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Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 2:11 AM

OK all you sleuths, I have a good one for you....

My dear old mother in law lives in town, and has a nice little 3 bedroom with basically

everything normal, like any other house in our area..

By "normal" I mean, basic electricity, basic natural gas, (for forced air heating, and

water". She has cable TV, and no computer.

The other day after we took her to get groceries, she made the comment that she

wondered if she needed to call the power company, or someone, as she had this

strange noise coming from her hot water closet in the garage.

Being the inquisitive person that I am, I opened the door to the water heater, and

stood there long enough to hear this strange noise..

At first, it sounded to me a lot like the noise my fairly new maytag side by side

refridgerator was making after the fridge quit working while the freezer continued

working.. The warranty technician said my defrost motor was bad.

So, this same humming noise was present, then a thud, and nothing... Humming

noise, then a thud, and then nothing...

For the life of me, I could NOT at first figure this out, because this a gas hot water

heater, with no motors near, that I knew of...

All I will say at this point is that the only two things on the outside wall, somewhat

near this hot water heater closest, was an outside electrical receptacle, and an

outside water faucet..

OK Guys, now tell me what was causing this Hmmmmmmmmm, thud, and then silence, hmmmmmmmmmmm, thud, then silence... ?????

I will wait until several of you famous mystery solvers make your comments...

Donald

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#1

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 4:35 AM

Hello Campbell Lighting

A musically inclined Rat, that is the answer

Kind Regards....

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#11
In reply to #1

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 3:11 PM

Hey Sparky, that's what I thought at first... In my short 60 years, I've seen many things that appeared as one thing, but were in fact something else..

Good Guess, but you are wrong.. lol

Donald

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#2

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 4:57 AM

Where I live we use super saturated dolomite water which causes scaling and heating water is usually a noisy affair, but the noise disappear when the container is properly

de-scaled.

When water is heated from the outside bubble seem to form and collapse inside or between the metal and the CaCO3 and a rumbling sound is heard.

The cracking sound seems to occur when the CaCO3 heats up to boiling point.

At least test the water for PH or determine the dissolved substances.

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#12
In reply to #2

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 3:12 PM

Hello Hendrick, you are slightly warm, but not correct, please guess again.

Donald

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#3

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 5:28 AM

Do the 'stick in the ear' thing.
Take a long screwdriver, arrow shaft or similar, hold one end against your ear, press the other end against the various pipes etc...this may help you determine the source of the noise.

(Usual safety warnings regarding ears sticks moving parts electricty water M.I.L lightening rodents etc...blah..blah)

Del

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#13
In reply to #3

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 3:20 PM

Hey Del, that's a great idea, maybe I should have tried that first, and saved me some time..

Donald

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#51
In reply to #3

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/22/2008 4:18 PM

Hopefully you are putting the knock and fletchings at your ear and not the point!

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/25/2008 7:28 AM

Gives "stick it in yer ear" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

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#4

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 6:51 AM

Sounds like a contactor is humming when on and the "thud" is the contactor releasing.

Or it may be the coil of a solenoid valve that's humming and producing the thud when it switches off.

Or it may be a little leprechaun doing a shindig.

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#14
In reply to #4

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 3:22 PM

That's pretty much what I thought, at first, or a motor starting up and then going off on overload.

keep guessing.

Donald

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#5

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 8:08 AM

You have a formatting problem. I got dizzy trying to read the post. Sorry.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 9:31 AM

Forget to take your medication?

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 10:27 AM

No, but OP did!

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#15
In reply to #5

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 3:26 PM

Hey Guy..

What's UP? people bitch when people post long, with single spacing and say it's hard to read... I guess people would just rather bitch, than think about answers...

Can't please everyone...

Donald

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#6

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 8:12 AM

You only have three things out there that could reasonably make that noise - electricity, water, or gas (barring a crazed carpenter bee who shoots himself after 2 seconds of work). So, shut them off, in sequence of gas, water, then electricity, to see when the noise quits.

