For years Mom insisted that anythingunusual that happened around ourplace was the doings of Patrick thePoltergeist. Poltergeists are invisible creaturesthat people sometimes blame for unexplainedevents.
Patrick did harmless, though spooky,things. For instance if we were all gatheredin one room, and noises were heard froman adjoining room, Mom would shake herhead and say, "Patrick's at it again." Wefound this reassuring and though we childrenwould instantly go check for poltergeistswe never caught any. Furthermore,we never caught anything. We consistentlycame back empty handed and gradually wegot in the habit of blaming Patrick for anythingunusual.
Patrick was a handy entity. I recall one ofmy sisters blaming Patrick for spilled jellyand, if it had not been for a dozen pointingfingers, she may have gotten away with it,too. My siblings could unerringly detect thedifference between poltergeist doings andsibling perfidy. I never tried to blame Patrick,but then I seldom spilled the jelly or wroteon walls. I had bigger fish to fry. I hoped tocatch Patrick in the act.
Our poltergeist was known for mischiefnot kindly acts. The mischief consisted mostlyof odd noises and missing items nothingreally serious.
Mom was stuck with washing clothes byhand and in the winter, instead of strugglingto pry the frozen laundry from the line outside,she would string ropes across our mainroom and hang the laundry there to dry.Many times she would awake in the morningto find laundry strewn on the floor.Instead of blaming the most likely culprits,us children, she would laugh and say,"Patrick had a busy night."
To my knowledge I was the only personin the family to actually observe Patrick atwork on the laundry. We had a large, wornarmchair that we would pull close to thestove. I, being the eldest and so elected,would take turns with Mom to stay up atnight and keep the fire from going out.During very cold weather this was veryimportant as our little house didn't have anyinsulation and the inside would swiftly getas cold as the outside if we didn't keep tossingwood on the fire.
I do not recall what novel I was readingon that night, but I was sufficientlyenthralled and consequently I didn't noticethe first event until I got up to put morewood on the fire. There, on the floor infront of the stove was a shirt. I smiled tomyself and thought, "Patrick" and put somemore wood on the coals, ignored the possiblechance to catch Patrick, and dived backinto my book.
We had a lantern, which hung in the centreof the room, and it cast shadows fromthe laundry across the pages of my book. AsI read I noticed a movement across the pageand lifted my eyes to see a diaper slowly risefrom the rope and drop to the floor. As Istared, it happened again to a diaper a shortways along the rope. I'm certain that as thesecond diaper rose from the rope my hairrose to match, but it's a long time ago and Ican't be certain that I remember it exactly asit happened.
For most of my life I blamed air currentsfor the rising and falling of the laundry. Theclothes were draped over the ropes withoutpins and I have always believed that air currentsmade the clothes rise from the ropes. Itwas blind faith in science that made methink that way, not any real proof of air currents.Now that I'm more knowledgeableabout air currents I have one question. Howcould there be air currents strong enough tolift clothing from a clothesline yet not be feltby someone sitting in the room?
Maybe somewhere, in someone's homean unseen presence is stealing one of eachpair of socks from someone's dryer andsomeone else is claiming poltergeist activityto explain the missing socks. Yes, they dohave someone to call. With the increase inparanormal investigators someone out therewill soon be investigating those missingsocks.