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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ghosts? Or Just Bad Housekeeping? I Report, You Decide!

This isn't a pretty show-and-tell post.
Instead, it is a mystery tale.

Come and get your psychic on . . . .

When my girls were still in elementary school, I bought new
everyday stainless flatware, for 24. Enough to feed a crowd.


It was made by Pfaltzgraff in the Addison pattern,
and was shiny, good looking 18/8 stainless.
It was on the table at most of our meals for years.  And years.

When we moved to That Old House in 2008, it moved with us.
All 120 pieces of it, with maybe a spoon or two missing.

Then something odd happened.

By 2010, it was hard to find enough forks at dinner when we had guests.  Or, sometimes, enough teaspoons for ice cream or fruit.  Or even tea!

So I counted my flatware.  Knives, soup spoons, salad forks - there were a few missing, but that can happen over long use.  I guess.  But teaspoons?  I could only find 8.

And dinner forks?  6.  Just 6.

The Pfaltzgraff Addison pattern is the top one, above.  Isn't it pretty?
The larger fork is old hotel plate, bought at a rummage sale.

Only six dinner forks out of the original 24.
What the ???  
Yes, I am a casual housekeeper, but seriously . . .  how careless and sloppy would I have to be to misplace 18 big ol' dinner forks, and almost as many spoons?

I'm not that careless and sloppy.
Shut up, Howard.

I searched, re-counted, searched again.
But the Pfalzgraff flatware was gone.

What happened?
At a party, a guest may mistakenly toss a piece of flatware in the trash.
But we had big parties at our last house without losses.

We don't have a food disposal, so no grinding of forks and spoons by accident.  

Crazy, huh?  
But wait!  There's more!
In 2011, before our daughter's wedding, I ordered new flatware:
Reed & Barton Williamsburg Royal Scroll.

I ordered from The Silver Superstore, here.  They had the best price.
(Not paid for the endorsement, it's just the truth.)
I fell in love with it years ago on a trip to Williamsburg.
But I didn't need it, and I couldn't afford it!

It's beautiful.  Heavy, shiny, 18/10 stainless.
In 2011, I ordered service for 12.

The other day, I decided - just on a whim - to count my new flatware.  And count it again.  And again.  

And guess what?
Two of the dinner forks and one of the teaspoons
have gone AWOL in the past 16 months.
I am not making this up.

So what is going on?
Does That Old House have an insatiable appetite for flatware?

Do the ghosts who may or may not live here want forks and spoons
for their ghostly feasts?  Do ghosts even do that?

Could it be the spirit of whomever wrote this on our cellar wall?
Can you read it?  It says "Hunger."  I noticed it a few months after we moved in.
Let's just say our cellar is not my favorite part of our dear house.
I do laundry in a dungeon.
Is someone trying to drive me bonkers, a la Gaslight?
(Hint: driving me bonkers will be a very short roller coaster ride.)

This is wackier than socks that enter a clothes dryer as two,
and come sashaying out as one.
No one has ever solved that mystery, either...

Or, could I be such a hapless housekeeper
that I keep tossing them out or losing them myself?
That's the scariest option of all.

Any ideas?  

By the way . . . in case you think I exaggerate the dungeon-like ambience of our cellar:
Really. Don't you expect to see iron shackles embedded in the walls,
and Edmond Dantes curled up in a corner? 

Which would be OK if he irons.  And uses a litter box.

Have a lovely day!
Don't let any spooks steal your silverware; you need it for your
table setting blog posts.  And also to eat.  -- Cass

Visit Marty at A Stroll Thru Life
for her popular linky party,
Table Top Tuesday.

Click here!

P. S.  Flatware isn't the only stuff gone missing; That Old House seems to have purloined clothing at an alarming rate, both mine and Howard's.  So she's a kleptomaniac and a cross-dresser.


  1. This has to be one of the most entertaining posts that I've ever read!! So much fun I didn't want it to end...Thanks for sharing.

  2. So funny! And as another old house dweller, I'm right there with you with the cellar/dungeon laundry. My dream is to someday have a real laundry room on the main floor. (I don't ask for much.)

  3. I know exactly what you're talking about with the missing flatware, just not to the extent that you have experienced. Found a teaspoon on my workbench yesterday ... had used it to spoon some rooting hormone from the big jar to a smaller one, and absent-mindedly left it behind. I have a feeling that the rest of our missing spoons and forks are in similar predicaments.

    The cellar/laundry room situation is also really familiar. My laundry is in the old boiler room, complete with a HUGE coal-fired boiler standing guard on one side of the wall. It's not in use now (who would one call to have coal delivered?) but it stays as an artifact ... and because it's solid cast iron and heavy as all get out. Our laundry room convinced our daughter, who is building a new house, to make sure that HER house has laundry on the second floor. I agree, but can't do anything about it here.

    Love the Williamsburg pattern.

  4. Hahaha! This was so cute. After your post I went and took a look at my silverware drawer which was seeming much too cluttered lately.

    I noticed that we have several silverware that does not belong in our set. Now, I'm not sayin' that I stole them from you or anything, but they had to come from somewhere.....

    My mother lives with us and has her own kitchen downstairs so I'm thinking somehow some of hers gravitated towards ours. Also, my hubby may have accidentally brought some home from the church with his lunch (he's a pastor).

    The odd thing is that *most& of the additional silverware is knives. Hmmmmmm.

