The Crescent-News, Wednesday, July 9, 1975, Defiance, Ohio

Mystery Puddles Plague Ayersville Family

By Pam Bigford, C-N Staff Writer

THE MYSTERIOUS APPEARING water threatens to ruin many of the Frederick's belongings, and Mrs. Clyde Frederick and daughter Julie are kept busy seeking new appearances of the moisture and wiping it up. Crescent-News photo.

While rain In Spain may fall mainly on the plain, all the precipitation in Ayersville seems to be falling In the Clyde Frederick house.

In? Yes, inside their house. It may be incorrect, however, to refer to the moisture in the Fredrick house as rain since It doesn't really fall. It just appears. Everywhere. All the time.

"It comes In spells," Mrs. Ann Frederick said, with an ever-present towel in her hand. "We might not see any for a couple of hours and then it will look like there's been a shower In the house."

The water gives no warning; it makes no sound when it appears. But turn around and there's a puddle on the TV. Or on the shelves. Or in a drawer or in the coal bucket.

It's a strange phenomenon, and one that none of the plumbers, Water works employees or insurance men who have visited the house have been able to explain. Even the National Weather Bureau admitted It has never heard of a case like the one in Ayersville.

The eerie saga began Saturday night when Ann and Clyde Frederick and their children, Julie and Danny, left their home at 9 p.m. to pay a short visit to a friend's house. When they returned at 10 p.m., the kitchen floor was full of water. Puddles have been relentlessly appearing ever since.

"It's hard to catch It forming, which only makes it more mysterious," Mrs. Frederick said. It happens when you're not looking at a certain place. We only saw It form once--we could see the carpet get wet In a ring.

"It makes you nervous," she said. "It's worse because no one can tell us what's causing it."

It really is spooky," said Harold Root, office manager of the Defiance City Water Department, who visited the Fredericks Monday.

"I don't know why it's happening, but it has to have something to do with condensation," he said." It shows up on flat surfaces, which is characteristic of condensation, but it really has appeared in large amounts."

Root saw the water appear with his own eyes. "I saw a few drops of water on the carpet, and then a circle about the size of a half-dollar appeared. I thought it was coming up through the floor, but we lifted up the rug, and the pad underneath was completely dry."

Root is checking out a few of his own theories on how the water appears, but the fact that the walls and ceiling of the house are dry has destroyed most of his ideas, he said.

The National Weather Bureau In Columbus agreed that the problem must be an unusual form of condensation, but admitted, when the circumstances were described to them over the phone by the Crescent-News, that It had never heard of anything like It before.

Neighbors helping mop up water and move belongings around kiddingly compare it to the strange occurrence In "The Exorcist" film which played in Defiance only two weeks ago. Right now they are kidding. But the story admittedly smacks of the "Twilight Zone."

In fact, one would be inclined to think it was all an elaborate hoax if the Frederick house was not in such obvious disarray and the family and friend's so worried.

"Disarray is perhaps not a strong enough word. The house has been turned upside-down in an effort to locate the ever-appearing water before It soaks in and ruins things.

Sheets of clear plastic cover the sofa, chairs, and piano in the living room, as well as the TV and similar furniture in the family room. Pictures have been removed from the walls.

All the drawers in the kitchen and bedrooms are pulled out or have been removed.

"We pour water out of the drawers and wring it out of the clothes inside," Mrs. Frederick said.

The living room drapes lay in the garage, where water has yet to form, drying out after the Fredericks discovered water running down them Monday morning.

Many items that are easily water-damaged have been moved to the garage or the attic, another place which has remained bone-dry. Hopefully it will remain so. But no water had appeared in the closet under the stairs until Monday.

Meanwhile, the house is dotted with piles of damp towels, sheets and clothes, "anything we could soak up water with," Mrs. Frederick said.

"Sunday night we had 12 washer loads full of towels and sheets," she said.

Neighbors have been a big help. They and relatives have been lending moral support and helping mop up since the weekend. They have also provided extra towels as well as dehumidifiers and fans which Mr. Frederick hopes will help alleviate the problem.

"We have three dehumidifiers going now and are expecting a fourth from a neighbor," he said. "We also have four fans. I don't know whether it's helping or not since water is still appearing. But we have to do something."

The house, however, feels no more humid to the average person than any other house on a 90-degres summer day.

Something has to be done soon, everyone says. No serious damage has been done yet, if the felt keys on the piano dry out. But the Fredericks have paid the price of getting up every hour during the night to look for water and wipe up any that appears.

