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November 8, 2015

Do You Hear What I Hear?

One day when Kara, my mother's neighbor, was home alone, she heard footsteps overhead. It sounded as though someone were walking carefully across the roof.

Naturally, she was alarmed. She ran outside and looked up, but she couldn't see anyone. After she had assured herself that no one was on the roof, she felt better, even though she couldn't explain what she had heard.

A few days later, the same thing happened. Kara heard quiet footsteps on the roof. Again, she went outside to check, but saw no one. It didn't make sense.

When her husband got home, she told him what had happened. He walked around the perimeter of the house, carefully examining the ground, but saw no footprints or any sign that someone had used a ladder. Then he got out his own ladder and climbed up to the roof. A careful examination found nothing unusual. Obviously, Kara was mistaken.

After all, it's normal to hear random sounds. Houses settle, timbers creak. The wind makes strange noises. Sometimes windows rattle, pipes echo, faucets drip. Outside there are airplanes, barking dogs, kids bouncing balls, and neighbors with loud TVs. It's easy enough to think you hear something that isn't really there.

Of course, Kara heard the footsteps again. They could not be mistaken for anything else. She could follow their stealthy progress from one side of the house to a spot directly above the living room, where they stopped. Whoever was up there couldn't possibly escape without being seen. She moved slowly, opened the the front door quietly, and walked out to the sidewalk, where she had an excellent view of the roof over the living room. She saw no one.

Just as Kara's husband arrived home, she suddenly realized -- to her horror - what was going on. The intruder wasn't on the roof. He was in the attic crawlspace! She was about to call the police, but her husband stopped her. He didn't think it was possible. The only entrance to the attic was an access panel in the hall ceiling. Someone would have to get into the house unseen, use a ladder to climb into the attic, and then drag the ladder up. Not only that, but Kara had been hearing these sounds for several days. Even if someone could manage to sneak into the attic, would that person have just stayed up there all this time?

To reassure Kara, her husband climbed up to the attic carrying a big flashlight. As an unfinished crawlspace, the area had no real floor, just timbers that crisscrossed the space, and a narrow catwalk across the center. Kara's husband was able to get around, slowly and carefully, shining the light into every corner. There was no one there.

Kara was completely demoralized. The next time she heart the footsteps creeping around overhead, she just lay down on the sofa and wept. Her husband and children began to worry that she was having a nervous breakdown. Even Kara wondered for a moment if she was hallucinating. Nevertheless, she heard what she heard, and she felt certain it was real.

A few days later, one of Kara's daughters happened to be standing outside when she noticed a cat that jumped from a tree to the roof. The cat squeezed behind an air vent that had come loose and entered the crawlspace. At that moment, Kara heard it again, the sound of the cat strolling through her attic.

Kara was vindicated. Her husband fixed the vent. After that, the cat had to be content with sitting on the roof, where no one could hear it.

2 fabulous comments:

  1. What a story, but at the end of the day, who really knows what happened in that attic?


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