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I am not sure that this (or anywhere) is the right place to ask. I'm just puzzled about some things that happened today. Genuinely happened - this is not a set-up for an ordinary puzzle.

This morning 5 Jan 2021, I awoke and got out of bed earlier than usual. I'd been awakened by some quiet scraping noises. I discovered that my bedroom door was firmly closed - strange because I always leave it open at night. The only other occupant of my flat is my small dog and she was securely in her 'bedroom' - a crate with a blanket over the top. Shutting my door takes effort because of the draught excluder around the frame. The door opens inward.

My inward opening front door was closed and had a laundry basket right next to it, to remind me to do the washing. To get in from the landing would have required pushing the basket out of the way and somehow replacing it flush against the door again on the way out.

I live on the 8th floor and my bedroom window has a catch on the inside. There is a sheer drop all the way to the ground. I have a balcony off the living room. The door to this always has a luggage elastic strap to prevent it blowing open too quickly. The strap was hanging loose. In theory, the balcony could be reached by an expert climber, however it is completely enclosed by bird-netting, and that is still intact. The only other way in would be via the kitchen window which also has a sheer drop and during the cold weather is kept shut with a catch.

My landing light was on when I emerged from my bedroom - unusual because I routinely switch all the lights off via Alexa when I go to sleep.

P.S. When I took my laundry down to the shared facility in the building, my dog's winter coat was in the laundry. I wasn't even aware that it had been missing.

Question

What was going on?

I have come up with a few solutions, e.g.

  1. I have finally gone mad.

  2. I sleep-walked. I've never done this in my entire life and I'm now retired.

  3. Something supernatural is going on. I don't believe in ghosts or poltergeists.

Is there any non-magical way all this can have happened? Please ask for further details if necessary.


Notes

This is not some elaborate formulation of a theoretical situation. I am not kidding - this happened today.

Nothing of value appears to be missing.

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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible that you left your dog's coat in the laundry when you last did it and just forgot to bring it back? $\endgroup$ – marsnebulasoup Jan 5 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ A previous occupant let themself in with a key and had a look round. They closed your bedroom door so you would not hear. They didn't notice leaving the light on. They did notice the laundry basket and dragged it back into place with a bent piece of wire round the edge of the door – that was the scraping noise. I sympathize because ... $\endgroup$ – Weather Vane Jan 5 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ For my grandmother, "someone moving things things around in her apartment" was an early sign of Alzheimer's. You don't mention your age, and I of course don't know if you have people in your life that would notice any short-term memory problems (it's pretty much impossible to notice them yourself), but if you feel you might be in a risk group, speaking to a doctor would be a very good idea. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jan 5 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Bass - It's not impossible. We don't have a history in our family of Alzheimer's but I am old enough. Maybe I should get some security cameras. That way, I can see myself sleepwalking, or see an intruder. It would settle it one way or another. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jan 5 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? There's a famous Reddit thread (bit.ly/3njEqFe) where bizarre behavior, suspected sleepwalking, and forgotten actions turned out to be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. $\endgroup$ – Exal Jan 5 at 22:09
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Here is my answer. It's based on something that I didn't mention because I had forgotten about it.

A year or so ago, I 'temporarily' put a spare key in a hidden place.

I simply forgot about it. When I finally remembered yesterday, I went down to check. The key was not there but another key was in its place - this key did not fit my door (I tried it).

My assumption now is that someone found the key and has systematically been trying the doors in my block. Maybe they left the different key in the hiding place to see if anyone was using it and would move it. For that reason I put it back to give myself time to think.

What action have I taken?

Today I had a locksmith fit a new high-security lock below the old one. I am going to store a spare key with the locksmith. This is a service they commonly give. It means that if I ever lock myself out I can call them 24 hours a day and collect it.

What further action will I take?

At night now, for the moment, I leave the old lock locked but the new one unlocked. I use the chain on the door and I place my shoes flush against the door. This way if someone tries opening the door they will only partly succeed and the shoes will move. The chain will stop them getting in and I'll hear them if they try. I'm also considering a bell that is triggered by opening the door. Of course when I'm out, I'll lock both locks. If I always double lock the old one and someone tries it but doesn't double lock it, I'll know.

I'm also going to get a security camera. Just in case I am sleepwalking and perpetrating some weird plot against myself, this will allow me to see myself doing it the next day!

The moral of the story

Don't leave a spare key in a 'safe' place. There's a good chance someone will find it. I count myself lucky that I noticed some odd changes.

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