In Jim Cook's Archive


One night in early August around 11:00 PM, my wife and I awoke to a loud bang which sounded like a door being kicked in. Almost immediately our house alarm went off. We jumped out of bed and I quickly dialed 911. The dispatcher said a squad car was on the way. We stayed locked in our bedroom waiting for the police, the alarm blaring. Finally my wife punched in the code to silence the alarm. I stayed on the line with 911 until she told me the police were quietly walking around the house. I hung up and went down to the front door and let in three policemen. They were all handsome young guys. They didn’t see anything outside and a heavy dew on the grass would have shown footprints of an intruder. They went through the house and then left us alone puzzling about what had set off the alarm. The alarm company called, we gave them the code and went back to bed.

My wife emailed our neighbor lady the next day and told her we had summoned the police the night before. That evening her husband called and said they heard a bang the night before around 11:00 PM. He had gone to the door and opened it, but saw nothing. I concluded it was a sonic boom that must have really shook our house.

A few days later, my wife got up at 7:00 AM and discovered the TV was turned on in the guest bedroom. We hadn’t had any guests and neither of us had been in that bedroom for days. “How could that TV go on by itself?” she asked me. “You would have to go in the closet and get the remote and bring it out to click on the TV.” I had no good answer, but assumed some kind of explanation existed that I didn’t understand.

My wife brought it up again the next day. “Maybe it’s Dan,” I said half seriously. Dan was my wife’s son and my stepson who died of a blood disease on August 22nd, four years ago. It almost killed my wife who still suffers to this day. Dan was 44 and left a young daughter and wife. He was a kind and gentle man, much loved by our family. Since he passed, we never had any sign of his spiritual existence, except that one granddaughter swore she saw him on a small lake a few days after he died.

On August 21, my wife was making plans to go to the cemetery the next day. That evening I was in the lower level of our home and decided to go upstairs and let the dog out. When I got to the middle floor, all the outside lights on the house came on. The light outside the movie room on the lower level was on and it can only go on if the switch inside the door is turned on. The light on the small porch outside my library was on and nobody was close to that switch. Most puzzling was the light at the roofline which only goes on when the outside motion detector is triggered. But, that hasn’t worked for a year. On several occasions, I have waved my arms and jumped around to see if it would trigger the light, but it never did. So all these lights were on and my wife and I just stared at one another. Then they went off.

Two nights later, I walked outside the house to see if the motion light would work, and suddenly the light on the small porch outside my library was on. Then the porch light went off. The outside motion light did not go on. The next night the two of us were watching a TV series in our movie room. It ended at 9:00 PM and we both stood up. We were inside only a few feet from the outside light when it suddenly came on. A series of 7 tiny pinhole lights exist on the wall switch. They light up in series as the light goes on and cascade down as the light goes off. “Did you see the wall switch?” asked my wife after the light went off. “It went up and down.” We stood there for a while trying to comprehend what had happened. “I think it’s Dan,” I told her.

The next day, I called the electrician. He came out and could find nothing unusual. Everything was normal with the lights except that the lights came on again that night for a minute or so and then turned off. There is no worldly explanation for this. A few days elapsed without any lights coming on and I had some time to contemplate what had happened. We have never had a light come on by itself in the past. The lights came on at times when we couldn’t miss seeing them. It was almost like someone was saying hello or another time, goodnight. I began to believe it was Dan.

The first Friday night in September we went out to dinner with friends. The lights hadn’t been on for almost a week and I believed Dan had departed. To get home from our friends’ house after dinner we had to traverse a small tar road that goes by the back of our house along the edge of the golf course we live on. Our house is approximately three quarters of a football field from the road. Trees blocked our view until we came close. All the outside lights were on. Five minutes later when we got home, no lights were on and none have come on since. I believe it was Dan saying goodbye.

Frankly, I found this experience to be most reassuring. As I’ve aged, I’ve had many doubts and fears about what’s ahead. I believe after four years of his mother’s anguish, Dan paid us a visit. I like to think he was at school in a higher plane of existence and now when he is so much wiser he came to say hello. In his adult life, he hardly missed a day when he didn’t make a brief phone call to his mom to tell her he loved her. He was the kind of kid who would let his mother know he was okay as soon as he possibly could. I’ll always believe that he did just that and now I’m happy to believe that someday I’m going to be where he is now.

P.S. Within moments of completing this article, I stood up and called to my wife to go downstairs. When we got down to the movie room, all the outside lights had come on again. Dan hadn’t left us yet.

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