Ghost Taps, Pookas, and Other Creatures of the Night

My recent appearance on Coast to Coast with George Noory on the topic of vampires and werewolves, brought on some interesting callers, many of whom mentioned the duende, a sort of Latin American version of a goblin or sprite. And maybe this late-night interview and callers sharing stories of mythological beings, real life ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena opened the gates to a new encounter with what I believe was another episode of "The Haunted Nursery."

Three nights ago my slumber was interrupted not by the crying wails of the Baby Ventura but rather a gentle tap on my forehead. When I opened my eyes, a bit confused, I looked around to see what had made midnight contact with my face: a pillow? An errant arm or hand of my beloved? No and no. I even wondered if a drop of water had mysteriously fallen from the ceiling. As I was contemplating the possibilities, the spot on my head still cold from the touch, I heard a very gentle laugh from the baby, who, upon inspection, was sleeping peacefully. And then just moments later a steady tapping began in the kitchen (down the hall but still relatively close, it's a small apartment). I listened, a little breathless. Tap tap tap. What was it? The fridge churning? The wind rattling the windows? Tap tap tap. Pause. Tap tap tap. Pause. This went on for two or three minutes, something that sounded like a cupboard opening and closing. Keep in mind I've lived in this apartment for nearly ten years, and this sound I had heard only once before: I was in the middle of a radio interview, which happened to be on the topic of the paranormal, and heard something similar coming from the kitchen. It lasted about two minutes and then left. Nothing until just the other night. (Though there have been other experiences, see " The Haunted Toothbrush.")

The next night I listened intently to the noises of the night to hear it replicated. Nothing. And the next night. Nothing. So I was left to wonder, was this a playful tap from one of the inhabitants of the Haunted Nursery? Or perhaps it was another type of creature altogether?

When dealing with the spirit realm, some may tell you, all bets are off. The creatures that lurk, in the dark of the night, aren't always ghosts or ghoulish apparitions. Countless volumes of folklore, especially Irish and Welsh mythology, detail dozens of creatures that lurk under bridges, besides roadways, on beaches, and beneath the hydrangea in your garden. Pookas, for example, are sometimes mistaken for horses or even rabbits. For one of my recent books, Taming the Pooka, I read a great deal of W. B. Yeats. Yeats was a scholar of Irish folklore as well as the occult. In 1911 he became a member of The Ghost Club -- a paranormal research group, one of the first of its kind! It would not surprise me to hear that Yeats himself encountered a Pooka whilst roaming the country roads, warm from a pint at the pub.

Maybe I'm just overtired, or all the stories I've been reading are getting to me. Because I heard something, quite distinctly, go bump in the night.