The burglary occurred in 2000, and the years that followed were peaceful and without event. After the break-in, my folks got an alarm system, a nerve wracking ‘beepidy beep beep’ thing that announced all entrances and exits, and brought peace of mind after the sun went down. Still, any time that I slept in the house alone, night-time was fraught with tension and anxiety. I would wake in the middle of the night in surprise at still being in one piece and would think, “Wow, nothing has eaten me yet.”. But that was not exactly comforting, since early morning still yawned in front of me, with plenty more time for supernatural nastiness. 2am after all, in the words of Jeff, is “obviously when Monsters feel snacky“.
The summer after Fern was born (2010) we experienced one of the creepiest and most tangible incidents of The Presence. If you’ve been with me for a while you might remember the story from this post. (Aw…click on that for skinny swimming babies, beautiful hotsprings and my old pal Leo). Here’s what I wrote at the time:
sunday night, we put fern to bed (late, since she was over-stimulated and over-tired.), setting her down in the middle of our mattress in my childhood room. now, i should preface this by saying that we have the Incredible Non-Kinetic Baby. she isn’t crawling or walking yet, rarely rolls over unless we force her onto her stomach, and sleeps like a bump on a log. unless you breathe on her, or think too loudly, and then she’s wide awake. after she went to sleep, we spent a few hours eating dinner, playing games, and generally unwinding. then we got ready for bed.
as i was brushing my teeth, jeff went into the room to check on her.
and she wasn’t on the bed.
nor was she on either side of the bed. jeff, trying to keep it cool, mused over possible explanations in what probably took a nano-second. maybe i had moved her? to another…room…when he wasn’t…looking….?
panic growing, he began searching under the pillows behind the bed, and then got on his stomach and felt around the sides of the bed. there was no sign of her, and then his fingers touched the top of her head.
she was under the bed.
her head was facing in the opposite direction of the way he had put her down. she was also still asleep.
jeff pulled her out and she woke up with a complaint. after a very shaken mommy and daddy checked her for bruises and/ or signs of foul play or spider bites, it was determined that she was perfectly fine.
When I called my Mom to tell her what happened she said, “Oh my god. Get OUT OF THERE.”
On our next visit, I walked into the bedroom, and laid down the law.
Alright, look. What happened last time was completely unacceptable. You are not allowed to touch or hurt my child, nor myself or my partner. This stops, right now. Knock it off.
Much to my surprise, whateveritis seemed to be listening. There was no recurrence and the creepy thickness also left. The house felt empty and clean. And I had a funny reaction…kind of like, “Aw, you didn’t have to leave. I just want you to leave us alone”.
The emptiness continued through all the rest of our visits up there. I sincerely thought it was gone, and even told Sara when I commented on her (even creepier) post about disturbances in her home. (I couldn’t find the post, but you should just scroll through her blog, because I just did and it reminded me why I love her.). I thought that it was all behind me.
Then Fern and I went up there by ourselves three weeks ago.
The first night, I felt the thickness again. I was afraid of perpetrators both from within and without, because the alarm system is broken. I fell asleep that night, after checking all doors and corners, and had one of those vivid dreams where you think you are actually awake, because everything looks and feels like normal waking.
I was walking back into the kitchen after locking the back door, confirming that the house was secure. But there was a man standing there, waiting for me. He was wearing yellow pajamas, glasses and he had a smirk on his face. His face shifted back and forth, first looking like one person, and then another. He said he had climbed in through the bedroom window. And when I cried out about Fern, he said, don’t worry, I only hurt her a little bit. What I’m really trying to figure out is how to kill YOU.
I startled awake, and then remarkably, fell back asleep. At this point, I am amazed at the power of my ability to rationalize. I mean really, what is wrong with me? Well, it’s because it’s all just my imagination, right?
The next night, I felt nervous again, and began to drift off with scenes from Poltergeist playing through my mind’s eye. It was about 11pm and I was just asleep, when the land-line phone started shrieking. Not a ring or a dial tone, but a shrieking Beeeehhhhhhhhhhhh. And then, If you would like to make a call, please hang up and try again. Frontier.
My blood running cold, I zombie walked into the kitchen and just stood staring at it. It was on speaker phone, with the receiver in the cradle. I picked up the earpiece, and the speaker turned off, with the shrieking coming through the receiver. Hung it up again and the speaker came back on. I had to unplug the receiver to get it to stop.
Shaking, I called Jeff. We ran through possibilities and then he said, “Are you going to stay there?” I asked him what choice I had…I really didn’t want to drive back to SF so late. By this time it was 12am and I didn’t want to wake my Aunt and Uncle. Then he said, “You could go to a motel.”
I laughed, since that would just make me a ninny. It’s just a phone malfunction, right? A phone malfunction…when I happen to be there…at midnight…one more occurrence in a long string of weird ass happenings…Every thing that has ever happened began to play itself back in my memory, culminating with a spirit that wanted to kill me and a disembodied something trying to make a call.
