Needless to say, we called the builder and of course he'd never heard of such a thing. He called the brick mason and of course there is no way under the sun that this could be happening. Mike's parents made an emergency visit to the house to check it out and they too had never seen such a thing before. Great! Well, this must be fixed. The builder is to come by and look at it today. In the meantime, there will be no more using of Mike's beloved wood stove until this issue is resolved.
This is what our chimney looks like: