“It would be James and his wife Mandy’s first home. They bought it after saving up enough money to finally purchase the house. They considered it their dream house. It was spacious and had a back garden for their future kids, but they would soon discover that their dream house was the stuff nightmares are made of.
James and Mandy Fiser were married for 5 years when they finally bought their dream home. They decided to settle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with their dog, Scout. It took a long time to finally find something they were both happy with. But when they saw the house from the inside, Mandy couldn’t contain her excitement.
But the happiness would soon turn into sadness for the couple when they stepped into the front door. They were met with something unusual. They couldn’t believe how much space they had. It was two floors. On the second floor were all the bedrooms; on the ground floor were the kitchen, living room, and home office.
Then she noticed something strange; there was a floor hatch in the kitchen. She hadn’t noticed it before when the realtor took them on a tour of the house. She showed James, and they made a plan to try and open it to see what was beneath the kitchen floor.
Mandy could see that this was an old house. It was well-kept but still needed some touch-ups here and there. Some of the floorboards needed to be sanded down and revarnished. Although Mandy loved the old Victorian look of the house, she knew it needed some work, especially when she saw what was behind the antique cupboard. She moved it slightly with ease as it was clearly empty. She pushed just a little bit more, and there it was: a door. There was a locked door behind the cupboard; why was the cupboard pushed against this door? It was something she hadn’t seen before.
Over the next few weeks, Mandy tried looking for the key to the mysterious door in the kitchen. She even looked in the drawers of the antique cupboard but found nothing. They had already moved in, and minor renovations they had planned were put on hold because of the cold weather.
It was then that the nightmares would begin. James had switched on the heating system to warm up their room for the night. They settled in, and Mandy took out her book to read a few chapters. It was then that they both sat up as a smell wafted into their bedroom. It was a rotten smell, and it was so bad that they ran out of the room.
The next day, James knew he had a big task ahead of him. It seemed like the smell was coming every time he switched on the heating system. He felt like he wanted to tear down everything to see what was causing it. It was time to check all the vents; all the rooms had it, so it was just a matter of unscrewing them all and checking what was inside.
James realized that it could be something that he wasn’t able to do on his own. This job needed the help of a professional. They decided it would be best to call in help. Just as James was closing the last vent in the home office, he saw something gleaming inside. He reached out and grabbed it; it was a key. It was the door behind the antique cupboard in the kitchen. Finally, they were able to open it and see what was inside.
When they unlocked the door, something terrifying awaited them. It was dark in the basement, and they couldn’t find a light switch, so they took a flashlight to light their way. They slowly descended the stairs until all they could see were dust particles dancing in the light of the flashlight. They saw more wine barrels, antique furniture, wooden chests, and lots of framed pictures. All of the chests were empty, and Mandy wondered what the old lady had kept inside them.
When they hadn’t found anything of interest down in the basement, Mandy remembered the mystery she had found in their kitchen: the floor hatch. They thought that maybe the key would be hidden in the basement after all; the vents had the key to the basement, so it felt like a scavenger hunt. James searched everywhere until he saw something shining in the darkness. They broke the lock and lifted the heavy hatch.
There were strange jars which looked like they had preserved foods inside. They also found a box inside, and when they opened it, they would be amazed by what they would find. They were surprised that the hatch was so small; it seemed like it was just for storage purposes. The box contained old recipes; it seemed like something old Victorian kitchens might have. It was probably used as a pantry once.
There was something else that didn’t look that remarkable until James decided to pick it up. There was also a rolled-up parchment, and when James unrolled it, he was amazed to find that he was looking at the original blueprints of the house. It was dated 1887. James couldn’t believe what they had just found. They packed everything back in the box and lifted it out of the hatch. It was getting late, and they still had so many things to do. Mandy reassured her husband that they would worry about it in the morning; for now, they finished dinner and went to bed, but neither of them could sleep easy in the strange house when their minds were on what was going on.
The morning broke, and the two woke up, but neither felt like they had gotten quality sleep. The couple really regretted buying the house in this state, but when James saw the distressing look on his wife’s face, he decided to try and cheer her up the best way he knew how. They decided to relax in the living room. James lit the fireplace, and it warmed the whole room up. Then they brought out the box they found in the floor hatch. They looked at the old blueprints and compared them with the one the realtor gave to them; there were noticeable differences. And then the dog, Scout, started barking uncontrollably again; was he warning them of imminent danger?
The couple knew they had to figure things out before they went to bed again. Scout was barking at the same corner of the living room. James decided to have a look at what he was barking at. James felt like he was losing his mind; he lifted the carpet, and there it was: another vent. But this was very strange because this vent was not on the new blueprint, but it was on the old one. James and Mandy were getting worried.
James remembered the key he had found in the last vent; maybe this one held similar secrets. James collapsed into his wife’s arms; he reluctantly conceded and called professionals, but they would only arrive the next morning. The prospect of spending another night in the house without figuring out what was going on scared them both.
That night, Mandy woke up again to her horror; her husband was out of bed again. She knew exactly where he was; he was looking into the vent like a lunatic. Mandy slowly approached him and coaxed him back to bed; she knew things had to end now.
The next morning, James called in professionals immediately. They needed to check if there wasn’t anything in the vent as he couldn’t open it; it might be an infestation or a dead rodent inside. They came in 30 minutes equipped with everything needed to pry open the vent. When they eventually managed to open it, they made a gruesome discovery that made their blood run cold.
They found various jars with putrid liquids in them and, most disturbingly, several animal carcasses and bones. James and Mandy were uneasy; this is what Scout was barking at, and the jars were causing the smell. What did this mean?
Mandy wondered if their house was used for rituals and sacrifices, and she didn’t want to live there anymore if that was the case. Then the maintenance man told them it wasn’t as unusual as they thought; he told them that he and his team found these all the time in the old Victorian houses. It was Pennsylvania’s tradition of ritual healing known as powwow; he said they used animal carcasses to combine elements of religion and belief with health and healing. It seems the old lady who lived here needed healing.
But James and Mandy decided that it was best to remove the jars and carcasses so that the smell could disappear and they can continue to live normal lives so that Scout can be at ease.”