Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lessons Learned Watching Haunted Stories

I love watching those shows on TV about people living in haunted houses. I’m the stereotypical chick when those shows come on cause I’m talking to the television like the people on the show can hear me: “Don’t go in there, you idiot!” and “Oooh, you’re crazy. I wouldn’t be walking around trying to find where that noise is coming from!”

Here’s the basic outline of what happens on one of these shows:

A husband and wife find the perfect house (or one that the wife loves but the husband hates or vice versa). They move in and are really happy for about 2 minutes.

At the 2.01 mark, something weird happens. There’s an unexplained smell or sound. Maybe a door or window won’t open or stay shut, or else it opens and shuts on it’s own. Maybe one of the family starts to hear footsteps they can’t explain. (No matter what, this is never enough to scare them off.)

Give it a little time and enough strange stuff happens to where one person tells the other. And no matter HOW convinced the one person is, the person they tell either doesn’t believe them or else tries to explain away what’s been happening.

Give it a little more time and the second person starts noticing strange stuff too. (Although in some cases, it takes something really convincing, like when the first person becomes slightly possessed!)

Once the second person starts getting a clue, the whole family is on guard. Not on guard enough to leave (because there are at least 3 more commercials to get through), but enough to know something is wrong. Dumbasses..

Now that everyone is aware that there was a reason they were able to rent or buy their dream house so cheaply, the haunting ramps up.

When someone starts speaking in ancient tongues or gets poked in the ass by their invisible guests, it’s time to call in a psychic or demonologist or “investigator.” Sometimes (depends on how hot the show is), you get all the bunch.

Now, this is important: the rescue crew has to have certain “It” factors. Either they are young and good-looking or quirky and interesting or “world renowned.” And they are usually fearless. They will go into a house infested with demons or spirits and wander off into rooms by themselves. Oh. Wait – I forgot; there’s always a cameraperson along. Well, it LOOKS like they are alone and fearless and that’s what counts. Gives me something to yell at the television about.

Once the investigators have checked out the family (you know, making sure to extract juicy little bits of information about previous paranormal experiences or evidence of staunch skepticism), they call in the psychics and demon-hunters. Sometimes they call these people “Sensitives” or something else exotically odd. These are the people who will feel out the house itself.

Somehow, even though we are always reassured that the psychics and such have been “told nothing” about the house or the people (it’s really cool when they add the touch of a blindfold!), I’m always tickled to wonder how the person was flown or driven to an unknown location with all that secrecy…

And the minute they walk in… they can feel something not quite right. I've not seen ONE single episode of these shows where the “sensitive” person walks in and gets through the front door without “picking up” something. Don’t you think that a demon might be a little sneakier than this? You know, hide out for a minute so it can pop out and amp up the scare factor a little?  Wow, you might think these things have no sense of humor.

Anyway, once the sensitive person starts getting their feelings about the place, they don’t ever just try to get rid of whatever the haunting thing is right away. Nooooo… they have to TALK to it. They have to try to get acquainted. I don’t know about you, but if something has been scaring the hell out of me and the kids, throwing things around and going bump in the night, I’m not trying to understand WHY. I just want to get it the hell out of the house and out of my life. I don’t care if it’s hanging around because it’s misunderstood, pissed off, lonely – whatever. I just want it gone. But apparently, that’s just me.

Now that the spirit has been introduced, we can get to the part where it has to be sent on to where it never should have come from. This gets tricky. If it’s just a haunting spirit, apparently it needs to be guided to the light (whether that light comes from Heaven, the furnace of Hell or the one in the basement, I guess depends). Maybe some of these spirits missed the Dead Bus and need new transportation. I don’t know.

But if it’s a demon haunting the place, well, that thing has to be confronted. This is cool with me. If the trained experts are willing to do the confronting, well, go on and get down with your bad self. However, I notice that someone is always trying to encourage family participation. They say things like, “You must stand your ground” and “This is your house you are taking back from this thing.”

Yeah. Okay. I’d be the smart-ass client saying something back to them like, “You’re the one getting paid to make it go away.” (Because you know and I know that somebody is making money off this. It IS on television, people…)

Once they all confront or banish the Bad Thing, the air smells cleaner, the sky is brighter (or at least, if it’s raining, it seems like a cleansing rain). Sometimes, in the case of a haunting by a lonely child or sad widow, they will have a ceremony to help put the spirit at rest…

The End.

Now, let me tell you how the show would go with me:

We find a house. I get a bad feeling or Tim tells me he has a bad feeling.

We get back in the car and leave.

The End.

Or we don’t get a bad feeling right away. Let’s say we move in. Then at some point,  door slams by itself, we hear mysterious footsteps or we smell something we can’t explain. Whatever. I’m gone. With Tim or with him trying to jump in the car as I drive off.

Don’t let me hear a voice. If it says “Get...” I’m gone before the “...out.”

And I’m playing about Tim. He’s no coward, but he’s not stupid. We’d probably be driving off and down the street before we realized we were even in the car.

So, people. Don’t be stubborn. What are you proving by getting into a pissing contest with something dead or never alive? Here’s my advice about dealing with something haunted:

1 – When you hear unexplained footsteps and/or doors closing, DON’T go to check it out. Leave the damn house until you have someone with you to check together. And you are only checking long enough to get the keys to the car so you can leave faster than running.

2 – If you hear a disembodied voice or mysterious children’s laughter, DON’T hang around to figure it out. You know those aren’t your kids. The one thing worse than Bebe’s kids are the GHOSTS of Bebe’s kids.

3 – If dishes start flying around and cupboards start opening and closing, what the hell are you doing trying to duck and dodge? Just LEAVE. NOW.

4- If you wake up to a deep, growling voice yelling “GET OUT!” Obey.

5 – If your once sweet and loving spouse starts acting like Bela Lugosi with the old organ previous tenants left behind, leave the spouse in the house and GET OUT! You can send Pastor Roy back to get the spouse. Maybe the church can pray that demon out of him.

6 – If your kid tells you that something unseen is shaking his bed or snatching off the covers in the middle of the night, this is NOT a phase they are going through. Listen to them while y’all are packing some clean drawers to take to the motel.

7 – If the hairs stand up on the back of your neck only when you go in certain parts of your home, that’s not a static electricity problem. Think “Bounce!” and I don’t mean the dryer sheets. Something is trying to tell you something!

8 – When shadows and mists tend to float around your house in the night, don’t tell me about how you can’t leave & lose your investment. Choice: be bankrupt or be possessed.

9 – If you start having nightmares that don’t end when you wake up, it’s time to go.

10 – Those mysterious stains that appear and disappear on the ceiling? That’s probably not normal. Especially if you’ve already heard voices and seen shadows. Maybe the ghosts or demons are pissing on your ceilings. Who knows? Don't stick around to find out.

Don’t be stupid, people. Don’t wait until furniture starts levitating to call in a priest. Call the priest, the pastor, Ghost Busters… Hose down the lawn with holy water if you have to. You’ve watched the shows, you’ve heard the stories. You’ve seen “The Exorcist.” You cannot be serious about hanging out in a house that has a haunting. Unless you’re just trying to get yourself on a show with a medium or “paranormal researcher.” Personally, I’d rather burn that bitch to the ground and collect the insurance! I wanna meet Chip Coffey because I think he’s cool as heck, but I can hit him up on Twitter. I don’t need a haunting to start that conversation.


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