  5. After reading this post, I had to go count mine. :-D Amazing that it is all there. Actually I have a salad fork and a teaspoon (not your pattern) :-D that I have no clue where they came from. I suspect they got left behind by daughter's friends many years ago. I am fortunate in that my washer and dryer is on 2nd floor.

  6. Could it be really big crows that work out???? This is a real puzzle; and a frustrating one.

  7. Very entertaining-please share more ghost stories! I have a dungeon for a laundry room too-mine is much scarier than yours.

  8. Funny! I'm down a couple of forks-- pretty sure the hubby accidentally tossed them into the garbage with dinner scraps. Aside from your "cellar" (which is where I do laundry too), I was imprssed by your new looking washer and dryer! My washer is 13 years old, squeals on the spin cycle, and has paint marks all over the top as it doubles as a workbench! Now, that's scary!

  9. Cute, cute, cute. Great post. Love the dishes and the silver. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  10. We bought service for 24 a few years ago. This was because our old ones
    kept disappearing. We havea trash compactor and blamed the kids for
    throwing out the silverware when they cleared the table.
    Now we count all the silverware a few times a year. Especially after
    Thanksgiving dinner. The year before last we were down one soup spoon.
    We didn't even have soup for Thanksgiving but figured someone must have
    put it out as a serving piece. Working in the yard one day this summer he
    found the soup spoon. We just figure one of the young kids went outside with
    the spoon. It took us over a year to find the missing piece.
    My husbands boss could not believe that we count the silverware a few times a year.
    He tried to explain that we don't think someone is stealing it but just that we want to make
    sure we didn't misplace a piece.

    Years ago we were missing a piece the day after Thanksgiving and went through all the garbage
    from the trash compactor. Found the missing piece under the table when we took out the leaves
    from the table.

    Denise Lamb

  11. I hear you, Cass. And I also have The Twilight Zone song playing in my head.
    I never lost a piece of flatware before. Never.
    Then a few weeks ago, we counted the flatware we have had a few years. Missing some spoons. And now?? Some forks awol.
    What's up with that? So now I am working toward a mismatchy vintage look. Weird.

  12. Jim and I didn't take any-- we promise! Now if it was sterling . . . .

  13. That is kind of strange that it's the flatware that keeps disappearing. Your spirits must be hungry after all.

  14. Ahh the case of the missing flatware! Love it! Your description of the dungeon and the shackles is too fun! At least the room is spacious! I wonder do you put utensils in lunches that leave the house? That's another way for them to disappear. I did catch myself throwing out a fork by accident once...I guess it can happen to the best of us!! It does sound like you have a flatware spirit lurking though!....Maybe you should check under the bed!! haha! Loved your post!
    Visiting from Marty's... Liz

  15. I completely understand. In just the last year, my corkscrew disappeared -- just vaporized. Then it was my paint scraper. Then my favorite screwdriver. Then a potholder. I have decided that even though this house is only about 20 years old, we must be sitting on an Indian burial ground --- or something...

    I have never been one to lose things, and in fact have always counted the sterling obsessively, every since one of my Granny's salad forks disappeared after a bridal shower my mother hosted when I was a kid. I must have been scarred for life by that incident.

    I think I would rather hope that it is just a ghost screwing with me than thinking I might be slipping a few cogs.


  16. I have lost plenty of cutlery too, but I know who my ghosts are, the four small people that live and eat here. It's one of the many housekeeping challenges a mom faces!

  17. I googled the web for stories on ghosts stealing flatware because I have the same trouble, however mine disappears at a much faster rate. I bought a set of sixty pieces, twelve salad forks, twelve dinner forks, twelve dinner spoons, twelve teaspoons and twelve knives. These were purchased just over a year ago and I have less than five pieces of each. I do have three teenagers but two of them are girls. I still could see anyone of them perhaps throwing a piece away or misplacing one from time to time, but that many? My home is very old, in fact so old nobody seems to know when it was built. This community didn't begin keeping property records until the 1930's. I do know that it's old enough to have interior and exterior walls that were solid wood and then lath and plastered and later sheet rocked. I also know that beneath my old, warped hardwood floor, there is another floor about six inches below it that is so worn that the wood is badly splintered and turned that light grey color really old wood is. My house is undoubtably haunted, which is something I never believed in until I moved into it. I believe the ghost or ghosts are responsible for taking my flat wear, I just wonder what they're doing with it.

  18. I found this article because I actually did a google for missing forks. I live with my Daughter Amber now 12 and its just been us two for the past 6 years or so. I don't have many guest, and don't have fancy silverware. In fact I get most of my kitchen stuff from a second hand store. I have close to 75 forks missing over the years. My previous GF actually bought me 25 for Christmas two years ago, none of those are to be found. I just keep buying them for .25 cents each every couple weeks when I'm in the store. I don't even bother to look at them and think if I like them or not. I know they will only last a month or two.
    We do have a ghost presence with us on occasion, I just figure it does it for attention. I just for the life of me can't understand what it is about forks??
    John 53 in Eugene OR .

  19. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one in this boat. In our situation it's just the two of us, my wife and I. No garbage disposal, no guests and I do all of the cooking and washing dishes. At my last count of a sixty piece set bought 3 years ago I'm missing 5 teaspoons 4 tablespoons, 4 small forks, 6 big forks and 7 butter knives. 29 pieces in 3 years "poof" into thin air. Our house was built in '85 not a big scary place just a small 3br, 2 bath place. No scary basement or attic. I'm at a loss.


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