*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
Way back in the 1950s, there was a couple in my family's old neighborhood whom everyone thought was happy; they were wrong. Their family comprised a middle-aged couple and their two teenage sons. One boy was seventeen, and the other was nineteen.
One night, the woman told her husband that she was expecting their third child. He told her it was impossible for the child to be his. The downstairs neighbors heard them fighting about it and then fall silent, eerily silent.
The following morning, the neighbors learned that the man had choked his wife to death in their marital bed. He had throttled her with her own brassiere.
After killing his wife, the man left the apartment they'd once shared and jumped off a bridge to his death. Their sons felt understandably devastated to lose both parents, especially in that manner, but they needed money to support themselves. So they sold all their parents' belongings, including their furnishings, and that included the very bed upon which their mother had been murdered.
Meanwhile, my grandfather had never met a bargain he didn't like. My grandparents needed a new bedroom set, and so my grandfather bought this couple's used bedroom set, which was just like new. Almost.
My grandfather also bought the living room set and a rocking chair that had once graced the deceased couple's parlor. He was not a man who was afraid of ghosts when the price was right. The furniture sat in his house for decades without incident. Years later, when my parents got married, my grandfather passed the third-hand furniture on to them.
When my mother learned where the furniture had come from, she felt shocked. She couldn't believe her father-in-law had gifted her a murder bed among other potentially haunted furnishings. She didn't want the furniture, but she couldn't afford to purchase new furniture of her own. So she was stuck with it, like it or not.
One night, when she was home alone, she heard a squeaking sound coming from the corner of the living room, where the rocking chair sat alone on a carpeted floor. When my mother went to investigate, she saw the chair rocking all by itself.
My mother told my father and her in-laws about the rocking rocking chair, but they told her it was nonsense. "You must have imagined it," my grandfather told her. "I used that furniture for years and nothing ever happened. It must have been the wind coming through the window."
No one would listen to my mother when she told them the window was closed. "It was the dead of winter," my mother told me. "Why would I have the window open?"
Someone even accused my mother of making it up so my father would stay home with her at night instead of going out to the bar, but she insisted it wasn't true.
"Even if I wanted him to stay home with me, he wouldn't," she said. "He wasn't the type of man to stay home and protect me from a rocking chair, even one that was rocking with no one sitting in it."