WILKES-BARRE -- Luzerne County Judge Tina Gartley jokingly called her bench "the scene of the crime" Friday afternoon, the place where a bat suddenly fell from the sky next to her chair in the middle of a court proceeding.
"We're having a regular court session, we have people in the gallery, people at the bench and we hear a soft thud," said Judge Gartley.
The judge continued with court but was soon told that 'thud' was, in fact, alive.
"I said, 'Is it a frog?' because I saw a leg and instead we realized there was a live bat sitting up next to me on the bench. I told the courtroom there was a bat on the bench and I left the bench immediately for someone who was skilled to take care of the bat."
People watching this all unfold,on Friday the 13th, no less, were shocked.
"I heard the judge exclaim 'Oh my God, it’s a bat,’ and then she left the bench. There have never been any mammals falling from the ceiling in any other court proceeding,” smiled Assistant District Attorney Jill Matthews who was in the courtroom.
A sheriff's deputy scooped the bat into a cup and let it out the window onto a ledge where he said it flew away.
The judge was a little shaken but returned to the bench with staffers watching the ceiling for any more unwanted guests.
"I was concerned about the apparently not true old wives tale that bats go for your hair flashed through my head very quickly, so I tucked my hair in my robe for the rest of court,” laughed Judge Gartley.
All this on a day known for being unlucky, Friday the 13th.
"And I said that as soon as a came off the bench. And it's Friday the 13th, so, yes, bats in the courtroom on Friday the 13th,” she said.