My House is Haunted

Nigel, our resident ghost is back.

I know this because as I was walking past the downstairs bathroom this morning, the toilet paper began unrolling itself faster and faster. I was alone in the house, save the pets, who were not anywhere near the bathroom. No windows open, no fans blowing, and I wasn't walking nearly quickly enough to cause a stir. Have you ever tried to re-roll toilet paper?

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When T and I were signing the closing papers for our house, I noticed they had his middle initial wrong on a page -- an "N" instead of an "M". I said, "You'll have to change your name -- your middle name is now 'Nigel'!" I had no idea why that name came to me.

The ghost kept his presence secret and let us celebrate the closing that evening with take out pizza and champagne in plastic cups on the front porch in peace. I think he was sizing us up.

The very next day is when the weirdness started. I was working at the new house by myself, and the downstairs hallway smoke detector started going off. I was cleaning cupboards, so I dragged the step ladder to the hall (did I mention we have 10' ceilings?) and tried resetting the detector. No luck. I finally pulled the battery out. Sweet peace. As I dragged the ladder back to the kitchen, more beeping! Only this time it wasn't the hallway, it was coming from upstairs! I raced up, worried that there was something on fire for real, and checked the house from top to bottom. Nothing! I dragged the stepladder up the stairs, reset... reset... RESET! Ripped the battery out of this one, too. Silence. Until, basement beeping commenced.

AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!! With the ladder bump-bump-bumping down the two sets of stairs behind me, I located the smoke detector in the basement and without hesitation, ripped out that battery.

I related this all to T, who was working at the house the next day. He replaced all the batteries with fresh, new, out of the package batteries. Later he texted, "Well, we've certainly made an impression on the neighbors." A photo of two firetrucks and a rescue truck parked in front of our new house followed.

There was no fire. No smoke. But the smoke detectors started going off again. T thought it was better to be safe than sorry, so he called the fire department.

After they left (after a thorough sweep of the house and garage), he went out and bought all new smoke detectors. While relaxing that evening with a bottle of wine, sitting on the bare wood floors in our new home, we decided there must be a spirit in the house messing with us. The name "Nigel" came back to mind, and thus our ghost was recognized.

Things went along smoothly for a while. Keys and cellphones disappearing and reappearing in other rooms, lights we know we turned off before leaving the house were on when we came back, things like that still happened and we just accepted it. We co-existed just fine, until Nigel decided trapping me in the garage would be great fun: I was getting in the car parked in the garage -- I had opened the garage door via the button by the back door as I walked out of the house -- when suddenly the door SLAMMED to the ground and the light went out. I shakily got back out of the car and turned on the overhead garage light -- I expected to see a broken coil or something. Nada. I used the emergency release cord so I could get the garage door open and the car out. But before I let the garage door slide back down, I whispered loudly, "That wasn't nice, Nigel." Later that night I told T we'd need to get a garage door repair guy out soon. A few days later (of NOT using the garage), we had someone come out, but he couldn't find any problems with the door or the mechanism.

Z had headed to camp up north just a few days before we signed the papers. Once he was home, we brought him over to the new house so he could think about how he wanted to set up his room and we could complete the move-in.

Upon entering the kitchen, Z looked around but then pointed to the oven and said, "What's with that?" Both T and I looked, but didn't see anything except the very cool built-in slide-out spice racks on either side of the oven -- and we looked a little closer: the front pieces are carved like ornate spindles, wider at the bottom than at the top... at least on one of them; on the other, it was wider at the top. We looked, and looked again. Sure enough, one of the "spindles" was upside down. Z swears they weren't like that before, and no one else had noticed. Hmm.

Oh, and there's a hidden room in the house.

When we came over after closing, it was a beautiful day, and I decided to open windows in all the rooms to let in some fresh air. I finished, and joined T outside where he was taking pictures of the house to send to friends and family. I looked up at the house and immediately saw I'd missed raising a blind. I went back inside, up the stairs, and could NOT find the window that was still closed!

Back outside. Back inside. Went back out and asked T to see if he could find the window. He looked at me strangely, but went inside to humor me. A few moments later he, too, came out of the house puzzled.

What we did find is a dormered window that leads nowhere in our house. As best as we can tell, there is a small room behind one of the bathrooms. And no way to get to it.

Obviously, that must be Nigel's room.

There have been numerous other weird things that have occurred since we moved in. Nothing ever dangerous or mean since the garage incident, unless you count driving the pets insane. Yes, Gracie the dog and Murphy and Coco the cats apparently see Nigel, and he can really spook them, which in turn spooks me sometimes. You know the look your pet gets on their face when they see something they believe they can stalk, but then decides it would be a really, really bad idea? Yeah, I hadn't seen it either until we moved here. The cats especially will stare intently at a spot in the room, and look like they're about to pounce, but then they get a wide-eyed terrified look on their faces and then dash madly from the room. If they could, their little kitty paws would be up in the air as they screamed "Run for your lives!"

It had been relatively quiet for the last couple of months in terms of ghosting activity, so when I saw the toilet paper unrolling, I was actually kind of relieved. It's good to know even our family can't scare off a ghost. I think we're well-matched. And it's certainly a good conversation starter. Regardless of how you feel about ghosts, we feel fortunate to have Nigel to blame for anything we can't explain.