Ken Harrison 1:30 p.m., Dec. 6
A couple of years ago I lived in a 3 bedroom house in playas. Since I have been back in TJ I haven't once visited playas. Whenever I even think of the house or the neighborhood in playas I get this overwhelming feeling of loneliness. A feeling of loneliness so strong that it reaches across the years and brings sadness to my heart and tears to my eyes. However, I can't remember what it was that caused such emptiness.
I have been alone for many years. My senior year of high school my mother moved out of state. She asked me if I wanted to go with but instead I rented a 1-bedroom apartment a couple blocks from school. I had friends, lots of friends. I had a girlfriend? Lover? Another man's wife that I frequently had sex with. Nevertheless, at the end of the night, invariably I slept alone. I had a cat then, too. But I don't remember feeling lonely. Maybe I did, but I just don't remember it.
The house was haunted. I was of the opinion, and alone in this conviction, that ghosts, being non-corporeal, were unable to directly hurt a corporeal being. They made noise, lots of noise. But, never moved or appeared to touch anything. How do non-corporeal beings make noise? I never thought it through. I know that they made noise because I heard them. Anyone with me heard them as well. But, no one ever saw anything or saw anything move. I don't know the whys and wherefores. I only know these things from experience.
How do I know the noises were caused by ghosts? These were noises that would have been impossible to make. The house was built from cement blocks. heavy and stiff. Great for blocking sound. The stairs as well. I could run up the stairs, stomping my feet and never make a sound other than that of my shoes hitting concrete. There was a shared wall between my house and the neighbors. Two cement block walls, one part of my house and one part of my neighbor’s house. Serious sound blockage. Stereo in one room couldn't be heard in other rooms of the house. I had to move the speakers in to the hallway and crank it up, and I had a serious stereo.
And yet, my first night in the house the noises started. I was upstairs steam cleaning the carpets with a rented carpet steamer. Trying to steam as much carpet as I could in my 24 hours. I was steaming late into the night. And my neighbor on the other side of the double cement block wall? It sounded as if he were tossing his solid oak bedroom set down the stairs. Thud, thud, thud, boom, thud, thud, thud, boom. If I could hear it on this side of the wall imagine what it must sound like on that side of the wall. What could possibly be hitting that cement block wall hard enough to make that kind of noise. The next day I saw my neighbor out in front of his house. He called me over and asked if I was the new tenant next door. I told him I was and he shook my hand and said "God bless you". The way he said it seemed to imply that I would need it. He was an old man, maybe 70 or 80, five foot tall and frail. It certainly wasn't him that was throwing around furniture in the middle of the night. I wish I had asked him about it.
There were two bedrooms upstairs. I don't remember hearing anything in one of them, though I rarely spent time in that room. The other bedroom is where I slept, the same one where I heard my neighbor throwing things in the middle of the night. Late at night, always at night, maybe because that is when I slept, I often heard noises from above. It sounded as if someone were running up and down stairs and walking across the floor of an upstairs room. On the nights when I had company they assured me that they had heard it as well.
I got a ladder and went up on the roof to see what was above my bedroom. Just an ordinary roof. Looked as if the tar was fairly new. There was an old propane tank. I had a couple of 40 kilo tanks out back. A couple of outlines where some water may have collected from the last rain then dried leaving a mineral ring. Other than that nothing. No footprints, no trash, cigarette butts or even plain old dirt. I went up there again a couple of months later when I ran a cat5 cable out a window and across the roof to add a network connection in the other room. Again I was surprised at how clean the roof was. I/we continued to hear the walker and stair climber upstairs.
The garage went right up to the sidewalk. the front had a garage door and a people metal security door. I had installed new deadbolt and knob locks on the door. Through the garage was the main entrance to the house, a fancy solid wood door with an oval decorative window about 3 foot high. I installed new deadbolt and knob locks on that door as well. All the windows had magnet alarms that scream when the two sides are separated. All the locks were double cylinder, you need a key to get out as well as to get in. I had a land line, Tijuana number as well as a US cell phone. To the left of the main entrance was the kitchen with a large window looking out onto the garage.
