The Ghost of Rose Hill

My True Ghost Story

I swear this really happened to my family. If you are bitterly skeptical, I suggest you stop reading, since this story is very personal to my family.

I became engaged to my wife in 1988. We went looking for Apartments that we thought would suit our income and location. The ones we settled on were Rose Hill Apartments in Rose Hill, Alexandria, VA. It was perfect; It was right next to a library and a shopping center. They were clean, cheap, and had some fairly nice management.

After we moved in, things in our marriage settled down. There was this nice patch of woods with a path out back. On certain days, I would enter the woods and look about. Now, I am a skeptic psychic. I have to see proof and stuff before I can fully believe anything weird. But I got this feeling in the woods that was unlike any other. It was as if the woods were magical or something. I figured it was just the fresh air. At night, the trees would be alight with fireflies in the summer, like Christmas lights. Sometimes when I would walk in the woods, and wander around, I saw some weird things, but they didn't seem totally odd for a patch of woods in urban Northern Virginia. It was fairly well trodden, there were paths, and the occasional patch of illegal trash dumped. An abandoned car here, a washing machine there, and the shell of a very old bus that looked like someone once lived there. At the end of the woods was a huge clearing. It was supposed to be another suburban community, but something stopped it in mid-project. I suspect it was money, but it is odd to walk through woods and then suddenly come across a fire hydrant and a street, driveways and sewers, but no houses. The street wasn't even connected to any road. It began and stopped in the woods.

I took friends of mine on these walks, many of them with the same interests I have in studying psychic phenomena. One of them said that certain things were "glowing" and looked odd in a bath of light. I thought he was full of it, but he said it was true. So he wanted to come see the forest at night and bring some friends. After we did, I never wanted to back there again. A group of us came across a site where someone had taken plywood and made a very crude... well, altar-like thing. It had a small stage, a piece of wood with an upside-down pentacle on it, and the bones of animals (we hope), beer bottles, and the remains of a campfire that looked fairly recent. I never took walks there alone again.

After living there for a year, things got real weird. Isolated incidents began to pile up, and start to get annoying, then scary. I became unemployed, and spent a lot of time in the apartment, taking care of our son. Before, we weren't in the apartment that much. But now I was there, and while I tried to convince myself a lot of stuff was just my imagination, it didn't help that other people noticed stuff too.

There was this brownish-red stain in our tub that would not go away. It started at the side of the tub, poured down the side, and swirled around the drain. I thought it was varnish or something, and I had a dickens of a time explaining to the management that it was not my fault. We would clean it, bleach it, and it would go away... only to fade back a few weeks later.

One day, a knock came at the door. It was the US Department of Treasury. They were looking for the former occupant, and they searched my place, and satisfied with my response I was not him, and he did not live here, they left. This made me very curious. Neighbors told me that a suspected Israeli spy lived in my apartment before I did, and that one day, he was found dead, apparently by suicide, but no one believed that. He was found slumped over the bathtub, wrists slashed. I thought that was idle gossip, but later, I found out that a man had been found dead in my apartment complex, although the paper didn't say which apartment. I thought about the stain a lot.

I had a son (this is about 1990 now) and he slept in our room in his crib, with a huge window that faced a playground. That window had this feeling that something very large was floating there and watching my son (we were on the 3rd floor). I don't know why we felt this way, but the cats would NEVER be in that windowsill. The creepy feeling got so bad, we had to shut the blinds. Also, my son began to "talk" to something in the room. Our cats got kind of freaked in the bedroom at random times. They'd be sleeping, then both would wake up, look at the same thing in the window, bristle their back hair, and leave, like someone was scolding them. As my son grew older, he would point and look like he could see something in the air we could not, like he was talking to something, about human size in height. Then things began to disappear, like watches, pens, glasses and prescription bottles, and a lot of other stuff that we don't know if we became forgetful or really just vanished. The cats stopped sleeping in that room, and began to watch the windows nervously. Soon, they only slept in closets or in boxes.

Then I heard from a locals that our nice community used to be a drug haven in the late 70's. The woods out back were called "The hasty graveyard," since many people killed in the drug Mafia were laid there to rot. If the police were missing somebody, that was the first place they would look. Often they didn't have to look long. Then a huge anti-crime faction cleaned up the area to what it is today, but now I had a different respect for the woods, and wondered just how "clean" it still was.

There was a library across the street, and while I wasn't at work, sometimes I'd go there and go through their archives, looking for articles about our area. There were a lot of things about drug busts, several robberies of the elementary school next door, and of course, bodies discovered in the woods. Turns out the apartments I lived in were once kind of slums. Then I found out that the playground that was below our window hosted the murder of a 4- year old a few years ago. It seems that a disgruntled father decided to get back at his ex-wife by murdering his son in cold blood. There was also an article about how the huge power lines that crossed over our apartment complex were making some people sick, but this was shushed as "unprovable." I later confirmed that our building was the one used in the study.

Christmas of 1991 started out to be the beginning of the end. My wife set up the artificial x-Xmas tree in early December. She half-finished it and then went to bed. When we woke up, some one had finished it. She thanked me, and I never touched it. I had come home from work, and went straight to bed. I saw the tree as finished then. Then the tree would turn. Not spin, but slowly turn all month until we took it down. It seemed to turn about 20 deg a night, and we would just re set it. We thought the tree was unbalanced. Then came the most scary point in my life.

