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When Strange Things Happen

When Strange Things Happen | After the Heartbreak
When Strange Things Happen

Clocks stopping…and going backwards. Music starting up in the middle of the night and things inexplicably (and catastrophically) breaking. It started within hours of receiving the devastating news that my husband Norbert had been killed in a glider crash and over the subsequent couple of weeks it was so obvious that we weren’t exactly wondering if it was a coincidence, but rather…what would happen next!

This was not the imagination of a highly stressed, grieving widow. My (grown-up) kids, who had rushed to be with me at that awful time were witnesses to it all and even began to say out loud “Please stop breaking stuff! We know you are here!

I have to say upfront that I am not religious so these observations and ‘happenings’ are not coloured by a belief in spirits, angels or other beings from a different realm. I’m just your average Aussie woman who was leading a fairly ordinary life as one half of a retired couple. But then my husband was snatched away suddenly…and the strange things began almost immediately.

Read: The Day My Heart Broke

Clocks stop all the time…but two of them? On the day Norbert died? What about clocks that go backwards? I have had this kitchen clock for a decade and it has never done this before. After a couple of hours of going backwards it started going forwards again, and hasn’t done this since. Just a bit weird? 😨 😨 😨

Mechanical devices and plumbing also fail all the time and this is not strange. But what if it is one thing after another, some within hours of each other? The shower head just fell off onto the floor with a loud crash. The ever faithful pool pump broke without warning. Then the whole mains water connection broke catastrophically with water spewing into the street. This all happened within 36 hours.

“Many of us experience some kind of unusual phenomenon when we are grieving. Often we are embarrassed to talk about these unusual events. What if people around us think we are crazy? But we aren’t crazy. Ordinary people—and lots of us—experience most extraordinary occurrences when we are grieving.”

Mysterious happenings after a death

With my adult children staying with me at the time, the house was full so I had people sleeping in the guest rooms plus the study and the media room. One morning a few days after my husband died, my daughter came out of the study in the morning and commented that the printer making noises had woken her in the night. She asked “Does your printer do an automatic clean or something?” Not that I knew of so I went to check it….and found that it wasn’t plugged in.

That same morning my step-son commented that he had woken to hear music playing in the middle of the night.

It can often take years and a lot of courage for someone to open up to others about these experiences. When they do, it is often prefaced with, “I know you are going to think I’ve lost my mind but…

Psychology Today: The Healing Effects of After Death Communications
Me holding a printer plug

We didn’t mention these happenings to anyone at the time because I think we were all grappling with what had happened and everything seemed bizarre and surreal at the time. But then came a completely unforeseen and ‘out of the blue’ conversation…..

We had made a number of trips to the funeral director over a period of days. For anyone who has gone through something like this, it is an unfortunate side-effect that right at a time when you are in shock and grieving, there is such a lot to do.

Read: Where Grief and Admin Co-exist

Decisions had to be made…type of service….flowers….coffin….photos required…music selected etc etc. Money needs to be paid and forms signed. Jeff, the funeral director, patiently explained all the processes and kindly lead us through the labyrinth of horror that is part of our society’s way of saying goodbye to a loved one. (Ever had a door thrown open and hear the words “come in here and select a coffin.“) 😢

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, Jeff suddenly paused and said “By the way, have you been having any strange things happening at your house?” We were all sitting at a table including my two daughters and stepson, official forms and brochures spread out in front of us… and it was like time stopped just for a second. Huh?

Jeff quickly added “I just want to reassure you all that if anything has been happening, that it is completely normal.” Nobody had said anything so he went on to explain “I’m not religious but my work is with deceased people, and…sometimes I’ve noticed that it seems to take a little while for them to pass over, particularly when they go like Norbert did where it was so sudden.

I think it was my youngest daughter who was the first to speak, slowly admitting that…yes….we were all noticing unexplained happenings. Jeff smiled then, and said “Ah, I thought so.

Light globe

He gave the impression that it was such a normal thing, but it felt completely weird to be having this conversation! He mentioned that he often has to straighten up the pictures in the office and notices lights flickering and odd shadows moving past.

Nothing major” he reassured us, “except for one morning when I was here early. I had brought my son to help me move some shelving. We walked in the door and all of a sudden this man got up and actually walked through us! I admit that it did shake me up, but my son refused to step foot in this building for months!” 😄

But that’s the only time” Jeff explained, “Normally it’s just little things. I just thought I’d let you know that many of my clients report that they experience it too so you shouldn’t be unnerved by it. Norbert will eventually realise he is dead and will move on to where he needs to go.”

Well, that was the oddest conversation I think I’ve ever had! The Funeral Director was spot on though, as the weird happenings continued until the funeral where we witnessed the last of the physical events including a stack of chairs inexplicably ‘throwing themselves onto the floor.’ But then it all began to fade away.

