October 19, 2012
Just the other night I'm sitting in the living room watching a horror movie marathon on AMC. Joy's already gone to sleep, and it's just me and Bubbles the Cat relaxing.
A commercial comes on, so I mute the television, and pick up my computer. I'm scrolling through old e-mails, surfing the web, when I hear this noise.
POP! Like a tiny rock hurled at glass. Bubbles is looking in the direction of the kitchen. She heard it too, so I figure it's not my mind playing tricks. I set down my laptop, and we both stand up. She looks at me, as if saying, "you first."
I grab a flashlight, and we venture into the room. Now, we live in an urban area, but we've also got some woods around the house. Wildlife has been known to make a noise or two out on the back porch, which is behind the kitchen.
I coax the courage to convince myself that it's a renegade critter and not some knife-wielding stereotype out of a slasher film. As I enter the room, I leave the kitchen light off, so as not to ruin my view out into the backyard. It's easier to see out that way.
Flipping on the floodlight, I peek out.
The lights glare against the window. It's hard to see very far. A lot of darkness. What in the world made that noise?
It's not the first time I've heard bizarre house noises, and it seems like it only happens at night…when I'm watching horror movies. Being just two weeks before Halloween, I've recently watched my share.
Seeking an answer to the phenomenon, I walk back into the living room and pick up my laptop. Bubbles comes bolting out of the kitchen and hops back up onto the couch, eyes wide.
If you type "house noise" into Google, you get all kinds of explanations: old pipes rattling behind the wall, the wooden frame of the house "settling," the expansion and contraction of wood and so on and so forth.
But there are way more websites devoted to supernatural postulations than there are logical answers.
As I click on a site called 'paranormal ghost something-or-another,' I hear a noise from above. A scuttling, scratching, tapping sound coming from the attic.
With trepidation, I close my laptop again, standing up. A reporter by trade, sometimes curiosity overpowers fear.
Bubbles looks at me, like, seriously? Don't' go up there.
Walking over to the hall, I open the attic hatch. The springs creak as the door comes down, and I ascend the steps. I peer into the abysmal depths of darkness, scanning the musty space with the flashlight beam.
Nothing in sight. I walk back down the steps and close the door.
Back in the living room, I sit down, pondering it all. Squirrels maybe. Yeah, those little rodents might have found a tiny hole leading into the attic, and they're just running laps up there.
It can all be explained, I figure. Settling into my recliner, I turn the TV volume back up, resuming the horror movie. I relax, smiling. It is, after all, a movie. A mysterious racket in the attic, tapping on the glass, it can all be explained in one way or another.
As I watch the knife-wielding bad guy on TV stalking fictional characters in the film, I sink into my recliner.
Half an hour passes as I nod to sleep…the sounds of television flooding the living room. Then…tap, tap, tap. A soft rapping at the window behind me. I sit up and turn around. POP! POP! POP!
My heart nearly leaps out of my chest. The logical explanations melt away. What in the world is that?
Bubbles has had about enough of this, and so have I.
I flip the channel, seeking out a late-night sitcom, an infomercial...anything. I think I'll hold off on the horror movie marathon.