Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Unpleasant Way to Wake Up

When I was 14 years old I went to live with my paternal grandparents in Arcata, California, smack in the middle of Humbolt County. I may very well have been the only teen to live there who would never smoke pot. My grandparents' house is very old: though now in the middle of Arcata proper, when they bought it back in the late 1950's it was still surrounded by farm land. As a product of originally agricultural origin, it is a large, two story farm house, replete with quaint and occasionally bizarre architecture. I love this house; I have always loved this house. It was one of my favorite places to be when I was small, and the setting only contributes to how the house has held me charmed over the years. There is no front or back yard, instead two sprawling areas on either side of the house. The front in the street the house sits on, the back is the wild, brambly slope that lead down into the Bottoms area of Arcata, named by some distant cousin "The Barrens", I assume after the wild play land frequently described in Stephen King's fictional (and often evil) town of Derry, Maine. At the back of the house are some of the tallest cypress trees in the area, visible for miles around. All of this worked together to concoct some alchemy for me; it is a place I will remember with love for the entirety of my life.

But, like any decent old house, there's a ghost. Her name is Leticia, and she lives in the attic. My grandmother invented her to keep all of us from playing upstairs when we were small-- my grandparents' house is antiques-laden, and she didn't trust us around them alone. For as long as I can remember, there has been a painting hanging by the staircase, a reproduction of Rembrandt's Girl At An Open Half Door. We were told that painting was a picture of the resident ghost.

Meet Leticia. She lives in the attic.

We were never told she was mean or evil, simply that she slept during the day, and as a result we needed to play downstairs or preferable outside so we didn't wake her. When I was little I accepted this as fact and never questioned it. That we would occasionally hear upstairs movement in a house that projected every footstep only cemented this concept. When I was older, I would learn that, though my grandmother had invented Letitia, she had merely given a name to something that was already there. Leticia was not invention; Leticia is fact.

Most of my observations were small things, and some events were unquestionably the result of a very imaginative teenager living in a house with some serious, serious ambiance. The hallway up to my room still has the wall paper original to the house-- and it's been falling apart as long as I've been alive. Turns out wall paper tends to do that past the century mark.

Leticia's room is just at the top. Mine was just next to it. I have fallen down these stairs so. Many. Times.

On these stairs I would frequently leave my folded laundry, to take upstairs with me when I next went up (this drove my grandmother APE SHIT which was a big reason for why I kept doing it. The other prominent reason was that I am deeply, deeply lazy.). I usually put the pile o' clean clothes on the third step, as it was exactly hip-height on my frame. Sometimes, when I was home alone and had been all along, I would notice that my clothes had moved from the 3rd step to the 4th or 5th, and once or twice down to the 2nd. A few times I'm almost sure that my clothes were put upstairs on my bed, and I couldn't actually remember taking them up there, though that could easily just be inattentiveness on my part.

But the weirdest thing that occurred during my brief habitation there happened one Sunday morning when the house was full of family. My grandmother liked to have a big family breakfast on Sundays. Various aunts, uncles, and cousin would come, and eat a huge meal. At 8 am. As a truly devoted night owl who profoundly hates getting up before 10 am, this quickly became something that I slept through, which of course pissed Grandma off (I learned during this year that I had a knack for that).

One Sunday I awoke in a startle, ready to holler because someone had been in my room, staring at me. This is a pet peeve of mine-- I really dislike people looking at me while I'm sleeping. I was certain my very young cousins had been in my room again, and like most fifteen year olds I was less than excited by the thought of baby cousins taking off with my shit. I knew someone had just seconds before been looking at me; my door was not just open (I slept with it closed) but it was still swinging from the touch of whomever had just been there. Scrabbling for my glasses I climbed out of bed and went looking for the culprit to yell at them.

