The problem started when we moved into our new house. It’s probably important to note that we built this house. It sits at the edge of acres of woods. Nobody has lived or died here since at least 1850 when the native population was moved to Fox Island.
For scientific purposes, I should also note that I live on an island in the Puget Sound, or using the native name, the Salish Sea. The island is accessible only by boat or small plane. We have tectonic faults in the earth’s crust all through this area. The house itself sits at the edge of acres and acres of forest.
Our island has had at least two well-documented unusual phenomena. The Maury Island Incident that inspired the flying saucer frenzy and the term Men In Black occurred less than five miles from my house. https://www.mauryislandincident.com The Vashon Hum was so loud it would wake me up at two in the morning. https://www.seattlepi.com/local/sound/article/What-exactly-is-the-Vashon-Hum-891697.php
When our spoons started going missing, I was mildly annoyed about losing spoons. Was Hubby accidentally putting them in the trash while clearing the table? I watched for the spoons feeling slightly disoriented.
My irritation turned to curiosity when I was putting away silverware from the dishwasher. I had too many forks. I purchased the tableware in packages of six place settings per package, buying two sets. I should have twelve forks, twelve spoons and twelve knives. I had five spoons and fourteen forks. All of the forks were of the same pattern. I counted and recounted, even comparing the names on the back. They’re the same but they shouldn’t be here.
I continued to dismiss the problem as having a perfectly rational explanation. My fork collection grew to eighteen forks. Also, I now had fourteen knives and three spoons. Okay, I started to get a little spooked. Feeling disoriented, I made up a story about a vortex in the woods outside our fence. That is, I tell myself I made up the story. We’ve been pretending to laugh about the vortex for years. Thinking about the phenomenon is confusing to the point where I feel like I’m floating or dissociating.
Occasionally, things have gone missing, then reappeared right in the spot where they belonged. We tried to dismiss the disappearances through rational explanations. Had we loaned our daughter or the neighbor that tool, and they put it away in the right place when they returned it? This was a plausible and comforting thought until we fact-checked by asking our daughter if she’d just returned the post-hole digger. Nope. She hadn’t borrowed it. Checking in with the neighbor wasn’t any more comforting. No. He hadn’t used it for a couple years. I gave the post-hole digger the side-eye and felt anxiety creeping around me.
Once, when Hubby had a broken leg, I hired a worker to help him with some chores. I was puttering around when the worker came to me and asked where Hubby was. He had a question and couldn’t find him. I was slightly alarmed that perhaps Hubby had fallen and couldn’t get up. The two of us dropped everything and started searching. We searched for Hubby for fifteen minutes. Finally, I found him hobbling around the end of the house. I asked where he’d been. He had no idea that over fifteen minutes had passed since he left the garage. He insisted that he’d only been walking from the garage to the garden shed—a short trek that would leave him in full view of us, but would take him along the outer edge of the vortex. I shuddered. Surely, had he fallen, we would have found him. I worried about Hubby’s health for several years, but we haven’t had another incident of him disappearing—at least not for a full fifteen minutes.
I don’t know if the stories I write fit into this strange phenomenon or not. Being basically a scientist, I’d never written fiction until after we moved in here. First, I started to have daydreams about people and places. The daydreams grew so vivid I decided to write them down and see if I could make a coherent story out of the fantasies. I know that the people living in my head aren’t part of our reality, but I have no control over them or what they do. When I type The End at the end of their story, they seem happy, then continue on with their lives. I can mentally drop in on them at any time and find them going about their daily chores the same as any of my neighbors go about their daily chores. Using my imagination, I can’t make them do anything different from what they’re doing. Jake has returned to his own home at this time, and I can’t make him go back to Canada. He just laughs and assures me they’ll visit his in-laws next summer. (Note for those who know Jake: He’s teaching law at the university and training interns in the prosecutor’s office. He loves both jobs.)
Of course, eventually, I began to question my perceptions of reality. It’s all fun and games to talk about a vortex in the woods until things just don’t make sense. Everybody loses silverware, but extra matching pieces appearing out of nowhere just isn’t right. The proper thing for me to do at this point was to do a reality check. I started asking people for their opinions on what was happening with the silverware. Some people visited my woods and said they definitely felt an unusual energy there. They agree it’s a positive and healing force. Some people have insisted there must be a logical explanation, but they don’t know what it is. Other people have directed me to various folk stories, paranormal theories and spiritual beliefs. These folks make as much sense as those who dismiss the phenomenon as having an unknown logical explanation. I’ve gained some sense of peace in knowing that people have long talked about forces beyond our ability to measure. Still, I’m wary around the edges of the vortex.
Today has been a perfect example of my problem. Several weeks ago, I decided to set up the light I use for SAD in the winter. I went out to the sunroom to get it. I couldn’t find it in the cabinet where I thought I put it. I searched the whole house, garage, and sunroom. I couldn’t find it. Hubby searched the whole house, sunroom and garage. Our daughter joined the search. We’ve all searched the cupboards in the sunroom where the light is supposed to be stored. Yesterday, I searched again. I opened the low cupboard and got down on my hands and knees to look inside. It was mostly empty except for some vases and plastic cups. I looked at the plastic cups and thought I could use them to hold flowers at my farm stand. I neglected to close the doors tightly, thinking I’d have to get into the cupboard soon to get the cups.
Today, I had room in the dishwasher to wash those plastic cups, so I went out to the sunroom to get them. I swung open the cupboard door. There in plain view was the light we’d been searching for for weeks. I only found one of the plastic cups I’d gone out to get. I set the one cup aside to get to my light and bring it in. I set the light on the table where it belongs in the winter and went out to get the cups to wash. The cups were not in the cupboard. Even the cup I’d just handled was nowhere to be found. I’m delighted to have the very expensive light back, but where in the multiverse are the cups that were in that cupboard yesterday? The Vortex.