Now that December is well underway (when did that happen?) it's time for another News From the Weird!
But before we get to that, I just wanted to remind you of one thing:
In case you haven't had a chance to purchase your copy of my new short story "Keep Preserved," currently available through www.writeoutpublishing.com, you can STILL use my DISCOUNT CODE to receive the STORY for ONLY $0.99! All YOU have to do IS click the LINK below AND follow it through to the CHECKOUT page TO receive YOUR discount.
(Compelling enough for ya? Eh?)
here is THE link!
But enough schilling! On to the show!
[and P.S. If you know anyone else you think would enjoy a weekly News From the Weird, feel free to send them this link once you're finished reading! You'd be doing me (and them?) a huge favor!]
Note: Though the reports below are based on real life events, names have been changed to protect the afflicted.
Janet Wilstead never considered herself particularly feminine. As a child she had always preferred playing sports to dress-up, climbing trees to playing with dolls. She liked to get her hands dirty. Even after marrying David Wilstead, her high school sweetheart, and moving to the quaint little avenue of Highland Drive in the village of Worlingham, England, it was still she who cleaned the gutters while David prepared their supper. Still she changed the oil on the car. This was 1968, and though all of her new neighbors baked pies and wore aprons over their pink taffeta dresses, Janet preferred her overalls and a good pair of work gloves. The only thing feminine about her was her love of a good cosmopolitan.
That is, however, until one afternoon in 1981. Fresh from the garden, her knees stained with grass, Janet entered her home through the garage. Discarding her gloves, she closed the door with the push of a button. But even after removing her shoes and heading upstairs to the kitchen, she could still hear it. The hum of the door downstairs, as if it had never fully closed. So she walked back down to check—but no, there it was, sealed all the way to the floor. Yet the hum persisted.
David was sitting on the couch upstairs, absorbed in the news. Sandra Day O’Connor standing with her hand on a Bible. But when Janet asked him if he heard it, he reached over to the remote to put the television on mute.
“Do you hear that?”
“That. That hum.”
She went to bed that night with it ringing in her ears, hoping it was just a bit of tinnitus, that it would be gone in the morning. But it wasn’t gone in the morning, or the morning after that, or the one after that. And unbeknownst to Janet, she was not the only one in the village of Worlingham who was affected.
“It is really disturbing,” neighbor Betty Mallett was quoted as saying in the Eastern Daily Press. “It is there 24 hours a day and hits your eardrums all the time. It is more of a vibration.”
But this interview was published on September 15th, 1982. Nearly a full year after Janet first experienced the disembodied sound. In fact, when the reporter from the Eastern Daily Press finally made his way around to the Wilstead’s home to ask if either of them had noticed any strange noises over the last few months, Janet was astounded to learn that it was not, in fact, all in her head.
This was largely due to the fact that Mr. Wilstead had had quite enough of hearing about the hum. He had always considered himself a patient man, a loving man—the perfect image of the ‘modern husband.’ He didn’t mind allowing his wife to have her way every now and again. He himself had always had a penchant for cooking and cleaning and the like, perhaps the result of spending many of his formative years in the home of his maternal grandmother. And as such, he saw it as a boon when the girl he found for himself at such a young age seemed to have no interest in such things. Their skills complimented each other. A perfect give and take. As was the modern way.
But even he had his limits. And after months of hearing day in and day out, are you sure you don’t hear that? he’d decided that enough was enough. No, he couldn’t hear it, and no, it was not because he wasn’t listening, but simply because it did not exist. There was no hum. It was all in her head. No, he did not think she was making it up. No, that’s not what he meant. Simply that perhaps she was blowing it out of proportion, that was all. A bit of a ringing in the ears was not uncommon for a woman of her age, especially one who had never bothered to have children. He’d read it in a magazine once, he thought. Hormones.
He made her doctors’ appointments. He sent her to specialists. As the winter of 1981 had rolled in, Janet’s typically outdoorsy life naturally transitioned to hot chocolate on the couch, watching C-Span in the evenings with her husband.
It was then that things got worse.
In her newly more homebound life, it quickly became clear to Janet that the hum was not, in fact, constant. Walking back and forth from the post office, driving to the grocery store for a carton of milk, she heard nothing. It was only when she’d stepped over the threshold of her front door and closed it behind her that it once again permeated her mind. The hum, it seemed, could only be heard indoors. And the nights she spent in the dead of winter, cuddled into the crook of Dave’s arm, watching Sandra Day O’Connor bang her gavel in the high halls of Washington, DC—it was those times the hum was most pronounced. She wondered if Sandra heard it too.
But even then, even when she wailed with agony for Dave to make it stop, hands clamped to her ears, tears running down her cheeks, he just couldn’t find it in himself to believe her.
When finally the frost began to melt, and she was once again able to venture freely from the hell of her home, she found it becoming harder and harder to make herself go back. She started staying out later, not drinking and carousing as her husband began to worry, but walking through the streets of the village of Worlingham, taking in the peace of the evening air, free of the hum and her husband’s condescension. And though it worked for a while, she still eventually made her way back home at the end of every evening, forcing herself to lay curled beneath the covers, back to back with the man she’d married, trying her best not to hear.
It wasn’t until September of 1982, with the publishing of the article in the Eastern Daily Press, that she finally found a solution to her problem.
They met in secret at first, not in the basement of the church or the back room of the local diner, but outside under the clear blue sky. They sat in circles, whispering to each other, nodding understanding as they knit shawls to keep themselves warm in the crisp, autumn air. Janet was shy at first: She had never seen herself as particularly feminine, and as such, had never really bothered to make friends with her betaffetaed neighbors, the ones who doted on their husbands like a Good Woman should. But out here, under the rustling orange leaves, in the pavilion in the park, she heard them tell jokes, and she laughed. They passed around baskets of cookies, and she took one, then two. These were not Wives. These were friends. And for the first time, free of the hum like the rest, if only for that special moment, Janet felt herself welcome.
To this day, the exact cause of the hum is still unknown. Investigations were launched. The district council employed sensitive measuring instruments, trying to determine if the sound was electrical, or perhaps even natural. Or super natural. And though various explanations have been put forward—gas pipes, power lines, traffic noise, even wasps—no one has bee able to pinpoint exactly what is going on.
But for the women of Worlingham, the exact cause is no longer of concern. They still meet, twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday, in the same pavilion, in the same park, even in the dead of winter. They bring hand warmers, they pass around snacks, they nod in agreement. But they no longer whisper. Because even though at home, their pain falls on deaf ears, out there, huddled together under the trees, they are finally able to leave the hum behind. If only for a moment.
To read the original article, click here
Thank you for reading, and I can't wait to hear what you think of "Keep Preserved."
And don't forget to CLICK HERE to receive your e,-copy for only $0.99!
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