I was taking down the tree. This tree had branches that were of various sizes. Once they have been labeled with colored tape, but the tree was 30 years old, and the tape had worn off many branches. It was a pain to figure out which branch went where when it was set up, and I was determined to sort them and bundle them for next year. I meticulously piled the branches by side all across our sectional couch. Then I lay down in bed to rest. I was only resting for about an hour, and when I came back, the branches were all over the floor. I was pissed as hell, and blamed the cats. Then I tried to sort them again, and at some point, went into the kitchen to drink some water. I went back into the living room a minute later, and they were all over the floor again. I heard nothing. The cats were asleep in a box. I was mad. So I piled them again on the couch with the mind set I'd sort them is a few minutes when I calmed down. I tuned my back for a minute, and when I turned around, they were in a cone-shaped pile on the floor, and had very obviously been stacked there in a tee-pee like fashion. I freaked. I called my wife, to tell her I was going crazy. When I spoke to her at work, and turned around, they were piled on the couch again, but a different part of the couch than I would have stacked them, and this time, the pile was sort of... man-shaped, but at that point, my imagination was in overgear, so let's just say it looked a bit like a double-cross in a reclining position. I heard nothing, and it would have had to happen in less than a minute. My wife told me to leave the house with our son, but I after I got over my initial shock, I got mad. I was going to be damned if some poltergeist would force me out of my house. So I grabbed the branches and put them in the box, and while it seemed like they were fighting me, they were always difficult to stuff in that old box. I waited and looked at them. Nothing happened. I left the room, and came back. Still in the box, the same way. Hmph! I did this for an hour, and then lost interest. I must have been away from them for about 30 minutes, and I came back, and the box was on its end, and the branches spelled "GET OUT." No, I am lying. About the spelling, I mean (ghost stories require a humorous break). The box was on its end and the branches were scattered all over the room. The cats were nowhere in sight, and both of them were hiding in the closet, tails bottlebrushed. So I put the tree back in the box, tied it up, put pentacles on it, and dragged it to the dumpster. No, it did not show up again.

After this, we had a friend "exorcise" the place. It was a pagan sort of thing, because I had a lot of Wiccan friends back then. He was a priest, and after a while in our apartment, he said that it would be a good idea to move out. He "trapped" something in a stone jar, and we were instructed to throw it in a river of some sort as soon as possible. We did, and things became remarkably better for a few months. He again said that the whole place was not a good place, and there were a lot of angry things, possibly child-like things, roaming about, and while he "trapped a big one," the swamp was still full of other alligators, so to speak. He blamed the power lines as a major "focus point." I thought he was being dramatic, but after the Christmas tree thing, I don't know what I believed anymore.

Our economic situation went from bad to worse. We were finally given an eviction notice. "Its" last effort was to get us to stay. When we were packing, dark patches would fill corners of the room, like shadows where shadows should not be. In the corner of our eyes, we'd see moving things, but you couldn't quite see them, and it was almost like they were teasing us. Things began to be tossed at us, notably objects that had a lot of metal in them, like spoons, paper clips, and one of my old racing trophies. One object, an armchair that someone had given us, seemed to have a presence in it. Like someone was slouched in it, leering at us. I thought I was just imagining things, because you couldn't see anything, but all my friends noticed it independently. The cats would avoid it, and sometimes hiss at it. We abandoned it in the apartment.

My friends who helped us move to government housing were so spooked by everything (some saw figures, some felt cold spots, everyone had different reasons not to be alone in our apartment), that everyone agreed that the place was seriously, bad-mojo haunted. It's legendary among our older friends (It's been over 12 years). "You don't believe in hauntings? Well, I helped this friend move once..."

Have we seen other ghosts or been haunted since then? Yes. But nothing, and I mean nothing, close to that scale. As a child, I saw "things" that sometimes moved objects, but I was told I was silly/lying/full of it by everyone. Later, I read they were called "poltergeists." But they were harmless pranksters, and the incidents were isolated and far apart. My theory of them is they usually happen around small to pre-teen kids.I think they are either self-conscious entities, or a psychokinetic reaction from the projector during troubled times. I had a very troubled childhood, where pg's were only a small part of my problems. I was dealing with more common forms of trouble: abuse, drunk parent, etc... Some of my other friends who had bad lives also had "pkp" (Psychokinetic Phenomena).

My wife is VERY perceptive abut ghosts and such. She had seen them as kids, seen severed heads in hallways and a lot of other stuff. Her mom and some of her sisters also back this up, so I know it isn't a tall tale. Also, my wife is as skeptical as I towards phenomena, so we try to be unbiased. My wife has seen a LOT of stuff, much more than I. So I believe she also attracts this sort of thing.

Why are ghosts attracted to people? I don't really know. Maybe my theory of "Spirits who don't know they are dead" are looking for people who "look like the light" or maybe can help them out of what would be total boredom.

Some people, including myself, ask if the "phenomena" was really a bunch of hallucinations caused by the stress we lived under. After all, we were shit poor, had no family support, I was unemployed, had bill collectors calling, got the power and phone shut off a lot, and we were eventually evicted. I was unemployed, and maybe my "active imagination" manifested itself into self-suggested phenomena. I don't think so. Things got worse for us when we moved to the projects, but not haunting-wise. Even to this day, nothing on this scale has happened, even when things got really bad. We had friends who backed us up, independently. We never told them what we saw until they said something like, "There's something weird about that window that's creeping me out, can we close your bedroom door?"

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