Farm life: witching hour

Do you believe in ghosts?

It’s 3:30 a.m. We wake to a very strange, very startling noise. It sounded as if some sort of large animal had broken into our sunroom. An abrasive, scratching noise of sorts. Similar to the sound of a deer rubbing his antlers on a tree.

Both E and I shoot out of bed. Meanwhile, the dog is still asleep on his bed in the living room. He isn’t phased by the sound at all, which is even more curious.

“How did he not hear that?” E and I both wonder out loud.

We turn on the porch light and look through the windows. The door is closed and there is nothing to be seen.

E opens the door to the sunroom, cautiously, and ensures there’s no animals in there.

“Nothing here,” he says confidently.

We turn on a few more lights, look around the house and peer through the windows to outside. It’s very dark. Again, nothing to be seen.

We wonder some more about what made that sound as we both give up and go back to bed. Perhaps it was snow falling from a tree onto our roof? It just didn’t sound that way. It was more primal. Visceral. Scary.

We managed to eventually fall back asleep but when I woke again at my usual 6 a.m. I realized something that made the event even more unsettling.

It happened at exactly 3:30 a.m., aka, witching hour.

According to tales of folklore, witching hour is associated with supernatural events, typically occurring between 3 and 4 a.m.

Considering where we live, an old hospital that was built in 1890, the potential for the presence of ghosts or spirits really doesn’t surprise me. I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but, I do believe in ghosts.

Who knows what went down in the hospital during its time. In some old documents on the farm, there is an entry from a daily journal kept by one of the nurses. She explained that people who couldn’t pay their hospital fees at the end of treatment were immediately thrown in jail. Perhaps there were some people who weren’t super happy about those circumstances.

Renovations also recently started on the building directly beside the old hospital, what used to be the nurse’s quarters. I’m fairly certain this building hasn’t been touched since it was operational. When we first moved to the farm there were old hospital beds stacked against the wall, an old bed-side table, and other evidence that would suggest no one has lived or slept in that building for quite some time.

Either way, things have escalated to a whole new level of strange since the first ‘witching hour’ event. Several times now, E and I have woken up between 3 and 4 a.m.

One time, I got up out of bed and went to the washroom. I swear I heard footsteps as if someone was walking up stairs. We don’t have any stairs in our house.

Another time, I woke up at 3:15 a.m. to a sound all too comparable to the first event. Again, the dog was not phased.

I’ve read that witching hour isn’t real. That it has less to do with ghosts and witches and more to do with our circadian rhythms. That waking up at 3a.m. is actually, typically, when we’re in, or ending, our REM cycle. What these theories don’t explain is the strange noises we’ve heard.

So far these middle-of-the-night events haven’t been anything to worry about. I’ll be honest, I don’t think our house is haunted. But it does make me wonder about all of the stories that could be told. All of the stories that were told. What it was like to be a fly on the wall in the early 1900’s in our house.

I’m curious to know, do you believe in ghosts?

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