Halloween is rapidly approaching. So, I thought I would use my allotted column space this week to talk about “things that go bump in the night.”
Before my hearing loss and my bout with sleep apnea, (I now sleep with the aid of a CPAP machine) I was not always the soundest sleeper on the planet. It didn't take much of a noise to waken me from a deep sleep. And when you are a child sounds in the darkness are magnified four-fold coupled with a vivid imagination and probably too much television watching.
I could stay awake for hours listening to the sounds of a mouse making a nest for himself and his family somewhere in our tiny framed house. A howling wind that came up in the middle of the night was also a sound prescription for a night's loss of sleep. A leaky and dripping water faucet can come real close to driving you nuts at night.
Have you ever spent the night in a mobile home that had just been anchored and had not quite settled into its moorings into the ground? The creaking and popping of the wooden floors echo through the night just like the sounds of footsteps in the hallway. It can get quite warm in a mobile home without air-conditioning, buried beneath the covers with your head under two or three pillows and the bedroom door closed.
Sometimes it's what you don't hear that scares you. Things occasionally can be too quite. When I was growing up it was not uncommon to sleep with the windows raised since we didn't have air conditioning. The silence of the night was frequently disturbed by catfights near the house, frequently right under my brother's and my bedroom window. Normally, before a catfight, you would hear a rustling of the bushes and some very loud noises that sounded like a baby crying.
This particular summer night was exceptionally still – absolutely no breeze. Mike (my brother) was particularly restless that night. The rustling of the bushes right outside our bedroom window startled us both. Neither of us said a word, both expecting cat cries to ring out at any moment. But they didn't.
The sound was up way too high in the brush to be a cat and the bellowing cats make when they fight never occurred. Mike's curiosity got the best of him and he jumped out of one of the twin beds and went to the window. As he was getting up, I heard the bushes move one last time.
Mike saw nothing or no one.
We tried to put our amateur detective skills to the test the next morning but we couldn't determine anything except it was almost certain that it weren't cats or dogs that rustled those bushes that night.
Page 2 of 2 - My mom and I frequently made weekend trips to Salem with our neighbors to visit their mother/grandmother. To a 6-year-old child the 2-story house was as big as Dracula's castle and as creepy too. During the course of the evening we sat and watched TV around a potbelly stove in a cozy living room setting.
When bedtime approached, Mom and I were assigned a bedroom near the foot of the stairs. Needless to say I heard the sounds of footsteps going and down those stairs for what seemed to be all night long. I also “heard” footsteps on the floor of the room above us, though Mom assured me those rooms had not been occupied for years.
As a child it was a relief to wake up the next morning and realize that it was just all part of your imagination. Today, the things that go bump in the night are all too real, ranging from gunshots to police, fire and ambulance sirens.