This event rekindled my belief in the paranormal. This is going to be long, so unless you're a believer/skeptic with an interest in the paranormal, you may want to just skim it, or pass it up.
I wear a lot of sweatpants. If you’ve ever warn them, (and aren’t 300+ lbs) you know you have to tie the draw string to keep them from falling off. Since I’m 130lbs, I struggle a little. Not only do I have to pull the string tight, I have to hold it tight while knotting it. If it’s not tight enough, my pants will fall off. (I like to wear clothes that are too big for me. I don't know why.) And as I’m sure some of you know, the knot can get pretty damn snug. And since these aren’t the twin-string variety, I can’t bow-knot it, either. One day I was struggling to untie the knot so I could pee, all the while desperately trying to avoid pissing myself. The knot had gotten really tight, and I was struggling with it while doing the potty-dance. After that near embarrassing scrape, I decided to design and 3D print a plastic clip that would do away with having to fiddle with a constricted knot.
Well, one night, I was undoing this clip on my way to the toilet. It’s pretty routine by this time, so I didn’t really pay much attention to the clip while I was doing my #2. After I was done, no more clip. Gone. I checked at my feet in front of the toilet, sometimes I leave it dangling on the string and it slides off and onto the floor. Nope, not there. Sometimes I take it off and set it on the edge of the sink. Nope, not this time. It wasn’t there. Sometimes I put it in my pocket. Both were empty. I even went to the kitchen to check the counters, because that’s where I started out when I was untying it on my way to the bathroom. Nadda.
Now, the skeptics would logically take a few educated stabs at what happened, and I don’t blame them, because I did too.
1. "Maybe it fell into the toilet and got flushed." That’s what I thought, but I wasn’t standing over the toilet. It was a #2, which means I was facing away from the toilet when the clip would have had the freedom to fall. If it fell, it would have been on the floor. And in the event that it did make it into the toilet by some improbable chance, I would have heard it. It wasn’t exactly soft or small. Try taking a large, plastic bead and dropping it into the toilet from about the height for your pelvis, at roughly in front of it. The toilet bowl isn’t deep. It would have hit the ceramic under the water, or even if it somehow scored a direct bullseye, it would have plunked at least a little. There’s just no way to silently fumble something hard, dense, and plastic into the toilet.
2. "Maybe you did set it on the edge of the sink and it fell in and went down the drain." Nope. I have one of those annoying drain plug things where you push and pull the plunger and it plugs the drain. The clip is far too large to fit with that drain setup. It would have stopped at the opening and just been sitting there.
3. "Maybe it fell off on the way to the bathroom." Possible, but not probable. I don’t have carpeting between the kitchen and the bathroom, and this clip is big, fairly solid, and plastic. Try dropping a nickle or plastic bottle cap on the linoleum in your house, from hip-height, and tell me if you could miss that.
4. "Maybe it fell off and broke, and you can’t find it because it’s in pieces." Not possible. Not from a fall from pelvic-height. My 3D printer prints things really strong. A botched print of the same clip showed me just how strong it is. It was a weaker print than the final, and it took two pliers and a lot of physical strength just to snap it in half. I could have dropped this clip from 4 times my height and it wouldn’t even be scratched.
5. "Maybe it fell off before you decided to untie it and it fell on the carpet." Also not possible. This thing was designed to be impossible for it to just fall off unless I was taking it off. And there’s no way it could have wound up on the carpet. I’ve been using it for almost a year, now. There’s no way for it to just fall off. And removing it requires me to hold it with one hand to work the string back out of it.
6. "Maybe you accidentally kicked it into a corner of the bathroom." I thought of that, too, and looked. I looked all over the floor from start point to bathroom. It was nowhere to be found.
7. "Maybe it slid under something." I also thought of that. But there’s nothing near enough for it to be knocked under the entire route to the bathroom.
8. "Maybe it slipped down your pant leg and got caught." This one I also thought of. Sweatpants are elastic at the bottoms of each leg, and maybe it got caught. Nope. Pant legs both checked out. I shook them both out and felt for anything rigid.
9. "Maybe it slid down a pant leg and into your sock." Hardly. My socks aren’t loose enough for that. And even if that were the case, I think I would have noticed a piece of plastic 1/8th an inch thick , 2 inches long, and 1 inch wide jammed in my sock.
10. "Maybe it came apart." It doesn’t come apart. It’s designed to be one, rigid part.
11. "Maybe you simply misplaced it." I thought of that, too. I looked high and low the entire route I took. I retraced my steps 5 times that night, and twice the next morning. It’s a fairly large, silver-grey piece of plastic with a distinct shape. There’s no way I’d simply over look it.
