A Haunting: Late Night Notifications
One of the phenomena that has convinced us our house is haunted is repeated electrical quirks and electronic anomalies. We’ve had lights turn themselves on, bulbs blow-out in spectacular flashes, as if to get our attention, and electronics that have responded to us, as if something is “answering” us. Sometimes it seems mischievous, like a practical joke. Last night was a good example.
In the middle of the night, I was briefly and barely awakened by something… a sound… BLING. Then a pause, then BLING. I wrote it off as one of our phones making a noise, and went back to sleep. Some minutes later, I was awakened again by the same sound. It was more persistent this time. BLING, BLING, BLING. It sounded like an error message notification, the kind of thing you hear when you’re working on your computer and you try to perform a task that isn’t allowed in a particular window or menu. BLING, BLING, BLING, BLING. I raised my head and said “What is that?” The noise stopped when I spoke.
I got out of bed and slowly walked toward our bedroom doorway, listening for it to start again so I could figure out where the sound was coming from. For a moment, I thought it was possible my son might be awake and playing a game on his phone or something… then, BLING, BLING, BLING. It was coming from the living room.
I walked into the darkened room where it was momentarily silent. Before I went to bed, I had shut down my laptop, closed the lid, and unplugged the power cord. I waited in the dark, then BLING, BLING. The noise was coming from my computer, which was still sitting on our ottoman, right where I had left it, closed and unplugged.
I looked over my shoulder, into the hallway behind me; scanned the darkened room. There was nobody around, no intruder in the house, no explanation that I could immediately discern. I sat down on the sofa and opened my laptop’s lid.
On the screen was a splash window that said “Welcome to Lightroom.” Lightroom is a piece of Adobe software that I have installed but have never used. As I sat there and looked at the screen and tried to figure out how this piece of software could have opened itself while I was sleeping, it sounded off again. BLING, BLING, BL–I closed the window and the sound ceased. Under the “Welcome to Lightroom” window, several more windows were open–windows for a file-conversion application that I once used to convert video files from my home security system to a more user-friendly format. I clicked until all the windows were closed and only the desktop showed. I closed the lid again and went back to bed.
This morning, I was still thinking about it. How could software open itself on my computer in the middle of the night? I searched for reasonable answers. Had I somehow been infected by something that allowed someone to take control of my PC? I haven’t found anything. Was it a warning? I intend to search my security camera footage later today to see if anything was going on outside at the time of the event, and I assure you, I will write about it if I find anything.
Maybe it was just a prank by the Gray Lady, a “Hey, wake up. I’m lonely out here.” It wouldn’t be the first time.
Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.