This is a True Story…

photo 1-1

It’s a sweet little table…

This is a true story, I kid you not. I know you’ll think I’m posting it because Halloween is coming up (but I’m not) because it’s weird and eerie and hard to believe—even for me—but it’s not particularly scary. Just hard to believe.

Here’s the backstory. About four years ago I bought a small end table at a garage sale up the street. It’s a sweet little table, as you can see from the photo. More importantly, it served a need: something to put next to the couch. I suppose I should first explain that our decorating scheme is one step further than shabby chic. I’d call it “comfortable and lived in.”

Anyway, I digress. One of the reasons I was drawn to this particular end table was that it has a drawer—well I assumed it had a drawer when I bought it. From the photo, I think you can plainly see why I thought that. But here’s the thing. I couldn’t open it at the yard sale. I bought it anyway, figuring I could pry it open when I got home.

But even when I got home, I couldn’t open it. I tried screwdrivers and metal paint spatulas, figuring it was painted shut, but no luck. I felt fairly certain there was a drawer (and not just a fake drawer front) because I could hear something rattling as I carried the table home and there’s that hole in the front—where a knob should fit. MEH (My Engineer Husband) tried, the dog even tried (okay, Abby didn’t really try, but you get the point). We even tried to pull the drawer open by tying two toothpicks together with dental floss, then pushing them inside the drawer pull opening and pulling on the floss. Wouldn’t budge. Finally, I kind of gave up, deciding it was either a false front or glued shut. Over the years we’ve used the table for a variety of things—picked it up and moved it wherever it’s been needed. Each time, I’d hear the rattle inside and each time I’d try to open to no avail. Instead I was always left wondering: what’s inside?

I’m guessing you can see where this is going. Today MEH and I were tidying up, and as I picked up the small end table to move it to a different spot, I heard the rattle, and I said to MEH (like I have every time I’ve heard it): “I still always wonder what’s inside this thing, don’t y—”

But I never had a chance to finish because just then the drawer slid open. Slid all the way open. Just like that. Smooth as can be. As the drawer opened, one small nail—with traces of wood and white paint—dropped out onto the carpet. MEH and I just stood and stared, first at the table then at each other. I set the table down and finally got a chance to see what was inside the drawer: a second small nail (also with traces of wood and white paint), a screw (assumedly to hold in the drawer pull), a tiny dried green flower, a hat pin, and those two toothpicks tied together with floss.

photo 2-1

I was disappointed at first.

I was disappointed. I’m not sure what I expected, but I did feel slightly let down. I mean, no old coin, no rusty key, not even a secret love note. Then MEH—the one who usually never says anything like this—asked if I could see any nail holes. Did the nails just get removed? Did someone or something sneak into our house and remove them? Is that why the drawer slid open? I doubt it.

But I guess we’ll never know the real answer. Like I said, it’s not particularly scary, this story. Not supernatural (I don’t think). But it’s weird. Why did the drawer open? I kind of hate not knowing. Maybe it’s one more thing we can chalk up to the ghost of Mr. Able, the man who used to live in our house. (Have you read that post?)

Whatever the reason, I’ll tell you this. I’m not closing that drawer until I get a drawer pull put on. Because I’ve got an old coin, a rusty key, and a love note I want to put inside.

What would you have liked to see in the drawer when it slid open? Have you ever had an unexplained event in your life (with furniture or anything or anyone else)?




  1. T.J. says:

    Could have been because the top was no longer putting so much pressure on the drawer, and it slid due to the angle the table was being held.

    That being said, THAT is a COOL story 🙂 And I’d have expected something like a few notes, or a receipt, or … but still, a hat pin? That’s kind of cool too 🙂

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      The hat pin is pretty cool… occurs to me maybe it’s a corsage pin and that explains the small green flower, too? Anyway, I’m with you, I’d have thought some notes or receipts, too. Thanks for your comment and your visit to my blog, T.J.!

  2. Oooo, spooky! Would’ve been so cool if there’d been something like a dagger with a flakey hint of dried blood. Or maybe a talisman of some sort, that when worn as a necklace seemed to curse the person wearing… No wait, that’s a Brady Bunch goes to Hawaii episode, isn’t it. 😉

    Fun post, Julia! Makes you wonder if it’s better just to wonder sometimes, doesn’t it? (That’s what I always say when questions arise among friends, and everyone reaches for their smartphones to google the answer.)

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I have to admit that a dagger with flakey hint of blood never occurred to me, Vaughn… but that or a talisman with curse would’ve been better (as long as I didn’t need to wear it!). If you get a box in the mail from Maine, watch out, could be that necklace… or small end table… yes, things like this are just fun to wonder about!

  3. What a great story…sounds like a good jumping-off place for another story. 🙂

    When I was a kid, we would dye real eggs for our Easter-egg hunt. One year we found
    all but one…until about 6 months later when it turned up in the cubby under our coffee table.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, I thought about it as a jumping point, too, Cindy! That’s cool about the Easter egg…reminds me of one July when we found a Christmas present that had fallen behind the piano — so fun!

  4. I am intrigued about those toothpicks! why are they tied together with dental floss *wants to know!*

    I love this post.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Ah, the toothpicks! I was intrigued too until my husband reminded me that we’d tied them together with floss, pushed them through the knob opening and pulled on the string to see if we could open the drawer that way. It was that stuck! Yes, I want to know, too! Thanks for your comment and for your visit to my blog, Kathryn!