12. "Maybe it slid down your pants and to the floor and one of the cats got it." My cats aren’t subtle when they’re playing with something. Only one of the two would have started playing with it, the other being too mild most of the time, and the one who would have started playing with it would have been smacking it skittering across the floor only to inevitably end up sliding it under the bathroom door and straight to me.
13. "Maybe the spare is the original, and you just didn’t realize it." Also not the case. The spare is a prototype made of modeling plastic molded into shape with my own hands, not a machine of precision. It’s ugly, large, and above all, white. The final design was printed in shiny grey by a machine. The spare is lumpy and white, the finished clip was professional and roughly the color of a dime. Impossible to mix up, even with my eyes closed.
It would seem this plastic clip of mine just fell out of existence entirely. Or was swiped from this realm by someone or something curious...
14. "Maybe you just dreamed that you made it." This one’s a stretch even without the facts. I’ve been using the clip for nearly a year, I still have the busted halves of the failed print, and still have the prototype. It’s not something I could just imagine having.
15. "If it’s able to come loose, maybe it came loose and-" Nope. Used it for over a year, and even slept using it for my pajamas. It could come a little loose, but not enough to fall off. And it definitely didn’t make it to bed last night. It was gone before I left the bathroom. The clip worked by being quite constricted by the string. Friction and constriction held the clip in place, which helped keep my pants tight. It would have to be unlooped, which was impossible to happen by accident, by design, and even when some of the string slipped off, it never once fell of its own accord. My design, though inefficient and time consuming, was genius.
I know, I know…. That doesn't mean it's paranormal, but nothing interests a scientist (of sorts) more than something he can’t explain. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t explain what happened to my clip that night. I would have written it off as just an unexplained occurrence: Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention... But the way it made its way back to me is even more bizarre.
Only a day or two after it turned up missing, I woke up around 6AM-ish. One of my cats noticed I was awake, and hurried into the bathroom to beg for a drink. She likes to drink from the bathroom sink, so I thought nothing of it, and I ignored her because it was cold, my blankets were warm, and I was too tired to get up. I then hear her start acting strange. She started pawing at the mirror over the sink in the bathroom, something she never does. She was pawing at it the same way she does to the back window when there's a bug on the other side of it. Even stranger still, she was meowing in the process. Something she doesn't really do unless she's trying to get outside. But she was in the bathroom, and there are no windows in the bathroom. I continued to ignore her, but I kept listening. After a minute of this weird behavior, she accidentally knocks my hairbrush into the sink with her frantic pawing at the mirror (I know, I know... "You're making that up, how could you know it was the hairbrush if you were still in bed?" because when I got up in the morning, my brush was in the sink.)
The loud noise of the brush clattering in the sink startled her and she fled the bathroom. Only seconds later, I hear scratching on my bedroom carpet. I sit up in the faint morning light, and I see my cat, the one who was in the bathroom only seconds before, laying in the middle of the floor, lazily playing with none other than my plastic clip. I have no idea how it got on the floor in the middle of my room, especially since I would have seen it all three times I went to bed after losing it.
"Maybe you just put it next to your brush and couldn't see it, but she could when she knocked the brush into the sink. And she picked it up and brought it into your room." Unlikely. My brush is always at the back of the sink counter, and I always leave my clip on the front edge of the sink counter. And if she had found it, she wouldn't have picked it up and brought it into my room and started to play with it. She would have just started playing with it where it was. Only my other cat picks things up in her mouth and wanders off to play with them.
"Then maybe it was the other cat who got it and brought it in." Also not possible. The entire time the cat was in the bathroom freaking out at the mirror, other cat was on the far side of my bedroom trying to sleep. I could see her from where I was laying, and she didn't seem to have any interest in playing, investigating the racket in the bathroom, or even investigating what the first cat was playing with.
No, this doesn't mean I'm now going to start believing in paranormal Youtube video crap, the ouija board hoax crap, or waste my time and money seeking out proof the paranormal exists. I can believe in the paranormal and still be skeptical of the stories, 'caught on tape' videos, and other easily faked junk I come across. Though I still am fascinated by paranormal stuff, especially the ones which can't be explained so easily, I still play my part as a good skeptic by pointing out when it's obvious and easy to see how it's faked. My love for the paranormal means I'm more than willing to debunk the garbage so that we can get to the real mysteries.
Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to start a segment on here where I debunk popular paranormal videos... And I'm not talking about ultra grainy, 0.1 megapixel bigfoot encounters... those are too obvious. "Look! This photo I took using Gameboy Camera is totally not a guy in a bigfoot costume! Honest!"