Mystic Magic: Zebras and Horses

73 Essex St. Photo taken on Google Maps.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Plenty of things go bump in the night. There is a saying among the magical community: “Mundane before magical.” What this means is that one should look for common causes, explainable ones, before jumping to ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things.

     But what if you have ruled out all of the common, mundane answers?

     While I was staying in Salem, MA, with a couple friends and my mother, we noticed that our AirBnB had some very noisy heaters. They were the baseboard kind I had grown up with, in Manassas, and I remembered the creaking and the hissing they would make.

     These heaters were loud, though. They were noisy, and they sounded on the verge of explosion the entire four days we were there. At night, they got especially active. They were what we initially blamed other noises on.

     The first night, there was just a weird feeling and some sounds that did not quite fit the pattern of the heaters. We brushed it off as jitters and the expected nervousness of sleeping somewhere unfamiliar. The day passed with shopping and witchery, and we forgot about it.

     The heaters were quiet that night as we played a game, but when it was time for bed and not a light was on, they amped up the noise. It sounded like water was pouring down the walls, and my friend sleeping in the living room noticed a pattern of seven knocks, the last one being louder than the first six.

     She also noted the sounds that were out of the ordinary. There were footsteps walking around the bathroom, the second bedroom, and the kitchen. They did not come into the room where my mother and I slept, or the living room, but it was enough to freak her out.

     Then there was the giggling. At first, she thought it was my mother and I, laughing about someone rolling over and hitting the other, but then I snored. She realized we were both still asleep, and the giggling got louder.

     That was the extent of the second night. We discussed the noises over breakfast, which my mom explained away as the heater, and we did some historical sight-seeing.

     Our third and last night was the worst. It began with my friend staying in the second bedroom walking in and finding a little boy standing by their bed. They came to me, and together we went back into their room, only to find the boy gone and the corner he was standing in several degrees colder than the rest of the room.

     Later, my friend staying in the living room walked in to retrieve something and saw the little boy standing in the opposite corner. She ran out, and my friends decided to stay in the living room together.

     Throughout the night, we heard footsteps. Some ran from my room into the living room, or from the kitchen straight towards one of my friends laying on the couch. They saw shadows in the corners that would stare them down and disappear in the blink of an eye. One shadow paced from the second bedroom to the kitchen, crossing in front of the door multiple times.

     At one point, one of my friends decided to brave the bedroom and sleep there, since they were so uncomfortable in the living room. For the rest of the night, they heard little footsteps running around their bed.

     My mother has a talent for finding the most haunted AirBnBs. This was not the first place with some unusual activity, but it was by far the worst. The house we stayed in was built in the 1850’s, the one across the street in 1797, and so one and so forth.

     She swears up and down she did not hear or see anything, as opposed to me and my friends, who insist we heard and saw a lot. I have not done any research on the house, so I do not know who would be right.

     Sometimes, when you hear hoofbeats, it really might be zebras coming, not horses.

Zebras and Horses

By Grace Cavanaugh

     Plenty of things go bump in the night. There is a saying among the magical community: “Mundane before magical.” What this means is that one should look for common causes, explainable ones, before jumping to ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things.

     But what if you have ruled out all of the common, mundane answers?

     While I was staying in Salem, MA, with a couple friends and my mother, we noticed that our AirBnB had some very noisy heaters. They were the baseboard kind I had grown up with, in Manassas, and I remembered the creaking and the hissing they would make.

     These heaters were loud, though. They were noisy, and they sounded on the verge of explosion the entire four days we were there. At night, they got especially active. They were what we initially blamed other noises on.

     The first night, there was just a weird feeling and some sounds that did not quite fit the pattern of the heaters. We brushed it off as jitters and the expected nervousness of sleeping somewhere unfamiliar. The day passed with shopping and witchery, and we forgot about it.

     The heaters were quiet that night as we played a game, but when it was time for bed and not a light was on, they amped up the noise. It sounded like water was pouring down the walls, and my friend sleeping in the living room noticed a pattern of seven knocks, the last one being louder than the first six.

     She also noted the sounds that were out of the ordinary. There were footsteps walking around the bathroom, the second bedroom, and the kitchen. They did not come into the room where my mother and I slept, or the living room, but it was enough to freak her out.

     Then there was the giggling. At first, she thought it was my mother and I, laughing about someone rolling over and hitting the other, but then I snored. She realized we were both still asleep, and the giggling got louder.

     That was the extent of the second night. We discussed the noises over breakfast, which my mom explained away as the heater, and we did some historical sight-seeing.

     Our third and last night was the worst. It began with my friend staying in the second bedroom walking in and finding a little boy standing by their bed. They came to me, and together we went back into their room, only to find the boy gone and the corner he was standing in several degrees colder than the rest of the room.

     Later, my friend staying in the living room walked in to retrieve something and saw the little boy standing in the opposite corner. She ran out, and my friends decided to stay in the living room together.

     Throughout the night, we heard footsteps. Some ran from my room into the living room, or from the kitchen straight towards one of my friends laying on the couch. They saw shadows in the corners that would stare them down and disappear in the blink of an eye. One shadow paced from the second bedroom to the kitchen, crossing in front of the door multiple times.

     At one point, one of my friends decided to brave the bedroom and sleep there, since they were so uncomfortable in the living room. For the rest of the night, they heard little footsteps running around their bed.

     My mother has a talent for finding the most haunted AirBnBs. This was not the first place with some unusual activity, but it was by far the worst. The house we stayed in was built in the 1850’s, the one across the street in 1797, and so one and so forth.

     She swears up and down she did not hear or see anything, as opposed to me and my friends, who insist we heard and saw a lot. I have not done any research on the house, so I do not know who would be right.

     Sometimes, when you hear hoofbeats, it really might be zebras coming, not horses.

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