Snap , Crackle and Bop !
by Alice Mulconry
(Battle Creek, Mi USA)
I started life in a haunted apartment. Eight large rooms over an old saloon. I lived through all the bumps in the night and quite a few during the day. The uninvited were my constant playmates, just out of reach by space and time. Loud banging and knocking echoed in the hall and the dread of finding out who or what was causing those sounds was constant. I learned that by putting a toy back on a shelf meant that you hadn’t really put it away, for it would always show up someplace else. They would show themselves from time to time, those wraiths that came with the cheap rent.
Making their presence known with an icy breeze or fluttery whisper. Some dared to announce themselves with the scent of Old By Rum or rose water. In shadow form or solid, they were a part of my everyday no matter how I tried to wish them away. At age 15 I thought I was finally free from the sad spirits of ether and alcohol, because we moved to another apartment. In an odd quirk of fate , I would somehow always manage to live in a suspect dwelling, a place where some tragedy or horror had once taken place, it seems to be my lot in life. I left NYC on the heels of a national tragedy, a month after 9/11, I moved to Battle Creek, Michigan , the cereal city. On the outskirts of town , I purchased a 1950s ranch style house. A nondescript sort of house lacking curb appeal and modern updates. The house sits on four acres, more or less of semi wooded land. The previous owners were in a hurry to sell, claiming that they were ready to go on a long mission for their church. The place was sparely furnished , a conscience realty gimmick . It was freshly painted . New cheap carpeting had been installed over worn linoleum . The pink bathroom fixtures stood out against the slapdash sheet rock that had been used to cover missing tile on the wall. For all the red flags that went up while viewing the house, I seemed to miss the most obvious. There were ornamental crosses everywhere in the place. I could have chalked this up to religious people, but something wasn’t right. The kitchen held a clue, a single dried marigold suspended by white twine from the kitchen window. It was an old wives trick to keep bad luck from entering. Of course the house was not all it was advertised to be, things fell apart as soon as I moved in. Plumbing problems, electrical problems, leaking roof, doors and windows hastily painted and impossible to open without paint remover and elbow grease...all part and parcel of a quick move and quicker purchase. I never really settled in ,to this day it is an uneasy house that I loathe to call home. I found out a few days after moving in ,that my 1950s ranch style home was haunted. I was used
to the idea of a stereotypical haunt, that of the English castle or Victorian Boo and Breakfast . Certainly my time over the crumbly saloon had been classic in that it was the type of place associated with haunts. This mid century modern home straight out of Howdy Doodyville would prove to be just as frightening. I saw the shadow first, it peeked out from the side of the kitchen, my dog let out a mournful howl down the hall and came racing after it. The both of us stood in the sun dappled kitchen wondering what we had just witnessed. That sighting was just a prelude of things to come. The “it” of the place was building to a crescendo. There would be the groans and creaks of a house settling, but then would come whispered conversations from the basement, sometimes accompanied by far off music. Next was faucets that turned on and off randomly. I came home from work one evening to find all the cupboard doors in the kitchen open. I didn’t think that the dog had opposable thumbs. There would be lulls in the action, you could go for weeks without anything and then came the night of what I would call “Bop”. I went to bed after 11:00p.m. one night, I could not have had my head on the pillow for more than five minutes, when the dog began to growl from her perch at the edge of the bed. The three windows in my bedroom let the moonlight shine in , but the window closest to the bed was blackened by something. The dog kept up her low growl as I slowly realized that the window was being blacked out by some large shape. The shadow was darker than the darkened room, it extended from floor to ceiling covering the window and the rocking chair. In sheer panic I inched closer to the dog who was now no longer barking , but screaming. The shadow undulated in the dark and let out a sound ...a single nonsense word that sounded like “bop”...followed by a evil short laugh. I yelled at the top of my lungs “In the name of Jesus Christ , get out!” The next morning, it had all seemed to be a bad dream, but the subtle disturbances continued. A friend who had ties to the pagan community came by to do a cleansing. Upon lighting a candle in the dining room, he was slammed against the wall by a large flame that shot from the wick. I Saged the entire house top to bottom , reciting the Lord’s prayer and the 23 Psalm. To this day my haunt is still not a home. I did some research and found out that a past owner had committed suicide by shotgun in the bathroom hence the slapdash repair job on the wall and the dried marigold hanging in the kitchen window. As an adult I still live in a place where things go bump in the night and sometimes in the day.