A Very Personal Haunting
An Unsettled Beginning
This is a slight update, and re-publish of a previous article I had written here.
The following true story is based upon events that occurred earlier in my life. It is a tale that I have tried to write many a time, it is a dark tale of a haunting that my family and I experienced over the course of 10 years. It is something that continues to cause upset and trouble even today, some 30 years after it started. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in a haunted house, then this article is for you.
I am not asking anyone to believe me. If I had not seen these things with my own eyes I would not believe it. It has taken no small amount of courage to present this here before you, and this is to be my last attempt to tell this story in writing.
I fully accept that the following events are strange, and occasionally unbelievable, and that there are similarities between this story and another that I have covered recently here. Yes there are similarities, but that is where it ends. This recollection is presented from family notes and letters from over the years. All I ask of you, the reader is to approach this with an open mind, and to remember that these are events perceived to be real by real people with feelings, myself included.
Believe, or do not believe, that is your choice, and I cannot make it for you.
There are no photographs or pictures as other family members do not wish to be involved further. However, I have taken the liberty to include several Youtube videos. These are unrelated to what happened to me and my family. They are purely there to provide a little relief from the nearly 5000 words contained here.
Once again, the videos are not from my haunting. They are included for entertainment value I cannot verify if they are real activity or not.
As with so many hauntings, things started off in small ways as if the entity was trying to gain momentum. I was about 4 years old and initially things happened after I was put to bed. I was always put to bed with the light off but it would turn itself on and off again periodically. This was witnessed on several occasions by my sisters, who would often check on me at night. The windows also seemed to develop a life of their own. A closed window would often be open the next time you walked past, even in the middle of winter. Already this was enough for some members of the family to question what was going on, or at the very least, their own sanity. I do remember thinking what fun it all was, and what a fuss was being made over a dicky light, or a wonky window, it all seemed quite innocent.
It was then the banging started. It always came from upstairs, the front master bedroom. Heavy footfalls could be heard first, then the banging, always the same pattern. Often coinciding with the banging was a strange feeling of pressure building in ones ears, and a rushing noise that is hard to describe other than putting a sea shell over your ear. My dad was an honest to goodness working class Joe, and did the only logical thing which was to dismiss it as the neighbors thumping around, dodgy 1940's wiring and poor quality window catches.
It wasn't just noises either. My brother-in-law saw a slightly built blond boy around 11-12 years old laughing and leaning on the stairway by the front door as he went to buy ice creams from the delivery van. Thinking that my brother had a friend visiting he came back with two extra ice creams, one for each of them. It took some convincing and a tour of the house to convince him that there was no one else in the house at that time. The event, although sounding comical really upset him, as he said it had seemed so real that he thought he could have reached out and patted the boy on the head.
This wasn't the only time the blond boy was seen. The postman, coal man and other kids in the neighborhood stated asking about the new boy staying in our house, who was he and why didn't he come out to play with the rest of us? He was most often seen staring in a pensive way out of the window halfway up the stairs, between floors on a little landing.
At this point my phobia of water began suddenly. Bath times were a nightmare of fear, and even flushing the toilet was something I could not bear to do. If I absolutely was made to flush, it was a quick pull on the lever and then I would run out as fast as humanly possible. There was something about the sound of the rushing water that just terrified me
It was July 1980 and I heard my Mother scream
My dad, sister and I rushed upstairs to see what had happened to find mum sitting on the floor shaking. She had gone to her wardrobe, a built in one with a solid door, and saw clear markings on the inside. The scratches were 1/8 of an inch deep into solid wood, and appeared to have been made with a sharpened end of a coat-hanger. The tool in question could not be found. As dad began to question which idiotic member of the family thought this was good joke all hell started to break loose, the lights began flickering on and off and the same banging noise could be heard by all of us. We ran out the room, seeking the relative safety of the living room downstairs. There was no doubt in mum's mind as to what we were dealing with, and decided to immediately confront the neighbors and see what they might have been holding out on.
There we were, sat in the neighbors living room, coal fire clogging the air with filthy particles of soot, I remember thinking that they could not have had the Chimney Sweep in recently. As I said before, funny the things that you can remember. As soon as we told them our tale, the lady of the house seemed to know exactly who we might be dealing with. The previous family living in our house consisted of 2 recently divorced parents who had hooked up both having 2 kids from their previous marriages. The youngest had a history of playing truant from school and going swimming with his mates. On one fateful occasion he was off school with a cold, and knowing that he would try to go for a swim at the local lock, the mum had hidden his swimming trunks in the built in wardrobe in the front room. Of course he found them, having seen her go into the room shortly before leaving for work, and went straight to the lock to meet his friends.
They described his drowning in the local paper graphically, witness said it had seemed as if some unseen hands were clawing at him to pull him under and hold him there.
