Keeping with the subject matter of my last three blog posts, it was only a matter of time before I told my own “shaking bed” story. It seems to be a common occurrence in haunted houses to have the beds shake at some point. I could go into a long winded explanation of how this might happen and why, but I’ll leave it for a future blog post. My purpose right now is to relate what my family and I experienced in that haunted old house without trying to analyze it to death. Before I get to the shaking bed story, though, I want to share a few other strange occurrences.
One of the most annoying things we put up with was the constant blowing of light bulbs (I can’t tell you how many we went through during the seven years we lived in that haunted old farmhouse but I do know this, we should have bought stock in that company!). I tell you, there is nothing worse than a blown bulb in a dark room and the creepy feeling that something is hovering over you! The fact is, when you are living in a haunted house, you just can’t depend on the electrical equipment because they will, at some point, go haywire. Of course, this only occurs when spirit activity is strong.
Another interesting fact is that haunted houses have cold spots (concentrated pockets of air within a room that are colder than the surrounding area). Our house didn’t just have cold spots though, sometimes the entire house was cold, even in hot weather or when the heat was going full blast!
The first few years we lived in our house, my parents tried to explain all the weird occurrences away. For instance, they blamed all the blown light bulbs on bad wiring. Is that so? Then why did we experience stretches of time where we didn’t lose a single bulb? Bad wiring is bad all the time, not just sometimes. The fact is, we had periods of blessed peace when, for whatever reason, the spirits left us alone. During these peaceful periods, we had no problems with the wiring. Just to give you an idea of how messed up things can get with the electricity (besides blown light bulbs), I’ll relate a few other things we experienced. Since what happened with my father’s clock radio finally led him to believe the place was haunted, I’ll start there.
My dad used a clock radio as his morning alarm. His favorite radio station came on the air at the time he needed to get up so he enjoyed waking to the sound of country music (the only type of music he’ll listen to I might add). Well, it happens that my dad’s clock radio was a favorite item for the spirits to mess with. Maybe they were just pulling silly pranks but if so, they did not amuse my father! One of the things they did often was change radio stations on him. Instead of waking up to country, Dad would wake up to the sounds of rock music. Puzzling as that was for him, it was nothing compared to what happened to him one night while he lay listening to his music station as he drifted off to sleep. The radio suddenly began to switch stations, going from one to several others in succession. Though it didn’t make sense for a radio that required manual manipulation to change stations, dad decided the thing was malfunctioning and had nothing to do with spirit activity (he most emphatically did not believe in ghosts). My mom, however, had no qualms about blaming it on ghosts for she was just as convinced that they did exist and that we were sharing our home with them. I have to add here that she was quite comfortable with that idea.
The thing that sparked Dad’s acceptance of ghosts was the night the radio came on blaring rock music in the very early hours of the morning. Dad turned the radio back to his usual station and went back to sleep. A little while later he was wakened again, only this time to loud pop music. Annoyed (probably a mild descriptive for what he actually was feeling), Dad put it back to his station. Moments later it’s blaring classical music. Fed up at this point, my dad pulled the cord out of the outlet and tossed the radio across the room. “There ,” he says (as related later when telling his story) now try and play.” Laying there on the floor, its electric cord tangled beside it, the radio switched from one station to another as if in scanning mode (and no, there was no such mode on that radio). Finally something was happening that actually freaked him out. What’s more, it freaked out my mom too and she liked the idea of living with ghosts! Dad ended up getting a wind up alarm clock and that worked out just fine. Guess the spirits can’t manipulate wind up clocks!
Messing with the clock radio was bad enough but this next prank of theirs was going too far. My parents went through a tropical fish craze and at one time we had three aquariums. Since the house was always cold and the fish required a moderate temperature, we had to keep aquarium heaters in all the tanks. They were set to the desired temperature and left alone. One night my parents decided it was time to add to our fish population and we all crowded into the car and headed off to the pet store. We were gone for a couple of hours or so and when we returned home, we found all our fish dead (well, we did have one lone survivor and I still wonder about that!). The heaters were turned all the way up on all three tanks and those poor fish had been cooked to death! Now, I don’t know if any of you know much about aquarium heaters but I can tell you that they don’t get so hot that a 25 and 40 gallon tank will heat to the point of cooking fish. And even if the heaters were capable of that, surely they couldn’t do it in a couple hours? No longer was the spirit activity harmless. It wasn’t long after that when my parents finally decided it was time to move.
