Scary Ghost Stories Episode In A Lodging House

Scary stories can raise questions that can’t be simply answered. That’s what makes ghost stories so haunting. In the “Episode in a Lodging House” you won’t find any answers why, but you will find chills.

Episode in a Lodging House

For many months I knew Smith only by name as the occupant of the floor above me. How he knew that I was interested in the study of languages was something I could never explain, but one day, he came quietly into my room in the evening and asked me point-blank if I knew enough Hebrew to help him in the pronunciation of certain words. The moment he was gone I became conscious of two things, an intense curiosity to know more about this man and what his real interests were, and secondly, the fact that my skin was crawling and that my hair had a tendency to rise.

What his occupation was during the day I never knew. I think he slept until the sun set. No one ever saw him on the stairs, or heard him move in his room during the day. He was a creature of the shadows that apparently preferred darkness to light.

It so happened that about this time I was frequently called out at all hours of the night for the maternity cases which a fourth-year medical student takes at a certain period of his studies, and on returning from one of these visits at about two o’clock in the morning I was surprised to hear the sound of voices as I passed his door. A peculiar sweet odor, too, not unlike the smell of incense, penetrated into the passage.

As I listened to Smith’s voice, moreover, I began to feel afraid. There was something in the sound that made me feel intuitively he was in a tight place, and an impulse stirred to knock at the door and inquire if he needed help.

“There is nothing you can do to help me”, it said distinctly, “and you will be much safer in your own room.”

I felt that he was somehow making use of me against my will, by methods beyond my comprehension.

One evening, while I was reading, the door of my room opened and Smith came in. He made no attempt at ceremony. It was after 10 o’clock and I was tired. He began asking me to pronounce certain Hebrew words, and then he abruptly inquired if I was not the fortunate possessor of a very rare Rabbinical Treatise, which he named. How he knew that I possessed this book was a puzzle to me, but I was still more surprised to see him cross the room and take it out of my book-shelf almost before I had had time to answer. On this particular occasion he stayed with me perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. “I hope,” he whispered, “I hope you are never disturbed at night.” Then he went quickly downstairs to his room with my Hebrew Treatise in his hand, and I heard him close and bolt his door.

It was a week or two later, and I was coming home between two and three in the morning from a maternity case that I passed Smith’s door without giving him a single thought. I had hardly reached the table where the candles stood when I heard, “Help! Help!” And this time it was accompanied by what I can only describe as a vivid hallucination. I was touched on the skin of my arm which was clutched by fingers.

The door yielded at once, as I burst into a room that was so full of a choking vapor, moving in slow clouds, that at first I could distinguish nothing at all but a set of what seemed to be huge shadows passing in and out of the mist.

The carpet was rolled back and piled in a heap in the corner, and upon the white boards of the floor I noticed a large circle drawn in black of some material that emitted a faint glowing light and was apparently smoking. Inside this circle, as well as at regular intervals outside it, were curious looking designs, also traced in the same black, smoking substance. These, seemed to emit a feeble light.

My first impression on entering the room had been that it was full of people, but that hardly expresses my meaning. Beings, but they were not human beings. But whatever they were, the visible appearance of them was exceedingly fleeting. I no longer saw anything, but I still felt their immediate presence.

They were in constant motion about me. They stood close to my side; moved behind me; brushed past my shoulder; stirred the hair on my forehead; and circled round me without ever actually touching me, yet always pressing closer and closer. Then, suddenly, for the first time my eyes fell upon Smith. He was crouching against the wall on my right. There was terror on his face, but at the same time there was another expression about the tightly clenched teeth and mouth which showed that he had not lost all control of himself.

“Help me back into that circle,” I heard him half cry, half whisper to me across the moving vapors.

Pouring with perspiration, and breathless, with every muscle strained, we managed to get to the edge of the circle, and at this moment, the opposing force was so great, that I felt myself actually torn from Smith’s arms, lifted from my feet, and twirled round in the direction of the windows as if the wheel of some great machine had caught my clothes and was tearing me to destruction in its revolution.

Smith, with an unexpected movement, threw up his arms with a cry of relief. At the same instant there was a wild, tearing shriek in the air beside me and something rushed past us with a noise like the passage of a flock of big birds. Both windows rattled as if they would break away from their sashes. Then a sense of emptiness and peace suddenly came over the room, and I knew that all was over.

“God! If you hadn’t come, you deflected the stream and broke it up.” he whispered. “You saved me.”

Smith still has my Rabbinical Treatise. At least he did not return it to me at the time, and I have never seen him since to ask for it.