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Aunt Sylvie's Computer Pranks


A few months back, I thought to write about my meeting my 4x great Aunt Sylvie, a witch, who lived in the foothills of Kentucky. I'm speaking in the traditional sense of the word witch. The woman had 'powers' and could do things that 'normal' folk just can't without trickery of some sort.

(Notice the quotation marks. The words 'powers', and 'normal' are not of my choosing, but rather what family said. I'd rather think she had advanced abilities that others fail to develop, which wouldn't necessarily make her a witch.) However it has proven problematic, every time I attempt to submit it something happens that results in not posting it.

The first time I tried, the word file where I had carefully written the events out simply vanished without a trace. My desk may look like a random explosion has taken place, but my computer is very organized. That file was no where to be found. Although I did come up with a misfiled (?) picture of Aunt Sylvie laughing. How it got into a word file, I've no idea.

Another time, my keyboard decided to have a mind of its own. It simply would not type. It worked every place else but on the submission page. Finally frustrated, I closed out YGS - and what pops up on my screen? Aunt Sylvie's picture.

A week or so later, I had re-written my accounting, saved it, but left it open so that I could copy and paste it into the submission box. My mouse refused to copy and paste. Fine, then I'd just transcribe it into the box. Click 'submit' and - the screen went blank returning with a "Error 404" for the submission page. This time, no picture of Aunt Sylvie appeared, but I could swear I heard her wind chime like laugh.

Stuff like that happens every single time I try and submit it. Every. Time.

Although I met her over 40 years ago, I guess Aunt Sylvie just isn't ready to be 'discussed' by strangers. She didn't even care for family to talk about her much. (If you did it had better be nice, because somehow she ALWAYS knew.)

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, valkricry, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-27)
Pirated version = virus/malware

Me thinks you were a victim of a Hacker... Not the Paranormal...

Considering the laptop never recovered and you turned it in...

Just my opinion though.


priya- (1 stories) (19 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-27)
lady-glow - OMG, I did not think I would get that question. 😁
Okey, let me clear -
1. About movie watch in office - well, being software developer, I actually need to work 10-12 hours to work. Work is flexible - no fix work time/ hours defined. All employees given with laptops which we can carry home and complete work as per schedule. So, had I watch movie in office? - no. Had I watch movie during work-hours? - well, no. I watched it from 11:30pm until 1 AM. Pirated version. Online using my internet. (sorry). After finishing my work that day.
2. How come movie could be related to crash with my laptop?- well, I know, this sounds stupid, I read many creepy reviews and stories related to this movie that made me think so strongly that something will definitely happen to my laptop. One more reason was, before watching movie, actually, I had kept my watsapp profile pic as this movie's release pic and in next couple of days was very luckily saved in an accident. So removed that pic instantly. I now strongly think such movies attract negative things.
3. Regarding my unemployment - yes, this post or my weird exp has nothing to do with it. I resigned finally after telling 4 times my manager to shift me in other project as current one was in different technology than my expertise and interest. Every time my nice (or may be wise who knows he would not get new developer with such low pay for that outdated old dull dumb project) manager convinced me not to resign. He promoted me and gave me 30% hike - which more annoyed me as I started feeling guilty along with depressed that I'm not right developer for this projects. So, finally resigned without having new job. He shocked too. Actually I recently lost my father and since then feeling of sadness covered me lot - at home and in office.
Im feeling happy as now I'm studying things I love and applying for interviews. This year was soo different for me; hope will get job soon. Sorry for making this post lengthy, actually I did not spoke to anyone all these things going on in my life since my father left. Everything I pressed inside me told here today. U can just ignore. Thanks... Bye... Happy new year:)
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-27)
Hmm...really? 🤔

Priya: do you mean you spent over two of your working hours watching a movie in the office? How often did you watch movies while at work?

Could it be possible that someone got wind of your activities and blocked your access to the internet because you were not supposed to waste over two working hours watching a movie and getting paid for it?

Think about it, Valcrikry's aunt Sylvie was the spirit of a REAL person, the 'spirits' in the movie are actors and the product of special effects.

In my opinion, your experience had nothing to do with paranormal forces and, makes me wonder, if your current unemployed situation was your personal choice or your employer's decision. 🤔
priya- (1 stories) (19 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-27)
I had such experience with my office laptop; after watching the conjuring 2 movie online, my laptop crashed after 2 days. It was never happened before and laptop was new - I was first user. It never crashed or even slowed-down before in-spite of having 20+ browsing windows, 3-4 programming platforms, at-least 5+ reports, 10+ applications, 5+ vm rdc open and running and simultaneously accessed. However, while watching that movie, I had no app/service running except browser. I believe, some forces are so strong to make our equipment work unexpectedly. Anyways, I returned laptop, quit that job and now looking for a new one. Your post reminded me of that incident.
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
6 years ago (2017-12-27)
You know that one geeky friend everyone takes their computer problems to? Apparently, I'm her. Lol I did run diagnostic tests and several anti-virus programs, just on the off chance there was something mundane going on. I even considered it being a prank by human hands, but several things made me cancel that idea; I'm the only one with access to my computer, even the desk top is password protected, and no one knew I was writing about Aunt Sylvie, so it wasn't like something I could get from email links. Certainly had me scratching my head!
Rex-T (5 stories) (288 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-25)

Hope this comment finds you taking it easy or at least, having a chuckle.

