Our house was also strange. There were the usual old-house problems. The house had settled and, unless you pushed hard on the doors and made sure they latched, they wouldn’t stay shut. It creaked and groaned.
And our family was going through some tough times. My brothers were self-destructing in spectacular ways that often involved the police. And we had no pets, so the house was big and, often, empty feeling.
Strange things would happen. Often, when I’d shut the door and made sure it latched, I’d be doing stuff in my room and I’d see the doorknob turn and the door open a foot or so, as if someone was just opening it up to stick their head in to check on me.
One day, when I came home from church, I was in the front room, getting ready to turn the TV on when I heard someone upstairs snoring. I thought it was possible that my dad had somehow gotten home before me and decided to take a nap before lunch.
Strange. Out of character. But a possibility, if he wasn’t feeling well. Otherwise, he’d just be sprawled out in the Lazy-boy. So, I go upstairs to check and see if he needs anything and, of course, there’s no one up there. I do a walkthrough of the house and there’s no one home yet but me.
One night, as my mom was laying in bed, not yet asleep, someone sat on the edge of the bed and stroked her hand.
Another night, my brothers had a friend up from downstate, and they were in the library watching TV. It was a Saturday night and, as anyone who knows me from back in the day can attest, if you spent Saturday night at our house, you had to go to bed at a reasonable hour because your ass is getting up for church, regardless of your religion.
On this night, they were watching TV in the dark in the library because, from that vantage point, you can see anyone who’s coming through the house from either direction and sneak in the other direction back upstairs without being noticed. The other advantage to the library is that it’s kind of tucked under both staircases, so you can hear folks on the stairs long before they actually get down them.
So, it’s late and they’re watching TV and they see the black outline of a man in the dining room. This startles them because they haven’t heard anyone on the stairs. But they think maybe they just didn’t hear my Dad coming down the steps. So, they turn off the TV, and sit there in the dark, hoping that Dad hasn’t noticed them. The figure mills about in the dining room for a little bit, and then comes into the music room, which is adjacent to the library and mills about a little bit and then seems to head back into the dining room and fade from view.
They wait to hear if Dad is going to go back up the back steps. They don’t hear anything, so they figure he must be in the kitchen getting a drink. So, they sneak up the front stairs. Just as they’re passing my mom and dad’s room, though, they notice that both of them are laying in bed and that my dad is snoring away.
The next morning, they still tell my dad he scared the shit out of them and ask him why he didn’t just come into the library to tell them to go to bed. Of course, he denies ever having come downstairs.