April 10, 2011

Things that go Bump in the Night

Ghosts and poltergeists are not normally something I think about. I am considered by most people, myself included, to be quite the sceptic where claims of a paranormal nature are concerned. My usual reaction upon hearing a strange story for the first time is one of disbelief and annoyance. Disbelief, because upon further investigation most of these stories turn out to be either fake, or at the very least, just normal events embellished with hyperbole and drama. I also feel annoyance, because there are just so many of these stories.

How ironic then, that a confirmed sceptic such as myself is adding to that pile of strange stories and anecdotes.

The following account is a description of events at my house as they happened over the course of a few weeks during the summer of 2008.

Bumps in the Night

The house in question is a three bedroom terrace, which I share with my fiancé Kayleigh and three young children. At the time of these events in May and June of 2008, our two young daughters, Charlie (2) and Holly (1), both slept in the largest bedroom at the back of the house.

Quite often, whenever the girls were asleep upstairs, we would be sitting downstairs watching television and we’d suddenly hear the sound of someone running around in the girls’ room upstairs.

That wasn’t exactly unusual in itself, because Charlie would often get out of bed to go and get a toy or a book. However, this would happen a couple of hours after they had been in bed, a time when they were normally sound asleep.

The first few times this happened, I went upstairs to check on them and to admonish Charlie for making such a racket, but whenever I’d walk into the room, Holly was asleep in her cot and Charlie appeared to be sound asleep in her bed.

Because someone clearly was running around in the room, we decided that it must have been Charlie and that she was doing a very good job of pretending to be asleep each time we checked. I had my doubts, but it was the only obvious conclusion.

A Bang without a Cause

The sound of running happened most nights, but usually only once and not for very long. It got to the point where we didn’t even check anymore. It was only when it started happening more often, usually very late at night and when Kayleigh was already in bed, that I really began to wonder just what was going on.

There was no doubt that the noises were coming from the girls’ bedroom.

One night, I was at the back of the living room closing the blinds, and the sound of running around started from directly overhead once again. I didn’t check that time, but then a couple of nights later I heard a loud bang, followed immediately by running sounds that eventually went directly outside the bedroom door.

I raced upstairs, thinking that I’d definitely catch her this time. I could still hear the stamping of feet on the floor inside the room as I reached the door. I flung it open and there she was – fast asleep in bed.

I turned on the light and looked around the room. Charlie was lightly snoring and obviously not playacting. There was no way she could have made it into her bed before I opened the door.

I was dumbfounded, both at the fact they hadn’t been woken up by the noise, but more so by the fact that there was absolutely nothing or no one in that room that could have made the noise.

The only other logical candidate I could come up with was that maybe one of our two cats was making the noise.  However, neither of them was in the room that night. In fact, they were both outside, but allowing for the possibility made me feel better.

I decided to keep this to myself. I wasn’t particularly frightened by the goings-on, but I knew that the girls’ mother would think very differently about it.

Interacting with the Phenomenon

The next night, Thursday the 12th of May in 2008, things started to get just a little weirder.

I was upstairs in my computer room and the noises started up again. I ignored them at first, hoping they would only last a minute and then stop. They seemed to be getting louder though, so in frustration I sighed and whispered under my breath, Will you please stop?

To my great surprise, the noise ceased immediately.

Naturally, that wasn’t the result I expected. I hadn’t spoken very loudly, so it wasn’t as if Charlie could have heard me (still thinking logically).

Now, I’m not normally given to talking to myself late at night, but this time, as a little test, I made an exception.

Make another noise, had the immediate effect of the noises starting up again. Stop! was followed by silence.

Great, not only was I hearing noises, I was also now talking to them.

The Experiment

I decided to Skype my RU co-founder Ryan Dube and get his take on things. By this time it was very late at night/early morning, but this was a normal state of affairs for us, bearing in mind the five hour time difference we were both used to working with. I told him about everything that had happened, including the part about me seemingly having some kind of interaction with whatever it was.

