Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get Out

With my husband working lots of late hours, I have started to watch some truly terrifying television. And no, I am not talking about the Jersey Shore, which is terrifying in a completely different way. Nope, I’ve started watching Ghost Hunters.

Is it real? Is it fake? Damned if I know. But what I do know is this – If I hear someone walking in an empty room, I do not run up the stairs to investigate, I run down the stairs to get away from it. If I hear a disembodied voice, I do not ask the voice to repeat itself; instead, I “la la la” as loudly as I can until it goes away. I do not wander about in pitch black rooms with a teeny tiny flashlight. I do not wander the bowels of basements or the rafters of attics hoping something from the other side decides to go “boo.” That way lays madness.

For the record, I am a believer. In fact, I have seen thing with my very own eyes. Even my parents will admit that the house I initially grew up in was haunted. Very strange things were seen and heard by every member of my family at many different times.

The attic of the house was finished and filled with lots and lots of noises. My dad always said the house was just “settling.” My mother simply refused to go up there – so of course, that is where the kid bedrooms were located. Yes, people, my mother sent her children to sleep in rooms she would not willingly enter. Anyway, I once saw something so terrifying that I refused to sleep in my bedroom for two full years – instead choosing to sleep on the sofa in the family room. Of course, my parents never asked me what it was and I apparently blocked it out. Sounds stupid? Yup, but surely, it had to be something truly disturbing since I readily chose to sleep in a room that had, what I like to call, a funny window. It was a window that you could watch a sunrise out of in the middle of the night. One that was at least eight feet off the ground, but you could see people walk right by. When it was open, you could hear noises that were singularly petrifying, yet absolutely indiscernible from the other window in the room.

To avoid the attic, I once even chose to sleep in the basement, which had been renovated into an apartment for my grandparents. It was a hot night, the basement was cool, and my sister said she would join me down there. The wall connecting the bedroom and the living room was mostly bookshelves, so you could see right through. While I lay abed, I watched my grandfather stand up, stub out his cigarette, walk over to the TV, turn it off, and then turn to start to walk toward the bathroom. Since he was dead at the time, you’ll forgive me if I didn’t wait to see if he managed the light by himself and instead, ran upstairs as fast as my little legs could carry me.

Believe it or not, scoff if you will, debunk if you must, but do not watch Ghost Hunters before bed. The night-vision, the musical cues, the matter-of-fact way the investigators talk about invisible little girls pulling on their pant leg, all of it combined will make the most stoic person get a chill. I usually try to cleanse my viewing palate with HGTV or Food Network afterwards just to put myself in a different frame of mind before I close my eyes. Last night, I was dumb enough to fall asleep during it and boy, did I have quite a rough night. Because, while I know any disembodied voices will undoubtedly be emanating from the baby monitor, and I know any mysterious presence by the bed will just be my stealthy five-year old, and I know any strange noises will simply be part of my husband’s snoring repertoire, it is the unknown that I really do not want to encounter at 3 a.m.

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