My plans had been to write about watching “Twister” with H.o.p. earlier tonight.
Insomnia without my computer programs and files isn’t a whole hell of a lot of fun. Usually, if I can’t sleep, I get up and work some then go back to bed. That not being an option the past ten days, I finally started cutting on the television and thus ended up watching, amongst other things, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “A Night at the Roxbury”.
Well, I only watched “A Night at the Roxbury” in part because it was so bad and boring that I fell asleep during it.
Tonight I woke up and unable to get back to sleep I lay there thinking about “Twister” (I don’t know why, I just did) and decided to pass a few minutes blogging on it on my own computer which is kind of back in my possession and kind of half not. At the moment most of it is missing (memory and files) but should be back to normal sometime tomorrow.
Anyway, I get up and come in and sit down in my chair and am thinking for a little while.
And I felt someone nudge the back of my chair.
Sometimes when I can’t sleep and get up then H.o.p. will wake up and he won’t say anything when he comes in, he will just brush the back of my chair and I’ll turn about and there he is and I’ll say he needs to get back to bed and he’ll say he needs a bedtime snack.
So I turn around but there’s no H.o.p. standing there. And the feel of the back of my chair having been nudged by someone was so strong that I couldn’t shrug it off, couldn’t shake it, became rather unsettled and finally had to get up and go over and cut on the lamp.
The floor hadn’t shook. Nothing like that. It had just been the back of my chair.
I may have been as susceptible to being unsettled because I’d already thought something odd enough earlier that I’d mentioned it to Marty.
When you cut off the kitchen florescent light, our electrical set-up here is such that you can hear it through H.o.p.’s speakers. For some reason you can’t hear it through my speakers, but you can through H.o.p.’s, a loud scratchy pop electrical noise. Has always been this way here. Whatever. Electrical quirk and we’ve got surge protection on his and whatever is going on electrically seems never to have hurt it.
But, earlier tonight, I’m walking into the bedroom to put something up and the moment I walk into the room there was the same scratchy pop electrical sound. And I couldn’t figure out what it came from. The television was off. The radio was off. Where did that sound come from? Impossible to figure it out and yet I heard it. But I’m one of those people around whom electrical appliances do seem to behave oddly so for me that happening falls in that category, not in the “odd” box, but in the “oh yeah that happens sometimes” box. I’d mentioned it to Marty to see if he knew what might have been the cause then not thought about it again afterwards.
There have been a few instances of things around here where I have wondered if I heard something, was at the point of deciding I’d not heard it, then H.o.p. will say, “Did you hear that?” At least twice we have been sitting in here and heard something loud, as if it was in the room, but never could figure out what the noise might have been. Each time I have thought, “Well, maybe I didn’t hear it after all,” and then H.o.p. will say, “What was that?”
H.o.p. has told me in the past that this place is haunted. I’ve always thought it was haunted in the way that an old apartment building is haunted by the sounds, say, of a dog playing with a ball on the wood floor in the apartment above. And there have been numerous instances where H.o.p. has said, “Ghosts!” and I’ve assured him, no, that instead that was a sound that came from upstairs because it was obviously a dog with its ball upstairs or someone walking or the radiant heater making noise. I’m a skeptic in general about hauntings and think usually there’s going to be some rational explanation.
Then about two months ago, Marty and I had opted to sleep in H.o.p.’s room because he’d fallen asleep in ours, and we both heard and saw his door shake like he was on the other side trying to open it and Marty opened the door for him. But there was no H.o.p. Marty went to check and H.o.p. was still sound asleep in our room. But we had both heard and seen ithe door shaken in the way it would be if someone was trying to open it. And it was bizarre enough that we got up and didn’t go back to bed for a couple of hours. We never could figure it out.
It wasn’t just the apartment building “settling”. There wasn’t an earthquake (and I’ve felt several small ones and it’s quite different). It really did seem someone was at the other side shaking the door a couple of times trying to open it.
