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Something Happened Last Night, and I Cannot Explain it

I've been an online writer for over seven years. My articles often focus on DIY home projects, pet ownership, and fishing.

What my wife showed me this morning.

What my wife showed me this morning.

"Come here, I have something to show you..."

My wife took me outside this morning to show me something which she thought might explain what we heard last night around 10:00 or 10:15 PM. As we were lying down to go to sleep, we heard a sound like something falling against the house. We got out of bed, made our way around the house, looking out the windows. I even went outside the front, looking at our neighbor who had been hammering and pounding on his car and other assorted things for several hours. He is a handyman, of sorts, always doing something in his backyard, his pallet creations, something. He had another guy over there and although I could see them in their front yard light I could not tell if they had done something to make such a noise. It sounded much closer than next door, right up against the house in fact. I actually thought our plant stand, which we use for a bird feeder and sets right outside the side window in our front room had fallen, scraping against the side of the house. But it was still upright so it was not that.

So, what was it? A tree branch, what?

When my wife took me out back this morning, what I saw was something I cannot explain; not in any way, shape, or form.

Our granite umbrella stand, broken on one corner.

One corner of our granite umbrella stand was broken off this morning. Was that what we heard last night?

One corner of our granite umbrella stand was broken off this morning. Was that what we heard last night?

Is that what we heard?

I stood and looked, completely puzzled. Our granite umbrella stand, which we have had for over a decade, broken. One corner, which contains a metal rod and a synthetic wheel there (another is on the opposite corner and a handle the opposite side from the wheels in order to make it easier for a person to move around because it is heavy) was separated from the rest of the stand by a good two inches.The handle side was right smack up against the brick wall which surrounds our patio, and the little concrete bulldog sitting quietly beside the stand, right where he was supposed to be.

The bulldog ain't talking.

Now, last night we had a pretty good storm, wind and lightning and rain with a bit of hail tossed in for good effect. However, the storm didn't come in for another three or four hours after we heard the noise so I don't see how it could be associated with the storm.

Could it?


I have been in the neighborhood of very close lightning strikes several times before

Several times in my life I have been within spitting distance of lightning strikes. My first time was as a kid, camping at Stockton Lake. A storm came in so we huddled together in our camper, watching out the window. The sky lit up, and I watched in awe as a bolt of lightning stuck a nearby sailboat mast, shattering it to bits and pieces.

Several years later, I lived in a house in Webb City. A storm came up and after exercising my right to stupidity (I went up on the roof as the storm was coming in, taking pictures of the lighting as the storm moved closer. Yeah, stupid I know.) I went inside and watched out the front window at the wind, rain and hail. Then I was blinded by a lightning strike across the street as it connected with the neighbor's house gas meter. I ran outside and met the man who lived next door to the house which was struck and we went to look at the house itself. No apparent damage except for the main incoming gas line, which had a hole in it now. Gas was whistling through the tiny hole and we could smell it. I ran back inside and called the emergency number for the gas company as the owner of the home was not home at the time.

I have watched as it hit a support on my son's tree house, blowing a 4" x 4" to pieces and then running down a 50' zip line to another tree before peeling the bark of that tree off and sending it back up the zip line to the tree housing the tree house without burning the plastic coating which coated the zip line. Incidentally, the tree that lost the bark eventually died from the strike.

I been inside when it hit the concrete patio under the overhanging roof of a brand new house, blowing a piece of the concrete out of the ground and setting it down a foot away from the new crater.

But this?

The bulldog says "I didn't see nothin'! My back was turned!"

The bulldog says "I didn't see nothin'! My back was turned!"

No light, minimal sound

There was no light, no sound like a lightning strike. Our son's window is a mere ten feet from the umbrella stand and he was awake. As I said, the storm didn't arrive for another four hours or so, so I don't think it was associated with it. What I heard was more like something falling against the house but I have absolutely have no idea whatsoever what caused this to break.

We had another storm a couple of days ago and some wind came up unexpectedly (God I wish I had known about meteorology when I was young! That is the only job where you can be wrong more than right and still keep your job!). We had left home for a while and when we returned, the umbrella was lifted out of the stand and tossed across the yard. The upright piece of the umbrella was broken at the movable joint yet the umbrella itself was fine. Whenever a storm is coming my wife always pulls it out and lays it on the ground to protect against this; there was no advance notice of high winds so we were unprepared. Last night, we were prepared; we took the umbrella out and laid it down.

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And something happens to the granite stand. Go figure.

I have done research and know that lightning can strike far in advance of a storm, but we should have experienced the bright light and deafening sound of a strike so close to our house, not a sound like something falling against the house. It doesn't make sense.

I am confused, befuddled, bewildered. As I said, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. If anyone has any ideas, I would LOVE to hear them!

Take care, friends.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mr Archer


Matt Barnes on May 19, 2020:

I would say someone was peeping into your window and lost their balance

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 18, 2020:

Kathy, thanks for coming back and commenting again. The story about the man who lost his arms... Hell Yeah! He deserves that beer for sure! I know it can do some amazing things and strike when least expected but I just wish that little bulldog could tell us what he saw.

