Matiere Opaque : Ghost Stories Greeley's Rancho Arcana

Katie's Man

Some Years Ago

Location Withheld

We've just moved into our new beautiful home in a new subdivision. Very, very exciting. It's our first family home and we had it built with all the things we wanted in it. Very nice.

It's 8 PM and I'm in the garage unpacking boxes. My wife and daughter are in the family room on the other side of the house. Wife is sitting at the dining table. Our daughter Katie, who is almost two, is playing quietly with her toys on the floor nearby.

Quite suddenly, and to no one particular, Katie says with some irritation "NO! This is MY house! YOU have to leave!"

"Katie, who are you talking to?" asks the wife calmly.

"The man" Katie says coyly.

"What man?"

Katie pauses for a moment and then smiles. "Katie's man"

"Oh" says the wife.

At about the same time I step out of the garage for a break. Meet wife in hall. Learn of Katie's exchange with "her man." Good for Katie, I think. This IS her house (and ours). She should think of it that way.

I return to the garage and the lights are off. I know I left them on. Eh--so turn them back on. At least it's not faulty wiring. That would tick me off. It's a new house.

A ghost who's concerned about energy conservation? How... Californian.

Maybe he and his buddies can put a stop to the machinations of those vulgar energy traders: "Poor Grandma Millie, eh? OK hotshot; meet Katie's Man--he and his friends are just dying to pay you a visit ... Don't bother reaching for the lights; they won't work when Katie's Man's in town! Bwahahahaha!"Note to Hollywood: I'm willing to option this idea for the right price. Have your people contact my people.

I was wondering about this sort of thing. Just the week before, I was sitting at the dining table, my back to the patio door, reading the paper, same time of evening, and my daughter was standing by the foot of the stairs. I look up and see her standing still with her arms straight down by her side, staring and smiling at me in a very odd way. Then she looks past me, over my shoulder, at the patio slider door, which is closed, drapes drawn shut, and she gets a look on her face like she's seeing a funny trick. She clearly sees something going on behind me.

She looks back at me and slowly raises her arm and points quietly at the door. I turn, look, see nothing, turn back and smile at my clever daughter. She leaves to go play in her bedroom. Doesn't say a word.

Strange. My daughter has been talking nonstop since she was a year old and now she's quiet. I wonder what she saw? I'd like to bottle it up and keep it handy.

Our cats are acting up, too. They have a problem with the stairs to the second floor. My wife thinks that they're just really dumb--never seen stairs before, so they're afraid. Nonsense, I think. On some occasions they'll go tearing up and down the stairs nonstop, chasing each other ... or nothing at all. But on other occasions they'll slink low to the floor up against the farthest wall away from the foot of the stairs, going well out of their way to get through the room. It's the same reaction they have when they see me bring out the kitty carrier for a trip to the kennel or the vet.

Yet other times they'll sit in the middle of the floor of the family room and have a staring contest with the stairs. I'll sit on the couch and watch them watch, and I can see their eyes move ever so slightly, on a diagonal track, like someone is pacing up and down the stairs behind me. Maybe they see headlights from the roadway behind the house shining on the wall...Or maybe they are 'looking' at a sound I can't hear. Their ears move ever so slightly...

The doors upstairs won't stay closed either. But I think that has more to do with carpenters hanging doors on a Friday at 5 PM, rather than something supernatural. Besides, if it bugs me, I just close the doors. Sooner or later someone is going to give up, or I'm going to rehang the doors.

No one, to my knowledge, has died on the property. In fact, there was absolutely nothing on this or any adjoining property a year ago, nor was there anything around here for the past 150 years. All open rangeland, used for cattle. Not only that, but the place where my new home sits had to be graded down fifteen feet or more. The original grade was somewhere around the second floor.

True, the road behind my house has been in use since this state was a part of Mexico, maybe even Spain. Before that, it was probably a footpath, as it follows the base of a mountain to a natural spring, and I imagine it has seen a lot of travel over the centuries. This is a very 'old' region of the state.

I've heard stories of ghosts picking up and moving into a new home. But it makes no sense whatsoever. We have a very modest house. There are much nicer ones nearby. There's even one that stays vacant for over two years. Katie's man should move over there. He'd have it all to himself.

In any case, it doesn't matter. Nothing else truly odd occurs for the next two years while we live there. The cats continue to act up, but as any cat owner knows, cats are weird anyway, so we don't pay much attention to them.

I do notice that some months after our new neighbors from the Philippines move in next door they knock out the glass facing our second floor and replace it with solid black plastic panels. I don't know if it was a cultural thing or what. It's an odd way to block out daylight. Maybe they really like to sleep in. But I'm too polite to ask.


+ - + - +


So was my new home haunted? I think not. No one ever died there, as far as I know. My daughter is blessed with an extremely active imagination and she began speaking quite early. She probably was just repeating something she'd heard on television. Maybe she was speaking to her toys. And pointing to the patio door behind me? Who knows. She didn't say and doesn't remember anything now. Kids do all kinds of inexplicable things.

And the cats? Well, cats balance their cuteness with stupidity. The doors upstairs? Shoddy carpentry. Light in the garage? Only happened once, so it's not even really worth noting. Perhaps the rocker switch wasn't fully engaged and it popped off by itself.

And my neighbors? Well, you'll have to ask them why they boarded up all the windows facing my home. I can't. I sold the place and moved on.







Oops. I almost forgot.

There was one other thing that happened shortly before we moved out.

My family and I were sitting around in the family room one evening with the lights down, taking it easy after a long day. My oldest boy was playing with his digital camera and showing his sister how he could plug it into the TV, take photos of her, then show the photos on the TV as a slide show. Seeing how much she enjoyed this trick, I got out the video camera, set it up on a tripod and plugged it into the TV, turning the TV into a closed-circuit monitor. Now my daughter could see herself perform live. It's The Katie Show! Yay!

She jumped and squealed and mugged for the camera and even got her older brother to play along. After a while she lost interest and went to playing with something on the coffee table and her brother picked up the phone and started gabbing with a friend.

At this point, no one was paying much attention to the camera or the TV. I was reading a book and glancing up at the TV from time to time admiring my kids, who were still in view. They're beautiful and handsome and they look good on the screen.

As I watched my kids on the TV, a tiny, dim, translucent light about the size of a dime and the color of a white moth glided slowly from the patio door, then zipped and corkscrewed in an arc in front of my daughter and into the fireplace directly in front of me. All on the TV screen; I saw nothing in the room itself (The camera was set up next to me so I had the same line of sight.) I should point out that both patio door and fireplace were closed, so it wasn't an insect.

I sat there for a moment pondering what it was I just saw. Tinkerbell's sister? Not likely. Maybe a defect in the tape. Sure. Then it happened again; patio door, turn, zoom, loop, turn again and into the fireplace. OK; it's got to be the tape; the fact that it showed twice in the same way means that the tape's got a bad spot that's contaminating the tape head, or something like that. It's clearly a mechanical defect of some sort. But quite impressive.

I'd love to be able show it to you here as a QuickTime clip, so you could see a perfect example of a bogus 'orb' in action. As you may know, the Internet is full of this kind of junk masquerading as evidence of ghostly activity. 'Orbs' are generally acknowledged by those with technical experience as simply light-scattering dust and moisture or insects, or defects in the recording medium, or lens flare, and I've never seen anything online that refutes this explanation.

Like I said, I'd love to show you.

Unfortunately, as I discovered that night, I hadn't bothered to turn the tape on.

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