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The Mystery of the Orange Room

I am one of those unusual people whose childhood memory goes back farther than normal. I had my first memory at sixteen months old, and that has been backed up by my grandmother’s journal. When most people are three years old, they have little flashes of images and pictures of their life. Mine are clear as crystal, though they don’t always make sense.

Take my bedroom, for example. A lot of strange things happened there that I can’t explain to this day. I kept finding these little blue crystals on the floor. Mom said they were probably the gravel from a fish tank that she and Dad once kept in there, and I can only believe her because I have no other explanation for the phenomenon.

What I can’t explain quite as easily are the sounds that emanated from my closet. I would hear dripping sounds when it was dry outside, muffled conversations between people, and the hum of machinery. Once, when I was trying to take a nap, I was terrified by a loud honking sound that erupted from my closet. I spent the rest of my nap time hiding under my blankets and Mom refused to believe me when I told her why.

You might think that it was a television. The problem with this was that the television was on the exact opposite side of the house and nowhere near the bedroom or the closet. We lived on the end of a quiet cul-de-sac surrounded by residential neighborhoods, so there was no heavy equipment or other ambient noise that would come out of that closet. Also, the closet was against an interior wall, so it was not amplifying noises from outside, anyway. There was also no plumbing there to explain the dripping noise. I’m sure there is a perfectly logical explanation for this phenomenon, but so far I’m at a loss.

The one thing I can’t explain at all occurred one summer afternoon just after my third birthday. I had this rocking horse on springs that I liked to ride while singing little songs I wrote in my head, which is what I was doing that day. I was singing some chanting style song about the mailman, as I recall. While I was singing and chanting, I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth on the horse.

For some reason I stopped chanting and opened my eyes to a terrifying sight. The entire room had turned orange and was buzzing with a sound that resembled a leaf blower. The air was hot, as if the room were on fire. I was temporarily paralyzed with terror. What in the world was going on?!

I got it into my three-year-old head that if I did the exact same thing I’d been doing before, it would reverse whatever I was sure I had done to my room. I screwed my eyes shut and started chanting and rocking again, this time very quickly. This went on until I was certain I had stopped whatever had happened.

When I opened my eyes, everything had returned to normal. There was no more buzz, the room was its regular color, and the air in the bedroom was as cool as it had been when I first entered the room. I didn’t stick around to explain it any further. As soon as I saw that everything was back to normal, I jumped down from my rocking horse and ran out of the room.

I found Mom and Dad sitting in the family room on the opposite side of the house, where they were talking about the news, a topic I didn’t understand at that age. Very excitedly, I began to tell them what had happened in my bedroom, but either they didn’t believe me, they didn’t understand what I was saying, or both. As much as I wanted Dad to go investigate the bedroom, he wouldn’t go. They finally told me that I’d had a dream, even though I’d been wide awake and playing when the incident happened.

That was the end of the bedroom mystery, at least as far as my parents were concerned. It’s been decades since the incident and I still have no explanation for it. I’ve often wondered what sort of phenomena could’ve led to the things I saw that afternoon. What was that terrible sound I heard when no one in my neighborhood owned a leaf blower? Why was a cool room suddenly hot and then cool again? And what was the source of that fiery orange glow? I just don’t know, and I probably never will.

Is that the end of my strange toddler memories? Nope! Stay tuned next week as we explore another strange story from my three-year-old world.

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