We came to an agreement that I should try and record the sounds, so I went downstairs to retrieve my Sony Handycam (DCR-DVD92E) in order to do so. Whilst downstairs, I rather sheepishly began asking whatever it was if it wouldn’t mind making the noises again so I could record them for my colleague in the US. I didn’t expect anything to happen, because under normal circumstances I am a very logical, think-things-through type of person. Ghosts just don’t exist except in the mind of those who see them. That’s what I have always thought, anyway.

Still downstairs, I turned on the camera to make sure that the battery was charged and then decided to start recording right there and then. What happened next is contained in the video below. I apologize in advance for the bad language.

The loud crashing noise seemed to occur inside my ear, it felt so close. As you can see in the video, I didn’t wait around for any other surprises. There is nothing at the back of the living room that could have made such a noise, and when I looked in the morning, everything appeared as it should.

Upon hearing the recording, Ryan wanted (quite rightly) to plan for a proper investigation and had some good ideas on how we could proceed. However, events later that day were to scupper any idea of an investigation.

Friday the 13th and the Shaking Wardrobe

Disney WardrobeThe next morning, on Friday, June 13th, I was still deeply perplexed at what had happened the night before, and was wrestling with the thought of telling Kayleigh.

In the end, I decided it was best to tell her everything that had happened up to and including the recording.

Her initial reaction surprised me. The first thing she told me was it would explain why Charlie was always waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our room. I pointed out that she was always asleep when the noises were occurring, but she would come into our room a few hours later than that. Because it was always her mum who woke when she came in, I didn’t know that Charlie refused to go back into her room because she said she was scared. Like me, Kayleigh assumed it was just a phase she was going through and would grow out of.

I asked Charlie if she liked her room, and without looking up from playing with her toys, she said no, it’s scary.

Later that morning, one of Kayleigh’s friends came around after hearing about the story. After listening to the video, they both went upstairs so her friend could have a look in the girl’s bedroom. I stayed downstairs with the girls. We had been careful to make sure that Charlie wouldn’t hear anything about what we were talking about so as not to frighten her.

Not long after they had gone upstairs, Kayleigh shouted for me to come upstairs, quickly.

I did, and as I entered through the door I could see what they were looking at. Look at that. I looked at the Disney Princess canvas wardrobe, which was on the wall next to the door, and it was rippling. The whole thing was shaking slightly and the canvas doors were rippling as if being moved by a breeze.

Being in an upstairs bedroom with the windows closed, there was of course no breeze. As I looked at it, wondering if the effect could have been caused by vibrations or something similar, both Kayleigh and her friend pushed past me and ran downstairs. Nothing else in the room appeared to be moving, though I was loathe to take my eyes off what I was seeing.

I must have stood there for at least a minute watching the material move, before I was snapped out of it by Kayleigh who shouted up, asking me what it was doing. Moving I thought, as if it was a perfectly normal thing for it to be doing.

I realised I needed to go and get the video camera, but when I returned just a few seconds later the movement had stopped. I placed the camera on the chest of drawers opposite the Wardrobe and pressed the record button, but there was no more movement.

The Exorcism

Whatever was causing the strange vibrations would never have an opportunity to show itself. Both Kayleigh and her friend came back upstairs, and Kayleigh immediately started removing Charlie’s clothes from the wardrobe.

We’re not having any ghosts in this house! She said. I said we don’t know if it is a ghost, that it might be something perfectly normal and we should try and record it, but she wasn’t having any of it. The clothes came out and the material was removed from the hollow poles that held the wardrobe together. She then gathered everything together and put them in the trash bin outside.

With a steely look in her eyes, she told me that Charlie’s night time problems, and indeed the noises themselves, had started not long after buying the wardrobe from an EBay auction.

Being the rational and logical person that I am, I remain convinced that there should be a logical explanation for everything that has happened. Maybe Charlie really was running around the bedroom, or maybe it was one of the cats? Maybe the wardrobe was rippling because there was a breeze, or vibrations from elsewhere in the building?

I don’t actually know what could have made the loud crashing noise, but at least I know it wasn’t in my imagination.

One thing we do know for sure, since getting rid of the wardrobe, there have been no more noises and Charlie sleeps soundly in her bed at night.

Ghosts? I don’t really believe in them…   Do you?


Link to original video files (15mb zip archive)

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Filed under: Weird — Tags: , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 9:48 pm

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