But, that noise sounds like a defective valve fluttering till you get a little momentum, then slamming shut. For my money, I'd bet on the gas valve. But, before I change it, I'd put a gauge on the gas supply to see if it's dropping (The guy next door may be using a half trillion cubic feet a minute to run his underground still).

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#19
In reply to #6

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 9:59 PM

Smart answer there TV, you are getting very, very, warm...

Now guess which one..

Donald

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#8

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 9:48 AM

Hello Campbell Lighting,

You didn't specify if the noise was during or after gas burn cycle. If according to TVP45 a gas valve is weeping between cycles their may be an odor of gas or an increased pilot flame before the "thud".

If this be due a leaking water valve is the relief valve on the WH leaking? Check for dampness at the floor drain where the tube attached to the relief valve ends.

Otherwise the noise maybe due an accumulation of air in the water system meaning there would be a leak suctioning air into the pipes when water is turned on. This type break in the system is usually a very small crack or opening which doesn't allow water to escape.

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#20
In reply to #8

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 10:05 PM

leaking water valve is the relief valve on the WH

That was my my first thought, so I checked that... still did it..

Then I thought, hey, this is Arkansas, maybe some jackleg put an exhast fan on the water heater flue, and that was the problem.

Didn't need to check that..

Donald

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#34
In reply to #20

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 11:23 AM

The tree is 150' tall. Look at the tensed muscles of the driver, was he white knuckling? Ya think?

There were no physical injuries...

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#42
In reply to #34

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/17/2008 5:34 AM

What a stroke of fortune! Good thing those guys in the boat happened to be passing by and hooked him with their anchor.

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#10

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 1:18 PM

Can you tell me about hot water flows? is it flows smaller than usually did?

If I'm right (the hot water flows smaller than usually ), try to clean all of hot water pipes ( include the inside of water heater that burned by the gas ) and replace gas valve with a new one.

Hope it can solve your mysterious sound problem, and I'm sorry with my English because I'm not good enough in English.

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#21
In reply to #10

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 10:07 PM

Jusup,

Your English is fine...

That could have been the problem, but it wasn't..

Sorry..

Donald

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#16

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 4:37 PM

This reminds me of a story from the early days of computers. When one of the first large mainframes was built and turned on for the first time, the power supply started humming. Well, not wanting to risk damage to such a large investment, the engineers turned it off and investigated. They discovered that the power supply was humming because it didn't know the words!

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#17
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Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 6:49 PM
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#18

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 7:42 PM

I would take a guess and say the faucet is the culprit, as cooler water enters the tank and mixes with the hot water it expands, this will momentary cause the faucet to shut off, this will set up the hmmmmmmmmmm ? When the water to the tank stops flowing the oscillations set up in the tank will create a harmonic that eventual will have a wave large enough to react with the tank and thump, an orchestrated answer with a simple tune and grand finally.

Regards JD.

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 11:25 PM

Now, this answer is getting very close to the real answer...

What the Hell, I think it's time to spill the beans...

The hints in this mystery were two... 1 that my Mother in law is elderly, and most elderly do not have much strength.

2. That just on the outside wall was an electrical outlet, AND an outside water faucet.

The answer is this:

Mother had been watering the grass most every day, as we have been in a mini drought here in central arkansas for over a month..

So, the other day it began to storm, and rained for 4 days straight... So, she didn't need to water the lawn.

In her weakened elderly condition, she was unable to shut that outside faucet off completely..

Hence, the valve would leak some, then shut off, leak some, and shut off..

The only reason I discovered that, was that i saw a small amount of water coming out of the sprinkler..

It was just like magic... I shut off the valve and that mysterious noice quit..

Then, after that was solved, I showed Mom where she keeps her screwdriver, and instructed her to use leverage to shut that water off completely.. :o)

Quiz over...

