When Things Go Missing

Are you one of those people who is constantly losing things? Car keys, cell phone, sunglasses? You search and search only to find the missing item right where you left it or somewhere you are quite certain you could not have left it. I’m one of those people and aside from the time I walked around the house for twenty minutes searching for my sunglasses only to find them perched on top of my head, when things go missing in my house, there is something or someone else to blame.

It all began about ten years ago when we were living in a townhouse in Manassas. A single pearl earring went missing from my nightstand. As these were a gift from my husband, I was quite upset and relentless in my search. Finally, my husband convinced me to order a replacement. A few days later while vacuuming the master bedroom, the electricity cut out, not to the whole house you mind you, just the vacuum. I unplugged and plugged back in. I switched on and off, on and off. I turned on the lamp plugged in the same outlet to see if it was a house wiring problem. After a few minutes of contemplation I decided to check all the vacuum connections to see if a loose fit was causing the disruption. I wiggled the cord, spun the roller, and then I pulled the hose out of the back. There sitting on the precipice just above the lint bag was my pearl earring. Odd? I’d say so. While I sat there on the floor marveling at my luck, I was a bit startled when the vacuum cleaner suddenly regained power and roared to life.

A few months later, with the case of the missing and recovered earring just a fun little party story, a second earring went missing. I repeated the search to no avail. A few days later, the earring appeared in the middle of the master bedroom floor. When it disappeared a third time, I started to get suspicious. Was this a joke? Is someone trying to drive me mad? Or was there something supernatural about all of this? We did in fact live in a house built on a civil war battlefield. I stood in the middle of the bedroom and spoke out loud to the would be thief, “Um, excuse me, if you don’t mind I’d like to have my earring back.” While I felt a bit silly at the time, the earring was returned the very next day to the same spot as previous recoveries.

This activity went on the entire time we lived in the townhouse. An earring would go missing only to be returned a few days later to the bedroom floor. When we moved away, I thought it would come to an end and truthfully, I was a bit sad. It had become a strange but playful routine between me and my thief. However, my disappointment was not to last long. Apparently whatever or whoever was responsible for the missing earrings came with us when we moved. But in this new house, the thief kicked it up a notch.

All things shiny and small became fair game. While it or he or she as the case may be, still had a preference for my pearl earrings, other items of jewelry soon began to disappear and reappear a few days later in the middle of the master bedroom floor.  I can’t honestly say that I was upset about all of this strange activity. I mean it was kind of cool. I seemed to have my very own little poltergeist who was essentially harmless. After all, he did return everything he stole.

Then one day I was talking with my mother on the phone and going about the business of putting away laundry, loading the dishwasher, and cleaning up as we spoke. I walked into the bedroom, and there in the middle of the floor, a shiny nickel. Interesting, I thought. He’s moved on to loose change. I snatched it up and walked to the kitchen to drop it in the change jar. I returned to the bedroom and there in the middle of the floor in the exact same spot, a shiny nickel. “Mom, I’ve got to call you back.”

Yes, I was a tiny bit freaked out. I’d never had a back to back event like this. Where did this coin come from not once, but twice? The, imagine how I felt when it started to return items of jewelry that didn’t belong to me. An earring, a pendant, another earring, and I am certainly not ruling out the wedding band my husband found in the woods as another item stolen and returned. But stolen from whom and why are they being returned here? Has my house become some sort of portal for missing things? Or worse, are these things gifts?

There has been a lull in activity for a few months now with only a couple of items disappearing and reappearing. He has found a new return spot in my studio where I now spend much of my time writing and working on projects. Last night I removed the SD card from Nikon D50 and transferred the photos to my laptop. I then placed the card on top of my camera as I was too lazy to open the little plastic door to put it back in. I know, don’t say it! So this morning I go to take a picture for a book I am reviewing, no SD card. Gone. I searched everywhere. Even checked in the vase the dog was growling at last night. I searched until I was frustrated and then stood in the middle of the room and shouted, “Seriously?” I then went to get a replacement card from my camera bag. On my return to the studio, there was the card in the middle of the floor in the exact same spot where a missing quilt block was returned to me several weeks before.

