Piano Ghost?
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19-05-2012, 09:43 PM
Piano Ghost?
Not a piano playing member of this forum, but a piano in my mother-in-law's old house.

My wife was told by both of her sisters today that their mother's old piano that she left in her house that she just sold appears to have a paranormal pianist. The story goes like this, my mother-in-law sold her house a month or so ago and rather than moving a piano she owned, and did not have room for, she left it to the new owners. Apparently they sent her an email a few weeks ago asking if the piano was one of the types that could play itself, but it isn't. The new owner of the house claims that the piano plays a single note every 20 minutes. Needless to say I don't buy it. I'm sure the lady is hearing something every so often in the house, but my guess is that it is not quite so regular and that it most likely has an origin somewhere else (new house, new sounds) but since the piano is new to them, she has latched onto it as the source. This never occurred when my mother-in-law lived there, but my wife used the excuse of "people moving in and out created a disturbance" and of course, her and her sisters have always found the room it is in to be "creepy." Now, needless to say my attempts at dispelling the paranormal rumor go unheeded. The defenses against reason remain.

This of course also caused my wife to mention yet again that our property manager believes the house we all live in (he lives on site in the same house that has been converted in 4 apartments) is haunted. He claims to see a man in his hallway periodically, he claims something doesn't feel right about the attic, and he says he leaves his cabinets open and at night, he can hear them slam shut. The cabinets are easy, old drafty house means slamming cabinet doors. Something not feeling "right" in a dark attic is no surprise and means nothing. The claim of seeing an old man in his hallway is also almost certainly related to a confirmation bias coupled with drowsiness and/or some brain issue (the guy suffers from the occasional seizure). My property manager also believes crystals have healing powers, so I don't give him much credit on the skeptic scale (he is a super nice guy, just a bit set in his ways).

My objections to all of these that I have never felt any weird presence in any of these places is met with; "you just aren't sensitive to these things." I really wanted to tell my wife "You're right, I'm not sensitive to bullshit" but I held my tongue.

So, if you have any relatives who have interesting ghost stories, I would love to hear them.

Also, if you know of any similar occurrences and an explanation as to what is actually happening, that would be sweet.

An example is a story one of my undergraduate geology professors tells. His sister lived in a house a few years back that had a television with a mind of its own, or of course, a ghost. Everyday at the same time (I think he said around 3pm but it doesn't matter) the tv would turn on by itself. This is of course rather peculiar and unlike the piano specter, one could actually sit in the living room at this time of day and see it happen. All the good makings of a good ghost story, except my old professor is no fool. He noticed that the rods that hang from the window blinds were the clear crystal/glass ones with faceted sides. He realized this one day not because he saw them, but because he saw the visible light spectrum displayed across the wall from the sun shining through it. Visible light is not the only wavelength in that spectrum of course, it also includes...infrared. The same wavelength of light used by the remote control to communicate with the tv. Everyday at 3 pm, the sun would be in just the right position so as to shine through the rod and the infrared portion of the spectrum would sweep across the tv, completely invisible to the naked eye, and trigger the sensor to turn on. No ghost, ghoul, specter, magic, or paranormal activity of any kind, just a star, some glass, and an IR sensor.

That is one of my favorite stories he would tell.


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19-05-2012, 11:21 PM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2012 11:24 PM by kim.)
RE: Piano Ghost?
(19-05-2012 09:43 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Not a piano playing member of this forum, but a piano in my mother-in-law's old house.
The new owner of the house claims that the piano plays a single note every 20 minutes. Needless to say I don't buy it.

I don't buy it either. However, I can tell you a couple of things that can cause the strings of a piano to make sounds. If there is a mouse in there, you will hear all kinds of music! Sounds stupidly simple, but those little buggers can wreak havoc on musical instruments. Shy

But more likely, a piano string or two will vibrate due to ground tremors or building movement caused by cars going by. Yes, they have a cast iron frame but still, they are a stringed instrument like a harp. Each "note" is actually made up of 2 or 3 strings, and from the middle register down, those are also wrapped strings. So, technically, 6 pieces of wire will make the sound of one note. It's not uncommon for older pianos' strings to vibrate and yes, sound as if they are playing a note or two.

If it's a dry environment, it will need a humidifier, otherwise the wood itself can creak causing very loud note vibrations as well. Old uprights and spinets usually have a jar for water in the bottom for this purpose. Older grands often have a small suspended shelf for a pan of water, and newer ones have a metal brace from which to hang a bucket humidifier.

Then, there's the most likely reason; it's a ghost piano. Shocking

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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20-05-2012, 12:03 AM
RE: Piano Ghost?
What Kim said. My brother is a piano tech and he says this shit happens often with the changing of the seasons. Humidity and dryness cause the soundboard to expand and contract, changing the tunings of the strings.
Nothing to see here, folks.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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