Oh, also I did notice that there was a problem with that plumbing, as it hammers extremely LOUD.... at certain flow levels.. wonder why ??

Thanks guys for all those answers, it's been fun!

Donald

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#36
In reply to #23

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 2:36 PM

Nah, 'way too obvious - that can't be it! I agree with Del on this one...

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#22

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/14/2008 11:03 PM

It is probably water hammer. When your neighbours run their water the humming can start if they have a loose internal pipe which can vibrate. And the thud would happen when the water is turned off suddenly. If they are running a washing machine and it is doing the spray rinse thing it would be happening regularly. I think you could install some sort of regulator in line with the water main to block the water hammer, but I don't know much about those sort of things. Personally I prefer beer over water any day

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#24

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 12:23 AM

I'm going to tale a crack at this Shylox Homes (sic!) challenge and, in the process give away a prized diagnostic trick Given me by a wonderful lady who I miss dearly.

Sally Wood was a EE and a brilliant one, at a time when engineering was exclusively the domain of those with testosterone.

One day she shared with me a trick she used to solve technical problems. She'd ask herself: "What would have to do If I wanted the machine to do that, on purpose. How would I create the symptoms we are trying to solve"

40 years later, it seems the natural thing to do with your wife's mom's gas fired hot water heater.

Lets start with the "thud".

If you take a column of moving water and suddenly stop it dead in it's tracks, it's going to make a noise, usually an audible one. How does one make that happen.

Well, if the aqua-stat is set high and the hot water in the system builds pressure, a weak pressure release valve would open a little if the pressure exceeded it's rating. If the pressure release valve has corroded to the point where water enters the ball, the release pressure will be even less and fall within the normal pressures of a hot water system, even with the aqua-stat at normal temps.

My first guess is that the valve is old or defective, fluttering and bleeding off pressure (that's your "humming" sound traveling through the pies) and when the pressure is normalized, the valve closes abruptly, causing a hydraulic slam in the distribution system (there's your "bang")

If that doesn't, work, call me, I'll come over with a ten pound sledge hammer.

Are we having fun yet?

L. J.

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#25

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 3:37 AM

bubbles under the calcification that roll and boil during the heat cycle, then it will burp a big one when it gets really hot... like a pot of boiling veggies that boils over... then goes down.. then boils over.. and so on

my guess

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 3:50 AM

Attention: Post 22, 24, and 25, Please READ post 23..

donald

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 4:02 AM

No no, we insist #23 wasn't the answer at all....

Del

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 4:46 AM

hey del, what's UP with this orpheous cat, did he run out of shrooms??

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#38
In reply to #29

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/16/2008 8:16 PM

No, I'm sorry about that, Campbell Lightning, ran out of Valium, I kid you not. I was also given some really horrible news and I've been having networking problems.

I came online for a short while before my router shuffled off this mortal coil and then, my solitary access point (Modem) just fried. I can't explain it any other way. One moment I'm on line, the next smoke is rising gently out of an Alcatel DSL Modem.

I'm back online after AT&T sent me a tiny Motorola DSL Modem that came in Dead on Arrival. I finally got AT&T to send me a 2wire Modem/router, which was what I had asked for 4 days earlier. Now I just have to figure out how to get the network back up without a Format/Reload on the server. Thank God for backups.

During all this I got on line just long enough to read this thread and misunderstand it's intent. Now that I've re-read your thread I realize that everyone else knew we were playing "figure out what's wrong here". Besides your water heater, it seems I am the other thing that's wrong here.

I deeply apologize. I will punish myself for leaping to conclusions, appropriately. If you can, find it in your heart to forgive me. Even if you were toying with us, I should not have exploded like that, ever.

Most Sincerely Yours,

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/16/2008 8:23 PM

/Ari (Orpheuse)

Your apology is accepted, and I fully understand those kind of days, we all have them

I wasn't toying with you guys, I was presenting the challenge the way it was presented to me.

