Saturday, December 01, 2007


Is there an "uncanny valley" for sounds?

Because, there's a distinctly -odd-...something...that's only audible in the bedroom, these last couple of nights. At first I was convinced that someone was playing the TV or the radio, because it sounded just enough like the rising and falling patterns of speech, with appropriate pauses, but--maddeningly!--just low enough to not be able to make out what was being said, or even what language.

Then I tried to figure out where it might be coming from, since at four in the morning it was getting a bit old. So I tracked it to where I -thought- it was coming out of--sure enough, someone on the floor above playing what sounded like the news in a foreign language, loud enough to be heard through the front door. I knocked and asked her politely to turn it down. She apologized and did. I went back home. No change.

So then I figure it must be the pipes or the radiator, after all. It's wintertime, or nearly, old buildings make a lot of weird sounds as they creak into warmth.

Except...I can hear the pipes. It's -not- the same sounds. They're going right now. They don't sound like that. And, I never hear that particular sound in the rest of the apartment, or during the daytime, like now. Only in the bedroom. At night. In the dark.

i'm sure it's nothing really

And no, it is not a steady pound-pounding coming from somewhere beneath the floorboards.
I'm fine.

That yellow wallpaper's really got to go, though.


R. Mildred said...

I'd imagine having Heart living beneath your floorboards would be bothersome. Especially as she'd probably have her clear lesbian husband down there too.

Does the sound judgemental?

belledame222 said...

yeah, i'm gonna see if i can't at least get her deducted from the rent or something.

Invisible Woman said...

I'm sorry but that sounds really scary.

nadia said...

Check the sink and shower. I had similar voices in my bathroom in NYC and it turned out that the empty pipes were relaying voices from other apartments. I discovered this when I mentioned it to my mother who said that she often overheard conversations while in the kitchen.

James Stanhope said...

Just to second Nadia's point, empty pipes do relay voices and noises from other apartments. Also, as people grow older, they can develop auditory hallucinations which are harmless (that's just a medical fact).

belledame222 said...


kactus said...

ok this creeped me out. Shit belle, and it's right before my bedtime.

I run a fan at night and use a breathing machine for apnea. Sometimes the combination of the two will sound like faint singing, but it's soothing and puts me to sleep. There is nothing worse than a maddening unidentified sound to keep you awake.

Keep us updated, all right?

Drakyn said...

If it is something supernatural just try talking to sie. I had a spirit in my dorm room my senior year at high school and sie would open the door and windows or move things around when sie felt ignored. Earlier this year some elementals came and hung out in my room and made random tapping noises (from places like the closet and the desk--not from other rooms) after I chatted with them.
If it's really bothering you just ask them to leave or be quiet politely.

belledame222 said...

I'm pretty sure whatever it is is an acoustic something coming through the pipes. Whether it's just the water/creaky pipes or someone's apartment noises or the wind or some combination, dunno.

Lisa Harney said...

What's freaking me out is that I check your blog every day or so, and I hadn't seen a new post since your quote about the lily until today, when I see you've posted several times this week.

I hope you track down the source of those odd noises.

DaisyDeadhead said...

OMG! Belle, don't tell me you live in one of those Dakota-looking apartment buildings in New York? Because those old buildings are scary enough.

Have you um, checked the linen closets for like, um, extra passageways and stuff? I mean, just in case.


bint alshamsa said...

Aww, just become schizophrenic and you'll learn to get used to unexplained sounds. ;)

I've been having "someone" calling my name for years now. Frankly, I wish they said something interesting at least some of the time.

Karen said...

I used to have an aquarium, and the pump running at night on the floor below me sounded like an AM radio at very low volume, tuned to some sort of talk or news show. Don't know if the noise conduit was pipes or what. (I fixed it by physically moving the pump to an adjacent room.)

EthylBenzene said...

Dawkins, in the God Delusion, recounts a similar experience where when he was young he thought he heard demonic voices but it was really the wind. It might actually BE voices coming thru the pipes (VERY common in old buildings), or it might be a random sort of noise that your brain is telling you sounds like voices. Sort of the same as seeing faces of jeebus in tortillas or the man in the moon, except auditory. Nothing to worry about.