Spring 2014 – One of the most horrifying events my girlfriend and I faced while living in the Bothell home was the day the poster caught fire in my office. Tina and I had been witness to a lot of activity the weeks leading up the poster catching fire. I’m talking about bar stools being thrown. Our bedroom light going off and on in the middle of us sleeping. Loud bangs. Loud footsteps. Door slams and yes one bible catching fire. All of that happened within a week of the story I’m about to tell. The advice that was given to us by friends and family was to smudge the house. The internet said the same thing. “Smudging lessens the activity.” Let me tell you smudging never lessened the activity. It made it worse. This story is proof of that. The night before the poster caught fire, I walked up to Tina and asked her if she’d feel comfortable smudging the house. Tina is an excellent smudge person. She’s very thorough. The next day we woke and got ourselves ready for work. Nothing unusual about that morning except the house was smelling like sage. That’s normal. Your house should smell like sage if you, in fact, smudged the night before. I later found out that smudging before going to bed is dangerous. Very dangerous!
Tina and I got up that morning and did pretty much what we always do. We got ready for work. The feeling of being watched had sort of lessened. Could the smudging have actually helped? Hell no! Thirty-odd minutes later Tina walks up to me and kisses me goodbye. Now it’s just me in the house. The only thing on my mind right now is beating Seattle traffic. A few minutes after I stepped into the shower it happens. Hell happens. Every fire alarm in the house starts going off. I’m standing in the doorway of my bathroom half dried thinking oh shit, it’s happening. I knew right then and there something was up. I didn’t know specifically, not yet anyway. Somethings up though, and it’s not good. I remember running through the bedroom and suddenly reaching our bedroom doorway. And that’s when it happened. All of a sudden I feel a large mass run right by me. I can’t see what ran pass me. I can only feel it. It was huge. All I could hear in addition to the fire alarms going off was this mass stomping. My eyes and ears turned towards the direction of the stomping noise when all of a sudden the front door of the house opens wide and slams shut. That’s it. The door just opens wide on its own and slams shut. That’s when my brain says give chase Keith, give chase. But my common sense gene says give chase to what? We still haven’t determined if someone was in the house. We haven’t seen anything. The door just opened and closed on its own.
So I do what my brain says. I run down the stairs and reach the front door. I should be able to get a good glimpse of the intruder as he’s leaving the house. I throw my hand on the front door knob and nothing happens. The front door doesn’t open. Correction – the front door doesn’t budge. Not even a centimeter. I must have fought with the doorknob for about two seconds before realizing that I had a fire somewhere. Smoke is billowing from the upstairs. From my office. I run to my office and there it is ladies and gentlemen. There’s the fire. The wall behind my computer desk is on fire. The poster specifically. How many seconds has transpired between the fire alarm going off and where I’m standing now? Hmm, thirty seconds maybe. The first thing I do to kill the fire is toss my damp towel over it. The fire didn’t put up a fight – it was gone. I turn and run downstairs again. The house is completely filled with smoke. I get to the front door and try to open the front door again. Nothing. The door won’t budge. This is the same door I saw open less than a minute ago. It feels like it’s been welded shut. The fire alarms are still wailing in the background. I can taste the chemicals from my burnt poster in my mouth and nostrils. And that’s when it dawned on me. The house is not the one under attack. I am. Think carefully about Keith, the next few decisions could be your last. What are you going to do?
I’m probably was in shock at this stage because I remember the events vaguely at this point. All of a sudden I’m the phone with the 911 operator. I’m screaming to her that my house is on fire. She’s maintaining her level of professionalism by asking me in a calm “what’s my address?” Every time I utter my address through the phone large amounts of static breaks out. I’m talking serious electrical interference. We go through this “I can’t hear you, can you repeat your address” dance for about thirty seconds. Finally, she gets my address and in doing so lets me know that the fire department is on the way. I hang up and call Tina. Thank God she answers. Tina can hear the fire alarms screaming through the phone. I blurt out to her come back home, come back home the house is under attack! I hang up.
The front door for reasons I can’t explain finally opened. It opened within seconds of the fire department arriving. How ironic. The firemen dart in and at my urging proceed up towards the office. They said I did a good job putting the poster fire out. Tina runs into the house a minute after they arrived and grabs me. I must have been half naked and shaking like a leaf because all I could remember was Tina throwing blankets over me. I was shivering and shaking like a wet puppy. I’m not afraid to admit that I was crying and quivering like a baby. You would have thought somebody had doused me in a tub of ice water. Cubes and all. That’s how shaken up I was. The fire department never could determine what caused the fire. Tina and I knew. This is was the second fire incident we’d experience. There will be two more fire incidents in that house in the coming weeks. When the fire department left all Tina and I had now was each other. The demons who did this are still here. There snickering at us right now. Whatever ran pass me in the upstairs hallway had to have been the ringleader. Neither one of us could think of a solution to our problem. The only thing left to do now is to contact the Catholic Church. That’s the only logical thing to do now, right? Tina and I looked at each other and pretty much had reached the same conclusion. We’re marching down to the local parish office. We’re not leaving till someone sees us.
The Bothell Hell House: Poltergeist of Washington State
By Keith Linder