Life After Paranormals: Season 4, Episode 2
Lindsey Brisbine reflects on her haunted college days as portrayed in "Nightmare on Chestnut Street."
Looking back, can you describe what you remember most about this period of time?
A feeling of dread. The year before we moved into that house I had been through a traumatic personal experience, so moving into the house on Chestnut Street was (in my mind) a fresh start. I was moving in with my two best friends, was focused on finishing my BFA, and was in an amazing relationship with my boyfriend Adam. I thought "New year, new me." It was definitely a "new year," but not the one I had hoped for.
Upon moving into the house I instantly felt this overwhelming sense of dread. The nightmare began the first night, and continued every single night after that until I moved out of the house. If I woke up from the dream covered in sweat and sometimes crying and was able to calm myself down and go back to sleep, the dream started over ... imagine that, the same dream every single night for an entire year. It was such a horrific dream that it made me almost feel sick, and eventually I began trying not to sleep to avoid dreaming. Not only did I dream about her, but she would often chase me through the house and up my stairs. Sometimes she was able to grab me and pull me back down, and sometimes I was able to fight her off. This happened multiple times a week. I was being both physically and mentally violated by this demon/entity/thing in what was to be my home - it was exhausting and eventually that dreadful feeling started taking over my life. I dreaded coming back to the house, I dreaded having to go to sleep, I dreaded being alone in the bathroom, I dreaded being in the house. Basically I dreaded my entire life.
Can you describe your recollection of the nightmare?
Absolutely. There isn't a single day that goes by that I don't think about it, but thankfully I have never had the dream since I permanently left that house.
It always started the same, me sitting in the house on the couch in the living room. Across from me I would see this shadow appear. It would stay there for a moment before slowly drifting towards me. Her feet were hovering above the ground, it moved like a feather in the wind. No matter how I tried I could not move. I was frozen on the couch and I couldn't even turn my head.
Suddenly, she would come at me, her long black hair still hanging in her face. Her arms would snap out to her sides like snapping open a pair of scissors. Her arms and head would stay perfectly still as slowly her feet began to rise up above her. Her body was in the shape of an upside down crucifix, but her head was still contorted so that her hair was hanging in my face. Her arms, feet, and torso did not move, but suddenly her hair would begin to part as if a pair of invisible hands combed it out of her eyes. Her features were dark, dark eyes, pale skin, and as I looked at her face I would notice that in the part of her hair a line was forming.
Then, it was as if out of nowhere a razorblade sliced her face down the middle - a perfectly straight line. The skin would begin to roll back at the top of her forehead like old wallpaper peeling off the wall. It would continue to roll back until from beneath her pale flesh came the most horrific thing I have ever scene. I don't even know how to explain it - take the scariest demon in a movie, mix it with a corpse, burnt flesh, sharp teeth - it was evil - it was the face of evil. This face would then come at me, closer, and closer. It would begin to almost bounce off me - and I couldn't move.
This would continue until I woke up, and if I went back to sleep it would start over the same way. Occasionally, in the dream I would muster the words to the Lord's Prayer. If I could say the prayer I would be able to move my arms, eventually stand up, and if I kept saying the prayer I could push her floating body out the front door. However if in the dream I stumbled on my words or mixed up the prayer, she would almost become more powerful.
Why do you think it took so long for everyone to get on the same page that there was something going on in the house?
To be honest, I have always been a "sensitive" person and have had unexplainable things happen before (and after) the Chestnut house. These experiences were minor and paled in comparison to the events that took place at Chestnut, but I think that sometimes these "things," whatever they are, can sense my awareness. Essentially, I become the light bulb, and they're like moths banging against me. Put my natural perception on top of my having a rough year before and it was, I think, a recipe for disaster. I was at my most vulnerable when we moved in and what was in the house recognized this and took advantage of my being emotionally susceptible. It loved torturing me.
