October is the time for spooky stories and general weirdness. and I have a weird little tale of my own. As many of you know, I bought a house a few weeks ago. It is 103 years old. I have a picture of the house from a 1906 newspaper, but I can't find it. I can't find anything right now, since it's all jumbled in boxes in the basement. There are plenty of secrets in this old house, but none more mysterious than the second floor.
I saw the house and thought how nice it would be to put the kids upstairs. They'd have a little privacy and a place they wouldn't have to keep nice for company. And I would stay downstairs and not clean their area. How do you get upstairs? I asked the realtor. "There's no access to the attic," she said. "It doesn't have a floor anyway." What? "The only way to get to the attic is to go through a window," she said.
No access? Surely they didn't build the house with no access to the attic! It's got three windows! I wasn't concerned with the second story having no floor, because we can always build one. The supports in the ceiling have to be strong enough to hold the roof up, after all. But there had to have been an access point sometime in the past.
After moving in, several people looked at my ceiling and either said "Asbestos" or "You don't wanna know what the ceiling is made of." which means the same thing. Asbestos is not as dangerous as some would have you think, as long as its sealed. The only real danger is when they take it out... or cut through it. Sigh. For the life of me, I can't figure out where an entry point to the second floor would have been, or when. One of the several plumbers that have been here said, "Those windows upstairs may be just for decoration." Windows just for decoration? That's nuts. "Yeah, they did stuff like that back then," he said. I don't know, that just sounds crazy.
The plan is to get a structural engineer to get inside and see if a new room or two, or even just a working attic, is feasible. It won't be easy, because the windows appear to be painted shut. Then find an architect to tell us how difficult and expensive it will be to build a staircase. Then sell the old house to pay for it. Selling is not going to be easy. We'll see.
The first night we had the keys, I moved the beds over to the new house. My daughters quickly made friends with the neighborhood kids. "Which house do you live in?" they said. When they were told, their eyes grew wide! "Do you know about the second floor?"
My kids came back to the house crying about how they can't stay; they want to go back to the old house. There's a man living in the attic. When you go to sleep, he'll come down and smash you with an axe while you're asleep. You'll never know what hit you. There's a secret trap door no one can find. There's skeletons upstairs where he hid the bodies of the last people he killed. That's why no one lived here for the past seven years.
It took a while to calm them down, but I put my foot down. I didn't haul three beds over here and crank up the air conditioning just to turn around and go sleep on the floor at the old house. I should have only bothered with one bed that day, since both girls slept in my bed that night. No one came down from the second floor to kill us, because there is no way to get down here!
You will be informed if any clues to this mystery come to light.
Update: Part two is here.