I open my doors at 8:30 each morning except Saturday. On that day, after a pancake breakfast, I open at 10:30 and I am closed Sunday. Occasionally my security alarm has been inexplicably tripped. My wife, son and I have always joked that we have a ghost. January 29th of 2003 was Wednesday and the alarm was tripped that morning and each morning consecutively until Saturday. Most of the week my work entails goldsmithing, but on Saturdays I usually took the last 2 or 3 hours of the day to slice rocks on my diamond saw. To slice a rock is to be somewhat of an explorer since what is revealed has never been seen by anyone on Earth before, so this part of my job is, for me, the most entertaining. So I was very happily slabbing a very nice piece of Owyhee jasper ( to a rockhound that name means something) and I was getting some nice scenes as the slabs were coming away from the blade. I finished slicing the stone, turned off the machine and took off my ear defenders and mask. I then gathered up the oily slabs and was about to poke them into the bucket of kitty litter I use to clean up the slabs.

From the first room the customers enter came a cough and a sound like a hand running through a tub of tumble-polished stones. I assumed it to be a customer. Without waiting to insert the oily slabs into the kitty litter I went out with this rather leaky handful of gorgeous pieces to let my customer know I would be with them directly. The room was empty. I went into the next and the next room until I had gone through all six. Half way through my search I had begun calling, "Hello, hello!", so certain was I that I had heard someone. Then I searched through again looking behind counters and anywhere a human being could hide. Even now I can remember the sound I heard very clearly, yet there was no one there. Having done all I could to be sure there was only myself in the building, I shrugged and went back to the sawing room. I bent down and inserted the slabs well into the bucket of kitty litter, so they would be cleaning while I was sawing more slabs. The bucket was, at most, two feet behind me as I stood at the saw. I replaced the ear defenders on my head, adjusted my mask, clamped a rock into the saw and threw the switch. My thoughts were mostly on the sawing but I was still in wonder about those noises. At that point I thought I heard a noise through my ear defenders, but then, as people are wont to do, I discounted it, decided it was nothing and kept on working.

In a short while I had finished cutting another handful of slabs. I slipped off my ear defenders and turned around to insert these into the kitty litter. In the bucket, the slabs I had just inserted were all sitting on top of the litter and were swept entirely clean as though someone had just been admiring them. At that moment I felt no fear or chill from this unseen presence even though I had heard it immediately behind me. All I could think of was that the ghost was a rockhound and had extraordinarily good taste. My son came in not too long afterwards as the day was ending and I was getting things squared away for closing. I told him all about it and he listened in wide-eyed rapt attention. We turned off the lights, and before we set the security alarm my son said to no one in particular, "Could you please not trip the alarm?" It was some weeks before it mysteriously sounded again.

Happy Trails!