My Amateur Paranormal Investigations

By: Tim Cushing

As the somewhat proud owner of the home voted “Most Haunted in the Tri-State Area” for three years running, I have developed an interest in spirituality, as well as a slightly greater interest in the rules and regulations governing disclosure statements, “as-is” home sales and arbitration hearings. The home gives no outward indication of paranormal presence, but the interior mishmash of odd angles, creaky floorboards and “barely there” bloodstains indicate otherwise. There was also some talk of it having a “colorful” history, most of it being various shades of red. It also mysteriously contains a full-stocked library, which any amateur ghost-hunter knows draws vengeful spirits like moths to a flame, or frat boys to a kegger.

It’s an ongoing struggle, filled with open cupboard doors, eerie noises and multiple visits to small claims court. With the invaluable aid of sketchy local spiritualists (in conjunction with an intricate array of candles and incense), I have been able to make contact with five (5) of the many restless souls that wander this house, moping about and generally behaving badly.

Harold Myers
Harold Myers lived a long, full life if his overly long, overly full obituary is anything to go by. He lived to age 88 and was survived by several relatives, none of whom seem interested in visiting. His inability to join the afterlife (already in progress) seems to be based on the irritation that someone is living in his house, leading me to believe that concepts of ownership and personal property are largely unrecognized in the hereafter.

He has made his presence known by rearranging my guest bedroom (which used to be his), moving furniture around (mostly at night) and misplacing the DVD remote (mostly at night, as well). There are also eerie moments of dislocated bitter sobbing after which I usually find that my DVD collection has been alphabetized/sorted by date.

Performed a séance tracing the history of the house’s ownership back to the point when his soul vacated the premises by dying, followed nearly four days later by his body. This information was greeted with weak orders to “get out” and “pick up some batteries for the DVD remote — AAs, I think.”

I have tentatively agreed to allow him to rearrange his former bedroom once a week, during daylight hours. The remote is to remain in the nightstand drawer. On the plus side, the constant reshuffling of my DVD collection has led me to rediscover films I had forgotten I owned.

Glen Overton
Glen seems to feel that his death was not accidental (despite much evidence to the contrary), but that he was the victim of foul play. Attempts to convince him that drunkenly whipping up recipes from The Anarchist’s Cookbook tends to lead to injuries at best and an “incredible amount of close-range shrapnel wounds*” at worst have fallen on deaf ears. (And a blinded right eye, if the coroner’s report is to be believed.)

*County Coroner’s Report. Also listed: high level of blood toxicity, high level of blood loss and a look of “drunken surprise” on Overton’s face.

Opening cupboard doors and cereal boxes, often removing key place-setting elements and toy prizes. Occasional chandelier rattling. Unlacing shoes. Impressively crafting a single three-foot high stack utilizing every bowl in the house. Inexplicable chess moves. Night terrors.

I have promised Glen that I will tirelessly pursue his tiresome request to have his “killer” exposed. In practice this means that I head down to the library a few times a week to do some research, which is usually 20 minutes or so of microfiche spinning followed by an hour and a half of checking email, playing solitaire and miscellaneous Facebookery.

While the trips to the library are relaxing and unproductive, the replacement of dishes and re-lacing of shoes tends to get a bit annoying. Plus, every time I go golfing I start to feel a bit like O.J. Simpson.

Markus Koloczek
Markus has several issues that are keeping him from heading off into the afterlife, none of which are aided by his inability to communicate in anything but a mixture of his native language and the repeated opening/closing of doors.

Doors opening/closing. Some light switch abuse. Cyrillic bloodlike text scrawled on walls/mirrors. Presets on stereo changed randomly. A/C in the winter/heater in the summer. Installation of staircases/doors leading to nowhere.

Despite a séance involving a translator, it’s still unclear as to what Markus wants, thanks to his illiteracy and impenetrable peasant accent. We’re assuming it involves mental trauma stemming from formative experiences with the pack of wolfhounds that raised him. All available evidence suggests Markus should be haunting a cottage in the Balkans but his inability to read a map (or anything else) has led him here. We are currently in talks with various Eastern European families as to the possibility of a foreign exchange student-esque swap.

Jacob Wiessman
Jacob’s haunting is centered around a former tenant’s eviction for non-payment of rent. He seems to feel that harassing current occupants will help him recover enough of the back rent to offset his losses. It has been pointed out that he “can’t take it with him,” but this worn-out cliché has been ignored. Experts are chalking up his recalcitrance to his lifetime in the collections industry.

Full manifestations are infrequent but tend to give the house the look of a recent break-in, with drawers dumped out and closets emptied, presumably in a search of the safe I don’t have. There are also attempts to post eviction notices and change the locks, both actions that an incorporeal being is woefully under-equipped for.

None. Large checks have been written out to Jacob and left in plain sight. The lack of transportation or a viable checking account continues to hamper Wiessman’s collection efforts. Contact with his next of kin has indicated that they have no interest in pursuing this debt. The spiritualist (now on retainer) has recommended Wiessman haunt the nearest small claims court instead.

This singularly-named apparition first appeared after a disturbing late-night phone call informing me that I would be dead within a week. I was confused at first as I was unaware that the Country Planning Commission kept such late hours. Apparently my refusal to vacate the premises was holding up construction of a new stadium/themed strip mall and a loophole in their eminent domain policy had allowed them to remove me from legal existence (in 5 to 7 business days). Obviously, my earlier threat of “over my dead body” had been all the permission they needed.

Over the following week, I noticed a tremendous amount of interference on my TV. (The cable company blamed it on “a high amount of sunspot activity.” Perhaps, but they also used this excuse to explain away their technician’s late arrival and six hour nap on my couch.) During a crucial moment of Top Chef, I was alarmed to see a soaking wet waif crawling out of my 46-inch plasma, accompanied by malevolent guttural noises which I took to be signs of gastrointestinal distress.

This was confirmed moments later as the ghastly tween hurried past me, leaving a trail of wet footprints leading to my bathroom. After the disturbing “growling” had finally died down, I opened the bathroom door to find nothing more than a puddle of static-y water and some overwhelming odors.

Toshiyo seems to only appear during critical moments of Pay-Per-View events and series premieres, rarely interrupting commercial breaks or C-SPAN. I would assume that my revamped TiVo recording schedule, which has mistaken me for a 21-year-old basement-dwelling otaku, is her attempt to communicate with me. Either that or the periodic static bursts/bathroom runs are simply a matter of lousy sanitation logistics in the afterlife. I have also noticed that turning off the set during a manifestation causes her to hastily re-enter my TV and try for an open restroom elsewhere.

At this point, I have held off on ordering any PPV events, which has led me to miss several MMA tournaments and an even larger number of girls going wild. I have also wedged series premieres into my new anime-heavy recording schedule, time-shifting them away from their debut dates in order to avoid ghastly (and odorous) interruption, and switched to double-roll paper. Also purchased: new Stiffer, new bathroom fan.

While most of this seems hardly conclusive and often gives the appearance that I am scatterbrained and lazy, I feel that this will not be the end of my unwanted visitors. Within the past few days I have been accosted by writing in the condensation on the bathroom mirror (“Out of Mentadent”), felt strange drops in temperature in the uninsulated mudroom and had several videotapes eaten by the suddenly malevolent and ancient VCR.

I would like to continue my studies but have been informed that the county is now the proud owner of the “Most Haunted Stadium/Boutiquery in the Tri-State Area.” As such, I will join my new compatriots (albeit from the other, less pale, side of the pale) in haunting this new complex (construction beginning shortly). With their help, we should be able to cause several disruptions and delays, most of which will be chalked up to “union harassment.”


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