The 3am Phenomenon

I awake with a jolt. It takes a few seconds for the static of sleep to clear. What woke me up? I check my phone; it’s 3am. Fucks sake. A cacophony emanates from downstairs, and I realise that the television has turned its self on. Again.

“It’s your turn” mumbles my better half from under his duvet cave, so I gird my loins and make the terrifying journey down the dark, dark stairs, and into our eerily TV-lit sitting room to turn off the offending appliance, before Murder she Wrote reruns threaten to wake the whole neighbourhood. The second I hit power off, I’m racing back up the stairs two at a time, and back to the safety of bed.

The TV has turned its self on a few times now, and always, without fail, at precisely three in the morning. I don’t think it would scare my husband and I quite so much if it weren’t for films like Poltergeist and The Ring, but there’s something very unsettling about TVs switching themselves on for no reason in the middle of the night.

“3am is a thing” said my friend at work the following day.

I asked what she meant.

“It’s something to do with Satan, you know, three sixes. It’s like a joke…”

“…an evil Satan joke” she added, helpfully.

I Google 3am, and sure enough this time of day/night has been awarded several charming sounding names such as ‘The Witching  Hour’, ‘The Devil’s Hour’ and my personal favourite, ‘The Hour of the Dead’. According to the various websites, wikis and blogs I read, 3am is the preferred time for ghosts, demons and ghouls to do their thing. There’s also more crime, suicide and general bad shit occurring at this time of the night/morning than at any other.

Despite learning that 3am ‘is a thing’ (and a supposedly satany evil paranormal thing), I’m not convinced my house is haunted. Even though my house is very, very old, and even though I have watched far too many paranormal horror films for my own good.

There are two reasons for my disbelief that this phenomenon is the work of ghoulish apparitions.

Firstly, if I were a malevolent spirit, imbued with the power to affect the molecules of things and stuff in the mortal realm, I like to think my displays would be a little more ambitious than channel surfing. Surely demons have better things to do than switch on Freeview for shits and giggles?

Maybe our ghost just really, really, really wants to catch up on Hollyoaks.

Besides, I have a suspect in mind who I believe is far more likely to be playing these nighttime practical jokes on me. Like Satan, he gets immense pleasure from playing with the minds of humans, tormenting and tricking them into doing his bidding. He has long, sharp talons, pointy ears and a tail, and he’s an evil genius. But, unlike the aforementioned dark overlord, he is very much alive and well in this dimension. I am of course referring to my cat.


I would be far more likely to blame the 3am phenomenon on ghosts if it weren’t for the fact that my chubby little feline friend has excellent technological skills. I learned this one night when I was awoken from my slumber to the terrifying sound of a mans voice, devoid of any recognizable regional accent, shouting the names of random characters at me.

“One! A! X! Nine! Ampersand! Four! Shift!” Shouted the voice.

“What the fuck? Eh?! Jesus Christ!” Shouted me.

Once my husband and I had finished shouting profanities at no one in particular, we switched the light on to discover that, in his ever increasingly creative attempts to ensure we never enjoyed a single, unbroken sleep ever again, our cat had taught himself to use the audio keys on our lap top, and was happily typing away with his evil little paws.

And guess what the time was when he performed this act of audio night terrorism? You’re damn right.

Knowing that our cat has better IT skills than I do, I find it perfectly acceptable to apportion the blame to him for the 3am ‘thing’. If he can use Windows 8, I’m confident he has the dexterity to tread on our remote control.

What I’m less sure of, is whether I should be more scared because he is a technological wizard, or because he can apparently also tell the time.

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