House-sitting is an ideal job for the underemployed writer. But Megan L. Wood recounts how one assignment went wrong:

The owner of the house, let’s call her Emily, was flying with her husband via private jet to their other castle in Colorado. All I had to do was feed the cats, soak in the tub, and not steal anything. Emily showed me around her “house” taking the time to explain how her espresso machine worked and insisting I look through her box of clothes headed to Goodwill. I saw a Diane Von Furstenberg label and almost passed out. ‘Leave!’ I kept thinking, anxious to turn on the flatscreen and drink cappuccino while trying on my new designer clothes. I planned on sitting on the magnificent wraparound front porch so passerby’s could admire what a baller I’d become.

As Emily turned to go she nonchalantly mentioned one final thing. “We have a ghost. She’s a little girl. I call her Rachel.” Then the bitch left me all alone in a three story Victorian mansion for two nights with a child ghost.

Reading Megan’s account, I found myself nodding along.

My last house-sitting gig was in 1995, taking care of Vincent Price’s old house in the hills. I lasted one sleepless night. Despite the promise of easy escape — the master bedroom had sliding glass doors to the patio — the accumulated creaks and bumps and footsteps in the dark were too much for my fertile imagination.

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe in ghosts. At all. But I’m not so adamant in my convictions that I’m willing to be the cocky skeptic who gets dragged across the ceiling by a vengeful spirit.

And let’s not forget — those noises could just be an ordinary psycho with a knife who has been hiding in the house since sunset. Because that happens in the Hollywood Hills all the time.

Or, at least once. So that’s reason enough to get out of that house.