Apart from one completely unexplainable happening.

Glass of wine against a night sky

It was Norbert’s birthday and I was with the wife of the pilot who had died with Norbert in that glider. We were outside and I had opened a bottle of wine while we discussed whether or not we believed in spirituality and ‘life after death’.

Between our shared tears, I raised my glass to the starry sky and said “Happy birthday Norbert“.

At that exact moment a blue light began to flicker inside the dark house. The TV had turned itself on.

“Because your deceased loved one is now pure energy, they have the ability to manipulate electricity in any form.  For instance, they might flicker the light, blow out some light bulbs, or mess with the radio, or the TV.  These are all indications of their presence. “

Is Your Deceased Loved One Trying to Communicate With You

It has taken me until now to write about all of this, because…well…it brings back memories of that nightmare-ish time, but also because I didn’t want anyone to think I was making it all up or suffering from delusions caused by shock.


Regarding the list above, for me it is butterflies. Norbert loved the Ulysses butterflies and we even planted special trees that are their food source and where they like to lay eggs. They are actually quite rare but I saw the first one the day after he died, and I have been seeing them ever since.

Their habit is to flutter very quickly and they are hard to photograph because of this, however I have had them hover near me, and then come to where I am sitting and alight close to me….for up to 30 minutes!

Has anyone else experienced anything similar to any of my experiences? Drop a comment below, to reassure me that I really am quite sane. 😉

Marlene is an Australian widow who has written about all the good, bad and ugly stuff that happened after her husband Norbert died tragically. Marlene responds to all comments.

  • Linda says:

    After my Dad died I found feathers on the road, the footpath, the lawn. Dad loved feathers and always had them in his gardening hat, if I am having a bad day you can bet I will find a beautiful feather and I know Dad is with me.

    • Marlene says:

      Thanks for sharing Linda….love the idea of finding feathers. So comforting 🙂

      • Sherri says:

        I was 30 when my Dad suddenly died. One night it was late, I was very sleepy and I was walking into the bathroom getting ready for bed when I heard my Dad call my name. His voice was so distinct. The sound was behind me and I turned around being so shocked by hearing his voice. I then changed and went to bed and as I lye there I heard him say “everything is alright”. People have told me I was probably dreaming, but I know I wasn’t. I’ve never heard him again.

        • Marlene says:

          Thanks for sharing your experience Sherri. I also feel quite sure that it was your Dad, who just wanted to reassure you. Isn’t it lovely that they arent quite as far away as we might have thought.
          cheers, Marlene

          • Jason says:

            The day my grandmother passed, my family and I gathered with my grandfather at their apartment. When we got there the phone rang, I went to pick it up and found the phone off the hook in my grandmothers office. For sure it was her communicating somehow. When my grandfather passed, the next day I was working on editing his obituary photo and on the phone with my aunt when I heard this strange music I’ve never heard coming from my wife and I’s bedroom. I walked toward the sound and when I got close to it, it stopped. I still have no clue where it came from. I felt it was my grandfather.

          • Marlene says:

            Hi Jason, thanks for sharing your story, and I’m sure it probably was your loved ones trying to reach out to you. I too have had the experience of unexplained music and other odd events. It’s nice to know they’re still around, isn’t it. 🙂
            Cheers, Marlene

        • Esther says:

          The first time it happened was the night after my mom died. My lamp was unplugged but it suddenly turned on in the middle of the night (it was just for a few seconds but enough to wake me up)

  • I have not had specific occurances where things are moved or music, etc. I have however, found hearts – heart shaped rocks, spots on the sidewalk and designed into specific items that always seem to show up when I subconsciously need my daddy the most!!!

    • Marlene says:

      Hey, that’s something I didn’t mention but I find hearts too! Isnt it wonderful when you come across them. It’s like your loved one is reaching out and letting you know you are still loved. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  • Shelly Dumas says:

    The day after my mom died of cancer, I got a call on the “land line” and the caller ID said that my mom was calling. She didn’t have a cell phone and her name was not on any phone account! I answered it and there was no sound, but I knew it was her.

    • Marlene says:

      Oh Shelly, this brought up goose bumps on my skin. How amazing….and of course it was her. I’ve noticed that others sometimes think these experiences must feel creepy, but they don’t, do they. They just feel comforting. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    • Sherri says:

      I was 30 when my Dad suddenly died. One night it was late, I was very sleepy and I was walking into the bathroom getting ready for bed when I heard my Dad call my name. His voice was so distinct. The sound was behind me and I turned around being so shocked by hearing his voice. I then changed and went to bed and as I lye there I heard him say “everything is alright”. People have told me I was probably dreaming, but I know I wasn’t. I’ve never heard him again.

