During the course of my Police career, there were a number of occasions when I began to doubt the sanity of the person with whom I was dealing. However I soon learned that truth is very often stranger than fiction and that I should keep an open mind about things which were on occasions mystifying. The instance of “The Bell” is a perfect example of the fact that one should not jump to conclusions!
During the time I worked at Trentham, many people ceased to be members of the public but became more of friends to me. One such person was an elderly Widow who lived alone in a bungalow. Over the years I got to know her quite well and always thought of her as a normal rational person, until that is, the mystery door bell ringer arrived on the scene. It all began one evening when she rang Stoke Police Station to say that someone kept ringing her door bell and when she opened the door there was no one there. I was duly despatched to investigate. I sat with her for about an hour (we were not quite so busy in those days) but the bell did not ring. It rang again the next day and the next day and so on for a week or two then it went quiet. After a few weeks it started again and then stopped and then started again and so it went on for some considerable time. Throughout the time I used to go and spend what time I could spare with the lady concerned. However the bell never rang while I was there. It also did not ring when any of her friends or relations were there either. This led us to start thinking she was attention seeking. How wrong we were!!!
I was at home one evening when the telephone rang. It was a man who was a friend of the lady with the bell. “I have solved the mystery of the bell” he announced very proudly. The bell had actually rung while he was at the bungalow. More to the point it rang again just as he was opening the front door to find no one there. It rang again while he was at the open door!!!! He then decided to dismantle the bell push and to his surprise he found the cause of the mystery bell ringing – a nest of spiders!!!