Heartbeat.June 13, 2011
I’m not one to believe in ghosts, I’ll get freaked out by scary things from now and then, but I feel like this was the closest thing I’ve had to a supernatural encounter.
Through most of my years in school, I was a band kid. Played saxophone, and didn’t really love it or hate it. This story takes place in grade 11, my last year taking part in the school band, before I decided my lunchtimes were better spent eating lunch rather than hating life for an hour every day.
Back when my highschool opened, it was run by the Jesuit brothers, and therefore had a church built into it. Maybe 20 or so years ago, a new system was set in place for schools here, removing any authority religion had from the classroom. (Daily prayers, and standing for the national anthem? Oh yeah…) When this change took place, they converted the room for performance arts use. Theatre/choir/band practices took place there, but the actual building still contained crucifixes built into the architexture, and was isolated from the rest of the school.
On to the story at hand, 20-30 of us were in the band room, waiting for things to get started. Everyone chatting with their sections, the room was pretty loud. Suddenly, an old microwave oven in the corner started beeping, signifying someone was either cooking something, or left the timer on. None of the students had approached that corner, so we were a bit startled, but a few quick jokes shouted from the horn section, and we were back to talking.
At this point the band instructor arrives, so we all settle down, and get ready to play, annnnnd of course, the power goes out. I’m not sure why it went out, just a power flicker or something, but we’re left joking that “Oooh, it’s the ghost doing this to us!” and for a good 5 minutes we’re left sitting in the dark.
Up to this point, we’re still being foolish and hoping the power will stay out, so we can get the day off. However, I wouldn’t be posting in this thread if something terrifying didn’t happen.
Oh glorious day, the power returns! After a bit of jeering that we have to stay for the rest of the day, things quiet down again. When we all hear this odd sound.
“ThumTHUMP, thumTHUMP, thumTHUMP, thumTHUMP…”
Starting quietly, and growing louder a sound of a heavy heartbeat filled the room.
“ThumTHUMP, thumTHUMP, thumTHUMP…”
The instructor says “Not to worry, the bass guitar is probably just picking up the guitarist’s heartbeat and projecting it over the amp!” So the bass guitarist moves the guitar away from himself, looking slightly sheepish.
“…thumTHUMP, thumTHUMP, thumTHUMP”
The noise is still coming.
The bass guitarist unplugs his guitar, because that would surely stop the sound if it was from him. Nothing.
The noise continues, getting louder, and faster.
Ohdearlord, the bass amp is possessed. He jumps up, tries to turn down the volume, adjust the levels, do anything, but the sound persists. At this point a percussionist runs to the wall, pulls the plug out, and FINALLY, silence.
The room remained silent, because everyone was petrified, no one knew what was causing the sound. After about five minutes, they try plugging the amp back in, slowly increasing the volume…
And it worked perfectly. Everything was back to normal.
Phew! Deciding to not let the session go to waste, we rehearse our new song, fail terribly at it, but before we can get a second attempt at a full play through.
The beat came back, sounding like someone was beating on the inside of the amp, and suddenly, the most awful sound I’d ever heard from an amp came out. Just imagine extremely powerful feedback, while you were also touching a patch cord to a satellite dish. Through the loud screeching noise, you could hear radio interference, some radio host announcing some new contest.
This was then followed by a screech from the trumpets, as the instructor’s office door slammed shut extremely hard. You could feel the vibrations from the door hitting the frame from across the room. Running over, the instructor frantically tried to open the door, but it was jammed closed, completely stuck.
After that, we all left. Band was canceled for that day, and we were all appreciative.
Later that year, I went to talk to the instructor, and ask why they ran to the door, and tried to open it so urgently. She said that before the door slammed shut, she thought she saw a student run into the room, and thought they were going to vandalize her things. When they finally got the door open, of course, like any good creepy story, there was no one there.
Now, I’m not sure what would cause the noises in the amp. I’m guessing it was just feedback, or a very old amp dying or something… but I can remember that heartbeat as clear as day. Starting as a dull thump, and increasing in both clarity, volume, and frequency as it went on. I’m guessing someone just forgot they left the microwave timer on, and a strong burst of wind closed the door, but I’m just glad there was a mob of other people in the room with me. I would have wet myself if I was there alone.