Can a House Have “Bad Energy”?



I was recently pulled into an Internet ghost-story vortex. It all started when I read an article about alleged murderer Luka Magnotta’s apartment, and how it was recently leased to an unsuspecting new tenant.

I then read a huge number of commenter responses, many of which detailed readers’ own experiences living in or touring houses that had been the scene of a crime. One woman wasn’t aware that the body of the last victim of H.H. Holmes (The Devil in the White City) had been hidden in her house’s chimney until a ghost tour passed by and she overheard the story. Another commenter toured a home in the U.S. that had been the scene of two separate murders. Her mother ran out of the house shortly after the tour began, saying that the house didn’t want her there. There were lots of very creepy tales about apartments with sinister vibes and ominous backstories.

I should point out here that I don’t *really* believe in ghosts. I often let my imagination run away with me, particularly when I’ve watched a scary movie and I’m home alone. My sister and I once made the mistake of bringing a book of ghost stories with us on an interior camping trip to Killarney Provincial Park. It was so silly and badly written that we made fun of it the whole time we were reading it, that is, until the sun set and we were alone in our tent on an island with no other campers around. And even though Pete makes fun of me for being a scaredy-cat, I’m not alone. My sister and brother-in-law once had to go downstairs together to fetch the DVD of Paranormal Activity because they were both too scared to go alone.

But aside from moments like that, I try my best to think rationally, and I just can’t bring myself to believe in hauntings. And I thought I didn’t believe in houses with “bad vibes” or “bad energy,” until I lived in one.

When Pete and I were engaged, he got a new job and we ended up moving to a new town. We toured some rental homes and none were appropriate. One, in particular, has stuck with me. The owners had packed up and decided to tour the world and were renting only the bottom of their house. All of the rooms upstairs were closed and locked. That creeped me out. There was no way I was going to live in a house with several locked rooms and no idea what was behind those doors. Oh no. No no no. I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that that is a terrible idea.

When we found a reasonably priced century home that was a decent size on a lovely street, we went for it. It seemed bright and airy on the day we toured it. After we moved in, though, I started to feel uneasy there. It started to feel oppressive. I was working as a college instructor then, and didn’t always work regular hours. On mornings when Pete had to leave for work before me, I felt that I HAD to get out of that house when he left for work, even if I would be hours early for my own job. I dreaded coming home to that house. I remember when we would go away on weekends, I would feel terrible about having to go back to that house again, after being away.

Nothing strange happend while we lived there. It had creaks and groans like any 100-year-old house, but objects didn’t move around on their own and doors didn’t close unexpectedly. We didn’t hear any frightening noises coming from the creepy basement. But for some reason, I felt that the house didn’t want me there. It seems so silly as I write it out, but that is precisely how it felt.

I’ve been trying to find out about the house’s history. So far, I haven’t learned much. I don’t know what I’m expecting to find, but Pete did point out that the house had had a lot of tenants before us. There seemed to be a quick turnover there. And we do know that the people who bought the house after we moved out put it on the market again after less than a year.

I’m interested in your opinions on this sort of thing. Have you experienced something similar? Do you think that houses can harbour bad vibes? Or are we just projecting our own moods and feelings onto places?

Pity Party for an Anglophile


Pete has been travelling for work a lot lately.  It’s unfortunate that his business travelling has picked up now, since we have a toddler and I can’t easily tag along with him.  At his last job, he travelled overseas quite a bit, but when we met and he started working for a new company, there were no travel opportunities.  He would make the odd trip to Montreal and that was about it.

But in the last three months, he has gone to Europe three times.  The first trip was to the UK and that was in late February/ early March, and it was for NINE DAYS.  That was far too long.  The second trip was in April, and that time Pete spent six days in Munich and the UK.  And now he is back in England for five days.

I wasn’t very envious the first time he went away.  He was travelling in winter, and the weather was terrible (both at home, and in England).  I was a little jealous that he got to tour Oxford and to see Lincoln Cathedral, but I got over it quickly.

The second trip, I felt a little more envy.  I’ve only ever been to Berlin, and I would have loved to see Munich.  But it turns out that Pete’s Munich hotel was terrible, and since it was adjacent to a strip club the noise would likely have kept Little C up all night.  Plus, the few days he spent in England were in Slough, a suburb of London made famous by The Office (UK version, of course).  Not a place I’m dying to visit.

