I’m not sure if we need a parapsychologist or an electrician at my house. Certain electrical and electronic components are, apparently, possessed by a paranormal entity hell-bent on depriving me of a good night’s sleep.
It all started one night about six months ago. My wife had retired to the boudoir to read and I was watching a Monday night football game. Suddenly, she appeared in the hallway with a curious expression.
“Something’s wrong with my lamp; it keeps going off and on,” she said.
It was halftime and I retrieved a new candle-shaped bulb from the pantry and installed it in the lamp. End of problem…so I thought.
It was late in the third quarter of the game when she appeared in the hallway a second time.
“What?” I gestured with both hands.
“It started blinking again,” she said,
“So, unplug it - we’ve got plenty of lamps. I’ll switch out the strobe with a lamp from the living room,” I suggested.
In no time I was back in the recliner eating popcorn from a paper bag and watching the game.
It was about 11 p.m. when my wife appeared in the hallway again - this time in her nightgown, her hair disheveled from sleeping on it.
“Now the nightlight in the bathroom and the lamp from the other room are blinking,” she said, looking at once sleepy and confused.
I strode into the bedroom feigning sympathy planning to unplug the lamps and finish watching the football game.
“Look,” she said, pointing at the two mini-stroboscopic light shows. “I think somebody’s trying to communicate with us.”
“Somebody?” Thumbs hooked in my pockets, I was ready to roll my eyes and dismiss her notion as an overreaction to a loose wire. That’s when I noticed it. A lifetime ago in the army I learned just enough Morris Code to identify a distress call, and there it was; the lamps were flashing Morris Code.
My wife is an ardent fan of the Long Island Medium television show so I decided to keep the lamp’s distress message to myself for the time being.
Since that night there have been many curious episodes of electronic disturbances in our five-year-old home. For example, after 12 attempts by our cable company to repair spotty television reception we called off the techies.
The living-room television still displays signal interruptions when tuned to channel 13 that are eerily similar to the flashing lamps. However, having cable technicians crawling through our attic once or twice a week proved more irritating than dealing with our not-so-smart flat screen TV and we decided to leave well enough alone.
Late Monday evening I was between a dream and the abyss of deep sleep when a giant prehistoric pterodactyl started chirping loud enough to shatter wine goblets. Immediately following the deafening chirps, a woman’s voice shrieked “fire, fire, fire.”
The double-threat so startled me that I leapt from bed, cleared the oak footboard and assumed a martial-arts fighting stance in a single bound. Who knew I could move that fast at my age.
As my brain caught up with my feet, I noticed my wife sitting up in bed, eyes wide open and her head spinning like Linda Blair in The Exorcist as she searched the room for the noisy apparition.
Happily, there was no winged Jurassic dinosaur loose in the bedroom nor was our humble abode ablaze. The blaring chirps and shrieked warnings were coming from our fire alarm system.
Long story short, I disassembled and cleaned the fire alarms and changed all of its backup batteries - twice, to no avail.
Each night last week starting about the time I entered REM sleep the pterodactyl and screaming woman returned and the accumulative sleep deprivation incited by the inexplicable manifestations took their toll.
Honestly, I’ve never put much stock in psychic phenomena, preferring to explain the inexplicable as manifestations from an Earthly dimension of unknown origin. By now, I’ve come to suspect bio–psychokinesis or some other psychic emanation may be at play.
Nevertheless, we decided to replace our fire alarm system, buy some lamps and give technicians another crack at repairing our cable television equipment.
In the meantime, perhaps a clairvoyant will stumble across my column and channel enough energy to stop these untimely manifestations - or at least remind the source that we still require sleep in the physical world.
If the house isn’t “cleared” soon, I’m afraid my wife will call Theresa Caputo and I’ll awake with her camera crew planting mikes in our bedroom.
Even scarier, they might discover the etheric communicator is my late, great uncle Cletus who used to tease me when I was five by removing his false teeth, making scary faces and rapping on the metal plate in his head.