Over the course of my life, I have encountered many eerie locations that have given me the chills. Despite all those fearful situations, only three places have ever successfully handicapped my lungs from providing oxygen to my heart. I could not begin to predict the events that would occur when I decided to visit a jail hostel, a cemetery, or a cellar. Until these visits, I have never been frozen from head to toe, unable to conduct a move. My previous hair raising experiences are practically nonexistent compared to my journey to The Ottawa Jail Hostel, the Garden Cemetery, or a friend’s basement cellar.
To begin, the first place that is soon going to put goose bumps on my skin is the Ottawa Jail Hostel. In order to reach the hostel I first walk down an abandoned street. The air surrounding me is cold and the stench of death wafts with the wind. The lit sky I have previously clung to fades out in what seems like an instant, causing darkness to take over. Above me, not a star can be seen. Each of my determined steps claps against the chipped pavement, fearfully dodging the various holes waiting to imprison me. The sickly thin, yellow dotted line binds me to the ride side of the road. A swift movement in the zombified grass strikes massive amounts of paranoia into my heart, as I am supposedly alone. Telling myself to ignore all fear inciting explanations, I continue down the street until I reach a wooden house dating back to the early 1800’s.
I glimpse up from a glued stare at my feet to the utter shock of a large wood panelled building. The sign in front faintly reads “Ottawa Jail Hostel”. The sign is broken and old rusting nails stick out like sore thumbs. From where I am standing I can see a green and brown substance covering both the sign and house. An aroma of damp cotton, and wet leaves identifies the strange substance as rot. The scent is not unpleasant. Wood slowly disintegrating to a weak and fragile fibre, indicating the poor upkeep to the house. I am intrigued by the emptiness surrounding the building. Surrounding me, I notice the absence of vegetation, rocks, fences and sheds. My curiosity leads me closer and I soon find myself inside the hostel. Once inside, the scene of a hotel lobby jumps into view, although everything is beaten down as if a pack of wolves ran through.
To my left, a few broken remains of the front desk lay scattered on the floor. Now, this decrepit structure sits upside down in the corner of the room. I slowly creep into the next room which leads to a stairway. Immediately, I want to explore the upper level. Suddenly, I see a strange shadow appearing from the corner of my eye. A loud crash leads me to believe the figure is in the lobby. Goosebumps appear on my neck and arms as a harsh wind blows through an open window. I scream as I run back out of the building. Panting and confused, I try to retrieve myself from a frightened state and gain control of my body once again. Therefore, the first frightening experience I have ever encountered happened at the Ottawa Jail Hostel.
The second stop on my haunted journey, is to Garden Cemetery. To reach the cemetery, I start to walk through a spooky forest. This forest contains vast wisps of dead grass, fragile to a single touch. Occasional gusts of wind forces these stands of death to dance and rustle against each other. Tall trees lean in all different directions, with leaves no longer clinging to their branches. These dormant structures lurch over my body, trying to hold me captive in their distorted arms. As a result, I quicken my pace and my breath becomes heavy. Every gasp of air I dare take is cold, dry and tastes of cardboard. Eventually, I reach a treeless patch of grass revealing the threatening entrance of the creepy Garden Cemetery. A colossal black gate assimilates the surrounding space as the entrance comes into full view. At nine feet tall, deteriorating bars of iron tower over me, insisting my height is negligible in comparison.
Thick, thorn covered vines twist around each bar as if to alter any visitor’s desire to enter. Following the vines, two large hinged posts hold the metal bars in an upright position. The hinges radiate a high frequency scream as the varying wind open and closes the gate. In an effort to bare my ringing eardrums, my teeth painfully clench together. As I peer through the holes of the metal bars, a daunting sign labelled “no trespassing” stands. Despite the worrisome warning, my heart pounds against my chest as I decide to walk through the threatening entrance of the Garden Cemetery. Soon I find myself in the dark core of the graveyard. A supernatural atmosphere hits me like a brick wall. Even the name of the graveyard is bizarre, as no gardens and almost no living objects exist. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I shudder from the wind now roaring around me. Facing the wind, I find it difficult to keep my eyes open.
