It was during the late 60’s and early 70’s when such things as demons and ghosts plaguing a family were not openly discussed. It wasn’t that it was uncommon to experience such things. No. It just wasn’t discussed out in the open. Back then, unless it was happening to you, your family or someone close to you, you didn’t know about it. And what you did know, you kept it to yourself.
My oldest sister lived in a home that can only be described as a paranormal hot bed. The house, nestled in the hills of Indiana commonly known as Floyds Knobs. It was a simple one story, three bedroom cottage. Nothing out of the ordinary really. But during the eight years my sister and her husband owned it, they, along with myself and several other family members experienced events, that at the time, could only be seen in a movie.
Both my sister and brother in law enjoyed collecting antiques. Many of their finds were obtained at estate auctions they frequented or, in those rare instances, on the curb where someone had unknowingly thrown out a piece that was worth a lot of money. They also shared a passion in restoration and reselling most of the items they procured. The old house they lived in was filled with all sorts of antiquities, beautifully restored and showcased in every room. As a curious and precocious child sensitive to spirits and energy, it wasn’t the most pleasant place to visit. To say the least!
One of the many experiences inside that house involved an old fashion hand cranked Victrola that sat on top of a three drawer stand. It had been placed between the two picture windows in the parlor so that it would be the first thing that caught one’s eye upon entering the room. Though it looked to be in pristine condition, it’s flowery shaped megaphone shiny and bright, the detail exquisite, it was nothing more than a conversation piece. Needless to say, I despised that thing the moment I laid eyes on it. There was just something not right about it. But then again, I felt that way about most, if not all, the things my sister owned. The Victrola had been found abandoned on the side of the road. My sister and her husband figured it had been carelessly left there by someone who didn’t want to pay to unload it at the city dump. So they took it home.
Whenever I would dare to go into that room (which wasn’t often), the megaphone would turn to stare at me. My sister believed I was moving it. But I wouldn’t go near the thing, much less touch it. There was this one time I heard voices coming out of it. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it frightened me. When I told her, I got this strange look, quickly followed by an stern admonishment as she pushed me out into the kitchen.
About a week later, after I had heard the voices inside the megaphone, my sister claimed she heard music coming out of the parlor. Unfortunately, only I believed her. While everyone else thought it was just a product of her over active imagination and hormonal imbalance, I knew it was the old Victrola. My brother in law worked double shifts on Fridays which meant my sister was left alone in a house that was surrounded by lots of trees, wild animals, no street lights and a plethora of spirits.
Coming from a large family we all took turns to stay with her on Fridays. Even though it wasn’t my turn, and I’m not sure why, but I volunteered to spend that weekend with her. It was late Fridayevening, a week before Halloween 1970. We had spent the afternoon at the movies and then an early supper before going back to her house. As we entered through the mud room we could hear scratchy sounds. The kind you hear as a needle touched the vinyl of a record right before the song played. My sister grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me close to her as the music began to fill the rooms. Pulling away from her, I ran into the parlor and pushed the Victrola to the floor. The music stopped immediately. Grabbing the quilt off the sofa, I cover it and then pushed it out of the parlor into the mud room where my sister was still standing. She was clearly terrified. I yelled for her to open the door that led to the attached garage and get out of the way as I pushed the Victrola forward. Energized by pure fright I managed to get it into the garage. .
An hour later as we both got into bed we heard the scratching sounds followed by the music. The hair on the back of my neck raised as it became clear that the music was coming from inside the house. My sister and I got up and made our way to the doorway to listen. Much to our dismay, the music was definitely coming from the parlor. We eased our way down the hall and stood in front of the doorway of the parlor. I was too shocked to scream. My sister, on the other hand, not so much. I ran back to the bedroom, grabbed the quilt off the bed and then ran as fast as I could back to the parlor. I threw the blanket over the Victrola and then pushed it over. Taking the ends of the quilt, I dragged the Victrola outside.
Too scared to go to bed, my sister and I sat at the kitchen table for the next three hours drinking hot chocolate, reading the Bible and praying. We decided it would be in our best interest not to call our mother or grandmother. No one would believe that a broken old Victrola played a record that didn’t exist and no one was going to believe that same Victrola made its way back in the house after being tossed out into the yard. After praying and laying open Bibles through the house, we felt it was safe to go back to bed. As soon as I began to doze off my sister rushed in and started screaming for me to get up.
Moments earlier, my sister had went back to the kitchen to check to make sure she had turned off the stove. She then heard a scuffing noise, like something was being dragged across the floor. The noise was coming from the hallway, when she turned around, that’s when she saw it. The Victrola back on its stand in the parlor.
In all seriousness I thought she was dreaming. So bravely I followed her back to the parlor. We were a few feet from the door when the now familiar scratching sound started. I couldn’t take it any more. So I ran into the mud room and grabbed one of the baseball bats by the door and hurried into the parlor. I took great pleasure smashing that thing to pieces. My sister and I then threw the pieces into a garbage can and then dragged it out to the car. Together we emptied into the trunk and returned to the house.
It was past three in the morning now. My brother in law would be home in a few hours so my sister and I stayed up. No words were spoken until my brother in law walked into the house. My sister demanded that he take what was left of that Victrola and take it to the city dump. She didn’t want it anywhere near her ever again. She told him of the events that night. I could tell by the smirk on his face he didn’t believe either of us. When we popped the trunk, our story made even less sense to him. You see when the trunk came open, my sister and I were sure we would be showing him pieces of what was left of that thing that tormented us all night. What we found instead was the old Victrola in one piece laying there inside.
Not wanting to fight with either of us, my brother in law agreed to take the Victrola away. It was six months later when we found out that instead of taking it to the dump as promised, he had given it to his mother. It wasn’t until his mother shared an eerily similar story with him one day that he finally believed me and my sister. When my brother in law asked his mother what she did with the old Victrola she told him that she donated it to the Good Will. Sadly, by the time he learned of this, the old Victrola had already been sold.