I'm sure if any one of you guys would have been with me, when I discovered the source, you would also been equally surprised..

Life is full of these little mysteries, sometimes it's fun to be stumped for a while..

Hope we can be friends.

Donald

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#53
In reply to #39

Re: Mysterious Noise

10/06/2008 7:49 AM

Always friends, Donald. Call on me whenever you feel the need, even if it's just to vent.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#41
In reply to #38

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/16/2008 11:53 PM

Silly me thought you had a moral dilemma whether to aid a neighbor or replace a modem

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#47
In reply to #38

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/18/2008 12:11 PM

Orpheuse,

Thank you for the heart felt apology. It takes a lot of character to stand up when your wrong.

I would like to express that I still will be reading your posts in a new light (has my post mentioned above) BUT it will be a different light then I first thought.

Best to you and yours. Hope you get your network back up and running. Nothing worse then working on this stuff all day and then having to go home and do it some more. Unless your a freak like me and do it all the time! hahaha!

Good luck and thanks again!

bill12780

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#28

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 4:04 AM

Wait a second, You are playing some perverse game of "stump the Engineers"?. And you are laughing if we get the answer wrong?

Why don't you dunk yourself, head first, into the damned water heater and wait until whatever is 'thumping' to knock some sense of respect for what it is we try to do here into a head that, if it ever had an original thought would find that the thought died of loneliness.

We, here at Conference Room 4, are professionals in our respective fields with either long strings of letters after our names like Masters of Science, Doctors of various sorts, and people who have been plying their trade for 30 years and more. And you have the nerve to put US to the test?

I know I don't like it when people who have been members of this community for three years (1,095 days) and all you have to show for it is 193 posts and no 'Good Answers' at all?

Let me put this succinctly: You are a fool and you are wasting our time. Furthermore, we are not here to play twenty questions with persons of your ilk.

If you have a real problem and you need help from the rest of the group we are here to help, but don't abuse our services. This is the only warning you are going to get. Next time I will simply report your abuse of our service to the moderators. I'm sure Bob will not look kindly on this.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 6:58 AM

Calm down Orpheuse, there is no need for that sort of answer.......you give yourself a bad name when you react in such a manner. Just unsubscribe and forget it....

Remember, only involve yourself with a blog for as long as it REMAINS INTERESTING FOR YOU PERSONALLY.....

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 10:24 AM

Andy is right, Orph, chill out, and don't be insulting. It was meant as an interesting challenge, with some humor in there as well. I had no clue, but learned alot by just reading everyone's answers.

Peace,

Bluezone

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#35
In reply to #28

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 11:38 AM

orpheous,

WOW...

I thought it was pretty clear it was a kinda "game".

But was it not just the other day there was a post in the General section on your favorite Rock band? Do I need a slew of letter after my name to participate in that discussion?

In fact, It a bit insulting that you think that I need a PHd or MS to have my time wasted. I have an AS degree but have over 25 years of experience. Now I may not be the smartest man in some areas. But I would bet there is at least one subject that I could be considered an "Expert" on. Is my time any less valuable? I bet you treat your plumber with more respect! Especially when your toilet is backed up! He has no academic distinction after his name. But I bet he gets just as pissed off when someone wastes HIS time too. The arrogance...

Maybe I will report YOU for the violent idea of him sticking his head in a hot water heater? "People in glass forums should not throw stones!"

I think you owe this forum/post an apology. Its your fault that you did not read the posts and comprehend them that he was using his recent repair experience to "challenge" us. I had no clue whatsoever what could be causing the problem. But I read anyway and learned! In my book Challenge = Learning Experience. And I am sorry that you have such a narrow mind and intellect that you can not see that and that you have refused to expand your mind by taking the all of 15 min. to read the entire post and understand it.

I will remember your name and your comments. Unfortunately, I will also base what I read from you here from now on in a much different light.

Best Regards,

Bill12780

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#31

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 8:40 AM

Gremlins,that's got to be it!

