Thriller Writer Tj O'Connor

Part IV: Paranormal Cont’d—The Great Ghost Hunt

Oct 4, 2023

For those of you just catching up, I am a believer in the possibility of weird things. That includes extraterrestrial visitation, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, and yes, paranormal activity. I draw the line at honest politicians, independent news people, and the government’s “we’re here to help”—I simply cannot suspend reality that far. 

In this fourth installment of my paranormal adventures—The Great Ghost Hunt—one of my eight grandkids—Railyn—demanded we do a ghost hunt last month at my home in Winchester, Virginia. Why, you might ask? Because all hell broke loose in my home and Railyn was witness to much of it. Sensing the presence of spirits or spousal mayhem (yes, I’m not convinced that my dear wifey wasn’t screwing with me), we conceived a diabolical plan guaranteed to identify the source of the skullduggery. 

Now, a little wind-up. 

In early September, odd things began happening in our kitchen. Other places, too, but that’ll be for another episode. Things like coming downstairs in the morning and finding all our kitchen cabinets open and our dogs refusing to leave the staircase in the early morning hours on a potty run until one of us escorted them out and back. But the weirdest one began with something—or someone—rearranging our wood knife block on the island counter.  

The expensive Wusthof cutlery set

As it happened, one morning I pried my eyes open just before 0600 to feed my dogs. They didn’t want to go into the kitchen, and instead, hid out in the adjoining living room. Why? Because witchery was about! The expensive Wusthof cutlery set that set me back nearly two-K had been defiled. Yes, defiled. All the large knives were removed from the wood block and scattered on the counter. Now, I know what you’re thinking—“Bulls—-, your evil, cunning wife did that to mess with your head.” I thought the same thing! So, being the keen investigator and intelligence-kinda-guy I am, I went to the videotape. Or in my case, my internal CCTV digital camera system.


I have an internal camera system in nearly every room of the first floor to monitor the animals when I’m out. And, of course, at the entrances outside for recording any crooks or vandals. We don’t get many, but who knows? Right? Anyway, the system is set to record motion or sound from dark until dawn. So, I would have evidence of the mischief. Right?


The cameras in the kitchen showed the opening footage of my wife closing up the house and getting the dogs in at about 9:45 p.m. The images clearly showed the knife block filled and in its ritual place on the island counter. Then, at 0445 the next morning, the cameras came on when wifey came down to go to work. The knife block was still in order. She let the dogs out and in and went to work—zoom, off in her vehicle. All of this was captured on digital recordings.

Then, mysteriously, the kitchen cameras turned off. Only the kitchen. They went dead. Dead. Dead. When I got up, I found the knives strewn about the island counter, and poof—no recordings. Wifey had left and all was well. The cameras turned off. Knives went out to play.

This occurred three times that week. Sometimes, the knife block would be empty and the knives lying about. Others, the expensive knives lying about and other, cheap plastic ware in their place in the block. WTF?

When Railyn heard of the events, she planned a ghost hunt. So, that Friday, she joined us for a sleepover to watch scary movies and catch a spectral prankster.

The mission was on:

  1. I downloaded an expensive ghost-hunting Spirit Box, recorder, and EMF meter onto my phone. What a deal! Only $79.99 for the kit!
  2. We set our internal CCTV cameras to record non-stop and in infrared.
  3. She took 10 pounds of Nanna’s best flour (you can’t ghost hunt with cheap, knockoff generic brands) and poured thick, heavy lines of it across every opening leading into the kitchen. The plan: if a demon, ghost, or wife crosses into the kitchen to screw with us, they’ll disturb the flour and leave tracks. Brilliant! (We saw that in a ghost movie once).
  4. We set up the knife block perfectly.
  5. We photographed the entire scene for evidence of before and after.

After a sweep of the house using my newly acquired ghost-hunting ensemble, we went to bed. Of course, Railyn opted to sleep in our room to watch TV instead of the living room couch close to the action. Her rationale was sound—she didn’t want to scare them off.  

Me either. 

In the morning, we sprang into our investigation!  

Alas, no disturbances in the flour. Well, other than Nanna being totally pissed at the mess, the amount of flour we used, and the cleanup. No footprints, claw marks, drag marks from chains or such, and absolutely no disturbance in the knife set. All was normal. 

Except one thing. There was no video either—the cameras turned off once again.  

This was our first ghost hunt together. But we’re in training so maybe next time. 

Lessons Learned:  

  • Flour gets into everything. . . everywhere . . . and it’s impossible to get out.
  • Flour is expensive.
  • Repairing a $1,000 vacuum cleaner from flour clogs is difficult and expensive.
  • Ghosts are smart—and they know electronics better than me.

It’s important to mention that the knife block hasn’t been tampered with since our investigation. The CCTV cameras have not failed once before or after. And, most importantly, the reserve flour supply is stocked and ready for another mission. My wife, well, I’m not so sure.  

Know this. There is evil amongst us. And for all I know, it’s the Pillsbury Dough guy and he’s up to something! 


I first fell in love with writing while in grade school and over the years continued to dabble with characters and stories whenever life allowed. Lately, I've focused my energy on pursuing this dream—interrupted only by life as a security consultant and the demands of two Labrador retrievers.

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