The Haunted Shed – 24 Days Until Halloween

My parents passed away last year, and my family and I are getting things cleaned up to sell their home.

There have been lots of creepy surprises along the way. The jack-o-lantern door mat and classic horror movie DVD’s were warm reminders of my dad and his love of spooky stuff. The bags of bones were probably from an art project of his. The old plastic doll, missing an eye, her head turned around, and mysteriously standing in the middle of the workshop was weird, but not in a bad way.

But my family didn’t like the haunted shed.

The shed probably wasn’t really haunted.  Sure, it was filled with some odd things.

Medical equipment is not inherently scary, and old wheelchairs and walkers shouldn’t be surprising in a home where elderly people passed their last days. But my parents never used this equipment.

The dust and cobwebs were simply what collects in an outbuilding under the trees. They were lovely, in their way, draped on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. There was rusted scaffolding in there, and tools. A hammer with the hand-built handle. A pitchfork. Multiple machetes. It had a dirt floor, so of course something had burrowed up into the old squirrel cage and built a nest. The aesthetic was right up my alley. Dim and claustrophobic. Creaking. Dilapidated.

My family said it felt bad in there.

The haunted shed was recently cleared out by professional trash haulers.  Everything was pulled out and stacked on trailers, mundane in the light of the day.

But I like to wonder, will hauling all that away expel everything that was moving in there?


My pencil holder has a lot more than pencils in it. Pencils are for math and field notebooks with waterproof paper. I use pens and markers for coloring in figures and drawing arrows and clouds around diagrams. I have other tools.

The handle of the magnifying glass is wood. Most of the paint was worn away by the generations of hands before me.  The woodgrain is smooth and shinier than the paint that’s left.  When I pick it up, it always feels warm.

If you unscrew the handle, the metal frame pops apart enough to pull the glass lens free. This was a thrill as a kid, to hold the heavy glass in both hands. I don’t remember a time I didn’t know to hold a lens around the edges.  If you lift it to your eye that way, the world looks huge and distorted as it curves around with your peripheral vision. Out of its frame, the glass shows wavy shapes just past where you can focus. When you drop it from your eye, you can’t see them anymore.

When you put the lens back in its frame and hold the worn handle, the world is large and walled in.  Sensible things are magnified and nothing more.