When it happened it reminded me of a sound I’d heard not long after we moved in the building, maybe within the first month or two. It was late at night, I was unable to sleep and was at the computer. The light in the living room was off. And it sounded like a door or someone or something up there, I couldn’t figure out what. I wondered briefly if there was someone trying to get in the apartment. I got up and looked into the living room just to make sure H.o.p. wasn’t up. He wasn’t. I never did get to sleep that night. And in the morning when Marty got up, when he went up front he found, up where I’d heard the sound (which I’d not mentioned to him) a large puddle of water sitting there in the middle of the floor behind the sofa. We were never able to explain it either. The radiant ceiling heater for the living room is nearby and after three years (no other incidents) I’m still not absolutely sure it wasn’t the source, but Marty examined it at the time and insisted it wasn’t. I examined it too and could find nothing to indicate that the radiant heater was the source, and was convinced enough that it wasn’t that I even examined the front door, wondering if somehow water had entered through there? But there was no way possible for that to have happened.
Which, by the way, has nothing to do with the problem leak currently in our bathroom, which is next to the bathtub and does have to do with a pipe in there.
No, this puddle happened within a foot from the front door. Just happened. Nothing else was wet. No trail of wet. Nothing. No splashes or drops. Just a puddle of water. But since the radiant heater is nearby I’m still placing my bet on it probably having been the source, as it is the only reasonable explanation. And though it has never happened since and though there was no sign of the water having come from the heater and though Marty insists it had not come from the heater.
This is a very quiet building. No sheet rock. All good hard plaster. You can sometimes hear the upstairs neighbors walking around but the sound is pretty muted. You don’t hear doors opening and closing upstairs. You can hear doors opening and closing sometimes from out in the hall and the sounds are obvious and distinguishable.
Anyway, H.o.p. has been telling me that the apartment is haunted but I’ve always passed it off as the kind of imaginings you have as a child where there are monsters in the closet or under your bed. He doesn’t like to sleep in his room, and it’s only been in the past couple of months that he’s told me, a couple of times, because, “It’s haunted” and I’ve always thought it was because he was hearing apartment noises. He hasn’t insisted on it. He’s just mentioned it a few times in the same tone of voice he’d use for telling me he wanted some water. If he sees an ant around here then he yells, “Mom, I saw an ant!” (see an ant here and usually it’s followed by a swarm coming in through the back door so there’s reason for alarm) but there’s been no yelling about ghosts. Still, we don’t make him sleep in his room–right now he now normally beds on one of the living room futons and sometimes in our room with us or we’ll sleep in the living room. It’s all pretty flexible since it’s all futons around here. But occasionally I will try to get him accustomed to his room and will again suggest he try sleeping there and go in and lie down with him until he goes to sleep. I did the same a couple of nights ago. Got him settled and cut off the light and lay down with him. He said, “I don’t like this room, it’s haunted.” I said what made him think that and he pointed around and said, “Ghosts,” then said, “Eyes.” When he’s brought up the idea of seeing ghosts before, I’ve explained to him that sometimes we see things that aren’t there, especially in the dark. I assumed this time he was talking about his stuffed animals on his bookcase and I said no those are just your stuffed toy animal friends. We lay there a minute and then I realized he was quietly crying and that he really was afraid. I’d had no idea–couldn’t tell by the sound of his voice. So I got his stuffed toy dragon that he sleeps with and played with it like a puppet and had the dragon tell him all about his stuffed animal friends, reminding him how much fun he has with them and how much he loves them and they love him, talking about every single one of them and the good times they’ve had together. He started smiling and fell asleep and the next morning when he got up he proudly said he had not been afraid at all after his dragon had talked him to sleep.
Well, that took care of that, I’d thought and felt rather pleased with things that the dragon did the trick and that his fears abated.
And here I am, a couple of nights later, freaked out and cutting on the lamp because I felt something bump my chair.
It’s not like I was sitting here thinking about ghosts or all this. No, instead I had been sitting here thinking about “Twister” and how I would have hated it if watching it by myself and would have cut it off, but watching it with an excited and enthralled eight-year-old made for an enjoyable evening.
Do I “feel” the place is haunted? No. I do feel H.o.p.’s got those eight-year-old fears of closet monsters going on that many kids have. We’ve talked a lot about that. I’ve not just brushed them off. But now that I think about it, the few things we’ve been unable to explain, I wonder how I can continue justifying telling H.o.p., “No, it’s nothing.” Because there have been a few things that we simply can’t explain.