Have you seen the “Woman in Black”; the new Harry Potter – sorry – Daniel Radcliffe movie? I hadn’t. But I had wanted to see it ever since my daughter came home extremely spooked after seeing the stage production. On Saturday I got the opportunity. It was far too hot to be outside and I had the house to myself.
Well it all seemed pretty much standard haunted house fare – the fleeting shadows, the long dark corridors, the candles snuffing out, the decay, the sudden shocks. The rocking chair that moves by itself – don’t you just hate it when that happens? But it was quite spooky.
And the surround sound was epic – all these clunking footsteps coming from behind you. Even when I paused the movie to make a cup of tea, the surround sounds carried on…
Hang on. Shouldn’t they have stopped with the movie? I got up and stood at the bottom of the stairs; there were definite sounds of movement up there. Obviously there was a rational explanation so I tentatively started up the stairs. I got as far as the third stair when there was a barrage of clonks, footsteps and shuffling from upstairs. I retreated swiftly into the kitchen where I stood at the doorway into the hall with my heart racing at about 200bpm: I was terrified! I couldn’t stay in the house so decamped into the sweltering heat of the garden.
It was even eerie out there. Despite the bright summer’s day, it was so quiet. Our neighbours were away; our friends on holiday and even the noisy family across the road were quiet. Clearly I wasn’t going to see the rest of “The Woman in Black” anytime soon.
After about an hour, I ventured back into the house. All was quiet. Cautiously, I went upstairs and still nothing stirred. Then I surmised what had happened – at least I think so.
The door to my daughter’s room was shut and trapped underneath it was a carrier bag with aerosol cans and make-up. The wind (and there was quite a breeze blowing) must have blown the door backwards and forwards dragging the bag and contents with it; the bag preventing the door from slamming shut.
Trouble is that I can’t reconcile this explanation with what I heard. But this is the power of suggestion – by watching the scary movie I was opening my mind to alternative explanations. If I’d just been watching a documentary on household guttering, I probably would have thought “that annoying sound upstairs makes me think of a carrier bag with aerosol cans and make-up and the wind is blowing the door backwards and forwards dragging the bag and contents with it”.
By the way, while I was watching the movie – and apologies if you haven’t seen it – the scene where Daniel Radcliffe is heading to the room with the rocking chair and there is that loud thudding sound, I had this vision of a re-make on YouTube where he opens the door and finds a boy practicing his bass drum in an echo chamber…
But to shift the scene slightly, picture the plight and terror of young Lizzy Bray – the heroine of “Insane Reno” – who hears noises such as I experienced. In her bedroom! At night! Where do you go then? You can’t just escape to the sunny warmth of the garden like I did – coward that I am. You can see how she deals with the situation here; a damn sight better than me.
Actually I have another story on this theme which still makes me chuckle even though it happened forty years ago. But I’ll save that for another post.