Dec 21, 2008


SEATTLE, Washington – Though not superstitious, I must confess, my heebie-jeebies are rising, here in the 110-odd-year-old house:

1. The light switches on at 7am.
Woo-woo version: Calvinist ghosts say "get up"!
Rationalist denial: faulty-spring flips upward.

2. (Two weeks later) The shower blasts on, full bore, as I'm working at the desktop, dirty, two rooms away.
Woo-woo: The home's Scandinavian forebearers think it's time to wash that slobby freelance @ss.
Denial: cold-weather fouled the pipes. No. Really.

3. (Two days later) Maggots drip from my downstairs neighbor's bathroom ceiling, yet none of us smell decay.
Woo: Our ghost(s) possess a vindictive Lutheran side I just don't dig.
Den: A possum tunneled into the foundation – not for the first time – crept up the old internal latticework and croaked. Its corpse could remain under my back deck, hence no stench, given the super-snow of late.

But, um, can can rot and fly-breeding concur alongside subzero temps?

Largely, my friends are romantics. ERH wrote: "the ghost in our house in Wyoming liked to turn the taps on. And light switches are a pretty common ghost thing."

Another wryly Facebooked: "Your ghosts are probably a bunch of sobersides who think you should get up early and work, work, work, plus they want you to be really clean, in body and in spirit. I'm thinking that the turning on of the shower might symbolize the cleansing of your soul."

Then SW teased me, "maybe you should just listen to it. If the shower turns on, take one. If the light goes on, get up. You never know. . ."

Which was fine till the maggots started. But now what? Should I go forth and multiply? Spill my eggs on barren ground? That gets clumsy with chicks quick or so I imagine ... What really can I do? Lob ova at hapless test-tubers?

La mamma Ellen clucks, "check the smoke detector, because the light could indicate an electric short. Can you rappel out your bedroom window, if there's a fire? Where is your climbing rope?"

"Ma," I whine, suddenly 14 again. "It's in the bedroom closet. But I could jump to the ground here without harm. Seriously. But what about the shower and the maggots?"

She's quiet, chewing this over, then says, "you sent me some sage from Taos. Wanna burn some?"

Oh hell, however atheist we are, any port in a storm...


  1. Can ghosts travel? Could one have come in with the new neighbors?

  2. Hmmmm. Maybe that's why Jake the Tabby keeps hissing at them?

    I thought ghosts generally were tied to an emotionally significant spot (their home, place of death, etc). But ERH wrote about those marching legionnaires...

  3. I didn't know Casper was a Scandinavian Lutheran. I learned something today.

  4. The mystery maggots aren't feeling so friendly...