  • Heather Waring says:

    We had a Monarch butterfly hovering around our window the morning after Becky’s death. As a Christian, I knew she was safe with God, so for us it was a sign of resurrection rather than her presence. I love this saying – “On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer.” ~Douglas Horton
    Instead of Easter Day, I would insert “At close encounters with death….” The next world is right at our fingertips – all the time – we’re just made more aware of it.

    • Marlene says:

      Thanks for your comment Heather. I agree that sometimes we don’t realise just how close we are to “the other side” and maybe if we did, we would not be so afraid of death. It’s just a step sideways…not a long journey, and our loved ones are never far away. 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    My husband had one of those “touch on, touch off” lamps next to his bed. It will only respond to the galvanic current in your fingers and not to anything else that accidentally hits it. A couple of days before he died, he tried to turn it on by touching it and he couldn’t make it work. He ruefully commented that his life energy must be leaving him because it was too weak to affect the lamp. The morning after he died I was trying to clean up and rearrange his room after the hospice worker had taken away the hospital bed. I brought back his club chair and replaced the standing floor lamp next to it with another one I had. I took out the light bulb and put a new energy saving bulb in and it worked fine. Then it quit. So I said out loud, “I guess you don’t like that one” and put the old bulb back. As I was doing that, the touch on lamp on the nightstand came on by itself. I wasn’t near it and hadn’t accidentally touched it. I think it was my husband’s way of showing me that he was present and that his energy had been restored.

    • Marlene says:

      Melissa, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am overwhelmed with the numbers of people who have had ‘strange’ things happen and I find comfort in that. Firstly it means I’m not going mad [grin] and secondly it gives credence to the thought that just maybe our loved ones are truly with us. Gee that makes me feel good. Thank you. ❤

  • Michael says:

    After a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, my father passed away at home with family at his side. During his last month of life, he was in the guest bedroom of his house and that is where he died. A couple days after his death, I assisted my mom in getting the guest room back in order, which included steam cleaning the carpeting. When my brother and I were putting together the bed, I noticed a round, brown stain in the corner of the room. I was surprised to see this because I never seen it earlier during my cleaning. After we got the bed together, I touched the stain and smelled it. I confirmed after two touches and whiffs that it smelled like coffee. I sprayed it with some Resolve cleaner and came back with a wet cloth to scrub it. I soon noticed the stain was completely gone. Sure, the Resolve probably worked, but usually stains take some elbow grease to clean. I know my dad loved coffee and thought it was message from him. I later confirmed with my mom that nobody drank coffee in that room. I am glad I found your article to confirm phenomena, like this, happen.

    • Marlene says:

      Hi Michael, and thanks for sharing your ‘strange’ experience following the death of your father. I’m not sure any of us are actually looking for answers…we just need confirmation that it isn’t in our heads and that others have had similar experiences. It really does sound like your father was reaching out to you which is just lovely. All the best.

    • Michele Everman says:

      After my husband passed several things happened at the house. Keep in mind, have lived in this house over 23 years. Had to call plumber 4 times to do clean out(I’m the only one here).
      Attic door hinges broke.
      Garage door went haywire
      Shed light bulbs all burnt out at the same time.
      Microwave occasionally will start beeping with scrolling message(this still happens). One night it started. I said “hey stop that,leave me alone” immediately it stopped and went to error message.
      I’ve wondered if he is testing me? Sometimes I would cry out of frustration and being overwhelmed. Other times I would just deal with it.
      It has and continues to be a hard but interesting journey.

      • Marlene says:

        Hi Michele, and thank you for your comment. It has been very reassuring for me to know that many others have experienced strange happenings as well, so thanks for sharing. I used to wonder why….but now I don’t. I think if I suddenly realised I was ‘on the other side’, I would try to communicate too. AND I’d try whatever works to get attention!
        The journey is hard, but it does get easier and I’m at the stage when I can look back and actually smile at those very strange times. Keep going. 🙂
        Cheers, Marlene

  • Esther says:

    The second time was 2 days after my father passed away but I won’t go into details because to write about it, would be a little long. What I want to say is that after my father died my life began to change for the better. I had been stuck in a rut before but after his death all kind of opportunities were presented to me. Do you think it was his doing??

  • Elnet Mangels says:

    hallo is can somwone please help me my Mother pass away but realy weird things are happening is it just me maby im going mad?

  • Marisa L. says:

    Hi Marlene,

    I absolutely believe in these types of happenings. And I believe that its a sign that our loved ones watch over us. I have a few stories… My grandfather passed away suddenly in 1997 from a massive heart attack at the young age of 64. It was the first major death in our family and we were all distraught, especially my mother. I was 13 years old at the time. A few days after we buried him and said our final goodbyes the strangest thing happened. It was in the evening and I remember my mom laying on her stomach in my brother’s room helping him with homework or something. The phone rang and I picked it up and saw that it said “Highlights Magazine”. Obviously a solicitor call but something told me to pick. The man on the other end said “Hi, this is Thomas Shannon from Highlights Magazine”. My grandfather’s name was Thomas Shannon.

