My banjo is haunted

My banjo is haunted

So my mortgage was paid off, and there was a little bit left from the endowment fund, so I bought a short neck tenor banjo. I’ve played mandolin for a good few years, so it’s dead easy to pick up and get started playing tunes straightaway.

But it is haunted …

When I play it, I can hear a man with a deep voice talking in the next room, even if there is no one there.

Even if there isn’t even a next room.

When I stop playing, he stops talking.

I just had to tell someone.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Does that happen if you play outside?

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Re: My banjo is haunted

Julian hawthorne (Nathanial’s son) wrote a ghost story about a haunted banjo called ken’s Mystery. I found it in his collection "the Rose of Death" (Ash-Tree Press) but it appears that the story can be read on-line here:

http://www.online-literature.com/julian-hawthorne/2979/

But ghostly banjos (or accordeons) don’t really come across as well as certain other instruments, notably violins:

* e.g. John Meade Falkner’s "the Lost Stradivarius" available now in pb don’t miss it (or for that matter the same author’s the Nebuly Coat fiddleless though it is)

e.g. Keith Flemming’s slighty hysterical "Can These Things Be?" (he used the title before Bierce did)

e.g. Emile Erckmann and Louis Alexandre Chatrian’s "The Murderer’s Violin"

etc etc etc.

But Julian Hawthorne’s is the only haunted banjo in literature that comes immediately to mind.

- chris

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gam - you surely don’t think I’m going to risk going outside.

He might be there.

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That is sooooo….. cool…… Can I try It?

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That’s funny, when I play my banjo I hear a female voice yelling from the adjacent room…

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If you’re familiar with the original of The Haunting (Julie Harris, Richard Johnson et al - 1963) - it’s like the awful muffled incantation heard from behind the oak door.

I guess I need to go to the Olde Musik Shoppe and find a book of exorcises for banjo players.

I’ll get me coat …

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I’m very eager to hear what the deep voice is saying???

I’m rather new to ITM (I play fiddle) and when I had practised some reels and ornaments very intensively I heard a whistle playing along with me anytime I started. But there was no-one there except for me. Great.

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Are you sure it’s not your conscience you can hear - where did you get the banjo from?

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Re: My banjo is haunted

Sugarfoot Jack - conscience? - how long have you and I known each other?

Re: My banjo is haunted

My first ukulele was processed by a poltergeist and it would hurl itself across the room if I attempted to strum any clever chords. The only time this didn’t happen was when I wore my haunted wig. The hairhat & uke would have a psychic conversation with each other, and, since the toupee knew more tunes than me it would channel the uke to play beautiful & simple as long as I always stuck to SyrupStik to adhere it to my scalp.
OFF TOPIC: My pink 1959 Cosynite rubber hot water bottle is processed by the ghost of Matt Munro. It spends all night humming Moon River. Now, you ask, how do I know it’s Matt and not Audrey Hepburn?

Re: My banjo is haunted

This is a ripe one for a bit of fairly basic scientific investigation. Try audio recording, preferably in wav stereo at CD quality (so that it can be properly analyzed). Even better, set up a video camera in IR mode to see if "someone" is standing behind you.
We look forward to the results on YouTube.
Btw, before you do this, check that there’s no electronics anywhere on or in the banjo. It’s just possible that such electronics could be acting as a radio receiver, with the natural amplification of the banjo head.
If all the foregoing fails, then we’ll have to think of other possibilities ;-)

Re: My banjo is haunted

… like talking to oneself :-)

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Thanks for taking it seriously hound. For a minute I thought I was going mad.

Re: My banjo is haunted

… d’oh

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Well, unlike "hound", I was assuming that this post was another wind-up ….

… but assuming (for the minute) that it’s not, try removing the resonator (if it’s got one), then see whether the same thing happens ….

… or maybe get someone else to play it - maybe the ghost just doesn’t like you! … :-(

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Interesting. I’m always a bit skeptical of ghost claims, only because it’s my nature, but I do find the notion fascinating. Is the banjo new or used? I’m surprised nobody has asked this yet. Hound’s radio notion is not a bad one, especially if the voice happens to be relating football scores or forecasting rain (sorry, couldn’t resist). If it is a haunted banjo and it’s used, then I’m definately interested in this story development.

Keep us posted.

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Also, Mix is offfering some sound logical experiments.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Stay tunes folks for Ghost Hunters: BANJO!

In Florida we have tile floors everywhere. In one room I have two guitars, two mandolins, a tenor banjo with a huge resonator, a five string banjo with no resonator, a fiddle, and a partridge in a pear tree.

I pick up voices from other planets in there. It’s like the acoustic large audio collider.

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Ha ha, stay ‘tunes’. :-P

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So why isn’t SETI (you know, the guys with the huge radar satellites who look for life on other planets), pounding down your door?

