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October 30, 2012

Do they refinance haunted houses?

Once upon a mountaintop near El Paso, Texas, a Texas notary found that suddenly everything electronic stopped working!

Having finally arrived at the home of an elderly borrower who was refinancing, our Texas notary public was dialing their number on her cell phone while she let her car idle. All of a sudden there was a weird “e-o-e” sound, and the car died. The cell phone would not work, and the portable printer went off. Just for the heck of it, our notary in Texas tried her ipad. It also wasn’t working! Then, she took out her laptop: nope! Not that, either.

“Well, I went up to the house. I was pretty upset by that time. The old woman in the house saw I was a bit rattled, I think. She asked me right away if anything was wrong,” our Texas notary recalls. “My car just shut off, and so did my phone and all my electronic devices,” this notary in Texas told the borrower.

“She looked me straight in the eye, laughed, and said, ‘We have some sort of situation here. Things in this house move around. Lights go on and off. Nothing electronic works right all the time’. By this time, I was in a panic,” says our Texas notary. “The house looked pretty normal–not paranormal–inside… but she said this right at the beginning! How was the signing going to go, I wondered? I tried to call my husband from the house phone, but he wasn’t home yet. So I rushed through everything, and made sure to check my work…but all I could think of was how I was going to get home. I also watched everything carefully, to see if any furniture would move. It didn’t,” the notary says with relief.

“I went outside several times to check if the car would go on, but it didn’t. I called my husband from the woman’s landline again, but he still wasn’t home,” sighs the notary in Texas. “Finally, at the end of an hour, he was home. He said he would send AAA. But then the house phone shut off suddenly!” our Texas notary recalls. The strange electronic “eee-oooo-eee” sound she had heard outside crackled throughout the room. “Lucky that’s all that happened,” the borrower told me. “She told me then, ”This house is haunted. I have lived with this for 30 years, and it doesn’t bother me anymore. No one has ever been hurt. They are just playful ghosts,’ our Texas notary remembers the borrower saying. “Once, the ghosts scared a burglar away. He came in the back door and this table moved right across the room like it was making right for him at top speed. I was right glad,” the old woman said. “He ran like a jackrabbit out o’ this house and down the mountain road. Those old ghosts saved my life and who knows what else. After all, it’s their home, too,” the borrower concluded. “And they have a sense of humor.”

“At the end of the signing, the old woman came outside with me. But my car suddenly started right up by itself! I hadn’t even pressed the remote starter I have (my husband is disabled, and we have one). AAA was already there, and I had to pay them anyway,” remarks our notary in Texas. “There was a single penny on the driver’s seat. For luck,” says the Texas notary. “To remind me I was in luck this time.”

“I still do not believe in ghosts,” says the Texas notary, “but I do believe to this day that there was some kind of force field there. It had to be. Also, there have been UFO sightings in some of those mountains in Texas. Who knows what causes this kind of electronic malfunction? There are certainly strange electrical storms in El Paso.”

Was it a coincidence it was October 31 ?


November 12, 2011

Texas Notary Law and Journal Thumbprints

Notary Public Texas: Texas Notary Public Law and Journal Thumbprints
I am a person who likes to take precautions. Life is more fun when you have less disasters, right? Disasters are more likely to happen when you don’t take precautions, right?  Today, I was visiting our Facebook profile, which I generally do every day or two.  I notice an interesting response to one of my posts about how essential journal thumbprints are for your safety as a notary public in any state!  However, one lady wrote that the National Notary Association now counsels Texas Notary Public members (Texas notaries who are clients of the National Notary Association) NOT to take journal thumbprints due to house bill 3186.  This notary claims that the mentioned bill states that a biometric identifier (such as thumbprints captured for a commercial purpose may be disclosed only under certain circumstances and must destroyed within a certain amount of time.
I am not sure if I agree with the National Notary Association on this one.  But, on the other hand I am not an attorney and don’t give legal advice. I will say this though:
(1) If you are a notary in Texas, or any other state, and one of your signers is accused of identity fraud or forging a signature, without a thumbprint, you can not prove that they were the one that really appeared before you.  Picture identification is really easy to fake.  China has many experts who will sell you a professionally made fake for US$200.  You might end up in court for a week because you didn’t have a journal thumbprint.
(2) Thumbprints in journals are NOT taken for commercial purposes, but are part of a notary public’s official job in their official capacity. Notaries are offering a service which they may or may not be charging for, and the thumbprint is only a security measure used in conjunction with the service. Nobody is “Selling” a thumbprint in the notary public business. 
(3) A notary journal is the EXCLUSIVE property of the notary in Texas and in any other state that allows Journals.  Only people making inquiries about particular notarizations may  have access to a particular journal entry and this qualifies as disclosure only under certain circumstances.
(4) As far as destroying journal thumbprints, that is up to the county recorder who receives your journals at the end of your term. It is THEIR property when you end your term, and up to them what to do with the thumbprints.  Keeping thumbprint records during your term seems legal unless a specific law says you can’t keep them this long.  The thumbprints are to protect the public from fraud and are not used frivolously or shared with the public in any way.
In any case, if you are a Texas notary public, you need to be familiar with the notary laws of Texas, and that is your responsibility. Please take my commentary as opinions, because that is exactly what they are.