The haunted smoke detector

It was a dark and stormy night.

Rain seemed to fall not drop by drop, but, rather, bucket by bucket upon our fair city, as an angry Kansas gale ripped across our yards and down our streets. Its target: the power grid encompassing this writer, home alone with her daughters.

As the unrelenting wind whipped mightily through the neighborhood, lights flickered, serving as a warning of what was to come.

Hurriedly, my daughters searched the home for working flashlights while I set up an array of candles in preparation for the imminent blackout, gathering in the kitchen just moments before a cloak of darkness covered our home. When suddenly …


We heard a “beep.” Staring at each other across the candlelight, which emitted an oddly soothing aroma mixed of lavender, sugar cookies and autumn breeze, my daughters and I stood frozen.


It seemed to be coming from the office, a room in the front of our house that sounds far more productive than it actually is. We crept through our home by flashlight, jumping with every “BEEP!” until we reached the source, a ceiling-mounted smoke detector.

I reached for the smoke detector, carefully removing the battery, while rain continued to pound against the windows outside.

“BEEP!” I looked at the battery in my hand and back up at the (beeping) smoke detector. My husband would not be home for another 40 minutes, and the storm showed no sign of letting up. I had to take action. I called the fire department, and, soon, two brave firefighters were at my door.

I showed them to the office through the darkness and watched on as one firefighter carefully unhooked the smoke detector from the ceiling, placing it on a stool. Just when he began instructing me to call an electrician in the morning, it spoke again.


The storm raged on with a flash of lightning as we looked down at the disassembled smoke detector. Clearly it was not defective, it was haunted.

This modern poltergeist continued its audio-sensory assault while the firefighters searched the dark room by flashlight and I engaged in an internal debate over whether to call our priest or our Realtor.

Within moments, one of the firefighters spotted something suspicious: a carbon monoxide detector, still plugged into the wall, with a dead battery (who knew?).

“BEEP!” It beeped.

He unplugged the device from the wall, removed the dead battery and stifled a laugh.

No longer feeling qualified for any grown-up responsibilities, such as living on my own, I thanked the kind and patient men for their time and walked them out to their truck in the rain, which had gathered a crowd of (very wet) onlookers disappointed by my peril-less tale and likely also by my lack of sense.

Here’s to our firefighters! God bless them!

And may you all enjoy a safe and happy Halloween.


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