You know where you can’t find a cop in Oak Bluffs after dark? At the police station, that’s where.
I stopped by police headquarters this past Monday night to pay a courtesy call. I had organized an investigation with the Pilgrim Paranormal Research Group of a possibly haunted house. (The owner of the cottage on Ocean Park had sent me a key and a letter of permission to explore her home.) I thought it might be expeditious to drop by the police station to let the fellas know the midnight play of flashlights in this seasonally dark and empty house was not a burglars’ jamboree.
So I’m standing on the icy porch outside the locked doors of the station, with wonder dog Huxley prancing at my feet, himself eager to get inside this building that looked like a sure thing for biscuits, and there is no one in sight within the brightly lit foyer.
I knocked firmly but not in any sort of hysterical way. No one came. I knocked some more. To the right of the door is a black box with a 911 telephone embedded, but my visit hardly qualified as an emergency. (“Help! Men with little red lights on their heads are going to be ghost hunting tonight in an empty house!”)
Finally I sidled over to the office area, also extravagantly lit and, with my gloved hand, rat-a-tat-tatted on the window. A very young police officer (you know the look — you’re pretty sure he went to school with your child), opened a communicating door and stared through the empty office at the strange, bundled-up lady waving merrily at him through the window. He looked startled, shut the inner door, and that was it for our 4-second relationship. I waited a few minutes back at the main entramce for the guy to come find out what this person outside the station might have wanted. What if I’d come to report an accident? A murder such as the Vineyard killings that turn up regularly in Philip Craig and Cynthia Riggs mysteries? What if Godzilla had breast-stroked across the Sound and was now pulling himself up, sopping wet and mad as hell, on the town beach?
Well, you’ve got to respect a guy’s right to privacy, even if he’s on duty and pulling in a salary supported by taxpayers. And for all I knew he might have been a master sleuth working through the night to solve a big, nasty case. Not wanting to interfere with his higher priorities, I left to go burglarize that house — just kidding.
But you will be hearing more about this paranormal group, or you can visit their Web site, pilgrimparanormal.com.
We turned up some cool stuff that night — the guys are now going over their videocam recordings and electro-motive force readings.
While we poked around upstairs, all four of us heard various thumps and bumps. At one point we stood in a small bedroom examining a portrait of a dark-haired Victorian deb. The electro-motive force reading for the first time jumped from its base reading of 0.1 to 0.3. It was already blue lips time in the uninsulated house, but suddenly we went from refrigerator-cold to meat-locker-swirls-of-mist cold.
And then something kicked the inside of the closet door. Hard and loud. That was when I remembered it was past my bedtime.
So, what else can I tell you?
I’ll shine a spotlight on Oak Bluffs School eighth grader, Zion Morris, who danced recently for a Nickelodeon segment scheduled for March, date and time to be announced. His training under Kelly Peters came to good use, as he had the challenge of matching his style of dancing to the show’s music.
Major good news, too, for school kids: today, Friday, Dec. 21, classes will be dismissed at noon.
Another message from the Island Food Pantry: They’re running short of miscellaneous items, so please consider dropping extra cans and boxes of food in the lavender collection boxes at your local supermarket. Thank you, thank you in advance.
Gazette correspondent, author and O.B. citizen Tom Dresser just finished and shipped his final draft about a true-life crime, the murder at the Rice Playhouse in 1940, to be published by The History Press in the spring. Dig the title: Mystery on the Vineyard: Politics, Passion & Scandal in East Chop.