I used to have a recurring dream, many years ago, that began to take on a nightmarish quality the longer it went on. I’d be lying asleep in bed, which I actually was of course, in the non-dream world; but I’d be lying asleep in bed in the dream world too – adding a weird confusion to the whole lying in bed scenario – but that’s what dreams do – confuse the brain, so it believes something is actually happening, when nothing is happening at all. So there I’d be, lying there asleep, perfectly still; dreaming that I was lying there asleep, perfectly still. Actually, as far as nightmares go, this one is sounding pretty rubbish, until the bit where I would hear the radio come on.
The sound of a radio would slowly drift up the stairs. To begin with I’d be aware that I was too heavily asleep to really notice the sound, then the noise would become more insistent and I’d wake up, get out of bed, go downstairs, find the radio in the middle of the lounge floor (which it never was in the real world) and turn it off. Then I’d traipse back upstairs, getting about half way before I realised the radio was on again, only this time the noise seemed louder. Back down I’d go, turn off the radio, then back up the stairs, getting to maybe the second step before the radio came back on again. This state of affairs would go on for some time until I’d barely get through the lounge door before the radio would turn itself on again, only no music that time, or pleasant night-time chatter, just the continuous shrieking hiss of scary white noise, and by that time I was in a sorry state indeed, wondering if I would have to live with the sound of a shrieking radio all my life.
(Which I kind of had to do years later when chronic Tinnitus struck, but that’s maybe a whole other riveting post.)
Waking up to the real world, it would take some minutes to realise that it had all been a dream, but it was the kind of dream that would haunt the rest of my day, the way some dreams do.
As the years went by the radio turned into the television. There I’d be, asleep, when I’d become aware that the TV was on. Down the stairs I’d go, thinking that someone had left it on; I’d turn if off via the on/off button (this was pre-flat screen days when our telly was tiny and lacked a remote control) and go upstairs again, only this time with a faint feeling of dread, as my dreaming brain obviously knew what was coming. Like the radio, the TV would finally end up emitting that white, wavy line tuning signal thing accompanied by a horrible HISS. Yes, I clearly had a thing about uncontrollable, evil household appliances.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
A couple of evenings ago I flicked the telly on, at about 7’ish, just in time to catch The One Show (which I’ve now swapped for the delights of the Great Interior Design Challenge) and settled back for a couple of hours of telly watching, which is just about all I can stand these days. The TV is never on during the day in our house, if I can help it, if it were I might have been alerted to the strange goings-on a lot sooner.
At a very important point during the GIDC shenanigans, the TV suddenly switched itself off, in that the lovely HD screen went completely black and fell completely silent. Wondering if we’d had a power cut or if I’d accidentally sat on the remote, I began looking around for the remote in the immediate vicinity, to see it perched in its usual resting place (the arm of the husband’s chair) – a good four feet away from where I was sitting. A couple of seconds later and the TV came on again, picking up from where it had left off, as though nothing untoward had happened.
30 minutes later and the same thing happened again. Deciding to attribute the telly’s behaviour to a fluke of its internal wirings, or some suchlike, being that I have no idea how tellies work, I later switched it off and forgot all about it.
Yesterday the same thing happened again, three times, and the black screen began to look a bit ominous, and visions of that very scary looking girl from The Ring started coming to mind. Please don’t let anything start climbing out of my TV screen, I silently pleaded, with whoever it is who can stop ghostly presences emerging from your average household appliance. I then decided to consult the husband, who was up in his usual habitat – the loft. I left the room to the sounds of Mad Max and the half-dead gang making their way down Fury Road; a case in which the black screen was infinitely more preferable.
On my way to the loft I passed the heating thermostat in the hall, just outside the lounge, and heard its audible click as the heating turned off, whereupon Mad Max and the gang went strangely quiet. The screen was black again and I had a eureka moment. The central heating was turning off the TV!
Running upstairs to the loft, I told the husband about the scary black screen TV affair and that I was pretty sure the thermostat in the hall was turning the TV off. After laughing in my face, the husband said the obvious, which was to test my theory by turning the thermostat up and down in the hall and seeing if it also turned the telly on and off. So I did just that and absolutely nothing happened – the TV stayed resolutely unblack.
Being an intelligent and rational person, I decided to go with the only possible plausible theory. My house is haunted and a ghost keeps turning my TV on and off, presumably because it has nothing better to do.
The thing is, the TV isn’t the only contraption that has exhibited paranormal tendencies. Just a short while ago the printer kept turning itself on, up in the loft, and printed off empty bits of paper, at ridiculous times during the night, when we were all asleep. When any one of the sons was home and this strange behaviour, on the part of the printer from hell took place, it caused quite a stir, as you’d be surprised how incredibly LOUD printers sound when they suddenly go off at 3 am.
There’s also the questionable behaviour of the loft ladder in the upstairs hallway. Many are the spine tingling times when I have been woken, from a not so deep sleep, by the sounds of someone/something, climbing the wooden loft ladder on their way up to loft hell. Creak, creak, clunk, the ladder goes as ghostly feet apply ghostly pressure.
But back to the scary TV. In a scientific experiment, the telly has been on during most of the day today. So has the heating, being that things are on the chilly side, and the thermostat has clicked twice – and both times the telly went black. This is too much of a coincidence so, deciding that the ghost theory was probably not the way to go, I typed into dearest Google:
‘my heating thermostat is turning off my TV’…..to be met with an absolute barrage of similar complaints coming right at me through the internet ether.
‘Help my fridge is turning off my TV’
‘Am I mad but I think my boiler is turning off my TV’
‘Don’t laugh but I think my oven is doing something to my TV – please help’
The general gist, from anonymous electrical experts, is that electromagnetic thingamajigs coming from my thermostat, or my boiler’s igniter spark thingie, are causing ‘spikes’ in the electrical waves filling up my home which are temporarily interrupting the signal to my telly. Feeling like I was now onto something (and wondering why I hadn’t done this before) I then typed in:
‘my printer turns itself on at night’, to find that printers like to do this sort of thing on a regular basis, it possibly being something to do with the auto power on/off thing.
‘my wooden loft ladder creaks at night’ – I found that wood contracts and expands during the day, a sound we are normally unaware of, being that we’re all very busy with housework and suchlike (pauses here to laugh, whilst watching Malcolm in the Middle, instead of doing housework.)
So, there isn’t a ghost in my house – there’s just a few basic laws of physics going on around my bog standard 1930’s home – oh, and I can’t wait for the husband to come home and laugh on the other side of his face.
(Would be sort of nice in a very scary kind of way though, wouldn’t it, if just one time it did turn out to be a ghost.)