But this time, Pete is staying near the picture-perfect town of Arundel, in southern England.  He’s close to the sea.  It’s late May.  I’m imagining flowers in bloom and swans in the river.  I’m wishing I could be taking a tour of Arundel Castle and visiting the cathedral.


Arundel, UK

Pete and I did actually consider going together, with C, to England this time.  He wasn’t travelling with any colleagues, and it seemed possible for us to come along.  But when we considered the logistics, we decided against it.  Touring a castle with a 21-month-old would probably be a disaster.  Pete would be in meetings all day and I would have to keep C fed, amused and happy all day alone in a strange town.  Having to put a toddler to bed at 7 pm every night in a tiny hotel room didn’t sound like much fun.  But despite our decision, I’m feeling sorry for myself.

As I’ve written here before, I love travelling.  I love England.  I’ve pored over history books and I’ve told Pete all about the significance of Arundel and its castle (his summary: the Duke of Norfolk is the dukiest of dukes).

My parents have assured me that someday, when our kids are a little older, we’ll be able to travel again.  It still won’t be the same sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travelling we used to do, but it will be possible.

In the meantime, I’m consoling myself with upcoming summer plans.  They’re less impressive than a trip overseas, but they will likely be more relaxing.

The first will be a bachelorette trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario’s wine country) in June.  My lovely friend Anna is getting married and we’ll be celebrating with her at a cottage by the lake.



In July, Pete and I are taking a babymoon of sorts, in Algonquin Park.  Even though we had a great time camping with C there last year, we’re hoping to have a little alone time before the new baby arrives.  So we’ll be leaving her with her grandparents and heading up for a relaxing weekend of paddling and hiking.


Algonquin Park


And now, a question for parents out there.  Have you managed to travel with little ones?  Share your wisdom!

Outsmarted by a Toddler


When Pete and I learned that we were expecting Baby #2, we were apprehensive, of course.  How would a second baby affect our lives?  We have a nice little family routine going that will be completely turned on its head when the little one arrives.  Little C won’t be the star of the show anymore.  How will she react?  Will she be able to adjust?

Well, we decided to try to tackle some of these issues, rather than just worrying fruitlessly about them.  In order to get C used to the idea of a new baby in our lives, we started to rock and sing to some of her stuffed animals.

“Brilliant,” we thought.  “She’ll see us nurturing something other than her and she’ll get used to the idea that she’ll have to share our attention.”

She would watch us closely while we rocked her animals, singing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” to them.  After a while, she even started to want to rock them herself.  It was working!

Oh no.  That was pride before the fall.  We should have known that nothing with a toddler is that simple.

Now, C insists on being rocked like a baby by both of us.  This is a child who never, ever wanted to be rocked as an infant.  Even before she was able to hold her head up, she wanted to be held in a sitting position, facing out, bouncing, so that she could be part of the action.  Rocking was for suckers.

Now we have a 25+ pound child who can speak in (nearly) full sentences demanding to be held like a baby while we sing lullabies to her.  She’ll demand “Rock baby!  Pleeeeaase!  Rock-a-baby-top!”  (She hasn’t quite figured out the title yet).

We now see how things are going to be around here.  Uh-oh.

Back to Blogging…For Now


I’ve taken a bit of a break from the blog lately.  I didn’t plan on it, but life got interesting.

We’re expecting Baby #2.  Little C is going to be Big Sister C.  And even though I didn’t think a pregnancy would get in the way of my blog-productivity, I spent weeks (and weeks and weeks) feeling so sick that typing on a keyboard would have sent me into a nausea tailspin.

Side note: I had zero morning sickness with C.  I thought I was super tough and designed for pregnancy.  Hubris.  It gets me every time.  Well, I got my comeuppance.  I spent my first trimester feeling like I was going to throw up from the moment I woke up every morning until the moment I went to bed.  I also had food aversions that left me living on crackers, toast, and Kraft Dinner for two months.  I may have developed scurvy.

So now I’m in the wonderful second trimester and back at it.  I’ve been cooking again (unthinkable two months ago) and even biking and running.  Well, “running” is a bit of a stretch.  I’ve been jogging very slowly.  I’ve been doing some extra work for the board of directors.  And I’m hoping to get back to blogging for a while.

I say “for a while” because I’m sure when this baby arrives I’ll be far too busy and exhausted to do anything other than try to keep everyone in this house alive and fed.  But for now, the blog is back.

Thanks, as always, for reading.