Evidently there was a room at my undergrad uni which was haunted. Some girl allegedly hung herself there. It was in a residence hall and no one was allowed to live in that room. People who lived in the room next door to it could never hang anything on the wall they shared with it. No matter what they did, nails, bluetac, thumb tacks, whatever, things would fall off the wall.

There was apparently a ghost residing on one of the campus bridges as well, the apparition of a girl who jumped off the bridge.

It was a high stress kind of place.

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You don’t know how grateful I am to read this. For years
when playing my fiddle I thought surely there was someone home in the house that is attached to me. Not wanting to bother them I would put the mute on if they were home. I look outisde to see if their car is there but it never is.
I guess it should be no suprise. The wood used to make my fiddle comes from Transylvania.

SPOOOOOKY

M

Re: My banjo is haunted

I think I see a sequel to Paranormal Activity.

Re: My banjo is haunted

It’s a bit of

https://thesession.org/discussions/21354

Oh - by the way - I don’t have a problem with the fact that my banjo is haunted, and I’m not really looking for how to get rid of the haunter. It could be considered quite sad to be sitting alone in the kitchen in the evening playing the banjo, so at least he’s company.

The banjo is new.

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New, ay? Alright, my theory is that a banjo maker died while making the banjo, and he is now haunting the banjo he helped to create. Maybe he can give you some tune suggestions or playing tips. That would be grand.

Re: My banjo is haunted

The Silver Spear - Sounds like you went to Hogwarts.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Irish trad is a reliable portal to the Other Side.

The Virgin Mary showed up as a stain on Tim’s bodhran after a whiskey was flung at it.

Deidra feels ghost shivers move up her leg whenever that fine, fine-looking Henry plays an air on his burnished flute.

When I was a youthful trumpet player, Satchmo’s ubiquitous hankie would float by, a smallish ghost.

Re: My banjo is haunted

If someone wasted whiskey by flinging it on a bodhran they’re lucky it wasn’t the devil himself that upped and took him.

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JimmyB - if the maker died while making the banjo, wouldn’t it be obvious - like having only 3 strings or something?

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Not if somebody else finished the banjo.

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This is a great thread. :)

Re: My banjo is haunted

Have you tried playing ‘The Irish Rover’ and seeing if your voice sings along? If he keeps talking as you play the tune then you could always glare in the general direction you think the voice is coming from and try a loud "SSSHHHHHHH".

Failing that, what about sprinkling it with holy water (or Pale Rider as it’s called in these parts - frequently available from the Tav).

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Re: My banjo is haunted

Might the banjo have been recently used to club a session hog to death….in Canada? Just asking. Strange, that psychological states should survive biological death.

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Wait a second…

"…so it’s dead easy to pick up and get started playing tunes straightaway…"

"…so it’s dead easy to pick up…"

"…it’s dead…"

OK, solved that problem. Next time, buy your instruments in this dimension, that should improve the whole supernatural thing going on there.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Hey Dad, This is positively in need of a seance. Invite the old lady with her crystal ball, her bodhran and her deranged son the piper. We’ll get to the bottom of this. But first can I try it PLEEEEZ? This is so cool !!!! oh I already said that.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Now and then radio programmes are said to suddenly issue from people’s teeth fillings and all sorts of other metal things that have through some warp of physics been enabled temporarily to receive and transmit radio.

I wonder if this has ever happened through a session instrument’s metalwork.

Re: My banjo is haunted

If a banjo in a session began to play Speed The Plow-OOOOOOOH.., or The Maids Of CastlebaAAAAAAAH.., I would assume it was haunted, and drive a stake through its heart.

Though in a pub, it might have to be a steak.

The texture might be similar enough.

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maybey the guy who chopped the tree down for the wood for the banjo was killed. of the tree is getting back at you?????? you say that the banjo is new? did the guy who sold it to you look strange or scary in any way, you know, long matted beard, ragged green coat, pointy hat, about three feet tall??????

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Wait. I have fillings, AND I hear voices. They’ve been giving me medication for years and you’re saying all this time it could have been a radio station? Now I’m really angry. But wait, how did the people on the radio station know that they are all out to get me? AAAAAGGGGHHHH!

Re: My banjo is haunted

I’ve heard voices and music coming from creeks sometimes. Maybe it’s a similar phenomenon. Some kind of overtone or resonance or something.

Re: My banjo is haunted

That’s the creek fairies. All creeks have fairies. They have wars over them. You must’ve heard two fairy tribes warring over who gets to inhabit the creek. Happens at springs and ponds too.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Wood and resonators make curious vibrations and sound waves bouncing around the room and eventually quivering the tiny hairs around our eardrums. Much like Tibetan Throat singers who can produce multiple tones in their prayerful mumbling, your banjo is creating secondary tones that sound like an old man in the next room. When you stop playing, the tones stop vibrating.

