I have lived at Alegria for just over two years now. Right from the get-go strange things have happened in this house. The first night I spent at Alegria I heard a voice in the basement that sounded like a man muttering on about something. Though I could not make out any words, the voice was distinctly male and a bit troubled (by my presence?). The doorbell rings randomly now and then and there is a door in the basement that, if left open, will be shut with some force during the night.
I have found small piles of spruce or pine needles in various places, accompanied by the strong, fresh scent of evergreen trees. One day I found several small nails on the floor in the living room, hallway and bedroom, all used, some bent and all with a different colour of paint on the head – none of which matched anything in the house. I have felt weird cold spots and strange draughts in different places. I have heard low moans and loud crashes though I’ve not been able to locate the sources. Things have been moved. Both Oliver and Willow have reacted to in strange ways, suddenly arching their backs, flattening their ears and hissing at some unseen thing, often in the hallway and sometimes in the living room or dining room. I have watched them casually walking through the house and then suddenly backing away from something I can’t see, or waking from a dead sleep to leap away in fright from some equally invisible something. (Bad dreams, perhaps?)
I do not feel threatened or frightened by any of these odd occurrences. I fondly put them down to the antics of Harry, the ghost, so named for a deceased previous owner of the house. Some of them have plausible, logical explanations; others remain mysteries.
The other morning – Monday I think it was – I woke up and, as per my usual routine, performed my morning ablutions before heading to the dining room to check my e-mail and my Angry Birds Friends Weekly Tournament status. On my way through the living room I found a large chunk of foam lying on the carpet in front of one of the wing chairs. Oliver and Willow were circling it with their backs arched and tails puffed out, obviously afraid of it.
The foam chunk is slightly larger than a coffee cup and appears to be deliberately shaped for some specific purpose, though I cannot imagine what. I have no idea where it came from or what it was meant for. The plausible, logical explanation is that it was in a corner under the stairs and one of the cats discovered it and dragged it up stairs. If that is the case, it is oddly dust-free and clean. They have retrieved other things – a bracelet and a bullet – from down there. I have never crawled in and checked to see what else might be lurking in the dark recesses of that space.
|Found on the living room floor: one chunk of foam. |
Where the heck did it come from?
I feel compelled to state that I do not think that ghosts exist. At least not in the traditional, popular-fiction versions of wispy figures, fully dressed and looking like their human selves. That’s just nonsense. It makes no sense to me.
I have experienced what is popularly termed as poltergeist activity on a few occasions in the past. Once a stuffed animal flew off my dresser and landed about three feet in front of it on the floor with no obvious cause. Another time, a bottle of rum slid across the fridge where it was sitting and landed upright on the counter next to the fridge. And once, at a friend’s house, two framed photographs (among several others) fell face down on the top of the TV on which they were displayed. What caused these items to move the way they did is a mystery to me. I have no plausible, logical explanation for these events.
I find the notion of ghosts to be vastly intriguing. Experience tells me that things happen, mysterious and extraordinary things, but to assign them to the activities of “ghosts” is simply not rational. The weird things that have happened at Alegria – and other places I’ve been – are not the result of Harry (or any deceased human) acting out or trying to send a message. Of that, I am relatively certain. Those “ghosts” are, in my mind, products of psychological and emotional response to grief and fear and nothing more.
I cannot explain where the pine needles in their neat little piles, or the nails with their brightly painted heads came from. I don’t know how the door in the basement gets closed in the middle of the night when I have stood there with it open for long periods of time without it closing. I don’t know what causes the moaning sounds or the crashing sounds in my house. I don’t know how things I have left on the counter in the kitchen at night end up in the living room on the coffee table in the morning. I don’t know what frightens Oliver and Willow and I cannot explain the cold spots or weird draughts (a very chilly gust of air blowing through the shower from the inside, for example. I suspect that the doorbell wiring is flawed and a legitimate “ding” is followed some time later by its partner “dong” because of this. Although sometimes the ding and the dong happen together when no one is at the door pressing the button, it is quite plausible that someone did press the button earlier and both the ding and the dong were delayed in tandem by the wiring glitch. (It is an old house!)
Both my right and left brains love to play with these events, analyzing and dissecting, searching for both the rational and the fantastical causes. I imagine a wager going on between them:
Right Brain: I’ll bet you a million cells it’s a ghost!
Left Brain: Prepare to lose, Righty!
Regardless of the hows or the whys of any of this, the funny chunk of foam is another mystery yet to be solved. I can’t imagine where it came from, but I’d welcome any explanation that anyone might be able to offer. Did one of my kids leave it behind after a visit? Was it among some long-forgotten craft stuff somewhere? Was it under the stairs all this time and only just found by the cats? (seems logical except for its clean condition) Or is “Harry” trying to tell me something? Whatever the explanation, life at Alegria continues to be wonderfully, magically fascinating, curious and remarkable.