Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Haunting in Minnesota Part II: If I Die Before I wake

Welcome to the exciting conclusion to my two part story: A Haunting in Minnesota. Before you continue, make sure you have read Part One.

I'll just go ahead now, and dive right into it.

Some period of time passed after my Uncle Dale's experience that night in the attic bedroom. I'm told it wasn't long, maybe just a week or so, but at some point my dad, Ken, found himself alone one night--his mom was working late--getting ready for bed.

He was on the cusp of leaving home to attend college out west in Idaho, and had recently purchased a brand new turntable--a record player, for some of you younger readers--to take with him to school. This particular turntable had the fancy capability of automatically playing a whole stack of records, without requiring a person to manually switch them. This was not unlike today's modern CD changer, which is becoming a thing of the past itself. But I digress. Probably feeling a little extra sensitive to the emptiness of the house, especially in light of Dale's recent experience up there, Ken decided he would fall asleep to music that night. He placed a few records on the turntable, set the needle, got into bed, and pulled the single bed sheet over himself that he slept in during the warmer summer months.

After several minutes in bed, his music playing softly in the darkness, Ken was slipping away into subconsciousness when suddenly, his music stopped playing. He heard the needle lift up off the record and return to its off position, as if it had reached the end of the record. Except, the needle had only made it through two or three songs.

The turntable was brand new and had been working flawlessly until now, so he assumed that perhaps there was a problem with the record. Maybe a big scratch? He got out of bed and pulled the string on the single, naked, light bulb that served as the room's lamp. He inspected the record for any problems. Finding none, he put it back on the player, set the needle back to playing music, shut off the light, and got back into bed. But, a few minutes later, at almost the same spot in the music, the record player repeated its previous malfunction.

This time he was positive that there must be a problem with the album itself, so he got out of bed and removed that particular record; even though he couldn't see any problem with it. He placed a new record on the turntable, set it to spinning, and went back to bed, sure in the knowledge that he would soon be fast asleep.

But again, his attempt at sleep was thwarted when the needle, once more, lifted itself off the vinyl disk and returned to the off position. At this point, Ken was angry. Obviously, his newly-purchased record player was broken. Frustrated with thoughts of having to return the machine to the store, he got up and shut the player off. He would just have to sleep in silence.

He lay on his side, waiting for sleep to make its much welcomed return. Sure enough, he once again grew drowsy and began to drift. When all of a sudden, he felt the sensation of his single bed sheet slowly sliding down his body. It only slid a few inches and at first he thought that something weird was wrong with his sheet. Maybe he had just draped it over himself wrong? Not really thinking much about it, he grabbed the top of the sheet and pulled it back up around his shoulder.

He instantly realized, at this point, that something was very wrong when the bed sheet was suddenly tugged out of his hand, and then proceeded to slowly slide down his body--this time gliding almost all the way down to his waist. His older brother's prior experience, from a week or so before, came to his mind now, and he lay there too terrified to move.

When Dale had related the tale of his nightly visitor earlier, the idea of a ghost or the experience being of a paranormal nature never entered anyone's mind. The going theory was that a burglar had assumed the house was empty and had broken into the home while Dale was upstairs in bed. The burglar prowled around a bit and when he had come upstairs and seen Dale in bed, he got spooked and left.

Now, as Ken lay there with his sheet halfway down his body, his mind conjured up another horrifying possibility: someone was secretly living in the house, cleverly staying out of sight, maybe hiding in the cubby hole and only coming out at night! And now that individual was standing in the shadows, somewhere near the foot of his bed, toying with him. He made the quick decision that if this was indeed the case, then it would be better for him not to let on that he was awake. There would be no telling what the deranged individual might do.

He lay there for a long time, pretending to be asleep, but straining all of his senses, probing out into the darkness. But, he couldn't see or hear a sound. Was there really ever anything there at all? Maybe he was alone, after all. Maybe not.

He formulated a plan. On the count of three, he would roll over and moan, as if moving in his sleep, pretend to subconsciously grab his sheet and pull it back up to his chin. Then, see what happened. In my dad's words, "I must've counted to three at least hundred times." I can imagine the heart-pounding fear that would prevent him from carrying out his plan. But, finally he mustered the courage and went for it.

He was now on his back, holding the sheet to his chin in both hands, feigning sleep. And sure enough, to his shock and horror, the sheet began to tug in his grasp. At first, it was a gentle little pull that stopped for a second as Ken chose to hold on to the sheet this time. It tugged again, with a little more force. He maintained his hold. Again, even more forcefully. Realizing that he wouldn't be able to continue his farce of being asleep while engaging in a game of tug-o-war, he relinquished his hold on the sheet.

Although it was a warm summer evening, chills pricked across his skin as the sheet, once again, slid down his body--even farther this time. Out of options, he simply lay there, continuing his gambit, hoping that whoever or whatever was up there with him would eventually grow bored and leave. As impossible as it might sound, after a certain period of time, Ken actually did fall asleep. When he awoke the next morning, there was the bed sheet lying at the foot of the bed. He never slept up in that room again. He spent the rest of the summer sleeping on the couch until he went away to college in the fall.

He had only been away at school in Idaho for maybe a month or two, when he received a phone call from his mom, back in Minnesota. She called to inform him that she had sold the house and moved into an apartment. He was shocked to hear this and asked her why in the world she would sell the house. She told him that after he had moved out, she started hearing footsteps in the attic at night. Sometimes she'd be sitting downstairs watching TV in the living room and hear, quite audibly, someone go stomping from one end of the attic to the other. At other times, she'd be in bed and hear the disturbances.

One night the footsteps got so scary and loud that she got out of bed, threw on a robe, and ran across the street to the neighbors. The neighbor came over with a flashlight and searched the house. Of course nothing was ever found.

I certainly can't blame my grandma for selling the place. I don't think I'd do very well either in that circumstance. Incidentally, my Grandma Margaret is one who I give a lot of credit to for my own fascination and love of the paranormal and the mysterious. I have many fond childhood memories of sitting up late at night sharing ghost stories and tales of UFOs with her. When a particular story would strike her just right, her hand would fly to her lips and her blue eyes would dart nervously around the room. "You don't suppose ... " she'd often say.

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Some images obtained through Google Images and are not my own.

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