At the corner of Baxter Street and East Houston Street, just over a mile from TJC, is The Oaks Apartments, a quiet cluster of apartment buildings built in the early 1950s. Home to a diverse mixture of college students and older long-time tenants, it is a seemingly quiet and normal dwelling, but behind the brick walls lurks something dark, and according to some residents, paranormal.
“Since the day we moved in I’ve seen and felt spirits here in the apartment. At first it was scary but I’ve sort of just gotten used to it,” resident of three years Prissy Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, she and members of her family have seen shadow figures of a man inside the apartment, and have felt something not visible to them touching or even pulling them.
“One time my aunt was sitting on the couch and she felt something grab her behind her legs and try to pull her off the couch,” Mitchell said. “We all saw her legs being pulled out from nowhere.”
On multiple occasions, Mitchell has also heard a disembodied voice speaking to her when no one was around.
“I have heard a voice say things like ‘hello’ and ‘please help me,'” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s next-door neighbor Marsha Brown has also seen and heard strange things, including the same shadow figure of a man walking through her apartment. She has also experienced some mischievous poltergeist-type activity.
“Sometimes the doors will lock on their own and I can’t get them open, then suddenly they click and open by themselves. People think I’m crazy but I don’t know how to explain it,” Brown said.
Her two children have also experienced things that she doesn’t know how to explain.
“My son once heard a banging on the door and walls, but no one was in or near the hallway when he went to look who it was. Also my two year old daughter told me she saw a man in the living room while I was taking a bath,” Brown said.
As the building is over 50 years old, it comes as no surprise that over the years more than one tenant has died in the complex. According to Mitchell, since she moved in, at least three people have died, including two men of natural causes, and a woman who committed suicide by overdosing on pills and alcohol in the building adjacent to hers.
“I really feel like there are spirits here that aren’t at rest and are trying to talk to us,” Mitchell said.
Another tenant who lives in the same building as Mitchell and Brown, Carrie Weber, has seen and heard strange things as well.
“I hear strange noises all the time and it sounds like someone is in my apartment when I’m alone,” Weber said.
Her weird experiences are not just confined to her own apartment.
“A week or two ago I saw what I thought was my neighbor moving around in his kitchen, but a few minutes later he came home and it turned out he had been at work the whole time. So I don’t know what the shadows moving around in his kitchen were. He said that no one was home,” Weber said.
But despite these chilling accounts of mysterious and possibly paranormal activity, the residents go about their lives as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
“You really do just get used to it. It’s scary sometimes, but I just try to ignore it because if you let it get to you it only makes it worse,” Brown said. “We just go about our day like it’s not a big deal.”