On the Midnight Shift

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I experienced quite a few unexplained  events on the  midnight shift during my thirteen  years  as a  New York City  police officer.

One night about eight years ago, Central sent my partner and  me on a  call for an  apparent break-in. The house  where the alarm had sounded was an old, Three-story A  frame. It had  a window up in the  third- floor attic that faced  the street.

My partner and I exited the patrol car and  searched the outside of the property for evidence of a break-in. We didn’t  notice anything unusual in the yard or  outside  of the house, so we  proceeded to  the  front door.  I knocked on the door,  and stepped away to check the  windows. In the third-floor attic window I saw  the blinds get pushed to the side, and I could barely make out  the face of someone looking down at us. I said to my partners,  “It’s going to  be a minute; they’re  up on the third floor.”

Before I finished  saying that,  the front  door began to  open. An old woman asked  us to me  in. We proceeded  into the home.  She had three dogs that barked incessantly.  After  a brief conversation, she stated she was  living  alone.

Since I had  seen someone up on the  third floor,  it meant  that she  really was not alone. We didn’t  want to alarm the  woman, so we told her  we wanted  to check out the  house,  just to be sure. After checking the first floor, we told her  we wanted to  check upstairs.

As we walked  toward  the stairs  to the  second floor I asked her, “Have you ever had a  problem with  the alarm before?” She told me that the  only other time it  kept going off for no  apparent reason  was on the night  of her husband’s birthday.

We continued up the stairs, not thinking  anything of her response. She then said that it was odd, because  tonight  was the one-year anniversary of his death! My partner and I shot each other a look and thought something strange was  going on.

We searched  second floor and didn’t find anything. The windows were locked  tight, just like  on the first floor, and there was no apparent sign of  a break-in to trigger the  alarm.  There was just one other floor to check. From what I had  seen earlier, I know there was  someone upstairs.

I asked her  how to get into the  attic, She pointed at a  door and said, “Behind that door there’s  flight of stairs,”

I looked  at my  partner; he said he was  not going  up  there! I wasn’t  too happy, but since I definitely saw someone I  wasn’t  going  to leave.

I proceeded  up the stairs, found the switch, and turned  on the light. It was  apparent no one had been up  there for a  long time. It was  a big, dark, empty attic.  I went  to the window that faced the street. It was locked, as was the window that faced the back.

After searching the attic, I told her the alarm must have  malfunctioned because  no one was  in her home. We told  her to call us if it  ever happened again. We didn’t  want to  tell her  what if  really was; her late husband paying her a  visit!

Ed Thorgersen

Holtsville, New York

June 2001

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