Rural Marion resident Melissa Kruse has a sincere, creepy feeling that the rickety old farmhouse she lives in may be haunted.
“This house is really weird,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s a ghost. I could write a book about all the stuff that’s happened here.”
The house sits alone, partially obscured by leafy, sagging trees that buzz with insects and creak lazily in the breeze. Occasionally, vehicles interrupt the insects’ song, which is accompanied by the steady rhythm of nearby machinery.
Kruse moved to the aged farmstead in August, 2014. That fall, weird stuff started.
She recalled an incident in which her dog, Oakley, became frightened by something Kruse could not see while they were at the kitchen table, which sits by a patio door that has a long curtain.
“Oakley starts freaking out and trying to climb into my lap,” Kruse said. “Then he just jumps up on top of the table. He’s a big dog.”
She thought it was weird because her dog had never done anything like that before. Then she noticed the curtain moving.
“It was very randomly, very barely moving; there was no AC or fan blowing on it, and no draft, or window open. I checked,” she said. “Then, all of a sudden, a crease appeared in the curtain, like someone was looking to peek out the window.”
Another time she came home and found all of her kitchen cabinet doors open. She also has awakened several times in the middle of the night to find “gas shooting out the stove burners,” which puzzles her.
“I thought maybe it was my cat,” she said, “but it couldn’t be because you have to push and twist the knobs to turn it on, and I try to use that stove as little as possible, if at all.”
Sometimes Oakley barks and greets things “that aren’t there.”
“He just sits down, looks up, and wags his tail,” she said. “He could be hearing things outside, but it’s not normal. It’s like he’s looking at someone.”
Although she never sees or hears the things Oakley does, she has seen something she cannot explain.
“Sometimes I see a round, puffy black ball along the baseboards in the hall near the extra room,” she said. “Supposedly, ghosts take that shape. I see it out of the corner of my eye and always wonder if I really saw what I think I saw. I don’t know; I just don’t know. If it were a critter, I would know. Maybe I’m tired or overworked or something.”
She tries to stay out of the extra room because it seems to trigger strange activity. However, sometimes she has to go in.
“I was in there the other week digging through things to get something I needed, and that’s when stuff seemed to start up again,” she said.
The shades in her living room have flown up on their own while she was watching TV. Lately, her TV set has been acting unusual.
“It doesn’t do it every night, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve woken up to my TV blaring on a snowy channel,” she said.
In an attempt to prevent the problem, she’s reset the TV, unplugged it for days, checked to see whether it was on a timer, and even taken the batteries out of the remote to make sure her pets were not accidentally turning it on.
However, when Lucy, her other dog, woke her up barking at static recently, she tried something different because of something she had discovered about a former tenant.
“I heard a man committed suicide here years ago,” Kruse said. “I don’t know if it was in the house, out in the yard, or in the barn that burned down.
“Anyway, in my sleepy mind I asked the person to please not turn the TV on anymore.”
It didn’t come back on that night, she said. However, the next morning, the TV, which usually starts on a cable screen, went directly to static when she turned it on.
She told of another incident that involved odd mood lighting.
“I was in my bed reading like a nerd under my reading lamp,” she said. “Well, it flickered and dimmed way down, then came back up,” she said, “so I went to the living room to read under another lamp, but I had the overhead lights on, too. After a little bit, that lamp did the same thing, just that lamp, not the ceiling lights. If it were something with the electricity, I would think the whole house would do the same thing.”
Things sometimes disappear and then reappear, too.
Once, when searching for a work uniform, she went through her dirty laundry, meticulously sorting it piece by piece to check.
“It was gone for two weeks,” she said. “Then, one day, there it was lying out perfectly on top of the hamper. It’s crazy. The running joke it that I have someone living here in the basement or the attic.”
In the past, Kruse experienced strange things at her grandparents’ house in Hillsboro when she was a child. She said an undertaker used to live there. She also noted two houses in Marion where she experienced creepy feelings and weird stuff.
“So many people have messaged me and some have told me that a lot of times it’s not the place, it’s the person,” she said. “I guess some people can sense a ghost’s psychic energy.”
Although she said she doesn’t entirely trust them, she plans to invite paranormal investigators to her house to try to find the underlying cause of what is happening.
“I hope they don’t find anything,” she said, “If they don’t find anything, then of course I‘ll look crazy. But at the same time I want to know if there is something here.”