So much weird stuff has been happening over the past weeks in the house here that I just have to tell you about it.
Where to start: lets set the scene.
I’m house-sitting for a friend of a friend who has gone back to Scotland for 3 months (yep I lucked out). She has this lovely little townhouse just out near Wat Ram Pong. Its a nice secure 2 story 2 bedroom terrace house just a little ways out of town, one of half dozen or so all connected by common walls and roof spaces, in a nice little almost-gated community. Safe and quiet (yeah so was 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville I hear you say)
Being slightly paranoid about security (occupational hazard), I lock the front door by a solid metal latch on the inside when I go to bed as well as all the windows and the back door. The front door has the same kind of latch that I padlock with a dirty great padlock when I leave the house.
So…safe as houses, right?
Where am I going with this?
Lets go here: I haven’t slept well since leaving the U.S back in May (insomnia puts it mildly but its improving), and in the weeks I’ve been in the house here I wake up a lot. An awful lot. The usual things – odd noises, cats fighting, bumps and thumps and noises in the night. Usually it isn’t a huge issue as I read for a bit then go back to sleep.
Last week things got weird.
One rainy night after getting home from dinner, I went to bed earlyish. As the cleaner ( yep spoilt) had come that day the house was spotless so I carefully left my shoes at the door (its customary here anyway). Climbed the 2 flights of darkened stairs to my room, closed the door and went to bed.
Anyway I had the usual fitful night of tossing and turning and the usual waking up every few hours, but eventually I slept.
The next morning I awoke, grumpy, with the sun streaming into my room from the single unblocked -out window near my bed (the house owner has issues sleeping also and had put up black sheets of cardboard on the windows to block the sun).
Yawning like grumpy cat I stumbled out my door towards the bathroom and stopped :
There were footprints at my door!
Little, muddy barefoot footprints stopping right on the threshold of my bedroom door, and continuing on down the stair well. They were crystal clear .
“Shit. Ive been broken into” was my first thought so I grabbed my little K-bar pocketknife from the bedstand and checked the rooms on the way downstairs. I followed the dirty footprints down the stairs. each little print half the size of my clompy size 9.5’s. Everything looked fine – laptop, phone, bits and pieces – check. Nothing missing. And then I checked the front door.
Locked. Latched. From the inside. Say what?
RuhRoh – “Fuck – hes still here”.
K-bar in hand I checked the back door (locked) , all the windows (locked and intact) , rooms (empty), under the beds (clown free), in the closets (nada). Nothing.
Just muddy kid sized footprints on the stairs in a house locked from the inside.
Rational mind kicked in – “Must have been me somehow”, or “maybe footprints from the cleaner that magically appeared after the floor was dry”. Yeah, that was it. Idiot.
The human mind is a wonderfully deceptive and creative thing. I managed to rationalise this weirdness away as something like that, and then put it out of my mind.
But since then, all the neighborhood dogs bark their heads off at me as I walk around. Even the cats avoid me now. It COULD just be my imagination.
Flash forward 3 days.
Same sleeplessness, odd noises at night and the usual tossing and turning. No more foot prints, but I get ready to head out for the day, gather my things, and head out the front door. Door wont open. Locked – from the OUTSIDE.
WTF? I checked the back. Same thing. Locked from the outside.
I couldn’t get out of the house! Locked in.
THAT freaked me out, and it took me a good 5 minutes to figure out how to take the screens off, put my hand through without cutting my wrists on the sharp aluminum framing, and open the outside latch to escape.
The shoe rack out front had been turned over, shoes everywhere. The 2 motorbikes out front had been rifled through, paper and plastic bags everywhere. But apart from the mess – nothing.
OK…time to report in. MUST be thieves after all. I let the owner know, and my friend CB and they arranged to bring the housekeeper over to see if it had been her, or if she knew what was going on.
Jump forward to Wednesday afternoon.
A triumvirate of wise local women converge on the house, concerned about these happenings. After checking with the housekeeper and neighbors they came to the logical conclusion. “A gang of thieves casing the place, right?”.
I’m being haunted.
There is a playful but benign child spirit in the house, and it wants to play. This mischievous spirit is well known in the building and gets up to loads of trouble around the block. I hadn’t been formally introduced (as is the custom apparently) and this little poltergeist wanted to say ‘Hi’ and have some fun.
FML – of course. It all makes sense.
The solution is easy – fix the little temple/alter out in the front yard (had been installed but neglected by a previous tenant), burn 9 incense sticks and put some of my favorite flowers in as an offering. Then just sit down quietly and have a little private greeting ceremony – introduce myself. Things would be ok!
Its easy to forget that spirits play such an important role in Asian society, like a favorite uncle just hanging is not a big deal. They embrace the concept completely and incorporate it into their lives as a matter of fact. Its a beautiful thing.
Westerners are so dismissive in relation to things like this, myself included. I WANT to believe in so many things, spirits and ghosts and suchness, but the scientific and so-called logical mind just wants to scoff and dismiss. I firmly believe there is more to the universe than what we can see or perceive at any level. There has to be.
But I am a total pussy when it comes to ghost stories. A complete sucker. Put me in a dark corridor at night alone and every creature and ghost Ive ever seen on the silver screen or TV is hiding in the shadows waiting just for me. Horror movies and ghost stories in particular freak the Hell out of me but I just cant get enough.
I guess I believe in spirits at least as a form of indestructible energy in the universe.
Which would explain a lot.
THAT takes me into a discussion on religion (believe me no-one wants that to happen). I’m firmly an agnostic but jeez I’d love to be proved wrong. So where does that put me. 🙂
So to be sure, I’m looking for some incense today and little Casper and I will have a get together this evening. I also might buy a few new padlocks today as well just in case.
NOW – this all ties into some more weirdness that I mentioned a while back…the Nepalese Raven episode from a few years back.
This just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
Part 2 and the raven tomorrow.