People that I knew, very few, I told to call before coming over and I would leave the door unlocked. I couldn't hear pounding on the front door from anywhere in the house other than the kitchen. People in the US. with their wood and sheet rock homes don't realize how a cement block home absorbs sound. When I was in the kitchen I would hear the pounding on the front metal security door. I would get out my keys to unlock the house door then walk across the garage to unlock the garage door. No one there. I tried leaving the house door unlocked so that I could get there faster. still no one there. I left the sliding glass door upstairs open so that I could run across the patio above the garage and look over the side to see if anyone was at the front door. Also I could see up and down the street to see anyone fleeing from the knock and dash. I checked the door itself to see if the wind might cause it to rattle in its frame. Tight, I installed the locks and they were tight, the door was not rattling. I must have answered that door 50 times and no one was there. Finally I installed a doorbell with a long wire that put the bell at the bottom of the stairs. The bell could be heard anywhere in the house. I still heard the knocking but I learned to ignore it. Whatever was banging on my door never learned to push the button on the doorbell. My friends learned to use the bell. Every time I heard the bell there was someone outside my door.
After a couple months a friend told me that I should see a bruja to get some protection from evil spirits. She just happened to know one that she could introduce me to. I don't believe in the bruja special power to communicate with the spirits. I am sure that the friend who introduced us talked her into playing the part then split whatever I paid. I thought that for a few bucks she would at least put on a show for me. She didn't disappoint.
We pulled into the garage and as we were entering the house she shivered and zipped up her jacket. "It’s cold in here, you definitely have some spirits present. Give me a few minutes to explore the house and I'll see what I tune into."
I followed her as she walked around and up and down. I wanted to see where she went, also I didn't really trust her. I thought it best to keep a close eye on her. After about 20 minutes of straining to hear and focusing her vision on the ether she asked if I had anything to drink. I made her a drink and we sat down so she could tell me about my resident spirits.
She told me that there were four people murdered and one suicide here. A husband came home during the day and found his wife with Sancho. He went crazy, he owned a gun and knew how to use it. He did his wife, her lover and their two kids. Then himself. She said that one person was in the garage pounding on the door trying to get in. A girl was out back crying. The man was trapped in the house with his crimes for eternity. She never mentioned the stair climberwalker on the roof. She then got a lime some toothpicks and some tequila. Made a little burnt offering that was supposed to protect me from evil spirits. After she burned off the tequila, I let it cool for quite a while. Then she put it under my bed. Said it would protect this whole room. A very entertaining and interesting story. I am a skeptic and I figure that her and the friend that introduced us made it all up together the day before.
She said that the incident happened on the first floor. The first floor had been completely repainted and had new carpeting. The second floor had old dirty carpet and the walls had only been touched up. I figured that maybe there had been some type of flooding. I crossed out the acts of god clause in the lease that would have made me responsible for anything that the eternal one might do that damaged the house. And, although she had centered the activity around the bedroom, I had moved my bedroom from the second to the first floor for the winter to make it easier to heat. Most of the activity/noise actually occured on the second floor. The friend who introduced me to this ghost whisperer probably hadn't visited since I moved the bedroom. Still I had protection from evil spirits and the show was better than anything on TV at the time.
Other people who visited seemed really bothered by the noise. I heard it, I answered the door many times when no one was there. But it didn't seem to me to be any cause for concern. I put in a door bell and learned to ignore the other sounds until a visitor mentioned them, bringing them back into my perception. I just never believed nor had I any experience that would have lead me to believe that these or any other spirits posed any real danger to me. After three or four months I think that they got bored. My failure to respond must have taken all the fun out of a good haunting. The noises just stopped. I don't know that it was a sudden thing, I had stopped paying attention. But again, a visitor brought the change to my attention. Commenting on what wasn't heard.
I actively searched for rational, corporeal explanations. I didn't find any. And I didn't dwell on it either. I put in a doorbell and I ignored the rest of the noise. But back to the loneliness. It really drove me out of my mind. Drove me to act irresponsibly. To do things that I didn't normally do, before or since. It only recently occurred to me that that overwhelming feeling of loneliness may not have been mine. Maybe the feeling was imposed on me by one of the spirits. As I flip through photographs from the house I get the same feeling. Not quite as strong but plenty strong from looking back six years to the past. Maybe I was wrong all along. Maybe the spirits did pose a danger to me. And although I have always considered myself to be the sole author of my thoughts and actions we all have more than a few major influences from the world around us that are beyond our control, things that we can only acknowledge and accept but never choose or change. Emotions and feelings are, for the most part, still quite mysterious to us. Why and how we come to experience them? But their existence is without doubt. Maybe feelings and emotions are the matter that spirits are composed of. And, occasionally we come into contact with one so extreme and concentrated that we cannot help but experience that spirit. Maybe I'll go knock on the door of the house and ask the current occupants if they have experienced anything unusual.