July 2012

I Know You're Watching

Jessy, Ontario, Canada

I submitted a story a long time ago (2007) about something that happened to me the previous year. Well, I'm back with another story to tell. This happened to me when I was around 6-8 years old.

This happened in my old house. Our house was literally surrounded by fields. We had some neighbours, who we were close with. The house is pretty small, so small that my brother and I had to share a room for many years. Not really a bad thing. If I got scared, he was right there.

My bed was against the wall with the window. From my bed I could see the door. My brother's bed was against the wall with the door. We could literally reach out and touch each others hand if we wanted to. Like I said, it's small. Our parent's room was on the other side of the stairs. They had no wall, no door. Pretty much no privacy. My dad built railings so that we wouldn't fall down the stairs if we were playing in their room.

Anyway, I don't know when this started happening. I just remember waking up in the middle of the night because something felt...off. It felt like I was being watched by someone. I rubbed my eyes and sat up a little bit, trying to gather my thoughts. I see the outline of my brother in his bed. That's not what's wrong. So I look at the doorway.

Standing in the doorway is the outline of a bigger man (broad shoulders, bigger frame, etc.) wearing a hat that has a wide brim. Kinda like a cowboy hat. I can see the outline of a beard but I can't see any definitive features. His arms are crossed and he's leaning casually in the doorway, just looking at me. I don't feel any fear or any need to feel fear. It's calm and familiar.

I yawn and shrug, thinking it's my dad. I mumble a goodnight and go back to sleep. The next day I ask my dad if he was watching us last night (he liked to stop in the doorway to make sure we were okay if he came home late from work). He shook his head and said that he hadn't been called out at all for work and that he'd slept through the night. I told him what I saw but, of course, he said I was probably dreaming.

I agreed and the day carried on.

A few days later, I wake up to the same thing. Same outline, same feeling of familiarity and calmness. I'm pretty much soothed back to sleep.

And again, a few days after that. And a few days after that. I think this happened for a few years but, again, I don't really remember. I just know that it happened often.

I told this story to a friend when I went away to school. Without a moment's hesitation, she told me "I think it might be your grandfather." I hadn't told her that he was gone, nor did I tell her that this figure reminded me of an old photo of my grandfather that my mother has. I think he was just checking up on us kids, making sure everything was going like it should. I really wish I got to know him before he passed, he sounded like an incredible man.

I love you, Grandpa. So much. Thank you for watching over my brother and I.

Unwlecome Shadow

Nickee, VIC, Australia

When I was fourteen, my mother and my elder brother by two years both had huge meltdowns. Mom was diagnosed with Bipolar, and my brother, Schizophrenia. I had been aware of the entities passing through our house for around a year; there had always been tension in the place, a coldness that couldn’t be rid with a heater or blanket. Our family was a broken one, and every relationship was strained, especially with my brother.

He did not at all handle his disorder well. He became very violent, acting out aggressively to anyone who touched him, and began to manipulate us all. His doctors said it was the disorder talking, but I being on the sensitive side plugged into it and fell into slight depression and anxiety.

After about half a year, I noticed that those entities that had once come to and left the house were now taking a specific interest in the relationship between my brother and I. They decided they’d stay.

Shadows, silhouettes, figures in hoods, small beings that ran around, you name it; it was like my and his bedrooms (which were connected) had become a buffet of negativity to thrive off of.

But as who or whatever in the house helped put that extra strain on carefree living, one shadow stood out from the rest. This one watched me, from the moment I’d enter my bedroom to when I left.

It began as what looked like a lump, blacker than black, hanging from the ceiling. It grew over the next few weeks. I watched, frozen with dread out of the corner of my eye as it slowly became this huge, hunched figure, seven feet high at least. After it began standing on the floor, it began to move. But wherever in my room it travelled, it was always watching. When I went to bed, it would bend over the side, keeping an inch away from my face, blowing in my ear, mumbling under its breath.

My friend, who had the previous year put me in the path to seeking protection came over to stay one night. She carried my cat down to my room, and stopped a few feet away from the door. I looked back at her, she’d turned white as a sheet. The cat howled and clawed its way away from her, bolting outside.

"Can we sleep in the Loungeroom?" She asked, "There’s something in there."

I told her I knew, and that I needed help. That whatever that thing was, it was shattering me emotionally.

She agreed to come back and brought a sack of crystals with her, mostly amethysts, and a few sticks of incense.

