The Ghost in the Electronics

Three cartoon ghosts in a row

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP): In parapsychology, EVP refers to recorded sounds that are interpreted as proof of the paranormal.

I have had my fair share of electronic voice phenomena this past week. Or perhaps electronic poltergeists, except that Wikipedia doesn't have any information about this very modern type of ghost.

EVP Number One

It started with the alarm system in my parents' home going off repeatedly. We checked the parents (because with age comes some finger trouble). We checked the remotes. Then we watched in fascination as the alarm armed itself without any input from anyone. Which, of course, led to the siren going off and the security company arriving.

Maybe it's a ghost. I don't know. What I do now know is that you can't actually unplug an alarm system. Lewis eventually climbed into the ceiling and pulled out some wires.

EVP Number Two

Electronic poltergeists get lonely. That's why there's never just one device that fails.

Number two was the intercom system. It kept dialling me, over and over and over again. There was nobody visible on the camera. And when we went out to check, there was nobody at the gate.

And then we watched as the intercom pushed its own button and dialled me. OK, I'm exaggerating. Nothing pushed the button. But it did keep dialling as if someone had pushed the button.

Eventually we found the cause: ants. More accurately, ant frass. Did you know there is a special name for the sandy mess that ants leave behind?

As there is an alleged shortage of spare parts, we're hoping that Lewis can save the system. He has a delicate touch with electronics. I am more inclined towards percussive maintenance. (Percussive maintenance is the art of shaking, banging or hitting something - or someone - to try to make it work.)

It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you

The more things we have, the more things can go wrong. Just think about all the devices you need to remember to charge.

Or perhaps our electronic devices are already sentient, and have decided to gang up on me. Movies about AI focus on the fear of what sentient technology will do. Killer robots that take over the world and demand equal rights. But maybe the robots will just decide to go on strike.

What I really want to know is this: why can't it be the cheap devices that stop working?

Go on: share a story about the electronic devices in your life.

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