Kathy Henderson from Pa on May 18, 2020:

Still, loved the bulldog comment. If only he could share. I have seen lightening do some horrible things. In my role as a therapist in physical rehabilitation lightening cases were the toughest. One guy lost both arms to a devastating strike. He was a pole worker. When I was working with him, he was struggling to adjust and extremely frustrated. Then one day a fellow patient rolled his wheelchair into my office where I was charting to narc on said patient. They began to tell me the guy without arms was out on the corner in front of the hospital in the bus stop shelter drinking a beer. I said, you mean the guy with no arms, found a beer, picked it up, figured out how to open it and it drinking it. The tattle person said, YES! I said, that young man earned that beer. I almost wanted to join him in celebration, but I left him to his moment. Lightening is perplexing and beautiful at the same time. I have seen it put holes in many things but granite is a new one. But with enough force, I believe it is possible. It bounced off a flag pole at my workplace once and damaged an area near our outdoor pool. I watched it strike from inside and was like, WOW, that happened!

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 18, 2020:

While that might be possible, I cannot see him venturing over the fence, through the trees, onto our porch, picking up the umbrella stand and dropping it back exactly into its place and thus breaking the corner off. Possible, yes; but improbable at best. He has never ventured over here or even spoken to us before.

Me on May 17, 2020:

Your neighbor did it.

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 17, 2020:

Marie, thank you Ma'am. I have to believe it was lightning but still, it was strange to think it was silent.

Emily, I have never known anyone who was struck by lightning. No noise for you either, eh? This is strange stuff! And a policeman who was struck not one, not two but three times in his life?! Reminds me of the character in the John Candy film The Great Outdoors. Take care and thank you for stopping by a to give me that information.

Emily on May 17, 2020:

I had been struck by lightning thru the front door at my grandmothers house when I was younger. It was so fast and made no noise. I had on foam shoes but every hair on my body stood out like I had a shock from an electrical appliance. I think the metal screen on the front door might have weakened it before it came thru two rooms to hit me. My husband worked with a policeman that was struck 3 times, one day while he was working a wreck and no storm. It does strange things.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 16, 2020:

It really doesn't take much to make a flaw in something to give way. I have a molar, for example, that lost a cusp while eating a peanut butter sandwich--nothing hard. The base of this umbrella stand reminds me of my tooth.

Whatever made the noise before the storm may not necessarily have caused the break, but it could have. I wonder if hail wasn't involved. One ball (they can get pretty big) falling and melting?

Lightning is quite possible too. In fact, more than possible. The clap of thunder is usually delayed unless the storm is directly on top of you. When I look at the fallen trees back in the woods on my natal family's farm, there is frequent evidence of lightning's effect.

Don't spend too much time on this, Dan. What's done is done. You probably have some grouting and/or plastering skills to patch this up so that at least looks normal. The gnomes that work with granite will help you while that little concrete bulldog supervises.

Have a miraculous day!

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 15, 2020:

Wow! It came in the house by the window?! Holy ____! It is crazy as all get out for sure. All I can come up with is lightning but no sound? No flash? Weird! The umbrella stand is granite, which is conductive. It has a metal tube to hold the umbrella upright, so that is another plus for lightning. I just cannot understand there be no after effects like thunder and bright light/flash that normally accompanies a strike. Ah well, mine is not to reason why...

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 15, 2020:

Having been in a house hit by lightening when I was a child, I vote for the lightening strike. That is if you still can't find anything lying around the yard that might have hit it. Lightening does funny things.

Our family were all sitting in the living room and watched as lightening hit a large oak tree growing about 8 or 10 ft. from the outside wall. It came through just below the window, knocking off part of the east wall, and made a left turn, going through a framed Norman Rockwell print on the north wall and continuing through into the closet in the contiguous bedroom. The glass and frame exploded, but the print wasn't harmed. Neither were the clothes in the closet.

Scared the daylights out of us, though. And the odor, the ozone was so strong that we were surprised that nothing caught fire. Yep, lightening does strange things.

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 15, 2020:

We always seem to have good storms here. Wind, hail, heavy rain, tornadoes, heavy snow, ice. We got it all! They say if you don't like the weather, stick around a few minutes, it'll change! Take care Miz Liz.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 15, 2020:

It's a mystery. It certainly must have been some storm.

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 15, 2020:

Cheyenne, yes they were there before. This patio is a large piece of concrete, fifty years old and there have been settling in areas beneath it that have caused them. I have thought about trying to repour it but it would be pretty expensive and labor intensive. Unfortunately, the older I get the more I tend to avoid labor intensive activities.

Take care Cheyenne and stay safe.

Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on May 15, 2020:

Thanks Bill. It is bugging me for sure. I hate things not explainable. I remember seeing the Spook Light in Hornet, Mo. years ago. I saw it right in front of my car one night, flashing and lighting up the interior of my car with no sound whatsoever. Scared the crap out of me! The old TV show That's Incredible! highlighted it once years ago. Well, if you think of anything that might explain it, please let me know, okay? Thanks buddy.

Kathy, glad you enjoyed this but I really want some answers here! It is something I just don't know or understand and I am confused! Seriously, I have been near several strikes and if this was one, it is the strangest one I have ever heard of. My son found something online about indirect lightning strikes, where it hits somewhere else then an offshoot of the strike surfaces in another spot completely. I have to wonder if this is what happened. Thanks and take care Ma'am.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 15, 2020:

Mike, were the cracks in the concrete there before the granite broke?

Kathy Henderson from Pa on May 15, 2020:

Mr. Archer-

Interesting article, have to say, I giggled out loud at the "Bulldog ain't talking" comment. Lightening is a very perplexing thing. Where and how it strikes confusing at times. I have never been a fan when it is close! But to see it out in the ocean from the shoreline is a beautiful sight. Hope you figure out this dilemma. Thanks for the giggle!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 15, 2020:

I've got nothing for you, buddy, but it is baffling for sure. I hope you find out what happened. That kind of thing would bug me for months.

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