“Aren’t you afraid?”
I’ve been in hundreds of old houses and various other farm buildings over the years.
In fact, I believe that the actual number may be well over a thousand.
I consider myself to be a blessed man to have seen and touched so many.
Most of these antique structures that I have visited were in various stages of disrepair.
Some, were near collapse.
Many had “bad spots” where a person could “disappear through the floor” if a wrong step was taken.
Some of these houses were rumored to have been occupied with ghosts. (I’ve never seen or heard a single one)
I’ve been in a few houses that had signs of human vagrant occupation… perhaps an old tattered sleeping bag rolled out in a corner with a few cans of food nearby. So sad.
Almost all of these abandoned structures had some form of wildlife living within, such as mice, rats, snakes, owls, raccoons, squirrels, feral cats, etc.
Some were so full of “stuff” from previous homeowners that were hoarders that I would have to crawl above it all with my back rubbing against the ceiling. Trust me, I’ve seen it all.
I’ve been asked to sign release documents before entering a home to free the owners from liability should I get injured or die in looking the house over. That’s always comforting.
It seems that I’ve always been warned of the dangers ahead.
And, I’m often asked… “aren’t you afraid?”
The truth is that I’ve never been injured in any way from looking at an old house. Old houses are my friends, and I’m always excited to meet a new one.
But, there is one thing that I am afraid of… baby buzzards. Nothing will increase my heart-rate faster, nothing will put goosebumps on me with greater intensity, than even the thought of an encounter with baby buzzards.
Buzzards will often nest in the attic of an old abandoned home… if they can find a way in, they will be there.
I use the term “nest” loosely. They don’t build an actual nest, they just lay their eggs on the floor in the middle of the attic.
If I arrive at an abandoned house and buzzards live there, the adults will quickly fly away before I enter the house… I am now aware that there might be young in the attic… I don’t know for sure… but it is ever present in the back of my mind.
If the young are there I will eventually find out at some point in my tour of the home. They make an other worldly noise that will freak me out, every time. Their warning call is sort of a combination between a ghostly moan and a big cat growl… and it is loud enough to be heard throughout the home.
In order to give a house a thorough inspection I have to see the attic. Trust me, it is mighty uncomfortable to stick my head up into the attic with sounds of Marley’s ghost moaning away up there. But attic flooring can be the most valuable material in the entire home, this is not an area to skip over.
Baby buzzards have got to be the only ugly babies in the world. They are in the same league as those creatures that pop out of eggs in the movie “Alien”.
And, it gets worse.
Baby buzzards have a defense weapon. (I guess that’s because mom and dad buzzard abandon them at the first sign of danger).
These infants can hurl their eaten breakfast accurately up to twenty feet away.
When you consider that their breakfast was previously their parent’s breakfast, which was regurgitated for their eating pleasure, which was originally some long dead animal alongside the road, you can only imagine how nasty this projectile is, and how much you want to avoid being hit by it.
So, yes, I am afraid when I enter an old home, just not for the reason most people would think of.
All other fears pale in comparison.
Originally posted 2015-04-28 13:59:15.