Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sleepy Time Ernie

About 10 years ago Santa brought a Sleepy Time Ernie to my oldest daughter, Sarah, on Christmas morning.

Basically you press his belly, he tells you that he is sleepy. You then lay him down, and he begins to sing himself to sleep, at which point he starts snoring. As he snores, his chest rises and falls. Quite cute really.

And then, if you sit him back up, he exclaims, "I feel GREAT!"

As all stuffed toys go, battery-operated or not, it eventually went unplayed with and ended up in a toy bin.

Well, a few years later, and this must now be about 10 years ago, I was awoken during the middle of the night. Coming from Sarah's bedroom was the happy tones of Ernie's voice, exclaiming, "I feel GREAT!.....I feel GREAT!......I feel GREAT!"

Now, Sarah at this point was a heavy sleeper. She never got up in the middle of the night. So I knew that it was not her playing with the doll. Also, if she was playing with the doll, she would be putting him to bed by making him sing his lullaby, and the make him sit up.

My imagination, being what it was, could envision Ernie, sitting up by itself, and then laying down, sitting up, then laying down. And there was no way in hell I was going to go into Sarah's room and witness this. I rationalized to myself that it was the batteries, yep, the batteries in the Ernie that were going dead, and it was malfunctioning.

"I feel GREAT!...I feel GREAT!"

Eventually it stopped. I told Holly about it the next morning, and she thought it was weird, but thought it was batteries as well.

I never changed the batteries.

Ernie woke me up once more a few months later, in the exact same way, and still I never changed the batteries.

And it never happened again, until a few weeks ago, 10 years later.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I just recently moved my office downstairs to the unfinished basement. Its one big room of storage, with my desk in the corner. Since the house is new, it's not a damp basement or anything like that. But it does have open studs, exposed insulation against the walls of the foundation, and a concrete floor.

So Holly and I were having a conversation while I sat at my desk. And all of a sudden, Ernie piped up again, muffled, and no doubt stuffed into some bag somewhere in one of the corners in the far side of the room.

"I feel GREAT!"

We both stopped our conversation and looked at each other, because we remembered Ernie and his rudeness from 10 years back. What really got me is that, if his batteries were so low 10 years ago, and they never got changed, why are they still working to the point where Ernie would still malfunction?

Strange, but hardly definite proof of paranormal activity. But it was enough to get the hairs on the back of my neck raised up.


Eric Haas said...

Batteries often have a “use by” date 8 to 10 years after they were manufactured, and will probably continue to have enough power to be useful for several years after that. I’m not surprised that the batteries in your Sleepy Time Ernie are still good. My guess is your surmise that low batteries were the source of the malfunction is incorrect, and the problem actually lies with the mechanism that determines when Ernie sits up.

Ed Mittelstedt said...

Excellent point Eric! Most likely the source of the malfunction is the sensor. But I basically spend 10 hours a day working in this basement, and only once heard Ernie at the time I was having that conversation with Holly. While I'm sure we can attribute coincidence to this event, it was still creepy. :)