And It Gets Creepier
I felt really silly earlier today for feeling jumpy when I first got to the church. That’s why I posted the previous blog – to laugh it off. Then the strangeness continued. About 20 minutes after I posted, I was trying to finish up a project so I could leave for lunch. I began to notice a strange, unpleasant odor. I glanced over at Scratch. It certainly didn’t smell like dog, not even dog that may have gotten ahold of foul food. (Which she hasn’t – that I know of anyway.) I sat there, trying to figure out what on earth it could be. It smelled vaguely familiar and it kept getting stronger and stronger. It was a little like the strange odor that was in my study when I first came in this morning, only it was much stronger now. Then it hit me. This is exactly what the unexpected visitor that scared the bejeezus out of me a couple of years ago smelled like – body odor/dirty clothes/haven’t had a bath in a long, long time/cigarettes/possibly remnants of some other smoked substance kind of odor. I froze. Scratch continued snoozing. I couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary. I quietly began packing my things – the heck with an unfinished project, it was time to leave. Then I felt it, the vibration of the floor. Only this time, instead of the familiar rumbling of a passing 18-wheeler, it was the steady rhythm of retreating steps. Even sleeping Scratch aroused and looked around curiously. I waited another few minutes, then left my study quickly with keys interlocked in my fingers and cell phone handy.
Once I was a safe distance away, I began feeling silly again. I didn’t hear footsteps, I just felt them, but surely that could have been anything. The smell – maybe we need to check for a gas leak or something. Nothing in the church seemed to have been bothered. All of the outside doors had been locked when I checked them earlier. What are the chances . . .
I made a visit to our local community ministry to see if the director knew of any transients who were in the area. There was one – a woman – who came to the ministry a few days looking for shelter. She had been living out of her car. She went ballistic when he told her he would make a few calls to nearby overnight shelters. Apparently she was looking for something more along the lines of a hotel. And he said she smelled strongly of cigarettes and, well, body stench.
My next visit was to the police department, where I told an officer there that I felt ridiculous reporting something because I smelled unusual odors and things just didn’t feel right to me. I thought he’d probably blow me off, but he didn’t. He took a report, chastised me for checking the church alone, especially without first contacting someone to let them know I was uneasy. He said he would much rather one of the officers come, search the church, and find nothing than to have me run into something/someone I might not be able to handle on my own. They are stepping up patrols around the church and manse. I will not be working alone in the church anytime soon.
I filled Anna in on the day’s adventure in our after-school catch-up time. I hesitated to tell her because she gets spooked pretty easily. But since she stays home alone frequently I felt she needed to know of the possibilities. When I finished my story, she told me that last week when she got in her car (parked in the garage) to drive to school, it smelled really bad – like cigarettes and body odor. We always keep the cars locked, even in the garage and driveway. However, the garage has a loft filled with boxes and – get this – an old mattress that’s been there since we first moved in. (Key in to the theme music from The Twilight Zone)
Anybody else out there spooked? Or is it just me?