Unlike Daughter-Only, Son-Two has always approached conversations about potential ghostly goings-on with a sort of open-minded skepticism. He believes in "hauntings" generally while viewing reports of specific incidents through a cautious--even dubious--lens. Daughter-Only's breathless exaggerations of her experiences instigated much eye-rolling on Son-Two's part. Even Son-One's much more reserved accounting of flashing lights in the dark hallway was greeted with a shake of the head and Son-Two's standard pronouncement: "Bullshit."
Son-Two also rejects any woo-woo explanations--those involving "lost souls" stuck between the Here and the There, for example--in favor of the likelihood that "ghostly" activity is something perfectly logical and natural that just can't yet be explained by science. (In much the same way that we once experienced the effects of germs without being able to isolate and identify them, Son-Two thinks that these unexplainable activities will one day be attributed to something we can't yet measure or define.)
His scientific approach served him well on the night in question. Someone less scientific might have run screaming from the room.
A little after 11 one night toward the end of summer, Hubby and I were reading in bed when Son-Two knocked on the door. He looked around our room and shook his head.
"Okay. This is really weird. I've been hearing this weird noise and I thought maybe your fan was on and the noise was just carrying into my room in some weird way. But the fan's not on."
He went on to explain that he had been lying in bed in the dark for the last ten minutes listening to what sounded like breathing about two feet from his head. It was like breathing, but he could only hear the puff of the exhale--not panting, just a slow rhythmic "huh." For ten minutes. Next to his head.
At first he thought it was his own fan. Maybe the motor had gone and the blade wasn't turning and the noise he could hear was the straining of the blade...or something. So he checked--his fan was unplugged. Got back in bed--more breathing.
It was too steady and rhythmic to be the wind. So then he thought of the fan in the bathroom. But that wasn't on. And, finally, the fan in our room--also not on.
Hubby--possibly the only person more skeptically open-minded in our house than Son-Two--jumped up to investigate. After a few minutes of dead (ha ha) silence in Son-Two's room, Hubby shrugged and offered this (decidedly unscientific) hypothesis: "The only thing I can think of is that there was some kind of animal out on the porch roof. Maybe it smelled Son-Two and was just curious."
If curious possums panting from the porch roof outside Son-Two's window is the best debunking we can do, I'm thinking we might have to roll out the "h-word" after all.