Last weekend I had dinner with an older couple that my sister met on Criagslist.
Now I have a small house-sitting job for the summer months.
It sounds rather odd, but the couple had reached out through social media to find someone to care for their home while they took motorbike rides throughout the country. They keep three dogs and a cat, so finding someone was an obvious factor in their ability to travel.
My sister responded last summer and spent many nights watching over their house. However, this summer involves her flying away to find a job across the country. I decided I would take her place.
I had never met the couple, but knew they were friendly and extremely generous individuals. They kept the pantry well-stocked, and gave my sister full roam of their property. My sister could not rave enough about their kindness and the experience.
Last weekend I was finally introduced.
They ordered a few local pizzas, which we picked up on our way to their house: The “Mount Kilauea Hawaiian” and “I Was a Teenage Vegan Werewolf” pizza. What exactly constitutes a werewolf pizza? I assumed the existence of so many artichoke hearts. I have yet to decode the ingredients.
We had a beautiful salad at their weathered kitchen table. I was poured a few glasses of red Cabernet as we supped on sliced pizza squares.
As per most dinner conversations with strangers, I ended up talking about every topic under the moon, from the universe’s expansion to the protein count in a handful of black beans.
I was given a tour following the meal. The warning persisted that the house was haunted. Being built near 1804, the house was a barely caulked cabin that had housed slaves, families stricken by poverty, and a farmer with an intense love for his land.
Research had come into play to determine the history of the property’s involvement with the Underground Railroad, as interesting events had taken place in the house. Instances where the family witnessed flattened couch cushions and a woman walking through the living room. The floors creaked at night and sometimes the faces of small children were known to peer through the windows.
The basement was closed. Both owners expressed a prickly fear in doing their laundry there or even descending the steps.
Finally, a farmer in overalls stalked the property at night with a lamp. He hid out in the trees, condemned to walk his woods for eternity. The host’s daughter had witnessed him in person a handful of times.
It was for the farmer’s light that my sister and I donned sneakers and sweaters to visit the woods with our host. We took the unleashed dogs to the outskirts of the trees to tour the blueberry bushes and fruit orchard. The dogs ducked their heads and wouldn’t enter when we approached the forest.
At 8:30 on the dot, a bobbing orange light appeared through the trees.
The owner explained there was nothing in the woods for miles. No property. No people. The light moved and weaved through the trees, always wandering somewhere different in the forest in all the years that our hosts had watched and wondered about it. There was the interest of venturing deeper into the trees, but there was the matter of plucking up the courage to explore further. Camping had occurred on the outskirts, with the family expressing that they felt they were always watched by a handful of people from within the trees.
Standing on the edge of the woods in that moment with my sister, there was no wind. Yet the creaking of the trees was unlike any noise I’d experienced in a forest. I found comfort in wandering the woods on my own to hike, but felt unwelcome here. I felt eyes on me, watching and waiting. A eerie screech and the sound of crunching leaves from different parts of the forest emanated, but nothing revealed itself. The dogs were completely silent.
The bobbing light persisted. Our host shone his flashlight in the woods, wavering the light in the trees to beckon the mysterious orb our way. Each time he did this, the light moved more furiously. At times the light moved closer and further away. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, but bobbed like the orange flicker of a lantern flame; Like the light of a lost traveler.
I am still spooked even recalling the instance. I have no ability to reason what I saw. Only to recount it.
While the experience of ghosthunting has left me wondering about events I can’t quite explain, it remains to be said:
My sister and I had a perfect pizza party with our third set of grandparents we met through online media.