What's it like to be a paranormal investigator, really? Part II

What's it like to be a paranormal investigator, really?  Part II: continued...

... After two solid minutes of waiting, we hear a small little "tap tap"....
"Did you hear that?" I said.
"Yes." my teammate replied.
I say again, "Was that you? Can you tap on the wall again?"
We sit and we wait...nothing. No taps, no noises. Nothing. This is typical in just about every investigation. You think you have something..a response to a question, a request, an unexplained noise. But it doesn't repeat, so you are now not sure. Once is really not enough to establish a response is happening. It's something, but not much.
We settle back again and wait in silence.

There is something that happens while waiting in the dark that is hard to describe to others. Maybe because I know that anything can happen, and occasionally does, I have learned to expect and anticipate anything. For me it is not possible to be bored because of that expectation; that possibility. My skin feels cold. Goose bumps raise on my arm. My eyes are fine-tuned to the shapes in the dark and are alert to any movement or variation in shades of black. My ears seem to be picking up sounds from a long way off. It is always so hard to tell where sounds are coming from.

Odd hallucinations can happen while sitting in the dark. Sounds can organize themselves into whispers and words where there are no words. Shapes can form into recognizable things in the dark...silhouettes of figures, creepy faces.  Dark moves within dark in disturbing ways that play with your fears and senses. If you are not aware that these things are all the function of your mind attempting to organize chaos into order, you could be fooled by all of this. I am not. I am familiar with the trickster's ways with my mind and eyes and ears. It's interesting to experience, but none of it is paranormal. What I am waiting for is that indescribable something that happens that you know with all of your instincts is not normal...not normal at all. So often all of this hyper-alertness, this state of super-watch, amounts to nothing. But, every once is a great while, it does. Tonight, it does.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the feeling of the room changes. It was just a normal room a minute ago; comfortable, almost boring, lived in, like my own bedroom at home. Now it's as if someone has turned up the volume on stress...like a string on a guitar ready to snap. A tangible anxiety hits me. All my senses are on high alert. The temperature suddenly drops. You can feel your skin chill, the breaths you take icy in your lungs. Then the little pings start; odd-sounding taps as if on crystal, high-pitched, ping, ping, ping...all around the room...ping, like a fork on fine china. What the...?

My partner yells, "Hey!" He lunges off his seat and runs for the hallway. Down the hallway at breakneck speed and into the dark room at the end of the hall. I have no idea why we are running. He enters the room, looks all around, then backs out.
"What? What did you see?"
He saw a black mass, large, hunched, and it darted down the hallway and into the room at the end of the hall. Nothing. The temperature seems to return to normal. Or are we just heated from running and the excitement? No more sounds. The intensity of atmosphere is gone. It's just a normal room now. Whatever that was, it's over. Hopefully we caught something on the recorder and camera.

Break time.

We all congregate in command central again. It's 2:30 am. Some of us step outside, even though its really cold out, to smoke, to clean out our heads, eat chocolate, gulp down tiny jugs of energy. We don't say much to each other.

It's the last session of the night. My partner and I, along with a third investigator, a very young guy with a gift for technology and a lot of experience investigating, head up to the third floor. It's a long hallway with two bedrooms at each end and a sort of parlor in the middle. We settle into one of the end rooms. I sit on the bed with the young tech guy and we have a long view down the hallway. An evp session begins. Then silence for a good while. I'm beginning to drift a bit. This happens to me after 3:00 am. It's my wall. I'm pretty much done by then. Twenty minutes later, the young guy says, "Did you see that?!" and jumps off the bed and takes off running top speed towards the parlor. Again, I follow, right on his heals. He stops inside the parlor entrance, looks around the corner to the left, then the right, then yells at the top of his lungs, "Oh... my... god!!" He starts to madly search the entire room, pulling out chairs, tables, pulling back curtains. opening and shutting doors. I say, "what's the matter? What are you looking for?" By now the other team member has joined us. He gets on the radio to the rest of the team. "Has anyone been on the third floor just now? Anyone playing a practical joke?" The response is, "No. We are on the first floor right now. The other team is in the basement."
We take seats and ask what he saw. He describes two figures standing in the doorway, as solid and real as we are. They are male and female, facing each other in the parlor entry. They walk towards each other, cross each other's paths, then disappear. We are certain, at first, that it's the team leaders playing a prank. They love to do that towards the end of the night sometimes, to let loose and laugh, blow off some steam. But, no. It wasn't them. Everyone is accounted for. The kid is visibly shaken. He's quiet, eyes still a bit wide. We all sit in the dark for a while. Then the walkie talkie squawks "That's a rap." We all get up and head downstairs, hitting light switches on as we descend the stairs. Everyone starts to tare down equipment as fast as is safe. Wires are being pulled, big orange spools spinning. The house is lit up bright. It's a different place. No shadows, noisy, people laughing, giving instructions, madly working, moving, crouching to unplug wires, packing up recorders, cameras. It looks like an awkwardly choreographed dance, figures moving up, down, around, out, in a weirdly graceful dance, almost colliding.  The front door is propped open and cold air fills the room. It helps to wake me up.

An hour later everything in the house is back to normal as if we had never been there. The lead investigators meet for a few minutes with the owners. Then they come outside to thank us all. We thank them in return. We stand in a circle after the clients quietly move inside and shut the door on us. We tell each other, "Good job. Great investigation. Can't wait to see the evidence. Have a safe trip back."

Bye, everyone.

We get into the car, start the engine and pull away. We don't turn on the heat. We are too sleepy and the cold air will help to keep us awake. I fight sleep. I have to carry on a continuous conversation with my team mate to keep him awake. It works, along with the loud assault of 80's rock music.

I'm home. I put the key into the lock and I'm inside, door shut behind me. It's 4:30 am. I'm wired. I strip off my clothes and crawl into bed  and turn on the TV. I need to calm down. I'm beyond exhausted but somehow wide awake. It always takes me a while to get sleepy and pass out. I turn out the lights and fall onto my pillow, tired, sore, hurting, alone.
Hopefully. Hopefully alone.



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