Or, you could just be stoned again.

Re: My banjo is haunted

No - sorry to break it to all you paranormal-activity enthusiasts, but it’s actually me.
Yes, showaddydadito: whenever you play your banjo, I immediately go to the room next to wherever you are, from wherever I may be, and start speaking. What I’m saying is actually extremely important; you should try to listen carefully next time.

Be in peace,
Joseph.

Re: My banjo is haunted

The Langdon Beck Hotel in Upper Teesdale, County Durham (UK), is cut off from mobile phone signals and I think TV also.

It is therefore a very agreeable refuge from these things, IMO.

Inhabitants of the parish include Peg Powler, a green-haired mermaid who lives in Cow Green Reservoir and eats babies; and The Singing Lady, who lives in or next to the cataract of Cauldron Snout on the Tees.

If you drop into the Langdon Beck’s bar you are quite likely to see Peg Powler quietly eating her baby and chips, but The Singing Lady will more than likely be in rehab again.

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Nice Nicholas,
Now that’s my kinda place. No TV? cool. Careful Joe. The fairies always mess with thems that don’t believe. ; )

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"A man with a deep voice talking in the next room." That invariably means the next room is occupied by someone who’s dead, but not quite dead enough.

There’s no remedy for this. You cannot appease nor frighten nor cajole the half-dead—and the quarter-dead are worse.

These not dead enough types finally decide—at their own moony pace—to agree to lie down with the fully dead. It’s very similar to when living people realize they’re no longer "cool" and so no longer resist wearing socks with sandals.

Re: My banjo is haunted

Hey, I love my woollies and sandals………..well……Ah…..I guess I never was cool. I’ve always worn em that way.

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Willy "Rail Yard" Rodgers sang about this on his "High Steppin’ Ways" series of wax cylinder recordings:

You got what you wanted
My banjo is now haunted
By your ghostly G-string which I snapped that night

Sometimes your G-string flaunting
Just seemed to me like taunting
And now it’s eerie twanging gives me frights

CHORUS
O, ghostly banjo bring me luck
Sing out loudly when I pluck
O, ghostly banjo bring me joy
Spare me from the rootless souls whom I annoy

Re: My banjo is haunted

What’s the tune go like oil? could be a hit in this part of the world.

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Showaddy, if you’re really desperate I think you’ll find wearing a tin-foil hat all the time will do the trick.

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Hey Thanks New Pure Drop. From the bottom of my heart to the toes of my woollies.

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Really though it’s not wisdom. I’m just a purdy good fake.:~>

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Last night we had a bit of a session at Mike’s house. When we were all playing together the man in the next room was silent. I guess we overwhelmed him a bit.

It’s really so kind of so many of you to offer ways to get rid of this, having obviously missed the post where I said I have not got a problem with this haunting. And JoeCSS - a lovely idea that you might be in the next room, but you missed the bit where I said that it still happens even when there isn’t a next room.

I’ve studied the structure of discussions on this forum for some years, and I believe that it is about time this thread turned septic. I should now come out with some incredibly rude stuff about how you are all losers, insult your esteemed selves, and your ancestry and your culture, call Llig a pompous fart and tell McKnowall and Bliss that their bodhrans stink, raise a completely meaningless objection to someone’s use of a particular word, supporting my argument with meaningless selective quotes from dictionaries, and storm off, vowing never to visit this site again.

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… . but I can’t.

On good days the mustard board is like a proper session, where you share conversation and friendship around the tunes.

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Oh showaddydadito. You have so much to learn. You may think there is no next room. It may seem to you that there is no next room. But there is always a next room.

There is always a next room, showaddydadito. Know that and be well. And listen. Always listen.
Joseph.

Re: My banjo is haunted

It could be worse. Your banjo could be septic. Ewwww.

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"Even if there isn’t a next room …"

Well, I reckon that I can torpedo your thread with that quote, showadd … ;-)

There always IS a next room …

… Unless of course you are playing that banjo of yours in an African hut, an igloo or a Hebridean black house … :-(

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I have the same thing happen when I’m playing fiddle sometimes. I think it’s an overtone thing, and the way the brain interprets them. So much of this music is similar to the lilt of a human voice as it is.

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Mix O: "There always IS a next room …"

I wish I could be so certain.

I’ve heard reports - which I cannot substantiate - of Tony Sullivan playing in the middle of Macclesfield forest. There’s no next room there. But then Sully’s banjo might not be haunted. (althouth at a session a few years back Sully came up with a banjo with a clear head on it, and El Grumpo suggested that he should keep goldfish in it.)

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The "next room" may be Room 101.

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Ah, I love a good thread of civil nonsense!

