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When Michael Todd and his girlfriend Nicolle Harris renovated "The House on the Lake," they had no idea that the worst tenants would be ones from the other side.
You chased someone into the attic closet. When you followed it up the stairs, could you make out what it looked like? And did you see it physically enter the closet and shut the door behind it?
It was kind of a figure. It was kind of transparent. I followed it to see where it would go, and that's where it went. It went into the closet. You could kind of see through it. It was cloudy, but it was kind of defined. It wasn't too tall or like really short – it was about medium sized. And it kind of went really quick around the corner.
Before your tenants moved in, did you have any other experiences?
There had always been tenants in the building. When I bought it, there were other tenants living there. As I started remodeling it, the people who were there before I owned it started moving out because the rents were going up. And then I started moving new people in.
Before I had owned it, I had heard stories about the place. The stories, I thought maybe had been made up by people in the area. Come to find out, they were true. When I had started doing a lot of work and remodeling in the building is when I started seeing a lot of stuff.
Your tenant Cynthia described the third floor hallways as feeling colder and angrier than the rest of the house. Did you ever get similar feelings about this hallway or anywhere else in the house?
The third floor hallway… I kind of felt like I was being watched. I felt very uneasy or uncomfortable. I kind of felt like things were staring at me from the other rooms through the doorway. Stuff like that. I, myself, I hadn't felt anything angry at all. If anything, it kind of felt there was a lot of anxiety. My anxiety level went up.
Different people sense different things. Where I might see something, somebody might not, but they might hear something. That's how I'd best describe that.
Did you ever reach out to religious experts or receive any religious advice regarding the usage of crosses around the property? Did the crosses seem to help alleviate the situation?
I hung up crosses on the property and the apartment I was living in because way back in the day, when I was raised, I was raised Catholic. With my belief in the church and my religion and my faith, what I knew growing up in my family- that was something I that thought I should have done, and it would be the right thing to do.
And then, when I had gone to the church, and when I had spoken to the priest… he was kind of thrown a little bit by it. It was like something he didn't really want to have to deal with. He pretty much told me more or less, if this is what you feel, and if you're feeling uncomfortable, there are a few things you can do, and this could be one of the things you could do that would be very easy. Very inexpensive to do. And that's what I did.
The crosses seemed to help. When you're having stuff like this going on, you tend to do anything and everything you can do to make you feel better. In your mind, you're like, "Okay, if I keep this light on all the time, I'm gonna feel better. If I put these crosses up all the time, I'll feel better." When I put these crosses up, it felt better in my own sense because I was looking for a sense of comfort. Did some of them stay up? No. Some of them did come down. How? I'd like to say there's a logical explain for it, but there really wasn't. Because I looked for a logical explanation for it, and I couldn't find one. Whatever was there was probably pretty angry that I did it. It kind of felt threatened.
Did the ghost girl you saw at your glass door look like one of the children in the locket or anyone in particular?
She didn't look like anyone in particular that I know of – that I had seen in photos. Not to say she wasn't somebody that had passed away there from tuberculosis. She had defined features to her. But did I recognize her? I didn't recognize her. But with the research and everything we had done, we had come to find out that there was a boy and a girl.
How did Nicolle describe the pain to you she felt the night she was attacked?
What I had witnessed was just like … it was like horrific. So powerful that I'm like, "Oh my God, this is crazy."
Where there places in the house that seemed to have higher activity than others?
Yes. The hallways seemed to have a lot. There was a lot of it in apartment A. There was actually quite a bit outside too, which was very interesting.
Do you have any examples of what you experienced outside of the house?
You pull up with the car or something like that, and the area that I was living was at the far end of the building, so there is no other apartments past the area I was living at that time. You'd kind of pull in with your lights on or maybe if your headlights weren't on but the sun was just about to go down, and it was just about to be dark, but it really wasn't… you'd see somebody standing next to the tree. And I actually saw them move from the tree and actually disappear and just kind of go up into the woods.
And then, I'd be in my kitchen and I'd have the shades open, and I'd see somebody walk by my window, outside. And the window from the ground was about seven feet up in the air, and the person that I'd see would actually be - from the bottom of the window – their waistline up to their head. So whatever it was had to have been about eight feet tall. This thing would appear almost three times a week. It wasn't an animal. I kind of ruled that all out. Well, I'm thinking, "Maybe somebody's shadow was casted onto a tree, and what I saw is actually on a tree outside my window on the other side of my driveway." But it wasn't. It was like a black mass.
