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Dead cell sets off years of mayhem
Saturday, 05 November 2016 11:46
Special to the Daily Planet

You’ve all probably seen Stephen King’s mini-series “Rose Red.” It was about an extremely haunted house located where several disappearances of family and high-profile individuals occurred, as well as several murders. 

Over the years, it went dormant. That is, until one gifted little girl walked in and woke everything up.

You might say I’m that little girl all grown up. 

I’m sure Stephen King coined the term “dead cell” because it’s not something easily referenced, but it’s a real phenomenon.

I first became aware of this when I moved into a haunted former tuberculosis sanitorium. I knew about the tuberculosis. Not about the ghosts. Not until I actually moved in.

Would you believe I moved in on “a dark and stormy night?”

It was wintertime in Asheville and high up on Sunset Mountain. The wind whipped around and the rain came down. You could see it through the flashes of lightning.

I was unpacking boxes in my kitchen. I had nice, long, wide countertops and set up my coffeemaker and microwave oven. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that I shouldn’t plug them into the same outlet. Out went the lights.

I located my flashlight and realized I would have to go out the front door and walk around to the side of the house to get to the basement. “Isn’t this how all the horror movies start?” I asked myself.

The sanitorium was the old Sunset Drive Annex and the property was dotted with bungalows. I had the whole bottom floor of the first bungalow you came to as you drove up a really long, lonely driveway with the creepiest hairpin curve I’ve ever encountered in my life!

I walked down the steep stone stairwell to the basement. The wind caught at my hair and clothing as I reached for the doorknob. It opened easily enough and I stepped down into a musty room with a dirt floor and dirt-packed walls. 

I looked around and located an unopened box of fuses and something to stand on so I could reach the fuse box. I climbed up and opened up the ancient metal box, balancing carefully as I unscrewed the spent fuses. 

I screwed in the new ones, noting that they sparked when I touched them. Lovely. I closed everything back up, jumped down and made my way to the door. I closed it tight and walked back up the stone stairs to the landing and into the still raging storm.

Once back inside, I got the lights back on and unpacked a few more boxes.

Later on that night, I locked up tight and turned out all lights, shutting my bedroom door behind me. The main switch was located right beside the door, far from my bed. The closet wall blocked my view of the door.

As soon as I climbed into bed, I started hearing noises. I heard conversations and the clattering of utensils on plates. It sounded like a dinner party was going on in my living room!

I knew I had shut off the TV before I went to bed, but I got up just to be sure. As soon as I opened my bedroom door, all noises ceased. No sounds were coming from outside, either, because it was February and all the windows were closed.

As soon I closed my bedroom door and shut off the light, I climbed back into bed. The dinner party started up again. “Hmm,” I thought, as I drifted off to sleep. “I wonder if this place is haunted?”

A couple of weeks later, I met one of my upstairs neighbors, a student at Warren Wilson College. “Nothing ever happened around here until you moved in,” he said accusingly. “You move in and suddenly we start hearing someone walking around your apartment and walking into walls. We know you’re not home. We know you’ve already gone to work. But we look out the window anyway, and your car is always gone.”

And that was the start of 10 years of almost daily activity in my apartment and all over the property.

Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She owns and runs Nevermore Mystical Arts shop and works at Wright’s Coin Shop, both in Asheville. Wright also is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).



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