That night, while we were chatting, I could feel the figure getting angry, as if it were radiating; pulsating even. My friend and I looked at each other unsurely, but carried on, joking and playing around until she suddenly cringed and clapped both hands over her ears. A moment after, my television set flew off the counter and onto my bed, and my friend ran out. She later told me that it began screaming at her to leave.

After that, there was no more physical activity. It shrank back, watching whilst keeping its distance from me. My brother was put in an institution, and so I built up the courage to tell the unwelcome stranger to get out of my house. It did so reluctantly, as there was no strength to draw now that the cause of my stresses was away for a while.

To this day I cant put my finger on what that thing was: Shadow person, spirit, I dunno. But having a 3-D manifestation of your own suffering being mirrored back at you with a consciousness of its own is pretty nasty.

I’m now eighteen, and I’ve learned from my first personal encounter not to take these negative entities so seriously. Even so, having a "something" watching you 24/7 with a case of Steve Buscemi eyes is creepy . If anyone might help me figure out what it could have been, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Hide and Scare

Victoria, Alaska, USA

My house has always been creepy. Situated in the mountains with hills rising up on three sides and a steep bank sloping down on the fourth, it is neighbor to an abandoned volunteer fire station that closed down 3 years ago due to lack of funding, as well as a mysterious tractor that has sat on a small lot down the street, untouched for the last 67 years. Not lacking in isolation, my home has been the choice hangout on Halloween and scary movie nights since the time I was 10 years old. My friends have never been shy about letting me know that the garage is a frightening place, or that the hallway is ominous, especially at night. Rattling pipes and an air flow pattern that tends to suck doors open and shut don’t help in easing the haunting aspects of the house. I’d like to say I’m immune to the frightening qualities of my family home, but the dark figure I’ve been catching sight of out of the corner of my eye since I was 5 years old has always struck me as the most unsettling thing about the place.

This said, I never actually considered anything supernatural until last October, around Halloween, when a few of my friends and I decided to play a good old game of hide and scare. After a few attempts as sneaking up on one another, we received a call from another friend who was driving to my house to join us. We were gathered in front of the house to wait for them when my eye caught a dark figure at the top of the driveway, backlit by the orange floodlight that remains on across the street, illuminating the fire station parking lot. I nudged my friends, who saw the figure as well, and just as I was about to voice my thoughts on how strange it was for someone to be walking along a road at night, five miles up a mountain, the headlight of my other friend’s car shone on where the figure was standing, and in an instant, there was nothing there. My friend claimed to have seen no one at the top of the driveway and we dismissed it as a trick of the light.

Later on, I was squeezing between my old dog’s pen and the nearly vertical hillside to sneak up on a friend. I was stopped in my tracks when I felt a presence behind me and two hands rested on my shoulders,pulling my hair slightly. I laughed lightly, believing to be one of my friends, but my delight turned to terror when I saw all 5 of my companions at standing on the back deck. That’s when I heard a gurgled, practically unintelligible, deep, masculine voice say something that sounded like "found you."

That’s when I screamed. And I mean screamed.

I could feel hands pulling away from my shoulders as I darted forward, trusting my instincts which were screaming at me to run. Alarmed, my friend shined her flashlight to where I had been standing, and when I glanced behind me, I saw nothing. None of my friends could offer any explanation and we opted to hang out inside the living room for the rest of the night.

Further research about the house has revealed that its previous owner, a cop, died in prison after being arrested for molesting his daughter who has been missing ever since.

Becoming Restless

Rachael, Lancashire, UK

I have written to CoS before and often after witnessing something everything dies down, albeit not for long.

Last month (June) my parents went on holiday and whilst they’re away either me or my sister will sleep in their bedroom with our dog, to basically keep him happy. He’s a very clingy dog. One night I was lying in bed and I went to get my phone as I couldn’t sleep and wanted to check the time. However as soon as I opened my eyes all I could see were unusual orbs of coloured light (yellow, green, blue) flying around the room. I sat there just watching this unusual display and within a few seconds it was over. I at first thought it may have been a car but my window was ajar and I didn’t hear a car go past and upon checking no car was driving down the street (my street is quite long and the car would have still been there).