Their insurance firm, Bacherman of Napoleon, has indicated that it won't pay off on any damage caused by the water, Frederick said.

"If it was vandalism or a water pipe broke; it would be covered, they said, but this won't," Frederick lamented. "They said that they don't know what's causing it and we can't prove where it's coming from, so the claim isn't good."

The Piano is drying out, and they hope the wooden drawers and cupboards will do the same. The TV picture is blurry now, but Frederick isn't sure if that is due to the water, or if it is merely a coincidence.

News about the mysteriously appearing water is spreading fast. Weatherman Earl Finkle of WOWO radio station in Fort Wayne, Ind. has contacted the Fredericks about it, and Mrs. Frederick said Finkle had been contacted for information concerning the phenomenon by the Chicago Weather Bureau.

Maybe the experts will be able to explain why the Fredericks have water on their record albums. And on the headboards in the bedrooms. And in the fireplace.

In the meantime, the Fredericks, their friends, and their relatives will keep mopping up.

THIS POOL OF WATER appeared on the headboard of a bed in the Frederick home while Crescent-News reporters were in the house. Both the walls and ceiling were dry, destroying any notion of water leaks. Crescent-News photo.

Thursday, July 10, 1975

We Need Help!!!

By Pam Bigford, C-N Staff Writer

At first, the mysterious appearance of pools of water in the Clyde Frederick home in Ayersvllle was a curious phenomenon, something special that provoked interest in the neighborhood in a hot summer week.

The family and friends kidded good-naturedly as everyone pitched in to help mop up.

But now, into the sixth day of fighting what is turning out to be a losing battle against the appearance of water throughout the first floor of the house, the Fredericks are getting desperate.

"We need help," Mrs. Frederick told the Crescent-News in a tired voice today. "When we got up this morning there was half an Inch of water in the dishes in the cupboard."

Efforts by local plumbing firms, the Defiance City Water Department, and the Crescent-News Action Line have failed to produce any solution to the water problem. While everyone agrees that the problem is caused by condensation, the fact that the walls and ceilings remain dry has destroyed every theory.

There may be one ray of hope, however: the National Weather Bureau in Washington D.C., contacted by Action Line today, has promised to research the problem, though spokesmen stated they had never heard of a similar case.

The continuance of the problem is causing particular anguish since the water stopped appearing for approximately 24 hours from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Clyde Frederick said.

The Fredericks became so hopeful that the condition was permanent that they began moving their belongings from the garage and attic, where no water has appeared, back into the main part of the house.

However, the dry spell did not last. About 1:30 p.m. Wednesday a pool of water silently formed on the bathroom floor. Since then, the water has been appearing as frequently as it has since Saturday.

The story began Saturday evening when the Fredericks returned home from a short visit to a friend's house to find their kitchen floor filled with a pool of water.

Since then, their house has been filled with friends and relatives lending moral support, towels, fans, dehumidifiers and extra hands to prevent the water from permanently damaging any possessions.

Water pools form anywhere and everywhere, from the top of the TV to bed headboards to record albums. Water was found running out of the piano keys and down the living room drapes. Yet the ceiling and walls remain bone-dry.

Defiance radio station WONW has been broadcasting requests for solutions to the water problem. The Frederick family can be beard In a taped Interview on WONW tonight from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

So far, all scientific explanations of the cause of the water pools have failed. In view of this, Defiance resident Robert Easley, editor of the Flying Saucer Digest, suggested in a letter to the Crescent-News today that the cause might be supernatural.

According to Easley, two families were plagued by circumstances similar to the Frederick case in November 1963 in Massachusetts, but no explanation was found.

Suggesting that the cause might be a "water poltergeist," he offered a method of exorcising the ghost, published in a 17th century manual, in the form of an order to be given to the ghost: "I adjure you, ancient serpent, by the Judge of the living and the dead, by the Creator of the universe, who has power to send you to Gehenna, that you depart forthwith from this house. He orders you to do so, cursed devil, who ordered the winds and the sea and the tempests. He orders you who ordered you to go back. Hearken, therefore, Satan, and be afraid, and withdraw, subdued and prostrate."

If this does not work, Easley recommended a method of ridding the home of evil spirits which involves boiling John the Conqueror Root and sycamore chips along with equally sinister ingredients, sprinkling the formula in front of the house, then burying some of the formula in the yard.

The information is being passed on to the Frederick family. If things don't get any better, they just might have to give It a try.

Friday, July 11, 1975

Water's Gone For Now...

