Thursday, October 27, 2016

When Halloween Comes to the Museum........

It has been said that if you listen carefully enough to the many drums in the NCCHP Archives collection on Halloween you will hear the faintest of sounds, "rat-a-tat.... rat-a-tat.... rat-a-tat-tat-tat" very slowly at first, then louder and louder until at the stroke of midnight, like thunder, "BOOM!" from the bass drums, followed again by the soft "rat-a-tat" of the snares fading into silence by the break of dawn.

Some say it is the spirit of Phil Collins haunting the place where his famous Noble & Cooley snare drum was created but his new memoir "Not Dead Yet" reminds us he is alive and well. Perhaps the spirits of the old Noble & Cooley Drum Makers Band are having some fun after hitting a case of hard cider, just to take the chill off of course. But in some parts of the world the explanation is simple: talking drums. Each drum finds its voice.

Our NCCHP blog theory on the matter is this: The Archives collection includes not only a wealth of books and documents, but hundreds of toy drums that never left the Noble & Cooley factory. They were never a birthday or holiday gift so have existed for the last 100 years, more or less, as orphan drums. Every year at Halloween the spirits of children who wished for a toy drum but never received one come to the museum and treat themselves to a night of fun, while tricking we mortals with the mystery of the drums. Why else would some claim that the last thing they heard coming from the building with the break of dawn was the mischievous, fading laughter of children?

Just imagination? Maybe. But before writing the story off as fiction consider the photo below, taken of what had been a plain drum prior to Halloween and discovered the next day to have been painted with an eerie Halloween scene, well and truly tricking and perplexing we grown-up mortals. Pretty scary!

The mysterious NCCHP Halloween Drum
(Photo courtesy of Robert Watrous)