Waitara homeowner Irene Russ has had countless sleepless nights in the last year convinced a ghost named Jack was haunting her but the answer was in the telephone.
Pensioner Irene Russ has spent the last year terrified of buzzing noises and eerie blue lights that woke her every day at exactly 3.13am.
Worried that spirits had taken residence in her Waitara house, Mrs Russ first consulted a Maori elder – who said a ghost called Jack was lurking around. Then she contacted a church minister, who told her a man had killed himself in the lounge.
“It all started in about July last year when I started to hear noises in my room coming from the telephone wires,” she said.
“It would get louder and louder and then the whole lounge would light up with a glow.”
Fearing the strange awakenings were something from the underworld, Mrs Russ mentioned her problem to women living in the flat in front, who promised they would help get to the bottom of it.
“A Maori man turned up and said the culprit was someone called Jack. Apparently Jack didn’t want to believe he was dead.”
Unconvinced, Mrs Russ made contact with a church minister who came to visit.
“He told me that a man had slit his throat and died in the lounge and his wife was standing in the doorway to my bedroom.
He said there was another man hanging around in my room, and he told me to put crosses in all the spots where the bodies were.”
By then Mrs Russ was very scared, to the extent she even changed her toilet habits in fear of being in the lounge when the buzzing noises sounded and the blue light glowed.
But this week she embarked on some ghostbusting detective work and solved the big mystery – her phone was dodgy.
She had bought the new telephone, complete with buttons that glow to help her dial in the evening, in May last year.
One night recently, she worked out the weird noises were coming from the phone.
Stage two of Operation Ghostbuster was to place a pillow slip over the phone.
“For the next two nights there were no lights, and when I took the pillow slip off the lights started the next night,” she said.
“When I heard the buzzing noise in the phone wires again I went to see what the lights were and that was when I discovered the phone was playing up.”
She now has another phone plugged in.
But when the Taranaki Daily News visited Mrs Russ yesterday afternoon, the dodgy phone – which had been glowing perfectly only minutes earlier – would not play ball, and the flashing lights were nowhere in sight.
It seems the ghost of Jack may have had the last laugh.
[JO MOIR- Taranaki Daily News]