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 10:51 AM

I thought this post was worth all the reading it took to get to it.

"What would I have to do If I wanted the machine to do that, on purpose. How would I create the symptoms we are trying to solve"

What a great way to think in any Trouble Shooting situation.

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#37

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/15/2008 6:29 PM

Noise = Vapor though a control valve that is not sealling too well.

So she's got two problems: The valve and the vapor (a domestic water boiler is not intended to actualy boil the water).

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#40

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/16/2008 11:45 PM

I am reminded of something which happened to me back in my younger days.

I came home from work one evening, and my wife informed me "Bill!! Our stove (electric cook stove) is leaking water!!".

What?? Electric stoves don't use water... but I checked the drawer under the stove (where one stores pizza pans and that sort of thing) and the damn thing was full of water. I cleaned up the mess, and thought on this a bit.

All of the plumbing was on an entirely different wall from the stove... so how the hell could water be leaking under the stove??

We speculated on this for a couple of months (periodically cleaning the drawer under the stove)... and called in all our friends to see if they might have any ideas what might cause this phenomena... No ideas.

One day I got a call at work. My wife had found the source of the water leak!!

We would fill the tea kettle first thing in the morning when we first got up, heat it up, and then it would sit on the stove until the next morning when we would go through the same procedure again. The kettle had developed a pin hole leak. Not large enough that you would notice it when using the kettle, but enough that it would leak through the stove to the bottom.

We replaced the kettle and the problem went away.

Sincerely

Bill

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#44
In reply to #40

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/18/2008 5:30 AM

Bats in the belfry? Sometimea an inherited condition?

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#46
In reply to #40

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/18/2008 7:23 AM

Oh, good - 'cause if it had been electrons sweating from the hot oven, it would be a mess fixing!

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#43

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/17/2008 6:17 AM

Ah! Things that go bump in the night!

Definitely way out of topic but I've just got to share this.

My wife and I had just moved into a new city and rented a unit in the 2nd floor of an apartment building. The back of the building was open to a small rice paddy with a nice view of the hills. A row of small trees marked the boundary line for our apartment building and the farm.

One night, after we had turned in and shut off the lights, we heard a sound. My wife gripped my arm and fearfully asked, "what's that?"

It was a huffing sound and was very powerful and, to me, it sounded like someone clearing his throat except that the throat seemed to be about two feet thick.

I didn't tell my wife what I was thinking but I was still trying to identify the sound when she asked, "go out there and see what it is."

A little embarrasing but my reaction was, "WHAT!? I'm not going out there! It might be someone or some creature." I didn't mention that it might be a creature with a two foot thick throat that could swallow me whole! "It doesn't sound like it's trying to come in. Let's just ignore it."

We slept fitfully most of the night, hearing that huffing sound every minute or so. We finally fell asleep which was probably after midnight.

The next morning, I got up and carefully opened the door to the balcony. I saw nothing and concluded that, whatever it was, it was gone.

Just as I was going back in, I heard the sound again! I whirled around, half expecting to see some great big creature behind me. There was nothing and when I heard it again, it seemed to be coming from the ground below. I peered over the rail but couldn't see much through the trees. Then I saw movement...

I was right, it did have a throat that was two feet thick! It was huge and black.

It was a bull.

This is true story and, even now, I still laugh at myself for thinking the way I did. In fact, I put this story in a storytelling speech contest. I won third prize.

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/18/2008 7:18 AM

Only third?!? That one takes a better biscuit than that here! I give it a...

...and a:

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#48
In reply to #45

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/19/2008 6:44 AM

I was just a novice back then. I guess the judges thought the story was a lot of bull...

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/19/2008 6:58 AM

Déja mu (pronounced moo), which is the feeling you've heard this bull before...

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Mysterious Noise

08/19/2008 10:41 AM

Now that is funny!

Deja Mu!

My side still hurts!

bill12780

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