Sometimes we lose socks in the wash. But where do the socks go? This puzzles people who must do the laundry. After all, the laundry hamper and the washing machine are places grounded in real life, not in some dimension of a black hole. There are other things that might disappear forever: handkerchiefs, panties, face cloths, or even bras or blouses, but the prime disappearing act is the socks.
Is there some malevolent type of spirit out there that specializes in minor mischief? Having eliminated by default all natural explanations, I turned (as any good ex-New Orleanian) to spiritual guidance. I visited two wise individuals: Father Bernard, a former exorcist and bon vivant, and Madame Tissou, a local practitioner of voodoo. Both separately told me the feared news: there were sock goblins, and they did this only kind of deed because they made low scores on their Demon Qualifying Test! ( So much for small favors; at least I'm not targeted by some demonic heavy-hitter.)
Anyway, Father Bernard advised me to do penance. After all, it was Lent at that time. Madame Tissou, however, suggested The Usual New Orleans Strategy: bribe the sock goblins. Every so often I would leave a holed or faded article of clothing in the machine after being washed. These were deliberately left, and it seemed to work.
After all, even our sock goblins are reasonable and don't work too hard!