Those of us interested in hauntings and otherwise paranormal phenomena understand the intoxicating allure of the supernatural. Many of us—skeptical or not—can echo that classic sentiment of Mulder from The X-Files: “I want to believe.”
Despite what hardcore skeptics—and downright dissenters—may insist, the truth is this: no one can answer these questions definitively. Was that a ghost we saw, or a mere shadow? Was it a dream, or a prophetic vision? Was that the voice of a spirit, or a weird mental glitch?
Perhaps we’ll never truly know.
Regardless, despite our doubts, our desire for concrete answers lingers. Our secret—or not so secret—longing to have proof of a world beyond our own keeps us up late at night, reading through the latest accounts of paranormal experiences from strangers on obscure websites. Firsthand stories are the hardest to dispute: how can we argue with a person’s direct experience? So, we turn to books that describe firsthand accounts of paranormal encounters.
The Haunted House Diaries: The True Story of a Quiet Connecticut Town in the Center of a Paranormal Mystery is such a book.
The family that resides in a 1790 farmhouse regularly encounters its own ancestors, as well as strangers—human and nonhuman—who seemingly occupy the same physical space in parallel worlds. When ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren—controversial figures as they may be—investigated the home, they dubbed it "Ghost Central.
And when author William J. Hall visited the house, family member Donna Fillie showed him her journal of the paranormal activity she’d experienced there over the years. This book reveals Donna’s diary, which spans five decades of uncanny occurrences—and is supplemented with background information provided by Hall.
Read the excerpt below—you'll be transfixed by this eerie farmhouse and its otherworldly inhabitants. Does the story offer definitive proof about ghosts, paranormal entities, and the world beyond the veil? I’ll let you decide. But from where I’m sitting: the mystery, the search for answers? That’s half the fun.
Read on for an excerpt of The Haunted House Diaries by William J. Hall, and then purchase the book. (I'll let you in on a chilling secret: the book itself includes chilling photographs!)
The Haunted House Diaries
An Introduction to the Diary
“Every time we go to the house, there is something new.”
It was a sunny, November afternoon just after Halloween. I was sitting across the kitchen table from Donna Randall Fillie, the keeper of the diary that is central to this investigation. Her stories—well, really the fascinating snippets from her life—simply enthralled me. They report and document the seemingly unworldly, or perhaps multiworldly, events that she has witnessed in her life while occupying the historic farmhouse. She thoughtfully reflected on the diary entries as we dug into her experiences with one from the summer of 1972:
I lie awake in the sweltering heat, so not typical for the Connecticut countryside where our old farmhouse stands. How can he sleep [her husband] in this ungodly heat, I think to myself, resentful of his quiet, even breathing.
Up under the eaves in the back bedroom we freeze throughout the long winters, then suffer in pools of sweat through the short, but
unpredictable weather of the summers.
Restless, I swing my bare legs over the side of the large antique bed, remembering for a moment that it once belonged to my grandparents. They
had a long and happy marriage, raised a family, and lived most of their years in that same house. This bed was a gift to my grandmother at the time
they bought their first farm. Those mental ramblings distract me for only a moment and my mind returns to feeling the relentless heat. I slide down onto the floor and make my way around the foot of the bed, ducking, without thinking, under the beam, which supports the slanted ceiling. Maybe the bed in the spare room will offer some comfort or at least dry sheets and more ventilation. In the black quiet I lay down, hiking my flimsy nightgown up to my hips.
Suddenly my eyes flip open. My breathing becomes deliberately short and quiet. There is a hand on the back of my left thigh, seductively rubbing up and down. It is not a physical hand, no feeling of flesh against flesh or the distinguishable massaging of individual fingers, but, nonetheless, a hand-shaped area of pressure. It begins to move, slowly rubbing up and down, back and forth. My skin begins to crawl. Kicking my legs wildly in the frightening discomfort of the moment, I bolt back into my bedroom, waking my sleeping husband. Hysterical as I am, I try to explain what has just occurred.
The events—the encounters—that Donna and Bob have experienced are something more than the typical ghost stories encountered around campfires or, for that matter, even those offered in professional reports or exposés. They do not conform to the more typical single entity ] encounter. In their lives, a wide variety of paranormal themes have being playing out, repeatedly, across many decades and during generations before them. Five generations of the family have lived in the house currently owned by Donna and Bob.
“And why is it you continue to stay here?” I asked.
Donna shrugged her shoulders. “I honestly don’t know! Understand that I am not afraid; this is my home. It’s all I know. Throughout everything we’ve seen and heard here in our house, our ties remain strong and unwavering.”
The extraordinary old New England farmhouse was built in 1793 and has been home to six generations of the Randall family; Donna and her family have been there for more than 60 of those years. It is extraordinary in size and stark simplicity, in service and security. It is extraordinary in that it was constructed at the point of a paranormal flap where time and dimensions, life forms and realms, flow together seam-lessly; where visitation between and among them occurs more by chance than by plan, more as unexpected bumps in the night than the meeting of well-defined
Related: 9 Most Haunted Houses in the World
It is less a haunted house than a path side inn where entities from across time and space and multiple dimensions converge and lodge on their ways toward their individually unique destinations. Donna’s family had the nearly exclusive opportunity to engage these essences, witness their endless forms, and become familiar with their obsessions and patterns, their persistence, and, often, their capricious nature.
Within these pages I will share with you their experiences down through the generations, what we believe we have learned, and their own reactions to “them,” which range from delight to irritation to exasperation, but rarely fear. Some they recognize; most they do not. But each of them has presented a wonder-filled possibility for the family to gain a glimpse into the elusive and confounding realm of paranormal phenomena.
This house is Donna’s home, and like most homes, it has typically been a comfortable, safe, and serene oasis away from the trials and tribulations of the world outside. Unlike most homes, they have always had co-inhabitants who, it appears, also claim the house as their home. Donna grew up learning to be pleased and proud to share.
Donna is not inclined to argue or debate the point. She knows what she has experienced and is content that knowledge is sufficient beyond any arguments others have proposed. There are visitors. She has seen them, been touched by them, been sung to by them. She has seen unsupported orbs in the house with the naked eye, objects move with nothing propelling them, and time slips, and photographed them and recorded the noises and voices of invisible entities. As she explained, they can be very persistent and, in her very human way, she has often had to explain to “them” that it is time for them to shut up and let the family get some sleep.
Few people outside of the family are aware of the situation here, but the ones who have ventured closely into their lives have been changed forever by their experiences.
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