|The Haunted House|
Here I am, the big 21st century skeptic, who believes in nothing that can't be convincingly, categorically proven.
And yet I've become convinced that my house is haunted.
You may scoff - and, in fact, my parents may roll their eyes because I was obsessed with ghost hunting as a kid - but I honestly think it's true.
Let me state my case.
First off, flash back to 2007 - when Militant and Not-Yet-Mummy Militant moved into our humble red brick abode with five suitcases and a bengal leopard cat.
When we moved in, our landlord replaced the carpet - and in bedroom number #2, we found a great, big, red stain across the warped, old wooden floorboards - intersected by gouged cuts an inch deep in the wood.
Being somewhat of a storyteller, I joked that this was where the New Jersey mafia had once chainsawed up an informant - and we all had a good giggle about that...
Except a few weeks later - when I was struck by insomnia in the middle of the night - it suddenly didn't feel so hilarious.
A foul stench suddenly filled the room - which was ironic because I'd just been reading about the Amityville haunted house, where a foul stench was one of the precursors to their poltergeist activity. Then, as Mummy Militant lay slumbering beside me, I saw the lights.
Green. And blue. And red. Hazy, reflected off the walls.
Terrified, I clambered out of bed, paced down the corridor and came face-to-face with the reason for the weird lights...
My wife's stereo, on "demo mode."
Mummy Militant woke up, disturbed the the disturbance, and i explained - somewhat ashen faced - what had been going on. The lights, I admitted, were just from the stereo... But that stench?
A skunk. Being a newcomer to the northeastern United States, I hadn't experienced the burnt-rubber stench of a friendly, neighborhood skunk before (but I got used to it, until the poor little fella fell foul of the same fate that robbed us of our bengal cat.)
Well, I'll tell you this. That room - the one with the red stains underneath the carpet - remains icy cold all year round, no matter how much you turn up the central heating. That's why we switched to living in the spare room a few months after moving in.
And stuff goes missing in our house - only to turn up, weeks later, in inexplicable places. The refridgerator. The basement. The trunk of one of our cars.
And then there's the other stuff.
Like the door to the "haunted" room opening and closing on its own.
Like, the door clicking shut, then popping open as if somebody had turned the handle.
Or Mini Militant, who sleeps in the haunted room (don't judge - we don't exactly have a mansion to give him much of a choice in chambers) getting up every night because he's "scared."
Or the fact that the other morning - when Mummy Militant et la famille were all slumbering - somebody human pattered past the open bathroom door when I was showering - but when I emerged, dripping, to see who it was, there was nobody in the room.
It's all stuff that could easily be dismissed as a trick of the light, a gust of wind or the typical behavior of a three-year-old. But when one thing that's easily dismissed is placed against another thing that's easily dismissed and then more... Well, you start seeing a pattern.
A weird, crazy, holy-hell-this-might-just-be-true pattern that gets even a tired old skeptic like me wondering...
Okay, it sounds ridiculous as I type it. I'm not a superstitious chap at all. I don't believe in ghosts.
But they still scare me. ;-)