Recently, some light has been shed on the identity of my thief and things have gotten a little strange around here, but that is a story for another time. This is a story about when things go missing. When that happens, I simply ask for them back. Eventually they are returned. Odd I know, but it works for me. Maybe the next time you can’t find your car keys, cell phone, or sunglasses, you should give it a try. Right now I have to get ready for work. By the way, I’m missing an earring. Have you seen it?


About Susan Warren Utley

Susan Warren Utley is a wife and mother living and writing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her stories are inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of real life and by her muse, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier who occasionally answers to the name of Lucy. View all posts by Susan Warren Utley

8 responses to “When Things Go Missing

  • Thomas Hasslen

    I’ve lost plenty of weird things too. One thing that was strange to lose inside an apartment was a bookmark, the bookmark was just a plastic Garfield thing with a red tassel. On a Sunday I put the bookmark into a book I was reading, locked the door and went for a walk. When I came back the plastic part of the bookmark was gone. A little while later (it might have been because the couch was an old seventies colored couch) I found the tassel, it was cut up into little peices in a neat pile sitting on a corner of the couch cushion. I got scared of the book and put back on the bookshelf. (It was a hard cover copy of what happened at the real Amityville house.) I’m not sure if that had anything to do with my experience. I never saw the bookmark again. Nothing else was taken from my apartment.

  • Hayley

    Good article About 3 months ago my earring went missing from my nite table. I thought maybe it had fallen on the floor and accidently got vacuumed up but it was not in the vacuum. My I pod went missing 2.5mts Ago, I had a party and thought maybe someone may have lifted it. I felt bad thinking that but I had no clue where else it could of gone since it was last seen the night of the party. Then yesterday my daughter put her retainer on the kitchen island and i had seen it then that evening she asked for it and it was GONE!! I’m frustrated beyond belief. Tonight I was having a bath and thought I would buff up my heals and would you believe my friggen foot buffer was GONE!! Yah I have no clue what is going on but now Iam getting a little freaked out!!

  • megacow97

    hey realy enjoyed thus piece it has also made me hope that my brand new i pod touch will return 2 days ago we had to go to this guys house and i was talking to my friend on the ipod before i went till it ran out of battery mindlessly i put it down on the table and whent off to this guys house with my parents (im only 13)when we got back it was not there so now im trying to talk to the spirit and asking for it bad but im unsure whether it will work… thanks again 🙂

  • Doreen

    I love reading this , at least what I am experiencing right now happens n I m not the only one. I kind of freak out when things go missing at home till I had to ask a pastor to bless the house, however when things just missing n it reappears again, I get kind of questioning my state of mind n it keeps happening

  • Jamie

    Who is it, who is it??!! Remember that time when we thought someone was in the house and you went all “Martin Riggs” and searched the place w/ ur “glock”!!! Bad ass chic!! I can’t remember if we ever found out what it had been!!

  • Tamara

    LOL, I’ve had similar experiences everywhere I’ve lived, but moving into a hundred plus year old house seems to have bumped it up a little. A good friend of mine who lives just a block or so away has a collection of buttons that randomly appear. They don’t belong to any clothing the family owns, so she just smiles and puts the latest addition with the rest of the collection.

    I’ve also found that sometimes the missing item is “swapped” for something else. For example something I really need is returned and a thing that is not so crucial goes walkies for a bit. At least it keeps things interesting. 🙂

    P.S. If a key to a file cabinet turns up, I have an idea whose it might be. 🙂

  • lamishia

    so cool as ususal. i wanna hear about the details of whom it might be.

  • fahrusha

    I really enjoyed reading this piece because I was just thinking this morning of an area in my apartment around a bureau where small articles have disappeared and reappeared for the last eighteen years. The bureau was crafted by the now-deceased father of a high school friend of mine, though I don’t feel that he is the cause of the phenomena. Right now an amethyst ring is missing. I’m sure it will reappear sometime soon perhaps as an enchanted object. Borrowed by the pixies and returned enchanted, or not.

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