The only thing we have to fear
New homeowners should be ready for things to go bump in the night
By Patricia Baer
A house is full of odd sounds to which a new home owner will need to become accustomed. Anyone will tell you that, but almost everyone will also agree that the first night sleeping in an unfamiliar abode can be one of the creepiest eight hours of your life.
The fear factor is magnified if you possess an overactive imagination. Add to it that you are a fan of horror films, the paranormal activity in haunted houses subcategory specifically. Plus, it is October, the month where typically pleasant neighborhoods undergo a metamorphosis and become a ghoulish landscape that makes those things that go bump in the night feel right at home. Ready or not, you are on spooky-overload as you unpack that first moving box.
Welcome to my frame of mind on the first night in my new house.
The evening went well. After a physically demanding day of hauling the remaining odd boxes and bags from the old place, I crashed on the sofa with a mindless comedy and then went to sleep.
Earlier that night I had cranked up the heat. Because I was not familiar with the place, I probably went overboard with the temperature setting. I woke up at 1 a.m. roasting under the covers of my bed.
That was when I heard it. The first unsettling sound in the dead of the night: Thunk-boom. Thunk-boom.
It was one of those moments when your imagination can get the better of you. It was coming from the basement. An ominous, insistent pounding that in your exhausted, sleep-deprived brain you fear is the sound of some supernatural force making its way to your bedroom. Or worse, a non-stealthy burglar is banging his way through the dark.
Thunk-boom. Thunk-boom. It is the sound of a menacing creature about to claw through the floorboards in an attempt to escape its concrete confinement.
Thunk-boom. There is no point in going downstairs, or better yet waking up someone else to go down to check on it for you because logically you know there is nothing to discover. It is just the expansion of the heating ducts as the warm air travels room-to-room, but it does not stop you from picturing a shadowy figure lurking at the bottom of the stairs.
Ironically, one of the first items I came across while unpacking was a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “What Was I Scared of?” This mocking by the universe does little to comfort me. It is the familiar sound of the refrigerator kicking in that finally brings me back to reality.
Because unless Zuul has moved in, I have nothing to fear. Even if he has, that makes me Sigourney Weaver. Suddenly at ease with this fangirl scenario, I fall into a deep, emotionally-drained slumber.