    • Marlene says:

      Hi Marisa, thank you for sharing your story. It is sometimes difficult to share because others might say ‘that’s just a coincidence’, however even reading through all the comments here, that makes an awful lot of coincidences! 🙂 Cheers, Marlene

  • Vlad says:

    A few weeks after my wife died a lamp in our bedroom started going on by itself after it gets dark outside. I am sleeping on sofa in our living room since she passed away and a week or two after that noticed for the first time that the lamp was on. It is located next to bed we’re we used to sleep and she spent her last 24 hours. It is Philips so called ambient light and I thought that it might have light sensors or something like that but after researching realized that there are no light sensors inside.
    Another interesting thing is a black cat that is regularly coming in that room through a window and chills in exact spot where was my wife’s pillow. I know all cats that are buzzing around but this one haven’t seen before. It started coming to our garden and garage roof after my wife died. Cat became regular guest but runs away every time when I try to approach her and is fighting all other cats too. I am sure that would notice it if was around before.
    I am not religious or believe in supernatural events and always thought to be too realistic and looking for answers or explanations in science and knowledge. Anyway those events I find interesting and that is how I came to this webpage after googling ‘unusual electric events after someone’s death’. Yesterday (for the first time ever) shared this with a friend who confirmed a similar experience…

  • Jacqueline says:

    When my Mom died we were following the funeral car and I was riding with my friend. She had brought a box of rose petals to place on the grave. My brother was blaring Lightening Crashes by Love on his car stereo and I had my window open. The top of the box lifted up and the rose petals brushed my cheek as they flew out my window. When my sister died I had a bad headache. I didn’t suffer from headaches regularly. She hit her head on a curb when thrown from the vehicle. She came to me in a dream, smiled at me, gave me a big hug and said, I’m not dead Jackie, I’m in you. When my father passed away recently my car battery died, my front lock battery kept draining, and the car key fob battery drained. My son was speech delayed and walked in my room with message from Jim. He didn’t call Grandpa Jim. I said, What is the message? He sat at the end of my bed and spoke clearly. “He said he loves you.” I said, Did he say he loves you or me? He replied, “He said he loves you and me.” I asked is Jim Grandpa? He replied “no”. I took an old picture of my father and showed my son. Is this Jim? He replied with a smile, “Yes, that’s Jim with the brown hair.” I said, Honey, that’s Grandpa. He replied confused, “that’s Grandpa?” I called Dad’s widow and she asked him if he had a visitor. He said, “Yes. Grandpa” Logan, my son, and the only grandchild, was almost not yet 5yrs old.

    • Marlene says:

      Hi Jacqueline, and thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I used to think that I was the only ‘weird person’ who experienced strange happenings, but I’ve been amazed at how common it seems to be! I’m sure you know that all of your experiences have been a blessing….I had a tear in my eye when I read of the rose petals brushing your cheek….what a beautiful message to receive.
      Cheers, Marlene

  • Jacqueline says:

    I did forget to mention the dream I had before my Dad passed away. I told my Dad about it. In the dream my mother led me up stone spiraled stairs while smiling at me. She took me to a balcony where it looked like a cocktail party. It was very classy. I later read that sometimes the dreams like that are letting you know that they are having a party in honor of the new arrival. I had never dreamt of my mother before that. She looked so beautiful.

  • Sophie says:

    My grandmother just passed away over the weekend. She was very sick and was in hospice. But she was only in hospice for 2 days before she died. And we went to see her. And we stayed there for about two or three hours. And all that time she was still warm. She didn’t look pale and white. And I swear I saw her soul as a little black speck floating away from her bed. It felt like she had waited for us to be with her until she left. After a long time her face started sinking in and the smell of death filled the whole room. But she stayed warm the whole time. I also saw a cardinal outside of my kitchen window the day after she died. My family had all come over to have breakfast and celebrate her. And the same day an incredibly clear rainbow appeared over our house. It covered only our house. And I’ve been seeing lots of repeating numbers, although I normally have always seen them a lot. But so much more, even right now when I’m writing this I looked up at the time and it said 11:11. And just an hour earlier a water pipe completely burst in the bathroom she always used and flooded the whole thing. And her funeral is tomorrow too. I really would like to know why the pipes burst so suddenly. There were no logical signs that it was ever going to happen before.

    • Marlene says:

      Hello Sophie, thank you for your comment…which adds to so many here that tell a story that death is not the end. It is so lovely that your grandmother’s soul waited to say goodbye to you before leaving. Your experience of seeing a bird and a rainbow is also one that is shared by many. It is wonderful how the connections we make while here in our bodies, continue on. 🙂
      Cheers, Marlene

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