Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I like to listen to podcasts when I'm doing unpleasant things, like the dishes, or working out. Some people like music for this purpose. I generally don't; music doesn't have enough words to distract my busy busy mind.

So this weekend I was catching up on some old This American Life episodes while cleaning up, and heard this story of haunting, explained here:
Some nights after I have been in bed for a while, I have felt as if the bed clothes were jerked off me, and I have also felt as if I had been struck on the shoulder. One night I woke up and saw sitting on the foot of my bed a man and a woman. The woman was young, dark and slight, and wore a large picture hat. The man was older, smooth shaven and a little bald. I was paralyzed and could not move, when suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and I was able to sit up, and the man and the woman faded away. Sometimes, after I have gone to bed, the noises from the storeroom are tremendous. It does not happen every night; perhaps a week or ten days will pass, and then again it may be several nights in succession. Sometimes it sounds as if furniture was being piled against the door, as if china was being moved about, and occasionally a long and fearful sigh or wail.
It turns out that they were being poisoned. They called a doctor:
He examined the house thoroughly from top to bottom and interviewed the servants. He found the furnace in a very bad condition, the combustion being imperfect, the fumes, instead of going up the chimney, were pouring gases of carbon monoxide into our rooms. He advised us not to let the children sleep in the house another night. If they did, he said we might find in the morning that some one of them would never wake again.
It makes me wonder about "ghostly" experiences of my own. Were they just bad air? Will anyone ever explain alien sightings this way, or just ghosts? How about unicorns? Are all the ramblings of the mind preventable?

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Julia said...

I loooooved that episode! It was really, truly frightening. Have you listened to "Matchmakers" (#347) yet? I laughed so hard that I cried.

mel said...

I love listening to podcasts while doing chores, walking the dog, running, etc. My partner mostly prefers music, but I like the narrative nature of podcasts. Also love This American Life. We saw Ira Glass when he was here a couple months ago. Haven't heard "Haunting" yet, though. I'll be sure to download it next time I'm online. Thanks for the tip!

Jen said...

Mel, I saw Ira Glass too! He was great, although I wasn't a fan of the arm-waving-to-indicate-button-pressing.

Julia, "Matchmakers" is next on my list. Thx!