No, honestly. I know what you’re thinking. Even I didn’t believe it at first. He tried to tell me. I just thought he was messing with me.
Before Mr. R. and I got married, he rented a house with two other guys for a little over a year. It was just a regular older house in a normal neighborhood and it was owned by a personal friend of Mr. R. There was nothing remarkable about it, in fact, it needed quite a bit of updating, but it was a nice size with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It also backed up to a large lake and had a nice pool in back between the house and the water, these two features being really the best of the whole place.
I vaguely recall Mr. R. mentioning to me that there were times when his roommates were out and he felt as if he were not alone in the house. I completely blew this off. I am an educated, logical person. There is always an explanation for everything. I just thought he was trying to creep me out.
We spent many Saturdays hanging out at the house, sometimes swimming in the pool or fishing off the dock, lots of nights watching television in the converted sun porch just off the dining area. I never noticed anything weird. Never even thought about it. Until…
One night we were watching television and I left the room. As I headed through the darkened dining area, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. My heart jumped and I stopped immediately, looking to my right, the direction of the movement. Mentally, I scolded myself. You saw yourself in the mirror, I thought. There was a mirror on the wall and that explanation made total sense. Except…I was about 10% certain that myself was not what I saw. I shook my head and went about my business.
After that, from time to time as we watched television, I was almost certain that I saw movement in the dining area. Let me describe a little of the design of the house. The tv room and dining area were separated by double french doors which were always left open. The double opening was flanked in the tv room by the multi-paned french doors pushed flush against the wall. The panes of glass reflected light and color from the television, not to mention the lights of the boats passing outside on the lake. So it made sense that the movement I saw was the reflection in the glass doors from the television and from outside. Except…There were times I was sure the movement I saw was not on the sides of the doorway in the glass, but in the empty space of the doorway which would be the center of that room.
Mostly I just tried to ignore it, sure that I was being silly. And there were long periods of time when nothing unusual happened. I would forget about it, have no expectation of anything at all.
Until the night I had an experience that I could not explain in any way. Once again, we were watching television. During a commercial, I glanced out into the dining area to where my purse was hanging on the back of a chair. Oddly, in the space between the top of my purse and the handles hanging on the chair, I saw a tiny red light, like the ready light on something electronic. That’s weird, I thought. What in the world is it? My first thought was that it was my phone. But I realized it couldn’t be my phone because: a) my phone didn’t have a red light like that; and b) my phone wasn’t sticking out of the top of my purse, it was in the pocket in the end of the purse which was the reason I bought that purse to begin with. That’s so weird, I thought, and I looked back at the television without thinking about it beyond being perplexed. When I glanced back out at my purse, the red light was gone.
I was properly freaked out for the first time. Mr. R. realized something was wrong, but I’m from the school of thought that says, If I don’t say it out loud, it didn’t happen. I made him sit beside me, and it was only after the show was over, when we went out onto the back deck that I told him what I’d seen.
He told me a few more stories, and now, of course, I was all ears. The master bedroom of the house was separated from the master bath by a short, narrow hallway between his and hers closets. Mr. R. said that once he’d been on his way into the bathroom when he’d suddenly changed his mind and turned around in that area between the closets. As he abruptly turned, he said he saw someone standing there, then instantly he didn’t see someone. His sense at the time was of someone who was lonely and desperately wished to be ‘one of the guys’. He told me about many times when he’d been in the kitchen cooking and he’d felt certain that someone was just behind him, looking over his shoulder.
After that experience, I was very aware of the nights when we’d hear thumps and bumps of unexplained origin. I chalked a lot of those up to the wind getting under the eaves, but that only explained some of the noises we heard.
One night, after his roommates had left for the evening, Mr. R. and I were in the house by ourselves. We were sitting together on the sofa just chatting about nothing in particular when we heard, from the other room, someone clearing their throat. “Ahem!” We just stared at each other. “You heard that, right?” we said simultaneously.
One of the last things I experienced in that house happened as we were making dinner one night. Mr. R. left the room, leaving me alone in the kitchen. I heard, from another part of the house, a loud sort of boom, bang, crash as if a stack of pots or something had fallen. I moved in the direction of the noise, the direction Mr. R. had gone, saying, “Hey, are you okay?” I met Mr. R. coming toward me saying, “Hey, are you okay?” We’d each thought the other had knocked something over, yet neither of us had.
As a result of the strange things I experienced in the house, I became somewhat interested in investigations of the paranormal. No, I’m not going out to buy a bunch of electronic gizmos. But I have come to appreciate the TAPS investigators from the SciFi show, GhostHunters. The reason I like them is that they set out to disprove paranormal activity, to find logical, rational explanations for odd things that people experience. One thing I learned from them is that high electromagnetic emissions, such as would be present in an older home with faulty wiring, can cause various physical reactions including feelings of unease, of being watched. I absolutely believe that explains some of what Mr. R. experienced in the house. And then, every once in a while, the TAPS team comes across something that really defies explanation. I can relate to that, too.
Now, a little history on the house. These are things I know to be true, they can be verified in the news and by talking to the family members who owned the house. Some years before Mr. R. and the boys rented the house, the family experienced an unfathomable tragedy. A teenaged son was murdered in a violent robbery at the fast food restaurant where he’d worked. The mother, utterly devastated by his death, hired a psychic to come into the house and give a reading. The psychic told the mother to place some of the boy’s personal belongings around the house to encourage his spirit to stay. Turns out, there were some skateboards and other things placed in the attic and other spots around the house during the time Mr. R. lived there. Now, normally I’d say that whole business is a load of crap. But things happened there that I can’t explain.
All of that to say this–I’ve always believed that the things that happen in this world have logical, rational explanations. I still believe that. Now, I also have to concede that some things simply defy rational explanation.
It gets real when you experience something for yourself. Take, for example, those photos from the Pilar in Islamorada. Or the photos from the Riddle House. I’m much less certain that I have it all figured out. Still, I’m okay with that.
I wouldn’t spend any time alone in that house, though. Nope.