Nova Scotia

Halifax gnome abducted, repaired, and returned to baffled owner

The story of a broken-jawed garden gnome who was abducted from a Halifax house and mysteriously returned intact two weeks later has baffled and delighted its owner.

Speck the gnome has a background in theatre, and its last role makes this story even odder

Joel Muise, Speck and Lindsay Kyte talk about their mutual adventures. (CBC)

The story of a broken-jawed garden gnome who was abducted from a Halifax house and mysteriously returned intact two weeks later has baffled and delighted its owner. 

A cryptic note from a friend of "The Gnome Doctor" of Yarmouth County revealed Speck's strange fortnight exploring Nova Scotia and easing his temporary thief's depression.

Gnome sweet gnome. Speck settles back into its regular spot. (CBC)

Speck, the broken garden gnome, sat peacefully amid the potted plants on Lindsay Kyte's downtown Halifax apartment. Its broken jaw sat in a hole in its hat. 

But then she got a text from her boyfriend: Speck was gone.

"That's what you're risking if you put things out on your front step you know. There are kids around and I just figured he got smashed and I'd never see him again,'" Kyte says.

On Aug. 5 she got another strange text from her boyfriend.

"Ryan said 'I have good news: Speck is back and there's a note underneath Speck,'" she says.

The Gnome Doctor

That's when things got weird. Speck was back — and its jaw was fixed. It had a typed, anonymous note explaining its absence. Here's part of it:

Dear Gnome Owner/Owners. 

First off, let me apologize for inconveniencing you with any worries that the short departure of your Gnome may have caused…

You see, I'm from Yarmouth County. Being from there, I grew up with the man who is now known as "The Gnome Doctor." 

Specifically, "TGD" specializes in head traumas in Mystical Creatures. They say he's the best this side of Narnia! Knowing this, I could no longer live with myself knowing that your Gnome was living with his "jaw" condition. I kept having nightmares, of this lovely, kind Gnome, not being able to enjoy the great pleasures of life such as chewing on: caramel toffee, raw carrots and celery as well as butter dripping corn on the cob, and those are just the foods I can think of that start with a "C"." 

Your Gnome was in good hands. The surgery was massive success and the recovery went swimmingly! I think your Gnome really enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the city for the week and get some fresh air!

Magical or super creepy?

The note ends by suggesting the owner check out the gnomadic adventure on Facebook

"I just thought it was a bit of magic, and I just thought here's a great story and I was super glad for it," Kyte says.

"The reactions of other people in my life ranged from 'isn't that magical?' to 'holy, that's super creepy.'"

She checked out her little friend's Facebook page and found him lounging on beaches, playing a round of golf, partying with a pub crawl and crashing a wedding reception. Oh, and he's launched a Twitter account.

"I don't even have a Twitter account," Kyte says.

She then found out the gnome-napper's real name and discovered the healing went both ways.

Joel Muise, 29, confessed his crime to CBC. He lives near Speck and enjoyed its cheery little presence. One dusky evening, his inner child broke loose and grabbed it. He whisked Speck to Yarmouth as his guest for a wedding.

He then realized he had a broken gnome on his hands and invented the Gnome Doctor to fix it.

"In a way, this is a present to the owner, because you're giving it back with all the pictures, and kind of saying this is where your gnome was. Weren't you worried about it?  Now you're relieved," he explained.

Charlie Blake's Boat

Muise was struggling with anxiety and depression when Speck entered his life. He'd been off work for four months and needed company on his Yarmouth trip. The adventure got him out of bed in the morning. 

"It got me to do things that I would normally not do. So having this idea I wanted to share got me out of the house and brought me to places I wouldn't normally go," he says.

And here's the strangest twist. Kyte works in the theatre and used Speck in a play called Charlie Blake's Boat by Cape Breton's Graeme Gillis. In the play, Charlie Blake suffers from depression. Drifting without direction, he finds hope when the spirit of his Uncle Speck takes over the gnome and leads him back to life.

"It's beautiful," Kyte said. "It's really wonderful that this person — he was suffering from some challenges and he found a purpose and joy in Speck, so Speck is working on many levels. This is so great and rich and wonderful."

Muise agrees. "It is surprising, but I'm not surprised, because for some reason I had a feeling about it that there was more to it than just that. It's weird.  I don't know how to explain it but I'm not surprised at all."