When items in an old man’s shed kept getting rearranged, he thought it was haunted and installed a camera to get to the bottom of the seemingly ghostly encounter. But, what it captured was even more unbelievable than what he had originally suspected.
Stephen Mckears, a 72-year-old man of Severn Beach in England, was perplexed when he started noticing something wasn’t quite right in his garden shed. Late at night, anything that was left out of place was mysteriously picked up by the time he woke.
As objects continued moving around in his shed with a box filling up with plastic clips, nuts, bolts, and screws without explanation, Mckears knew something was wrong. He didn’t like the only conclusion others came up with to explain the bizarre happenings.
It seemed some sort of paranormal poltergeist was rearranging his garden shed as he slept. “The heaviest thing was the plastic attachment at the end of a hosepipe and the chain of an electric drill,” Stephen Mckears recalled. “I didn’t know what it was at first. The kids were saying it was a ghost.”
Determined to find out if this could really be a ghost at work, Mckears decided he would get to the bottom of things one way or another. And, what better way to find out what was really going on than to record it? So, Mckears asked his neighbor if he could borrow a trail camera.
Hoping to confirm whether there was indeed a ghostly experience taking place on his property and armed with the recording equipment, Stephen Mckears got to work and set a trap. After scattering nuts and bolts across his shed, he set up the camera and waited.
When Mckears awoke the following day, the clutter had been cleaned up and the real culprit had been caught on camera. But, it wasn’t any “ghost” that he saw tidying up the mess each night when he watched the footage. Even so, he still couldn’t believe what he had captured on video. Although it was far from paranormal, the truth was just as shocking.
Apparently, Stephen Mckears is a real-life Cinderella with a furry friend lending him a helping hand. Unbeknownst to him, he had a little buddy who was hard at work, playing a little game of “hide and squeak” in his garden shed each night.
As the video proved, it wasn’t a ghostly maid but rather an orderly mouse who had been tidying things up for him. Indeed, the only thing haunting McKears’ shed was a hardworking rodent. One by one, the mouse, now affectionately called “Metal Mickey,” spent the night putting items back in their place.
Making sure Mckears’ workspace was spotless, the diligent and determined animal lifted items, some even twice his size, placing them into a bin. While we might find this surprising, veterinarian Laurie Hess said the behavior is actually quite normal among rodents, who are cleaner and smarter than most people think.
Despite their reputation as dirty animals, mice are actually obsessed with cleanliness and organization, according to the vet. “They’re actually very clean, they’re very meticulous, and they’re also very smart,” Hess explained. “They are definitely gatherers, whether it’s food or objects,” she said. “They have been known to gather and line up things, pick up things.”
Although the vet hadn’t observed Metal Mickey at work, she theorized about his specific behavior and what drove his desire to clean up Stephen Mckears’ shed. She believes it’s likely that the mouse had been living in the garden shed with those objects around him for a long time and simply wanted to reorganize his home back to a way that was familiar to him after finding things out of place.
“They have kind of a bad reputation as being kind of dirty, we think like subway rats and things like that,” Hess admitted. “They are just innately very organized, very neat, and very meticulous,” she reiterated. “A lot of animals like things in their environment a certain way and if you upset that environment, they’re able to put it back to where they’re comfortable,” Hess explained. “They are creatures of habit.”
But, don’t go rethinking your need for mouse traps just yet. Unfortunately, real-life rodents are not quite as Disney-esque as Metal Micky might have us believe. In fact, they bring more problems than benefits. While a mouse might pick up an item here or there, they tend to leave behind droppings that are of concern when it comes to cleanliness. And, it’s more than just “dirty.” It’s dangerous.
Regardless of how obsessive a rodent might be about their environment, this doesn’t negate the fact they carry and transmit devastating diseases. According to the CDC, that includes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis, and of course, the Plague.
“Mice may be cute and cuddly, but the diseases they spread are not,” an exterminator explained. Their fur can also harbor harmful bacteria as well as rot and decay from crawling through dumpsters, sewers, compost, or even dead animal carcasses, the pest control professional warned.
“They are known to carry mites, lice, and fleas,” the exterminator added, issuing a word of caution. “If that still isn’t enough, mice and rats are a known risk for rabies, which means they can bite, and they can infect you or your children.” Of course, not every mouse is disease-ridden, bacteria-filled, and rabies infected, but I wouldn’t risk having such filth in my house, hoping for the off chance they might do a little cleaning up at night.