My father had never believed in ghosts and the suchlike. For him, if it wasn't something he could grab, it didn'texist I remember watching my mum and him arguing about it in the kitchen. It was a long room, the entire width of the house. We had built it with the help of my granddad, Sidney. It was all windows along the entire length, with a long worktop running from one end to the other. He had already dismissed the kettle switching itself on at the moment he mentioned making a cup of tea as pure coincidence. As he was continuing to tell us all precisely why it was all bunkum and place his cup down, the saucer beneath it moved slowly out of the way, about 4 inches to the left of him. "Must be sliding on some spilled water or something." He tried again, 3 more times, and each time the saucer moved a little more out of the way. He shouted in a way I had never heard before, nor since, to "stop f***ing me about!" at which point the saucer accelerated rapidlyand smashed into the cupboard 10 feet away from him, and you know, without breaking a sweat, he calmly looked at the worktop again and said he thought that he must have installed it incorrectly, it must of course be sloping.
A New Job
My dad started working nights (great idea by the way, what with the family terrified) and so was either out of the house or asleep when things were going on. I believe I share his unique ability to sleep through just about anything.
It was as if after the outburst in the kitchen, whatever was stalking us was waiting for him to leave the house. He would leave at 6pm, and by 7pm things were starting up again. Each night it began in small ways. I would be put to bed and shortly begin sweating profusely. The covers were seen to shake, occasionally being aggressively pulled off of me. Sometimes I would not wake during this, even with mum shaking me quite violently, but on those occasions that I did wake up, the events ceased immediately.
If I was allowed to sleep by the entity, then it was a totally different situation for my mum. Just as she was drifting off a rush of cold air would blow across her face, or whispers directly into her ear. Sometimes the sound of rushing water was so loud and intense it caused her physical discomfort, and the pressure she felt was intense. She had insisted on a dimmer switch in the bedroom as she believed that the entity could only manage the on and off of a normal switch, but that was proved to be wrong very shortly thereafter, and our unwelcome guest had a toy to play with. In fact there was one very old fashioned light switch in the upstairs landing that it seemed completely unable to operate, and so she would sit at the top of the stairs night after night with the light on, waiting for my dad to get home. Only then did she feel safe enough to return to bed.
It wasn't just my mum getting the worst of the experiences, but she did get more than her fair share. One night she was running a bath, then, suddenly, she was just plain running, straight past everyone and out of the door into the garden with just her dressing gown on.
Mum calmed down and came back into the house. She had heard screams coming from the bath water and ran out, leaving the taps running. When we ventured into the bathroom, the taps were closed and the water drained.
Meanwhile, due to my sister and her husband moving back into the house, I was forced to sleep in the one room I hated more than any other, the front master bedroom. Sleep didn't come easily, but when it did, the sweating was once again followed by the sheet pulling. A new and disturbing aspect emerged at this point. I was mumbling and shouting, and incredibly restless. On one night in particular the banging started almost immediately that I fell asleep. It was so loud that mum thought she had to bring me away from it and raced upstairs to get me.
She grabbed the door handle and twisted, nothing happened, she did not have the strength to open the door. She tried 3 more times before it finally gave way and flung open.
I was kneeling in front of a full length mirror, staring unblinkingly forward, and talking in a deep voice. She couldn't make out any of the words, but felt the pressure building in the room again. She knew we had to get out of there and now, so she grabbed me and carried me down to the living room. At this point we were alone in the house. Again, whilst I was awake, things were quieter, but as soon as I drifted, the banging began again. It seemed like someone was running up and down the stairs over and over and over again. Our guest it seemed was gathering more and more energy all the time and was becoming increasingly violent.
Later that evening, my sister and her husband returned. It was quiet when they sat down in the living room and mum began to tell them what had been happening. My brother then returned from a night out, and headed to the kitchen with a dose of the munchies. As I drifted off once more began the banging. The door to the living room began to vibrate so violently, they thought it was going to shake loose from the hinges, and all three of them in the living room began to feel the intense pressure building in their ears. Hearing the commotion, my brother ran towards the sliding door separating the kitchen from the rest of the house. Just as he approached, it slid closed immediately in front of him. Try as he might, he could not open the door, which also began to violently vibrate. Pain shot up his arm like a burning sensation as he released his grip. My sister was on the floor rocking back and forwards, whilst her husband was shouting and screaming at something he could not hope to threaten. As I woke I wondered why my mum and sister were crying. The kitchen door released and my brother entered the room looking pale. It is the only time I have ever seen fear in his eyes.
Taking Stock of the Situation
With everyone in the lounge, everyone recounted their accounts of what they had felt and seen. Whilst in the kitchen, my brother admitted that he had never been so terrified in his life. All the electrical appliances were going "nuts" as he put it, and the burning sensation felt like an electric shock whenever he tried the door handle.
It was agreed that something needed to be done and immediately.
My headmaster was worried. I was not doing well, falling asleep in class, and not paying attention. He spoke to my parents and was shocked to say the least at the story that confronted him. Just as shocking was the length of time that it had been going on without help. The family had at this point however decided to get a local priest to come and bless the house.
