Meet Our Ghosts: Rampu

One of the great things about living in Japan is finding random little thrift shops. Jeremy and I love exploring thrift stores trying to find hidden jewels. One of our favorite shops in Iwakuni is called Dragonfly. Last summer while walking around the back part of Dragonfly, Jeremy found this old lamp. It was an older touch lamp. He really wanted it because his grandmother had a very similar lamp and it reminded him of her. It was only $15 so I agreed.

This is Rampu.
This is Rampu.

Because we are sometimes complete slackers when it comes to decorating, the lamp just sat on the kitchen table unplugged for a few weeks. Jeremy left to go visit his family for a couple of weeks. A week into him being gone, my mom offered to fly me home because she knew I was home sick. A couple of Marines that Jeremy and I at the time nicknamed The Kids (we felt like we sort of adopted them when they came to Iwakuni) offered to cat sit while I was gone. I thought our cats were in good hands. Before I left decided to set up the lamp, so the apartment looked a little more put together.

Before I had left for the States for ten days, I had left The Kids strict instructions for the cats. I didn’t want the cats in my office or the bedroom. They needed to come by at least once a day to feed them, check the water, and scoop the litter box. I told them they could stay the night if they wanted but I didn’t want a bunch of strangers in our apartment. I thought it was fair instructions. When we came back our kitchen was trashed. The sink and the counters were full of dirty dishes. Katniss came right out and greeted us, but it took us a little while to find Bagheera. Bagheera was not only in our bedroom but he was twisted up in the mattress pad on our bed. I was so concerned about getting him free that I didn’t notice how skinny he was or that he was missing half the fur on his tail. He was terrified of even me and Jeremy. I couldn’t pet him. Jeremy immediately contacted The Kids to find out what happened. They claimed that they had come over to take care of the cats, but the new lamp started flickering like crazy, so they left and never came back because it seemed demonic. I checked the cat food supplies and determined that the cats had only been feed 3 times in ten days. I was beyond pissed. I did not believe The Kids’ excuse at all. Who would abandon cats because the lamp was flickering? I cut ties with The Kids because of what happened.

If you don’t know me and Jeremy, our cats are our children. Not only with everything we have been through with Katniss because she was often sick as a kitten but because we include them in everything we do. We are the crazy cat people that take their cats out in a stroller to festivals, parks, and shopping. If you mess with my cats I will never forgive you.

For a couple of months, nothing happened with the lamp. It would turn on and off when we touched it. Then slowly things started changing. At first the lamp would occasionally turn off by itself at the exact same time when we turned the kitchen light off before bed. We thought it was odd but didn’t think it was paranormal. At first, we thought it was a quirky wiring issue but as time went on, the lamp would start turning on or off by itself. Then it evolved into not always responding to our touches especially when it turned itself on. Jeremy (he has electrical training) checked out the lamp and it wasn’t a wiring issue. That’s when we started thinking it might be something paranormal.

Rampu at Dinner

As time went on, the activity would increase. It would flash on and off during scary movies at the worst possible time. To see if it was a spirit, we started trying to talk it. Mostly we tried English because we thought it might be Al or maybe my dad. It would never turn on when we spoke to it. So, we tried different speaking a few different languages. German, French, Spanish, and finally Japanese. It wasn’t responding to anything. At that point Jeremy and I felt like we were reenacting the scene from iCarly where Carly and Spencer were trying to set up a voice activated lamp from Japan. Carly ends up suggesting that they need to speak to it in Japanese. At first it doesn’t work so Carly suggests that they try yelling at it in an angry Japanese accent. It ends up working and they sit there for a while yelling “rampu” at the lamp to turn it on and off. The Japanese word for lamp is rampu. As a joke we started yelling rampu at the lamp. It didn’t respond but that became its name.

In November I was the photographer at the MCAS Iwakuni Marine Corps Birthday Ball. In the weeks following the ball I had tons of editing to do. I would edit photos and uploaded them to my website for hours every day. Occasionally Rampu would turn on and off. I would greet it like I would if I heard Al tapping. It just felt like a friend popping in to say hi really quickly before popping off. One day though I had been sitting at the kitchen table editing for about 8 hours without Rampu turning on or off. I spent the whole time listening to music while I was working. Then Christina Perry’s song “A Thousand Years” came on. I love this song and was singing along with it. As soon as the line “I have died everyday” came on Rampu turned on. I thought it was odd timing and took a picture. Right after the picture Rampu turned off. I went back to singing not really paying it much attention because so far this was normal behavior for the lamp. The line “I have died everyday” came on a second time. Again, Rampu immediately turned back on and refused to turn off. I decided that was a good time to close my laptop and go read in my bedroom until Jeremy came home. It shook me a little and I honestly didn’t want to dig into why Rampu chose that line to turn on both times.

Working with Rampu

I think I offended Rampu by leaving because he didn’t turn on by himself for a while. Eventually he started coming back around. I make sure not to offend him now and make sure that I greet him every time I notice it’s on. I’ve also gotten in the habit to ask Rampu to keep an eye on the kitties if I’m going to be gone for a while. Don’t know why. Just something I started to do.

So far this year things have been fairly calm. Nothing crazy happened. That is until April came around. As things would happen, Jeremy ended up having to leave for recruiting school the same day I was supposed to go to Kyoto. I would only be gone for one night, but we still needed a pet sitter. I was afraid Bagheera would freak out with us gone. Thankfully my friend, Cashe, agreed to come by and check on the babies for me. The first day everything went fine except that Cashe forgot her wallet in the apartment. The following morning, she went back to get it and officially met Rampu. As you can tell from the screen shot below, we lost our second pet sitter. Cashe knew about Rampu before agreeing to pet sit but he had never shown himself when she was visiting before. I wasn’t mad that we had lost another sitter. In fact, when I saw her text message I laughed more than I probably should have. Not everyone can handle the paranormal life that seems to be my normal.

Cashe meets Rampu

Jeremy, the babies and I are moving next month back to the States. After we get settled, I am going to have to really start interviewing pet sitters and make sure they are okay with spirits. Is there such a thing as a ghost sitter who also does pet sitting too? That maybe easier to find. If y’all have any suggestions, I would appreciate them. I don’t feel like having to hire a new sitter every time I leave because they can’t handle our unusual roommates. I wonder if the Warrens ever had this problem…

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