Dear Mrs. Crabby,

Allow me to preface my letter to you by telling you that I am a very rational person. I am not at all given to superstitious flights of fancy. In my family, I am the only one who is sensible, highly educated, with his feet on the ground.

My family, who I do love very much, is made up of very superstitious and, well, the best way I can describe it is “airy fairy” people. They are into seances, psychic phenomena and paranormal nonsense. They tell me I am an aberration and an embarrassment to the family with my Ph.D. in physics rather than metaphysics.

To my dilemma. Great Aunt Miranda died three months ago. She was my favorite aunt, in spite of her relentless forays into tarot card hucksters and palm readers. Right before she died, she asked my mother to find me as soon as possible because she had an extremely important message for me. Sadly, she died before I could reach her bedside.

To my tremendous discomfort and dismay, I find myself, three months later, experiencing  bizarre events in my home. I will be in my office, grading papers or preparing a lecture, when I hear who I believe is my wife, in the kitchen, trying to tell me something. When I go into the kitchen, no one is there. But there will be strange happenings. Such as the cupboard doors all being opened. Or three places set at our table for two.

Then there are the nights. Usually about three in the morning I will hear who I believe again is my wife speaking in my ear. But it is a guttural voice and, like my late Great Aunt Miranda, stutters to a fare thee well. The message sounds something like “Don’t eat the cheese biscuits. The poison drips yellow.” Only guttural and stuttered.

My family is howling with laughter over this. They say they can’t help me. I suspect it’s more a matter of they won’t help me.

Can you help me? I really don’t care to know any message Miranda might have. How on earth do I get this nonsense to stop?


Haunted Hal


Dear HH,

You poor hon. First of all, I applaud your intellectual pursuits and your dogged loyalty to your point of view. This has probably helped you incalculably in your chosen career. Second, I must tell you that your view, deeply educated as it is, is restricted, rigid and does not reflect the full circle of sciences that exist in our not yet fully explored universe. This is fine and I do not criticize you for this. Many people cannot function outside the comfort zone of a narrow epistemological boundary. Studied and degreed though it may be. As long as you don’t develop a supercilious, look down your nose judgment on the beliefs of others.

Now, to your problem. You have a haunt. True haunts can only speak in the lower guttural range of voice. Visitations like yours are not at all unusual for close relatives who die with unfinished messages or business. Fortunately for you, the majority of haunts are not usually very intelligent on this side of the veil and can be fooled if you are sincere in your heart and believe what you say as you bid them farewell. If you are, you should pardon the expression, dead set on removing the haunt rather than understanding the message, here is what you should do.

Get yourself a sage, or smudge stick, preferably white sage. Light the stick and walk around your house remembering your aunt fondly. Talk to her. Tell her that you thank her so much for her message. That you have received this gratefully and she may now go on her way to the beyond. Make sure the smoke from the stick enters all the corners of your house.

If this doesn’t work and she continues to bother you, light some sandalwood incense and go to the rooms where most of the disturbances occur. Tell her you are happy she has visited you, but now you are becoming uncomfortable and would like her to stop. Leave a note pad and pencil out and tell her if she has something to relay, please leave a note. Otherwise, go away.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to hire a specialist. If you live on the east coast, this service is easy to find, as hauntings are considered on a par with pest infestation. If you are in the midwest or on the west coast, you will need to find a shaman proficient in such practices.

If none of these things work, get back to me and I’ll see what I can find for you. Meanwhile, may I suggest that this has perhaps happened for a good reason. Maybe someone is trying to poison your cheese biscuits. I’d abstain from these were I you.

I am reminded of the Ghostbuster theme to insert here, but I really prefer this classic,

Good luck, hon. And remember, it’s a gift when a deceased relative comes to pay a visit. Unless the relative was a homicidal maniac. Or a telemarketer.

IB Crabby

I can't hear you

Tell Mrs. Crabby all!

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