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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

The Chimney - Another Twilight Zone Mystery

This may seem like the start of a weather rant, but really it is not. It just happens to be something that happened in minus 26 and that makes it more drastic. I did happen to see the 5 coldest cities in the world list for the day. Antarctica, Russia and then 3 cities in Alberta with the warmest being minus 27. I realized at minus 26 we were probably #6!

Our furnace is acting weirdly – it makes a clicking noise several times (up to 10) before it comes on. This causes us some concern if we should be running it, so we are relying heavily on our wood stove. We are praying a furnace guy comes today to have a look at it and that the fix is cheap and easy.

Monday night before I went to bed I loaded up the wood stove and then headed to bed. While laying there (Brian had not got home from work yet) I heard what sounded like the wood “popping”. Now there are always noises with a wood stove. The wood crackles and pops randomly, but this seemed a bit more. I got up to check, smelled a bit of creosote type smell but all seemed fine. Then I noticed that the fan we have in the front to blow the warm air around was blowing open a KMS catalogue and it was “clicking” as the pages turned. I figured that was my issue, moved it and stood and listened some more, not hearing much of anything I went to bed.

I got up at midnight and was surprised Brian was not home yet. I checked on the stove and added a couple more pieces and went back to bed. Brian arrived at 12:30 and he checked on the stove and all was fine and then he came to bed.

At 5:00 in the morning, it was brrrrry in the house and I figured the fire had probably gone out and Mila had not started whining from her kennel to get up yet. She can be an early riser. I crept up quietly to check on the stove, not putting on any lights, I opened the door and found there were still a fair number of coals, so I simply added a couple pieces of wood and went to go back to bed. Suddenly there was sparks coming out of the chimney near the top section where it joins the roof. Stunned I kept looking and trying to figure out what I was seeing. I saw one smaller spark and realized I was seeing something that should not be there – sparks! As I stood there staring up at the chimney in the dark, I thought I noticed that the chimney did not look “right”.

I went into the bedroom and got a flashlight, came back, and shone it on the top of the chimney. Well darned if there was not a 1-11/2” gap between the chimney and the adapter even though it was joined by screws. It was not so much as a drop but rather it was moved back, like sideways.

I was hoping to let Brian sleep, but this was a “must get up” situation, I woke him up. He joined me in the living room staring at the chimney. He asked the same question I had, “how did the chimney move?”

He donned the big welding gloves and tried to fit the chimney into the adapter but it was not fitting. I noticed and so did Bri that even though the chimney was not “attached” the smoke was not pouring into the house. It still somehow went directly up the chimney as if it was being directed by an unseen force.

Brian undid some screws and tried moving the chimney piece and it fell, we got some smoke then but he quickly stood up the piece and strangely even though not connected any longer the smoke still went nicely up the chimney, not at all into the house.

The wood stove is heavy, very heavy and it did not move. The big tile slab it is on is even more incredibly heavy did not move. What had made the chimney move? It could not move down as it rested on the top of the stove, and unless some force pulled it up…..

what had caused this gap?

When it got light Brian went outside and said that the chimney top on the roof looked dark, perhaps we had had a chimney fire. That phrase almost undid me as all the sudden all the “what if’s” started plundering my brain. I could barely talk as scene after scene played out in my head.

We went to town to get some things for the chimney, plus a couple space heaters and of course Timmy’s tea for me and some chocolate.

On the way to town, I told Brian that I could not stop my eyes from leaking as the scenes in my head continued, I had to play it through in order to process the whole thing. We did not have answers. We had miracles but no answers.

Miracle #1 – the house did not burn down, nor me and the dogs with it. I firmly believe that whatever the noises were the night before, had something to do with the chimney. There were sparks escaping out in places they ought not to!

Miracle #2 – the smoke never escaped into the house and kept going straight up the chimney – even when the chimney was not connected

Miracle #3 – Brian was home, he had been away since Sunday

We let the fire go out, made total sense and when we got back from town Brian rejoined the chimney to the adapter, putting in bigger and more screws (even though that didn’t seem the problem). He, Bless His Heart, then got up on a ladder in the cold and went onto the slippery roof and took the chimney apart on the roof. There did not appear to be any kind of chimney fire, we were most grateful! He used a chimney brush and cleaned out the chimney. Getting back on to the ladder was the scariest part, but he did it.

I came inside and we cleaned out the stuff that the brush had knocked down, there was not much there at all. A couple of black pieces and some blacker dust, maybe a cup full. The chimney was relatively clean, which was ruling out chimney fire, there were no animal nests blocking it, making the mystery of why the actual chimney moved even more strange.

Unless the trailer “moved”, which is not evident anywhere else in the building, we have no idea what happened to the chimney.

We are adding this experience to our long list of “twilight zone mysteries” – the long list we have of truly strange and weird things that happen out here on the farm. We are recording our miracles and thanking God for His faithful presence over us and this property.

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