Tiana Hughes will be keeping a keen eye on her family’s washing machine in future in case the phantom washer returns with another load of laundry. Amused family friends jokingly made a sign to stick on the machine.
Tiana Hughes will be keeping a keen eye on her family’s washing machine in future in case the phantom washer returns with another load of laundry. Amused family friends jokingly made a sign to stick on the machine. Peter Holt

Strange case of the phantom washer

WHILE you’re reading this, is there a stranger in your house doing their washing, using your detergent and adding to your electricity and water bills?

It’s not a joke; there is a phantom washer somewhere out there and they could be in your home right now.

When Tiana Hughes stayed home from work to look after her little sister, the last thing she expected to see was someone pulling up in her North Mackay driveway, walking around the side of the high-set house and calmly loading their washing into the family washing machine.

Ms Hughes’ father, who comes home for lunch during the day, had noticed the family’s washing machine running a few times over the past month but thought it was just one of the other family members.

This day was different though. There was someone home when the phantom washer arrived and when Ms Hughes went downstairs to see what was going on she found the hair curler-clad phantom reading a book, waiting for the rinse cycle to finish.

“I was doing an assignment and I heard a car pull up ... No one came to the door but I saw this lady take some washing from her car and walk around the side of our house,” Ms Hughes said.

“She had loaded up the washing machine and was just sitting there reading a book.

“She could have at least done some of our washing out of courtesy,” she laughed

When Ms Hughes asked the woman what she was doing, she explained she had permission from the homeowners then offered money for the laundry services.

However, no permission had been given and the woman promptly left, claiming she would return soon to pick up her washing.

Obviously working best under the cover of darkness, the woman returned late that night to collect the washing, which the Hughes family had left in a bag on the driveway, under instructions from police.

“The police just laughed and thought it was a joke,” Ms Hughes said.

“At first we thought it was quite weird but now we think the whole thing is hilarious.”

But it is no joke. Police told the Hughes family the phantom washer could be charged with trespass for entering their property.


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