Home Sweet Haunted Home

Home Sweet Haunted Home

It’s October—time for Halloween, ghosts, haunted houses and spooky stories about things that go bump in the night.

For some local residents, though, ghosts and haunted houses aren’t just a seasonal thrill.

In the mid ‘90s, Linda Olsavsky owned and operated a B&B in a two-story residence on River Road in San Marco. Built in 1921, it had all the creaks and groans one would expect from a historic home. But even when there were no reservations on the books, the rooms were never really vacant.

“I’d be on the first floor and a TV [in a guest room upstairs] would turn on by itself, and I was the only person there,” she recalled. The first few times she assumed a guest might have left the TV on and the volume got really loud for some reason. But it kept happening and happening, in different rooms at various times of the day and only when she was alone in the house.

There were other things, too, that happened when she was alone—or at least thought she was—like the glass door on a wall clock that would be wide open all of a sudden when no one was around. “There’s no way that [latch] just popped open by itself. You had to turn something to get it to open,” Olsavsky said.

One part of the house also gave her an unexplainable “freaky” feeling, and she wouldn’t go in it without another person (an actual human, not just their spirit) in the house with her. “I was afraid they’d [the ghosts] lock me in the closet!” she laughed.

Though Olsavksy never actually witnessed a ghostly sighting, she’s certainly is a believer in things which cannot be seen, especially after her next residence in Jacksonville Beach turned out to be haunted too. After experiencing some unexplainable occurrences, like trails of sand suddenly appearing on the floor, she learned from a neighbor the property was inhabited by the spirit of a 12-year-old girl who once lived there.

home sweet haunted home

Marcy Stoliker has never seen a ghost in her house either. In 10 years, in fact, she’s never seen, heard, smelled or even sensed anything that would make her think her Murray Hill home is haunted. But some friends and family, who have been inside, would say otherwise.

After Stoliker had been living in the house for several years—without incident, a friend told her she “saw someone” in the garage at a Christmas party she hosted months earlier.

“I was like, uh, yeah, there were lots of people there. It was a party,” Stoliker remembered. She then said the friend, who is a medium and certified Pranic healer, gave her “a look” and repeated, slowly and deliberately:  “I … SAW … someone.”

That someone, as they would come to learn, was Robert. At Stoliker’s request, the friend did a “sweep” of the house for spirits and, in the process, saw the visage of a man dressed in clothing that appeared to be from the early 1900s. He told her his name was Robert, and he was the caretaker for his wife, who was ill, and his young boy. Unfortunately, he told the friend, he died before his wife, and he felt guilty about abandoning her and their son. During the sweep, Stoliker’s psychic friend also discovered the spirit of a Native American spirit guide, who had taken up residence in a guest room, as well as a being who identified itself as a guardian angel.

Then other friends started telling Stoliker about their experiences in her house. Some described feeling “unsettled” or like they were being watched. They also thought the garage, where Robert made his holiday appearance, was especially “creepy.”

A second friend with psychic abilities told Stoliker she experienced very strong feelings around the front door and suggested it might be a portal. (For those not up on their paranormal lingo, a portal is gateway for spirits to transition from the physical world to the other side.) The presence of a portal in Stoliker’s home would certainly explain why random spirits show up at wanting to communicate with someone who is in her house and eerie photographs capturing auras and orbs (i.e., apparitions at their lowest energy).

While she finds the idea of living in a haunted house “weird” and “something like you’d see on TV,” it’s not something she’s concerned about. “I’ve never seen Robert, but I always talk to him when I go out in the garage. My mom would always say hello to him too,” she said. “He clearly don’t bother me, and I clearly don’t bother him.”

Maybe she should thank her guardian angel for that.

Haunted House?

House with gloomy sky

If the idea of living in a haunted house scares you but not too much because what are the chances, right? Well, according to a survey conducted by realtor.com, the chances are probably a lot higher than you think with 40 percent of respondents reporting they lived in a house that was possibly or definitely haunted.

But before reaching for the phone to call a paranormal investigator or a priest (or a realtor,) here are a few signs your house may be haunted from Zak Bagans, host and lead investigator of Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel and author of Ghost-Hunting for Dummies.

Unexplained temperature drops

Ghosts require energy and pull energy from the environment. Accordingly, their presence is directly associated with sudden drops of temperature.

Unusual smells

Ghostly smells are usually familiar like perfume, flowers or pipe tobacco. Sometimes, they can be less pleasant, like sulfur. The aromas can manifest and then disappear with no explanation.

Unidentifiable sounds

The clomping sounds of boots on the staircase, footsteps going up and down hallways, and disembodied voices in the night are all signs that your house is likely haunted.

Odd behavior from your pets

If your pet begins spending an inordinate amount of time in a certain area of your home or having a reaction to something that is unseen by you, they may be picking up on sounds, smells and sights not detectable to humans.

Feelings of a nearby presence

This may manifest as feeling someone in the room with you when you can see no one is there. It is also possible to feel you are being watched, wherever you go in the house.

Seeing shadows and movement

You may start to see flickers of movement out of the corner of your eye, but when you look straight at the spot, nothing is there. You might also see shadows that do not belong, moving in the opposite direction of the light.

By Kerry Speckman
Resident Community News

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