Read part one of this story.

Many people would have left the house there and then, but Leo was still sceptical. He was convinced that there was a simple, logical explanation for everything that had happened until then but he had a hard time explaining how the baby had got out of his cot, pushed the stool, opened the window and got out on to the balcony,

They started to toy with the idea of leaving but whatever was behind the incidents seemed to sense that it may have gone too far and things quietened down for a while.

Years passed by, with only the odd incident. The broom kept knocking the tap open and other little accidents occurred which might have been normal or not, but they were minor enough to ignore.

But then one night Leo was at work and Anna had been reading in bed with her son asleep next to her. He was by now almost three but still their only child and he often stayed in her room for one more story to be read to him when daddy was working late. Anna was on the phone with her cousin when the sound of bells starting ringing through the house. The noise was loud, eerie, continuous.

Anna remembers her mother saying that they used to ring the bells like that when someone was dying. Eventually the noise became so frightening and deafening that she hung up on her stunned cousin and called her husband, begging him to come home, by then almost in a panic.

No one has ever been able to stay in that house longer than five years

The dog, which normally hated bells and would bark madly, stayed fast asleep. She looked up. Across the door, a man passed by. At least, she thought it was a man. The figure was wearing a priest’s suttana (cassock) but was only visible from the waist down. She has, even now 25 years later, absolutely no doubt in her mind that she saw him.

By the time her husband came home, she was absolutely hysterical, sitting up in bed, clutching her son to her, too terrified to even get out of bed and put the room lights on.

Eventually, it was her mother-in-law who forced them to make a decision.

“Ever since you have lived in this house, there has been something wrong,” she insisted. “One of you is always ill; the doctor seems to be here every time I come round.”

She brought an Italian exorcist down to Malta. He walked into the house, his brows knotted. He went all over it, trying to drive out the spirit with prayers, but as he left the house, he pulled Anna towards him and warned her in a furious whisper:

“Leave this house as soon as possible.”

That was all the prompting Anna needed. They virtually abandoned the house, leaving most of the furniture behind and moved into rented accommodation. As they left, one of their neighbours took the opportunity to tell them: “You know, no one has ever been able to stay in that house longer than five years.”

Anna looked at her in amazement. Why had she waited all those years before saying anything?

Eventually they found a buyer – not surprising really, as they had dropped the price to a ridiculous level. Leo warned the man about their experience, his conscience unable to stand the thought that something dreadful might happen, but the man sceptically shrugged his shoulders, more worried about whether the low price hid some dreadful secret about the drainage than the paranormal.

The time came when Anna had to face going in to the house to fetch her belongings. She clutched Leo’s arm and braced herself. For almost a year, she had refused to even walk down the street, let alone near the house. As she walked in, waves of emotion rippled through her. She had loved that house; she had had such wonderful plans for it.

“Why were you so cruel to me?” she thought to herself.

As soon as she did, she was suddenly flung headlong, banging her forehead badly on the floor. There was no step, nothing that could have caused her to stumble.

And there Anna’s story ends. They moved into a modern house and felt better than they had for years.

She later found out that the day the man moved into the house, his two children both fell ill. Within a year, his wife had died, his brother had been tragically killed and he himself died a short time after.

The house has remained empty ever since.

The first part of this story was published on December 28.

This is the 38th in a series of short stories The Sunday Times of Malta is running every Sunday. It is taken from The Unexplained Plus (Allied Publications) by Vanessa Macdonald. The first edition was published in 2001 and reprinted twice. It was republished, with added stories, as The Unexplained Plus. The Maltese version of the book, Ta’ Barra Minn Hawn (Klabb Kotba Maltin), is available from all leading bookstores and stationers and from

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