Yesterday, for the first time in 240,000 miles, I started hearing strange noises in my car. They sound a bit like scraping noises. I’ve looked under the car for loose parts, and just had the brakes, struts, etc., checked—nothing. Everything looks peachy. The noises are not connected to steering, braking, or accelerating. To make matters even more mysterious, they come and go—I hear them some days, and not others. Being of Irish descent, and thus subject to Murphy’s Law, you can safely assume that no noises would occur if I let my mechanic take it for a spin.
So, with logical explanations being unsatisfactory, I’ve decided that my car must be haunted. Maybe I should call TAPS. I imagine the episode would go something like this:
On this episode of Ghost Hunters—TAPS heads to New Jersey to investigate a car with a troublesome poltergeist. Will Jason and Grant encounter the mischievous spirit? Hear mysterious sounds that leave everyone baffled. And see what sends Steve running for the hills...
(Show Jason and Grant driving) Jason: So, this case is in New Jersey. I hear it involves a car—we don’t get too many cases like that. Kris, do you want to fill us in?
Kris: Yeah, the owner has been driving this really old car—it’s like, 8 years old. Recently she’s been plagued by mysterious thumps, scraping sounds—once she even swears she heard voices.
Jason: How long has this been going on?
Kris: It just started in the last month.
Grant: Has she been to a mechanic?
Kris: She has, and everything has checked out as OK.
Jason: Huh, well, I guess we’d better get over there and see what we can find out.
(TAPS arrives at my house) Jason: Hi, how are you doing—I’m Jason from TAPS.
Grant: I’m Grant—we’re here to help.
Steve: I’m Steve.
Me: Hi guys. I’m Brigid. Thanks for coming. Would you like to see the car?
Jason: After you...
Me: Here it is. The car is very old—about 8 years old, which is probably at least 500 years old in car years. However, it’s always been quiet until recently. All of the sudden, I’m hearing banging and scraping noises coming from the back. And I swear I heard whispering once.
Jason: Now, no one else is hanging out in the back of your car?
Steve: Has anyone else experienced this?
Me: Not really—I usually drive alone. It only happens when I’m driving slowly or coasting.
Grant: Are we going to be able to take the car for a drive?
Me: Sure. I’ll give you the key.
Jason: Okay, thanks for the tour. What we’re going to do now is that Steve will get the rest of the team, set up equipment, and see what we can catch.
Me: Good luck.
Jason: Thanks. C’mon, let’s get out of here.
Grant: This is a really small area to investigate—it’s a car after all, and a Corolla, for Pete’s sake. So, we’re going to send investigators in two at a time.
(Jason and Grant do a thermal sweep).
Grant: We use a thermal imaging camera, which is one of the most sought-after pieces of equipment by investigators. A lot of investigations involve hot and cold spots, and the camera allows you to see temperature fluctuations.
Jason: Everything looks normal. Let’s take the car around the block.
(They get into the car, and start driving it)
Jason: You know, I wonder if this is really paranormal—this is an old car, after all, maybe it’s just...what the hell was that?
Grant: Did you hear that?
(Cut to commercial)
Grant: Did you hear that?
Jason: Yes, it’s like a scraping and a banging noise.
Jason: We started experiencing sounds like those reported by the owner, so we immediately set out to try to debunk them.
Grant: There wasn’t a muffler or any other parts hanging down, were there?
Jason: Nope, but we should get out and look to be sure.
(Grant gets out and looks under the car)
Grant: Nope, nothing is hanging down that could cause that sound. Maybe we should do some EVP work.
Grant: EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena. This is a phenomena that happens very frequently. It's when you catch a voice on a recording device that you don't hear with the human ear at the time.
Jason: Can you give us a sign of your presence? Can you knock twice if you can understand me?
(They hear two faint knocks from under the car)
Grant: If that was you, can you do it again?
Jason: We did get a couple of knocks in response, but it didn’t happen again, so it’s hard to know if it was paranormal or not.
