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Burb's Eye View: Investigating those bumps in the night

December 07, 2011|By Bryan Mahoney

Lynne and Max Schwalbe met on a Friday. Two days after the blind date they were engaged.

“I wasn't going to let him get away,” Lynne laughed.

They were married 42 years. The Schwalbes won their honeymoon, a 10-day trip to Boston and Cape Cod, on the game show “Queen for a Day” in 1954. They bought a house on Amherst Drive in 1969, and for 48 years Max sold insurance in Burbank as ethically as he could. If there was a better insurance deal out there, Max would tell you about it, even if he wasn't selling it.

They divorced for five years but then Max came back to his beloved, and they remained together for another five and a half years in what Lynne calls their best times together. They were still together in 2007 when Max fell near the fish tank in the living room and broke his arm. He died three weeks later.


Sometime after, the pennies appeared.

Lynne has a pretty common routine when she goes out: Roll up the windows, check the doors to make sure they are locked, and grab the purse. She never puts the purse on the passenger seat, she says, which is why she couldn't explain where these pennies would come from. But on a few occasions, she would return to her locked car and find a single penny on the passenger side. That's where Max used to sit.

Other strange things happened. On the 16-month anniversary of Max's death, Lynne was on the phone with a friend, and at the mention of his name the lights in Lynne's bedroom flickered. The television and alarm clock weren't affected.

Another time, a family acquaintance offered Lynne a real estate business proposal. While she was mulling it over, her daughter called the house. Normally the answering machine with Lynne's message would pick up but on this particular occasion, the message from the old machine in Max's home office — a machine connected to a completely different phone number — popped on instead.

She turned down the business offer, which later was revealed as a scam. The other answering machine message, the one with Max's trademark “Leave a message — You know the drill,” never clicked on after that.

Lynne shared these stories with a friend one day, and that friend mentioned her grandson has a little group in town that investigates such occurrences.

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