I didn’t really think much of it and carried on as normal. It was only after my parents came back did things start to pick up. I was at my friends one night, it was the weekend so I usually go to her place. I came home around 11 pm to my sister saying she had a ghostly experience. I made her sit down and tell us and she told me that the night before, she was trying to sleep but she woke up at 3:30 am. She was lying on her stomach and felt something on her back, it took her about 10 minutes to finally turn over but just before she did she heard a "Boo" whispered into her ear. She actually thought it was me playing tricks on her as we usual tend to hide in each others rooms and attempt to scare one another, but when she realized no one was in the room she went and got back into bed. Around 10 minutes later she started hearing a penny drop repeatedly in her room (she doesn’t leave loose change out). She said she started to get freaked out and got up and checked out in the hallway but couldn’t find anything. She kept trying to get back to sleep but she kept thinking someone had walked into her room (me or our mum) but again no one was there.

After she told us this story my mum proceeded to tell us that she often hears things in the night, people walking or someone calling out "Mum" and she thinks it’s me or my sister so she will go to check on us. I have witnessed her come into mine and my sisters room before asking if we wanted her but we hadn’t said a word. Thats when I also noted that I often hear people shout my name and will go to the landing and shout to see if I was wanted but I never am.

This is a bit long winded and I apologise, however it has become apparent to me and my sister that for some ’odd’ reason what ever has been with us all this time has started to get restless again. We hadn’t witnessed anything it almost a year, we’re not even sure what could of kicked it off.

Oh well if anything else happens I will certainly be sharing it with CoS!

Victorian Silhouette

Idola Kaine, CA, USA

Having written here before (Sleeping Disorder, October 2011), I would like to share another tale. I wrote more about the specifics of who I am in my last entry and I wouldn’t mind writing them again, but they are quite boring. Personally, I would rather cut to the chase.

I don’t recall how long ago this took place, but ever since my first true encounter, I haven’t slept on the top bunk of any bed. Now, on the lower bunk, I had set up all of my stuffed animals to surround me, plugged up any cracks or crevices close to the walls and wrapped myself in my blanket every night once again. I was determined not to come face-to-face with any crawling figure that happened to live beneath my sanctuary. My television had a habit of turning on at the same time every night and my brother and I hadn’t really figured out how to turn off the timer yet. Truthfully, we didn’t know if it was a timer or not, we only assumed that for no other explanation as to why we woke up to a blue screen every morning.

Like any good ghost story, I woke up in the night hours, shaken out of a dream by the sound of a click when the television turned on. I made a promise to myself that no matter what happened, I would forever remember I was awake. The classical music I had left playing in the evening hadn’t been turned off and it played gently in the background. My room, save for the blue glow of the T.V., was dark. My stuffed animals were not stuffed animals anymore, they had changed into a human-like audience, blurred and contorted by the blue light. The yellow wall I was facing, nearest to me, held the silhouette of a woman dancing to the music. I could see her shape clearly on my yellow wall and with the help of the light; she had a Victorian dress and bonnet, but I couldn’t see her real figure dancing behind me. The sudden image of her scared me more than anything, and being young I didn’t know what to do with myself. She just kept dancing and dancing to the music on my wall, but my childish self didn’t have enough courage to turn around. I was afraid what I might see would be the thing that had climbed on my bed. What felt like hours crept by as I lay watching her, along with the audience of stuffed humans.

Slowly, but surely, I came to realize she wasn’t doing anything or going to do anything to me. Actually, after I came to my senses, I felt a cooling aura in the room. It was like watching a toy maker build. Now that I had calmed myself, I wanted to look at her, but my body held me back. I couldn’t move at all, or will myself to, that is. So, I stayed and watched her circle a few more times before I began feeling antsy. My limbs had fallen asleep from not moving for such a long time, I wanted to watch but I also wanted to move. New fear cascaded through me and I called out for my father. She didn’t stop, but I was suddenly afraid of something, things were changing and shaking. I didn’t understand, and so I sat up as quick as I could.

Her silhouette dissolved into a square, a God’s eye my friend had made me was hanging from one of the wooden planks of my bunk. I had hung it there and forgotten all about it until she was gone. My animals turned back to animals and I shivered out of my bed.

"What’s wrong, sweetheart?" my father had asked me. I only shook my head to him in reply, still looking back at where the woman had been. He let me sleep next to him and mother that night.

When we were leaving my room, I caught a glimpse of one of my bigger stuffed animals, still humanized. It’s cold features watched me as we moved away. Then, it melted in my next step.

The Grey Lady - Ancestral Haunt?

