Something in the Attic

Today, we have Michelle Diamond guest blogging on the paranormal/supernatural topic.  Michelle is a state employee in New Mexico.  She is married, has three wonderful kids and getting ready to celebrate the big 4-0 in May of this year.  Her hobbies include exploring for Native American artifacts, archeology, the paranormal and jogging.  She also enjoys singing in the church choir.

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Growing up in Oklahoma, I had lots of interests in my early years.  I have always loved to explore the great outdoors, the many wonders of nature.  I was unusual in that I was more interested in rocks and artifacts than boys (that changed quite suddenly when I turned 13) I had a very happy childhood growing up in the "Sooner State." If you loved horses, rodeos, cattle and ranches, Oklahoma was the state for you.  Of course, it helped if you had great parents.  I loved both my parents, especially my dad.  My father was a former Catholic priest.  No, he never harmed a child at any time.  He left the Catholic Church because he felt they were more interested in ministering to the church hierarchy than to their flock.  My dad had a special place in his heart for the poor,  the destitute.  It was this passion he had for the poor which led him to start a "Mission of Hope" which was non-denominational.  My dad "sold" second-hand clothing, appliances, furniture, and other items that are needed on a daily living basis.  But, many times dad just wound up giving stuff away to those who could not afford to pay.  His only price to those unable to pay was that they had to listen to him preach the Word of God for 30 minutes.  Even then, he didn't push that "price" on them.  If you came to the service, he praised you.  Even if you didn't come, my dad still praised you.  I loved my dad. 

I remember looking up at my dad at night as we stood outside looking at God's creation. His head seemed to reach into the sky, near the stars.  I think of that even now when I walk outside at night.  Dad seemed impossibly huge to me. One thing I will never forget is what my dad said to me one cool night in September, as we watched the stars twinkle, he said "Never forget I love you, Dimples (my nickname).  I will always be there for you in some way."  Dad knew his time was short.  I only had him as my dad for 10 1/2 years. But, he is as alive today, for me, as he was back then.  My father passed away just three months later in 1984. He was my hero, even in his death bed he was heroic as the ravages of cancer melted him away from the 220lbs, 6'4 frame he had to less than 130lbs at his death.  He left me with something that would have great meaning to me.  He left me a silver necklace with a baby angel with wings.  He made it clear to my mother he wanted me to have that. I wore it even in the shower.  Unfortunately, as kids are prone to doing, I lost that angel necklace somehow while helping my mother and others run the Mission of Hope store.  I was devastated.  I checked every place I could imagine.  I checked under furniture, clothing, boxes and virtually everything in the store. We moved things around in the hope we could locate my beloved baby angel necklace.  I checked the big storeroom in back. It was all to no avail.  There was one place I did not need to check.  The upstairs attic was one place my parents strictly forbid their only child to go by herself.  I never went up there without my dad by my side.  It was....strange.  It was just something about the attic that didn't seem right.  I could sense my dad felt it too.  But, he never said a word about his discomfort to me. I did ask dad why I could not go up there by myself (not that I ever wanted to).  "It's a steep winding stairway, Dimples.  It has just that one dim bulb at the top.  I am afraid you might fall down.," he said.  It was more to it than just that.  But, I didn't push him on it.

My mother was very distraught by my dad's death.  But, she knew she had to go on for my sake and to continue the work my dad had started.  It wasn't easy.  There were times when we barely had enough to eat, just the two of us.  But, my mother persevered in the hope there would be better days.  Problems continued to pop up after my father's death.  If it wasn't one thing wrong at the store, then it was another. It was something new every day. The worst problem was the odor coming from the staircase leading up to the attic.  It smelled like an open sewer. It seemed to get worse after my father's death for reasons I could not understand at the time.  My mother had two wannabe plumbers check the plumbing.  But, they couldn't find the reason why the smell was continuing.  Finally, the smell started making its way into the store.  Mother had to get a real plumber to check it out.  He too could find no leaks or open pipes that could be causing the odor.  Mom put out many spices and scented candles to mask the odor.  It did help alleviate the problem in the store.  But, the odor continued.  What I couldn't understand is why no one bothered to go up to the attic.  The odor was stronger up there.  Nobody wanted to check there, except me, of course.  I asked my mother if I could go check it for myself.  She made it clear, in no uncertain terms, I was NOT to ever go up there.  That just made me more determined to go up there anyway.  We were having too many volunteers quit working for us due to the odor.  Something had to be done.  At age 11, going on 21, I took it upon myself to find out why it smelled so bad in the attic.

