You’d think that between pot smoking, whiskey-drinking gnomes on one side, and ghost trains on the other, that the apartment complex I mow has more than its fair share of paranormal activity.
Scientists have discovered that these sorts of things tend to happen in a certain area, known as a vortex or portal. There’s a well-documented one in Sedona, Ariz. People travel there from around the world to soak up the energy and heal spiritually. There’s another in Hooper, a small town in southern Colorado that’s a popular oasis for aliens passing through our galaxy. (I got probed there once by an extraterrestrial with long bony fingers, but that’s yet another story.) In both cases, scientists have been able to use an instrument called a Gaussmeter to show that there are unexplained fluctuations of the earth’s magnetic field in these locations. They theorize that it has something to do with geologic formations, but no one knows for sure. They do know for a fact that their meters have to be recalibrated after being used in these regions.
This, of course, dovetails neatly with what we now know about ghosts: they need energy to manifest. That’s why ghosts often appear during thunderstorms, or dark and stormy nights, as storytellers will relate. It’s also been noted that batteries go dead and circuit breakers flip when ghosts are around.
Oddly enough, there is a high-voltage line that runs past my apartments. As noted earlier, the CRANDIC Railroad originally used electric locomotives. To supply the juice needed, the train company built its own electric plant in Cedar Rapids (which eventually became Alliant Energy) and sent electricity surging down the lines all the way to Iowa City. The trains run on diesel now, but the aging high-powered transmission lines still crackle and pop high above, especially in high winds.
And it’s on windy days that I’ve observed the strangest thing yet on the property where I work, or more accurately, on the property of the apartment building behind the ones I mow.
Actually, even on calm days I thought there was something a bit odd about the building. From my side of the fence it looks like your everyday, find-them-everywhere apartment structure. It’s three stories tall and it appears that each floor contains about a dozen apartments. Yet for all the hours I’ve put in out there I have never seen anyone walk out of the building.
On blustery days, however, things get really weird.
For one thing, I swear the building fades to translucent when the biggest gusts go through. For another, I’ve seen people park their cars in the lot of my complex, and then walk to the back corner where there’s a small gap in the fence. After squeezing through, they go on and into the building. At first, I didn’t have a clue why they were doing this as I could see plenty of open parking spots in front of the building they were entering. Why didn’t they just drive to and park on the correct side? Then one day it hit me, I’ve never seen the entrance to the neighboring building and there likely isn’t one. The creek that runs along one side of my property and railroad tracks on the other side both continues on and landlocks the next building. Perhaps there’s an entry on the far side but I checked; there’s none, just the poltergeist office building but no driveway onto the property.
Can you feel the same tingle that went up my spine when I first realized that there’s an apartment complex with no way to drive into it? And there’s one more thing to ponder: the old high voltage power lines no longer continue on into Iowa City. They end in the mysterious building.