October 29, 2010


Humor me for a few minutes and allow me to deviate from my standard Friday posts. Something interesting happened last night and there's pretty much no way I couldn't share it.

When Owen moved from his crib to his toddler bed, we lucked into getting one of those video monitors for Owen's room for free. There's something vaguely big brotherish about it but still it's come in handy when Owen suddenly decides to try cartwheels in the middle of the night (you think I'm joking). And considering that Mia went through a similar phase and our low-tech solution was hooking up our old video camera to a desktop computer with 20 feet of USB cable and broadcasting the picture via WiFi, the video monitor is a hell of a lot simpler.

Last night was a pretty standard night. Mia went off to bed after dinner, working on reading (for realz) some recently acquired books while listening to The Sound of Music soundtrack. Owen put up his usual fight but eventually surrendered around 8:00. Beth and I settled on the couch, caught up on some episodes of Chopped and Survivor, drank a beer or two then surrendered ourselves.

When we go to bed, we usually open Owen's door which allows me to turn off that video monitor's sound. It's a little loud and the hiss drives me crazy. Last night I did just that. I was more than a little surprised, then, when I woke up around 1:00 in the morning to the sound of Owen fussing coming over the monitor. I turned the sound down only to realize that the sound was completely off. Huh. I looked at the monitor and saw a Buzz Lightyear-covered lump, not moving, and since the fussing had stopped I decided that nothing terrible was going on. At 1:30 the same thing happened, sound still off on the monitor, lump still, and the fussing stopped as soon as I contemplated getting out of bed to check. 2:00 found the cycle repeating itself.

At 2:30 I heard the fussing again, gazed into the monitor again. Beth rolled over beside me.

Beth: What's wrong?
Me: You awake?
Beth: No, I'm comatose. Yeah, I'm awake.
Me: Have you gone in with him at all? He's been fussing about every half hour.
Beth: Uh. No. He's been here between us since midnight. He wandered in himself and crawled over you to get in the middle.

I looked and there lying between us was a very asleep Owen.

I did my best to convince myself that the sounds I'd heard, the staring into the monitor, were all part of some elaborate dream. Or that Owen had been making noise from the safety of our bed. Or Mia had been the one fussing. I didn't believe it but I was tired and went back to sleep anyway. Until 4:00.

At 4:00 in the morning I heard something that sounded remarkably like paper being torn. The sound was unmistakably coming from the monitor beside me. I turned over and counted the people next to me. Beth and Owen were present and accounted for. I could hear Mia snoring in her room. I returned my attention to the monitor and there I saw something flutter in front of the camera. It looked like one solitary snowflake falling in a still forest. It disappeared from view and was followed by another maybe five seconds later. A chill ran down my spine and I wished that I owned a bat. I got out of bed and walked towards Owen's room, closing our bedroom door behind us, then quietly closing the door to Mia's room as well. I could hear a rustling of paper which stopped abruptly as I neared the room.

When I crossed the threshold, I saw that those snowflakes were indeed pieces of paper. There were two or three dozen of them, all about the size of a quarter. They were white with what looked like writing on them. I looked around the room, checking under the bed, behind the furniture, in the closet. Then I went to Mia's room and did the same just to be safe. She kept snoring and nothing was amiss. So I went back to Owen's room, sat down on the floor and took a closer look. It was clear that something had been written in large letters on a fairly large piece of paper. Then that piece of paper had been torn up. I started reassembling. It was 4:00 in the morning and the process was slow but I eventually made sense of the paper and laid the pieces out in front of me on the carpet. The chill in my spine returned twofold as I heard a small child laughing behind me while I read the message there in front of me...


Posted by Chris at October 29, 2010 7:42 AM

You got me.Good one!!

Posted by: Debbie at October 29, 2010 7:58 AM

You had me until right before the paragraph "At 4:00 in the morning". I blame it on the fact that I've yet to have my coffee, I should know better! Yet, still, awesome.

Posted by: js at October 29, 2010 8:04 AM

Great! I seriously look forward to your annual Halloween story.

Posted by: J at October 29, 2010 8:33 AM

thought for sure it was gonna be one of those Linda Blair demon things screaming at me when I clicked on it!!!!

