The Elk HeadAugust 6, 2011
When I was around 12 years old, my parents’ house had an unfinished basement. The basement was always a scary place for me or my two younger sisters to go, because, well, basements are scary. Dad had a mounted elk head hanging from the wall in the basement that (probably at Mom’s insistence) wasn’t nice enough to hang upstairs in the living room.
When we were younger, the three of us had been a little scared of the deer, because it’s this almost-alive-looking animal hanging on the wall in a scary basement. As the oldest, I had grown completely out of being afraid of it, but my two sisters were still a little hesitant to get too close to it. Being the brave one, trying to prove that there was nothing to be afraid of, I hopped up on a chair so I could be face-to-face with the thing. I stood there, grabbed its antlers, jostled it around, etc.
My sisters were in awe, and had stopped messing with it, but was still standing in the chair. All three of us were looking at the deer, and all of a sudden I could swear that I saw its nostrils flare. (I still very vividly remember seeing that to this day.)
I was old enough to no that I couldn’t have just seen what I thought I saw. For a split second, I was trying to rationalize it. I bumped the deer? A shadow passed over it? A trick of the light? My imagination? But this attempt at rationalization was short-lived, because right after I saw the nostrils flare, both of my sisters screamed and bolted for the stairs. The immediate chain of events scared me enough enough that I hopped down from the chair and followed suit upstairs.
By the time I go to the top of the stairs, I had convinced myself that I had gotten startled and jumped, and that must have frightened my sisters. But when I got to the living room, both sisters were crying, telling Mom about how the deer’s nostrils had flared. Keep in mind, the chain of events was too quick for me to have told them what I had also seen.
All three of us to this day remember the event clearly. What was it? A trick of the light? I actually told them I saw the nostrils flare, and they “invented” a memory of seeing the same thing? A ghost deciding to fark with three kids in the stupidest way possible? Who knows?