Saturday, 31 October 2015



Seeing as how it's Hallowe'en, I thought I'd re-publish this
two-year old post of a true tale to put you in the mood.  Are you
alone?  Are you sure you're alone?  Perhaps you'd better check
first before we proceed.  Ready?  Good, then I'll begin.


Not long after my family had moved into our new house back
in 1972, a curious thing happened.  My brother came downstairs
into the livingroom one night and claimed he had just seen an elderly
lady in white on the stairway outside his room.  My parents pooh-poohed
the notion, but, shortly after, my bed was moved from my front room on
the grounds that it was damp (the room, not the bed) into my brother's
room, which we then shared for a few months.  I suspect it was more
to do with my brother being scared to be alone than it was with the
risk of me catching pneumonia, but I grant that it could've been
a combination of both.

Some indeterminate time afterwards (a year or two perhaps),
my brother again came into the livingroom with a concerned look
on his face and called us upstairs, saying that someone was walking
around in the attic.  We all trooped up to my brother's room and, sure
enough, there was a sound of creaking boards - as if someone was walk-
ing from one end of the attic and back again.  My father got out the step-
ladder and tentatively poked the top of his head a few inches into the
hatch opening, but he was in no mad rush (nor were we) to more
thoroughly explore the vast confines of its black interiors, so we
put the noise down to some not entirely convincing 'rational'
explanation and retired downstairs again.  

Some years later, we moved house, and four years after that,
we moved back again - with the exception of my brother, who had
acquired his own flat in the meantime.  Now, I don't believe in ghosts,
but the couple with whom we exchanged houses in order to return to
our former abode, told me that one night while lying in bed, a ghostly
apparition had drifted through the wall from my brother's old room
into theirs, then floated right over their bed and melted through the
window on the other side.  They were a young couple and a bit
flaky, so I put their 'experience' down to having partaken of
a combination of too much alcohol and weed.

But here's where it gets strange (as you doubtless anticipated).
A few years after having moved back, I was lying in my bed one
night in the small hours when I suddenly became aware of a wizened
old woman in white shuffling towards my bedside.  She stopped and
stooped, lowering her crinkled face towards mine as if scrutinizing it
intently.  For a moment I was paralysed, but then, with a growl, I sat
bolt upright in bed to confront the ancient figure, who immediately
retreated (still facing me) into the far corner of the room
before fading into nothingness.

I sat stunned for a moment, not quite sure what had happened.
Had I seen a ghost, the very one my brother had claimed to have
seen so many years before?  Or had I only been dreaming and sud-
denly awoken - with the figure in my dream somehow still visible
before me, like some swiftly-diminishing after-image?

Who can say for sure?  I still don't believe in ghosts, but that
was certainly a moment which gave me pause for thought.  Any-
one else got any similar experiences?  Feel free to share.


cerebus660 said...

Kid, the fact you used the word "paralysed" makes me think this could have been an attack of sleep paralysis, see definition below:

I had this a couple of times as a teenager and had the classic symptoms of feeling an ( imagined ) weight pressing down on my chest, essentially paralysing me, while a shadowy and malicious figure stood at the bottom of the bed. It scared the hell out of me and for years after I wasn't sure if I was going nuts or if the house was indeed haunted. ( Of course, I was too self-conscious to tell anyone about it. )When I discovered the scientific rationale behind the condition I was half relieved and half disappointed :-)

Colin Jones said...

Kid, it's certainly possible that the old woman was something you imagined in a half-asleep, half-awake state of mind as you were waking up - about 10 years ago I was staying with my (now deceased) mother and I woke one dark morning convinced that there was something lurking in the corner of the room - the "presence" felt unnatural and unearthly and I was briefly terrified until I realized I hadn't woken up properly and was imagining things. Another more mysterious story now though - when I was a kid my village organized day-trips to the sea-side during the summer and I remember one time we came back home (my parents, me and my sister) and there was a mysterious cat in our house which promptly ran out - we'd never seen the cat before (and we knew all the local pets) and all the doors and windows had been locked before we went on the trip to the sea-side. The cat was never seen again and the event felt quite unnerving to me.

Kid said...

Well, I used the word 'paralysed', Cer, but it was more a case of just 'freezing' in disbelief, before pulling myself together and deciding to confront the 'crone' head on. Was it a dream? That's my take on the incident, but who knows for sure? I don't believe in ghosts, and we tend to interpret events in accordance with our preconceived notions, don't we?


So what you're saying, CJ is that you were a 'pussy-magnet' even as a kid. Boasting again, eh? I assume it must have sneaked in before you left, and had been locked in your house all day. Cats can travel quite far sometimes, and perhaps it was one you weren't familiar with. But who can say? Cue spooky music.

DeadSpiderEye said...

That paralysis thing is pretty common with kids, night terrors they used to call it. It happens to me occasionally, yeah it's quite disconcerting. I did a bit of Somnambulation in my teens too, that's super freaky, if you wake up in the dark with no idea how you got there.

Kid said...

As I said, DSE, I really only 'froze' momentarily in disbelief, I wasn't paralyzed in the medical sense of the word. However, no doubt it can happen in certain cases.

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