In the immortal words of Ron Weasley in J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”: “Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.” So, of course, I am mindful that this posting might just have a well-meaning friend sending the men in white coats to my door. But now that Mom admits to hearing them, too, I feel much better about it.
Yesterday’s blog opened up about the homestead’s history as the once familiar sight of the Windham County Hanging Tree. And, it would seem, that some of those who met their end here are still not quite ready to move beyond…
I am an avid bookworm. And, I confess, reading a good book, a good story, even takes precedence over writing. I write because I love to read. I write because other authors have created works that have influenced me, delighted me, provided solace and hope in troubled times, an escape, and so much more. I write because I want to create new stories for others to enjoy. But reading is what started the whole thing. A good book will keep me enthralled from cover to cover. A good book will have me up until 2 in the morning because I can’t put it down even to sleep. With a good book, you’ll be lucky to get me to come up for air until I’ve finished it.
It was during one of those reading marathons that I first noticed it. The clock was moving up on 2 a.m. and even Interstate 6 was quiet, save for the occasional 18-wheeler blowing through, and these were far and few between. The animals were all tucked in for the night. Mom wasn’t living with me then so there was no cable (i.e. no TV). No radio was on either. PC was in sleep mode upstairs. I sat at the kitchen table, blurry-eyed, but unwilling just yet to put down the book I was reading. Despite having my total absorption, my attention divided. What was that? Was the toilet still running from my last visit there? I drew a deep breath and listened more closely. Then I got up and went into the bathroom. Nope. Nothing running. No hiss from the commode, no faint trickle of water from a faucet not being shut off all the way. I went back to my book.
Yes, it is almost 2 a.m. but I want to get to the end of this chapter. There’s only, like, 100 pages left. It’s really getting good.
Okay. So it’s not so much a hissing noise drawing my attention away from the story again. It’s also not the refrigerator running. I got up again, walked into the living room, looking for felines. Nope. They must be all upstairs. I decide to check anyway. Yup. All 6 are asleep on my bed. It looks tempting but, with so many of them tucked in, I’d have a tough time crawling in with them. I go back to my book.
I am well into my book again when I get distracted once again. This time, I simply sit and listen. When I can finally zone in on what I’m hearing, I start to think maybe I should’ve put the book down an hour ago. I must be more tired than I thought. That can’t be someone whispering. Several someones, actually. I can almost make out separate words. Almost…
I decide to pack it in and squeeze in with all the cats. I’m out like a light. In the morning, I tell myself I must’ve really been tired and maybe I shouldn’t have pushed myself so hard with the book; I can finish it as soon as feeding time is over with. It is the weekend, after all. With the constant rush of traffic passing the house during the daylight hours, and even into early evening, the house is, well, not exactly quiet but the voices are silent. I forget about them until the next page-turner has me up until the wee hours of morning. Then it demands my attention again. This time, I know it’s neither a cat purring, a refrigerator or toilet running. I pause to listen. Yes, that is definitely someone talking, whispering. Again, I can almost make out distinct words. But not quite. This goes on even after a big rig downshifts through this brief residential strip. As I listen, it appears to grow louder. Maybe I should go back to visit Dr. Mueller. But I can definitely understand that expression of feeling one’s hair stand on end. This time, I’m not quite ready to pack it in. They did no harm to me before. I keep reading. The whispering grows louder, still. Then dies away. I get back into my story. It starts up again. I remember the hanging tree. What on earth could criminals from almost 200 years’ ago still have to say at this time of the day/night? Are they trying to communicate with me? Why? Yup. I’m losing it. But the voices don’t go away. In the stillness of any night, they begin to mutter.
“So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting witches and mediums? Don’t listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God?” Isaiah 8:19.
However, I’m not trying to divine the future. I’ve got the past poking its nose into the present…and disturbing a good book, I might add.
“Dear Lord, if these are lost souls, please help them to see your light,” I pray. Then, “Look for the light. Whoever you are, look for the light.”
The whispering falls away. Until next time…
When Mom arrived on my doorstep two years ago, I warned her about all the strange happenings here at #209. Her “thank you” was definitely sarcastic and followed by a little nervous chuckle. I conceded that her daughter might also be losing it a bit, but that every time the house was quiet, I could hear the whisperings. I also assured her that no one had ever hurt me here but it was unnerving just the same. (Admitting to one’s mother of these things doesn’t really count where the men in white coats are concerned…at least I hope not…)
Mom and I have been frequenting the new, second-hand bookstore in Danielson, Pourings & Passages. Lately, we’ve been stockpiling books for the long winter ahead. Mom’s almost as much of a bookworm as I am and she has been plowing through every Danielle Steel book she can find on Pourings & Passages’ shelves. She recently had her own late-night book-a-thon.
The next morning, when she came downstairs for coffee, she looked at me and said, “You were right about the voices. I heard them last night, just like you said. A little unnerving; I almost woke you up.”
All I could do was chuckle. I know exactly what she means.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Scholastic, New York: 1999.
The Living Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, Illinois: 1971.