The house belonged to us but the land belonged to them.
When my husband and I toured the old N.J. farmhouse built in 1883 we were unaware of it's history. Sure we realized the house was historic and had undergone some renovation and expansion. What we came to learn and experience was more than we anticipated.
From the moment we entered the 2 story house the energy was palpable. I even asked the real estate agent if someone else was touring the upstairs. He assured me we were alone. However before we made it to the second floor we heard the sound of small footsteps running above us followed by a child's giggle. Every hair on my body stood up. I was unafraid just incredibly curious. The real estate agent, on the other hand was extremely uncomfortable.
Naturally I asked, "Is this house haunted"? I could tell he did not want to answer me. With hesitance he responded, "Well the previous owners have had some unusual experiences but I can't say it is actually haunted". What kind of experiences?, I prodded. "Well things seem to go missing then show up in strange places later. If you really want to know more perhaps I can ask". (I think at this point he felt the sale was slipping away.)
The house had sat empty for over a year. The previous owners wanted a newer home with modern amenities. The house which had hosted many many holidays and many children suddenly was now unwanted. It's 133 year old pumpkin pine floors were well worn from hundreds of footsteps. It's once lush gardens were overgrown and filled with poison ivy. A large 150 year old oak tree shaded the rear yard. I envisioned the house sitting there - alone 133 years earlier. Children probably sitting under the tree and playing. It was a majestic house that deserved life again. So we bought it.
The first time I was alone in the house was the day of the closing. As I stood in the kitchen planning the
placement of the table and chairs I distinctly heard soft whispering. I could not make out what was being said. A few days later while painting the laundry room the key tool I used to open the paint can vanished. Over the next few weeks as we painted and cleaned many more unexplained things happened; my car keys went missing - only to be found in an upstairs bedroom. Lights would turn on and off. The door bell would ring. Doors would slam shut or open on their own. Clearly I was not alone in the house.
When we moved in we often heard whispers and what sounded like soft music playing. The footsteps were common and the children's giggles also. One day while sweeping the dirt floor basement I found some arrowheads. I mentioned this to my neighbor and what he told me suddenly made sense. Our entire block, and our house specifically was built on the perimeter of a Lenne Lenape Indian settlement. Not only had my neighbors but the previous owners had excavated a number of Native artifacts from their property. Unfortunately the owners of our house had taken the artifacts with them when they moved. I suspect this did not sit well with our spiritual squatters.
We lived in the house only 18 months. We sold due to my husband's job transferring him out of state. As I packed up the last few items in the house and did a final walk through one of the moving men called out to me. He had found the paint key opener in the top of a guest bedroom closet along with some odd and end items that went missing; a measuring spoon, some keys, a laminated I.D. card, one Christmas tree ornament and a lamp shade fob.
I gathered the items along with the arrowheads and buried them deeply in the yard under the old oak tree. The house once belonged to us but the land will always belong to them.