Sunday, November 11, 2018

My house in Fresno, California

I bought a house about three years ago - a nice, if rather weird, house that had previously been used as a hospice and elder care facility. When the realtor showed it to us, she notified us, as required by state law, that people had died in the house. This didn’t particularly bother me - interacting with human remains is something that I have done routinely throughout my education and career, so if I was worried about being haunted or cursed I am likely way past the point of no return. Also, I have been present in hospice facilities during the death of family members, and that experience, while never pleasant, was also never traumatic. So, that people died under hospice care in my House was fine, and it lowered the cost because other potential buyers were actively avoiding the house.

Most of the peculiarities of the house were weird architectural elements added to help it better serve as a care facility - things such as a sun room added on behind the living room (so that you have windows looking out of one room, into another room), or an entire bathroom being converted to one giant shower. Other oddities were more just strange things that we discovered: a photo of an old man over the door to the garage, a stack of mirrors in one of the closets, a lock on the master bathroom that allowed you to lock someone in but not lock anyone out, weird acoustics that make it sound like people are talking in one room when they are in another, etc.

After we had been there for a few months, my wife told me that our daughter would come into our bedroom at night, stand at the foot of the bed and stare at us. And my wife brought this up a few times, saying that it was ongoing. Now, most nights I was asleep and wouldn’t have noticed a thing, but other nights I was having trouble with insomnia and was awake, and I know that my daughter didn’t enter our room.

Around the same time, my daughter told me that, at night, the wooden supports in the house walls would whisper to her. They would say "we are your friends, and we love you."

About a year after that, I fell asleep on the couch in the living room, and woke briefly to the sound of someone walking in the kitchen (adjacent to the living room). The house is 60 years old and many rooms, including the kitchen, have squeaky floorboards with distinctive sounds, and this was the sound of an adult. Anyway, when I asked my wife the next day why she hadn’t woken me up to head to bed when she was in the kitchen, she told me that she had not been in the kitchen.

More recently, my daughter has begun complaining of having “bad thoughts” about creepy entities when she is in bed at night, and about two weeks ago, she called me in after I had put her to bed. When I got to her room, she told me that she had seen a shadowy figure come in through the exterior wall, cross over her bed, and enter her closet. She has also said that she is afraid of the "shadows with white teeth" that she sometimes sees at night.

Commentary: Now, I don’t believe in ghosts, or anything supernatural for that matter. I think that what I experienced was likely just a mix of normal hallucinations while sleepy (everyone gets them, it’s normal and explains many ghost stories), and my daughter is a six year old who is beginning to understand and cope with the concept of death, and her reaction has been to occasionally freak out and over-interpret things (we played the Oregon Trail board game recently, and while she has always been a gracious loser, drawing the “you have died of dysentery” card freaked her out) - add to that the fact that her bedroom window faces the street and that odd shadows are common when cars drive by. Even the thing about the supports in the walls talking to her started as a joke between her and I when her mother was having to spend time in the hospital for eye surgery (I started talking about the beams talking because I thought she'd find it funny, and she did, and it helped distract her away from worrying about her mom).

But, still, explainable or not, and I do feel that it is very explainable, it’s pretty creepy.

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