We’ve never lived in a house that was previously owned before and after living here for a couple of years, I’m convinced that this one is haunted—or at the very least it has a poltergeist. Our house constantly talks to us. The doors squeak, the floors creak, and there are strange noises coming from inside the walls. We’ve put rocks at all the doors to keep them from opening or closing on their own. It gets worse at night after we turn off the TV and the house goes dark. For the first couple of months, one of us would be startled awake and shout, “What was that?” After getting out of bed to investigate—and I’m always the designated detective—I hopelessly search for the noise’s source. We’ve gotten used to much of it now and mostly ignore the strange sounds.
That was until the other night when I woke to what sounded like scuffling on the other side of the headboard. As I laid there trying to decide if the noise was real or if it was part of my dreams, it happened again, and I thought, “There’s something going on outside.” It was 3:00 am and my brain began cataloging all the possible causes for a noise like that. Could it be a coyote cornering a rabbit against the house? Was there a javelina rooting in the dirt? What if it’s a mountain lion? By the time I listed all the scenarios, the hooting started. I suspected that the cause of the racket was an owl. Now that I was pretty sure it wasn’t a lion, I could be brave enough to get up and take a look.
I’ve been on recon missions like this before. I know that I can’t see anything in the dark; especially on a moonless night. That’s why we have dozens of Pelican flashlights all over the house. I also know that if you turn the light on while inside the screen door, all you get is a well-lit close-up of the screen. Finally, I know that you have to wait to turn on the light until you’re ready for it, otherwise your prey will see you moving and they run-off. You get bits of wisdom like this from experience; lots and lots of experience.
I sat up and grabbed a flashlight from my nightstand drawer and tiptoed to the front door. Since the nights are very quiet out here, I purposefully opened the front door and gingerly slipped through the screen door. If there was an owl, the first place to look would be on the TV antenna, and there is only one spot on the front porch where you can see it. That spot is the outmost right corner, so I cautiously slipped into place and looked toward the aerial and then turned on the flashlight. Staring back at me were two pterodactyl sized great horned owls sitting at opposite ends of the antenna like it was a teeter-totter. To my surprise, they didn’t fly away. Instead, they stared at the light while shifting their heads in a circular motion. They were trying to figure out the light.
“Oh! Anne has to see this,” I thought and slipped back into the house to wake her. Now, this is the dangerous part because if I’m not careful, I could lose a limb … or worse. Because it’s summer, she was sleeping without covers in all of her natural beauty. I grasped her ankle which was beyond the reach of her claws and gently squeezed while I hushed her. “Huh … what?” she uttered as she woke. I whispered about the owls and how she should come and see. Her sleepiness turned to excitement as she followed me outside. I guided her into the spot and then turned on the flashlight. The owls were gone. They must have flown away when I went inside. I assured her that they were real and they were huge and they made a racket when they landed on the pole. She was disappointed that she didn’t get to see them. Then from my neighbor’s front porch, I heard John’s voice ask, “Hey! What’s all the commotion about?”
Until next time — jw