Tristan: Where’s Dad?
Me: He’s out on the porch.
T: What’s he doing?
T: He’s what?
Me: Spackling. He’s spackling the railing.
T: Why do I feel like you’re just inventing words now?
Me: It’s a real word!
T: Use it in a sentence.
Me: Your dad is spackling the railings with…spackle.
T: So now it’s a verb AND a noun? I don’t buy it. Hey, Dad!
T: What are you doing?
Ken: I’m using spackle to spackle the railings.
T (*rolls eyes*): You people.
Me: By the way, it’s your fault the house is haunted.
And then I had to explain how it came to be that I was blaming my only child for the series of spooky events that had recently befallen us. Last Tuesday, I came home from work, went upstairs to change, and noticed that the linen cupboard at the back of the house was wide open. So I went downstairs and asked Ken if he had opened it. He hadn’t. And neither had I. In fact, we couldn’t remember the last time someone had taken something out of that particular cupboard. Then I messaged Tristan, who also hadn’t opened it.
Still, there had to be a logical explanation, right? Maybe it swung open on its own, right? Except that the door is extremely tight in the frame and needs a very strong tug to move it. Then, on Wednesday, I went upstairs to said cupboard to prove to myself that the door could have quite possibly opened on its own.
While I was standing there and tugging, I happened to glance to my right and realized that the guest bedroom door was half-closed. Which it hadn’t been the night before when I was getting my work clothes out of the closet in that exact guest bedroom. I stopped tugging on the linen cupboard and pushed open the guest bedroom door. Guess what I saw? My eyes immediately went to the bookcase in the corner of the bedroom, whose door was now wide open, a door which had been closed tight via a magnetic latch the night before when I was getting my work clothes out of the closet. So I did what any normal person would do—I backed out of the room very quietly, backed down the hall, tiptoed down the stairs and found Ken:
Me (*whispering shakily*) The door to the bookcase in the back bedroom is now wide open.
Me: Come and see.
Ken (*staring at bookcase*) Are you sure it wasn’t like this before? Did you get a book out of there today?
Me: I took a book out a couple of days ago but I closed it. It was still shut last night. Ken, we need to search the house.
Ken didn’t argue. But after looking under all the beds, in all the closets, which was a little terrifying to say the least, thinking that some random stranger might suddenly jump out at us, we both had to admit that there was no one in the house. As Ken put it, “There’s no physical presence here.”
Which, of course, leads me to the only explanation I can think of. At the beginning of the week, Ken and Tristan decided to break apart the old stone stoop in front of our house with sledgehammers to make a new set of stairs with a “better slope”. While they were merrily demolishing it, they must have released some kind of spirit, who flew into the house after years of captivity, and whose only desire was to snuggle up in flannel with a good book. When I mentioned it to both of them yesterday in what some might call an accusatory tone, Ken’s immediate reaction was, “It was Tristan’s idea!” Tristan, of course, had a better explanation, that the sledgehammering had shifted the house slightly and gravity had caused all the doors to move. We went upstairs to try out the theory—the linen cupboard, if not closed properly, WILL swing all the way open. The bookcase door WILL NOT.
I’ve told a couple of friends about this and the advice has ranged from ‘put salt in all the corners of the room’ to ‘install motion sensor cameras’. But there haven’t been any more incidents since Wednesday, so maybe it was just a fly-by-night phantom. Fingers crossed.