The Lady Is in Charge.

Four years ago during our first Cooperstown trip, I managed to book on Airbnb a rental house which, I am 75% certain, was haunted. I did not do so purposely. In that house overlooking Lake Otsego, I stumbled on an especially troubling portrait (dare I say, self-portrait?) of a monkey, hidden away in a side room (the painting, not the actual monkey, I don’t think). This was my Exhibit A (of many) in support of my haunting theory. It seemed to me that Mr. Monkey was in charge.

Probably he still is and probably that house is still haunted.

Which is why, during my online search for a rental home this summer, I carefully combed through all of Airbnb’s search filters, ensuring that I did not check any suspicious boxes described with any remotely troubling words. And if these words were already pre-checked due to some malevolent algorithm, I promptly unchecked them. “Desolate,” “Mysterious,” “Old Hunting Lodge,” “Used as a location for ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies,” and so on. Uncheck, uncheck, uncheck. Nothing but whistling robins and babbling brooks this trip. Whew.

So here we are, back in the Cooperstown area. I got up a bit early this am, and went for a short jog to town and back. I saw no other human beings walking or otherwise ambulating to, from, or in the town of Andes. This was actually a rather pleasant experience, allowing me to pause periodically and snap a photo or two of the Insta-worthy architecture and landscape. The yellow Victorian at the top of this post is a charming example of the local environs. Plus, I could pull out my iPhone and do this without the slightest hint of self-consciousness or concern that I might be invading someone’s privacy. Snap, jog, snap, jog.

Except that I did feel self-conscious near one particular photo stop. I had the unmistakeable feeling that I was being watched. Carefully. I spun my head around, saw nothing, no one, and continued on my way.

It was only later, when scrolling through my iPhotos over a coffee, that I caught a glimpse of something unnerving about that charming yellow Victorian…

And now I see that this time around, apparently, the Lady is in charge. Move over, Mr. Monkey. God help us. And I think I’m going to have to quit Airbnb.

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