Household Word: House of Spirits
Call me superstitious, call me crazy, but I believe in ghosts. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my house is haunted. Strange, unexplained phenomena happen here all the time.

Before we had kids, when my husband and I were first married, the two of us lived in a cozy, one-bedroom apartment. Weird things never happened there. We never found Silly Putty® stuffed into the bathtub drain or bungee cords hanging from the dining room chandelier. Entire boxes of popsicles never disappeared from the freezer.

There were no unexplained phenomena. Stuff stayed where we put it and the place remained relatively clean. We never found graham crackers inserted into the VCR, action figures in our bed, or the cordless phone dangling from a tree in the back yard. It wasn’t until we had three kids and moved to this house in the suburbs that such paranormal activity became commonplace.

The only explanation is ghosts. There’s no other answer. Because I’ve asked my children, “Who poured bubble bath into the toilet tank?” Nobody knows. There are no witnesses.

“What’s that green stuff melted inside the microwave?” I probe. It’s a mystery. No one saw anything. No one can identify a culprit. “Not me, not me, not me,” they all chime.

Mischievous Phantoms
The house must be haunted. But these are not phantoms bent on evil, just mischievous spirits determined to make my life slightly more annoying.

The ghosts in our house empty the pencil sharpener and leave the shavings on the floor. They draw superheroes on the backs of bills and will use a roll of 37-cent postage stamps if they can’t find the tape. They take the batteries out of the kitchen clock and put them into the GameBoy™.

They place my son’s skateboard on the front steps and bring his brand-new sneakers into the yard when it’s raining. They take my grandmother’s sterling silver teaspoons and use them to dig for worms in the garden. They hide homework assignments and notices from school. They leave lights on all over the house and download stuff that makes the computer crash.

Hungry Ghosts
The ghosts are also ravenous. They’ll eat the cupcakes that are slated for the PTO bake sale and drink the juice boxes that I’ve been saving to pack with school lunches. They eschew vegetables and leftover meatloaf, but seem to thrive on cookies and microwave popcorn.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the ghosts consume the same stuff that my kids like to eat. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that these spirits even had worldly needs like food. But they do, because when I ask my kids, “Who licked the frosting off the cupcakes?” all I get is guileless looks, a shrug of the shoulders and a three-part chorus of “Not me.”

Glamorous Spirits
The ghosts are attracted to my makeup, too. I think one must be a girl, because I find my best eye pencils worn to a nub, and empty bottles of my favorite hair conditioner littering the shower stall.

The spirits must haunt the bathroom, because my 14-year-old daughter, who spends a considerable amount of time in there, denies touching my stuff. When I ask her if she knows who broke my favorite lipstick, she shakes her silken head, bats her blackened lashes and with glossy lips says, “Not me.” Must be spooks.

Spooks on Wheels
Lately, the spirits are wreaking havoc with the family car, too. My oldest son, who has just started driving, has convinced me that there are phantoms who wait until he’s pulled into the driveway to siphon gas from the tank. He claims that it wasn’t empty when he got home. The phantoms must have reprogrammed the car radio so that now I can’t find the oldies station, and I figure that they must also be responsible for the new dent in the fender.

It had to be ghosts, because when I ask my son if he might have possibly backed into a tree, he says, “Not me.”

I guess we could call in an exorcist and try to rid our house of this paranormal activity. It worked for Linda Blair. But I have a feeling that if we wait a few years (maybe until the kids are in college) that these spirits might just find another haunt.

You know, I’ll really miss them.

When things go bump in the night, Carol Band knows it’s probably someone falling out of bed. Write to her at

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