I'm not usually one to post on a Thursday, but this month I've decided to give my LIP readers an extra spooky little treat! As some of you know, I write fiction and have plans to publish my work in the future. I have, however, never written about my own experiences in story form - other than on the blog of course! So I thought I would take the opportunity, this Hallow's Eve, to recall a truly terrifying tale. Truly terrifying...because it is TRUE and it happened to ME!
I have always been fascinated with the paranormal, from a morbidly young age! I could write about lots of experiences I've had through the years, from ghost hunts to angels, spooky photos from a school sleepover to baffling dreams about someone I've never met, but I have only ever seen one 'apparition' and it was in the most unlikely of circumstances. I hope you enjoy....
" The Inquisitive Spirit"
November had fallen in 2007. The last days of bright sun were upon us, as it battled against a chill wind and threats of winter storms. I had woken up that morning, full of cold. My eyes were puffed and my throat swollen, this was not going to be a fun journey, driving from Bath to Aldershot in my then-boyfriend's near-dead Fiesta. Little did I know, at the time, our waning relationship would be over in less than two months. But, we had decided, that weekend, that we would pay a visit to his cousin and cousin's fiancee, for a change of scenery and a chance to spend some time with his family.
The drive there was long and boring, I was snuffling my way through half-conversations and insisted on playing the most annoying CDs I had in my collection. It was nearing dark when we arrived at the house we would be staying in, owned by the parents of 'The Fiancee', who were away at the time. The house was a beautiful building that stood on a corner in a leafy residential suburb. Not being very apt with my architectural knowledge, I would perhaps have dated it back fifty years, but it had had a fair amount of extension work done. We were greeted by 'The Cousin' and 'The Fiancee' and a lovely, bounding labrador.
The interiors were stunning too, a gorgeous traditional kitchen and spacious lounge, though I was surprised when we were led to a ground-floor bedroom winding back to the front of the house, with an en-suite bathroom. This was to be our bedroom for the weekend, it was small in size, beautifully decorated with floral patterns and a huge wall of built-in mirrored wardrobes faced a double bed. It reminded me of an traditional guestroom, cosy and comfortable for our stay.
The night continued to draw in as we had dinner and caught up around the table. The Couple were due to get married the following year abroad, so much of the evening was spent talking wedding plans. We retired to watch a film in the lounge, my cold had started to clear, but I was feeling tired from the long journey. Much of the later evening remains hazy in my mind, but I do remember catching a glimpse of the news. The tragic, horrific murder of Meredith Kurcher had just been released to British press and there was talk of her roommates being implemented in the murder. It was an unsettling story to go to bed thinking about but, around midnight, we said our goodnights and headed to the cosy guestroom.
I don't think I actually fell asleep between then and the disturbance that ensued. I think I just dozed against the backdrop of my then-boyfriend's snoring and the quiet of a strange street in a strange place. Not even the dog barked.
My eyes adjusted to the room in the pitch black, the dense reflection from the mirrored wardrobes, the fabrics and colours now all draped in shadow. As my eyes moved round to the small, curtained, bay window, on my side of the bed, I saw something. A shape, incomprehensible at first but, what looked like something poking out from behind the curtains.
I had woken up before, countless times, and had mistaken a misplaced dressing gown for a slumped intruder, or a hanging dress for a supernatural visitor. My rational mind came into play and I closed my eyes and opened them again. The shape was still there. It had begun to take the form of a head, peeping in at us and, as I continued to fight with my imposed logic and the scene being placed in front of me, the figure stepped out from behind the curtain.
I could only make out the shadow of a man, no features, no face, just a shadow with short lighter hair. Perhaps an older man, I couldn't be sure, but I knew there was somebody in the room with us and I was frozen to the spot, paralysed with fear. Had someone broken in? Was this figure an intruder? Should I scream? These thoughts were racing through my mind as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing. I could tell the figure was watching me and, as I tried to nudge my boyfriend awake, with the tiniest nudges of my left hand, the figure began to move across the room. Not so much a stride, a walk, nothing human, a silent glide across the bottom of the bed.
Still, I tried to wake up my boyfriend to warn him of our silent intruder, unable to speak. Feeling unseen eyes staring at us, I finally managed to nudge my boyfriend awake, aware of the figure's presence at the end of the bed, his silence was almost deafening, a spectral onlooker - this time opposite my boyfriend. He gave a grudging, 'what?' Before I whispered 'there's somebody in the room.'
'WHAT?' he had heard me.
I didn't know what else to do, so I just said, panicked, 'there's somebody in the room' over and over again until he sat up and switched the light on.
The figure had gone, the room was as we had left it, even the curtains were closed. But he had been there. I knew I had seen a third person in the bedroom. I told my boyfriend about what had happened and we sat up for a few hours, trying to calm down, before drifting back to sleep.
I welcomed the bright morning sunshine, still shaken from the night before and the appearance of the figure at the bay window. I asked my boyfriend to keep quiet about the experience; I didn't really know his Cousin (lovely as they were) and, didn't want to upset them. Obviously, he went to them straight away to tell them the story over breakfast.
In the end I was glad he did, The Cousin regaled us with a similar story that had happened to him a few months before. Not only that, it seemed we were staying at the family home on the anniversary of The Cousin's Fiancee's Grandfather's death and he had made several appearances to other guests staying in the house. It seemed to trigger a visit from him, when there were strangers staying in the house. He liked to make his presence known and find out a little bit about them! The Cousin's Fiancee made a joke about her Grandfather visiting me and not her, safe to say I was still quite shaken to have considered it an honour!
That was the first and only full apparition I've seen, my relationship ended soon after that, so I never ventured back to Aldershot. The experience has stayed with me and, at the time, reignited my interest in the paranormal. So I suppose, for that, I'm very thankful the inquisitive spirit made his presence known to me!