Things That Go Bump In The Night

I hate horror movies–almost as much as I love them.  A total glutton for punishment, I’ll line up with the best of them to sit a dark theater willing the fear to come and covering my eyes when it does.

I remember watching Paranormal Activity in the theater for the first time.  Digging my nails into Mark’s arm as Katie hovered over Micah sleeping body, plotting the ways she could kill him as the possession encroached her.  Scared the heck out of me.  That sort of mockumentry, where you know it’s not real…but you kind of forget that, lost in the grainy film and authenticity of it all…it’s my doom.

Like it’s predecessor, The Blair Witch Project, those are the movies that genuinely terrify me.  Why?  Because it could be real.  I don’t fear blood bathes like Saw or the Friday franchise nearly as much–though, they scare me too.  It’s the things you can’t see, but the things you do feel and can’t fight.

I believe in all of that…the things that can hurt or scare us if they wish to do so.  We went to see Paranormal Activity 3 this afternoon…the movie inspired me to share my own story…

Two years ago, when Mark and I set out to redo our home, we decided to make it feel eclectic with vintage finds and wares.  We bought old furniture carts and work-bench, we hunted high and low for antiquities that would make our home rise up to meet us.

One day we were shopping at an Antique Mall in Sandwich Illinois–a sleepy town west of the city sitting between lengthy stretches of cornfields, almost as though it was simply dropped there. The town itself is purely vintage.  You can eat lunch in an old train car, and shop primitive stores along the stretch of main street with its singular stop light.

Wedged in back of one of the malls I found the most beautiful soft-metal icebox.  You’ve probably seen them in wood with the glorious vintage hardware and ropy metal shelves, but this one was different–I had never seen one like it in all of my travels.  It spoke to me.  I can’t explain that–but looking at it, I knew, it had to be mine.

We loaded it in the rear of my Land Rover and drove home, dreaming all the way of the this piece’s potential.  We settled on turning it into a wine bar.  We’d empty the sawdust liner and clear it up, have it professionally wired for electricity and hire an artist to script “Wine Cellar” on the front.  It was a perfect second life for this 1930’s relic.

Things started almost immediately.

While I was home alone folding laundry I heard a soft clinking in the kitchen–like glasses being pushed together delicately.  I went downstairs, knowing no one was home, and found nothing had been touched.  Returning to the laundry, the noise started again–louder, a bit more forceful…and I went back to look.

Our wine glasses–which had been hanging from a shelf above the kitchen table–were scattered across the floor unbroken.  Some were on chairs, others on the hardwood floor, some stood up, others rested on their sides.  But they were all still perfect–not a chip or crack, there were no glass shards and the shelf–it still hung perfectly flush to the wall.

I cleaned up the mess and told Mark who laughed and blamed, of course, the air vent on the side of the wall.  Needless to say, I was unconvinced.  I’d been home, I knew what I heard, knew what I saw…it wasn’t the work of an air vent.

Starting at 3:00am every night, I’d be woken up from a dead sleep. The television would turn on, and the noise was a high peel from the cable box that would screech–never waking my husband.  After complaining about it, Mark told me next time to wake him up.  I did just that.  I woke him up once when it happened, and to this day, he doesn’t remember it happening.  Sometimes I’d wake up and feel deeply rooted fear…it wasn’t the kind of anxiety you get from a nightmare, it was as though there was something to be genuinely afraid of, something around me playing with my emotions…and in the morning, always my jaw hurt, but only on one side.

Glass jars fell from shelves in our bathroom, my dog would stare into space–and pee himself immediately after, once in the bed–which he’d never done before nor since.

I knew I’d done something to upset someone.  And it all started when renovations of the fridge began.  We’d lived in our home for five years, and it had always just been our home…no weird noises or sounds or anything to raise a brow over…suddenly, it was everyday and all the time and in different ways.

I did some online searches–I’ve never found another fridge like the one I owned…but according to the owner of the shop where we bought it, it was circa the thirties–the time of prohibition.  My only guess was that someone was attached to this piece and that my intentions upset them.

I sold it, almost as soon as I made the connection.  The woman who bought it gushed over it, she loved it and the vision of a proper vintage wine cellar.  We loaded it into her car and waved her off.  She called a bit later to say that while driving home on the highway her tires had blown out–on her new Mercedes SUV.

Was any of that real?  What happened to me, yes, that was all very, very real.  But the root of it, I’m not sure and I suppose I’ll never know.  Whatever was here, with all it’s disruption, it left when the fridge did…and I’m just grateful for that.

I feel like October is a good time to explore the inner workings of fear…so, readers, have you ever experienced something you can’t explain?  I promise, I’ll believe you…







2 thoughts on “Things That Go Bump In The Night

  1. My family and a friend like to rehash the story of the time we were driving along, trying to find a beach on the Atlantic (my sisters and I had never been to the ocean before. ^^), and we were lost on some back road. A dog showed up out of nowhere — some midsized, retriever-like pooch, I believe. It trotted alonside the car, smiling and waggy-tailed, then veered off. I declared he was our Spirit Dog, come to help us get to the beach.

    Eventually we got off the back road and found a… hmm, what do you call it? A booth of sorts, with a young ranger guy in big reflective sunglasses; looked a bit like actor Chris Evans, IMO. So he was giving directions to the beach (directions that got us there lickety-split, by the way), and there was something about him that convinced the irrational side of me: This was Spirit Dog in his human form!

    Yeah, I know, it’s hardly a spooky haunting tale. It is, quite likely, naught but fun imaginings. But like I said, my irrational side is convinced. And I love my Spirit Dog. (:

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