The presence wasn't all bad, either. My youngest sister and I both agreed that when we were sad about something as teenagers—perhaps over a lost love, or some conflict with a friend—and we'd go into that room to listen to music and lament, the ghost would come and try to comfort us. It seemed as if sadness was its specialty, and if we were sad, it was there to empathize and even to console.

Whatever the ghost was, whatever it wanted, the scariest thing about it was that we felt it was always just on the verge of appearing. It would often concentrate its activity near the doorway. Twice in my later teen years I saw it open a door. Once I informed my mother I was going into the New Room to play the guitar. She told me not to play too loud because the neighbors had complained. I smiled, pulled the hall door shut behind me, walked down the hall, pulled the second door shut behind me as I entered the New Room, turned on the amp full blast, and began to play. I stood in front of the door with a big smile on my face, knowing my mother would soon enter to tell me to turn it down. I watched as the doorknob turned, and I watched with a smile as it swung open. But my smile slowly faded into puzzlement and concern. No one was there. The door had opened itself—or something other than a living human being opened it.

A few years later, the same thing happened in a different circumstance. I was expecting a friend to come through the door, and I watched the door open, but there was no one there—at least, no one living.

At one time I actually thought that maybe I was causing the paranormal phenomena. In the two cases I just described I was expecting the door to open. I had heard somewhere that usually when there is a poltergeist in the house, you will find a disturbed adolescent living there, and that there is some sort of energy given off by this adolescent. Since I was getting in trouble with the law at that time—breaking into houses, drinking, smoking, that sort of thing—perhaps I was unconsciously moving objects with some sort of psychic power stemming from my repressed anger. I was definitely running from something at the time. Alcoholism in the family? Parental discord? The loneliness of that house? Maybe I was the one disturbing this home.

I don't want to make it sound as if everything was bad with our family. We had plenty of good times, and I had friends over constantly. A couple of my friends still think of my mother and father as surrogate parents. The Schnarr house was a friendly, busy place. However, it is also true that something deeply troubling was under the surface, trying to get out. To all outward appearances things were fine, but perhaps all those unsettling impulses that had been pushed beneath the surface and compartmentalized were now locked into a certain room in the house—the New Room. I was intrigued with the idea. I later discarded this theory when I actually saw someone in the room.

One night I was "watching television" alone in the New Room with my girlfriend, Alice. We were both juniors in high school at the time. My parents had told me to leave the door open, so I had it ajar about an inch, and I kept my eye on it as we sat on the couch. At one point I looked over at the door and saw a man standing there. He appeared to be in his twenties, wearing dark blue pants and a red shirt. The scary thing was that he had no face. Above his shoulders was simply a silhouette of a head, and a faint blurry glow replaced any facial features. As soon as I saw him, he slipped away through the one-inch crack in the door.