Monday, March 18, 2013

Another stupid thing I worry about

Lately, I've found myself DVR'ing a lot more shows about homes and house buying. A particular favorite is House Hunters International, where couples looking to move to other countries get shown three prospective houses and have to choose one to rent or buy. I spend the majority of each episode eating potato chips, drinking energy drinks and yelling at the couple on the TV for bitching about  having to walk 15 steps to a subway located in the shadow of the Alps. The Alps, people! How these prospective buyers manage to find something to complain about when they're moving to Switzerland or the Bahamas or Morocco is beyond me. And I hate them for it.

But that's neither here nor there. My point in mentioning House Hunters and its brethren is that no one ever asks the really big question on those shows, which is obviously, "Is my new 16th century converted farmhouse loft space haunted?" Call me old fashioned, but I think that's important to know. I know it's something I've been thinking about -- and by thinking, I mean, chronically worried about -- as we shop for our own new house. And yes, if it's haunted, I'm calling it a deal breaker.

A while back, a friend tried to get me to rent her house, which was gorgeous. I was tempted until she made the mistake of telling me how cool it was that the kitchen cupboard doors opened and closed by themselves at night and how sometimes they could hear footsteps and how once all the contents of their living room got rearranged...not by them. How she thought any of those incidents were selling points is beyond me. I have enough trouble just finding time to put away the clean dishes, let alone battle unseen forces in my home.

About ten years ago, when my husband and I were shopping for our first house (not in Switzerland, by the way, WHERE I WOULD NOT HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT ANYTHING), we were ready to buy a place until the inspector told us the back end was falling off the foundation. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing we avoided that mess, then was even more relieved to find out from a neighbor that we had just avoided buying a house in which the previous owner had passed away in the bathtub, a fact which would not have made that tub conducive to bubble baths. Yikes.

I am a big sissy when it comes to that kind of stuff. If I get a weird vibe in a place, I turn into a scared rabbit. I used to work in a big, 100-year-old house that I and half the other employees were convinced was haunted, what with people seeing free-floating apparitions -- to steal a term from "Ghostbusters" -- in the various offices. Whenever I had to come to the office on a weekend to pick up a file, I would start out walking confidently through the front door only to start freaking out about 10 seconds in, to the point where I would be bolting at a full sprint down the hall, into my office and out again, making like Usain Bolt on the way out back to my car. Needless to say, I tried to finish all my work during prescribed office hours.

So now that we're shopping for a new place, I can't help but fret about paranormal possibilities and wonder if I should be asking the big question myself or simply rely on my spidey sense to avoid any Sixth Sense situations. Not that I would trust anyone to tell me the truth. That kind of news must just cripple resale values.

At the very least, "Paranormal Paranoia Property Inquiries" or PPPI as fans will call it, would make a great half-hour series on the Home and Garden channel.

Sigh. Maybe we'll just move next year.


Jen Anderson said...

Ever since I was kid, I've harbored the delusion that I'd be completely calm when faced with a ghost. I'd read books describing ghosts as spirits that either didn't know they were dead or still had unfinished business. I figured I'd help them with that and they'd move on.

In reality, I'd probably freak out terribly.

In college, our theater was allegedly haunted. The story was that the former faculty adviser (a Jesuit) was haunting the place. People would see him when building sets late at night (yeah, right) and when they did a play he didn't approve of, like Dracula (the occult), he'd let his displeasure be known by knocking over some stuff, almost hitting some actors (before my time). But he had no problem with Macbeth, which I was involved in because it was Shakespeare. Or something. The whole thing was half-plausible in a my cousin's friend kind of way, but it didn't scare me or anyone I knew from working late nights there. But no one stayed late alone either.

Heather said...

I actively worried about this when I was house hunting. I had this irrational fear that I'd wake up inside the crawl space or something.

If it makes you feel better, most house hauntings have later been linked to CO2 leaks. Even a small leak can cause people to see and hear things that aren't there. So . . . you probably shouldn't buy your friend's house, even if it's not haunted.