A woman has described the terrifying moment that she first realised a man was secretly living in her attic.
Amber Dawn told The Guardian how in 1995, at 20 years old she had moved to a farming town in the US state of Washington, to be close to her brother and his family.
The first night she remembered hearing footsteps above her, but her room was on the top floor.
Over the months she noticed strange goings on, such as things going missing like food and drinks, as well as doors she had left open being shut and vice versa.
Amber put down these weird occurrences to her brother who had a key, assuming he was coming over to steal her food.
While continuing to hear footsteps, Amber asked her landlady if there could be someone in the attic, but the landlady quashed her concerns by suggesting it was squirrels or a raccoon.
Amber soon got a puppy who she kept in the bathroom while she was being toilet-trained.
One day while she was out, the apartment flooded and she came home to find the puppy in the sink.
Too small to have climbed in herself, Amber was confused at how the pooch could’ve gotten there unless someone had placed her in the sink to save her.
Then one day, she called in sick to work and ran a bath and while lying in the water noticed the attic hatch was open.
She said: “Suddenly, everything slowed way down. What took about 30 seconds felt like five minutes.
“All the puzzle pieces fell into place: the footsteps, the food, the puppy – someone was in my apartment.”
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Amber assumed it must be a man, as they would’ve had to be tall enough to get to the attic without a ladder.
Forcing herself to stay calm, she got her robe, went to the kitchen to get a hammer and called her sister in law.
She whispered that there was someone in her house and her sister-in-law told her to get out and that she was on her way.
Three minutes later she arrived and they went to her house where they called the police.
The police didn’t find anyone but did discover a nest of stuff in the attic: a sleeping bag, some food and a book.
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Amber told her landlady she was moving out the next day and gave her a copy of the police report, which noted “signs of a possible intruder”.
She described being haunted by the experience for years, always feeling like she was being watched while at home alone and in her new place asking the landlord to put a lock on attic hatch.
The stranger was never caught and police had no idea why he was there as there were no visibly homeless people in the town.
Despite the terrifying ordeal, Amber said: “I have sympathy for the intruder; there was no malice.
“And, honestly, he was the best roommate I ever had. He kept to himself, was quiet and always put the toilet seat down.”
She thinks that she witnessed her intruder once when leaving her apartment to go to the grocery store.
Amber said she saw a guy in his mid-30s with reddish hair just sitting like he was waiting for something, and stared at her for longer than is socially acceptable, and was gone when she returned.
Amber now lives in Illinois with her husband, two children, dog and two birds in a house that thankfully, has no attic.
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