Even through my squinted view I can see tombstones scattered in an unorganized fashion. These masses of rock are chipped and crumbling, decorated with pieces of dead moss. The decomposing landscape seems as though not a single soul has been here for years on end. Looking closer, I can see that written on the front of a tombstone is “Jonathan Bauer. 1800-1950.” Questions of confusion fill my head, for no one should live for that length of time. As I stand puzzled a misted body peers from behind the marble stone. I feel as though my heart has stopped beating, and I cannot breath as the white skinned figure makes his way towards me. “Could this be the Sam figure from the hostel?” I asked myself. Before I could think the situation through, the figure disappears and I dash out of the gateway. To conclude, the Garden Cemetery is another horrifying place to visit.
Finally, the third and final place I visit on my horrifying night is my friends basement cellar. Her house is believed to be haunted, and the dark cellar in the back corner of her basement is sure to send chills down my spine. As I walk toward the dusty back corner the air surrounding me is still. A faint earthy smell seeps through the walls and the temperature rapidly drops the deeper I journey into the basement. The door to the cellar is concrete, heavy and solid as if the door has a desperate desire to hold something in or perhaps keep something out. Hesitantly, I reach my hand out and grasp the round doorknob firmly, the withering surface cutting deep into my skin. Slightly twisting to the right sends the door mysteriously swinging open on its own. I feel as if I am being welcomed in. I slowly creep my way inside. Walls of brick are revealed to be cracked and partially in ruins.
I am in the middle if admiring the strangely spacious room when a large gust if wind blows in through a small open window causing the door to slam shut with an ear bursting crash. The window now remains as my only source of light. Outside the window, a flash consumes the entire sky, and booming claps rattle the Earth’s surface, filling my ears. Lightening strikes, and the sky begins to pour rain. Startled birds scatter from their homes. In unison, their screams almost puncture my eardrums, telling me to run away. Instead of surrendering to these orders, I move away from the window falling further into the cellar. The room is muggy and a musty smell fills my nostrils. I am surrounded by shelves of old food and early used household items. For once I am at ease as their seems go be no odd activity occurring. My stomach growls and I come to the realization that I have not eaten since the early hours of the evening. I pull a box of crackers from a built wooden shelf located on my right.
My urge to eat causes me to knock over several soup cans sending them crashing like boulders on to the ground. The harsh sound awakens a few tiny white mice that scurry around my bare feet, tickling my cold toes. I think nothing of the incident until a steady whisper appears in my left ear. “Leave me alone” a deep masculine voice says. He is close enough that I can feel his breath against my neck. Frightened, I frantically shut my eyes tightly and scream in the highest pitch I am capable of in hopes of scaring my haunter off. I do not wait before running as fast as I can in the direction of the concrete door. Using all of my might I clasped the metal knob releasing a smell of rusted iron that wafts from the handle and touches my taste buds. The metallic taste hovers in my mouth, which causes me to pull even harder at the door. My muscles ache and contract to create an opening in the heavy escape route. Luckily, I am able to run away from the strange man who has been following me all night. In summary, the third soul-chilling place to journey to is a friends basement cellar.
From these experiences on, the simple mentioning of a haunted place produces a fearful recollection of the Ottawa Jail Hostel, Garden Cemetery, and the dark basement cellar. The memories I can recall is a terror that I would not wish on even the worst of my enemies. Although, I do believe that many more people need to face their fears of haunted places. The thrilling suspense of not knowing what is behind a mysterious door is exhilarating and the slight moment where one believes in the unknown is captivating. Even visiting a haunted house on Halloween should awaken your senses. There are many creepy places that I recommend visiting, but no location is more terrifying than the Ottawa Jail Hostel, Garden Cemetery, or that old basement cellar.
Courtney from Study Moose
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