And now, finally, we get to the bed shaking story. Well, it happened around the time we were beginning to talk about the house being haunted. I didn’t like the idea of ghosts inhabiting our house but I wasn’t terrified of them at this point. The incident with my dog that I spoke about in “Another Brush With the Supernatural” hadn’t yet occurred. I was about twelve at the time. One evening my parents had several family members and friends over for a musical gathering (my parents liked to get together with friends and family to play guitars and sing). The five of us kids were relegated to the upstair bedrooms. Since I wanted to read a book, the quietest place to do that was my parents’ room. I made myself comfortable on their big wrought iron bed and was soon lost in my reading while my brothers and sister raised ruckus in the other two bedrooms.
I’m not sure how long I was on the bed, maybe a half hour or so, when it began to shake. At first I thought it was just vibration from the kids running around in the next room so I didn’t pay any attention to it. But then it began to shake harder, to the point that I could no longer read. I looked up from my book and focused my attention on my surroundings. The feeling that I was no longer alone was really strong and I thought maybe one of my brothers had sneaked into the room. I put the book down and the shaking stopped. I called out a warning that if it was one of my brothers, they had better come out now or else. Nothing. I sat quietly and waited. It wasn’t long before the bed shook again, hard. Sure that it was one of my brothers, I started to lean over the edge to look when a spool of green thread went zipping across the floor. It smacked into the wall to the right of me, bounced off and then rolled at a slow steady pace towards the bed (I couldn’t figure how it lost its momentum so fast and that kept me rooted in place). The spool eventually disappeared under the bed. I heard it continue its slow roll across the floor until it suddenly came shooting out the other side. It crashed into the wall to the left of me and bounced off but instead of rolling away, it stopped still where it landed and didn’t move. Neither did I. After a few moments, it began to roll back across the room, disappearing from my sight as it reached the open floor space at the foot of the bed. Silence ensued.
I just had to know where the spool was so I crawled down to the end of the bed and peeked through the wrought iron scrolls on the footboard. The spool had come to a rest about a foot away from the bed. Relieved that it was no longer moving, I finally yelled for help. I did contemplate making a jump for the door and running like hell but was having a time getting up the nerve to do so. After all, I still wasn’t sure what might be under the bed! All thoughts of escape were immediately abandoned when the bed began to shake again.
Heart pounding, I grabbed the footboard to keep my balance and came to the unsettling decision that I couldn’t just sit there without checking under the bed. I had to know if something (hopefully my brother if anything) was there or not. I waited until the shaking stopped and then crawled to the edge of the bed. It was time to look. I imagined all sorts of horrifying scenarios (like being grabbed and pulled under the bed) as I leaned over the edge and lifted the blankets out of the way. Nothing was there. I was both relieved and frightened by this fact. What then, was shaking the bed and moving that spool around the room? Since I didn’t have an explanation for that, I did not dare step down onto the floor. Instead, I yelled for help again and at the same moment, the spool of thread took off across the floor. It crashed into the wall to my right, bounced off and rolled slowly back towards me, just as it did before. Then the bed started to shake again. The spool went whizzing off toward the wall to my left as if someone had suddenly given it a swift kick but then it did the strangest thing (as if what was occurring already wasn’t strange), it came to an abrupt halt about an inch away from the wall. Now I start to yell in earnest.
Finally one of my brothers came to the open doorway to see what I wanted. I tried to get him to come into the room with me but for some odd reason (he didn’t know what was going on after all) he would not budge from the doorway. The spool remained right where it had stopped. I hoped it would move while my brother was there to witness it but it did not. I asked him to go pick it up. He wouldn’t do it. Frustrated with him, I then asked if he would please go get mom. I think he must have heard the panic in my voice because he didn’t argue with me but did as I requested. As he went running down the stairs, the spool started rolling crazily around the room. It would go fast and slow, stop and go. The bed started shaking again too but it was a gentle shaking which wasn’t so frightening. I didn’t think I was in danger but I wasn’t going to get off that bed. No way.
It seemed to take my mother forever to answer my brother’s summons but finally I heard her coming up the stairs. The spool of thread rolled towards the door and stopped near the threshold. My parent’s room was at the top of the stairs and straight ahead just a few feet so I could see some of the stairwell. It sure was a welcome sight when my mom came into view! She stops in the doorway and asks me what is wrong. I tell her the bed is shaking (which, of course, it wasn’t at that moment). She gives me a “you got me up here for that?” look and tells me that it’s probably vibration from the music causing it. Really? Then why wasn’t it shaking now when I could clearly hear the music playing? Then I point to the spool of thread. “That spool is rolling all over the floor by itself.” My mom steps forward and picks it up. “Well, that’s from the vibration of the music too.” Funny how that spool of thread didn’t respond to the music vibration the first hour they were playing their music! In any case, I skedaddled off that bed as fast as I could and followed my mom down the stairs.
I would never go lay on my parents’ bed anymore after that, especially when they both began to complain about the bed shaking. And no, there was no music playing in the house. Not even from the crazy clock radio!