A noise came from a dark corner in the basement of Bearcat Boogie Dance Studio in Maryville, Mo. A tinny sound, like muffled music from a cheap speaker.
Dance studio owners Dana and Dave Schmidt were in the building working on a garage sale when Dave heard the noise.
“My parents were working at their dance studio and my dad was down in the basement,” Keaton Schmidt said. “We’ve kept some of our old items – household items, some of our old toys – and he hears some soft music and he goes upstairs and talks to my mom. He thought it might be a car driving by.”
The music wasn’t from a passing car. When Dave went back downstairs, he found the noise came from a pile of boxes – boxes of Dana’s mother’s belongings.
“My mom had passed away and a lot of her stuff is in the basement of our dance studio,” Dana said. “I had tried to get my dad to come and get a bunch of stuff out for the garage sale, but he wasn’t ready to go through her stuff.”
Her father came to the studio that day to retrieve something from his late wife’s belongings. He brought his new wife with him.
“He got something and came upstairs with it and my dad just left,” Dana said. “He wasn’t downstairs but five minutes.”
When Dana’s father left, Dave discovered the source of the noise.
“He goes back downstairs and still hears it. In the far corner of the basement he can hear it in one of the boxes,” Keaton said. “What was making the noise was a little toy phone. My grandma gave it to me.”
Dave came upstairs smiling and holding the toy telephone that was still playing.
“He said, ‘it’s probably your mom because your dad was here with his new wife and she’s mad,’” Dana said. “My mom got that for Keaton for his first Christmas. It’s been down there for at least nine years.”
Dave and Dana tried to shut the telephone off by its on/off switch, but the phone wouldn’t stop playing music.
“We opened it with a little tiny screwdriver. The batteries were all corroded,” she said. “We couldn’t get the phone to shut off so we took the phone to Keaton.”
Keaton said the music played for another two hours.
“He has the phone and he thinks it’s neat,” Dana said. “I’ll ask off and on if it still rings. He said yes, not often, but it’s always in the middle of the night.”
One night the telephone started playing on a date that meant something to the Schmidt family.
“Pretty close to the anniversary of her death it woke me up one night playing music,” Keaton said. “It lasted about 10 minutes. It scared the crap out of me. But now it’s pretty nice to think Grandma was trying to tell me something.”
The telephone wasn’t the first or last message from Grandma. Before Grandma’s funeral, Dana’s daughter Bailey said she saw “Nana.”
“She came into my daughter’s bedroom,” Dana said. “Bailey said she’d come to the end of her bed and just stare at her.”
Thinking her daughter, upset by her grandmother’s death, was imagining things, Dana told her to stop talking about it.
“The third night it just made me mad. It was right after she died. We hadn’t buried her,” Dana said. “The fourth night she said, ‘Mom, Nana came into my room and stood at the end of my bed. I sat up in bed and said, Nana, you’re scaring me,’ and she disappeared and she hasn’t seen her since.”
But Dana knows her mother is still watching them.
“When my mom died from cancer she told me she’d send pennies from heaven and I’ve gone out to her grave and there will be pennies there. No one knows about this,” Dana said. “I’ve wiped out my windowsills and there’s been one penny in each sill. It’s always one penny, not two, not a quarter.”
The pennies appear everywhere.
“When my daughter is dancing, she’ll go on stage and get into her pose and there will be a penny on the stage,” Dana said. “I’ll take my pants out of the dryer and there’s a penny in the pocket.”
Although Dana didn’t save these pennies at first, she is now.
“We didn’t think much of it. It was just our imagination,” she said. “But the same thing happens to my brothers. They’ll find one penny on the computer. Or on their pillow. Just random places. Now we keep the pennies.”
However, no one in her family has been able to determine the significance of the dates on the coins.
“We always look at the date to see if they mean anything,” Dana said. “Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.”
But Dana’s sure they’re coming from her mother.
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.