Friday, May 16, 2014

The House Ate My Poster

While I was at the Paranormal Expo the other week, I met a very nice young man who told me about a web site that can do an actual report if someone died in a residence. It's called and I think it was meant for realtors so that they could research properties for their clients. (Some people get really upset when they find out a previous owner died in the house they just bought.) But now you can go on site, register, and for a very nominal fee, find out if someone died in your domicile.

So of course I thought of the house I grew up in. There were a lot of weird things with that place. And some of them were pretty scary. We had the sounds of furniture moving in other rooms. There were voices: children talking and singing, mostly, but at least once we had a baby crying. There were presences spotted on different occasions, one of a little old lady standing by the living room fireplace, one of a white figure at the bottom of the stairs. Our cats saw things and reacted to them routinely. And then there was the summer of my poltergeist, which is an entirely separate story. So yes, there were some scary things in that house.

There were also downright weird things. A squeaky bottom step in the staircase that led up to the attic -when my sister-in-law went to fix it, she found a compartment inside it. Empty, but given the surroundings, it led to some interesting speculation. And there was the garage. When I was in college, a good friend of mine, majoring in architecture at the time, pointed out to me that not only did we have a bricked-up room on the second floor of the garage, but that the bricking continued down to the first floor. He surmised the staircase had been bricked up as well. We were both 19 years old and I was in the middle of my poltergeist summer, but enough of that. 

Another friend from school offered to bore through the brick at some discreet location and see what was behind it. I nixed that idea without ever giving it a great deal of thought. First, just the idea of trying to explain to my parents why my friend was going at a wall in the garage with a drill and a slew of other tools was something I didn't want to dwell on for long. Secondly, I had to live there. If we were disturbing someone's grave, or poking at a being that wanted to be left alone, my friends could pack up their tools and leave, but I couldn't. So we never did it.

I can hear the groans of disappointment and the "What's-wrong-with-you?" type of comments starting already! But if you had been in my shoes at that exact moment, you might have had the same reaction. I already knew my house was problematic, and I already knew that at least one of the presences in the house was NOT friendly. I didn't want to take the chance. Especially since I already had a poltergeist (not the time or place to discuss that.)

The one other thing about that house, that I later learned was a classic indicator of a haunting, was its habit of taking things away and then making them reappear days or weeks later in a very obvious place. And this would be after we had already turned all the rooms upside down and inside out looking for them. Record album covers, a birthday poster, a shower cap, really random things would disappear and then turn up again.

Except for my poster. And a fringed suede vest that was classic late '60's fashion and that I have never seen the likes of again. I bought it mail order out of the ad pages of my sister's Seventeen Magazine. I still mourn the loss of both of them, and have never quite forgiven my old house for not returning them. Really, what use would a disembodied spirit have for a suede vest and a poster of Pistol Pete Maravich signed by a bunch of my friends and even some of my teachers? 

So if you're wondering about having my old house researched through the above-mentioned web site, yes, I did register and ante up for a search. So far, they haven't found anything, but part of their service is to keep searching for 30 days, so we'll see if anything turns up. Although as my niece suggested, maybe they didn't find anything because the body is bricked up in the garage. Or as my daughter suggested, maybe they didn't find anything because the house was just born bad, like the Hugh Crain house in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Maybe they're both right and that's why there is a body in the garage. 

At any event, I'm still at the beginning of the 30 days' search, so if the researchers discover something, I will certainly let all of you know.

 But the poltergeist is still separate...

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