Keep Out – This Is My Room


Some years ago, I was working in northwest Austin, so we were considering moving to that side of the city. Martha had her Realtor’s license then and we would meet after work to look at houses. One memorable evening, we went to view a house near downtown Round Rock. We arrived just as dusk was settling into nighttime.

Inside, the house was stuck in the 60’s. It was one of those ‘our elderly parent has just died, so we cleared out their house and put it on the market’ kind of houses. It had the unmistakable dead air aura about it that told us we were not alone. It felt as if it had been sealed up for decades. Even though the house was right off I-35, it was deathly quiet inside.

The house was in the bunkhouse style, with lots of wood paneling and trim. The central part of the house, the living, dining, family area, was all open to the rafters. There were two small bedrooms upstairs, at either end of the house, connected by a narrow bannistered galley walkway along the front wall.

We looked around the forlorn downstairs, then climbed the stairs and looked into the first room upstairs. Then we made the long walk to the other upstairs room. The door was closed, which was odd, because you leave all the inside doors open when you’re showing a house for sale. When I tried to open the door, it resisted. New carpet had been put in and I had to lean against the door and force it across the high thick carpet to get it open.

In that room, the dead air feeling was stifling. The negativity was overpowering. It was by far the creepiest place in the entire creepy house. We immediately turned and walked back out. Before we were even halfway down the long galley walkway, we heard that door moving. We turned and watched it slowly click shut.

With the force it took to open the door, an earthquake couldn’t have made it close on its own. It was absolutely impossible. Something made its home in that room and was determined to keep the door shut. And it had the power to do that.

We set a new record for exiting a house. Yes, we permanently marked that house off our list. I hope that whoever did buy it brought lots of laughter and lightness to it, for it was devoid of any joy. And I hope the spirit who had laid claim that room was released to move on.

Keep Out – This Is My Room
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