Ghostly voice just wants its momma

By Tammy Keith Originally Published July 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 5, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
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I guess the empty house — or this job — has finally gotten to me. I’m hearing voices.

I walked into the empty house after a long day at work, and I heard somebody saying something. It sounded a little like my younger son, Scott, yet like a recording.

I checked every room, and nobody was there.

It didn’t help that I’d been talking about haunted houses with a woman I’d just interviewed.

I thought maybe Scott was playing a prank on me. (But, really it’s older son who’s the practical joker — rubber snakes and fake roaches used to be his specialty.)

Both of them live on their own now, though.

About 15 minutes later, as I was settling in on the couch to flip channels, I heard it again.

I couldn’t quite make out the words, but I swore it said, “Momma.”

It sounded like it was coming from the air conditioner.

Of course, I immediately blamed my husband. I figured he finally — after years of having a programmable thermostat — finally had set it so I couldn’t forget to turn it up during the day.

My first reaction on anything like this is to randomly start pushing buttons. It annoys the heck out of my family.

For a brief second, I thought about trying to find the book on the thermostat, but that would have meant I had to read and understand it, so I dismissed that idea almost immediately.

I just started pushing the screen — not actually buttons with new technology — and I set the air conditioner at 82 degrees. I knew that wasn’t going to work, so I tried a few more combinations.

I’m pretty sure I launched a missile somewhere.

Then, I heard it again: “Alarm — unit is shut down.”

Apparently, “alarm” in computer talk sounds like “momma” to me.

Great. I was immediately mad at my husband. He was six hours away in Mississippi, and I was going to sweat to death alone.

I went to bed and turned up the air purifier in our bedroom loud enough that I couldn’t hear the robotic voice.

After a few minutes, there it went again.

I got out of bed and called my husband.

The first thing I did was ask, in an accusatory tone, if he’d messed with the thermostat.

He swore he hadn’t.

I told him what I was hearing, and he said it wasn’t the thermostat; it was our security-alarm system.

“Remember, it did this once before about 10 years ago. It started talking to you one night, and I had to come home from work and turn it off,” he said.

He was working at a newspaper then, on deadline, but he raced home and turned off the power to the thing.

“Well, OK, you need to do that again and come home and fix it,” I said, joking, of course.

He told me where under the furnace I could find the power source, but I declined.

So, he told me where to find the earplugs he wears when he mows the yard.

“I don’t know why it’s doing it again after 10 years,” he said.

Either because our house is haunted, or it needs a mother.

If it’s the latter, I guess I’m available.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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