I have a problem with hearing voices. No, I’m not crazy. I’m also not hallucinating. In both these instances, there has been a perfectly logical explanation for the events that have occurred. One has already been written about in this very blog. Today we will discuss an earlier incident.
It started long before the event occurred, when I purchased a pair of headphones from the local electronics store. This allowed me to listen to my music while I did my writing and not have to worry about hearing Dad blaring the news in the living room. I didn’t give it much thought at the time.
Several months later, I planned my annual trip to the Mammoth Lakes area and tossed the headphones into my backpack. They remained here, mostly forgotten, for the rest of the journey. I spent a summer hiking, exploring, and looking at volcanoes while giving little thought to what was in my bag.
At the end of the summer, as I prepared to go home, I invited a friend of mine to join me for the drive. We met up in Mammoth and started our trip, which turned out to be longer than either of us expected. It seemed that this was the summer that the State of California decided to put every road in northern California under construction. I think we passed through six construction zones in one day, meaning we crawled on our journey north.
As we approached the Mount Lassen area at the end of the hot afternoon, I had the windows open in the pickup truck to cool down. That’s when I thought I heard a voice in the back seat of the car. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I clearly heard a voice over the wind.
At first I didn’t say anything to my friend, but when it happened four times, I finally ventured to ask her if she heard the voice herself. She said that she didn’t. We forgot about it as we spent the next four hours trying to find a motel room. The first place, there was no one at the desk. At the second place, they had no rooms. My friend found the third place “creepy” and refused to stay there. We ended up in Red Bluff, where I collapsed, exhausted, onto my bed after a very long day.
As I lay down, I listened to my friend taking a shower. Suddenly I thought I heard that voice again over the sound of the running water. I sat up for a moment and looked around the room, but I couldn’t pinpoint where I’d heard the noise. I finally passed it off as being tired and went to sleep.
Two days later, as we headed north and finally reached the Oregon border, I had heard the sound several times. Each time it sounded different. Sometimes I thought I heard a woman, other times it was a man, and another time I thought I heard two voices. Naturally, I started to get a bit disturbed.
I finally asked my friend again if she had heard a voice at any point during the day. She not only swore she wasn’t hearing the voices, she started making me question my own sanity. (I don't think she did it on purpose, but we were both very tired at that point and getting short with each other.) I decided it was best to drop the subject for now and try to figure it out on my own later, perhaps when I had some more sleep.
I continued to hear the noises off and on until we met up with Mom and Dad in La Pine. At this point, my backpack was transferred to the bed of the truck. Interestingly enough, the voices stopped for the rest of the trip. I decided that I had just been tired on the first three, which were rather exhausting, and I completely dismissed the incidents as tinnitus.
The trip eventually ended and my friend went home. I unloaded the truck and unpacked my backpack, putting my headphones back on their usual spot on the speaker of my boom box. There they stayed for several months, being used off and on while I wrote and listened to music.
Late one night, after I went to bed and turned out the light, I heard it, and it was quite clear this time. There was a squawking sound and then a pilot said something to the control tower at the Portland airport. Slowly, I raised me head and looked around the darkened room. The sound continued off and on for several minutes.
I finally got out of bed to investigate. That’s when I found my headphones sitting on the speaker in their usual spot. The voices continued to broadcast from the left side of the headphones. I realized that this is what I had been hearing the whole time.
It made sense the more I thought about it. The periodic noises I heard on the trip all came from the back seat, where I kept my backpack with the headphones inside. When I put the backpack into the bed of the truck, the noises immediately stopped. Now suddenly here I was listening to air traffic control in the middle of my darkened bedroom.
I wasn’t crazy. There were no ghosts haunting my truck. The explanation had been right there in front of me the whole time. I immediately called my friend to tell her what was really going on. She seemed more relieved than I expected, but it had nothing to do with me. Apparently she had also heard an occasional sound but didn’t know what it was and, being the skeptic she was, started to question the condition of her own hearing.
So, all you ghost hunters and paranormal investigators out there, let this be a lesson for you. Be careful of your assumptions. Perhaps you are hearing something out of the ordinary, but you need to eliminate all other possibilities before you can confirm it. Your ghost may be nothing more than strangely wired headphones sitting in a backpack.