Personal Submission: A Painter's Nightmare

From: Sam Winston, Boston, MASS

Date Submitted: 8/22/97

I wanted to submit to you for your review an actual event that happened to me while I was painting an apartment a couple of years ago. I won't mention where this place was except that I live and work in Boston. But anyway, I was called by one of my clients that I do painting work for, (yes, I'm a painter) that a tenant had just turned in their keys and that I need to give my client a bid to paint his apartment. So I picked up the keys and went down to the six unit apartment building, into unit five.

I swear that the second I walked in, I felt as if I was being watched. It ran up my spine! I went into the bedrooms to see what condition the walls were in and then went into the livingroom. While in the livingroom, I heard some knocking coming from the left bedroom. I went back to investigate and as soon as I stepped into the room again, the knocking stopped. I went back into the livingroom because the livingroom had the most paint work to be done and the knocking started again. I went back into the bedroom and stood in the room to wait for the knocking to start again and after about 45 seconds or so, the bedroom door closed by itself. It didn't slam or anything, just shut as if someone was shutting it.

Never having dealt with this type of thing and being an X Marine, I was sort of freaked out but I need money more so I left and was later informed that I got the job.

I began painting about 4 days later and started early. After it started to get dark, being that this was winter and it gets dark early, all kind of things began to happen. First, I had taken all of the doors during the day, off their hinges and stacked them up against one another along a wall. They were stacked at a 45 degree angle. Suddenly that afternoon while I was painting the bedroom where the door had closed previously(and by the way, it's hard to worry about a door closing on me again if it ain't on the hings) and suddenly I heard a loud bang. I went into the livingroom to find all of the doors laying on the floor. Whatever had knocked them over was real strong, probably stronger than an average humane. I then checked the apartment door (which I always leave on) and it had been locked, just as I left it when I entered after a short smoke break.

By now, I was pretty nervous so I turned my radio up and started painting again. But then the radio suddenly went down in volume once I was up on my ladder. I got down to change it again and the damned thing did it again. I decided to let whatever it was do its thing with the radio because my feet were getting tired from standing on a ladder all day long.

About a half hour later, I heard the toilet flush. Then while I was painting, the light would suddenly change. the room had an ordinancy ceiling fixture on it and I had taken off the glass globe so there was no reason it would dim. It wasn't from a decrease in power either because it was as if someone was standing between the light and me! But as soon as I would look back at the light, it the light would be normal again. Then the door bell range and I thought maybe one of the other tenants was complaining about me being on top of their heads while they was having dinner, so I looked at the front door but no one was there. That was the final straw. I may be a tough guy but I can't fight what I can't see. So I left for the day.

I finished the job over the next couple of days but I made sure I was out of the place long before darkness set in. During the first day of painting and there after, nothing happened as long as the sun was out. I wasn't going to wait around again to see what happened after dark!

When I returned the keys to the landlord, I told him what had happened several days later and recommended that he get a priest there or something. Then the man said to me, "oh ya, I forgot to tell you that the tenant had died in the apartment only about a week ago and his relatives brought back the keys after they cleared out his stuff. I told the landlord that I thought the guy was still there. He laughed and said "well, I hope I can get a rent check out of him." 

I didn't find that to be so funny given what happened to me and that he didn't tell me that ahead of time. I never worked for him since. Nor do I want to know what those poor souls went through, the new tenants, when they moved in, whoever they are.

-Sam the painter, Little Drip Painting Co.