Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How odd and possibly creepy is this?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (27283points) April 12th, 2012

About a half an hour ago, there was a light knock on the front door. Since there is an operative doorbell and I wasn’t expecting anyone, the knock was ignored. Typically, it’s person dropping off a flyer, and they lightly knock to alert the owner.

I just opened the door, and sure enough, there was a lawn service flyer stuck in the door. No big deal. When I glanced down though, there was an intact light bulb on the stoop.

The first thought was that someone might have taken the porch light apart in order to provide a darkened environment for a break-in, but the light is untouched and in working order.

So why in the world would a person walk up to a front porch and put a light bulb there? It isn’t like someone tossed it from the street or sidewalk. The porch is about 20 yards from the road. It is made of a pebbled concrete surface. The bulb is glass. Are criminal shenanigans at work in our neighborhood?

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31 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

I don’t know if it is a sign of criminal activity but I could swear this same scenario was an opening for a Twilight Zone episode a few decades ago. (Or was it the X-Files?)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Is your porch light still in? Is it a bulb they removed from one of your light fixtures somewhere else on your property?

Often, people will remove the light bulbs from fixtures they can reach if they are intending to attempt a break in at a later time in the evening.

If it happened to me, I’d keep an eye on my neighbors porch lights. I’d also email my local police station just to give them a heads up.

Bellatrix's avatar

Perhaps they were carrying the light bulb and put it on the mat so they could stick the flyer in the door and forgot to pick the light bulb up again? I have no idea why they would carry a light bulb around with them. Oh wait! Could have been this guy!

Berserker's avatar

@Bellatrix That guy’s always leaving light bulbs all over my lawn.

CWOTUS's avatar

Maybe it’s someone doing you a favor.

Check the bulb to see if it works. If it doesn’t… maybe a neighbor noticed that one of your lights was burned out, and replaced it. It’s a possibility, anyway.

Trillian's avatar

Sounds like a CSI episode waiting to happen. Check your locks and keep your porch light on. Seriously.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Bluefreedom That’s very interesting.

@SpatzieLover and @CWOTUS There are two outdoor light fixtures. The one on the front porch is ceiling-mounted, so the bulb has to be changed by removing the cover with a screwdriver and the aid of a step stool. The other is in the back yard which is fenced in. Both are in operating order. Because of this, I doubt that they were tampered with.

The only time I turn on the front porch light is if I am expecting someone, so there is no reason for a kind neighbor to change a bulb.

@Bellatrix That might be a possibility, and I agree with you that it would be odd for someone to carry a light bulb around when they are delivering flyers. Maybe he found it in the front yard and was doing a good deed by moving it out of the way of a lawn mower. The thing is, I rarely use the front door, so I only know it wasn’t there two weeks ago.

@Trillian Don’t CSI agents investigate grisly murders? Thanks for that comforting thought. :) The locks are always fastened. This includes a wrought-iron enforced screen door and a metal front door. There are three locks in all. I don’t bother turning the porch light on at night because I’m often not home for weeks or months at a time.

janbb's avatar

How many lawn flyer deliverers does it take to drop a lightbulb?

CWOTUS's avatar

I think you missed my point, @Pied_Pfeffer. If the bulb that was left is non-functional, then it may be that it (the one you found) may have been replaced by a good one from a Good Samaritan neighbor who saw one burned out that you didn’t see. If I’m right about that, then it’s “no shit, of course it works” because that was the intent.

It’s a stretch, but the whole scenario is a stretch.

If it had been some kind of message, then I think it’d be delivered in a more obvious way, wouldn’t it? Obviously it’s not vandalism; a vandal would have smashed a bulb on your porch (or one in the fixture, or something like that). I do minor favors for my neighbors all the time, such as wheeling their wheelie-bins up to the house after the trash pickup if they don’t get to it the same day. (Nothing says “no one is home” like leaving the trash can on the curb for days on end after the pickup.) Replacing a burned-out bulb is the kind of thing that I’d do if I noticed it. (But I wouldn’t leave one on the porch. No, not that.)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It’s odd but you’d need more evidence to call it creepy.

wundayatta's avatar

Under the orange tree! [Cue Twilight Zone theme]

Be creeped out! Very creeped out!

chyna's avatar

I think I would call the local police department, not the emergency line, just their office and ask them if this is something you should be concerned about, if it is something they have heard of going on in the neighborhood.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@CWOTUS Thanks for the clarification. The light is rarely, if ever on, so that rules out a good neighbor theory.

@Dr_Lawrence I agree for now that it is just odd. Before it gets shifted to creepy, I’d like an explanation that, well, creeps me out.

@SpatzieLover and @chyna I’ll most likely take your advice and contact the local police. At least if they say, “Nope, haven’t had any reports on this”, it it’s less to worry about. Worst case scenario, they may respond with, “Mam, your house has been targeted by The Light Bulb Gang. We’ll send a squad car right over to take a look at the house and collect the evidence.”

marinelife's avatar

I would call the number of the lawn flyer and ask the person if they left the light bulb and why.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@marinelife I may just do that. If I’m going to wear the detective cap, all clues need to be perused.

marinelife's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Do let us know what happens.

ETpro's avatar

If it was placed where you might step if you came out of the front door onto the porch, then my guess is it’s neighborhood kids playing a prank. They hoped you’d step out of the door and pop the light bulb.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@ETpro I hadn’t thought of that. It is unlikely though, as it was located slightly less than two feet from the door and not on the welcome mat.

ETpro's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Beats me then. Maybe it rolled from the original position. Or maybe you’ve got a neighbor that is simply stark raving insane. :-)

avalmez's avatar

Maybe some nearby neighbor finds your existing light objectionable (glaring, too bright, etc.) and is making a recommendation…it could happen! if you know your neighbors well, strike this…

mazingerz88's avatar

There is this fairly recent movie where the leading character is a rubber tire. Just so you know.

ucme's avatar

Maybe it was a secret admirer who initially plucked up the courage to knock on your door, but then bashfully withdrew, leaving you a gift of a ligh…......no, that doesn’t work.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@avalmez The porch light is rarely on and never overnight. The people across the street have bedrooms that face my house, and I wouldn’t want it to bother them. Plus, there is enough distance between the two houses that it really shouldn’t be an issue.

UPDATE: There was a name and number scrawled on flyer, so I just called and left a rather embarrassing message and asked the guy to please call me back.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

New Update: Lawn service guy called back. He said that he doesn’t recall noticing it, which is quite possible. He also mentioned that if he had, his company has a strict policy about not touching any personal belongings.

So, next call was to the police. They were willing to send a squad car over to investigate, and I told them not to bother as there is no sign of vandalism. The officer said to please call back if I changed my mind.

This little mystery will just have to go into the cold case files. Thanks to everyone for their contributions.

mazingerz88's avatar

Cold case files? Not until a jelly-cop has given us his opinion on the matter maybe. I’m activating the @john65pennington jelly signal right now. : )

john65pennington's avatar

First, what was the name of the lawn service?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @mazingerz88

@john65pennington, I just sent the name of the company to you via PM. What are your thoughts?

Bellatrix's avatar

The Case of the Deposited Light Bulb by Pied Pfeffer Holmes.

SomeoneElse's avatar

Were they just making light work of delivering flyers? Bulbs are planted . . . . what would grow? Well, that’s a case for Sherlock Ohms . . .

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Bellatrix and @SomeoneElse Good ones! And I can laugh since the initial panic is gone.

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