by Doug Bevins
Near the site of a popular landmark (you, the reader, insert a landmark you’re familiar with) there is a house. It is not a particularly nice house or noticeable house. In fact, if you drove by it today you likely would not pay it any mind. However, the locals have heard stories and legends from the rather colorful history of the house. In fact, the house is rumored to be haunted to the point that the locals won’t go near the place at night. Nevertheless, there is ALWAYS one brave soul willing to buck legend and look for the truth and that soul has heard of the house and is going to investigate.
The brave individual arrives at the house as the sun is going down. So he thinks it will be a perfect time to test whether or not the house is actually haunted or whether are there other explanations for what locals have heard about the place. The first thing needing to be debunked are the bad smells. As he is climbing the stairs toward the door, he smells something rancid, looks over the rail and sees a family of skunks coming out from under the steps. He gags a couple of times but thinks to himself: “Skunks, (humph) though stinky these creatures are not ghosts”. After recovering from the blast of skunk, he opens the front door (CREAK) and steps inside. Next thing he is determined to investigate is the report of dancing lights on the floor. As he enters the house, the light from the moon shines down through the roof (which over time had rotted away in spots). The light from the moon casts dancing spots on the floor. Humph, he thinks to himself. Another legend disproven and revealed as nothing more then an act of nature. But there is one legend that has yet to be disproven and, as he is standing in the entryway, he hears the next legend to be investigated: the sound of tap tap tap (tap just your fingers on the desk 3 times in rhythm with a pause before repeating). After the tapping, he hears a unearthly sound (whooooooo) and that sound scares him right down to his core but he is determined to continue on. After ascending the steps, he starts opening doors that lead off a dark hallway (so dark he cannot see well and has to do everything by feel) looking for the source of the sound. The first room he opens and enters does not reveal anything but an old chair. He turns to leave and promptly runs into the wall. Rubbing his forehead and muttering, he heads for the second door of the three doors he saw from the second floor landing with the aid of the moonlight Upon opening that door, something falls out and hits him in the face. Cursing and stepping back, he sees its an old broom that someone left behind and the door led to a closet. The legends are making him quite jumpy he realizes but he is determined to finish out the quest. He heads for the last door, opens it, and enters what appears to be a bedroom. Seeing the only object in the room is a chest of drawers, he curses and turns to leave. As he turns, the moonlight shining through a hole in the roof glints off a doorknob and he sees what he assumes is another closet (he has heard the tapping and the whooooo during the entire search and is VERY frustrated he cannot locate the source). He approaches the closet, reaches for the knob, and hears the tapping again followed by a loud whooooooooooooooooooooo. He jumps but turns the knob and opens the door to a loud swishing sound followed by the same tapping. Startled, he jumps back but, determined to debunk the last of the legends he set out to debunk, he slowly inches into the room behind the door. Once inside, he sees the source of the tapping: an old clothes hanger with a hole in the outside of the house directly behind where it hangs. Well, he thinks to himself, the tapping is explained because whenever a gust of wind blows, the hanger taps the wall opposite the hole usually three times. But what was the swishing? After looking around, he happens to look down and notices a feather. Upon further investigation, he realizes that the source of the feather, and also the swishing sound that greeted him when he opened the door was nothing more then an owl. He had startled an owl. So all three things he set out to investigate were only nature and an old house working together to scare whomever entered the house.