Would I have to start planning outfits around the tattoo like I plan for weather?
Are you all sick of hearing about my spooky past yet?
I don't think you're sick of hearing from my mom, but if any of you are thinking, "LOUISE. Get back to researching the world's most haunted bike paths," you might want to skip this week's post.
Alright. Now that we have that out of the way.
If you remember, last week we talked more about the weird shit that happened in my childhood home in Seattle. Prior to that, we talked about my going back to that house hoping that the new owners could confirm my "haunted house" suspicions.
Well, Creepy Corneristas, the saga continues.
My mom called me after last week's post with some confessions to make.
"I had no idea that all those things happened to you. I knew you saw the old man in the chair and there were other odd goings on, but I didn't realize how much happened to you. I thought it was just Mar Mar and me."
Uh... come again Mom?
"Aauuugh," she made her throaty screaming gagging sound. "That house had something going on with it. I was always on edge. I told Mar Mar [my grandmother] never to tell you about the things she saw. You mean... YOU KNEW?"
What did I know, Mom?! Tell me (us)!
"Well... you know about the release right?"
Yes, the previous owners released the house to us. The trees, the rooms, the spirits, etc.
"Hm. You don't know the half of it kid. You don't know what they made us do."
"We were so stupid. We may have gotten ourselves into some shit we didn't understand. Part of the 'release' was that we had to go to the house one night, before they would officially sign the house over or something, and walk around in the dark with [the previous owners, I'll call them the 'the Smiths']."
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WALKED AROUND IN THE DARK WITH THEM?
"I mean that the Smiths made all of us gather in a dark room, light candles, and walk around every corner of each room 'releasing' the spirits and energy to us. We walked around the whole damn house, room by room, in the dark with candles."
WHAT?! And maybe don't say "damn house" Mom... because I'm scared.
"Aauuugh, Louise. What? The house is going to get you in Hong Kong? The house can hear you?"
"So we did that. The house was 'released', then the house was ours. Spirits and all, supposedly. Our realtor wasn't very good."
Yeah, it's her fault.
"I would NEVER subject my clients to a mostly-ghostly ceremony! Anyway, so we moved into the house, and nothing seemed right. I was so jumpy and unhappy in that house. Weird things happened from day one."
That, I do know.
"But you weren't supposed to know about it! Remember when we had to fix the dining room? One day there was a big pane of glass, one that was supposed to be a new window. Well, it was just sitting there, leaning against a wall, and it shattered. You were playing upstairs. I was alone. It just shattered."
Could it have been cracked already? Temperature changes?
"Maybe. Lots of things could have happened, but it freaked me out. Oh Louise, I would get so nervous at night — I'd never been like that before — I'd go downstairs and sit in the dark with a glass of wine and feel sorry for myself. I would try to calm my nerves but... Louise, you'll think I'm crazy... but I was never alone. I saw things moving around."
"I swear it. As depressed as I was, I never felt like there was 'evil' around me just... a presence. Sometimes I'd see something moving down the hallway, or someone peering at me from around a corner. For a little bit I talked to it and... something listened. But then I had to stop because I thought I was losing my mind. I never felt like I was talking to myself, though."
Why did you keep up your nightly ritual?
"I don't know, I was trying to deal with stuff. I didn't know how. I had you, your dad wasn't around a lot, and Mar Mar needed care. It was my time to try and sort things out. But the house... it felt so heavy."
I'm sorry, I didn't know.
"You didn't know anything! You were seven!"
It's funny how we think of our parents in a certain way throughout our childhood and even into adulthood — but "still waters run deep" as my mom likes to say. They always have their secret life. I've long since stopped thinking of my mom as just "my mom," but thinking of her sitting alone in the dark, the weight of anxiety and obligations pressing down on her, I recognized a part of myself in her. And more than that, I realized that she protected me from more than ghosts.
"Aauuuugh. And I was always chasing Mar Mar back into her bedroom so you wouldn't be scared."
Of what? Her?
"No! You'd be playing in the backyard, or upstairs, and she'd come rushing out of her room into the kitchen or living room saying she'd heard you call for her, had seen you running down the hallway. This happened all the time. You were never around." (The hallway in question was on the opposite side of the house from the door to the backyard and the staircase. There's no way I could have gotten to the hallway from either place undetected.)
My mom continued, "She actually positioned the chair in her bedroom so she could watch the hall. She said she'd see a dark figure coming out of the room at the end of the hallway, walk down the corridor, and go to the kitchen. She worried about you and... it."
A dark figure. Creepy Corneristas, does this sound familiar? In last week's post, we talked about how my Mar Mar may have seen shadow people her whole life. Did they also walk our halls?
I should also mention that my Mar Mar was sharp as a tack. She never suffered from dementia or memory loss, and was very clear-headed up until her dying day. While Mar Mar had a fantastic imagination and was an excellent storyteller, I can't believe that she'd ever add to the tension in our home. It wasn't her style to stir the pot.
"I hated that hallway. It was the worst part of the house."
I did too. It always felt like something was following me.
"You too?" My mom muttered a few things about how she wished she'd asked the former owners more questions about the house. "What did the Smiths 'release' to us?"
Did you ever hear from the Smiths again?
"Well, you remember how they had a son who was a little... off?
Yeah, sort of.
"One day he came back with his girlfriend. He asked if he could come inside and see his childhood home."
Wait, weren't we supposed to avoid contact with him?
"Yeah, maybe. But he seemed nice, and he was kind to my cat."
Okay... what happened?
"He was so weird. He didn't want to see the house, he just went straight up to his old room, what was then the master bedroom. I waited for him in the doorway. He just stood there in the room, he didn't do anything he just stood there staring off into space. Then he thanked me and left."
"Weird right? Anyway, when we moved away it was a relief to leave that house, but also kind of sad. The house was special, even if it was scary as hell."
Did you release the house to the next owners?
"NO. I wasn't about to go dabbling in such things. The Smiths may have known what they were doing, but I would have mucked it up."
Does the "releasing ceremony" my parents participated in sound familiar to you? Do you know what it is? My mom and I mean no disrespect to the ritual, it was just so baffling (not to mention unsettling) to her at the time. Nobody really explained anything to her.
It sounds like some sort of cleansing ceremony to me, but I don't understand the "releasing" part. Do you think it had any connection to the activity in the house?
So there you have it, Creepy Corneristas. I went digging, and just when I thought I'd found all the skeletons and buried treasure, my mom (of course) pointed me to a new spot. I always knew that house was a bit strange, but I had no idea exactly how strange.