It was on an early Saturday morning as I recall.  Mother and I always got to the store early, about 6:30AM to get the old manual cash registers ready for the day.  We only worked from 8AM to 12PM on Saturdays.  But, it was our most busy day of the week.  People started lining up about 7:30AM to make their way into the Mission of Hope.  Many had nothing to eat or nowhere to live.  We did all we could for them.  But, on this one Saturday morning, my mother wasn't feeling good.  She opened up and told me she was going back home.  She had been throwing up all morning.  The store had to open.  So, one of the many volunteers would be manager for the day.  I waited for that volunteer (Mrs Wainwright) to show up for work since mother wasn't going to be able to work.  As mother drove off, in the still darkness of the morning, I heard a noise from upstairs.  I had always heard these noises before in the attic.  But, my parents always excused them as just an old building settling.  I could tell my father did not believe that, not for one minute.  There was something I wasn't being told.   VOOM....this time it was loud!  I was about to do something I promised my father I would never do; go up those steep stairs leading to the attic.  I had to find out about that noise and, most of all, the unholy smell emanating from that area.  I put my right foot on the first step and looked up.  I took a big gulp and slowly headed upward toward the attic door.  With each step, the smell seemingly got worse.  It smelled just like when my grandpa would do his morning constitutional in the bathroom.  It took hours for that smell to clear out.  This smell was very similar.  The steps were creaking louder with each step I took. I started gagging midway up the stairs when I noticed the attic door had inexplicably opened.  I stopped and took a deep breath (as horrible as it was).  That door was always closed. 

Now, I was thinking better of the idea of going into the attic.  I could almost hear my knees trembling.  Moving up very slowly, I could see that door was about halfway open.  I hesitated.  What was I doing?  Did I really want to go into that dark attic with only the dim light from the bulb at the door?  I entered through the attic door.  The odor was overwhelming.  It was also very strange.  You ever walk into a room where people are talking and they suddenly stop talking when you enter?  I had that same crazy feeling as I looked around the very smelly, very scary attic.  There were all kinds of different merchandise here that dad and my mother had not bothered to check out.  All kinds of overcoats, raincoats, shoes of every description.  As I slowly got my bearings about me, I heard what was definitely a whisper.  "Quid hic agis?"  I wasn't sure what was said. But, I knew it was Latin from lessons from my father.  I was so terrified, I am not ashamed to tell you, I wet myself.  I went to the door....and, yes, the door closed shut.  Twisting the knob to open had no effect whatsoever.  I was screaming for someone to help me, to please open the door.  I suddenly stopped....as I felt the putrid breath of something not human breathing very close to me.  I was so scared, I was afraid to even cry.  I was absolutely paralyzed with fear.  I wanted to face whatever it was at my neck.  But, there was just no movement in my body, despite trying to turn around.  "Te deseram, neque derelinquam!!!"

I screamed bloody murder!!!  I didn't know what that meant (at the time).  But, I was certain it wasn't good.  I was close to fainting when I felt the scaly, wet fingers of something along my neck.  Then....things happened in the blink of an eye.  I heard a deep gut wrenching howl of something being hurt behind me.  There were flashes of light behind me as if some titanic struggle was taking place!  It was as if a dozen men were in a barroom brawl and no quarter was being asked or given.  I heard lamps falling behind me, boxes being turned over, boards popping and what sounded like ripping noises going on!  I wasn't about to turn around.  It seemed to last an hour.  But, in reality, it was probably 30 seconds or less.  Just as suddenly as the fight of the ages began, it also ended just as quickly.  The terrible screaming, snarling and absolute violence had ended.  But, I was still too shaken, too fearful and just too scared like I have never been before and never will be again. In the sudden silence of the attic, I heard something hit the floor that sounded like a bell.  There was no other noise in the darkened attic.  I slowly, so very slowly turned around.  I saw nothing.  None of the boxes had been overturned, none of the clothing that had been hung up or anything else was out of place.  I heard a "click."  The door had opened by itself, just as it had closed by itself.  Gathering what strength I had left, I started toward the door when I stepped on something.  Tears instantly welled up in my eyes as I reached down to pick up the silver necklace with a baby angel.  I didn't question how it got there.  I knew who had dropped it there to let me know that he was a  man of his word.  I turned around and looked all over the room.  The terrible odor was gone now, I noticed, as I looked around the room.  The tears kept flowing as I looked at the baby angel necklace in my left hand.  "Thanks daddy.  I'm sorry I didn't listen.  I love you, dad," I said as tears streamed down my face. I walked out the door and closed it behind me.  The odor was gone all over the stairway and the entire building.  

The crowd outside was waiting to come in and Mrs. Wainwright was busy helping people.  She saw me and said, "Goodness Michelle!  Where have you been?  We need you here on the floor...child did you wet yourself?"  I told her I had.  But, I left out the reason why I had wet myself.  I was like in a daze for the rest of the day.  All I could really do was walk around with that baby angel necklace in my left hand.  I eventually went home at noon to check on my mother.  I didn't mention to my mother what had happened that day.

In 2005,  my mother lay dying (also from cancer) in a hospice facility in Oklahoma.  She was in and out of consciousness.  She had times when she was lucid.  But, most of the time, she was not aware of her surroundings.  I wasn't sure if she was totally lucid when I repeated the story you just read.  She alternately would smile and frown.  Mother did not open her eyes while I told this story.  When I finished, I waited for a response.  She appeared to have slipped out of consciousness once again.  As I started to get up to leave, my mother turned to me.  "I knew all about it, Michelle.  He told me," my mother softly whispered to me.  I cried as I held my mother's hand with my right hand and rubbed the baby angel necklace, around my neck, with my left hand.  I'll never know if my mother knew what I was talking about or if my dad really told her what had happened in her dreams or whatever.  But, I know my dad lived up to his word to always be there for me in some way.  And, that's how my story will end.

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