Mr. Benchlope

East 22nd Street
Elizabeth and her family had several experiences in their home on east 22nd in the 1960s and '70s.
I lived with my large family (7 kids and Mom and Dad) on E.. 22nd Street in Sioux Falls for 9 years, from 1961 until 1970. The house was a tri-level split foyer and was brand new when we moved in. Over the years we had several incidents that were very puzzling and unexplainable. There seemed to be a presence in the house, but with the chaos of so many people living there, it had to be quiet to hear or sense it.

I wasn’t home alone often, but when I was, I always got creeped out and ended up running out of the house and across the street. When I was downstairs I would hear clear loud footsteps going up and down the wood floored hallway upstairs. When I would go upstairs to investigate, each time I got to the second from the top stair, the footsteps would stop and it would be completely quiet. After being upstairs for a minute or so I would begin to hear noises downstairs like someone moving around. When I would get near the bottom of the stairs it would suddenly become quiet. It was very unnerving.

My Mom said she would be upstairs and hear someone rustling the newspaper downstairs and think my Dad had come home from work early. She would go down and there would be no one there. One night she woke up and heard water running. She checked on all of us kids wondering who had left the water on in the bathroom. We were all sound asleep and she discovered the water was running down in the kitchen sink, not in the upstairs bathroom (only bathroom). The water had been turned on full blast but everyone was asleep.

There was a small crawl space under the stairs that opened up into our play room. Many times when I was playing there alone the hair on my neck would suddenly stand up and I would get the strong feeling that someone was in the room watching me. The sensation always seemed to come from the crawlspace. I always ran out quick.

When my younger brother was 2 years old he began to talk about seeing a man in the house that none of us knew about. When we asked him where the man was he would always point to the attic access door in the ceiling of the hallway. This continued on for 2 years. He began to refer to him as Mr. Benchlope. He said he lived in the attic and he sometimes came down to talk to him. He was too young to describe him but did say that he always wore a hat. My folks thought it was just his imagination and didn’t pay much attention, but he really was too young and naïve to make something like that up.

Being as the house was brand new when we moved in, I wondered if it had been built on an old Indian burial ground, or if just a single Indian has been buried or died there. There definitely seemed to be a spirit there, but it didn’t feel evil, just creepy because you could feel it and it made noises you could hear, but you couldn’t see it. In all the cities and houses I’ve lived in since, I’ve never gotten that creepy feeling again. Only in that house in Sioux Falls.
In a situation like this who is the indruder in the home? Elizabeth or Mr. Benchlope?