Funny Thing ... Hauntings
It has been six years and I still haven't figured out if my house is haunted or just very, very strange.
I've detailed in the past the unusual goings-on that occasionally occur under my roof: Five straight light bulbs blowing out in various parts of the house, closet doors flying open with a whoosh, televisions going on and off of their own accord. I tell you, it might unnerve someone who drank less than I did. (Fight spirits with spirits; that's my motto.)
So here's the latest. The other evening, I settled into bed at 9:45 to do some reading (a compendium of nautical humor called "Ships and Giggles"). The day having been filled with the customary amount of anguish, struggle and turmoil, I was nodding off by 9:48.
So I adjusted the clock-radio, setting the alarm and hitting the "wake" function so the radio, which was set to the classical music station, would play for another 50 minutes before automatically switching off. And away I nodded.
All well and good. Until I was roused at about 12:30 a.m. by ... what was it? Music? Couldn't be. The radio would have been off for hours. But I couldn't quite make out what I was hearing or where it was coming from.
I should interrupt here to point out that strange noises are not uncommon in my place. The reason being I own the only appliances in the world that do impressions.
The washing machine excellently mimics a 747 jet engine. I've even had the repairman over to enjoy it.
The refrigerator can imitate a large fan with a thick piece of cardboard wedged into it, a bowling ball rolling down an alley and — for its big finish — my 17-year-old Toyota.
And the dishwasher does both a cement mixer and an industrial vacuum.
If I had a truck, I'd book them as an act and take them on the road.
So as I sat up in bed that night, craning my neck in the darkness, the options for the source of whatever sound awoke me were many.
But as it turns out, it was indeed music. And it was indeed coming from the clock-radio. What it was not, however, was classical music.
The radio had not only come back on, it was tuned to a different station, one several twists of the knob up the dial.
I am a great justifier when it comes to these odd occurrences. Those light bulbs? Coincidence. That closet door? Maybe a gust of wind from outside. That television? It's old; perhaps the tube is going.
But every now and then, something happens for which even I can't conjure up a reasonable explanation.
About a year and a half ago, for instance, I found the floor mat for the downstairs bathroom rolled up in the tub and soaking wet. This would not have been noteworthy, except I never use the downstairs bathroom for showers and hadn't had anyone stay with me for months. The faucet wasn't leaking, the ceiling wasn't leaking and there was no sign of water anywhere else in the room.
I never have figured out what may have happened.
I sat in a similarly mystified state the other night. Even if I didn't properly set the radio to go off — something I haven't failed to do in years — there was no explaining how it ended up on another station. It's an older, analog model with a turn dial on the side that is hard to reach, sitting, as it does, on a lower shelf in my modified bed stand.
I mulled this for a good 15 minutes. It was 12:45 a.m. and I was wide awake. It was time for a resolute response.
There's only one way to fight spirits.
Kevin Frisch is managing editor of the Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, N.Y. Contact him at (585) 394-0770/Ext. 257 or by e-mail at KFrisch@ MPNewspapers.com.