Sunday, January 13, 2013

How I Found a Fuzzy Beaver While Looking for a Kidney

Just like the incident with my Grandma's vibrator, the beaver story takes a little explanation.  "Beaver" and "human kidney" don't often appear in the same sentence, much less be tied together by a haunted house.

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My mom and dad found out about me about three days before I was born.  It wasn't like Mom had no idea she was pregnant.  She just didn't know I was hiding behind my sister.  It wasn't long before the whole family realized two adults, a four-year-old, and a set of newborn twins weren't going to fit into a two-bedroom trailer house.

My grandmother lived in the large ranch house at the time, and she had planned on eventually putting in a new double-wide for herself so my family could move into the seven-bedroom yellow house, what we grew up calling the big house.  She graciously offered to move up her plans to ease the housing squeeze.

My brother, at four years old, noticed that something wasn't quite right in the big ranch house while they were moving in.  My grandmother never went upstairs.  He noticed that the upstairs was full-on creepy:  cobwebs and dust cloths everywhere, the whole nine yards.  Shortly after the house was cleaned and my family moved in the upstairs bedrooms, the noises started.

When my sister and I were still infants, the upstairs hallway had hardwood floors, as well as the closed-in porch.  One night my mom was reading on her bed at the end of the hall.  She heard boots come down the hall, then a voice whispered, "Pat?"

She immediately thought it was weird that Dad would call her "Pat," because he only ever called her, "Patty."  She looked in the hallway and no one was there.  She groused all the way downstairs and asked Dad what he wanted.  He'd actually been downstairs the entire time.

It really creeped my mother out.  The ranch house is twenty miles from the nearest town and at least two miles from the nearest neighbor.  The pack of barking border collies ensures we know if we have visitors.  There wasn't anyone else within several miles that could have slipped in the house and talked to her, and Dad wouldn't lie about something like that.   Doors would often open and shut on their own, and occasionally some freaky-ass noises originated in the attic, but boot steps were the most common noise heard.

Mom carpeted the upstairs to stop the boot steps, but didn't put any on the upstairs porch because it was unheated and mostly unused.  On Thanksgiving Day in '96, everyone but Dad was downstairs, and the steps we heard were heavy enough to shake the chandeliers.  When Dad came back in from outside, we asked him why he'd been on the upstairs porch.  He replied that he'd been feeding calves.

A skeptic could say that Dad was the source of the noises, but in this case he couldn't have slipped by all of us to get upstairs and couldn't have used the outside entrance because the door was frozen shut.

*Insert Twilight Zone theme*

Incidents too numerous to count occurred through the years, to the point of coming home to find every light in the house on and my brother sitting wild-eyed on the couch with a shotgun in his lap.  My family enjoyed regaling visitors with the numerous stories.

All of my nieces and nephews grew up hearing things, and last summer several distant cousins came to stay at the farm.  My nephews took delight in regaling the girls with ghost stories.

Finally, one of the girls asked, "Who's haunting the house?"

My nephew replied, "We think it was Grandpa Art." **

"Why?"

"Because he died in the house.  Right upstairs."

The girls looked around nervously.

I added, "He died of kidney failure.  Wanna see his kidney?"

The girls, naturally intrigued, followed me upstairs to the office.  While looking for Grandpa Art's kidney, I opened the closet door and a fluffy beaver skin fell out.  I had thought I knew all of the oddities contained in the old farmhouse, so I was a little surprised to find the beaver skin.

I confess that I had intentionally mislead the girls into thinking it was his actual kidney, mostly to see the looks on their faces.  After rooting around behind the space previously occupied by the beaver, I found Grandpa Art's artificial kidney.  Dad had kept it after his death because he thought it was pretty cool.  And, it is.  I even took it to show and tell in second grade.

Too bad I didn't know about the beaver when I was in grade school.  I loved to gross out the prissy girls, so the dead beaver skin would have been epic.

**This is the most common theory as to what's causing the haunting.  I honestly don't have a fucking clue.

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