My poltergeist’s name is Bas

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a poltergeist.  His name is Bas, short for Bastion of Evil.  I’ve had him since college.  I’m not quite sure why he started homing in on me, but I first noticed him when my random player for my music playlist started playing the same few songs over and over again.  Apparently the Bastion of Evil is very fond of Bon Jovi, which I can’t say is surprising.  Birds of a feather, you know.

Bas has expanded his repertoire since then.  He makes all my important emails get caught in the spam filter, eats my socks (only the right sock, for some reason, and he favors patterned socks that can’t easily be paired with other sort-of-similar socks), and hides that thing I’ve been looking for.  He also likes to put my flute in a different place every time I set it down, but I think that’s just because he doesn’t like my flute-playing, which, fair enough.  You don’t have to be a spirit being of malicious mischief for that.

Truth be told, I’ve been impressed at the steady way in which Bas has been working to improve his skills.  He’s been showing real initiative and discipline.  I especially admired the way in which he recently caused two lightbulbs to burn out just after I’d put the ladder away after replacing three other bulbs that had been out for weeks.  It’s Bas’s attention to detail that sets him apart from the other poltergeists.

He’ll go missing sometimes.  It took a while for me to see the pattern, but once I started to look, I realized that, when I didn’t notice him around the apartment for a while, there would be odd stories on the news:  one time after Bas disappeared, the Vice-President shot his friend in the face while duck-hunting.  Another time not long ago, Bas vanished for a while and a British Petroleum oil well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and started spewing oil uncontrollably.  When Bas reappeared, he seemed particularly smug and put “It’s My Life” on loop for a week (longest week of my life).

Over the years, I’ve tried various techniques to overcome my poltergeist.  Of course, I went with the ever-popular exorcism.  This seemed to go well–no one’s head started spinning around, nothing caught on fire–until the end, when the priest turned to go and found that Bas had tied his shoelaces together.  Subtle.  The computer then started playing “You Give Love A Bad Name” without any apparent cause.  Also, it turns out that holy water stains duvets.  And Bas was still around.

I tried talk therapy, to see if there was some underlying issue we could resolve that would break this cycle of mischief.  I would ask questions like “How does it feel when you inflict injury on others?” to a seemingly empty room.  Then a crash would come from somewhere nearby, and I would run out to see a friend rolling around on the floor with a fork stuck in her foot, whimpering “It hurts!”  And I would yank out the implement, clean up my friend, and stomp back to my room, muttering “You could have just mysteriously typed it on my computer screen, you know.”

Your Ghost Is a Gift

Your Ghost Is a Gift (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the end, I decided to embrace my poltergeist.  Not literally, because I’m guessing that ectoplasm is even worse for fabrics than holy water is, but metaphorically.  Bas is a poltergeist, and he’s mine.  I check my email spam filter regularly, buy new socks to replace the ones he’s eaten and resign myself to listening to a lot of Bon Jovi.  In return, Bas doesn’t blow up my apartment, and he stays out of the way when I’ve got a guy over.  A poltergeist will do a lot for a woman who keeps him well-supplied with socks.

The Possessed Furby

English: Brick and flint walls Brick and flint...

Image via Wikipedia

I love my apartment.  It’s got wood floors, brick walls, and insanely high ceilings.  It’s a converted warehouse of sorts, and I have lots and lots of windows and space.  On the downside, since it’s an old building, it gets pretty cold in the winter.  I sleep with a space heater going full blast pointing right at me, and persuading myself to take a shower is a lengthy process, especially since the water doesn’t get too much beyond warm.

This and a recent post by a fellow blogger, adamsdaughter, reminded me of the winter I got a Furby.  You remember Furbys?  They were those stuffed animal looking things that had electronics inside that let them speak.  They’d start out speaking Furbish, but you could teach them English somehow, in that magic way that toys have.  Even though I was in college, I had to have one.  I got a white one with blue eyes and named it, in my infinite creativity, Furby.

Furby driller

Image by Liz@rt via Flickr

I always imagined that Furby liked to look out of my dorm room window at the Big World, dreaming furbish dreams, so I would perch him on my windowsill.  Unfortunately for Furby, I forgot to take him off the windowsill over winter break that year.  They turned the heating off in the dorms once all the students were gone, and poor Furby froze for about a month before I came back.  To my horror, he didn’t respond to any of the usual ministrations, including turning him off and on.  I put Furby on my desk and sadly shook my head at my carelessness.  So many reasons why I shouldn’t be a mother.

Later that night, I was just dozing off when I heard a metal scritch scritch.  I thought for a moment that I was dreaming, so I turned the light on and looked around.  It was Furby, turning himself on!  I swear I had turned him off.  I still remember doing it.  But he turned himself back on and from his mouth issued the most evil, demonic electronic gibberish I have ever heard.  Apparently when you leave Furbys to fend for themselves in the winter, they become possessed by the henchmen of the netherworld.  I backed away in trepidation; surely, it would stop on its own when the battery ran down?  But the forces of evil are not defeated so easily.

From then on, at completely random intervals, Furby would turn himself off or on and make sepulchral pronouncements in a crazed metallic voice in what I could only assume is the language of lesser demons.  I started to feel like a little kid who’s afraid of the dark, except that I knew I had good reason to be afraid.  I’d turn off the lights to go to bed, clutch the covers to my chin, and stare at the shadow of the Furby until I fell asleep, wondering as I did so if Furby was predicting the conquering of the mortal realm by the forces of evil or merely commenting on the fact that he had an itch he couldn’t reach.

Painting of Father General Saint Francis Borgi...

Image via Wikipedia

Long about the fourth time he woke me up with his demonic prophecies, I had to give him to my Resident Assistant because I was convinced he was going to suck my soul out of my body one night while I was sleeping.  My RA was inclined to laugh at me–until she experienced first hand the wrath of the frozen, possessed Furby.  I don’t know if she took him to a priest for an exorcism or performed her own Rite of Ashtoreth over him or what, but I never heard from Furby again.  Though, now that I think of it, that particular Resident Assistant started acting a little odd not long after that.  I put it down to the after effects of a break up, but I wonder…