Five years ago, Seattle director Dan Gildark moved into a house in Madrona with his wife and two young daughters.
“When we moved in they had let us know that somebody had passed away in the house. I didn’t think anything of it. People die all the time. People die everywhere. Actually, before we moved in, I went over to do a couple of things to get the house ready. While I was there I used the restroom and when I was in there I heard somebody walking around on the floor outside the door. It was so obvious that someone was out there that I was motionless in the bathroom for ten minutes, afraid to come out. I was so sure somebody had come in. Finally I got my nerve up and creaked the door open and came out and nothing was there.”
Gildark didn’t think much of it. He assumed it was the old house making house sounds. Soon after, his family moved in.
“Right away, the very first night, my oldest daughter, the four year old sleeping on the top bunk, she couldn’t sleep. She was scared and she’d never been scared in her room before.”
Things got weird right away.
“Our bedroom is in the basement. A couple nights in, I was laying there and I felt drops on my face and I thought it was warm water and I had no idea where it was coming from. I’d turn on the light and make sure nothing was leaking from the ceiling and nothing was there. It really freaked me out. It happened three or four nights. Then, one of the days in the first couple days we moved in, the shower came on all by itself.”
When Gildark’s wife left town for a work trip things started to escalate. The lights in his basement bedroom were flickering, he was seeing strange shadows.
“I went across the street and asked my neighbor, ‘Greg, what exactly happened to the guy who died in our house?’ And he said, ‘They didn’t tell you? He shot himself in the head in the basement with a shotgun.’ I’m like, ohhh, okay. That makes a lot of sense. You know, I want to preface all this by saying I’m not prone to believing in ghosts.”
Meanwhile, Gildrark’s four year old daughter is still not sleeping through the night.
“I keep asking my daughter, ‘Why are you so scared? What’s going on?’ And she looked at me and she said, ‘Someone is pointing a gun at me and Emmy.’ And then she looked at me and said, ‘For real.’ This is, you know, I was trying not to show the family I was seeing anything or was scared at all. She had no idea about the story of the guy and the gun. So it was just bizarre.”
Gildark hadn’t said much to his wife, not wanting to scare her, but he finally confessed all of the creepy things he had experienced. She hadn’t wanted to scare him, and said she’d been having the same experiences.
“I was like, I don’t even know if I can stay in the house another night. We need to do something. So she went to work that day and some of the women she worked with had recommendations on a shaman. So we called up a shaman. Her name was Phoenix Murphy, a local shaman, she’s fantastic, I definitely recommend her. They started doing the ceremony and they start smudging the house and banging on drums and talking to the spirits and doing their thing for hours. So when she’s finally done she comes and tells us, ‘Okay, there was a man here. We talked to him and had him move on. Everything is good.’ She said, ‘But the thing that was disturbing is there was a female entity that was haunting him. And there was a bigger, stronger, more evil spirit that was in the house that was haunting him.’ So that night my daughter slept for the first time through the night. Didn’t have any more problems. I stopped seeing all the things I was seeing. The water stopped coming on, the lights stopped flickering, we kind of got on with our life.”
I asked Gildark if I could interview him at his house, but he chose to come to the studio instead. The Shaman said talking about the haunting in the house could bring back the bad energy.
“I was skeptical and part of me is still a little skeptical of how much of it was psychological on my part. I don’t know. I guess there could be… In my mind there could be crossover between worlds.”