Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:
Case File No. 45-201
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Where We Left Off:
Our 200th case file went from routine patrolling to the Underground depths where a monster lurked.
The pandemic has fucked with our pipelines for fresh entertainment. Some production companies have been making episodes with social distancing and masks written into the show like Superstore. Others like WandaVision have kept their series short. Before COVID-19 (B.C.), there were shows that never seemed to get off the ground like Ghosted while during the pandemic, a similar show launched, Truth Seekers which was also canceled after only one season.
There’s this notion that certain types of creative people do better in times of stress and uncertainty. That whole “you must suffer for your art” nonsense. I prefer knowing I can pay my bills. What a silly idea! I don’t know if it’s the virus or more about the onslaught of winter snow that hit us in February, but I worried that I might not have anything interesting to say after the 200th case file.
On Truth Seekers (Amazon Prime), part of the plot involved ghosts being trapped in a numbers station which was still sending out signals from a different time period. Recording devices are truly ways to travel through time. We can listen to broadcasts from history like the Hindenburg disaster. Do you ever sit and think about how remarkable that is? Besides 24/7 entertainment, there is so much history. Aliens may land here some day and watch our “historical documents” and see that we did not deserve this planet.
This brings me to the machine I noticed in the hangar. I knew it was there. It’s been in the family for longer than I’ve been alive. It’s a reel-to-reel machine. One spool feeds the tape and other spool winds it up so tape isn’t all over the floor. I vaguely recall The Grumpy Old Man having a concert recorded. Other than that, I don’t remember it ever being used. I did learn how to edit tape using reels like that in college. I thought it was fun. Basically anyone of that era knew that if a machine ate your cassette and you didn’t want to throw it away, you could cut out the knotted part, apply a thin strip of Scotch tape and have a badly edited but functioning cassette again.
You may be wondering why I only took a photo of the machine instead of plugging it in and seeing if it worked. Mainly, I was busy with Gus looking for trespassers and squatters. Also, that place is a mess. It’s the white version of Sanford & Son. In fact, probably a whole lot messier than a junkyard. Junkyards have to be organized and cataloged in case you need find something. This is just mess. I understand half of it. I don’t think mechanical stuff is fit for the regular trash collection. But, when a vehicle needs to be brought in, all that crap is pushed and piled on the sides.
The last possible reason not to investigate the reel-to-reel machine is that it’s not mine. I don’t know what’s on it. There is definitely far more fear of what’s on today’s 21st recording devices because they are literally in every room. Tape reels from the 1970s though? If I touch them, they would probably snap immediately. Tape is fragile. I still have a box of VHS tapes in a closet from my first TV appearances and other family stuff. I have no desire to watch them. What if I did play an old tape and it sucked me through a temporal vortex into some awful time before the internet and Netflix? I remember that. I appreciate what we have now. If I got transported to Woodstock, what the hell would happen? Could I alter events and change something important like all the US Presidents since then? Would I be stuck Land of the Lost style?
Once my mind got on this train of thought, I developed full blown paranoia knowing that reel-to-reel machine was out there in that building. Anyone could stumble upon it!
I was in no condition to make decisions. I took a photo of the machine and after Gus was finished with his duties, we went inside to show Oliver. What should we do? Leave the machine there and pretend we didn’t find it? Oliver agreed that was the best course of action for right now. There was too much going on in the world, too much chaos and uncertainty, to be messing around with a possibly haunted tape deck.
Amber and Gus came upon a recording machine and contemplated whether to see if it was operational. After much discussion with Oliver Winchester, it was decided that it was best left alone.
Case Status: Closed
Other March Things:
March 17th is Burton Guster Nabu’s adoptiversary! He’s been here since 2016 and life has not been the same since.
The Spring Equinox, the official first day of Spring, is March 20th. It was also my Gram’s birthday so it’s been a special day my entire life. Gus and Ollie appreciate the spring flowers just as much as Gram did.
As it turns out, March 25th would have been the birthday of Francis Glessner Lee, the mother of modern forensics. You can find all kinds of articles and podcasts by people talking about FGL and her “nutshell studies” which were scale models of crime scenes used to help solve cases. We owe a great of gratitude to FGL for this brilliant concept. Now, prosecutors and defense lawyers may use computerized replicas or video to walk jurors through scenes, but models are still used in some cases. You might have seen Netflix’s documentary series, The Staircase, which showed various ways the forensics teams tried to recreate the events.