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Water music

03/04/04 12:00AM By Joe Citro
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(Host) Water has often been the source of inspiration for music, but today commentator Joe Citro has the story about a source of music with a watery twist.


(Citro) Lately, I have become interested in supernatural tales involving music. Music of the spheres, music from the grave, or - in today's case - music from the watery deep.

There is a lovely body of water in Connecticut called Gardner Lake. On certain warm, still summer evenings people near the shore, but especially boatmen and fishermen, report hearing a strange, faraway refrain that sounds as if it's being played on a piano. No matter how carefully they listen, it is impossible to determine exactly where the music is coming from. But young folks suspect what the old-timers know: it comes from the water itself.

In the past, certain divers used scuba gear to investigate. What they found more than 50-feet down may explain the mystery - at least in part. There, on the lake bottom, divers have located a full-size house, still partially furnished. In fact, they say the furniture inside seems remarkably well-preserved.

The submerged house has been there for a long while and its only inhabitants are fish, eel, and an array of underwater plants. Nothing there could play the piano divers spotted in the water filled parlor.

On the other hand, the mystery of how the house got there is easy to solve.

Its most recent owner hired a contractor to move the whole thing to a beautiful lot he had purchased on the opposite side of the lake. How to get it there was a problem easily solved: they'd wait till the lake froze over, then jack up the house, put it on sleds, and slide it across - furniture and all.

In the winter of 1899-1900 the process began. Everything went swimmingly, but a little slower than anticipated. By nightfall, the crew had dragged it only half-way. Cold and exhausted, they
decided to finish in the morning.

Next day, however, they were horrified to find the house leaning dangerously, having broken partway through the frozen surface. There was no way to pull it out, so they rescued what furniture they could. The piano, of course, was too big, too heavy and too dangerous to remove.

Come spring, everyone in town gathered to watch it sink. Surprisingly, it floated around for awhile, eventually bubbling its way to the bottom.

As far as we know, no one was killed in the process, but till this day someone - or something - has caused that mysterious music. Those who've investigated say its only source can be that old piano. Those who have heard it say they can't seem to forget it.

Perhaps the only explanation is witchcraft. After all, Gardner Lake is in the Connecticut town... of Salem.

This is Joe Citro.

Novelist Joe Citro is a native Vermonter. He lives in Burlington.

2004 Copyright Joseph A. Citro

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