Sunday, July 22, 2012


It's been a while since I've posted anything about the goings-on in the new house, but not because there haven't been any.  For one thing, I've been INCREDIBLY busy with the release of my first book (that still feels so weird to say, by the way.)  For another thing, I've gotten comfortable in my new home over the past three months, despite its....quirks.  So the things that bothered me in the beginning don't really scare me so much anymore.

But today I was reminded just how creepy my house can be, and I started thinking about all the things that have been happening lately that I've been turning a blind eye to (or trying to, at least), and now I'm thoroughly creeped out.  So, let's recap:

Things That Go Bark In The Night:
My dogs, who weight a total of 25 pounds between the two of them, are pretty quiet by nature.  They bark when someone comes to the door, but that's about it.  We live on a very busy road, a highway in fact, so they're used to 24/7 noise.  That's why I was sure someone was here when, about a month ago, my Sammy Dog started barking ferociously at the back door in the middle of the night.  It woke me up out of a dead sleep, and my adrenaline was already pumping.  It was 3:00 in the morning.  What. The. Hell.  I grabbed my phone and headed to the back door, where I looked out the window and saw....nothing.  There was nobody there.  Still, Sammy kept barking.  What's more, he was standing so that he could see out the window that looks over the porch, and appeared to be looking right at something, or someone.  But there was NOTHING there.  I looked out all the windows, and even did the whole "are you kidding me, how stupid are you?!" thing and opened the door and went outside to investigate.  There was nothing.  Nobody.

After about five minutes, Sammy calmed down.  So I went back to sleep.  Less than a half hour later, it happened a second time.  After the third time, I gave up any hope of actually sleeping, and turned on the TV.  In total, Sammy started barking at the back door five separate times that night, and the same thing has happened on a handful of occasions since.

Sophie, our puppy, likes to sleep in bed with me.  Demands it, actually.  Probably about once a week, usually right around 3am, she gets up, goes to the edge of the bed, stares out the bedroom door, and barks. And barks.  And won't stop unless I get up and turn the lights on.  Once I've confirmed, for my own peace of mind, that there's nothing there, she stops.  But as soon as the lights go off again, she starts barking again.  No rhyme or reason to it whatsoever, it happens so frequently that it doesn't even freak me out anymore.  I think I've accepted that there probably is "something" there, and I've made my peace with it.

One of the very first "Oh my God, what is going on in this house?!" things that happened, which I've talked about before, was the smoke detectors going off for no reason, even after I replaced all the batteries.  That hasn't stopped.  Usually in the middle of the night, but sometimes in the middle of the day, the smoke detectors in the main hall and in my bedroom start going off for no reason.  Not while I'm cooking (which would be understandable), not when there are candles burning, just whenever.  One day, I got home from work and they were both going off.  Who knows how long my poor dogs had been listening to that horrible screeching.

It got so bad, I made my landlord replace one of the smoke detectors, the one that was going off on an almost daily basis.  He replaced it last week, and I haven't had an issue since.  The one in my room, however....well....we'll get to that in a minute.

Batsh!t Crazy:
Last week, I came home from work to what I thought was doggie doo on the living room floor.  Not the best way to start an evening, but not totally unexpected, as I'd just started leaving Sammy out of his crate during the day a couple of days prior.  I went and grabbed a plastic bag, the disinfectant spray, and some paper towel.  It wasn't until I bent down to clean the mess that I realized it wasn't doggie doo at all.  It was A DEAD BAT.  Those of you who know me know that I do NOT deal well with rodents of any kind.  They terrify me.  But I'd never before encountered a bat.  A winged rodent is pretty much the worst thing I can think of, dead or alive.  I screamed, grabbed both of the dogs, and ran outside.  I sat in my car, bawling my eyes out, with the windows rolled up and the doors locked, until my father-in-law showed up and removed the bat from the house.  

I've never in my life had such an intense physical reaction to fear like that.  I was literally paralyzed with fear.  It was awful.  The immediate concern, of course, was rabies.  I took the bat to animal control the next morning as soon as they opened, and had the bat tested.  It was negative.  So that was a HUGE relief.  But then I started thinking.  How was there a dead bat in the middle of my living room?  According to my father-in-law, who got the only up close and personal look, there was no apparent trauma to the bat.  It hadn't been mauled by the dog, (which was my first thought), and the theory that it had flown into the ceiling fan was shaky at best....there was no blood, no injury, no nothing.  It was just dead.  In the middle of my living room.  Weird.

So here's why I'm telling you all of this: Today, the weirdest, most frightening thing to date happened.  Something that has me rethinking my whole "sure, we have ghosts, but they seem to be nice ghosts" stance.  I was home alone, in the bathroom getting ready for the day, when Sammy, who'd been sleeping out in the main hall, came running towards the bathroom.  Sophie, of course, followed him.  Right as they reached the door, a smoke detector started going off.  Sammy jumped up on my legs, so I picked him up.  He was shaking like a leaf.  Not a fan of physical affection in his old age, the way he buried his face into my hair and held on to me for dear life was quite out of character.  I scooped Sophie up in my other arm and went to investigate.  By the time I reached the part of the house the noise was coming from, it had stopped.  Still, Sammy wouldn't let me put him down.  When I tried, he started clawing and scrambling and dug deep gouges into my chest and neck.  Did I mention he was still shaking?

I headed back to the bathroom, where I brushed my teeth with one hand, held Sammy with the other, and kept reassuring Sophie, who was at my feet, that everything was okay.  After about two minutes, the smoke detector started going off again, causing Sammy to sink his claws into me yet again.  I set him down and went to investigate.  It was the smoke detector in my room.  I climbed up on a chair, took it off the wall, and disconnected the battery.  As soon as I climbed back down, Sammy was in my arms again, still shaking.  He made me carry him around with me for the next hour.  He's just now starting to calm down.

My husband suggested that he was just scared of the noise, which would most certainly be understandable.  Those detectors emit a horrible noise, one that I'm sure hurts the dogs' ears more than it hurts mine.  But here's the thing....they've heard it before.  Many times.  And while they don't like it, it's never been cause for either of them to completely freak out like that.  Not only that, but they came running for shelter BEFORE the smoke detector even started going off.  Today was too much for me to just "brush it off" like I've done in the past.

Today really made me think.  All along, I've had myself convinced that if there is someone or something in our house, it's friendly.  It leaves us alone, we leave it alone.  No sage burning, or ouji boards, or paranormal investigators.  Just peaceful coexistence.  But now I wonder.....what if this "thing" isn't as harmless as I've always imagined it to be?  What if this is just the beginning?