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The Oven That Wouldn't Go Off

Christian Burgess, Ontario, Canada
November 2001

The rambling, rather bizarre ranch house in the country that we bought in 1971 had been built by the very people we were buying it from. Old and feeble, they were selling so they could move in with their children in the city. It was clear they weren't happy to sell - we believe they'd rather have stayed on to live and die in the happy home they built. This is why it wasn't a big surprise to my wife and I (who happen to believe in the existence of spirits) when my very young daughter Maggie - six months after we moved in and Maggie only then 2 - toddled into the living room, sat quietly and then after a moment said pensively, "There's a man in the hallway." My wife said, "Who's that? What's his name?" It wouldn't have been unusual for a neighbour to drop by and come in without knocking. Maggie replied, "Albert".

This was unusual because Albert was the name of the man who built the house. It became more unusual when I went to the hallway and no one was there.

Some two months after this, my wife was working in the kitchen, about 2 p.m. For no reason, the rotisserie inside the oven came on, turning and making a metallic scraping sound, which Deborah had never heard before because we had never used the rotisserie. She tried to turn it off, but to no avail. It stayed on for about twenty minutes then went off on its own - and never came on again.

It was fully a year later when the son of the previous owners dropped by to say hello and to revisit his parents' house. We enquired of their health, and it turned out that Albert had died six months after they moved. His mother died two months later - and, we discovered, it was the very day that the rotisserie came on by itself. According to their son, she adored the rotisserie and used it almost daily to make roast chicken for dinner.

Christian Burgess, Ontario, Canada
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