Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Night Noises

We all know that houses can produce unexplained noises in the night, and we've learned to dismiss most of them and go back to sleep. I remember a year ago when I was sure there was someone in the house with us, because I thought I heard a door close upstairs, but later I was able to rationalize that our windows were open and I probably just heard the next-door neighbors opening their front door.

There have been a couple of incidents I am hard put to explain. The first happened several years ago and involved a pile of ashes on our dining room table. We were preparing for a Christmas Eve dinner with guests, and I had put a new white tablecloth on the table. We left the house and went to the commissary (grocery store for you who are not military-connected) to pick up a few last minute things, and when we returned an hour later, found a pile of ashes, about a tablespoon's worth, on the table, on top of that pristine tablecloth, an incongruously neat little pile of ashes where ashes could not possibly be. We were never able to solve the mystery of how they got there. No fireplace, no light fixture above the table, no signs of forced entry, no reason for the ashes to be there. The former resident of the house, who had died in the middle bedroom of cancer, had been a smoker. Had he dropped in for a visit, or for a smoke? We'll never know.

A few months ago we moved to another house. Last night I was sound asleep when I woke a few minutes after 3 a.m. to a loud crash in the kitchen, just down the hall from our bedroom. I stumbled out of bed, and accompanied by my two dogs who mistakenly thought it was morning and they were going to get something to eat, felt my way to the kitchen.

I was groggy and did not even think to feel for the light switch in the hall. Since the light switch in the kitchen was on the far side of the room, I stood peering into the darkness until I spotted something round and dark lying in the middle of the floor. When I picked it up, I found that it was a small frying pan. But how had it ended up more than 3 feet from the drying spot on top of the dishwasher where I had set it after washing it the night before?

My husband's reasoning: it must have fallen off the counter and rolled there. Possible? Certainly, but it doesn't fit my memory of where I set the pan, which was not near the edge, the lack of earthquakes in our vicinity, and my memory of the sound I heard, which sounded like something had fallen flat on the floor, not rolled or scooted or bounced. So, natural event or ghost cat or ghost chicken (poultry-geist)? No way to know for sure.

Well, the pan was unharmed, so no point worrying about it. . . unless it happens again! Cue spooky music.


  1. I realize perhaps no one will read this, since the original blog entry was in January and it is now May. Nonetheless, I wanted to add my "solidarity" with this blog about things that go bump in the night. I live in a very modern one floor house that was built in 2003. Due to living in a hot climate, there are ceiling fans in all the rooms. They can only be turned on by picking up a remote control device (like a TV remote) and clicking the "on" switch while holding the remote up towards the fan.

    Well, the other night I was listening to a spooky Coast to Coast radio podcast about ghosts and possession. I was all alone late at night, so this was a mistake. But then I went into the master bedroom to prepare for bed, and the ceiling fan was whirring away on high. I was really spooked! As I noted, the fans can only be activated by a specific action. They cannot be turned on by inadvertently bumping against a button on the wall. So, how did the fan get on? After listening to a spooky radio show, this was the last thing I needed right before bed!

    But then I told myself that perhaps someone in a house nearby had a remote that was on the same frequency and this activated my fan. This allowed me to go to sleep. Happily, my rational mind did not contradict me with the fact that this has never happened before in the 8 years I've lived here, and all the neighbors are the same over that time period.

    Well, thought I'd share. The story probably seems rather silly and anti-climatic.

  2. Sorry this took so long for me to spot, but for what it's worth I don't think your story is silly at all. Sometimes these events are rather small, but they still matter.