Nora Kingsbury Interview Transcript

Nico De Guzman

This is the transcript of an interview that took place on May 8, 2003, with actress Nora Kingsbury about the hole that grew in the center of her bedroom over the span of seven months.
INTERVIEWER: I’ll start with the question I’ve personally been dying to know the answer to since that article came out: how exactly did you find the hole? I have a newspaper here with me, and the press only says you found it on… October 15, 2002.
NORA KINGSBURY: It was a funny coincidence, really. I came home from this fancy party one night, and I was still in my white heels. They’re these super long stilettos, about four to five inches I’d say… My point is that they’re a pain to walk in when you’re tipsy, and I was a little beyond tipsy then. When I tripped on something on my way to the bed, I thought it was just me being drunk. But I looked down, and I saw a hole about the size of an open mouth. I even knelt and felt it to make sure I wasn’t imagining anything, then I went to sleep. [laughs] Look, I wasn’t even fully sure if it was real yet, so what was I supposed to do? I had to get the alcohol out of my system first.
INTERVIEWER: Where was your husband during that? Did he not say anything about the hole in your shared bedroom
KINGSBURY: I was home by myself for a while. He was across the sea in London at the time, busy shooting some movie that I can’t even remember the name of. It was definitely something smaller, some indie flick. I didn’t want to bother him with a random hole in our floor, so I called a carpenter to check it out the day after the party. He actually managed to keep it sealed for a while, but you know what happened next.
INTERVIEWER: I assume you began to realize that the hole was growing?
KINGSBURY: Yep. First, it swallowed the wood he replaced. I thought it was weird that it was already back only a few weeks after he fixed it, so I called the carpenter again. It wasn’t that I thought his work was sloppy or anything, I just couldn’t understand what was going on. He sealed it again, but the hole only grew larger. By the next time it reopened, he told me to call pest control in case it was a rat. They couldn’t find anything in the house.
INTERVIEWER: When did you realize the hole had strange properties?
KINGSBURY: It took until it was the size of my head, I think around a month since I first tripped on it. I kept holding onto the hope that it was an animal because if it wasn’t, it could only mean that something was seriously wrong. I hadn’t really looked at it closely since I was so busy with the last few episodes of Crystal Lungs, but when we were done shooting, I finally had time to relax for a bit.
I was drinking tea and accidentally dropped my mug into the pit. It’s a shame it’s gone now, I really liked that one… I waited to hear it hit the ground. About six minutes of silence passed before I had this strange, sinking feeling that I would never hear it shatter.
INTERVIEWER: How did you live around it for so long, especially knowing what would happen if you accidentally slipped?
KINGSBURY: I had to watch my step for a while. The bedroom was one of the bigger rooms in the house, so it didn’t reach my bed until the third month. Actually, I just remembered that I did call my husband about the hole. I remember because I talked to him after the mug fell but before I moved out. He told me it was probably just an animal, but then I said that I also thought that at first. I explained that the hole truly had no end to it, that it was just darkness. I even told him about my experiment. He told me the dirt probably muffled the sound of the mug. I tried to tell him that I couldn’t even see any dirt, and he said his lunch break was ending soon… [pause] Sorry, I didn’t mean to get off topic there. Now I can’t remember what your question was. [laughs]
INTERVIEWER: You’re fine, I asked about how you lived with it?
KINGSBURY: Right, sorry again. I had to move out of the bedroom because I was afraid the bed would lose balance one night. It was situated against the middle of the left wall, and it was too heavy for me to move by myself. I made sure to take enough clothes out of my closet to last me at least a month without having to repeat outfits. Remembering how worried I was about outfit repeats makes me want to laugh, I can’t believe I thought that was the worst it could get. [pause] I can’t believe I thought it’d be gone after only four months.
I only checked it periodically during the fourth month, occasionally opening the bedroom door to see its progress. The bed was half-way inside it by the fifth month. I remember seeing two of its legs dangling over nothingness before it fell without notice. The closer it got to the edges of the room, the more I feared it wouldn’t stop until I was gone too. It definitely didn’t help that I was watching my belongings gradually drop into the hole… I was too scared of falling to ever re-enter the room and get my stuff.
