I'm starting to wonder whether I might be a magnet for the supernatural. Boom, show me another blog with a post that starts with that sentence. All the people who've been snoozing their way through the last several months of pregnancy posts just suddenly woke up, like oh really? Is she finally going to write something that doesn't have to do with needing to pee all the time?
As I have mentioned in the past, I totally believe in ghosts. I like to say it a lot—and I especially like to say it out loud a lot—because not only do I believe in ghosts, but I also believe that the ghosts can hear you if you say you don't believe in ghosts and then they'll start doing things like opening squeaky doors in the middle of the night and turning your television on and off at will. (Most of my ghost-based knowledge comes from old episodes of Scooby Doo, apparently.)
While I'd probably still believe in ghosts even if I hadn't had any weird experiences that got me wondering, some slightly creepy things have happened to me over the years to reinforce my belief in the paranormal. Let's relive them quickly, shall we? They include:
* The time my pearl earrings disappeared for weeks and then suddenly reappeared, out of nowhere, on my bedside table while I was home alone in the shower.
* The time we camped on what was possibly once a Native American burial ground and Sean kept waking up with his arm pulled straight up in the air.
* The time I watched Paranormal Activity and then woke up at 3am to the crash of a saucepan landing in the middle of my kitchen floor. (I may be willing to concede that this one was the work of a cat. Like, 50% maybe. We don't have to count it if you don't want to, although it was still pretty horrifying timing, you have to admit.)
* And the time, which I don't think I've ever written about, when I stayed in a haunted B&B in Montana for work—I know it was haunted because I asked when I checked in, which feels like a hilarious thing to do at 2pm and a terrible thing to have done at 2am—and kept hearing lots of little feet running up and down the stairs. When I checked out the next morning, I found out there was only one other guy staying there. And he did not look like the type to be exercising in the middle of the night.
Anyway, I have now had a fifth creepy thing happen to me and I'm going to tell you about it so that we can all agree that yes, ghosts exist and for some reason they like to mess with me. Either that, or I have a particularly active imagination. You decide.
When I went to Scotland last month, my dad and I stayed with my sister at her house in St. Andrew's, which is a very, very old town and thus contains some very, very old stone cottages, one of which is the one Susie was living in. My dad took my sister's room, I took my sister's roommate's room—she went to stay with someone else for the weekend—and my sister rather magnanimously took the futon downstairs. On our first night there, I was lying in the roommate's bed in the dark around 12:45am, a few minutes away from sleep, when there was suddenly this super intense.......movement in the room, that felt like someone had simultaneously shaken the walls and jumped really hard up onto my bed.
There was no noise or anything, just a really strong shake, and my first thought was that there had been an earthquake. (In Scotland? What? I know, but I live in San Francisco, where this kind of thing is usually no big whoop, so that's where my mind went first.) I lay there for a while to see if my dad or sister would come out onto the landing and say anything, but no-one did, so then I started wondering if I should get up and explore. Like, what if my dad had fallen out of bed or something? Was that likely? Would he have shaken my entire room if he had? No and no—particularly not the last one, I should mention, since he's recently lost 30 pounds and is looking very svelte these days—but I couldn't think of another explanation for what had just happened.
And then ten minutes later, my heart still racing a little, something even weirder happened. As I lay in the pitch black, my head under the covers because the initial shake had sort of freaked me out, something started jumping on my bed. I swear to god, something started jumping on my bed. The entire mattress bounced up and down violently—with me on it—five or six times, as though a particularly rambunctious child had been let loose in a Best Western hotel room after ingesting a king-size packet of Skittles from the vending machine.
I was so legitimately frightened at that point that I couldn't even bring myself to reach my hand out of the covers to flip on the bedside lamp or grab my phone to text my sister downstairs. I mean, what would I have said anyway? OMG YR HOUSE IS POSESSED BY DEMONS WTF COME UPSTAIRS :( :( :(
Seriously, I was really, really scared. I would have placed a million dollar bet, at that point, that a person had just come into my room and bounced up and down on my bed. In the dark. In the middle of the night. In an old stone cottage in Scotland.
By some miracle I got to sleep—and by some other miracle I didn't wake up to pee in the night, because I would surely have just said screw it and wet the bed at that point and had the roommate send me the bill for both her drycleaning and her subsequent therapy—and in the morning, I convinced myself that it must have had something to do with, I don't know, the acoustics of the room or something. The dynamics of it. Maybe a particularly heavy lorry had driven past outside or a neighbor had hurled themselves against the shared wall or something. "You should ask Sarah about it," I told Susie, laughing dismissively at how freaked out I'd been the night before. "I bet she's felt the same thing a hundred times."
I forgot all about it—no such similar hauntings the next night, thank goodness—until a week or so after I got back from the UK and Susie messaged me. "I forgot to tell you," she said. "I asked Sarah about that shaking and bouncing you felt while you were in her bed, and she said she's never felt anything like it for the entire year we lived there. Also, I had that room the year before, and I'd never felt it either."
And thus, dear Internet, I'm starting to believe that maybe it was something.......other. Was it a ghost? Was it my imagination? Was it something we don't know enough about to explain? It seems a little convenient—and so trite that you wouldn't believe it if you read it in a novel—to wonder if it was my recently departed grandmother, whose funeral I'd attended the day before, trying to get my attention in a particularly mischievous way. And yet you know what? It's not like I have a more feasible explanation. So sometimes I let myself believe it anyway.