This takes place Christmas (2015), the exact date I can't be sure. Somewhere around then, but not the actual 25th. Anywhoo, let's get cracking with the Christmas spirit!
Turns out my Dad has become the biggest denier of anything paranormal. This has no doubt rubbed off from my Stepmum, wonderful woman and biggest nihilist I know. They've been together since I was a kid.
Frustratingly Dad, in my opinion, has had one of the best ghost encounters of all time. That was many, many years ago and, although he used to believe in ghosts, no longer does. When I ask him about his ghost encounters these days (he's had a few) he replies: "Yeah, that happened, I don't know who or what it was, BUT IT'S NOT A GHOST THERE'S NO SUCH THING'. Super short fuse on the subject. My Stepmum, as I've mentioned before, loves talking about ghosts and how much she doesn't believe in them.
If anyone brings up anything remotely out of the norm in their presence it turns into a 20 minute lecture on why it ain't so, and this can go on all night. No really, it can, and there's no getting a word in edge ways.
Are you feeling all Christmassy? I know I am.
This is about Dad's mate H. This dude was tough, I mean 'They call him, Machete', tough. He even looked like Danny Trejo, same build and height even. Had a crooked nose, broken in fights and tips of a couple fingers missing from goodness knows how. Despite all this he was really a very gentle guy with those he loved. But would easily floor blokes twice his size in the blink of an eye if they mistreated anyone, especially women. He hated violence towards women more than anything else in the world. H passed in 2009.
H and Dad used to bicker about music a lot. Dad's a massive Frank Zappa fan and pretty much any music that isn't Zappa is inferior by default, according to Dad. H loved his Rush and bands like that. So...
Must've been around 7 at night, sun still up, summer in Oz. There were about five people in the lounge and everyone was talking. Multiple conversations, pretty noisy room. Dad was telling me all about how crap the guitarist from Deep Purple is. Yeup, take it away Dad! In my opinion he's bagging out this guy on the basis of not being Frank Zappa. Then...
"THUMP THUMP THUMP... THUMP THUMP"
It's Thumper from Bambi! Not really, but a lot of thumping on the carpeted lounge floor. Myself and another guy, L, who was talking in another conversation were the only ones to look around at what was thumping.
Now, when H got excited about something he'd usually stomp his feet as he was either, agreeing, laughing, or disagreeing with something. I'm going to bet H disagreed with Dad's Deep Purple rant. But, because I don't want to be lectured to on the finer points of why ghosts aren't real, I've learned to be sneaky. I asked "Is your dryer on? I think it's running away" I get a kick out of including non-believers in paranormal events. My Stepmum chimes in immediately "It's a fox under the house". It surprised me how quick she was to say this. The thumping stopped when I asked about the dryer.
They've had a fox, probably many foxes, in their yard over the years. At least one was getting under their house. Dad thinks so because of some digging around the base of the house. I hear about their fox regularly, so this statement wasn't obscure. Except it was this time, because only a few hours earlier Dad told me he'd blocked the fox from getting under the house. Not only that, he showed me his handy work. This was the latest fox update. This, and their fox had succumbed to a fire from when the local council had a burn off in a block over the road. None of this made sense to me, as I'm sure it doesn't to you now.
I then said, "We should go unblock the hole so the fox can get out." To which they said the hole had already been blocked. (Makes no sense to me either.) To which I said, "But there's a fox thumping under the house." Then Dad starts getting narky and said "No, I blocked the hole this time". To which myself and L both say "What's making the noise then?" and "Didn't you hear that thumping?" I mean you could feel it in the floor. Then they both 'explain' it was the fox knocking the pipe under the house. I know right, bonkers.
The atmosphere quickly returned to 'normal' and so too did the conversations. Dad continued on about Deep Purple. You guessed it, more thumping. I began pondering the ethics of talking out loud to H. If this was H he seemed to have a real handle on this thumping. The potential for communication was there. H was into supernatural subjects, so I think he'd be into that idea. I decided not to because of the 'fox'. Their resident fox has obviously become their safety net for moments like these.
On another day, shortly after this, there was more thumping in their lounge. This time it was much later in the night. We were talking about The Bill which was a TV show we all used to watch, including H. There was a lot of laughter and reminiscing about various moments. Together with the thumping it felt just like H had never left. He used to hate (character) Tony Stamp, and I almost expected to hear one of his hilarious, politically incorrect, observations about Tony Stamp's complete incompetence and lack of 'balls'. I wish I could quote some of H's diatribe but it's simply too rude to censor.
This time the thumping was ignored, or maybe left unspoken of is a better way to put it. Dad said, almost to himself, "There goes the fox again", but that was all that was said. I didn't count how many thumps happened, it wasn't very many during The Bill conversation. Maybe three in total, I remember two in quick succession, then another about a minute later. I wasn't ignoring the thumps, I was enjoying that they felt so normal, just like H.
When H visited Dad, for whatever reason, he always took one of the kitchen chairs into the lounge. No idea why he did this, there's plenty of arm chairs. He favoured a space just beside the fireplace. During the Deep Purple rant the thumps seemed to be coming from his fireplace spot. During The Bill conversation I didn't take notice of the thumping direction.
I'll be damned if this was all a fox running around banging under floor pipes. Especially since the hole had been blocked a month or so before. Even so, foxes are agile, quiet creatures, they don't jump around making lots of noise. Then there's the whole council back burning event. Yeah right, as if! Any fox would take off as soon as the workers arrived. It's not a very big block.
The only thing I still can't explain is my Dad and Stepmum's reasoning. They might not believe H drops in on them, but at least they believe in foxes.
Thanks for reading.