A True Ghost Story
A True Ghost Story
It may seem a strange way to start a ghost story but I should say right from the outset that I do not believe in ghosts. Maybe I am just trying to convince myself. I do however believe that there is much in our curious world that science has not so far explained.
In early 1992 I had a Zoo meeting in London. As it was an early morning start it made sense to travel down from Wales the day before and stop overnight. Seeking to save a little bit of money and catch up with old friends I telephoned and asked if I could stay with them. They said they would be delighted and so was I. I had not seen them for some ten years. They lived in Redhill in Surrey. Although they were my friends they were my parents age...in fact they knew my parents in Kuwait. I only met them for the first time when I was working in Abu Dhabi. Lovely people, both of them.
Ghosts in Corridor
I was collected from Redhill station and driven to their lovely home. Not modern, but built, I would guess around 1930.
Although it had not been a long journey it had been an exceptionally tiring one. I was ready for bed the moment I arrived. It would be rude to retire so soon so we chatted for a few hours. I drank one glass of beer and then a glass of wine over a truly delicious meal. I recollect my stomach was really upset, probably as a result of eating a dodgy pie on the train down. I visited the toilet twice and opened the window to let some air circulate. As I looked out I saw across the garden the doors to a subterranean shelter. Probably an air raid shelter from the second world war. I don't know because I didn't ask but to this day I can still see the doors to that shelter in my mind. Somehow I feel it is significant.
Time For Bed
Shortly after nine I was feeling pretty tired and so was shown to my room. It was pretty standard except for one thing and that was that there was a second door, situated in the corner of the room which was blocked off by a chest of drawers. Not the most unusual piece of furniture placement because I had seen it in other places. It was though, significant enough for me to wonder where the door led to. Maybe it was just a cupboard. The headboard of my bed was on the opposite wall and diagonally across from the door. There was a lamp on the bedside table to the right of the bed.
I washed, brushed my teeth and climbed into bed. It was nine thirty and I was exhausted. Despite being so, and unusually tired, sleep did not come easy. The grandfather clock at the bottom of the stairs struck one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Sleep eluded me. I lay thinking about the day I had and the meeting coming tomorrow. The clock struck eleven.
The Night Terror
I was still awake when the clock chimed twelve, then one, then two, then... What happened next I will never forget as long as I live. The clock struck once, twice and then something climbed onto the bed and sat on my chest. I froze. My eyes were closed. I kept them closed. I was petrified. I did want to see. Then IT spoke. It was in a little girls voice and it said "I'm having a nightmare." It may have been having a nightmare but I wasn't. I was wide awake. I was too frightened to open my eyes but I extended one arm upwards. My fingers ran through long hair. I pulled my hand back quickly. It just sat there. I would not, perhaps could not open my eyes. I did not want to see whatever it was. I waited listening to my breathing. Could I hear it breathing? Perhaps. I waited. It waited. It seemed like hours. Then, as suddenly as it had climbed onto me it climbed off again. I heard a single chime from the grandfather clock. What? I puzzled. What had happened. Was it still standing by the bed watching me? I lay, eyes still closed, listening hard. Then the grandfather clock struck one, two, three, four. Four! Four? I quickly worked it out. Whatever had sat on my chest for what seemed like hours had been there for only a second. It was an hour since it had climbed off me. I slowly stretched out my right arm to the light at the side of my bed and switched it on. Equally slowly I opened my eyes. Nothing! Nothing except the quilt was no longer covering me (I had not felt that move), no... Now it was in the corner of the room next to the chest of drawers that blocked the second door. The weirdest thing of all was that there was now a long blonde hair entwined in the fingers of my left hand. That shocked me and I shook it out. At this point I felt an unnatural state of complete relaxation and fell asleep straight away waking only when my alarm went off at seven.
I remembered everything when I woke. I knew I hadn't dreamt it. My mind started to try to make some logical sense of what had happened. Because I couldn't make sense the whole 'it was only a dream' kept coming back into my head. It was almost as if it was trying to force the reality out.
When I went downstairs for breakfast my hosts enquired "Did you have a good night?" all I could say was "Yes, thank you." Why? Why didn't I say I have just had one of the most disturbing experiences of my life? I couldn't. What would they think of me.
Some years have passed since. I couldn't care what they think now. My mind races back to that night every time someone mentions ghosts and each time I fight to make sense of it but cannot. 'It was only a dream' has not won the battle yet.
The Old Hag
It was years later that I learnt of the Old Hag. Perhaps that was what I experienced. There are differences in my tale though. The little girls voice...the long blonde hair.