Jubeele put me onto your experience with 4 x great Aunt Sylvie and a naughty computer. As I read your experience, I was drawn into trying to analyse your computer's pranks (that's my sceptical technician's side).

Hmmm... Different parts of the computer hardware failing, had to be a software issue probably a virus, but who would have introduced a virus into the computer?

With her 'advanced abilities' and motive, my 'open minds eye' could see that great Aunty Sylvie could be the perpetrator.

I do wonder if you had hired a computer tech to fix the problem, the outcome would have seen the tech walking out the door, scratching his head, absolutely defeated. I felt this way after my second attempt at fixing Mrs Smith's telephone line in 'Ghost in the Wire?'

Arthur played little tricks but wow, your Great Aunty Sylvie seems so strong and focused.

spiritwaiting (42 stories) (843 posts)
7 years ago (2017-08-07)

Your Great Aunt Sylvie sounds like quite the character! 😁

It's fascinating she knew you were trying to discuss her and tried what she could to keep it from happening.

Love this!

Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
7 years ago (2017-08-03)
Val, that was no trouble at all - you are welcome.

It would be amazing if Aunt Sylvie allowed you to publish her story, or part thereof. Maybe after writing to her, as Biblio suggested, she will feel more amenable to your endeavours.

It is very true, as Biblio said, that older generations did not like their affairs aired in public. My Auntie once told me a *huge* family secret. After the telling, I was like, "What? So what was so bad about that?" To me it was just a morsel of gossip, nothing to get your knickers in a knot about. To her, it was something 'hush-hush' that hadn't been spoken about for three generations. Go figure? 😕
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-08-02)
I don't think your suggestion sounds so odd. In fact, I think it's a bit similar to Tweed's about leaving the tab to YGS up, or BGP's that I talk to her and explain.
A letter would be form of communication that Aunt Sylvie would understand. We did correspond for a short while before her demise. She had that spidery Old English type handwriting, with all those loops and curly-ques. I do like your suggestion of letting her know she's free to edit.
I do think it's a bit odd, that she's been quiet all this time, until I decided to talk about her though. 🤔
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
7 years ago (2017-08-02)
Greetings, Val.

Odd as this may sound, have you tried typing out a letter *addressed* to Aunt Sylvie? Given the timeframe (a great-great-great-great-aunt!), you may wish to explain the internet as a type of telegram with multiple recipients who may each reply so that everyone can see the responses. While this may seem like an archaic metaphor, telegrams were in use from 1844 until Western Union stopped providing the service in 2006. (Sidenote: during a research project, I discovered that the Beinecke Library at Yale has several telegrams to and from Langston Hughes in the late 1930s through the mid-1950s in their collection of his papers!) They were a commonplace service to transmit information quickly and accurately before the Telex (created in the 1930s), the Fax (facsimile printer; the first attempt was patented in England in 1843!), e-mails, and texting.

As she permitted your recounting the problems of submitting the narrative, she may be amenable to have parts of her story told with discreet respect for sensibilities she would have taken for granted in a more reserved era. I'm under no illusion whatever about the private behaviors of people of all social strata during that time, but it was gauche to parade one's private life as a public spectacle. To avoid her being offended by your recounting elements of her life, you may wish to include in the message that she should feel free to delete or change words, even sentences, which are uncomfortable for her. That way, she'll have an element of control over the events you choose to recount, and we'll get to hear about someone who --given her apparent age and her ability to delete computer files-- sounds fascinating!

Hope this helps.

valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-08-01)
Thanks for looking at the photo and agreeing it looks authentic. 😊 Since she allowed me to send you the picture, maybe she'll allow me to submit the story soon!
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
7 years ago (2017-08-01)
That will be great, Val.
I will keep my eyes peeled. 😆 I am no expert, but I do have quite a few ancient photos of folks that passed on before I was born.

Hope I can be of help. ❤
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-08-01)
Fergie! Hello! I have one of those sepia's of a friend and me too. 😆 The feel is just...different.
I'll tell you what, I can try to email you a copy and you can tell me what you think. Maybe I just need some different eyes on this?
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
7 years ago (2017-08-01)
Weird stuff, Val.

We all know that computers can do inexplicable things, but that is just crazy! 😕

As far as your picture of a young Aunt Sylvie goes, is there a possibility that she was dressed up for fancy-dress, or maybe took part in a play? That would account for her dressing in clothes of a by-gone age.
Just a thought.