At the end of the day, if you are a rational person, you aren't going to believe your housemate/friend/girlfriend when they initially keep telling you about their crazy dreams and being chased up the stairs. Seriously, think about that - would you believe someone if you yourself didn't see, or hear, or sense, or feel anything out of the ordinary? She/it/the demon picked me because it knew I was open - but over time I wasn't enough. The more it caused issues in our home the more I think it gained, and so over time it began to make itself known to my roommate Amber and my boyfriend Adam (after Reba had moved out).
When you went to speak with the expert on what happened in the house in the past, can you describe the moment of realization that there was a backstory to all this?
Yes. Amber and I were one day driving and we passed a building that had the local historical society inside - I immediately pulled over and Amber and I agreed we needed to go in and ask about the house. We walked in and there was a lady sitting behind a desk and an older gentleman with a long beard standing in front of it, they were casually talking when I asked for help. The man turned and rather sarcastically said, "What, did you live in a haunted house or something?" He and the lady giggled a little and I got pretty angry and silenced them saying, "As a matter of fact, we did."
He stopped laughing and asked for the address, and after I gave it to him his expression completely changed. He then asked, "The white one, the one on the little hill, with the stone wall out front? Are you talking about that house?" Amber and I nodded and he then glanced at the lady before looking back and saying, "You know, that house is very old. One of the town's first doctors lived in that house, and well ... he..." The guy paused, looking at the floor before saying, "The doctor was thought to have killed his young wife in that house."
I remember getting the chills from head to toe, I felt dizzy, sick, and I didn't even say "thank you" or "goodbye" - Amber and I just turned and walked out to the door - I don't think we said a single word after we got in the car.
After living in a haunted house, does it affect how you look at moving into a new space?
Absolutely. When we were looking at houses, I asked the realtor if she could ask about any paranormal activity reported by previous homeowners - she laughed and said she couldn't. I still had to ask. I often try to do research on a property to find out anything I can in hopes of avoiding another experience like I had in the Chestnut house. I even burn incense constantly, I smudge with sage, and even use Holy Water - I try to cleanse a new space before I even move in. And if I "sense" anything unusual I completely ignore it!
Has the experience had any kind of influence on the kind of art you make?
I don't paint anymore and probably never will again - I basically grew to hate painting while living in that house. Not sure if it was just the association or if something in that house influenced me, but I haven't lifted a paint brush in years and probably never will again. I am now a photographer and have a successful business with my husband Adam called Little Fang Photography.
Have you had any paranormal encounters since that period of time?
Yes. Mostly minor stuff, I have seen a shadow figure in an old house Adam and I lived in. I’ve heard noises, seen a few things "move." Overall, I try to ignore it because if I see them, they might just see me.
You've all mentioned that this experience took a toll on your relationships with each other. When did you all eventually reunite?
Not until the filming of the show. Rebecca left the house and we didn't really speak again until Facebook came along. We wrote each other here and there but really never got to the bottom of why she moved out and why we stopped being friends until we came together for the show. Amber and I stayed friends and lived together in an apartment after that. She and Adam and I had all become extremely close, partially because of surviving the Chestnut House together.
I actually had another friend move into Reba's room after she had moved out. This friend of mine had horrific experiences in the house as well but declined being a part of the show, saying, "What happened in that house was horrible. I don't want to remember it or talk about it ever again."
What kind of advice would you give someone who realizes their house may be haunted?
Get help and get out immediately. Don't second-guess yourself and don't let others convince you that you are being paranoid or just hearing things. If you feel that something is haunting you, really and truly feel it, then you are probably right. I had contacted churches, priests, and even paranormal groups while in the Chestnut House and I all I got was "No"s and "Sorry"s - it took months for my roommate and boyfriend to believe me, all the while the woman/demon was draining me both physically and emotionally.
These things can and do happen; even if you don't believe in them, it doesn't mean they don't exist. They will ruin your life, their goal is to oppress, infest, and possess you (the basic three steps of demonic possession). They feed on fear, they love hurting you, they love causing fights and tension, and most of all they love it when no one believes you. Don't play with Ouija boards, don't go on ghost tours, don't take part in a seance, don't play around in old cemeteries, simply DON'T provoke them ... because once you do, they may never stop provoking you.