There's something dying on my attic steps.

I awakened this morning to a faint intermittent fluttering sound, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Then it stopped for a few hours. Later, I noticed that both of my cats were staring intently at the door to the attic. Then the fluttering began again, from the steps on the other side of the door. It’s probably a bird, possibly a bat. I have never had anything come into the attic; I don’t know of any opening, but apparently there is one somewhere.

I’m very reluctant to open the door and release whatever it is, into the rest of the house. It probably wouldn’t get very far, but I don’t want to take that chance. Obviously I’d have to get the cats into another room first. There’s also the fact that I have a strong aversion to dying animals, they totally creep me out.

I think I’ll just wait till it’s dead, and remove it with a very long shovel. I feel silly calling animal control for this, but I might.

If you can hear fluttering, it is more likely a bird rather than a bat. Bats have leathery wings which would make relatively less noise if brushing against the walls.

It could be a bird that found its way in and can’t get out. I would suggest letting it out; it may not be dying. Leave one window open, while pulling the drapes or blinds on all the other windows. If it can see light, while the rest of the rooms are mostly dark, it most likely will fly in that direction.

It sounds like it’s staying down on the lowest step, by the door, and most of the time it’s silent. If it weren’t injured it would be flying around in the attic. I’ve decided to wait till morning, when it’s light. Then I’ll open the door and see what happens (after securing the cats).

Not necessarily. It may be tired, or just see light near the door and think that that must be the way out.

Prolly a ghost.
(Maybe tha conscience of Sheriff McFaul.)

If it’s a ghost, it’s probably Madison Hurd. Shortly after my family moved into this house, in 1958 (I was 13), I was digging for something in the back yard, and unearthed a tombstone from the early 1800s. It bore the name of Madison Hurd, age 10, and the names of his parents. I checked with the Historical Society, and learned that the family was moving out west, and the kid died when they were in this area.

So yeah, it’s probably a ghost.

So was it a bat, a bird, or a ghost? Or something else? :dubious:


A ghost - possibly Madison Hurd - seems to have killed and eaten panache45!

I hate it when that happens.

Well, the thing apparently gathered its strength and made it back up to the attic. I looked around, but it’s an unfinished attic, and there are many little obscure places where it could be hiding . . . or hopefully, it left the same way it got in.

Yes, it could be the ghost of Madison Hurd . . . or something else!

Check the attic for pods while you’re up there.
If that’s really you.

I think it would get the cats first. I’ve been wondering about them all along.

More likely, it’s just invisible.

It’s back. But now I’m hearing a lot of scratching or gnawing, sounding more like a rodent than a bird. And it disappears when it hears me coming. I really don’t want it dying . . . and decomposing . . . up in the attic. There are too many inaccessible dark places where I’d never find it.

Might be a squirrel seting up nesting. I trapped 7 out of my attic last year using a Hav-A-Heart trap. They usually get in by pulling at the eave vents.

1)Try a Have a Heart baited with peanut butter. Remember that o’possums have teeth.
Lots of teeth.

2)Put some carpenter’s chalk on the floor to get foot prints to aid in identification.


  1. Leave. Now. While you still have time…

I disagree. Bats are surprisingly loud when they’re inside your house. They generally don’t hit the walls, but they’re a lot louder when flying than I expected - it’s almost as if they’re clawing their way through the air. If it’s coming from the attic, I’d strongly suspect a bat instead of a bird.

Good luck to you. (I hate having bats in my house. We used to open windows and just let them out - they are really beneficial, after all - but after we freed the same one five times in one year, we just starting killing them. Which makes me sad, but we haven’t had a bat since. Once they’ve found their way in, they consider it home, and it’s a pretty involved process to exclude them from your home.)

Although only vaguely related:

I thought of this thread last night around two when I was awakened by a very odd noise from outside. It kind of sounded like a human scream - but not quite. It came in short bursts and went on, over and over. It really weirded me out.

I worked up the courage to go outside and investigate and now -without walls to mask the sound - it sounded a little more canine. Kind of like the noise a hound dog makes when it is trailing something, but again not quite. Much shorter bursts.

I whistled several times, thinking that perhaps some poor dog was injured or just simply out in the cold, but when I did whistle, the noise stopped. After I went inside it started again. More whistling, more stopping. It was coming from an area that would have been non-trivial for me to get to, especially in the dark, and prudence won out over empathy, so I went back inside.

Soon it stopped and I know not what it was - but I thought of this thread and Madison Hurd.

There’s a tiny window at the foot of the stairs, just inside the door. Much of the paint around the window has been clawed (or pecked) off. But there’s a full-size window in the attic, and I don’t see any damage to it.

I haven’t heard anything all day, since early this morning. And I’ve been up there a few times and haven’t seen anything. I’m thinking that whatever it is, may be nocturnal.

It would be no trouble at all for a ghost to travel from N.E. Ohio to S. Pennsylvania. And he was a 10-year-old kid, probably very mischievous.