Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scary Station

Who says radio stations can’t throw a scare into you? Certainly not the people who work at them who can from time to time share a spooky tale. A station I worked at in Munising, Michigan also had some apartments on its four floors. It was an old house and complained with its constant creaking at night. It wasn’t until I learned a little history about the home that my imagination began to take hold of me.

At one time the building housed a funeral home. The cellar is where they prepared the bodies. Out of convenience it had steps going down to the cellar from the outside. Of course it had those big doors that opened up and out so you could wheel the dearly departed easily down into the basement. Never saw a ghost there, but I did see a murderer one time.

Maybe I should qualify that a bit. We used to also run a copying service out of the station and a frequent visitor was a guy we nicknamed “Rambo” because he always dressed in army fatigues with a camouflage headband. He had a way of unnerving people around him. One night he was at a local watering hole and leaned over and bragged to the guy on the next stool that he’d just killed his mother. Turned out he had.

When I worked in Minocqua I heard a story about a guy who was working by himself late one night at the radio station and heard a knock on the front door. As the story goes when he opened it no one was there, but there was a large tombstone leaning against the door. Never did find out if that was just a story to scare the new guy or if it actually happened there.

Unfortunately the station did have a tragic story connected to it while I worked there. A talk show host with the station died in a fire at his home one weekend. Never did find out the truth about that, but the story goes he was fond of cocaine and his fiery death may have been a result of that.

Here’s my favorite radio station ghost story. It comes from Pat Sullivan, a guy I worked with at WBEV in Beaver Dam. Pat’s been around the radio biz a while and was working at another station along his travels. He was warned that the station was haunted. He was asked to work the morning shift at that station one day and got there before anyone else.

Pat was getting ready for his air shift, gathering wire copy and other preparation work. He was totally engulfed with what he was doing. Before he went on the air he grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the studio. Later when he saw a co-worker he said something like “Boy I was busy and thanks for making the coffee!” The co-worker says,"Pat you were the only one here. Did anyone mention that the ghost is friendly and sometimes helpful?”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wrong Robert

Let me introduce you to Wrong Robert. Occasionally he makes an appearance in my household. He's ill-mannered and short-tempered. He doesn't have consideration for the other person and punctuates his verbal utterances in a loud voice. He's the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyl. Fortunately he doesn't appear that often.

He emerged from hiding the other day when I returned home from work to two voicemails, both from the same collection agency. I ignored the first two calls last week. I'll explain later. This time I called the toll-free number back to see what was shaking. Imagine my surprise when they said they were looking for Robert Nelson. Then they said it was for a medical bill. Well I was curious since they said it was for a bill from March of 2008. Well I did have hip surgery last year and was in the hospital and a rehab facility about that time, but I told them I had paid all my bills. Could I have overlooked one?

That's when they asked if **** were the last four numbers in my social security numbers. I said what since the person on the other end of the line clearly lacked the ability to pronunciate. She said are your numbers ****? I said no and if they called again they'd be talking to a lawyer. She said since my numbers weren't **** they wouldn't be calling again. Thank God my numbers aren't ****.

You have to understand that Wrong Robert was created when one of AT & T's former baby bells assigned me the same phone number that another couple in Fond du Lac used to have. She, God Bless Her Soul, did sewing piece work and must have been pretty good at it. He however left a string of unpaid bills in his wake. I got calls for more than two years for the couple.

One of those calls was from a collection agency working for Wells Fargo. They called and asked for Robert, my luck the guy had the same first number. When they said I owed them over $800, I said that wasn't possible I have never had an account with Wells Fargo. They said are you Robert ****? I said no, Wrong Robert. After that whenever someone called and asked for Robert, I'd say which Robert are you looking for?

Incidentally someone called the other day wondering if my wife still did piece work. Wrong Robert.