Our Spooky Tales: The Haunted Garage
October is one of our favorite months of the year. These are our favorite scary stories to share with each other when sitting around a campfire or when traveling together for work.
Today’s spooky tale comes from Patrick Curry, FarBridge’s CEO, as he reminisces about a scary prank gone wrong.
Many years ago my wife, Erin, and I lived in a three story townhouse, which is a fancy way of saying “a real narrow apartment with only one or two rooms per floor.” The bottom floor had a garage, the next floor up had the living room and kitchen, and the top floor had our bedroom and bathroom.
I had the habit of using the garage door to come into the apartment, whether I was driving or taking the bus home from work. Erin and I were sharing a car, and the garage was the most convenient route based on how things were situated relative to the nearby streets.
One day I came home from work, opened the garage, and saw it was empty. As I’d done many times before, I clicked the button on the wall to shut the garage door, and I bounded up the stairs to play video games. I flung my backpack on the couch, turned on the TV, and booted up the PlayStation. I was ready for some solid game time… but just as I was sitting down, I heard the garage door start to open downstairs. Erin must be home… and this gave me an idea!
I decided that it would be “fun” to hide from Erin, and then jump out and scare her when she least expected it. After all, other than my backpack, there wasn’t any evidence that I was home! So I turned off the TV, slung my backpack over my shoulder, and started looking for a hiding place. I found a closet at the top of the stairs, climbed in, and shut the door. I was so excited, my trap was set! All I had to do was wait to hear Erin on the stairs.
So I sat there in the dark, listening and waiting. But nothing happened. No one came up the stairs. I waited longer… still nothing. I slowly opened the closet door and peeked out. “Hellooo?” Nothing. I got out of the closet and walked downstairs to the living room. Nothing. I went down the stairs to the garage. The garage door was open… but there was no car. No Erin.
I walked out of the garage, expecting to see Erin conversing with a neighbor. Nothing. I was starting to freak out. Had something happened? My mind raced. Terrible scenarios ran through my head… had Erin been carjacked or abducted just as she got home?! As impossible as that sounded, I was really worried. I tried calling Erin on her mobile, but she didn’t answer. I called my neighbor, and they hadn’t seen anything or anyone.
Who opened the garage? How long had I waited in my hiding spot? Was it a burglar? Did someone sneak into my house? Could they still be inside? I was getting more and more worried, and more than a little scared. I pressed the button to close the garage door, and mustered up the courage to search the house. I checked every nook and cranny of the townhouse, and there was no sign of anyone, no intruders, and no clue as to who or what opened the garage.
Just as I was beginning to lose it, I heard the garage door open again. But this time with very loud rock music booming from a car stereo, which I could hear and feel through the house. I rushed down the stairs and was so relieved to see Erin getting out of her car. “Are you ok?” she asked. “You look white as a ghost.” I gave her a big hug, and explained what had happened thus far.
Erin said she hadn’t been to the house earlier, and that she too had no idea what opened the garage. Maybe it was a ghost? Or maybe just some faulty wiring? I tried to put the fear aside and just be happy and grateful that everyone was alright. For one last time, I pressed the button to close the garage, and Erin and I went upstairs.
We decided to watch some TV, and plopped down on the couch together. You won’t believe it — we both heard the garage door opening again! I jumped up, now fully back in “there is a ghost living in our house!” mode, ready to call Ghostbusters, two priests, and everyone else to rid our home of this evil spirit. Having not already been rattled, Erin had a calm head, and grabbed my backpack, which remained on the couch where I’d sat down.
A strange realization started forming in my head, and a rush of both embarrassment and relief washed over me as Erin pulled one of our garage’s remote control “clickers” out of my backpack. You see, this is how I got into our garage from outside the house, and had used it just an hour earlier to open the garage when I got home. Like I’d done many times before, I had put the clicker back in my backpack without even thinking about it.
Twice now I’d sat down on my backpack just enough that the button on the clicker got depressed, and it sent the signal downstairs to open the garage door. The ghost was none other than me being careless about sitting on my backpack, and not making the connection that there was a device inside responsible for opening the garage.
Erin was a good sport about it, but she did make it very clear that this was entirely my fault. “That’s what you get for trying to scare me!” She was 100% right. And since then, I’ve sworn off scaring pranks — cause you never know when they’re going to completely backfire and scare you out of your mind!
Patrick is a serial entrepreneur, inventor, and game designer. He’s previously started and sold companies to the likes of Disney, Unity Technologies, and frog design. His pre-FarBridge game credits include Stubbs the Zombie, John Woo’s Stranglehold, Disney’s Guilty Party, and Avengers Initiative. Patrick also serves as an advisor to SXSW and has mentored indie game developers like the creators of Octodad, Organ Trail, Intruder, and Job Simulator. Patrick can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the web.