And then, you'd be in the bathroom taking a shower or like brushing your teeth and around ten o'clock at night, you'd hear conversation among people going on right outside the bathroom window. Like three or four people talking. Sometimes they may be laughing or sometimes a bit mumbling, and it was right outside the bathroom window.
Could you ever make out what they were saying, or was it just indistinct voices?
It was just like you hear voices like a conversation. Like, if you were in your office, and then on the other side of the wall you hear people speaking. You can't really make out what you are hearing but you heard the conversation.
Do you still experience activity in the house? If so, do you do anything to mitigate the effects?
Very, very rarely I do. I think it is because we did the show, and whatever is there made itself known and we kind of spoke about it. We did the research, and I think whatever was there was wanting us to do the research. It was wanting us to look into what was going on. And it wanted us to know it was there. Some of the tenants that are living there now will occasionally see things in the hallway or they'll see in their apartments. They tell me, "You know, Mike, we saw glowing red and yellow and green orbs forming above our beds the other night." Somebody else said they saw a man sitting at the end of the hallway near a mirror and then he disappeared. So, there's stuff that happening. Not as bad as it was because we're not remodeling right now.
Do you think there's a chance if you start remodeling that activity might pick up again?
Oh yeah. I think it will because every time you change something, whatever it is gets upset. And I only know that because that seems to be the pattern. I think it's gonna start back up again. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it won't, but I really think that there will probably be a few things that will start up.
Does the fact that the house has this mystery to it attract people to the house?
Yeah, I think so because there were rumors about the place being haunted. But I'm the first person who's owned it to put it under a major transformation into something totally different. So now there's a little bit of a twist to it, and a mystery type of a house.
Nicolle Harris, Mike's girlfriend's account of the night that she was attacked:
[Mike and I] went to a play in Lake Placid. We left at half time, about 9:30ish, because we both had to work the next day in the morning. I had a little bit of a headache when we left. It wasn't like that bad of a headache. It was just there, nothing too bad. So, we were going back to Saranac, that's where the building is, and he goes to me, "Stop at the building. I want to check on how the [recently vacated] apartment is," because he hadn't checked yet.
This was the first time I ever stepped foot in that apartment. I mean, I know the history of the apartment building and there have been times when I've cleaned like the main hallway and he'll try to tell me something that's going on, and I'll cover my ears and tell him stop, I don't want to hear it. If I have an experience, I don't want anything to make me turn something that really wasn't an experience into one.
So we went into the apartment and we were going room to room. And all of a sudden, I just felt this urge – I just ran to him and grabbed ahold him because I just felt so uncomfortable and so uneasy. And even holding him, I still didn't feel safe. I ran out of that apartment. I ran right to the car and got in the car. He came out of the apartment and he said, "Are you okay? What's wrong?" He had no idea. I'm like, "Yeah, I'm fine, I just want to go home." I didn't really say anything because I didn't want him to know that I felt like, really creeped out in the apartment and unsafe, and I just needed to get out of there.
At that point, [my headache] went from a basically little bit of a pain to excruciating. My head felt like it was ready to explode off my body. Just in the matter of that little time. So we started going back to Tupper [Lake, NY], and in the car we were talking. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught what would appear to be a deer – it wasn't a deer because you would have known if it was – but it was the same affect as if a deer were running towards your car and hit the side of your car and ram it. And then, nothing was there. It was gone.
We arrived to Tupper [Lake] and I said, "I have to go to bed. My head is killing me and I feel sick to my stomach." I woke up around 1 or 2 in the morning and my headache was still so bad. I woke up because I had a dream about the building. I had to call into work, because with my headache as bad as it was, there was no way I was going to be able to work with this massive headache that I had. I couldn't even dial the phone, that's how bad it was. I couldn't focus on the numbers or anything. Mike was trying to get the house phone to work and it would say "Busy." And it was just him and I in the house. There was nobody else on another line. But it got to the point that I was getting phone calls back at my house from numbers at my workplace, but nobody who was there had known that I had paged the supervisor, and there wasn't even a supervisor on that unit [that called me back]. And when we answered it, there was nobody there. So, what happened after I talked to the supervisor, once again the other number was calling us again. There was not a single person on the other line. In the back of my mind, I'm like, "…it must have followed us home."
A couple months later, we were in Burlington and [Mike's former tenant] Cynthia was there. Mike starts telling her what happened to us – the car, the phone, everything. She goes, "I saw what was after you guys. It was like a ram. It has a solid mass, but it's a shape shifter type of a spirit." It was weird that she knew what it was. To me, it was just validation that I wasn't losing my mind. That everything that did transpire that night, did really happen.