by Kris Neri
When you consider that I write paranormal fiction, in addition to humorous traditional mysteries, and that I love fantasy fiction, I have no fondness for real life encounters with things that go bump in the night, or any other time.
When you write or read fantasy, it’s not necessary to believe in any of it. That’s why it’s called fantasy. You can buy into some of it, or just enjoy a trip to another world, which might be similar to ours, but really different in other ways, without believing in any of it.
I used to maintain a strictly skeptical bent on all things woo-woo. Although some questionable things did happen to me on occasion, I always found another way to explain them. I’ve also had prophetic dreams, but I wrote those off to coincidences.
Then we had an author come to sign at our bookstore, who was an EMT who claimed she communed with those who had passed over while she tried to help them during the course of doing her job. I didn’t necessarily believe, although I figured she did. I even enjoyed her nonfiction book, although I approached it as if it were fiction.
But when she appeared before the sizeable crowd she drew, a round shadow suddenly popped up on the wall behind her, where there was nothing to cast a shadow. To say I was freaked was a criminal understatement. I kept trying to find a logical explanation, but logic totally eluded me.
After the author left, I tentatively broached the subject of that distinctive orb cast on the wall with a customer. “Oh, sure, that was an entity,” the customer said. “I figured she brought it along with her.”
Wasn’t that nice of her? Shouldn’t she have asked permission first?
In all the years we operated our bookstore out of that suite, which was more than six, I never again saw anything like that, but neither was I able to forget it, or explain it away. Maybe there really are more things in heaven and earth… Even if this paranormal writer doesn’t want to believe it. I wish that incident were unique, but I experienced too, too many things I can’t explain.
We recently encountered another real life mystery that proved to be just as troubling and just as perplexing. While in New Mexico on vacation, we had repeated problems with a super loud TV in the room next door every night. While it playing at different hours, the TV was always tuned to a soccer game.
We put up with it one night. When it was repeated the next night, my husband initially went next door to talk to our inconsiderate neighbors. He knocked over and over, but no one answered. By then the TV was at a staggering volume, so he assumed they simply couldn’t hear. He went downstairs to report it to someone at the desk, while I remained in our room.
While he was gone, the TV went off. Joe came back with the night manager, who insisted there weren’t any guests registered in that room. We thought that an employee might have used his passkey to enter it, and used that place to hide out and watch a soccer game when he was supposed to be on duty. But the night manager insisted that there was no indication that anyone had used the room since it was made-up by the maid days earlier.
Maybe so, maybe not. Neither Joe nor I had gone into the room with him, so we weren’t able to verify it either way. The TV had gone off by then, which was all we cared about.
Next night, same thing. Televised soccer game played at maximum volume, though at a different time than the night before. This time Joe went straight downstairs. With the night manager off that night, the head of security accompanied him back upstairs.
Joe entered that room with the security guy. The TV was still on, still playing at full volume, airing another soccer game. But the room was dark. When they turned on the lights, the condition of the room was perfect. As the night manager had insisted the night before, there was no sign that anyone had ever sat on the bed to watch the game. There was nothing to indicate anyone had entered the room at all, apart from those checking on a TV that seemed to turn itself on.
Joe pulled the plug on the TV, and it never bothered us again, although we only spent one more night there. The security man maintained there was no way to program the TV to either go on or go off with the remotes the hotel provided. I’m still looking for that logical explanation, though. Maybe there were other remotes that the staff had access to, which had greater capabilities. Maybe some guest in another room had a way of activating TV sets through the wall or from across the hall, just to play with people’s heads. Maybe someone really did sneak in and out quietly, watching soccer games in stealth, and taking pains to leave the room in faultless condition.
I’m still clinging to any one of the logical explanations I’ve managed to come up with. But it’s getting harder.
What do you believe? Have you had encounters you can’t explain?