It took a year but, when 2018 rolled around, my husband David and I were making final plans to put our house on the market.
Too much had happened within its walls and we needed a change.
And, one night in February, David went to bed early while I stayed up to watch the Winter Olympics Half Pipe competition.
I had watched Chloe Kim kill it the night before and I was very excited to see Shaun White do the same that night. And my Winter Olympics viewing party was composed of just me and our mastiff Hemi.
Well, it was largely just me as Hemi had slept intensely and consistently all afternoon through the evening until it got to be around 11 PM. And, after she woke suddenly for the first time in ten hours I, sensing my opportunity, immediately took her out for her nightly sniff-around.
The night terrified her as usual but she did what she was out there to do and eagerly rushed back to the house.
Yet, after she stepped inside through our patio door, she seemed especially on edge. She stood stiffly in place and looked all around the room.
I encouraged her to go lay down in her bed and she reluctantly moved forward. However, she only took a few steps before she again froze, and started to turn her head left and right, looking on either side of her.
I had never seen her do this inside.
Granted, our wonderful, incredibly stubborn dog’s favorite activity beyond sleeping and eating was “freaking out.” And, once she was in the process of freaking out, she refused to be comforted if we were out in public.
For her, “freaking out” was composed of a series of consecutive steps:
- Go completely still and rigid.
- Look suddenly in all directions by only moving her neck and head.
- Refuse to be moved. Since she was over 100 pounds, she often succeeded in not being moved when out in public. She was not out in the public too often as a result.
- If it was bad enough to get to step number four, it means she would suddenly fall into a crouch position and actively try to “slink away” from whatever was causing her to panic. She’d go low and… slink away.
She was a good time.
We loved our old hound dog, despite her antics.
But we were not out in public. We were at home. And she was still solidly on #2 of the Freak-Out-four-step process that February night.
I knelt down and looked around with her but I didn’t see anything. I told her “it was okay” over and over, made reassuring noises and petted her.
She moved to #3.
And then she returned to #2, and I kept on telling her it was okay and this went on for a bit.
It wasn’t unusual for our dog to appear upset. She was bothered by mostly anything.
Yet, her behavior that night was extra weird and unsettling.
Usually, while at home, if she became unsettled, she’d stare in the direction of the front door and, if she stared long enough, she’d start to growl. We had never been able to see what she was growling or staring at.
However, when either my husband or I had an encounter and did see/hear/experience something, Hemi was “elsewhere.”
I’d say she was conveniently elsewhere by design. She was not a dumb dog.
However, that night, the way she kept looking all around her made me feel that we were apparently now surrounded by unseen forces.
That wasn’t a fun thought.
And she refused to be comforted.
So I told myself to watch the nice snowboarders and not allow my imagination to run away. After all, I didn’t have a bad feeling and I had been enjoying a rather pleasant evening before Hemi woke up.
I love watching the Olympics.
In an effort to support my claim that everything was fine, I turned on more lights and continued to reassure Hemi, petting her and verbally soothing her.
And then I broke out the big guns: food.
I got up to make myself some toast in the kitchen and put the bread end of the loaf in Hemi’s dish in order to calm her down a little because, in Hemi’s book, “eating” ranked a bit higher than “freaking out.”
That did it. She definitely heard the happy dull clang of the bread hitting the inside of her metal food bowl and happily abandoned her panic. After I dropped the bread, I almost instantaneously saw her prancing her way into the kitchen towards me and her bowl.
I petted her head as she chowed down and wagged her tail. All was well.
I smiled and backed up but, as I did so, I saw something move from the stairs into the living room.
It looked as if someone in light-colored clothing walked through the entry area toward the living room. It looked like how a moving person looks like when you see them out of the corner of your eye.
And this is how I saw it… out of the corner of my eye.
And, since I was alone with Hemi, the sight scared me as it had just APPEARED, but it appeared in the same way as someone would as they turned from the stairs to walk through the entry area on their way into the living room.
Nevertheless, the movement caught me off guard and my heart skipped a beat.
But I quickly laughed as I caught my breath, and verbally admonished David for sneaking down the stairs so quietly. Since Hemi and I were both standing in the dark kitchen it made sense that David would be heading toward the light of the TV room.
Yet, David did not respond.
I assumed he hadn’t heard me so I walked through to the living room and then stood in it, surveying the TV room, and… David wasn’t there.
No one was there.
And then it was my turn to freak out.
I turned and looked back at the entry area and stairs.
I was, and I don’t say this lightly, flabbergasted.
When I say I saw whatever it was out of the corner of my eye, it wasn’t just the reflection of headlights from a car passing or something similar… I saw something solid and that something-solid was moving.
Thus, I was sort of stuck in shock.
In the years we had lived in that house, I had never seen anything and I wasn’t even certain what I saw late that night. And, sure, I write about all these happenings but they didn’t happen nightly. I didn’t settle in at night and think, “What will the ghosts do tonight?”
So it really just caught me off guard.
And, true to the pattern, as I stood there, trembling, Hemi had, by this point, happily settled back in her bed and was smacking her lips in preparation for sleep.
She glanced up at me like… “Did you see that? Awesome. My shift is over. You got this. Good night.”
I just stared at her for a minute. It’s as if she had handed me the keys and we had switched positions.
Before my eyes, she started to snore.
Eventually, I worked up the nerve to turn off some of the lights and take a video of the area where I had seen something walk but… nothing was there.
Well, by the time I took the video, Hemi was already in “full sleep mode” and having what seemed to be a bad dream. So, in the dark video, I stare into the darkness but slowly move forward to comfort and still the dog and, well, the clock donged midnight and completely freaked me out. 😂
I dropped my phone and then picked it up and rushed forward to turn off the TV and the remaining lights and then turned and ran into the darkness of the living room, entry area and stairs, stumbling my way upstairs.
I definitely woke David up that night. Because now I was seeing things. We were moving out, and the ghosts or whatever were becoming more visible.
Oh hell no.
The next day I started to dismantle our house. It was time to say goodbye.
“Pack your bags, Kitchen Shark. This circus is hitting the road.”
Hemi was very happy to hear the news. 😘
2 thoughts on “The Final Straw!”
“If you have ghosts, then you have everything.” — Roky Erickson
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I’ve never heard that before, Gabi… but now that I have… well, okay! 😀