Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Xtra Files 2: The Haunted Bedroom
"Daddy, I'm scared!" the small voice of my three year old daughter whispered quietly in the darkness. "Can I sleep with you and mom?" It wasn't the first time she had been scared in the night. She had had trouble sleeping in her room ever since we moved in to our lovely 2,800 square foot home* in Utah's Dixie.
The blanket was a well worn hand-me-down that had been used by my son for years. Even though it was a bit frayed, and was nearly worn through in a couple of places, she loved her soft baby blue baby blanket and slept with it every night... until, one day the blanket mysteriously disappeared. We looked everywhere for it, and it was nowhere to be found. We finally decided that it was lost, and basically moved the thought of it to the back of our minds... But then, one day, months later, the blanket mysteriously turned up. I found it folded, in my daughter's room and placed neatly on her small bed. I immediately inquired with Mighty Mo, assuming that she had found it. To my surprise, she was just as baffled by the appearance of the blanket as I was. I had doubts about either of my kids actually folding** something, but I checked with them anyway. Both of them were also surprised to see it, and denied folding it and placing it on the bed.
Where did it go? How did it get back? Why was it folded and placed strategically on the bed? Could the room actually be haunted? I doubted it... until...
When we moved to Santa Cruz back in 1997, my old college buddy, Rob, had recently divorced, and needed a place to live. We were heading out to California, and trying to decide what to do with the house... Do we sell it? Do we rent it? We decided to let Rob rent it for a while, and he agreed to pay enough to make my mortgage every month while he lived there and finished the basement. Unfortunately, this arrangement didn't work out, and after six months of not receiving any money from him, and none of my phone calls returned, I decided to fly to St. George and kick him out of the house, and hopefully collect many thousands of dollars in unpaid rent.
When I arrived, a stranger answered the door. As it turned out, Rob had been subletting rooms to college kids, and this guy was one of the renters. The nearly twenty year old boy stood before me in the doorway, wearing excessively loose fitting and large exaggerated denim bell-bottoms which were worn and frayed from having been trampled under foot, and stepped on thousands of times. I introduced myself, and informed him of my intentions. He was accommodating, and told me where I might be able to find Rob. In a strange attempt to relate, he asked, "What kind of music do you listen to?" Surprised by the strange, out of context question, I replied, "Oh, I don't know... whatever..." He then volunteered, "I like rock!" Nodding his head in affirmative support of his statement. I told him I would like to take a look around, and without hesitation he stepped aside, and invited me inside. It was obvious that college-aged kids occupied the place. A large entryway window had been broken and replaced with cheap oddly-colored glass, and the entire place was in a state of disarray.
In the basement, an entire wall had been knocked out. The damage was excessive. When I peered into the upstairs bedrooms, I noticed that there were three beds crowded into one room while another room (the haunted bedroom) was completely empty. I found it odd, but didn't think much about it at the time. When my disappointment was sufficiently satisfied, I set out to find Rob.
He was surprised to see me. I told him that he had to move out of the house and give me at least half of the rent he had failed to pay... I made it clear to him that I wasn't leaving his side until I had the money. I shadowed him for the rest of the day as he made attempts to raise money from his friends and business associates, and he did recover nearly half of the money he owed.
I inquired about the bedroom situation. "Why are there three beds in one room, while the bedroom next to it is completely empty?" I asked. "Oh, no one will sleep in there... that room is haunted!" he said.
*The house seemed like the best deal when we were shopping for a home. It had five staggered levels, and eight bedrooms. The lowest level in the house was the basement which is where we kept the ping pong table. There were three other rooms as well. A room for my guitars, a storage room, and Edweena had her very own room... the luckiest mannequin in town. The next level was the garage and work room. A handful of stairs lead to the laundry room. There were two other rooms on that level, as well as a large walk in closet, and a large foyer. One of the rooms is where I kept my (electric) organ, and the other served as both an office and library. I had thousands of my favorite books*** at my fingertips, and could find any of them upon request for information about anything. Meanwhile, Kombucha Mushrooms in large glass jars flourished in the dark closet. The foyer lead to the living room which had large windows with a view of Zion National Park off in the distance. The kitchen was also on that level. There was a large wood burning stove which kept the house toasty warm all winter. Stairs lead from the living room to the fifth and highest level. There was a large bathroom, with two sinks and tub and shower. The master bedroom was large, with another restroom adjacent to it. The two other bedrooms on that level were occupied by my son and daughter.
**They're teenagers now, and they still don't fold anything.
**Sadly, 90% of my book collection was destroyed while in storage a few years back. It broke my heart.