Two years ago, I got severely, awfully sick (probably the flu). I didn’t go to work for the entire week. It was all I could do just to keep myself drinking liquids and soup and shuffling to bed. The worst part was my husband was traveling for business, so I was all alone, just me and our sweet black cat Libby.

I was so sick that even watching a movie felt like too much effort, so during the day I was just lying in bed, dozing in and out, sometimes looking at a Calvin and Hobbes book. Libby was with me, sitting on bed the next me the whole time.

The second or third afternoon, while lying there, I suddenly and very clearly heard strange noises, like someone wheezing and shuffling around. Since the room had been completely silent, with no music or tv, I could hear it perfectly. It sounded like whatever was making the noise was in the room with me, so as soon as I heard it, I sat up and looked around, my heart pounding- Nothing, just my bedroom. But Libby was also sitting up and her ears were perked, so it was clear she could hear it, too. Libby started loudly mewing-hissing, as if in response to the noises, and I could no longer clearly make them out.

I should mention here that ever since we moved to that house (about six months prior), Libby had started act strange in ways she never had before, sometimes making loud mewing-hissing noises like this for no apparent reason. We had taken her to the vet because this behavior was so unlike her, but they couldn’t find anything wrong and said maybe she was feeling anxious from the move and to give it time. We would often find her upset and mewing-hissing when we came home from work and it would be a while until she settled down.

Libby left the bedroom and went to the kitchen, still making those noises, and didn’t stop making noises in there for at least an hour. I was freaked out, but also really sick and tired, and somehow I ended up just falling asleep. When I woke up, all was quiet again and Libby was sleeping on the bed next me.

You might think those noises would have made me too scared to stay there but— I somehow convinced myself it was nothing, just the house “settling” or something like that. I was too tired and out of it to think about it and I basically was like: whatever it was, I’m sure its nothing. I don’t believe in ghosts and I tend not to get too scared about stuff, so I was just like: don’t get worked up, it is nothing. I didn’t even mention it to my husband when he texted to ask me how I was doing. Plus I was so tired and out of it and willing to just sleep.

The next day, however, about mid-morning, I was awake in bed, kind of petting Libby and not really thinking about anything, when I see her go alert and her ears stick up. Then I hear it too: Noises, really astonishly clear this time, like it was in the room with me, of something moving and what sounded like labored breathing. Wheezing. This time the hair on my arms all stood up because it sounded so close and so... human. Libby starts hissing and mewing again, loudly and incessantly without stopping. I get out of bed and start getting dressed (not even sure what my next move was going to be, honestly, except that I was really and truly freaked out now) when suddenly, clear as a day a male voice says, loudly and angrily: “SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU PIECE OF SHIT.”

That is it! I grab still-hissing Libby and put her in her carrier, grab my purse and run out the door, not stopping until I get to my car in the driveway. Then I book it out of there. I am almost hyperventilating I am so scared.

I call my husband and tell him what happened and then I check into a hotel. My husband called his two brothers who live in the same town and they went to our house to see if they could find anyone there or anything like that. Nothing, and no noises. One of them said maybe I was having an auditory hallucination from being so sick. I stay at the hotel until my husband returns a few days later.

But before he picks me up, he decides to go to the house with his brothers to do another more thorough examination because he believes me that it wasn’t an auditory hallucination. The three of them look in all the rooms, even under the beds, and see no signs of anyone being there or forced entry. Then, eventually, one of them gets the idea to check the crawlspace.

There, they do not find anyone— but they do find blankets, pillows, empty chip bags, pornography magazines, and liquor bottles, some of which were empty and some filled with urine. We had actually had the crawlspace completely redone after the inspection, so it had LED lights all along the inside and is pretty well insulated with plastic from any water. So as soon as they turned on the lights, they could see someone had been there. It looked like most of his items were positioned under the side with our bedroom and the kitchen. That was why the noises seemed so near— because they really were. They called the police, who came over and wrote a report and took pictures.

We decided to stay with my husband’s brother’s family for a while, as I was too freaked out to stay at our house. At the advice of the cops, my husband sets up a hidden camera in the crawl space to see if the guy will come back. He doesn’t for several days, to the point where we think he must somehow know his spot has been found, even though we tried to put everything back how it was. Then— footage. My husband watched it and I couldn’t bear to, instead sitting beside him and listening. He says, “Oh my god, I know him. Look!”

So I do. Its the assistant of the guy who renovated our crawlspace. I remember him because they were there for over a week working on it and even back then he gave me the creeps. Turns out (once the cops pursued it from here and arrested him) he had been fired from the job not long after assisting with our house. He didn’t tell his family about it and was instead spending his days, at least sometimes, in the crawlspaces of the houses he helped renovate.

To think Libby was trying to tell us this all along!