I was certain I would catch a rugrat or two just outside my door as I had heard no one go down the stairs just outside my door. This house is so old and creaky that you can literally hear every footstep a person makes. You can hear it so clearly you can also usually tell what room they're going into. You could hear it best when you were downstairs and whomever was upstairs, but even when I was upstairs I could hear a person walking downstairs. So there is no way in hell a 5 year old and a 3 year old could have gone scampering down the stairs without me hearing every footfall. Other than my swearing and the creaking of my bedroom door, there had been silence upstairs in the few seconds since I awoke.

Just to be sure, I went downstairs. Maybe I had been so confused when I woke that I had missed the sounds of fleeing feet. But when I went grumpily down I learned quickly that my young cousins had not come that Sunday. So I asked my grandmother, who was cleaning up, if she had come and looked into my room, perhaps to glare at me for choosing sweet sleep over an early morning calorie load. Grandma was pissed at me when I went over to ask her-- no shock there, as she was usually pissed off at me all day on Sundays due to my accursed resistance to the Borg. I mean family time. Today was no difference. When I asked her if she'd just been upstairs, she snappily told me that of course not, and then went off on her usual diatribe about how she would never violate my privacy by going in my room, blah blah blah. Hilariously, this was a lie-- she would never go into my room, she would just stand at the door way and snoop, and then yell at me later for my admittedly slovenly ways. So that really wasn't an out of the way question.

She then rounded on me, and very angrily said "And I don't appreciate you treating my house that way!" I stared blankly at her; I had apparently wandered into the country of Non Sequitur. When I asked her what the hell she was rambling about, she told me that everyone at the table heard me get up, walk down to the hallway, and then RUN down the hall, into my room, onto my bed. They then heard me do this three more times. The problem with this? I had done no such thing. I'm certain I wasn't sleep walking, either, because I have never gone sleep walking in my life; I had been deeply asleep, and had not moved for some time when I awoke. I am sure of this because I could feel the need to stretch, badly, when I awoke, my pulse was also slow and my breathing calm. Finally, I'm an asthmatic; I would have known if I had been running, because I would have had an asthma attack as a result.

But everyone had heard "me", not just my grandmother. And when I asked everyone else if they had been in my room, I got a negative in reply. I don't think anyone was lying, because none of them had previously expressed any interest in my room at all (other than Grandma's afore mentioned occasional excursion, and that she only did when I wasn't home). Added to this was the fact that until a few months later, I was the only (living) person who inhabited the second floor.

It wasn't a frightening or cruel experience, it was just a weird one. The impression I get now was that I was being admonished to get up, because I was missing breakfast and family time. My grandmother does not to this day believe there has ever been any presence in her house; she doesn't believe in ghosts at all. Grandpa has never said what he thinks either way, but he's pretty taciturn by nature. But the feeling I get, and I've generally learned to trust feelings like these, is that my grandmother simply gave a name and face to something that was already there, something benevolent and lonely. Leticia is who she is now, and I think she's fine with that name. Whomever she was in life I have no idea, but now she's the girl in the half-door, and she lives in the attic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Episode 6 Preview: Cult Movies

Unfortunately our last couple of minutes were cut off from Episode 5 so you never got a chance to hear what our next episode will be.

Well wonder no longer!

Episode 6: Cult Movies!

Stac and I venture into the world of weird old movies that have achieved cult Status. We're off to the swingin' sixties!

We'll be watching the black and white 1968 "classic" Spider Baby. This one is a favorite of Stac's.

Check out the Trailer!


We'll also be checking out the notorious 1960's film the destroyed many a career Peeping Tom. Neither of us have seen this one so it should be a treat!

Aaaand here's the Trailer!

Keep on listening, folks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creepy Kitch Episode 5: Listeners' Choice

We Back Bitches!
Sorry about the long Hiatus. But Episode 5 is finally in the can!...or computer..or whatever.
ANYWAYS it's listener's choice this episode! We discuss our thoughts on City of the Living Dead (Our FIRST Fulci film!) and Flight of the Living Dead.
And as usual, our weekly fuck off as well as horror crush of the week.
...as well as rambling about nothing. Like we do.
Unfortunately our last few seconds were cut off, but the reviews are intact.

Listen Here!

Bonus Material: EQUINOX!!