Mar 162017

This one is a tad odder than the reappearing star. At one AM on March 1st (I can narrow this one down because I sent a text to a friend) a series of nuisances reached a pinnacle.

Throughout the night there had been a number of odd noises, like *things* bumping up against the side of the house. Some years ago a horse wandered into the corner of the house; this sounded like a smaller version of that, so I assumed that it was something like a deer. In addition to the *thumps* there was some “clacking” sounds associated with the bumps, so I assumed that it was deer antlers bonking against the side of the house.

This occurred several times over a span of three or four hours. Several times I looked outside, but didn’t spot any deer. Shrug.

Then at about 1 AM anomalous noises moved from the side of the house. I’m sitting there doing some CAD drafting, the TV on making some background noise. Even the cats were bored out of their minds; the joy of running around like idjits had burned itself out and they were reduced to a vegetative state. So I hear this noise overhead. I was unsure if it was a noise out in the world or it it was on the TV, so I put it on mute, and the noise occurred again.

What it sounded like was a smallish hoofed animal stomping around on my roof.  My house does not have an attic, so sounds on the roof come through pretty clearly. But a roof is not a naturally tenable place for a hoofed animal to get to in the first place, so my first thought was that I was just hearing things. But then I noticed that both Raedthinn and Buttons were staring intently at the same spot in the ceiling. Whatever I heard, the cats heard too. Then it stomped around a bit more.

Curiosity won out over inertia, but caution was also called for. Coyotes and semi-wild dogs are reasonably common out here; armies of raccoons are not unknown, and there have been reports of mountain lions and even *humans,* if you can believe it. So, I grabbed a coat, shoes, 2,000 lumen flashlight and a 12 gauge and stepped out to see what was on my roof.

Turns out… nothing. Not a damn thing. Except for a light coast of snow, maybe a quarter inch deep, sufficient to show footprints, of which there were none. None on the roof, none around the house. I walked all the way around the house and checked out the whole roof; nothing disturbed the snow except my own footprints. The snow was there from earlier in the day, so any deer bumping into the house should have left tracks.

Since there were other witnesses in the form of at least two cats, I know that the sounds were real. Under other circumstances I’d suggest that the sounds were the result of the house settling or otherwise flexing due to temperature or even geological effects (we get the occasionally just-barely-detectable earthquake). But I’ve lived here since 2004, and while I’ve heard this house make a bunch of noises, I’ve never heard anything resembling “hooves on the roof.”

Speculating further from “settling,” the only thing that kinda seems halfway practical is that a very large raptor or eagle landed on the roof, just on the tips of it’s claws. I suppose if that were to happen, it might not leave visible marks in shallow snow. But a tiptoeing, stomping giant bird of prey doesn’t seem entirely likely either.

So this one falls into not only the “that’s odd” category but also the “the universe is screwing with me” category.

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
  • se jones
  • Derek

    I know it seems highly unlikely, but it could have been a bobcat or maybe lynx, some sort of wild cat since it was also noticed by Raedthinn and Buttons. But a cat would have left some tracks. It would not be unheard of a wild cat disappearing before you could see it. The other possibility is roof rats or something like a racoon.

    • Scottlowther

      The snow has from time to time shown tracks of cats that seen rather larger than a standard housecat, and a summer or two ago I saw a *large* black cat at some distance (bobcat sized, but with a full tail… made me think of a smallish black puma). But there were no tracks of any kind around or on the house at that time.

  • Robbie

    Your house is haunted. 😜

    • Scottlowther

      I have about as much belief in ghosts as I do in honest politicians. But anyone who has ever lived with cats and watched them chase things only they can see – and watched them *agree* on the existence of something you simply can’t see – will begin to wonder.

  • Michel Van

    two option
    Thermal crackle between ice cold roof and warm interior
    you got critters inside the Insulation of the roof
    likely raccoons, martens or mice, in this case you would hear more of them at nights.

  • Randino

    Had a similar Fortean experience in the early ’90’s while living in the foothills of Rancho Cucamonga (yes there really is such a place, California natch’). Something heavy and fast, scrabbling around on my Spanish tile roof around 10pm. My mental image was of some sort of ape (Grays?!??); but outside in the dark was…nothing. Never figured it out…then a few months later that was supplanted by something a bit more more tangible: scrabbling–under the bed one night–that turned out to be a five-inch long tropical centipede! Yeesh.

    • Herp McDerp

      Heh. I was just about to suggest that Scott might enjoy The Books of Charles Fort, if he hasn’t already read them.

  • James Cambias

    Small animals can make an astonishing amount of noise. A single mouse inside the wall/ceiling — or a rat, or squirrel, or possum — could easily sound like eight full-sized deer and St. Nicholas having a steel-cage last-man-standing no-rules wrestling showdown with Mr. Ed and the cast of Hill Street Blues.

  • xvdougl

    If it were anyone else I would give my standard answer to such claims, “I believe that you believe you heard a noise (saw Bigfoot, Chupacabra, aliens, ghosts, spoke in tongues, experienced Astral Projection, can confirm Eric Holder isn’t a racist, dated Rachel Welsh in a past life, …)” .

    • Scottlowther

      “I believe that you believe” is *never* inappropriate. Well, except when you think the other guy is outright lying, of course.

      Here’s the thing: the universe is filled to overflowing with Really Weird Shit, stuff that most people couldn’t hope to ever comprehend. And it is a natural response for dumbass monkeys like us to come up with shortcut explanations like Goddidit whenever there’s a bump in the night. The trick is to not just believe the first thing that comes to mind.

      The thing stomping around on my roof *might* have been a ghost or a grey or Spring Heeled Jack. Or it might have been a tapdancing eagle. Or it might have been an especially enthusiastic troupe of riverdancing field mice. Or it might have been anomalous thermal expansion. With the available data I can’t possibly *know* what it was… but reason guided by intelligence and data can winnow the likely explanations down. And when that’s done, the Really Cool Explanations almost always lose out.

      But cool, rational cogitation always follows well *after* the “what the fuck was that?!?!” phase.

  • Rick

    coyotes or Coyotes if you own or are near a significant amount of open space around here

  • se jones

    testing testing sorry

  • Bold Gambit

    Sounds like you have an infestation of Hopkinsville goblins. You haven’t seen any strange lights in the sky recently have you?

  • Herp McDerp

    Okay, this is really reaching … could the explanation be a rare natural event such as small “rogue” hailstones? Yes, even if the weather at the time didn’t seem conducive to hail — hailstones have been known to fall from the sky at odd times, long after the weather event that produced them. Small hailstones would explain the sharp “hoof” sounds, too. Unless you climbed up onto the roof, impact marks wouldn’t have been visible. (And you probably didn’t look for any such on the ground, right?)

    But if in fact the sounds were localized to a small area on the roof, then … I got nothin’.

  • Herp McDerp

    Hah! I just remembered an event that might be relevant: one Spring we heard odd tapping and scrabbling noises in our walls and ceiling, specifically/especially in one area of a vaulted ceiling that did not have an attic. Between the ceiling and the roof is gap of several inches that contains insulation … and which is vented on the outside wall just below the eaves by a series of screened-over holes about two inches in diameter. A couple of flickers (woodpeckers) had decided that one of the holes would make a dandy place for a nest, so they had pecked away the screen that covered it. Apparently they were able to go exploring inside the insulation space, and the sounds of their movement turned up in some unexpected places far from the entry hole.

  • Jon

    I’ve had the joy of a very angry racoon trapped in the crawl space under my bedroom floor. She wasn’t large, but she put out a heck of a lot of volume.