OCTOBER 31, 2009 | ISSUE 45•44
HARTFORD, MI—On the outside it may look like any other home, but within the walls of 6535 Maple Ave. lies a terrifying secret: Every night, when the sun goes down and the moon comes out, this suburban bungalow is haunted by the restless, tormented souls of its current residents, the Davidson family.
“I always get this eerie chill whenever I walk by that house,” said Katherine Sturges, who has lived next to the spooky residence for nearly a decade. “Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can hear these terrible screams at night. God-awful screams about money and hell and wanting a divorce.”
Added Sturges, “I’m telling you, there’s something not quite right about that Davidson place.”
According to neighbors, three dead-eyed specters haunt the cursed dwelling: Jonathan Davidson, 58, a once-successful attorney whom many claim died on the inside years ago; his wife, Sheila, 56, a hollow, waiflike figure who reportedly roams the hallways of her home late at night, searching for a time long since past; and their adult son, Peter.
“They say the ghosts of what was once a happy family inhabit that home,” neighbor Douglas Smith said. “I’ve heard doors slamming and cupboards being opened and closed at all hours of the night. I’ve even heard mournful wails coming from the basement, where poor Peter supposedly sleeps, estranged from the only woman he ever loved. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just talking about it.”
Though few actually know what takes place inside 6535 Maple Ave., and fewer still wish to find out, a number of local residents have devised theories based on strange sightings.
In August, neighbors reported seeing the bone-chilling apparition of an intoxicated and half-naked Jon Davidson wandering aimlessly in his backyard. And last week, several residents claimed to have witnessed a stunted man-child playing with his toys in the driveway, though the unsettling vision was gone when they looked again a few minutes later.
“I heard the father who lives in that house went crazy after he lost his job, and feels empty and alone even though he still has his wife and son,” said Jessica Deer, a fifth-grader at a local elementary school. “Sometimes he stays up all night reliving and regretting decisions he’s made in the past. At least, that’s what some of the other kids told me.”
“Also, he cries and sobs at TV commercials,” Deer continued. “It’s really freaky.”
Michael Lax, a senior at Hartford High School, told reporters he’s also heard a number of the frightening tales.
“I know this is going to sound made-up, but they say that Sheila, the wife, sometimes looks in the mirror, and, like, sees someone else,” Lax said. “Well, not exactly someone else, but, like—and this is super creepy—a younger version of herself. And apparently, the woman she sees in the mirror, she’s a lot more beautiful than Sheila is, and she’s married to someone else, someone who doesn’t call her names when he gets angry and whom she still loves and feels close to.”
“Man, I wouldn’t set foot inside that place for a million bucks,” Lax added.
Some residents, however, said the stories about the Davidson family are entirely fabricated.
“Trust me, this junk is just intended to scare little children and titillate housewives who have nothing better to do than gossip,” local resident Carol Henderson said while helping her husband and two daughters plant some new azalea bushes in their front yard. “Seriously, now, who ever heard of a family that doesn’t eat dinner together every night? That just sounds like a bunch of hogwash if you ask me.”