I have a sepia photo of hubby and myself dressed in 1800s clothes. It was taken at an historical town (Pilgrim's Rest) when we visited some years ago. Also have one of Angel and her friend. What a fun long weekend that was! 😁
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-07-31)
BeautInside and lady_glow,
Thanks for reading! I think if I'm ever permitted to post her story, she'd certainly behave with your computers. Lol
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-07-31)
Interesting idea on the file switch... Only I'm not sure how a.jpg (picture) could be read as a document file by the computer.
I only have one picture, that I was told is her, and that is slightly different then the one that popped up. When it popped up, she was clearly laughing, but in the one I have she's very sober faced.
I only noticed because I pulled it up looking at it's file extension to see if maybe there was something to your idea. It's a very old time portrait picture, not a close up and she's quite young in it - maybe 15 or so. It trips me up, because mathematically it doesn't add up. Her mode of dress and hair style look to be circa 1860, which would have put her around 130 when I met her. I've known folks to live a long time but...
I can think of 2 rational explanations: 1) A simple case of misidentifying who is in the picture. I was told long ago, this was her. No reason not to believe it, so even if it wasn't, maybe she still chose it to ID herself with? 2) Maybe I have the era wrong. I'm not infallible - but I don't think I'm wrong. And I do know she was down right ancient...
Sorry about prattling on so. But, as I recently said to someone, the devil is in the details. And accepting 130 as an age...
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-07-31)
Tweed, somehow I over-looked your earlier comment. Sorry! I guess it's possible it's a generational thing with the internet on her behalf. Your comment did make me wonder though... What if what I'm perceiving as stonewalling her story, is actually her figuring things out? You know, a type of "If I do this, then that little box does that" type thing? It truly does make one go hmmm.
Secretly (yeah real secret, as I'm telling you. Lol) I'm glad you've had similar experiences with your guardian, because it makes me feel a little less nuts about this.
BeautInside (3 stories) (326 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-31)
Hi Valkricry,

Wawww! That'd be too much of a coincidence I believe!

I guess it just proves how Aunt Sylvie's abilities were, and apparently still are, strong.
I think Melda is absolutely right, it is her prerogative only... 😊

L_Melb (220 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-30)
Yes, I too would love to hear more of aunt Sylvie's exploits!
I wonder Val, have you ever saved photos of her to your computer? If saved with her name, maybe it linked similar named files 😕 - yes, that is what is called "grasping at straws"
Somehow, I don't think I'm going to come up with a half decent reason for any of this but, as always, it is a pleasure reading something from you 😁
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-29)
Val: it'd be hard to come up with a logical explanation for all those events. I just hope that, if Aunt Sylvie ever allows you to share her story, she won't haunt all the members's computers!
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-29)
Val - Quite so. There are some abilities I won't regret losing but there are so many I'd love to gain. Maybe, time will tell...

Get on with it and tell us about Aunt Sylvie! One thing I for sure won't lose is my ability to be curious.

Regards, Melda
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-07-29)
Melda, all I can say is maybe, perhaps. Lol It does make me wonder though, if those who have certain abilities in this life, retain those abilities in the here after?
valkricry (49 stories) (3275 posts) mod
7 years ago (2017-07-29)
Yep, it certainly is weird. The only thing I can think of is that being a witch wasn't exactly socially popular until the 50's and 60's. Even now, some still think of a witch as someone to be feared, although it seems a great many are more than happy to claim the label publicly.
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-28)
aah, Val, things that make you go hmmmm.

I figured my guardian wouldn't like me writing stuff about him on here. He's such a private person but he's surprised me with how much he doesn't mind me sharing. I think he reads YGS over my shoulder and somehow 'gets' what we're all about, or the regulars at least. Maybe your Aunt Sylvie would feel more comfortable if you introduced her to YGS. Could be as simple as showing her the forum, leaving it open for her to peruse at her leisure. She might not have a grasp on the internet too, despite being able to manipulate files etc. It could be a generational barrier with the internet.

I hope she's cool with you sharing stuff someday, she's certainly peaked our curiosity! 😆
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-28)
Val - Considering all the pranks Aunt Sylvie got up to, obviously insisting on remaining incognito, she certainly must have had many abilities in life and still has them after!

Now that she's allowed you to break the ice and probably satisfied that her numerous talents precede anything else that you might have to say, perhaps she'll allow you to go ahead and tell us more.

Well it certainly seems that Aunt Sylvie wants to make it quite clear that when and how you write her story is her prerogative 😆

Regards, Melda
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
7 years ago (2017-07-28)
That is so weird Val. I wonder what it is in your account that she doesn't want you to discuss or maybe it's the whole thing.

Maybe if you have a talk with her and explain what you're doing, she'll be a little more convinced that it's all good and may be helpful to others who read it. 😕

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