I began to obsessively keep track of its progress. I stopped eating, drinking, showering. The growth was never consistent. Sometimes it would enlarge by five inches, and sometimes it’d only be half of an inch. I mean, you have to imagine it yourself to understand what it was like for me. I never knew how much it could grow in one night. Imagine trying to sleep when you knew there was a chance you wouldn’t wake up. I felt completely powerless.
INTERVIEWER: It sounds like you were living in a nightmare, why didn’t you tell anyone about it?
KINGSBURY: I did. I repeatedly told so many people that there was a hole eating everything in my bedroom. I kept trying and trying and trying to get help, but no one ever listened. I called the carpenter again, but he said that he already fixed my floor twice and wasn’t going to do it another time. I called pest control again, and after looking everywhere inside and outside the house, they told me they couldn’t help. I called my husband again, and he just told me to call a carpenter. I even called the police, and they just gave me a warning because “a hole in the ground isn’t an emergency.” Their exact words.
The only people who tried to help were my friends, and I’m not trying to blame them at all. I understand they couldn’t do anything to directly fix it. In fact, they were the only people who actually believed that this hole was ruining my life. What happened in the end wasn’t their fault. I remember how concerned my friend Sarah was when I told her I was starting to lose days of sleep, or how Lisa came over a few times to try and lighten my mood. They were the ones who saved me.
INTERVIEWER: Speaking of “what happened in the end,” could you share your side of what your husband and the gardener described in the article as a “sudden psychotic break?” Only if you’re comfortable with sharing, of course.
KINGSBURY: I hate that term, “sudden psychotic break.” I don’t think it was sudden at all. They just didn’t experience it first-hand. It really started when the hole began to get closer to a bookshelf we had in the corner. I didn’t care a lot about the books or the bookshelf itself, the most important thing was a framed picture of my grandmother. It was a beautiful black and white photo of her with her chin resting in her hand, staring off to the side with this amused look on her face. She sent it to me when I graduated from Juilliard because she was an actress herself. That photo was actually taken for a newspaper article about her stage debut, and on the back was a note encouraging me to keep pursuing my passion. I cherished it because it was basically the last remnant I had of her. She passed away in a house fire, and nothing was left.
I forgot to get the picture when I decided the bedroom was too unsafe to stay in. It was too late when I remembered. The hole had taken over a majority of the room, so all I could do was watch the bookshelf slowly lose its balance. It was torturous. Every night, I wished that I would wake up one morning and discover that the hole disappeared or began to shrink. Instead, I woke up one morning and discovered that the bookshelf disappeared. It left so quietly, like it was never there in the first place. I just lost control. I screamed, cried. It felt like my grandmother died all over again.
The poor gardener must have heard me and thought I was getting attacked. I mean, I was throwing and breaking things, shattering glass and sobbing. He came inside the house, saw me destroying my own house, and called the police anyway because to him, I must’ve gone insane.
So, the police arrived and restrained me. I think I stayed in the hospital for a while because of dehydration, but that week was blurry. My husband came home when he heard I was sick, and I guess he saw the hole because he finally started to try and help me. I remember laying in bed when he asked me why I never told anyone it was that bad. I just replied with, “I tried.”
INTERVIEWER: I’m so sorry it had to get to that point before someone stepped in.
KINGSBURY: Yeah, it frustrates me when I think about it too much. I’m mostly relieved that the hole is finally gone now. I’ve been sleeping better, eating again. I wish someone noticed before I lost that photo of my grandmother.
INTERVIEWER: Well, thank you for sharing your experience. It’s refreshing to hear what happened to the victim herself without a journalist filtering the words. You take care.
KINGSBURY: Thanks, you too.

Nico De Guzman is a 17-year-old Filipino currently living in Illinois. He is an artist in both visual and written forms, and his work ranges from sketches to poetry. Some of the subjects he explores are distortions of the sense of self, complicated relationships, and animals. His other interests include film and music, and he can often be found in his room either listening to a CD or watching a DVD. Nico is also a big fan of experimental and stream-of-consciousness writing and enjoys writers of the Beat Generation. His favorite poets are Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg.

"ragged cardboard Hole" by willc2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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