Photo of the Attic Monster in a live trap. He’s not very happy about it.
Thanksgiving night about 11:00 PM I was awakened by a loud noise. I immediately thought of the live trap I’d set in the attic above our bedroom. Maybe I’d caught the current attic monster.
I asked Susie, my wife, “What was that noise?”
Susie replied with what sounded like, “It was the food dispenser.”
Puzzled because I didn’t know we had a “food dispenser” I asked, “What?”
Susie repeated, “It was the food dispenser.”
Realizing I’d heard correctly, I responded, “Food dispenser?”
Susie once again said, “It was the food dispenser.”
I lay there silently, digesting her statements, and searching for what a “food dispenser” might be. Nothing came to mind.
Susie’s breathing told me she slept.
After a few minutes I heard metallic scraping sounds emanating from the attic immediately above our bed. It sounded like what I’d imagined animal claws on wire mesh of the live trap might sound. After this had happened a few times, I woke Susie to see if she had heard the same sounds. She had.
Before continuing, let me give some history. About six weeks ago one, two, maybe three times a night our three dogs, Oso, Maya, and Sunshine, would jump up look at the ceiling and howl for a minute or two. Now, we were used to the dogs entering into howling contests with our local coyotes. But, when doing that they would jump up and run out into the yard to howl. Oso and Maya are German Shepherds and howl like wolves. Sunshine is a rescue mutt but does a fair imitation of a wolf as well. The coyotes swiftly cease howling when challenged by our dogs.
The attic noises were different and were likely coming from a raccoon, possum, or ringtail bumbling around among the items stored there. We have many of these three mammals on the farm. The dogs really didn’t like something above them in the attic.
After this had happened a few times I climbed a ladder into the attic, but couldn’t find any animal; not surprising because there are ample hiding places among the boxes and spare furniture. The attic held lots of memories from my childhood since I had played there often while imagining all sorts of creatures. Even today I rarely enter it without the hair on the back of my neck standing up a little. Since Susie and I moved here in 2000 the eeriness has been enhanced by a three foot tall doll standing at the East end of attic. This doll is a childhood toy of Susie’s, although why a parent would give a child such a spooky toy I don’t know. In the dim light of the strategically placed attic bulbs with pull strings the doll’s eyes seem to track your every movement. As our children and now grandchildren have learned I often spontaneously come up with tales to tell them. You might want to ask one daughter about “José Can You See” or all six of them about Austin’s “MooPac” or my ability to make the Moon move. At any rate, I’d told the grandchildren, who like me enjoyed playing in the attic, the doll was a young girl frozen by the Attic Monster for disobeying her parents and going into attic without permission. I try to have a moral for each of my tales. There had also been a few casual comments concerning attic monsters to the grand-monsters…have to keep them on their toes.
Okay back to the attic noises and dogs’ howling, which had begun to interfere too much with sleep to allow to continue. Something had to be done. So I baited a raccoon sized live trap with dog food and placed it in the attic above our bedroom since most of the noises emanated from that area.
The sound that had awakened me was the trap door crashing shut around 11:00 PM. I knew if anything had been caught I couldn’t leave it up there all dog for the dogs to howl about. For some reason they were being quiet, but that couldn’t last. I climbed ladder, shined a flashlight on the cage to find the creature pictured above, an o ’possum (Didelphis virginiana). I sighed. I’d have to take him to his new home tonight. After dressing, I retrieved the trap and possum, fought off the dogs who wanted to kill him, and loaded the cage into our delivery van. I drove the possum to a nearby lake and released him. It was good possum habitat.
Here’s a video of the possum growling at me. I’d never heard one do that before. It almost sounded like a cat’s purr, but it was clearly a malevolent sound. Click on the link to see and hear. Turn your sound up to hear the growling. The barking dog was Sunshine, the rescue mutt.