December 22, 2018 by phicks2012
My last home, though it definitely didn’t look the part (comparatively and stylistically speaking), was much older than The Castle, and it had been added onto a few too many times for either practicality or good taste. The beautiful sun porch had been knocked out, enlarged, and turned into a family room that wasn’t particularly attractive (or necessary). The siding had been covered with “Miami Stone” (don’t ask). The Windows leaked air, the roof was going, there was no access to much of the duct work and plumbing, and things were always disappearing.
Now, the structural issues were mostly the fault of poor planning and indifferent construction, coupled with age, but a friend of mine was convinced that the disappearing objects were being taken by gremlins ;-). She told me that when something went missing I should stand in the middle of the house, put my fists on my hips, stomp my feet, and yell “Give it back!!!”
The funny thing was that it worked. For example, one day I spent all afternoon fruitlessly looking for the six-foot attachment hose that went with my vacuum cleaner. Finally, exasperated, I did the foot-stomp-yelling thing, and the next morning when I walked into my dining room there it was sitting right in the middle of the dining room table where it definitely had NOT been the day before. DAMN!
I got a lot of other things back that way too — flashlights, electric fans, coolers, and especially tools. It didn’t work with single missing socks though, so I’m assuming the laundry gremlins were of a different sub-species not responsive to foot-stomping or shouting, and I never figured out just what they WERE responsive to. I probably needed to sprinkle detergent, dance around the washing machine and chant the names of laundry additives, but who knows!
Also, the woman who helped my mother with spring cleaning refused to come into my house, because she heard me joking about my gremlins and decided the house was “hainted”. Some people are just hopelessly literal. Fortunately there were other options and companies with names like Merry Maids, so I made do, and when I moved to The Castle I’m pretty sure I left the gremlins of all the large item-thieving species behind, because large objects stopped vanishing into the ether without rhyme or reason.
Despite dogged Urban Legends to the contrary — and people with otherwise boring lives do persist in believing exactly what they want to believe even when it has no basis whatsoever in rational thought — The Castle is not haunted either by jilted brides or suicidal lesbians. These days when something goes missing I can pretty fairly attribute it two one of two things: 1) I misplaced it and cannot remember what the hell I did with it, or 2) My housemate Jason had a need for it. The first happens because I get distracted or sidetracked and put things down in unlikely locations. The second tends to happen with things like eye drops, headache tablets, and certain grocery items that I have immediate plans to use in a recipe and know good and damned well that I did NOT personally eat.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure I don’t have grocery gremlins or OTC pharmaceutical gremlins. Just a a housemate who gets headaches, irritated eyes, and the late night munchies — oh, and (for my own part) a tendency to hide such items away to prevent nocturnal depredations, and on occasion to forget exactly where I impulsively secreted them. 😉
So no, as far as I know, unless hyper-vigilant and protective Native American spirits from a much earlier century are wandering about keeping an eye on the surrounding land, The Castle is not “hainted”. There is no temporal vortex, nor supernatural portal to the unknown — just a hungry (or head-achy or red-eyed) late night pilferer and a distracted homeowner with WAY too many things going on sometimes to concentrate fully on minor matters — like where I put the sewing scissors, stored the extra bottle of Turmeric, or hid the Visine. 😉