Wednesday, August 06, 2014

We have a poltergeist named Oliver

It is not often that things happen that lead me to seriously question my world view.  The last time was about eleven years ago when a mysterious message appeared on our answering machine, but that only lasted about 30 minutes before we were able to solve the mystery.  The current situation I think is going to prove much less tractable.  Here's what happened.

We have a Netflix subscription of the sort that lets us have two discs at any one time.  We always keep those discs in the same place next to our television set.  I will call the two discs we had on hand the other day Movie A and Movie B.

Last Thursday we had cleaners in to tidy up the place.  We hire them from an agency and they come regularly, every three weeks or so.  We've been doing this for several years.  After they left we noticed that one of the two discs was missing, along with the red envelope that is used to return the disc to Netflix when we're done watching it.  Nancy and both did a very thorough search looking for the missing disc but it was nowhere to be found.  We both checked the place where we normally keep the discs (it's right on top of a credenza in full view) multiple times.  I even went so far as to search the trash to make sure it had not inadvertently gotten thrown out.  We were both 100% convinced: only Movie A was there.  Movie B was gone.

We contacted the cleaning agency to see if maybe the cleaners had put the disc somewhere but they said they hadn't touched it.  And we believed them.  Why on earth would anyone want to steal a Netflix DVD?  I even started to look into how much it would cost us when we eventually fessed up to Netflix that we had lost their disc, but I decided to wait a few more days before actually reporting it missing.

So tonight we decided to watch the remaining movie, which is to say, Movie A.  I took the disc out of its sleeve and loaded it in the DVD player, and we were both surprised to see that it was not Movie A, it was Movie B.  Wait, what??? Movie B was the one that had been missing for six days!  I went to the credenza to investigate, and there, right where they were supposed to be, were two red return envelopes, and the second disc, the one that had not gone missing.  But it was underneath Movie B.

We both sat there with our jaws on the floor for about ten minutes, completely at a loss.

We have actually one previous instance of a mysterious disappearance and subsequent reappearance, but this is the first one where both of us thoroughly witnessed both events.  The first time was a credit card receipt that vanished off Nancy's desk, so I was naturally a little skeptical of her account, but I'm a little less skeptical now.

I can certainly understand, dear reader, if you don't believe me.  I certainly wouldn't believe me.  I barely believe it now, and I actually experienced it.  It's easily the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

I can think of three possible explanations:

1.  Nancy is pulling one over on me.  This would be completely out of character for her.  In the twenty-plus years I have known her she has never played a practical joke on anyone.

2.  We were both suffering from some sort of shared delusion for six days.

3.  We have a poltergeist.

Theory 3 seems at least as plausible as the other two.  In fact, we even have a pretty good lead as to our poltergeist's identity.  When we cleared the brush from the hillside behind our house a few years ago we discovered a grave marker for a dog named Oliver P. Scaliwags, who had belonged to a previous owner of our property.  According to neighborhood lore, Ollie was quite the little prankster. Maybe he still is.

When our cat Purrcy died recently we bought a Thai spirit house to put in the back yard thinking that Purrcy and Oliver might both like to live in it and that would keep them out of our house.  Apparently, it's not working.


Unknown said...

I'm a bit surprised at your naivety. Not at your conclusion of who's to blame, but in thinking that in the ghostly afterlife cats and dogs get along. (They don't.) Only after crossing the Rainbow Bridge do all spirits coexist.

Watching any modern afterlife documentary (e.g. Poltergeist) will explain to you that the older a ghost the more powerful it becomes. Especially if you've done something to disturb its polterlife. And a Thai spirit house clearly qualifies. To allow Ollie to cross over I'd suggest you contact your local Shaman or Kindly Spirit Medium and put things right.

Also, you didn't specify the title of the movie. Could be important!

Ron said...

Thank you for the sage advice. We had assumed that our cat would get along with Oliver because before he died we had a dog named Mobo. It took a while for them to negotiate a peace settlement, but after that they were best buddies for years.

The title of the movie that vanished and reappeared was "Love and other drugs" (a fun RomCom BTW). The other movie was "The Book Thief."