Merry Meet and Most Blessed Samhain Family and Friends!
Recently, I saw the movie, "Paranormal Activity" and while I won't spoil the fun for those who have yet to see it, I can't say I found it, as promised, the "scariest movie of the decade". Actually, I haven't seen a really scary movie in a very, very long time. Or perhaps I'm just...paranormally challenged.
I will explain by saying that I lived in our family home from birth, until I married at 26 years of age. I can tell you, with absolute honesty, that there was never a moment in those 26 years when I felt comfortable being there alone. I will also admit, that to this day, I can not sleep without some kind of light coming into the bedroom.
I would often listen with a mixture of rapt terror and morbid fascination as my family shared tales of "unexplained phenomenon". My sister took great pleasure, as older siblings often do, in describing the vivid details of her own ghostly encounters. Even more frightening however, was when I'd go to my parents hoping to have them dismiss her stories as fabrication, I'd be met with uncomfortable silences or vague mumblings about there being "no such thing as ghosts". Yet, their own discomfort was palpable. Still, I did my best to convince myself that my sister was just trying to scare me. After all, I'd never seen or experienced any of these things for myself. Yet.
I recall my sister telling me a story of waking in the middle of the night to see a woman, dressed in white, passing by foot of her bed, carrying a candle.
I remember my Aunt telling us of waking to see her sister kneeling at her bedside praying, only to realize a moment later, that her sister was sleeping soundly in her own bed.
One of my first experiences came while I was walking past my parent's bedroom and heard a growling coming from beneath their bed. It was one of the rare occasions that I can remember not having any pets and no one else was in the room at the time. I convinced myself that I was...hearing things.
I would occasionally sense a shadowy presence in the corner just outside my bedroom door. When I told my mother, instead of reassuring me that I was, Oh, I don't know, losing my mind, she hung a small crucifix in the spot where I felt the presence. I never saw it again.
One evening, long after I'd gone to bed, I awoke to hear my sister calling my name. She had just been showering, so I couldn't imagine why she'd be calling. A moment later we were all jolted from our beds by a blood curdling scream. My father, who was very modest around his daughters, was standing in the middle of the kitchen in his boxers. My mother and I rushed in to find my terrified sister, a whiter shade of pale. She said that when she attempted to leave the bathroom, she couldn't open the door. She said she'd felt someone (or something) holding it from the other side. She thought it was me! It wasn't.
I remember one night during a particularly violent thunderstorm, we lost power. Well, with one small exception. The radio we had in the bedroom turned itself on and was blaring at full volume. While my mother went to get a flashlight, I fumbled my way through the darkness to find the radio and turn it off. I found the radio, but despite pressing the button, it continued to play. I felt for the power cord and was about to pull it from the wall when I realized...ooops, it wasn't plugged in.
On another occasion, my Mother had been washing her hair in the bathroom sink when she felt someone tap her on the back. "Gina?", she called, presuming it was her grand-daughter. No reply. Her hair was covered in lather, so she was unable to open her eyes without getting shampoo in them. A moment later, she felt another tap, this time a little more insistent. "What do you want, Gina?", she said, as she felt for around for a towel. Again, no response. This time, the tap was even harder and she spun around, water streaming down her face, only to find that she was alone in the room. She said it was one of the few times she was truly frightened.
The memory of my sister's "bathroom incident" had become a distant one. Then late one evening, after I'd finished getting ready for bed, I attempted to leave the bathroom, only to find that the door wouldn't open. Suspecting that I had just forgotten to unlock it, I turned latch, but the door knob wouldn't turn. I looked down at the lock to realize that the door had already been unlocked! I stood there, my body paralyzed with the shock of white hot fear. I couldn't move, I couldn't breath. When I finally found the courage, I grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open as hard as I could! I went sailing out into the kitchen and found myself alone. Afterwards, I left the door slightly ajar any time I was by myself in the house.
Shortly before we married and I moved from my childhood home, I woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink. There was door just outside my bedroom which led to the stairwell to my Aunts' apartment on the floor below. It was about 3 a.m. I sleepily shuffled past by the door and as I did, I heard three short, but very distinct...knocks. "Who would be knocking at this hour?", I wondered. Surely it wasn't one of the Aunts. They never knocked! A few steps from the door was my parent's bedroom, with a window that looked out onto the stairwell. I cautiously peered around the corner into their room, praying that I would see a light shining through the window and one of the Aunts standing in the hallway. It was pitch black. There was no way anyone (or at least, ya know, anyone human) could find their way up those stairs in the darkness, so there was no friggin' way I was going to look out the window to see who or what, was knocking! I hauled my ass back to my room so fast I swear my feet never touched the floor, bolting the lock on the door as I flew by!
Despite the supernatural drama, leaving the home I grew up in proved to be bittersweet. After we married, Ray and I rented an apartment on the first floor of an older two family home. It was a lovely place with gleaming hardwood floors and a beautiful working fireplace. The rent was surprisingly affordable and we were thrilled to have found our "perfect" first home.
One night after we'd moved in, I awoke to hear him calling my name from another room. Before I could respond, he came back to bed asking, "what were you doing up?" "What was he talking about", I wondered. I hadn't been up, I told him. He said that he thought he'd heard me in the kitchen. By the following morning, the incident had been forgotten.
A short time later, I woke up during the night to use the bathroom, when I heard what sounded like all the kitchen cabinets and drawers being opened. I suspected it was Ray rummaging for chocolate. "Ray", I called. The house was suddenly quiet. "Ray", I called again. I walked out of the bathroom, to find the cabinets were closed, the kitchen was dark and eerily silent and Ray, was just where I'd left him, sound asleep.
A month or so after we'd moved in, our landlady came by to see how we were enjoying our new home. I casually mentioned what had happened, curious to see how she'd react. I saw her eyes soften and a small, sad smile came over her face. It was then she told us how we came to rent our lovely little place.
Up until recently, the apartment had been occupied by her father, who had just passed away.
As I share these tales, I can still sense the ghosts of my childhood that linger in the dark corners of my mind. Let it suffice to say that I'll be leaving the lights on tonight and the bathroom door slightly ajar.
In Darkness, Light!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Merry Meet and Most Blessed Samhain Family and Friends!
Posted by Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood at 7:19 AM