A South Carolina woman is reeling after a horrifying revelation.

Tracy, whose last name is being withheld from reports to protect her privacy, lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she’s raising five children.

Any house with six occupants will have the occasional odd noise, so Tracy wasn’t worried about the occasional creaking floorboard. However, one night, she heard something distressing; a large thump echoed through the house.

And then, something more horrifying happened: The nails in the floorboards above her bedroom ceiling started to pop out as if someone had been walking overhead.

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Tracy felt that something wasn’t right—this clearly wasn’t a case of an old house settling in.

“The kids were saying, ‘You’re getting old. You’re hearing things. You’re crazy,'” Tracy said to ABC News. “I kept hearing a bumpin’, thumpin’ noise…It was either something or somebody was in the attic. I know the sounds of my home.”

She admits that she first thought of ghosts. “There was some poltergeist stuff going on,” she told the Charlotte Observer. Then, she decided that wild animals had likely taken up residence in the attic of her home.

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But then she decided to send her son to investigate one of the noises, and that’s where this story takes a bizarre turn.

The sounds were man-made—but they weren’t coming from any of the house’s legal occupants.

Tracy’s ex-boyfriend had been living in the house, without her knowledge, for quite some time. She hadn’t dated the man in 12 years, although they’d communicated via letter; he’d been serving a prison sentence, and he’d reached out to Tracy to tell her that he’d “changed.”

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The Huffington Post

Believing him, she allowed him to perform some odd jobs in the home. At some point, he must have mapped out the property and set his plans in motion.

The 44-year-old man was discovered by Tracy’s adult sons and her nephew, but he was able to flee before police could arrive.

“They found a man,” she said. “He had packed all the old coats and jackets into the heating unit and was sleeping in the heating unit.”

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Perplexingly, the only access to the attic is in the home’s interior.

Tracy reasons that her ex-boyfriend must have walked through the house multiple times to build his living space.

Tracy also noticed that the man would have been able to spy on her through an air vent in the attic. To her, this is one of the most unsettling aspects of this strange case.

“It’s got me flabbergasted,” she told the Observer. “How can you look at someone through an air vent?”

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At the time that this story was reported, the man was at large. Tracy immediately changed her locks but says that she has trouble sleeping, as do her children. She wants the man arrested and charged with a crime.

“I want him to be charged,” she told the Charlotte Observer. “It could be someone else he does the same thing to, but she might not be so lucky.”