If I am still alive within 24 hours of posting this story, then that will be a miracle. I am actually risking death by writing it - my mum is probably going to lynch me.
A couple of years ago, there was always this weird smell coming from one of the bedrooms in my childhood home in Cornwall, whenever we visited my mum.
It was like a rat had died and melted under the floorboards, and none of us could understand what this stench was, or where it had come from.
But I was concerned.
Here's the thing. Once upon a time, this was my bedroom, and I used to hide my uneaten sandwiches from my packed lunches
in the cupboard.
This disgusting habit had already been found out by my mum when I
was 12 years old. Putrid foil wrapped sandwiches with white fur growing out of the creases had been hauled out one by one like mutilated river corpses in a popular
Scandinavian DVD box set.
I watched this disturbing forensic examination of my pre-pubescent mind while sitting on my bed. I can remember wanting to die from embarrassment; I had no feasible explanation to her about why I'd done it.
Fast forward to 20 years later...
With this new smell in the same bedroom I did initially wonder
if this was an ancient ham and cheese sandwich, risen from the grave.
Several steps were taken to exorcise the demon. First of all, she had a handyman lift up the floorboards in search
of dead rats. Nothing. Not even a talking sausage roll.
us could work out what it was. Google took a beating, intensive research was conducted; and she was convinced that this sometimes
happened to old light fixtures, that they "went bad". Anyway, nothing could be done and the door was kept closed, like the room was cursed and contained the ghost of a mildly psychotic toddler.
Let's not disturb Terence, shall we? Close the door dear.
A couple of months later she told me that Gary* the shaman had fixed it.
*Not his real name.
Now she have my attention. As a Catholic, and someone who never talks
about the occult, what was she doing cavorting with shamans? Or how did
she even meet one?
"A shaman?" I asked.
"Yes, I mentioned
the smell to Gary the painter and he told me he was a shaman as well as a
decorator. Quite an important one in the community too. He's high
Rule number 1: if my mum says anything with this much conviction then don't question it, it's not worth it. I let her continue the story.
"He went into the room for
about half an hour, closed the door and when he came out he said I
shouldn't be having problems with it any more."
Who knows what Gazza did in
there. Probably drank his cup of tea, found one of my old Asterix books, lay down on my bed and had himself a
lolfest. The more risqué publications I once owned had been discreetly burned a long time ago so it can't have been that. But the weird thing is, a month later the smell had gone.
Anyway, I've always been confused by this mystery so I Googled it today. According to this forum, it's completely possible she was right and the Bakelite in her light fixture corroded
away, causing the stink!
Gary the shaman, wherever you are. I hope you're having a nice day, and mum, please don't kill me for telling this story.
And if you want to know about the time she revealed how she secretly baptised a baby, then here's what happened.
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