Anonymous, NY, USA

When I was a little girl, my Grandmother told me a story about the Grey Lady. As I later learned from my Father, Grandma Cora didn’t particularly like talking about these sorts of things, ghosts and spirits, because they frightened her terribly and she believed them to the word. However, she was prompted to relay a family legend after an incident that I had in one of the upstairs bedrooms at my Grandparents farm (which I will get to briefly). According to Grandma Cora, the Grey Lady is a far off ancestor that has been seen throughout the generations by various members of our family – not everyone has seen her, and not everyone believes in her, but there are written accounts of her as far back as my Great-Great Aunt Alice, who was born in the 1860’s and kept a journal all her life. We are old blue-blood Americans, descending from both the Dutch settlers and the Mayflower, and are proud of both our genealogy and heritage – however, according to Grandma, no one remembers who this lady was, regardless of how often she has cropped up in family stories. She is simply the Grey Lady, and she seemingly shows up in times of danger, sadness, extreme joy, and good tidings – preceding these events with a sighting, a glimpse, the smell of lilac, or even a touch.

Onto me. I’m the youngest of three, with two older brothers, and as the only girl, it got awful tiresome being picked on all the time. My Grandparents farmhouse was an old, sprawling Western New York farm house – to me, it seemed like a mansion, although I am sure it was, in actuality, fairly modest in size. They had a lot of antiques and paintings, toys and books, nicknacks and whoos-its, sprawled all over the upstairs rooms. Rooms which they no longer used being as my grandparents were getting on in years. Well, I liked to explore – Both to get away from my siblings, and for curiosities sake. I was roughly five, it was several months before my Grandmother Cora passed from colon cancer, and my Father, middle brother Jesse, and I, were over for a visit. Jesse was outside with Uncle Danny and I was playing in my favorite upstairs room while Dad visited with Grandma. The room was towards the back of the house, facing the duck pond, and had three huge floor-to-ceiling windows. I remember the curtains were a dingy lace.

The wallpaper was my favorite, though the room was full of interesting things – paintings and sewing things, old quilts, books, a large marble-topped vanity, a tall floor-to-ceiling Victorian mirror (now in my possession), a big brass bed, and probably much more that my little mind couldn’t identify or absorb. But the wall paper was gorgeous – hummingbirds in flight through woven vines of flowers; I remember it had a glimmer to it and was faded in places where the sun had bleached it. I was tracing the flight of a hummingbird with my finger, trying to figure out where he came from, when I saw, in the corner of my eye, a lady at the center window. It wasn’t unusual for aunts and uncles to pop in at the farm, so I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I started talking to her about the bird, and I remember looking right at her during this one sided conversation. She was tall and thin, wearing a pretty floor length dress in floral print with shiny buttons down the front. Her hair was high in a bun with curls on the side and her face was kind. She didn’t look like any of my aunts and uncles, she was too young, and she didn’t say anything. What I recall the most is that she had absolutely no scrap of color to her in the slightest bit. She was grey, head to toe, but she was solid enough. I don’t know how long I was talking to her for, even after I realized that she wasn’t anyone I knew, but eventually I heard my Grandmother calling me from the bottom of the staircase – it was time for lunch!

I turned to shout "Coming!" and when I looked back at the window, my new friend was gone! I clambered downstairs, excited and full of story for my Grandmother and Father, but also peeking through the other rooms for my friend. Dad listened quietly, and Grandma went from cheerful, though sick, elderly woman, to afraid. People talk about "faces falling" – and that literally is what hers did. I had never seen her like that, not even when she was dying in the hospital. She asked me to repeat what the lady looked like several times and then got very quiet. I babbled on, eating my sandwich, and just being a kid. Jesse, my brother, didn’t believe me one bit and we started that sibling rivalry of competing stories to see whose was the best. Soon I forgot about my new friend as my Uncle Danny told me there were new kittens in the barn. The rest of the day I spent playing with the kittens and other animals, and my father, brother, and myself went home later that afternoon without any further mention of the lady I had seen.

It was about three months later when Grandma got really sick and was admitted to the hospital. I remember going to visit her with my Dad and she always gave me her jell-o when it was green. One day she asked me to tell her again about the lady I had seen in the upstairs bedroom, months earlier. When I had finished, excited that she remembered my story and thus had to have believed me, whereas Jesse had been picking on me for months, she told me what she knew about the Grey Lady.

