I moved into my new house a little over a year ago. My wife Karen and I found a wonderful subdivision with nice lots, and a few empty fields scattered about. Now I’ve always been a dog person, so it was important to me to find a lot with as much space as possible. It turns out that the field behind our house was actually a gas exemption. Major pipelines ran under that property, so no building could take place. It does awesome things for the views, but if it ever went up Live Free Die Hard style we’d have quite the fireworks show and probably no more house.
Anyways, this is Bailey.
She’s a bit over 4 months, and we rescued her in March. Absolute sweetheart, loves everyone, the works. This isn’t about her though, really it’s not. I have Facebook to post all the pictures to combat the baby pictures clogging my feed. This is about the weird shit that happens when we’re together.
I take Bailey out to go to the bathroom at night when its dark out so Karen doesn’t have to (she claims its even worse now that the bugs are returning.) Last night was no different, and at around 10 PM I found myself outside in the dark, babysitting a dog that decides she would rather try to eat dandelion bulbs than actually go to the damn bathroom. We usually bring a flashlight out since it gets so dark out here, we don’t want Bailey to discover something she wants to eat and we can’t even tell she’s chewing. This night though, I left it inside.
While trying to figure out how to deal with the weeds in my yard so I’m not “that guy” of the neighborhood, there was an audible thud on the grass exemption to our right. Both Bailey and I scanned over the open grass, but saw nothing. I chalked it up to a coyote or deer since our subdivision is located by the forest, and started playing the money game in my mind where I figure out which organ or limb I can deal without so we can get a fence, shed, and a lawnmower.
There was movement at my feet as Bailey stood up and stared in the direction of the noise with her tail between her legs. I was about to bend down to carry her inside, worried it may be a coyote when a loud voice broke the silence.
The voice was that of an enthusiastic preteen girl. Having someone startle you at night is bad enough, even if they are friendly about it. The problem was that the voice had come from the empty field. The hair stood up on my neck as the sound replayed in my head. Something was off about it that made me want to run inside, bolt the doors, and finally win the argument with Karen as to why I need a chainsaw when we really don’t have any trees.
Bailey was stock still, and I realized the quiet buzzing of the gnats had stopped completely. I was frozen, promising that I would never blame a deer for freezing in headlights ever again. With the noise playing in my head over and over while my eyes scanned the field and neighbors yards, hoping for some weird kid that just wanted to see the puppy, it finally clicked.
The sound was enthusiastic and high-pitched, but the cadence was off.
There’s a term in robotics called the ‘Uncanny Valley.’ It’s is a catchall term that applies to the unease humans get when they’re faced with a robot designed to look human, but with the vaguely plastic looking face and jerky hydraulic movements that end up just being off enough to set off alarm bells in our brains. Same reason people get really nervous about mannequins.
The voice sounded like something attempting to mimic a little girl’s voice, but had no real reference point. Inflection was all wrong, a slightly imperfect attempt of passing as human. Bailey was cowering when I scooped her up and we made a break for the door. I have no problem admitting that I ran faster than I probably did in my prime, and when we got inside I immediately locked the door and made a mental note of where I could get any possible thing to defend myself with.
I have no problem with creepy situations or the darkness. Growing up I lived in a farmhouse from the 1920’s that had seen its fair share of death, and still to this day believe was haunted. Our previous house backed up to think forest, the edge of which was about 10 feet from my ground floor window. I know what coyotes, deer, birds, and other things sound like at night. I’ve seen bears in the wild, about 50 feet down a dirt road from me, I do not get spooked by animals easily.
Those can be a spooky kind of fear, but this fear was primal. The kind that you feel in the pit of your stomach when your brain weighs its options as to whether or not run like hell, or attempt to go raging caveman to whatever was threatening you.
Nothing happened the rest of the night and I thought that was that, just a creepy anecdote. So I posted it on Facebook so my friends could get a bit of a laugh or a bit scared. Everyone had fun with it, but then a new response came in. It was from a friend of mine, who had a friend who lived only a few miles away.
She had been outside in the yard at night a few days ago when she heard a clear “Hello.” No one was around, and when her husband checked the yard nothing was disturbed, no footprints, anything.
Now, I don’t think my current house is haunted or anything like that, but I did hear that greeting as clear as day. It was not an animal making noise, or my imagination. The second part because Bailey heard it too. I promise you I will never go out there without a flashlight again.
Each night I lock up though, I know I’m going to look through the window and see a pale, lanky creature , wearing a crude child disguise, and just saying “Hi!” over and over again as they gently paw against the glass, wanting to come in.