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National Editorials & Columns

Porter: My house is either plagued or haunted

I think my house is possessed.

I need to sell the house, and my own procrastination in getting it ready to show is one thing. But there seem to be other forces working against me.

It started about two weeks ago, when I heard something scratching at the ductwork in the basement. I assumed it was a mouse, but it sounded like it could be something larger. I went down there with a flashlight but I couldn’t find the source of the noise.

So, I set out a box of mouse poison hoping that would take care of the problem. It did, in a way. Now my whole house smells like death.

I went to the basement to see if I could find the source of the smell but to no avail. I checked the box of poison to see how much of it had been eaten, but the whole box was gone. Whatever it was had carried the box off or had eaten it. That indicates that there probably had been a squirrel or a raccoon that had found its way into the basement.

Then the toads arrived. I have a goldfish pond in my backyard although there are no goldfish in it. I was inside working at the computer when I heard a shrill cadence coming from the yard. I thought it sounded like locusts although I thought this was not the season for that.

I quickly found that source. About a dozen toads had taken up residency in and around the pond, and they were puffing out the pouches on their necks in an apparent mating call. One such toad can be annoying but a dozen are deafening. I’m sure the neighbors were pleased.

Somehow, and I’m not saying how, the toads disappeared one by one. I know they eat insects but I think I’d rather have the insects.

Then, I walked into the kitchen this morning to find a glass globe from a ceiling light fixture shattered on the ground. The metal post that secured the globe to the fixture also was on the floor. It had somehow unscrewed itself over time. I don’t know how these things happen, but what a mess.

Tonight, I decided to de-stress by the fire pit with a cigar. I keep a few logs in the garage to keep them dry and while I was out by the fire, a neighborhood cat decided to go exploring in the garage. I think it was a cat. Something in there was having fun knocking things off the shelf.

I don’t know whether to put a for sale sign in the yard or hang a condemned sign on the door. Anybody want to buy a house? Slightly damaged. May be haunted. Make an offer.

• David Porter can be reached at

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