Feb 6, 2011

Imagine that a pair of your underwear just walked across your bedroom floor, bowed toward you, and said “hello” while you were completely sober. Imagine shaking that off, only to have various other weird shit happen on subsequent days. Then imagine going around to look for the explanation of your hallucinations; only to find that stories of walking, bowing, friendly underpants had been well documented and decidedly fictional bedtime stories for generations and you’d just never heard of it. There your underwear are anyway... looking at you like you’re a simpleminded retard for not being able to accept the concept that they’re sentient.

It’s kind of like that.

Trying to push a singular experience into a form for people with no context for it is difficult. I’d imagine most people here don’t have the type of background I do and wouldn’t understand some of it even if explained.

I can’t think of them being particularly exciting as simple accounts, sadly. The hyped up legend stuff reads so much better. Not being there takes a hell of a lot of punch out of things; much like watching video of 9/11 fails to compare with having run for your life from the debris near ground zero.

Here is a true story of what happened to me, recounted exactly as I tell it, which isn't often.

It's 2007, and a few friends and I are getting ready for a trip to the country for some late night shooting. We're upstairs at my family's old house, it was built in the late '40s by an insane dentist, but that's a story for another time.

We're upstairs, looking for targets in my closet when we first hear it beneath us: thump, thumpa-thumpa-thump. THUMP.

Sounds like a heavy cat knocking something over, followed by the unmistakeable sound of someone walking. The floor downstairs isn't creaky, so it's not so much the sound but the feel of a heavy tread that reaches us.

Another thump, creak, shuffle.

Here's the problem, I have a cat and the furry asshole is asleep on a chair. We're all very aware of where the cat is because one of my buddies is allergic and not afraid to bitch about it.

Now we know it's not the cat, and it's not one of us. I've had possums in this house before, except possums don't make the sound of someone pacing around on two feet. We're trying to move as soft as possible and I lay my ear to the floor, as if the sounds weren't loud enough. I've also had problems with people trying to break in when I'm out of town.

More thumps and the sound of someone walking in a straight line and stopping.

Definitely someone walking around down there. Maybe a crazy hobo broke in, or a methhead, or someone trying to rob my house because they think it must have hidden riches stashed away. Can't be cops, cops would be up in our faces already.

We decide that it's some luckless dipshit thinking he's going to rob my family's house, and we grin about how unfortunate it is that he picked the time that I'm there, and that my friends are with me. We're pretty well armed and we've got a bad attitude.

Then there's the old familiar adrenaline rush while we sort out what guns we're carrying, between all of us we have enough to stage a category two insurgency, and walk downstairs. Not running, but quick. If you've ever spent any time trying to make people pay, you'll notice that they run like chickenshits. Catch a guy breaking into your garage? As long as you have anything more imposing than a can opener, the odds are good he's going to run away. Trespassers spotlighting deer on your grandpa's land? They'll set a landspeed record bugging out and away. I'm only going into detail on this because most people don't realize how difficult laying a righteous beat down on an intruder is, not because of the confrontation but because of their cowardice.

Now, maybe I'm just a supremely scary guy (I'm not, only moderately scary), and maybe it's that I've never gone looking for trouble without being properly armed, but I've always noticed that if you go spoiling for a confrontation, and if you're not fucking it up by being weaker than the people you're trying to catch, you'd better be prepared to work to catch them because they're going to try to escape. Then you have to chase them, and that's work.

The point that I'm blundering all over the place to make here is that we're being sneaky, because that is critical to our goals.

I'm in front since I know the house, I've got a police surplus vest and a Glock 19 with a light mounted + one of my totally badass 33 rounders, and it doesn't do a thing to make me feel better about not being able to find anyone. We clear the house, we can't find any open or unlocked doors or windows. Now, going around a house in the dark looking for an intruder gets a lot of people shot, but we know the laws of averages, and one guy isn't going to take all of us down, especially if all he's doing is walking around in one room.

We get to the room under my bedroom, the source of the sounds or so we think, and the footsteps are still happening as we walk into it, except they're back a bit in this bathroom which is still kinda under where we were. A minute earlier we heard stuff get crashed over onto the floor, but nothing is moved or out of place. Not a damn thing.

Meanwhile, someone is still walking around the bathroom, and we can all hear it.

That bathroom has a wicked chokepoint, and we're standing outside the door, listening to someone walk around inside.

I tell him to come out with his fucking hands up if he doesn't want to get shot to death.

No response. Still the sound of a guy, a pretty damn big guy, walking around. I can feel the footstep vibrations through the floor, and so can my friends.

I talk big a few more times about how he's going to get shot, how this is giving me flashbacks to vietnam and making me feel like gutting some VC (derp but it sounded intimidating at the time), and it doesn't really do much for our morale. Hell, if my words made the guy stop walking, at least I'd feel connected with the situation. It's creepier that he doesn't stop whatever he's doing at all.

Well, fuck it, I've got decent gear for the job and I'm not gonna live forever, so I kick the fuck out of the door and storm inside.

Did I mention that the wall of the bathroom you see once you open the door is all mirrors? Yeah. Awesome. There's also a shelf to your left once you pass the doorway, with a marble counter, between the entrance area and the tub. It's a pretty good cover spot. It's where I'd hide to whack someone as they charged in.

Nothing's hiding there. No one is in the bathroom except us and our machinegun heartrates. No one. Not a fucking soul. There's no supernatural ice coldness, no more weird sounds. The only weird feeling is that feeling you get when you realized you just had something extremely strange happen and it didn't vanish the second you thought about it. Creepy shit that keeps happening once you're thinking about it is extremely rare and extremely unsettling.

We look for a minute, and we go back upstairs. Not ten minutes later, we hear the walking again. Goddamnit.

The noises kept happening at night, on and off, the whole time we stayed there. We never found anyone or anything responsible, although the 'footsteps in the bathroom while we stand outside it' thing never happened again.

I moved back to the house after what's left of my family moved out of state, and my current bedroom is above the bathroom and rooms that had the noises, just like before.

I still hear/feel the walking sometimes, but it's always confined to those rooms, and it never happens when I'm in them, so I don't really care anymore. The ability of the mind to normalize a weird situation never fails to amaze me.


  1. I'm now extremely scared to go to sleep tonight. Thanks a lot. In all seriousness you should try to do some real investigating.

    How often do the foot steps happen now? Don't you think it may just be something moving in the walls? (Some old hose or device... I mean it's in a bathroom)

  2. I love this quote: "Trying to push a singular experience into a form for people with no context for it is difficult."

  3. My heart is pumping... the booze I'm drinking through my veins. Good story.

  4. @nomoretrouble:

    I notice them every other night, or ever night around 2-3 am if I'm still awake. Since they don't roam the house, the sounds no longer bother me at all except for that first quick jump down my heart when I think it might be an intruder, then I realize it's just old thump.

  5. Nope. Josh. It says so in my name^

  6. i enjoyed reading this actually

  7. That was pretty creepy actually, some of the older houses it seems have some pretty creepy stuff going on.

  8. really good man! keep it up!