I’m not a ninny. And I’m also not going to be the moron that goes up to the attic, that investigates the spooky noise or doesn’t get out of the house when they should.
I woke Fern up and said, “Hi honey, I’m sorry to wake you, but we’re going on a little adventure.”. And took us to a Motel 6 in town.
Fern, bless her little heart, was a good sport, and was delighted to find herself in a Motel in the middle of the night. In the morning we got chocolate milk and then drove back to the house. In the daylight things seemed less threatening, but not exactly clear. I spoke to whateveritis again and said,
Look, I don’t want to force you to leave, because I suspect you have been here for a long time, longer than we have. In a way, I kind of like you, feel connected to you. After all, we have known each other for a long time. But if you don’t stop I will be forced to exorcise you out of this house. I think we can coexist, but you have to behave.
Unbelievably, it did just that, for the next three nights. Not only that, but I had delightful dreams each night. This is unusual for me, as my dreams are usually full of stress. However, I could still feel the watchfulness each time I would wake up in the dark. A pregnant pause, a waiting, and I felt like a bird being stalked by a cat.
The bizarreness was offset by the peace of heart I felt during the days. Every time I go back to Shasta County, I am reminded of the innate rightness I experience there. I am bonded deeply to those mountains, that creek, those Turkey Vultures, those quartz beds that reside just under the surface. The Achumawi, Atsugewi, Wintu and other tribes speak of the multitude of spirits that live in the area, the magic inherent in the land, and the culmination of power or energy that is Mt. Shasta.
All things have life in them. Trees have life, rocks have life, mountains, water, all these are full of life. You think a rock is something dead. Not at all. It is full of life. When I came here to visit you, I took care to speak to everything around here…. I sent my smoke to everything. That was to make friends with all things. No doubt there were many things that watched me in the night…. They must have been talking to each others. The stones talk to each other just as we do, and the trees too, the mountains talk to each other. You can hear them sometimes if you pay close attention, especially at night, outside…. I do not forget them. I take care of them, and they take care of me (Angulo, Achumawi Life-Force 61).
When I returned back to the city, Jeff and I went to see an Intuitive Counselor, to reach more deeply into the tangled energy around our search for home and ground. At the very end of the session, Jeff asked about the house and Whateveritis. With a background in energy medicine, and psychic services, our counselor had me visualize myself in our home. He closed his eyes and read into the situation. Eyes flying open he said, with certainty,
“There is definitely a presence in the house. I don’t get the sense that it was from the previous owner, but is much older. It somehow belongs to the land. I’m not clear on what it is, but there is some murkiness there.”
Y’all know me. I have a foot planted firmly in both worlds, spirit and mundane, and I am not one for tales of Atlantis or Lemurians, nor do I claim to have Super Secret Magic Crystal Powers.
“Mt. Shasta and the Lemurians.” Really, this is hilarious, do watch. Make sure you go all the way to the end.
But I do trust, fully, this intuitive counselor, and if he confirms that something is there, my ever blind and dumb left brain believes it.
So friends, that catches you all up to the present moment. I was so touched by your comments of concern on my last post. Like I said in my reply, this is the first time I have ever told of these incidents in a story like format. Initially I thought it would just be a good frightful read for this time of year, but now after the telling, and my own process around it all, I am fairly convinced I have a poltergeist, or worse, living in my childhood home. Some of you have mentioned theories or inklings, and I would love to hear about them. Here are a few of mine.
1. The man who built our home was a religious fanatic. He told my mother that it was “The house that God built”. If he was somehow embroiled in his own spiritual battle, did he infuse the inner workings of the house with it? Or did he anger the spirits of the land by imposing his religion in a place already called home by others?
2. The eerie feeling of the house feels exactly the same as the eerie feeling I get when I go to Shasta Lake, just 10 miles down the road. Lake Shasta is man made, with thousands of acres flooded to create a reservoir. Is my house haunted with a pissed off and displaced spirit who doesn’t like having its home under water, and just wants someone to know about it?
3. Is the spirit in my house lonely? Does it miss us, now that no-one lives there full time? We always hear stories of exorcisms like they are tales of war, with a spirit being treated with aggression… usually because said spirit is menacing. Yet I find it interesting that, so far anyway, Whateveritis has really responded to my requests to behave. The response that comes up most frequently for me is one of compassion.
4. Whateveritis acts with more frequency in direct relation to how frightened or sad I am. Does it feed off this negative energy? The other thing I did to enable us to stay there after the phone incident was to hum “This little light of mine”, to remember to keep my heart light. I thought of humorous things too, and tried to call up the sense of laughter in my chest. It worked, no joke.
And so, I release you from this tale of terror and mystery. Go into your day with laughter, keep a light on in your heart, and look forward to Dia de los Muertos and communing with the happy dead…those blessed loved ones who, if they visit, want nothing more than to say hello and keep you safe. xo