There was a lot of noise in the house on Monday night as I was trying to get to sleep. I could hear what sounded like a radio playing a series of emetic pop-songs. I assumed it was coming from the supermarket carpark next door, or possibly from someone parked in the street in front.
Usually such sounds just go away. The truck-driver closes the door of his cab, or the young couple patch up their differences and drive away. Not this time, though: the noise just went on and on. After a while I put in my earplugs and rolled over to leave them to it.
After three or four songs it had woken up Bronwyn, though. She poked me in the ribs, and asked (or so I presume: I couldn't hear past the earplugs): "Do you hear that? Where's it coming from?"
After trying a few mollifying phrases about how it must be coming from next door, and other futile attempts to cling to sleep, I resigned myself to getting up to investigate. And, sure enough, a strange strobe-like light was emanating from the living room.
I went in. The TV was on. The sounds were coming from Free-to-air channel 11, the Edge. I turned it off. End of story.
But wait, not really end of story. Why did I only become aware of the music after I'd been lying in bed for half an hour or so? It wasn't on very loud, but it was quite perceptible even from the next room. It's true that I was watching that channel briefly before turning the TV off, but I did turn it off. I must have done - the screen was dark when we went to bed, and we'd been talking in the lounge for quite some time after it was turned off.
Is it normal for TVs to come on by themselves? Static electricity? Power-surges? Not this one, at any rate. It's never done it before (so far as I know), and it hasn't shown any signs of abnormality in the couple of days since.
Come to think of it, there have been a couple of other odd things in the house lately. Bronwyn tidied up the kitchen and washed up all the dishes the other day, but when she came back into the room there was a little plastic-handled knife lying in the middle of the bench.
Also, on that same night, the night of the self-turning-on TV, our cat Zero made a loud whimpering meow in the middle of the night - as if she'd just seen something odd, or someone (something?) had ruffled her fur. She's never done that before, not in quite that way.
There've always been quite a lot of strange bumping noises from upstairs in our house. It is quite old, after all - the boards tend to stretch and settle. The hair does occasionally stand up on the back of your neck. But there was no movement to be noted in the trigger object Bronwyn left in the lounge last night.
It's true that we've both been reading an interesting book called The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, by John and Anne Spencer (London: Headline Book Publishing PLC, 1992) which I picked up for a couple of dollars in the Browns Bay market the other day. Perhaps that has made us a bit over-sensitive to things.
But then who knows? Has your television ever come on by itself? We'll keep you posted if anything else happens.
John & Anne Spencer: The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits (1992)