News and Tribune


August 20, 2013

BEAM: The people under the washing machine

— Not to scare anybody, but our washing machine may be possessed.

Of course, washers and dryers in general tend to attract a bit of paranormal activity. Where do you think that one missing sock actually goes if not to another dimension?

Ours though, at times, goes full-blown supernatural. Just last week, squeaks, clanks and boinks shook the mighty devil across the laundry room like a bronking bull in a rodeo. Each shift brought it closer to the door, a walking Frankenstein with dials. Then magically, the monster came to a halt without even a lasso or a lit torch and promptly spilled out the liquid from its guts all over the floor.

My daughter and I stood and stared. When I broke my gaze and she didn’t, I became worried.

“Do you see washing machine people?” I whispered, remembering what household appliances were harnessed by the spooks in Poltergeist. “Are they here?”

Sissy looked up strangely. “No, but daddy will be soon and he is not going to be happy.”

The kid had a point. For some reason, my husband never acknowledges the existence of this pesky laundry ghost. While Tim may resemble Fox Moulder, he just doesn’t believe. Only I bear witness to the spook’s terror.

Wait, the laundry spook, not my husband.

For instance, when all of Agent Beam’s white dress shirts turned a rather lovely shade of pink, he blamed me for washing them in hot water along with a brand new flaming red scarf.

Preposterous! Obviously the specter was trying to gives us clues as to how he passed from this living world and so he added the red scarf to symbolize his bloody death. That makes perfect sixth sense.

Or, say, when a pen gets left in a pocket — normally my husband’s pocket, mind you — and somehow it bursts during laundering and leaves giant blue stains on pants. Once again, it’s the ghoul.

You can’t write really well when you’re vapor, you know. Poor thing was trying to tell us something. Maybe his nickname or how he liked to watch reality shows, so if we could leave the telly on, that would be great. He’s an English spirit, by the way.

However, this time the old chap had really gone too far. After grabbing some towels and a crucifix, I entered the room. Tiny dots floated around in the spillage, small white orbs created not in this world. And then I opened the washing machine’s door.

Dang it. A pillow had been defiled, and its contents were strewn about the inside barrel. Some remnants may have even clogged up the hoses and machinery. That poor ghostly bloke must have been tired and wanted to sleep. It would have been an uncomfortable rest given the belt that somebody forgot to remove from some dirty pants.

Instead of cleaning it up, I decided to leave it as testament so my husband could have his ectoplasmic proof. Unfortunately, solid semi-scientific evidence doesn’t always lead him to the right conclusions.

“The washer broke. Again. Pillows can’t be washed at high speeds. The repair man has told you this before,” he said in his huffy-puffy way.

Rational arguments always win against nonbelievers, I have found.

“Maybe you need to do all the laundry.”

I wanted to add the ghost doesn’t like men, but thought that might be pushing my luck.

So now, after having to dry ourselves with newspapers for a week after the clean towels ran out, we own a new washing machine. Our specter has stayed away so far. But if he does return, we have the best ghostbusting tool around — a new warranty.

Can stuffed animals be washed in a machine, by the way?

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at

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