BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - It sounded like someone was knocking on the walls.
That’s how Whitney Merritt describes the beginning of the nearly three weeks of alleged paranormal activity her family endured after receiving a Christmas present last month.
The present was a vintage doll carriage. Her mother had gotten it from a friend of a friend and had gifted it to Whitney’s daughter, where it sat by the Christmas tree for the first few days.
The knocking, Whitney says, began at the beginning of the year. They would hear it on the walls of their Brandon home which they have recently moved into. The sounds grew so loud that on two occasions, Whitney walked to the front door thinking someone was outside. It was midnight so Whitney called her husband, Michael, who works nights.
“I think someone’s at the front door,” she told him before turning on the porch light. When she opened it, no one was there.
“And then about the third or fourth night was when we started hearing, like, boom, boom, boom, in the attic,” she recalls as she rubs her chest, leaving it red. At first they simply wrote it off. The home was built in 1992, maybe it was just settling in?
“I don’t know. Logical reasons I’m trying to come up with in my head,” Whitney admits.
But soon the sounds above their living room became so frequent that they could no longer be ignored. So one weekend in the middle of the night, Michael went into the attic carrying a shotgun and a flashlight, expecting to find someone up there.
“We were out there making so much noise,” Whitney says. “People probably thought we were crazy. We thought there was somebody in the attic!” But no one was up there. And so ended week one.
Week two started with a bang.
It was around two or three in the morning when Whitney was awakened from what she calls a “dead sleep.” The noise was so loud, she says, that she thought their dog had crashed through the window of their door. She grabbed her handgun and walked around their home, but found nothing.
In the morning while walking into the kitchen was when she discovered the bag on the ground. In the bag were the coffee mugs she had recently purchased from TJMaxx. The bag was three to four feet away from the table. Both of the mugs were broken.
“There was no way that they could have fallen over at all,” Whitney says adamantly. “I mean, they weren’t on their side or anything… they’re not just gonna roll. You know what I mean? They just don’t roll.”
The next night, another bang. It was around 3:30 in the morning. Whitney rushed into the kitchen to find another bag on the floor, inside another shattered mug. This time shards of glass had come out of the bag and so Whitney began sweeping it up.
After putting the glass in the trashcan, Whitney started walking back to her bedroom. That’s when she said she heard the sound of someone dropping a load of silverware into the sink.
“I mean, I wasn’t even back to the bedroom yet and that’s when I turned around. I about broke my neck,” she says. “And I went back to the sink to look and was like, ‘Maybe something slipped and fell,’ but I had just done the dishes. There was nothing in the sink. So I was freaked out… I stayed up for a while.”
The last week a series of events occurred, most involving her children’s rooms and their toys.
The dreamcatcher and lamp in her daughter’s room fell to the floor multiple times. After investigating it the second time they fell, Whitney and Michael were walking back to their bedroom when the bathroom door slammed behind them.
At first they thought maybe one of their children had gone to use the bathroom, but the light never came on.
“So my husband opened up the door real quick and turned the light on and there was nothing in there,” Whitney says. “And he stood there messing with the doors in the hallway for a minute just trying to find a logical explanation, like, maybe it was the suction that’s slamming the door.”
But the door never moved again.
The next day the family was in the living room when one of their children’s toy cars started playing music repeatedly. When they checked it, the toy’s power switch was turned off.
Later that evening, Whitney went to wake up Michael for work. As he got ready, Whitney began to sweep the living room. As she swept, she saw her husband walk into the kitchen to fix himself some coffee. She says she asked him a question which he ignored so she asked it again. Still no answer. Frustrated, she walked into the kitchen but found no one there.
Whitney walked back into their bedroom to find her husband asleep.
“I saw him,” Whitney says. “I saw— I swear on my kids and I’m not crazy. Please don’t think I’m crazy. Cause repeating this to somebody, I know it sounds weird. Because I’ve never believed in any of that ever in my life. I’m not— But I saw a person walk past the door into the kitchen.”
Then came the final straw. It was the day after Whitney says she saw someone walk into their kitchen.
She had gone to get groceries at the Kroger on Spillway Circle with her daughter. Her four-year-old was at their grandparents and her seven-year-old was at school. Michael was the only one home.
Whitney said it was around 12:30 when he called her.
“Hey, is Paxton home?” Michael asked.
Whitney said no, that he was still at school.
When Whitney and her daughter got home, Michael explained the call. He said that he was in bed when he heard the front door close. Then he heard Paxton’s door close. Then he began hearing knocking on the walls.
He called Paxton’s name five or six times, but there was no answer. That’s when he got up and walked into his son’s room. Paxton’s bedroom light was on, his Xbox was on and a bottle of water was “actively” dripping on the floor.
After telling Whitney this story, they had a discussion about all of the strange occurrences at their home and when they had begun. “We were sitting here and [Michael] just fixated on that little baby carriage and we stuck it outside…”
Since then, everything has been normal. No more knocking, no more footsteps in the attic.
The carriage now resides in the garage and has been placed on Facebook Marketplace for $65. “Full disclosure,” the caption reads. “It’s definitely haunted. Sooo. Yeah.”
Whitney did say that she eventually received more backstory on the carriage from her mother, who told her that the owner’s husband had been killed in a motorcycle accident on the Natchez Trace a year ago. She believes that it’s possible that that’s who she saw walk past her in the kitchen.
“We both strongly believe there is a spirit attached to that doll buggy,” Michael wrote in a text message. “With what was going on, there’s no other explanation. It all started with all the knocking and banging on the walls out of nowhere and I knew.”
Whitney says that she wouldn’t argue with anyone who doubts their story and that she, too, is hesitant to believe people who claims to have seen something paranormal. “I didn’t want to say any of this out loud because it sounds, you know— I know how it sounds,” Whitney says. “I’m not stupid, I know how it sounds. But, you know, it is what it is.”