WASHINGTON. A heartfelt benediction over hearth and humble abode goes, “May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.” As large swaths of the nation head into the fourth month of coronavirus lockdowns, some are finding that their homes are indeed too small to hold all its inhabitants. Including the pandemic phantoms.
A Greg Nibler took to Twitter to say,
Well a door just opened in my house by itself right in front of me. I officially live in a quarantine haunted house during a pandemic. I’m just waiting for the zombies to show up, because my life is now a horror movie.#QuarentineLife
— Greg Nibler (@GregNibler) April 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Drunk Labrador Human adds,
I can’t sleep and I can’t go downstairs to take more melatonin cause my house is haunted and the last way I want to die in a pandemic is from fear
— drunk labrador human (@CailinHurleyy) May 12, 2020
Still Fesshole says he’s keeping something from his spouse,
My wife thinks our house is haunted by a little girl. Nothing bad has happened. Just a presence. I said it was her imagination.
But… I’ve actually seen the form before she did and kept it to myself.
— Fesshole (@fesshole) March 7, 2020
In the UK meanwhile, a woman is concerned for her 5-year-old nephew,
“… Harris has just said while in the bathroom, ‘Mommy, look down the hallway. Is there a shadow walking down?”
Even the New York Times reported on this pandemic phenomenon.
According to Molly Fitzpatrick:
“For those whose experience of self-isolation involves what they believe to be a ghost, their days are punctuated not just by Zoom meetings or homeschooling, but by disembodied voices, shadowy figures, misbehaving electronics, invisible cats cozying up on couches, caresses from hands that aren’t there and even, in some cases — to borrow the technical parlance of ‘Ghostbusters’ — free-floating, full-torso vaporous apparitions.
“Some of these people are frightened, of course. Others say they just appreciate the company.”
Agence France Presse reports that Indonesian authorities have devised a clever means to punish those who violate their nation’s coronavirus lockdown.
“If there’s an empty and haunted house in the village, put people in there and lock them up,” Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati, an Indonesian regent, told AFP.
The government has gone to extremes by hiring people to dress up like the dreaded Pocong, a ghostly figure draped in a white funeral shroud. These specters patrol the streets and scare curfew violators back into their homes.
Psychology Today says those who feel a ghostly presence has invaded their home can likely chalk it up to “atmospheric or geomagnetic activity, and altered sensations and states of consciousness induced by changes in brain chemistry triggered by stress, lack of oxygen, monotonous stimulation, or a buildup of hormones.”
And nothing quite adds to stress like “monotonous” home arrest, unemployment, poverty, hunger, and the threat of death during a pandemic.
Back in 2016, the Harvard Business Review sponsored a study that found,
“… the busy person is perceived as high status… In other words, the more we believe that one has the opportunity for success based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.”
Since the lockdowns, the mundane background to our busy, high-stress lives is front and center like never before. And the quiet that follows in its wake has alerted us to the sounds and sights surrounding us in the place we raise our families, gather with friends, and rest our heads on soft pillows while we cozy ourselves under a favorite blanket.
For some, that quiet is very unnerving. For it affords a unique opportunity to see and hear what has always been there, like a child tugging at the sleeve of a distracted parent.
Or it could be as horror novelist Stephen Kings says,
“Monsters are real, and ghost are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
Top Image: Screen capture from the 2017 film “Ghost Story.”