I just watched “The Shining” again. I should know better. Spooky movies should be avoided on nights when you’re home alone. Wait a minute! What was that? It sounded like moaning upstairs someplace. Why is it an old house can be perfectly quiet all day, but right after sunset, begin to squeal and rattle like a three-master in a typhoon?

Last week it got so bad after I watched “Poltergeist” I had to ask my neighbors, Brock and Julia, over to sit with me awhile. It was quite embarassing. The twins are only 14.

I once had a great dog. I thought she’d keep me company and be a calming influence, but Molly heard twice as much as I did and spent most nights snarling at dark corners and barking at strange sounds. Molly ran away years ago during a Dracula TV movie, but sometimes I hear her growling up in the attic. Well something is growling up in the attic!

With 20/20 ears and Irish roots, I not only hear every little twitch of lumber and creak of plaster, but I often attribute them to supernatural causes. Some of the noises are hard to explain otherwise.

It can’t always be just the house settling or cooling down or the wind flapping a loose shutter. Those would be random noises, but sometimes I hear a definite tempo like that stacatto in the back room now. It sounds like a ghostly troupe of flamenco dancers.

Speaking of definite tempos, last night there was a rap-tap-tapping on the north side of the house that lasted a half hour. My Morse code isn’t what it used to be, but I’m sure there was one stretch that twice spelled out “Otto Blegnitz”. I don’t know an Otto Blegnitz. I’ll have to Google him and tell him I’m getting his messages from the other side.

Way back when my whole family lived here, I sometimes had to pretend I didn’t hear strange noises, or at least I didn’t consider them strange. “That’s only a tree limb brushing the side of the house,” I’d say. But down deep I’d be wondering who or what was dragging something through the attic.

Sometimes the family would insist I take a look, just to be sure. I would chuckle and say, “This is so silly, but if it makes you feel better….” Once, while checking strange attic noises, I stumbled in the dark and an old fur coat slid off its hanger and fell on my back.

I found my family cowering in the living room. “Didn’t you hear that blood-curdling scream in the attic?” my wife gasped.

“Oh, that was no scream,” I said nonchalantly, “I found my old cornet up there and was trying to play “Moon River”, but I’ve lost my lip.” Then I went into the bathroom and threw some water onto my face, trying to keep from fainting.

I also see strange things, night and day, but they’re not as clearly defined as that clanking down in the cellar right now.

I can’t be precise about what I glimpsed peripheraly today, running behind the couch. Whatever it was, it was certainly fast and had a rounded top, like possibly a gnome wearing a derby. It couldn’t have been Molly. She was a small dog and never wore a derby.

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