A tweet by theredheadsaid prodded me to bother you all with the odd tale of a former resident in our house.
Maybe former resident is unnecessarily anthropomorphic. Maybe it was just some energy field with an aggressive penchant for people.
We moved into our current house several years ago. It was a cheap, ugly fixer-upper, reasonably abandoned by the previous inhabitants. Fostered by the federal government and adopted by us when our unhappiness with apartment life collided with the reality of a lower middle class paycheck.
The place was a wreck but the elbow work of a few friends and a $5000 check from the fed put a dent in the damage. But things got really weird once we settled in.
I had installed a cabinet in the garage. One of those plastic Rubbermaid things good for stashing odds and ends out of sight. The single shelf had notches that sat into little supports– that’s important for later. I used it for my cans and jars of nuts, bolts and odd little parts that went somewhere. The load was heavy but the cabinet could take it. The doors snapped shut tight– also important.
One afternoon my wife was making supper while I was in the master bedroom installing some thing or another. A loud crash from the other end of the house had me running that way, ready for 911, CPR or grounding for the kid responsible. My wife was hysterical, screaming that someone had broken into the garage. I didn’t take the time to explain that the garage doors were locked and wouldn’t make that noise anyway; I just grabbed my heavy flashlight and went out.
In the middle of the garage floor, several feet from the Rubbermaid cabinet, lay the contents of my cans and jars.
I opened the garage door a bit to get air in, then examined the scene. Forensics revealed something that shouldn’t have happened: the shelf had lifted up from its mounts, pushed through the doors, and flown about eight feet across the garage.
It didn’t make sense. Even if the shelf had somehow tipped or slipped, at most it might have made it a foot or so. Too much weight on it to allow anything else, and besides, what force would have pushed it?
(Edit: I forgot to mention an important part earlier: our Catahoula puppy came in about that time. He stopped a few feet from the wreckage, his fur went up and tail down, and he started growling. That was enough for me! I grabbed him and ran… not returning until the next morning to clean up).
After that it was like the dam broke. We heard knocking on the walls, things got moved around, smells of rank cigarette odor (none of us smoked). One night I heard children racing up and down the hall, laughing. I got up angry, ready to read the riot act to my boys. But they were all sound asleep. Later we heard someone bathing– no one there. On another night I woke up to the sound of a barstool wandering around the kitchen. I saw my wife had awakened also. She asked, “are you going to investigate?” “Hell no,” I retorted. “Let it sit where it wants.”
It got to be a running joke, this guest of ours, although my wife would occasionally lose her patience and demand I cast it out. She was never amused by my lighthearted approach to exorcism.
But I was freaked out nonetheless when I watched a cabinet door open and shut. Twice. I said to whatever was responsible, “just take what you want, don’t be shy.”
Next came the poking. I’d be sitting at the table and WHAM! jab right in the ribs. Numerous times. No one there. I got a kick out of it though when my wife called me at work one day. “Did you come home for lunch and then leave?” I said no, why? “Well, I was napping and felt a sharp poke in my side.” When I mentioned how many times it had happened to me she just replied, “it figures”.
Around that time I remember just getting exasperated and saying out loud, “Look. You want to live here, we want to live here. No reason to cause each other any trouble. You stay out of our way, we’ll stay out of yours. Deal?”
And after that, nothing.
Then again, we discovered that the house has numerous problems we may never afford to fix. I’m starting to think our poltergeist was trying to do us a favor. Moral: if something is trying to chase you out of your house, don’t argue. Thank it and go.