Friday, November 18, 2011
"I know. That's kind of why we didn't invite him," Katie said. "Besides, he doesn't feel this house warrants any attention."
"How can an abandoned house with a giant stuffed panda in the front window not warrant attention?" Caitlin asked.
The house was located about a mile southeast of Frontenac along Ohio Highway 49. It was a yellow two-story house built in about the late 1940s. The family who lived there left in the mid-nineties leaving the house abandoned and it had been empty ever since. Around 2005, a large stuffed panda appeared in the front window. Over the next six years the black and white toy got dustier and faded.
The back door was unlocked and opened into a sun room, added after the house was originally built. John, Katie and Caitlin entered the sun room. It had a dusty, musty smell to it along with a tinge of rotting wood. "That's always a wonderful smell," John said, crinkling his nose.
"Ew. Do all houses smell like this?" Caitlin asked.
"When you don't live in them for a decade, yes," Katie answered.
They left the sun room and entered the kitchen which was nicely stuck in the 1970s. A huge bird's nest rested in the corner above the counters on the wall. John headed toward the doorway to the living area while Katie headed toward the sink and Caitlin headed to the refrigerator.
"I wouldn't open that if I were you," John said.
"Why not?" she asked.
"You never know what you will find in an abandoned refrigerator. One time Frank, Matt and I found a refrigerator in the basement of a house we were investigating when we first started the Society and we opened it and not only did it smell like death rolled in rancid meat and year-old milk, it had three dead raccoons in the freezer. We then decided that we will never open refrigerators unless they are taken out of the house," Katie said.
"Ew," Caitlin said again.
They walked into the dining room and just began wandering around. The dusty and matted carpet was an ugly green color. Holes could be seen in the walls and the ceiling. There was one bedroom underneath the stairs that had a ragged mattress in it with a pile of animal excrement covering it.
"I think it's clear to see what that mattress was used for...until the animals got to it," John said. They left the bedroom and began walking up the stairs. Caitlin went over to the stuffed panda and looked at it, shining the flashlight on it, turning it off when a car would pass by. "Holy crap, this is disgusting."
"What is it?" Katie asked.
"The second floor is just covered in animal crap," John said as he descended the stairs. "Wall-to-wall poop up there. I've never seen anything like it."
"Should I move this panda?" Caitlin asked.
"Why?" Katie asked.
Caitlin shrugged. "I don't know. I think the house would be less creepy if the panda was not in the window."
"But looking out the window is the only thing the panda is able to do. There's no one around to play with it. No one to love it. The panda needs this window," Katie said.
John looked at her. "Are you high?"
"What? Why I can't I treat inanimate objects as if they have a soul and feelings?" Katie asked. "What I said makes more sense than the real reason the panda is probably sitting there. Where did the panda come from anyway?"
"If you're bolting in the night they may not have had time or the room to lug this gigantic thing with them," Caitlin said. "So we're just going to leave it here."
"Yeah. Come on, let's go. There's nothing in here," Katie began and the three of them went back through the kitchen and into the sun room. "Frank was right."
They left the house as they left it. The panda continued the sit in the window, looking out over Highway 49.