January 5, 2004


Just because I don't believe in ghosts doesn't mean I can't be spooked.

Early this morning, some time between 5 and 6, I woke up when my wife returned to bed from getting an aspirin. As I lay there in the dark morning stupor of half-wakedness, I was jolted by the sound of someone rattling the doorknob to our bedroom.

Our house has 100-year-old bedroom door hardware which is somewhat loose and rattles at the slightest touch. This sound was like someone grabbing the thing and shaking it violently for a couple of seconds. I assumed that one of the girls had bumped into the door and that they were coming to crawl into bed with us, but as the seconds passed and no such thing happened, I got up to investigate. Maggie was alert, as she had heard the noise, too. We both agreed it sounded like a doorknob and that it was in the room. However, the girls were both still in bed.

I checked the whole house for intruders. I have two lame explanations for the sound I heard. A) A bubble in the heating system though that has never caused a noise so loud before. B) The ice maker in the refrigerator downstairs. But it's downstairs.

As I said, I don't believe in ghosts. But this was extremely spooky, especially considering the morbid dream I was having just prior. I was discussing with my family's parish priest the effects of death on the spirit. He was telling me "The dead don't remember we love them" and "The dead lose all of their music. All the melodies are forgotten." I was trying to reassure my grandmother that wherever we go, there will be new music. The whole scene rewound before my eyes and then I awoke with a sinking feeling. That was just before I heard the doorknob rattle...

There isn't always a good explanation.

Posted by James at January 5, 2004 10:11 AM
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I wonder if the sound did occur but was magnified in your minds because you were both half-asleep.

Posted by: Mike at January 5, 2004 10:59 AM

The best theory is that it was the ice maker, but it sounded louder and closer in the morning silence.

My perception is that it was right in the room, but human perception is notorious for the tricks it plays.

Posted by: James at January 5, 2004 11:16 AM

I can't *believe* the sounds my baseboard pipes make.

Posted by: julie at January 5, 2004 2:14 PM

I had the same thing happen early this morning, but it wasn't quite so loud. Mine sounded more like squirrels scratching and tapping on the walls. I eventually decided that it was sleet or rain (and sure enough there was ice on my car in the morning). It only lasted about five seconds, in two bursts about ten second apart.

I live in Brookline, and I assume you live near Boston because you're on " >Localfeeds Boston. So maybe we heard the same thing.

Posted by: Kimberley Burchett at January 5, 2004 2:48 PM

I like the squirrels/mouse theory. We had a little bastard bowling with acorns in our attic on Saturday night. On the dream/music side of things: Have you read Neil Gaimen/Terry Prtachett's Good Omens (hilarious book btw)? One of the main characters is a demon and says hell is better 'cause they get all the best musicians. In heaven on the otherhand they're stuck listening to Liszt and Alger all the time.

Posted by: Bob at January 5, 2004 4:45 PM

There's one in every crowd, and I want to be it in this one: maybe it was something paranormal messing with your sub-conscious and rattling your doorknob!

It sounds bad when you phrase it like that, but we don't know everything about everything. I'd like to think there's something after this, and maybe that something can influence dreams, emotions, and once in a while make a noise. In any case, the real question is: did you fix the doorknob yet?

Posted by: jfournier at January 5, 2004 7:46 PM

I've taken the doorknob apart to see why it is so l oose, and it looks like there's nothing to adjust to fix it. It's probabnly always going to rattle. It's not much of a problem, unless evil spirits start using it regularly.

Waht do I use for something like this? Holy water? A shaman? Valium? Demerol?

Actually, I'm pretty familiar with the phenomenon of poltergeist activity. It's usually the work of an adolescent child.

My wife tells me that she was in the kitchen today and the ice machine "scared the hell out of her." The ice machine theory is quickly rising in prestige.

Posted by: James at January 5, 2004 8:21 PM

James, invest in some new hardware!


Posted by: Patti M. at January 7, 2004 2:05 PM

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