The Ghost and Mr. Chicken by Kevin Restine

Ah that cinematic classic.  I have enjoyed that movie and the inimitable Don Knotts for decades.  If you have not seen this I encourage you to view it immediately. Now I will go on record as saying I do NOT believe in ghosts.  Never have, never will. I will also reluctantly reveal that in these past few months I have come close… not quite…but very, very close.  Imagine my chagrin in moving into my new Texas home… moving confidently in the direction of my dreams… only to find that it was appearing increasingly possible that someone or something may also be residing with me at “Rancho Tejas”

Indulge me for a moment. About a month after we moved in, I was up late reading while my wife blissfully slept in our lower level master bedroom when I was startled by a very loud thump upstairs. Being very much like James Bond by nature I was surprised but certainly not alarmed.  After calmly inspecting the upper level and finding nothing out of the ordinary I retired for the night and slept the sleep of the content… Happy in my new Texas life.  Ah those were sweet days.

Nightly thereafter we were visited upon by a single and identical loud thump upstairs.  Speculating that it was likely expansion and contraction brought on by the cooling night time temperatures, I thought little of it. But the nightly thump began to grind on me.  After multiple experiments with the HVAC system and now deep in our “bitter” Texas winter… I began to look for other causes.

Foundation settling, plumbing drain pipes, animals on the roof or in the attic were all possible contenders in this increasingly unsettling phenomenon.  As this happened at different times each night, the only common denominator seemed to be my nightly shower.  Exactly ten minutes after showering and taking to my bed, the loud and ominous thump would appear. I smugly assured my wife that science and reason had prevailed, and that a solution was soon to be at hand.  I happily departed out of town for a few days while my wife stayed behind safe in the comfort and security of my entirely logical scientific conclusion. With me not there to shower at night, she should certainly be free from the unsettling thump… A thump that she had begun to increasingly attribute to a good-natured ghost named “Hazel” who was simply saying goodnight.

Unfortunately, I received a phone call from my wife the next day stating that though no shower was taken… “Hazel” had performed on cue. I assured my wife that a logical cause would soon be determined… Though secretly I believed she had imagined this deviation from my ironclad explanation. I gave it all little further thought until returning home from my trip and jumping into bed for a good night’s sleep.


Well now I’m getting weirded out!  I feel increasingly unsafe and unsettled in my home, while “Hazel” continues her histrionics unabated.  I begin to research the prior owner’s family… Increasingly open to the possibility that someone had met an unfortunate demise in my happy home. I had our home inspector, a plumber, and our Realtor involved… Finally voicing for the first time to my Realtor that she had sold me a real haunted mansion and that we were living in great fear!    Now instead of comforting me and speaking reason into the situation as I once had… She pulls out her phone to show me a marketing photo from another of her sales with an apparition visible walking the grounds.

I returned home that night and began deconstructing the events again.  What could cause an identical sound ten minutes after I got into bed each night regardless of the time I actually went to bed?  What could cause this sound fifteen minutes after I showered and went to bed?  What could be responsible for this sound ten minutes after I turned off the television, took a shower, and went to bed? My dog, Baxter was even buying into it… Acting crazy and erratic… Running upstairs to bark wildly in the middle of the night… Staring intently down the hall towards the stairs continuously.   We needed to sell this home and get out while we still could!  Why this ghost felt the need to stomp her foot ten minutes after I turned off the television, took a shower, and got into bed I do not know, but I knew I must act quickly to save my family! This ghost had backed me into a corner and fight or flight mode was now fully engaged… Though I was leaning heavily towards flight.

My mind churned in search of a familiar and ghost-less viewpoint. Aha!  The last remaining non-paranormal possibility sprang to my mind… It was the television!  Additional highly scientific and complex experiments ensued and thankfully I soon felt confident that I had located the real “Hazel!”  15 minutes after turning off the television my sound system would perform an auto shut down… Thumping the subwoofer… Which in turn thumped my living room ceiling!

I immediately cancelled our local “Ghostbusters” service I had ordered and terminated the sales listing on my home! Reason and logic once again seemed to reside in our home.  What could make a lifelong NON-believer in ghosts change his entire belief system and behave in an entirely new way?

In this drama, I was reminded of a true-life lesson… That what we think influences what we feel or believe, and what we feel or believe influences what we do… And what we do determines what we are experiencing in life. I saw in real time how a daily input into my psyche could change how I thought, felt, and acted… And that this dynamic could be positive or negative depending upon the content being input! It was clear to me that a daily dose of doubt, fear, negativity, and confusion could create an outcome that was quite unpleasant. And thankfully a daily infusion of gratitude, positive affirmation, and disciplined thought could create that more positive outcome that I think we all desire.  My thoughts are the catalyst… The source of fuel for the machine of my life! I commit to becoming more intentional with my thoughts… And Hazel commits to watching a lot less television!



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