When we first moved into the home I currently live in, my friend had to leave right afterward to go out of town for her job. I had never lived in a detached home before and never in one so far away from other people.
The house was the first one completed on this block of the subdivision and there were no houses behind us at all, just woodsy wetlands. It was November and cold here in the south suburbs of Chicago, and I knew I would be all alone for some time. The nearest neighbors were strangers and some distance away.
My house mate went off to the next town on business leaving me to the silence of the brand new home.
The first night I stayed up as late as I could and even left the upstairs bathroom light on to keep me from feeling so nervous.
Early the first morning I heard noises coming from above my bedroom, in the crawlspace. I had no idea who or what could be up there making those scary noises, but I tried not to panic. I got up there, turned on the light and peeked around. I expected to see a family up there making all that noise. Later that day, I called my friend and mentioned the noise to no avail. I guess she didn't want to make me even more scared.
That night I went to bed late and very tired. Some of our new furniture had been delivered, and I had busied myself setting up the family/media room.
In my bedroom, I turned off all the lights and got under a thick comforter happy the way the family room looked. Just as I was about to nod off, I began to hear a slow noise coming from below, either the utility/mud room, that has a door to the back yard OR the family room which is directly below.
In my mind, someone had come in through that lower level door and was making their way through the family room and up to the main level of the house. I froze in terror. I was in a home that had no near neighbors, it was winter time and there was no one to help me.
The sounds seemed to go on forever, then stop only to start up again over and over. I stayed still and listened, trying hard not to let my imagination get the best of me. Then, the sounds began again. They were moving around, it seemed, somewhere below, maybe the livingroom or kitchen. We have an open floor plan and so it can be confusing. Then, to my relief, the noises stopped again. I still continued to listen until finally, I fell asleep.
The next morning, just before daybreak, the noises above began again. I had never heard anything like that before and couldn't stand it anymore. I put on my robe and a coat over that and stormed downstairs and out the front door. Once in the middle of the driveway I could see most of the eastern part of the roof, over the bedrooms.
It looked like about a dozen of them pecking and cawing and generally making a nuisance of themselves, all over the roof.
They totally ignored me and continued with their crow business. (A year or so later a kestrel took up residence somewhere nearby and took care of them.)
I felt some relief to find out for myself at least what those noises were.
But, that night the sounds below continued to make sleeping hard.
I fell asleep only to be woken by what sounded like slow, steady footfalls coming up the stairs!
I was scared; I didn't want to, but was resolved to fight. My earlier feeling of success had only evaporated a little. Then logic started to nudge me.
Footsteps coming up the stairs?
Wait, we have carpeting on the stairs. How was I hearing footsteps?
I listened only to hear the 'footfalls' never get any closer to the room I was in. I was still scared, but I had to investigate.
Turning on every light switch I got near, I made my way out into the hallway and down to the living room. I peeked over the wood railing into the family room. No ghosts or intruders there.
Down into the family room. I looked into the lower level bathroom and then made my way to the utility room. I turned on the light.
No one. Nothing.
Just then, the furnace came on, and I was surrounded by the 'footfalls' right there in the room with me! The utility room has a concrete floor and couldn't sound like footfalls on a wooden floor. I got a chair from the family room and stood on it.
There, on top of the ducts leading to and from the furnace, was a large piece of wood left by one of the carpenters! When the heat made the ducts expand the wood somehow bumped around making the sound of someone walking on wooden floors.
It gave me a few sleepless nights and more than a little scare, but you gotta love carpenters.