When Grandma was little, her mother was ill though nobody knew it yet. Grandma was outside in her Fathers orchard with a pair of beagle puppies. She was about six years old. Grandma was training the puppies to yield to basic commands, when she smelled a strong waft of lilac. It was early spring, too early for lilacs, even in Western New York, so she immediately knew it was someone’s perfume. Looking up, she saw a woman standing beside an apple tree, long dress, hair in a bun, with curls to the sides. Startled, Grandma scooped up the puppies and ran back to the house, the smell of lilac following her the entire way. Grandma never told anybody what she had seen and what she had smelt, but days later, her mother fell deathly ill and died within the next month. At the service, some of the older aunts were talking about the Grey Lady, and Grandma came to listen. What she learned is this: The Grey Lady is a woman that appears before times of great trouble, though she has also been seen at weddings and births. She appears young, to wear late 18th century attire, and she is sometimes preceded by the smell of lilac, or never appears at all as anything more than the distinct scent. Apparently, two of the aunts swore up and down they had seen the Grey Lady before my Great Grandma Bissell passed.

Being so little, I didn’t understand, but I thought it was a neat story. Grandma wouldn’t say anything else about the Grey Lady and my Father and I soon left. Grandma died September 26th, 1992, roughly three months after I had seen the Grey Lady. At her funeral party, which was held at my parents’ house, I remember being really sad. All of the aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and other family members tried coaxing me out of my room, but I hid under my bed and eventually fell asleep there. I didn’t see, or hear about, the Grey Lady for several years after that.

When I was approximately nine years old, however, I woke up with an extreme thirst. I always had a nightlight in my room, and am still afraid of the dark, and for some reason, this light was MUCH brighter than usual. I mean B R I G H T! I got out of bed and made for the back staircase, which is on the other side of the house – I’ve never liked our front staircase, which is right outside of my bedroom, and I would do anything to avoid going down it at night. There’s a long hallway connecting the front part of our house to the back, with a set of three steps in the middle, marking where the old portion (built in 1817) ends and the new portion, the front, (built in 1854) begins. As I made my way down the hallway towards the back part of the house, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. Thinking it’s my Mom, I turn around: No one’s there. So I keep going, but as I approach those three steps descending into the back section of the house, I see her – The Grey Lady. Bold as brass, luminescent, with a sense of urgency on her face, about a foot in front of me, with both of her hands up, palms out, as if to say "Stop!" Not afraid, because I remembered my friend, I stopped. I heard my Father’s voice coming from downstairs, which was unusual as he tended to go to sleep early and wake up the same and rarely wandered around at night. Still thirsty, and now inquisitive about my fathers’ goings on, I turned around and headed towards the front staircase, which I dreaded, but my thirst and curiosity had the best of me. I made my way down through the front rooms, and as I got towards the kitchen, I saw thick black smoke coming from our family room – and my Father putting out a small fire on our stereo system.

When he finally got the fire out, and the equipment unplugged and out of the house, my Father asked me why I was awake, had I heard him? And I said, no, I was thirsty, and then my night light got really bright, so I wanted a drink. Usually I’ve very chatty (as you can see...), even when I’m sleepy, but that night I was quiet and so Dad asked me another question, "Did she visit you too?" And I sort of laughed, remembering how my family had chided me for my previous experience, and so denied anything strange had happened to me. Dad told me this:

He had been sleeping rather soundly, when suddenly he felt a push on his shoulder. Thinking it was one of us kids being sick or needing something, he woke up and asked what was the matter. Getting no answer, he sat up, looked around, saw no one there, and laid back down. A few moments later, he felt another push, harder, more insistent, and he sat up again, smelling a mixture of lilac and smoke. Getting out of bed, he then looked in on all the kids sleeping as he walked through the house. He said the smell of lilac soon became overpowered by smoke as he headed towards the back stairs, and then downward, where he saw that the stereo system had caught on fire. Then he asked me why I came down the front staircase, because everyone knew it scared me. He had got me. I’ve had several other experiences with the Grey Lady since – she visited me while I lived in New Hampshire in the winter of 2007 when my Grandpa Fred, Cora’s husband, died. I hadn’t seen Grandpa in some years, and would have been surprised when Aunt Barbara called to give me the news, but I wasn’t. I saw her at the Christening of my youngest cousin, and again at another cousins wedding. I have never been afraid of the Grey Lady, and don’t understand why anyone else in my family is. I think of her as protective, guiding, and vigilant. Thank you for taking the time to read, I know this was a bit wordy and long.