Posted by: dawn at October 29, 2010 8:34 AM

You totally got me this morning. I was expecting another weird-but-true tale from the Cactus family, this time about your escapades with the baby monitor. Good show, sir!

Posted by: Ross at October 29, 2010 8:50 AM

We have actually had some snow! Now isn't that scary!

Posted by: Maribeth at October 29, 2010 9:11 AM

NIIIICE! LOL You had me all the way to the end. I'm such a sucker! Happy Halloween to you and yours!

Posted by: NotAMeanGirl at October 29, 2010 9:14 AM

Very good! I thought you were going to inform us that you had rats :)

Happy Halloween to all of you too!

Posted by: Elizabeth at October 29, 2010 9:30 AM

I love your Halloween posts!

Posted by: Michell at October 29, 2010 9:44 AM

Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by: Heather at October 29, 2010 10:07 AM

HAHA Happy Halloween! :) Hope you get lots of the GOOD candy.

Posted by: jessica at October 29, 2010 10:25 AM

LOL! Good one! I was totally not prepared for that. Our monitor actually picks up some other signals when ours is off and we can hear a li'l kid chuckling or babbling at times. It freaks the hell out of me cos I am convinced it's possessed. So your monitor tale was very engrossing indeed. Well done :)

Posted by: Iris at October 29, 2010 10:27 AM

Great story. Very nice!

Posted by: Foggy Dew at October 29, 2010 10:55 AM

Great story, had me hanging on the edge of my seat!

Posted by: Foggy Dew at October 29, 2010 10:56 AM

STOP THAT!!! Jesus. I had shivers and shakes!!

Posted by: Tamara at October 29, 2010 11:23 AM

I was hooked until about halfway through when I remember the date. Have a great Halloween with the kids.

Posted by: Ann Adams at October 29, 2010 11:56 AM

i've actually picked up neighbors monitors on my receiver so I was hooked until the ripped paper... then I remembered your spookiness.

:) good one!

Posted by: jeanne at October 29, 2010 12:22 PM

Well done.

Happy Halloween to you too. Have fun!

Posted by: Brad at October 29, 2010 2:11 PM

Nice one!

Posted by: Heather at October 29, 2010 6:09 PM

I know you do this every year (and I've been reading FOR-EVER now) but I fall for it every damn time!

Happy Halloween, Chris!

Posted by: zanie at October 29, 2010 7:43 PM

Yup u got me again this year. You'd think I would learn :) Good one!

Posted by: Trish V at October 29, 2010 7:54 PM

OK...now I'm really spooked, thank you very much. The museum that I work at is doing Fright Nights tonight and tomorrow. I am one of the "frights" lol. A lady who is a "sensitive" went through tonight and when she was finished, told our boss that we were not alone. There are 10 "fright" stations. She told the boss that there was a man in a brown suit standing right next to.....guess....yup ME...did I see, feel, or hear anything, nope. It did kind of freak me out, and still being in that mood, I come home to read this. Thanks again, I think it will be more than a 2 beer night tonight, and to think I have to go and do it again tomorrow....shivers....

Posted by: Roberta at October 29, 2010 9:42 PM

I fall for this every year!! Good one!

Posted by: Gabriella at October 29, 2010 10:18 PM

hahaha, love it! i remembered i had to be on the lookout for a halloween post about half-way through. you got me :)

Posted by: kati at October 29, 2010 10:27 PM

I wasn't looking for a Halloween post, I was waiting to hear that your monitor was picking up a transmission from your neighbours and you discovered they were in to weird shit & you didn't know what to do with that info!

OK, you might have drawn me in a little.

Posted by: harmzie at October 29, 2010 11:00 PM

I usually catch onto your Halloween posts pretty quickly, but this one had me until the last full paragraph. Love it!

Posted by: stephanie at October 29, 2010 11:51 PM

Did you know, that we could pick up the sound from our neighbours? Hence I woke up one night to hear some strange woman singing in French...

Posted by: Nat at October 30, 2010 12:48 AM

hahaha you really had me going there for a while! very good! Happy Halloween!

Posted by: Delia at October 30, 2010 1:56 PM

You suck!

Posted by: Dee at October 30, 2010 10:16 PM

Love, love, love your Halloween stories!

Posted by: Karen at November 26, 2010 11:59 PM