Nuttmeg's thread about household items got me thinking about some things. Namely, noises that spirits make. I've had some rather interesting encounters, and have heard a few other people mention similar types of things. Oh, and I apologize in advance for the length of this post... <grin>
The house I'm in now is where I've experienced the most inexplicable noises. I've heard the odd thing elsewhere, but nothing quite so vivid as here. It is not a case of someone haunting the house - we've never had one particular spirit here who is tied to the house. I always get the sense that is is some relative or other who has decided to remind us that they're around!
The wildest event I experienced was when I was home alone one day - I was either home sick, or on vacation from work - can't recall which at the moment. At any rate, my sister and her husband were both at work, and around lunch time I heard the outside screen door open, the inner solid door unlock and open, heard my brother-in-law come in, run upstairs, run to their bedroom (which is right over my living room, where I was sitting), and wander around the bedroom for a couple of minutes. Then I heard him run back down the hallway, down the stairs, and heard him go out - closing and locking the interior door, and closing the screen door. I didn't think anything of it - just figured he'd forgotten something and ran home at lunch to get it. That is, until I mentioned it to my sister that night, and she mentioned it to her husband, who proceeded to tell her that he had not been home. I honestly did not believe him at first, but he convinced me that he genuinely had not come home.
Now, I must say here that all houses have certain sounds that one gets to know well. You know every creak and groan, and you get to a point where you know automatically what you are hearing without thinking about it. So you know when you hear something that is out of place. And everyone has a certain way of walking and moving around that those who live with them recognize immediately when they hear them. I always know if it is my sister or her husband moving around upstairs. And if they have company, I can tell immediately whether it is one of the two of them or their company moving around, just by the way they walk. My brother-in-law has a very distinctive and loud way of walking and moving about, so there was no doubt in my mind that it was him. At least, at the time...
There are many times when I've heard someone moving around upstairs when I've been home alone, and I knew that it wasn't my sister or her husband. I can't count the times I've gone upstairs, after arming myself - usually with something highly effective like a flashlight <sheepish grin> - only to investigate the entire upstairs and find no one there. My sister has often heard someone walking down her hallway, knowing that it's not her husband or myself (she can tell our footsteps), and of course there is never anyone physical there.
I recall one night, after my sister's previous husband had passed away, when we were already in bed. It was in the middle of the night, and I heard someone walk into her kitchen, and get a drink of water (she had a water distiller down in the laundry room, and when the tap was turned on upstairs, the pump would kick in on the distiller). Then I heard someone pacing back and forth in the kitchen - not only did I hear the floors creaking, but also the door to my living room, which was just across from the bedroom, would rattle when anyone walked over that certain spot on the upstairs kitchen floor. This went on for about 1/2 hour. It didn't sound like my sister, but as there was no one else in the house... Of course in the morning I discovered that she had not gotten up during the night!
Normally things like this tend to happen (yes, they still happen) when one of us is alone, or the only one awake to hear it. But there are two incidents that occurred when there were other people present.
One was in this house, when my sister and I were in my living room watching a show on TV. My brother-in-law was out shopping for a treadmill. We heard someone come up the sidewalk, open the front screen door, and unlock and open the inside solid door. Then we heard what sounded like my brother-in-law's footsteps in the entry way, and heard him hauling something inside. Suddenly, there was a very loud crash, as if he had dropped something extremely heavy on the floor. We assumed that he had been bringing in his treadmill, and had dropped it. Then all was silent. We waited a couple of minutes, but there were no other noises, so we decided that we'd best check things out in case he was hurt. There was no one there, and nothing in the entry way. The door was closed and locked. And, you guessed it, when my brother-in-law got home and was questioned, he informed us that he had not been back to the house since he had first left.
The other incident was when my ex-husband's brother had been murdered. This was one of the scariest events I've gone through... It was the day before the funeral, and several relatives were gathered at his parents' house. We were all sitting in the living room, and his Dad left the room. A bit later, we could hear someone walking around upstairs. Everyone was in the living room, except for my father-in-law. I had to go to the washroom, so up the stairs I went. Just as I set foot on the stairs, I had the strongest feeling that my deceased brother-in-law was up there, watching me intently from the top of the stairs. I was immediately very freaked out. It took every ounce of willpower I had to continue up those stairs, but up I went. My in-laws' bedroom was right by the bathroom, and the door was open. I could see that my father-in-law was not in there. I had assumed he had gone up for a nap - he often used to do that. So I forced myself to look around upstairs, as I was concerned that my father-in-law might have been wandering around in distress and needed a shoulder to cry on. All the while I could sense the strong presence of my brother-in-law - it was like a thick blanket of energy throughout the entire upper portion of the house. Of course, no one else was up there. I headed back downstairs, thoroughly freaked, still feeling my brother-in-law's presence very strongly behind me. A few minutes later, my father-in-law wandered in the living room. We asked where he'd been and he said he had gone out for a walk and just got back. Everyone else was shocked - they all said they had heard him walking around upstairs, and even asked if he was sure he had gone outside! LOL! It was only then that I mentioned what I had felt when I went upstairs. Because everyone else had heard someone walking around, and thought it was my father-in-law, my story was not even questioned, and everyone agreed that it must have been my brother-in-law letting us know he was around.
I've had several other "noise" experiences, but those are the most obvious ones. It always amazes me how spirits can make these noises, and how they can make it sound like someone you know moving around. The house I'm in now has floors that are extremely creaky when walked on. Like I mentioned earlier, you get to know every creak and groan, so it always fascinates me that when the spirits are wandering around up there, they have the creaks in the floors down pat! They are never out of place - always creaking in just the right spots. And they way they've duplicated the sound of the front door opening - it's uncanny. Both the screen and solid doors have their own very distinct sounds, and the spirits have gotten them spot on each time. We also have a very clunky back step - it has a loud, distinctive sound to it when you step on it. Many times I've heard someone on the back step, only to go the door to find no one there. I don't even go look anymore. The only time I look now is if I hear someone wandering upstairs. Then I grab my trusty flashlight and up I go to investigate. I know, I know - it won't do me any good if there ever IS a burgler there, but it makes me feel better at the time, and I'm too curious and stubborn to NOT go look! Yes, I would definitely be one of the first to be killed off in a horror movie...
I no longer get scared by these types of experiences - it takes quite a bit to spook me these days. But when I was younger they used to scare the beejeepers out of me - like the experience with my ex-husband's brother's spirit. That's one of the many things I'm grateful for about having trained as a medium - I've worked with spirits for so many years now that I know they aren't out to scare or harm me - they're just letting me know they're around.
At any rate, for anyone who managed to slog through this post, thanks for bearing with me! Nuttmeg's thread just got me thinking, and the old fingers got flying and carried away!