A Mystery In Lakeview
By: Chris Darkes - December 9, 2014
Category : People
The day after Halloween marked the 1 year passing of my great uncle. It was really hard for my family, not only because he was a great uncle, but he was one of the most inspiring people that I ever knew. He was 93 and had such an optimism about life. Yes he had times when he wondered what people my age would do about jobs with all the factories closing in his neighborhood. But there was something about his personality that made you want see life the way he did. Even his funeral was cinematic. White-gloved soldiers greeted us for the flag burial ceremony. Sheets of rain poured down as the gun salutes echoed through the November sky. It was all very powerful and very touching.
The reason I bring this whole thing up is because the days leading up to his death were quite fascinating. To give a little back story, my great uncle Art was one of six brothers and one sister in his family. The house they lived in was 114 years old, and located near Wrigley Field. Other than my grandpa, none of the other uncles or aunt were married. They lived in this house until they passed. I’m not sure about his parents, but for sure three brothers passed away inside the house. The last being John in 1994, who came home one night after a party. He called up the stairs to Art saying he was back, and passed away right in the doorway from a heart attack. At his age, that was the best way to go out.
Anyways, since Uncle Art was getting older, and already had fallen down the stairs once, my parents decided it’d be best for him to get a caretaker. They thought maybe Art would resist that since it had been almost 20 years he had lived alone. I think he kinda knew he had to. So after a lot of questions, my parents decided on a man named Jerry. Jerry was great with Uncle Art. He cooked all his favorite foods, exchanged witty banter, and found out they had mutual friends. Smooth sailing for about 3 weeks until…
One day Jerry called my mom in a panic. He asked her, “ Do you know if anyone died in the house?” A strange question indeed. My mom didn’t want to say “well…at least 3 people did.” All she could say was yes. And then she asked why he asked. He had been sleeping on the first floor, with Uncle Art sleeping in the living room. The room in which Jerry had been sleeping was under the stair case. “Well…the last few nights I’ve been woken up by what sounds like someone walking up the stairs.” The stairs were original (if you can imagine) 114 year old wooden stairs. Granted they were sturdy, but creaky none-the-less. “The other night, I went to check to see if I was just hearing things and when I got to the stairs, the upstairs door (which was closed) was rattling. So I grabbed a flashlight and walked up the stairs. I truthfully thought someone was breaking in.” He opened the door and the lamp slid across the nightstand. He was so terrified he said he just stood there for 5 minutes. “The next day I was folding laundry in my room. My hands were full when I walked out and the slightly cracked door opened for me when I went to reach for it.” Now my mom was nervous. She didn’t want to scare Jerry away. He was the perfect caretaker for Uncle Art. She also hadn’t spent a considerable amount of time in his house to corroborate the stories. But truthfully she wasn’t too surprised.
3 months before Uncle Art moved back home after falling down the stairs, my parents attempted to clean up the house and try to make a few updates. My sister and I pitched in as much as we could as the house had been neglected for over 20 years.
The house had a certain charm to it. It was weird to think that at least 8 family members had spent their entire lives in there. The rooms were kept as if we had snuck into their house when nobody was home. The passing family members clothes and items were untouched. One day, my sister walked into Clara’s room (which Jerry would later stay in.) She began to pack things into boxes as Clara’s belongings had been kept exactly as she left it. My sister began to pack several music boxes away. One of them with a ballerina on it began playing. She didn’t know what to do, so she placed it back on the vanity. The music stopped. She moved into the other room to continue with the clean up. She came back later, and placed it back in the box. Again it began playing. Confused, she placed it back on the vanity. My mom came into the room and my sister asked what the significance of it was. My mom said Clara’s favorite music box was the one with the ballerina.
Another time, I had been cleaning the attic. In the 1920s there had been a coal yard across from my uncle’s house. I don’t think anyone cleaned the attic since. I was sweeping up the coal dust with this copper dust pan I found in there. As I was halfway through, we broke for lunch and I placed the dust pan on a chair to remember where I left it since there was a lot of clutter. I locked the attic door with a skeleton key as the draft from the room threw off the heat for the rest of the house. When we returned I was cleaning up the back porch with my mom. She asked if there was a dust pan around. I recalled the chair up in the attic. I headed up the stairs, unlocked the door and walked to the chair. Where the dust pan had been it was now gone. I found it odd since I remembered specifically to leave it there. I came back down the stairs and asked my dad if anyone had been up there. He replied, “you’re the only one with the key, kiddo.” I never did find that dust pan.
Lastly, when my uncle Art moved back in Jerry would leave the door always cracked open at night so Uncle Art could call if he needed anything. About a month before Art passed, Jerry heard him talking in a low mumble to someone. The talking continued for about 15 minutes, before Jerry got out of bed to check on him. Uncle Art said that Henry was really happy with Jerry’s cooking. So Jerry called my mom and asked who Henry was. Henry was the oldest brother of Uncle Art who had passed in 1989. If that wasn’t strange enough, Uncle Art hadn’t mentioned Henry one time since he had passed away to any of our family members. Uncle Art passed away 3 days later on November 1st 2013, in his sleep. The memorial was held as the same church he was baptized in.
It’s interesting to hear people talk about the super natural. I get it. It defies all natual logic and common sense. But even at a scientific level, your energy goes somewhere when you pass away. Would I be a skeptic if none this these strange events happened? Probably. If you were to ask most people do they believe in that about 85% would say definitely no. But if you were to ask those same people would you want to live in a house that was known to be haunted if it were their dream home and the price was perfect, almost all of them would say no. Uncle Art’s legend will be forever a part of our family history. It was such a blessing to get to know him and enjoy his life, his humor, and his outlook. The house will hold a lot of memories for my family. As well as a lot of unsolved events.