Lights out

Dad’s signal…..

This happened not too many years ago. When I moved to the town I used to live in before I moved to Oregon, I lived in my mother’s house for a few years until I found an apartment.

One night my mother and I were sitting in the living room waiting for the arrival of my brother and his wife. They lived about 3 hours away by highway and would make occasional weekend visits, usually arriving late Friday night after the long drive from their city. The purpose of their visit on that occasion was not merely social, however. My sister-in-law’s father was in the hospital very ill, and they were going to go to the hospital to see him, after spending the night with my mother and me. Her father was not expected to live much longer.

As my mother and I were sitting watching tv, we heard a sound outside. My mother went to the front window and looked out and announced “Oh, they’re here ! “. My brother and his wife had just pulled in to the driveway outside. My mother went to the front door and went outside to greet them. I got up out of my chair and also headed for the front door to go outside and say hello. I didn’t get halfway across the room before the phone rang so I went to answer the phone instead. It was my sister-in-law’s sister calling. She asked me if my brother and his wife were there yet. I told her they had just pulled up outside, and if she would wait, they would be inside shortly. She said no, that’s ok, but would I please tell my sister-in-law that their father had just died. I tried to get her to stay on the phone but she needed to go so I said goodbye and hung up the phone.

I stood there for a few seconds before I went outside. I did not want to have to be the one to tell my sister-in-law that her father had just died and I needed to collect my thoughts so I could come up with the right words to say, not ever having had to deliver such bad news before.

I went outside to where my brother and his wife were removing their overnight bags from their vehicle and I told my sister-in-law in the best way that I could that I had just taken a phone call from her sister and she had told me that their father had just passed away. My sister-in-law took it pretty well and stated that they had been expecting it to happen. We all went inside the house then and my brother and his wife took their bags into the bedroom where they would be sleeping.

Later on, after my sister-in-law made some phone calls to her relatives, we were all sitting around in the living room talking about her father and making general conversation. The subject of conversation eventually turned to ghosts and hauntings. My brother began to tell about some friends of his and his wife who lived in a house in the country. The house was haunted, he said, with many strange things happening. He said that the people would leave their house for a while, then come back to find locked doors unlocked and standing open. Locked and closed windows would be found unlocked and wide open. Items in the house would mysteriously disappear only to turn up later somewhere else. Lights in the house would turn on and off all by themselves.

Then, not 30 seconds after my brother told the part about the lights going off and on by themselves, the lights in my mother’s house went out, and we all sat in the dark for about 10 seconds, then they came back on again. Nobody said anything for a few seconds, then my brother said “Wow !”. I think my sister-in-law said “Oh, my !” or words to that effect. My mother didn’t say anything.

The first thought that came to my mind was that my sister-in-law’s father was sending some kind of signal to show that he was still around but I did not say anything to her as I did not want to upset her. Nobody said anything more about the lights going out and the conversation turned to other subjects.

My brother and his wife went to bed in a short while as did my mother. It was very late by then, about 11:30 P.M. I stayed up late, as I always do, being a late-night type of person. After everyone else was in bed, I sat around in the living room just being quiet and observing, looking for signs of any more odd activities, but nothing more occurred.

I can’t say that it was my sister-in-law’s recently deceased father who made the lights go out. It may have been just a power company glitch of some kind, but the coincidence of the ghost story about the lights going off and on and the lights in my mother’s house going off and on was uncanny.

Terry Coats

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