The Fredericks of Ayersville are sitting tight in nervous excitement. Their six nights and five days of "inside rain" may possibly have ended.

Plagued by mysteriously appearing pools of water since last Saturday night, the Clyde Frederick family said their house has been bone-dry since 3 p.m. Thursday.

"We aren't moving anything back into the house, though, until it's been dry for at least 24 hours," Frederick said. The water stopped for a 24 hour period beginning Tuesday and raised everyone's hopes it had stopped for good, but then relentlessly began again as frequently as before. "Four or five places had puddles yesterday but we haven't found any since 3 p.m.," explained Frederick.

Efforts are continuing to try to resolve the mysterious puddles. Toledo Edison employees investigated the Frederick home and found nothing. They noted that the humidity was normal.

Defiance County Health Board is having samples of the water analyzed and hopes to have the results this afternoon, according to Mr. Pearson of the Health Board. The National Weather Bureau in Washington D.C. is still puzzled by the puddles and have come up with no causes.

The Crescent-News Action Line contacted a Bowling Green State University professor, and he stated that it could not be any form of condensation.

The Fredericks received a telephone call last night from a young lady who thinks she may have the solution. The young lady informed the Fredericks of a chemical called Deliquescent which is a substance that is absorbed into the humidity and turns into water. It can only happen on hot days and when the humidity is high. The Fredericks hope to have a chemist check this theory today.

The story began Saturday evening when the Fredericks discovered pools of water on their kitchen floor and since then, the mysterious puddles have appeared everywhere in the house, from on top of the television to inside the cupboards and drawers. So far, all scientific explanations have failed. Defiance resident Robert Easley, editor of the Flying Saucer Digest, suggested to the Crescent-News that the cause may be supernatural. The Fredericks stated that they do not believe that the cause is supernatural.

Whatever caused it, be it natural, or supernatural, the Fredericks hope their water problems are over. They are keeping their fingers crossed-for at least 24 hours.

Monday, July 14, 1975

Mystery Puddles Gone

By Pam Bigford, C-N Staff Writer

The mystery puddles in the Clyde Frederick house have dried up.

Plagued with the constant formation of pools of water throughout the first floor of their house in Ayersville since July 5, the Fredericks said the water stopped appearing at approximately 3 p.m. Thursday and the house has been dry ever since.

"We plan on moving everything back into the house tonight," Mrs. Ann Frederick said. "We've waited this long because we want to make sure the water is gone before we bring it all back in."

The water stopped appearing for 24 hours last week only to start again and form as frequently as before.

As yet, no cause for the formation of the pools of water has been established. However, people who read or heard about the Frederick's problems have kept their phone busy with possible solutions.

"We had calls from as far away as Port Clinton," Mrs. Frederick said. "Many of the callers suggested that aerosol sprays may have had something to do with the water. They said that there are chemicals in the cans that can combine and form water when the temperature and weather conditions are right. I wax my furniture quite a bit, so that might have something to do with it."

None of the callers, though, had ever heard of an instance where the aerosol sprays actually did cause this sort of water formation, but said they knew of the possibility that it could occur.

This theory may be confirmed or rejected sometime today or Tuesday when the Fredericks learn the results of a water analysis being done by the Ohio Department of Health. If chemicals are causing the water formation, the analysis should show it.

The unexplained water formations began the night of July 5 when the Fredericks returned home from a short visit to a friend's house to find their kitchen floor filled with water. After that, the water appeared everywhere on the first floor: on the TV, in cupboards, running out of the piano keys, in dishes.

Friends and neighbors helped the Fredericks seek out and mop up the water, which even appeared in drawers. Plumbers, city water employees and insurance agents checked the house, but could come up with no answers. Every theory was destroyed by one simple fact: the ceiling and walls were completely dry. This apparently eliminates the condensation theory.

Thursday afternoon the water stopped as mysteriously as it started. The Fredericks, who have been living with little sleep, and a houseful of people, fans and dehumidifiers, still have no answers. But tonight they will return, admittedly with crossed fingers and an ample amount of trepidation, to a normal life.

Tuesday, July 15, 1975

ALL DRIED UP-With happiness and relief, the Clyde Frederick family moved their possessions back into their home Monday night now that the puzzling water pools that formed throughout their home for six days have ceased to appear. Ann and Clyde Frederick and their son, Danny moved clothes and the piano, which was noticed one morning with water running out of the keys, from the dry safety of the garage into the living room. Though the water has stopped, no reason for its appearance has yet been established. The Fredericks say they would still like to know what caused it-just in case it happens again. Crescent-News photo.