(Next team goes in—Kris and Amy)
Kris: Now, the owner claims to hear scraping and banging noises.
Amy: Could it just be age? I mean, this is an old car...they do make noises after awhile.
Kris: Could be. What the f**k was that? Holy s**t, that scared me!
Amy: It’s a weird banging noise...did you hear some kind of chattering?
Kris: Maybe there’s a squirrel stuck in the muffler?
Amy: I would think someone would have noticed that.
(Kris, speaking into recorder): Kris and Amy, in the car. Is there anyone here who would like to speak to us?
Amy: You don’t need to be afraid of us. Can you tell us your name?
Kris: Stop being a coward, motherf**ker—if you're here, prove it. I don't really believe you're here. You have to prove it to me.
(Silence. Not even the scraping noise).
Kris: We didn’t really hear anything else during the EVP session. Hopefully we’ll hear something in evidence review.
(Next team: Steve and Dave)
Steve: Now Tango, according to the owner, there are knocks and bangs and even a whisper...
Steve: It’s an old car—now, old cars do make noises...
Dave: Yeah, parts get rusty, even if they’re not broken
(They drive the car around the block)
Steve: Did you hear that?
Dave: Yeah, it’s like a scraping noise.
Steve: Let’s test the steering (turns the wheel). Nope, that doesn’t make a noise. I’ll hit the brakes hard next. (hits the brakes). Nope, not that either, though the brakes are a little squeaky. Do you think maybe she mistook the squeaky brakes for scraping?
Dave: It sounds like the scraping is coming from the middle of the car—right under us.
Steve: I have a theory—let me just check this thing on the dash...OH SH**T!!!!! (Stops the car, throws it in park, jumps out)
Dave: Wha..wha..what? What happened? What’s the matter?
Steve: There are f**king SPIDERS in this car!
(Dave looks) Oh yeah, there are—but they’re really tiny...
Steve: Who cares? They’re spiders! I think we’ve investigated enough, don’t you?
(Jason comes over the walkie talkie): Hey guys, it’s late, I think we’ve got enough evidence to go over. Let’s wrap it up.
Jason: We did experience the phenomena mentioned by the owner, but it’s hard to say if it’s paranormal. We’ll have to see if we caught anything in evidence review.
After evidence review...The Reveal
Jason: Hi, Brigid, how are you?
Me: Hi, guys. I’m doing well, thanks.
Grant: Anything else happen since we’ve been here?
Me: Well, the noise still goes on...
Jason: Well, you know what we did, we took your claims of activity—the banging, the scraping, the voices—and tried to use our equipment to try to capture some of the activity and try to find explanations for some of your claims.
(I nod vigorously, as all good reveal-ees are supposed to do)
Grant: Jason and I took your car out, and we experienced the phenomena right away. We tried looking under the car to see if anything was obviously scraping, but we couldn’t find anything.
Me: Yeah, I’ve gone through that as well.
Jason: Our other team members also experienced the same thing. We even caught it on our recorders. Listen to it and see if this is the same sound you’ve been hearing.
(Jason plays the tape with the scraping noise)
Me: Yep, that’s definitely it.
Jason: The problem is, it’s such an old car, it’s hard to know if it’s paranormal or not. We’re not saying it isn’t, just that we don’t have enough evidence.
Grant: If you do hear voices, you just have to remember—it's your car, dang it. Tell whatever it is very firmly that it's your car, and you make the rules. It can't go around scaring people.
Jason: If you need anything from us, we’re just a phone call away.
Me: Hey, thanks, I appreciate your time.
Me: Jason and Grant just finished the reveal. Basically, they've told me what I already know. So, I guess I either tell off my car or get a new one when I have some money. I think telling it off is cheaper.
(Jason and Grant now driving home):
Grant: Well, I think that went pretty well. I think she understood that we don't have enough evidence to label it paranormal.
Jason: To be honest, it's a really old car. It probably just makes noises. I don't think there's anything paranormal about. Well, good job brother—on to the next...
(They do a fist-bump and drive off into the sunset)