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20 October, 2010

I saw Elsie! (Pretty much)

This is a completely true story:

This morning Sarah was in my office with me.  We were the only two in the building, as it's Fall Break and most people are enjoying some time away from the London Centre.  Weren't we surprised, then, when my phone started beeping to let me know that I had an internal call coming in!  There is the normal phone ring that you get when an external call comes into the building, but that wasn't what I heard.  The internal ring is more like a beep.  It's a repeating monotone and the caller's extension appears on the phone's screen.  The extension that appeared was 200, which is the phone on the Work Study desk across from mine.  No one was sitting there.  Last night when we were closing Sarah went through the building to make sure it was empty and to lock it up.  This is what happens every night.  I set the alarm when we left, and I am sure there was no one else in the building with us.  I was the first one here this morning, and when I opened the door, the alarm was set as I had done it the night before.  There was no one else in the building!
Elsie left her mark in push pins.  I may have helped her.  This was back when I thought she was a figment of Bill's imagination.
As I said, Sarah was in my office when this happened, and we were the only ones here, so we know that it could only be Elsie calling.  Sarah said that this reminded her of the first time she was alone in the building.  Bill, Heather and the students were away on a trip, and Sarah was working hard, when the lights of the 6 phone lines coming into the building started flashing for her own personal light show.  Only slightly unnerved, she checked with Heather and Bill when they returned to find out if this was something they had ever seen.  Heather said she had seen it plenty of times before.  So perhaps Heather has more in-depth knowledge of Elsie than the rest of us guessed?

This is what my phone looks like when I get an internal call, though I wasn't fast enough to capture it with Line 1 lit up.
Not that I'm trying to spook anyone as Halloween gets closer, but I had always thought of Elsie as the creature that would reach through the balustrade for my ankles as I ran up the stairs from locking up the basement in the dark (the light switch is at the bottom of the stairs, so it's a dim trip up).  Or perhaps she would be the one banging on the radiator behind the closed door of room 8.  I guess I just didn't expect her on the phone.  I think that one has been used for the plot of more than one horror film.  Come on Elsie, show us a bit of creativity!

I guess the moral of the story is that Elsie doesn't make outgoing calls, because if she did, it might be a worry to us all that she is going around the ICLC to phone her friends, and she might be giving the alarm code away.  But the alarm was untouched this morning, so she probably doesn't know how to work it.  On the other hand, she may not know how to dial out of the building either, so she keeps it to internal calls, which is fine since Bill, Sarah, Heather and I all know the alarm code already, so she wouldn't be divulging confidential information to us that we don't already know.  Or maybe Elsie just forgot to dial 9.  Luckily this happened when we were both in.  Tomorrow I leave for Ithaca and it will just be Sarah.  If Elsie grabs her ankle on the stairs, who will hear her scream?

And these are the things that happen in the ICLC when the students aren't in.

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