, however, that it is NOT. It happened to me around 16 or 17 years ago, when I was about 18 or 19 (I can’t remember exactly).
I was staying with a friend of mine at his apartment, which is in a small, old building in the downtown area of the small town where I grew up. Next door was a slightly larger, but even older apartment building, and both were owned and operated by the same people.
So one day my friend had to take his rent money to his landlady, who lived in the building next door, and he asked me to join him (I can’t remember why…perhaps he just wanted to introduce me to her??)…so I did.
The building she lived in was three stories, with small businesses on the ground level, and apartments on the upper levels. Her apartment was easy to find, because it was the first door on the right as you enter the second floor (in other words, the first apartment you see when entering the residential portion of the building), and there was I sign on the door that read “Manager”.
My friend knocked on the door, and we were greeted by an older man…probably in his 60’s. He was thin, maybe 5’9”, balding gray hair, and somewhat gaunt-looking…like he’d worked hard for too many years, and it had taken its toll. Apparently, he was a close friend of the landlady, and also worked as a maintenance man in the building.
Anyway…we were invited in and shown to the living room, where the landlady greeted us, and asked us to sit. She was a fairly large woman, with short, whitish-blonde hair, pale skin, and dark circles under her eyes. She seemed quite healthy…but there was something “sickly” about her face. I remember thinking it rather strange that she looked so ill, but spoke and moved like someone in perfect health.
The apartment itself was clean, though somewhat cluttered…the furnishings were clearly old, but still in good condition…and the place was decorated with lots of antiques and knick-knacks…all of which appeared a little dusty…as if the place hadn’t been cleaned or even lived in for awhile. Though I couldn’t determine exactly WHY, something about the atmosphere there just felt “off”.
Despite all of this, the landlady was a friendly woman, and we all chatted for about 20 minutes after my friend gave her his rent money…though I can’t recall what we talked about…then we left, and the whole thing began to fade from my memory…for awhile.
Approximately 1 year later…after my friend had moved away, and we’d lost touch…I was looking for an apartment, and remembered those buildings and the pleasant conversation I’d had with the landlady, and I decided to go there and find out if she had any apartments for rent.
I remembered which apartment she lived in, because, like I said before, it was the first one on the right when you enter the second floor…pretty easy to remember. When I got there, however, there was no “Manager” sign on the door. I knocked anyway, and got no answer. I waited a moment, then knocked again…still, nothing. I thought perhaps she was out, or had moved, so I decided to walk around and see if there was a “Manager” sign on any of the other doors.
As I made my way down the hall, I noticed an open door to an apartment that appeared empty, and there was a woman inside vacuuming. I figured she might know where the landlady was, so I knocked on the open door and waved as the woman looked up at me. She turned off the vacuum, walked to the door and pleasantly asked, “can I help you with something?”
I remember thinking immediately that this woman looked like a much younger, much smaller version of the landlady. She, too, had short, blonde hair, cut in much the same style as the landlady’s had been. She looked healthier, though…and not just because she was thin, where the landlady had been quite large…but her complexion was simply healthier-looking.
I explained to her that I was looking for the landlady, because I was interested in possibly renting an apartment. She then informed me that SHE is the landlady, and that the apartment we were currently standing in the doorway of, was the only apartment available. This didn’t really phase me…I mean, it had been about a year, and I figured the building was simply under new management.
She showed me around the apartment, and we spoke for a minute about what I needed to do to apply…and though I could’ve just ended the conversation there…I for some reason felt compelled to ask about the previous landlady…the one I’d met a year ago.
At this, the woman looked confused. “I’ve managed this building for over four years”, she said. Now I was confused. Though there was a resemblance, there was NO WAY this was the woman I’d met before. She was too young. So I told her that I’d visited the landlady a year ago, and pointed-out her apartment. She assured me that wasn’t possible. She then informed me that had once been her mothers’ apartment…and her mother had indeed been the landlady…but she’d passed away nearly 5 years ago.
At this point, I think we BOTH felt a chill run up our spines. So I described the woman I’d met a year before, AND the old man who had been at her apartment. She told me I was describing her mother perfectly, and the man who had been her friend, too…but BOTH had been dead for quite some time. Ok…now we were both freaking out a little. So I went on to describe the apartment…and again, she told me I was describing her mothers’ apartment in perfect detail.
I spent a lot of time going over the whole thing in my head after that…but all these years later, I STILL can’t think of any logical explanation. There’s no way I misjudged the amount of time that had passed. It had only been 1 year…not 5. Hell, had it been 5 years, I would’ve been like 14 or 15 when I met the landlady, and I certainly had no friends who lived on their own at that age. I also don’t believe the woman was lying or just messing with me. Her reactions were genuine, and she even became visibly emotional once she realized that I’d likely encountered her mother’s spirit. I’ve come to learn that nothing in this world is certain…and it’s possible that reality itself is just an illusion…so I can’t say with any certainty that I encountered any “lost souls”, “spirits”, or some other paranormal phenomena…but I DO KNOW that I can’t explain this experience. Eerie as it was, though, it never frightened me. I mean…I probably won’t ever rent an apartment in that building…but I wouldn’t be opposed to visiting it again…if only to see what strange or unbelievable things may occur.