  5. Christine M Grote says:

    Based on other stories I’ve read about your house, I think it is supernatural. Don’t confuse me with the facts.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      HA! I promise I won’t do it again, Christine! But I will let you know if we have any other supernatural events…

  6. You know how much I love this (since my last post was about those ‘unexplained’ things that happen in life, with thier hints of supernaturalism). And obviously my take is that there are just some things that defy reason and CAN’T be explained. So I’m likely to veer toward Mr. Able’s “assistance” in opening the drawer. Loved the post!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I thought you might enjoy this, Melissa. I certainly agree with you on this one — that it defies explanation. We’ve been around and around with no firm answers on the drawer opening. I wish I could ask the neighbor I bought it from (who had the yard sale) but she moved!

  7. Ann Mc says:

    Crazy how it just slid open! I would want to find something rare and of great value! ….or a really great vintage or handwritten cookbook!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I know… it really was pretty crazy, Ann. I was pretty stunned, no question. I would’ve liked to have found something of great value, too. A handwritten cookbook would’ve been amazing — and of course I’d have shared with you!

  8. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke says:

    Curiosity is the spark of everything. Really cool post. And I hope the drawer sticks for 100 years after you place the love letter inside.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Curiosity really is wonderful, isn’t it? I love the idea of the drawer sticking for 100 years after I place a love letter inside — nice to think of someone in the future having the same wonderful luck of discovery, isn’t it? But MEH says we need a place for cards, so he’s voting no on the re-sticking! 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Bernadette!

  9. Julie Luek says:

    What a fun post. I’m with Vaughn– sometimes it’s more fun to wonder than to know. What if it had been a locket and inside the locket a tiny picture and a small note. “The dusk came too soon” or something that indicated the time of this person was cut short. Ooooo… a lost love? A murder?

    But ya know, a hat pin– there’s probably a story there. Really.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      It really is so fun to wonder… and I wish there had been something more substantial to work with… although no one’s mentioned that small green flower. Who knows what that was! I’ll keep you posted if we find anything else. I kept checking on the lower side of the table, hoping that perhaps there was a false bottom with documents stuffed inside!

  10. What a lovely story, and yes, it is strange – very. I think the things you found are intriguing in their own way. The hat pin belonged to somebody from another time, as would the tiny dried flower. I think they’re enchanting in their own way.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I agree, Abi, enchanting in their own way… and quite mysterious too. I had to wonder if the flower came from a corsage and the pin was used to pin it to a dress at some time. Very strange, and so intriguing to imagine! Glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Your post had me laughing, Julia. I think our “styles” are about the same.

    Too bad you didn’t find a mint-condition copy of the Rhinestone soundtrack inside the drawer. 🙂

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Happy to meet another “comfortable and lived in” decorator. A mint condition of Rhinestone soundtrack would’ve indeed been mysterious. AND I’d have emailed you directly for advice and amusement! 🙂

  12. Jolina Petersheim says:

    Fun and suspenseful! I love the hat pin and toothpicks with floss. Murder weapons, perchance?! 😉

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Thanks, Jolina, glad you enjoyed. Very tiny murder weapons — I like the way you think! Maybe a band of tiny thieves had taken residence in the drawer and finally pushed it open to escape, haha. 😉

  13. Nina says:

    I would have wanted to see a letter– or even better, a stack of letters!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I’m with you, Nina, I really wish there’d been something along the lines of a stack of letters. Of course then I would’ve felt compelled to track down the owner and that would’ve been a whole different blog, right?

  14. Shary says:

    It’s a great table, even without the mystery. I’m still trying to figure out what might have changed to make the drawer suddenly slide open. I wouldn’t count on the drawer staying free like that unless you sand it down, though, so I think you should hide your treasures quickly.

    Love the story of how you got your house and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Able had something to do with the drawer being stuck. Bummer about the stove, though. I guess the bank or the daughter took the only moveable thing worth selling before you took possession.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, it is a great table, I agree, and we’ve spent several days trying to figure the mystery out…There are no obvious nail holes (MEH’s convinced the nails worked themselves loose). But I agree, I’ll be filling the drawer quickly (and probably sanding it down). Glad you enjoyed the story of how we got our house — and the bank or daughter were our first guesses too.

  15. The whole time I was reading this, even though I knew this was so unlikely, in the back of my mind I was thinking, it’s a journal, isn’t it?!

    Our quest for stories never ends 😉

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      You’re right, our quest for stories never ends… and I too think a journal would’ve been amazing, but then of course the decision…. to read or not to read? Hmmmm…. 😉

  16. I love true stories! 🙂

  17. I love this story. Glad you solved the mystery. I bet you could come up with a great story behind it.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      So glad you enjoyed the story, Jamie. And the second the drawer opened, you know a story was the first thing in my mind!

  18. This sounds like a great writing prompt! Maybe a ghost came in to take out whatever goodies were in there, leaving you with a few dull old screws. 😉

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Now that scenario — that there *was* something in the drawer that was taken out — never occurred to me. Interesting! I agree, Annie, it’s a great prompt!

  19. Margo Dill says:

    I would like to find something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue, along with an old love letter. Although I have to admit in the spirit of Halloween, the first thing that came to my mind was a bloody knife. GROSS!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… hmmm, did you know I once had a story published called “Something old”? A bloody knife, now, that IS gross, haha. Thanks for reading and for your comment and your visit to my blog, Margo!

  20. I love it when things go “bump in the night” — or broad daylight! What a wonderful story!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Laurie! And I agree, I love it when the unexpected happens as well — it’s so rare an unexplained event graces our lives, isn’t it? Even the smallest thing can be so story inspiring!

  21. You know that needs to go in one of your novels someday, right?! Then the old coin, rusty key, and secret love letter can still happen!

    So cool and thanks for sharing this! I love this kind of stuff!