I used to live in the south of England. I rented a room in a house with a couple of my friends that is located in a suburb on the edge of the English countryside and farmlands. 

The first 3 months of living in that house went by smoothly. There was no issue with the house, nor any problem with the neighbours. 

However, after Christmas, that was when things took a turn for the unusual. 

It started with small things, such as hearing my name being called despite being alone in the house, or random creaks and knocks in different parts of the house. These things never occurred the first few months that I lived there, but I explained it away as me having frazzled nerves due to stress from my studies, and the  old house reacting to changes in the temperature, and weather conditions such as wind and hail. 

But things became more concerning when it became tangible. 

The set of keys I have for the house consist of my bedroom key, the main entrance key, and a key for access to the laundry room. Everyone has 2 different locks on their respective bedroom doors: the typical keyhole for unlocking the door on the external side of the door, and a metal latch on the internal side of the door. I trust my friends but I feel more secure sleeping in a bedroom with a locked door, so I always use the latch to ensure that no one can open my door from the other side. Yet, one morning, I could not find my keys. I searched all over my bedroom, even in the wardrobe and in the drawers, several times to no avail. Exasperated, I decided to go the kitchen to get something to eat and drink before continuing the search. I remember removing the latch from the door, opening said door, walking out of my bedroom, and heading  towards the kitchen, when I realize my keys were sitting on the windowsill next to the staircase. I was confused. How did the keys end up outside of my bedroom when I was in the locked bedroom? Granted that I did not need keys to lock my bedroom from the inside, but I was certain that I left my keys on my desk when I pushed the latch to lock just before I crawled into bed. And at no point during the night did I leave my bedroom - I did not even use the loo - until that moment. Unfortunately this happened several times , and each time I would find my set of keys on the windowsill next to the staircase. 

At the same time, my neighbour was acting strange. Every time I saw her, she would yell - not angry yelling, but just being very unnecessarily loud despite not having any hearing difficulty nor there being noise interference around us. On more than one occasion, she talked as though she was trying to speak over a thunderstorm even though I was standing just 2 feet in front of her on a quite, peaceful day. I know she could talk at a normal volume because I have seen her talking with other people without raising her voice. Somehow she reserved her loudest voice for the people living in my house.

Then foxes started appearing in my backyard. Those foxes will always dig large holes under the fence, or try to chew their way through the weakest areas in the fence. Sometimes these foxes will leave scents of their urine and large droppings all along the edge of the backyard - making the backyard stink.  It was odd considering my backyard had no plant nor animal, and none of us had pets - and the backyard is just a gravel-covered land with a small Sun deck attached. On the other hand, my other neighbour's backyard was a menagerie of English flora and fauna, with chickens, bird baths, Yorkshire Terrier puppies, and a garden fit for the Queen of England (no pun intended). Yet her backyard was largely untouched by foxes and crows, and it never lost its beauty even during the colder months. 

Things only got worse inside the house.
Our wi-fi router worked perfectly ever since it was installed. Yet, after Christmas, that was when it started acting up (ya, typical First World problems). Despite being in perfect working order, there are days when I could not get a signal. Even my friends' devices would randomly disconnect from the internet entirely despite the router not having any issue. Sometimes this problem would last for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours, then the internet in our house would magically work like normal again despite no prompting. I had a technician from the network provider come over to investigate, but the technician always left with no answer - everything was in perfect working condition. 

Then we had issues with the lights in the house. The lights would flicker at random times for few days before being burnt out. I assumed that the lightbulbs were old and needed replacing, but I felt it odd that I had to replace the lightbulbs almost every week. Even the new lightbulbs had the same issues of flickering for a few days before it was burnt out and needed to be replaced again. In 1 month, I spent over 50 Pounds Sterling on lightbulbs alone.

At the same time, the door that leads to the backyard would open by itself. Me and my friends would walk into that room and find the door ajar despite nobody even going near that room for days. Every time my friends and I use that door, we made sure that it was tightly shut and securely locked because we did not want the cold air or rain seeping into the house - and of course we did not want an opportunistic swiper to enter the house. 

This is when my friends told me that they noticed a male silhouette appear in the backyard at night. They described it as looking like a shadow person, about 6 feet tall, bulky build, and black from head to toe. Despite feeling watched by the entity, they could not make out any facial feature, nor describe what it was wearing, even when they turned the lights on. Whatever it was always stood at the very end of the backyard in complete silence and stillness, seemingly staring at the house for hours on end. When one of my friends mustered up enough courage to confront the individual, she said there was no one in the backyard. She looked around but there was no footprint, no disturbed gravel, no broken fence, no sign of anything being in the backyard. Yet as if by magic, the same silhouette will appear in the backyard, in the same position with that eerie silence and stillness when all of us are in the house in the dead of night.

I was considering asking the Prior of the church I attend to come perform a house blessing when I happen across a YouTube video of traditional English folkloric creatures. The one creature that stood out to me was the Brownie - a tiny creature akin to a house spirit that guards a house and its inhabitants and their possessions. Apparently, every house in the British Isles has at least 1 Brownie attached to it. Depending on how the Brownie feels, and how well it is treated, things in and around the house will be affected by it. In short, happy and healthy Brownies are friendly and helpful; angry and neglected Brownies will cause problems for the people living in the house. To appease a Brownie, one has to set a special place exclusively for the creature, where it is given food and other offerings. Brownies are known to love any sort of honey, confectionery, and even liquor. I decided to give the idea of appeasing our Brownie a shot since it was far less cumbersome of a task compared to arranging for a house blessing by a church. 

I purchased a few jars of honey, a dozen eggs, bottles of syrup cordial, and some snack packs on my next grocery run. I found a place on the overhead cabinets in the kitchen where I know no one would use, and cleaned it, then placed a small bottle of honey, an uncooked egg, a handful of sweets, and an empty shot glass next to a bottle of elderflower and lime cordial. I murmured to the offerings before climbing down, "Hey Mr Brownie, these are for you. I hope you like them."

The next day I felt that the air in the house was lighter, almost as if a tension that I never realize was there has been lifted. The air was more fresh, and the inside of the house looked brighter, even with the lights turned off. And most amazing of all, all the issues we had with the house, even the neighbours, were miraculously resolved. No one calling my name, no more misplaced keys, no yelling neighbour, no fox, no wi-fi issue, no burnt out lightbulbs, no mysterious door opening, and no shadow man. 

Things remained like this in and around the house until I started hearing my name being uttered by a disembodied voice 1 month later. I quickly cleaned that special place on the overhead cabinets, and replaced the offerings with new, fresh produce. I kept at this practice until I moved out several years later. 

I do not know if the current tenants of that house did anything to appease the Brownie. I never told anyone, even the friends living with me at the time, about my offerings. After all, I have no proof of an invisible tiny magical creature that has a large sweet tooth with a penchant for irritating pranks and harmless scares. 

I just pray that Mr Brownie never made anybody's life hell. 
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