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"… . but I can’t."

Now there’s a good fellow.

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about overtones:
It is scientifically provent that teenagers can hear tones from a sound range grown-ups can’t hear (hence the "mosquito devices" to scare them away like dogs).
Maybe some people here should just grow up a little more :-) :-)?

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I once sat next to a bodhran which I was sure was speaking as it was played. It was saying "ouch! Stop hitting me!".

I can hear my bouzouki speaking to me the more pints I drink. After downing a few it whispers in hushed tones "You’re as good as Donal Lunny" and sure enough when I play loudly and with gusto I am as good as Donal Lunny. Others obviously can’t hear the voice, as when I get to that stage in the evening they look at me a bit funny and then start saying things like "Shut up" or "Sod off lardy" etc etc. It’s a gift you know.

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Re: My banjo is haunted

Sugarfoot Jack, that was not the voice of your bouzouki, it was some of us who realized that you had had enough to drink, saying "You’re as good as done you old Loony"

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@Showaddy

You’l have to do better that! Unless of course you have tried playing that banjo of yours in Macclesfield Forest …

—- so you’re not out of the woods yet - not even out of those ones near Macclesfield. …. ;-)

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pinches of salt in the corners of the room, holy water on your shoulders, ashes on your feet, lemon juice sprayed on the window glasses, eggshells in the very center of the floor..
some esorcist on a radio program reccomended that to get rid of male voices. might work with your banjo. p.s. he didn’t mention any remedy about female voices, but that isnt your case .

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There is a next room, there is a next room, there’s got to be, I know it’s there. I can hear the faint laughter. Of only they’ed unlock this stupid door. Geeeez, the walls are squishy in here. the floor and ceiling too.
HAAEEYYY SOMEONE LET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHEHEHOHOHEHAHOHEAHOOOOOO>>>>>>>>!?

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I’VE FOUND IT!

Take a look at Danny’s thread about relativity - his playing obviously causes wormholes in the space/music continuum, and the voice comes through the wormhole to where I am playing.

Mystery solved.

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It may just have an owl inside

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H P Lovecraft knew all about "next rooms", and you really don’t want to know even half of what he knew.

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There is a very old traditional Irish way of exorcising strange voices. Close your eyes,concentrate hard then scream at the top of your voice…..F…k Off. That sometime works.

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That explains some of dear old Father Jack’s behaviour :-)

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My pipes talk to me all the time.

"We hate this pub. The atmosphere is all wrong. The vibe sucks. It’s too humid and the fella sitting next to you is a tw*t. So we are going to go horribly out of tune and not even play the bottom D. And the bass drone isn’t going to go in tune no matter how much you beg and plead. F*ck you."

Then sometimes when I threaten to replace the reed or at least threaten it with pliers, it goes back into tune. Unless I’m playing too much. Or not playing enough. Or a butterfly flaps is wings in South Africa. Then it gets cantankerous again.

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If you have read all of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories and you haven’t lost your sanity and you can still play your instrument, what does that say about you and your brain?

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May I recommend Lovecraft’s story "The Music of Erich Zann" - says it all really .
It’s the last one in "The Haunter of the Dark" volume.

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Thank you for the recommendation Lazyhound

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Does it only happen when you are playing ? Is the banjo backless ? Some banjo backs are concave on the inside. A concave surface will focus sound in similar manner to the way that a concave mirror focuses light. The resonator could be vibrating to "Concentrated’ sound. Satellite engineers and maintenance folks experience similar when working on large dishes. When working on the very largest dishes, conversations from 1 - 2 km away can be heard quite clearly.

Another possibility is that there is a low-frequency standing wave in your room. Is there air condition running, or do you live close to an industrial plant, or is there another source of vibration ? Your playing might be modulating the standing wave.

This sort of stuff - low frequency vibrations - can also cause visual illusions. I once worked in an old building that had a reputation of being haunted. It had once been inhabited by a member of the original Hell Fire Club. The cleaners swore they saw ghosts on one floor. The building used to vibrate at low frequency when heavy traffic passed.

Another possibility is simply the tendency of the brain to detect patterns that are not actually there. If you listen to the white noise (the "Hiss") when an FM or SW radio is tuned to an unused frequency - listen carefully - you will probably think you hear faint voices. Similar happens with visually represented white noise - the "Snow" on a TV set which is not tuned to any station - most people report seeing faint images.

Another possibility is that playing is hitting the resonant frequency of something in your room - a lampshade, perhaps, or even a window-pane.

I know you rather welcome the ghost, but the problem sounds like one that a competent forensic engineer could isolate pretty quickly.

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My 92 year old banjo may be haunted by a flute player. When ever I play it, I hear this flutey echo.

As long as your ghost doesn’t jack up your rhythm, or cause you to swing a reel, your are fine.