In the meantime, one of the masters (posh schools called teachers masters for some reason) who taught mythology and Latin (see, told you it was a posh school) took great interest in my story, and we would often spend time talking about it, which I felt helped me a lot. The problem was, it didn't help anyone back in the house at that moment in time. It got to a point where my mum actually rang the school and asked the headmaster to stop me talking as the banging was horrendous at precisely the same time I was talking about it. He actually claimed to have heard it over the phone. From that moment on it was the new school rule not to talk to me about the haunting, making me feel like a freak and an outcast.
The Priest Attends
I was kept home from school that day. I remember watching a cartoon called Dr Snuggles, which with hindsight was a kind of creepy surreal cartoon that probably did nothing for my mental health. The door bell rang, and as mum went to answer, she asked me to shut off the television. I dutifully obliged, but as soon as the priest entered the house it came back on. They entered the room and I was berated for being disrespectful. Whilst not overly religious, we were a God-fearing family and attended the church, albeit somewhat irregularly.
I stood up to turn off the TV. As it turns out, I needn't have done, as it helpfully flicked off itself. I remember the priest saying something along the lines of "Well, it appears that our visitor isn't afraid of the word of God now is he." I didn't know quite what to make of this development, but was sure it wasn't a good thing.
The priest walked slowly from room to room, sprinkling Holy Water from a small vial, and muttering barely audible prayers under his breath. As he approached the master bedroom in the front of the house, he hesitated, and asked if this was the "significant" room. Little did I know that despite his knowledge, he really didn't know what we were dealing with, or how to deal with it.
Two options were leveled at my mum. Option one was to try to convince me that there was nothing there, and that he had cleared it away. I know now that this was untrue, he knew it remained, but the idea was to remove me as a source of power. If I didn't believe it, it had no power. The 2nd option was to remove me from the house.
Change of Scenery
My first day of boarding school will be forever burned into my subconscious. I was terrified. It was the same school I had already been attending, but staying away from home at the age of 10 is just not something I think any child is prepared for. Of course, being a social outcast known as ghost boy didn't help matters whatsoever. The feeling of being dumped at the school gates was unbearable. Of course, it was a posh school, people paid thousands of pounds to hide their children away there. What didn't help also was my working class family background. I just didn't belong in their school or social circles, no matter how hard I tried, or how well I proved myself.
Following the priest's visit, things had indeed calmed down a lot. Or at least I thought they had, but you see, instead of the open and honest family we had before, we now had a closed and difficult to read dynamic. Things were being kept from me. Whilst it was indeed better, there were still occurrences, I just didn't get to hear about them. The atmosphere was tense in those few weeks after Christmas, as everyone was waiting to see if the entity stopped entirely when I wasn't around any more.
My mum recalls the next 2 years as peaceful and quiet. This is selective memory on her part. Precisely five and a half days per week might have been (we had school on a Saturday, what a liberty), but when I returned at the weekend my peace was often disturbed in ways more targeted at me, rather than in connection with me. One example is the nightmares I started suffering at this point. Every weekend when I returned home it was the same dream for 2 nights, and when I returned to school, nothing, nada, zipperooni. This cycle continued for about 6 months that I can recall, accompanied by night terrors. I would wake up screaming at the top of my voice, but nothing came out.
These dreams always started off the same, in the house, a normal family scene, perhaps eating dinner or watching TV. Then, somehow I would become separated from the rest of the family, and as I looked for them I was stalked, no, hunted would be more apt, through the house becoming more and more terrified until I woke screaming, or not as it happens. I realise that there was some separation anxiety in these dreams, but I still feel like there was something more behind them.
As the weekends would draw to a close, more little things would occur, like a lightflickering on and off again, the windows also would start playing their little games, and before long, I was being returned to school not on a Monday morning, but on a Sunday night. My parents must have felt that it was simply better for me to be out of harms way so that it couldn't begin to get its teeth stuck in again.
Summer hols ahoy !!
8 weeks of no school, it was going to be the BEST 8 weeks of my life. Of course, as I settled back into home life, the smaller events became bigger events, and I really began to disbelieve all that the priest had said. Putting 2 and 2 together, I realised that I was being held at arm's length from the family, and I know now that is was for my own good, as well as theirs.
No more than a few days into the hols, I woke with such a start I almost flew off the bed. At least I would have done if someone had not been sitting at the end of my bed, on my legs. the top half of me flailed around, I tried to scream but again nothing came out, I was helpless and at the mercy of the shadow at the bottom of my bed.
I could not make out any features, the moon was full and all I could see was the silhouette of a large man. He turned his head from the window he was looking out of and seemed to stare right through me, as if I wasn't even there. I closed my eyes as tight as I could and continued to struggle.
I awoke feeling calm and refreshed. Then it hit me like a 10 pound lump hammer. I casually asked my dad if he had been into my room the night before, of course he had not. I could see fear in his eyes as he asked the question.
I was visited in the night by this shadow person for about 2 weeks as I recall. After the first occasion, the fear left me. He had done nothing wrong after all, he had not harmed me, banged around or made the lights go on and off. He just sat there watching, looking around the room as if looking for something.
A Knock at the Door
It was our neighbors. They had news, and thought it may be relevant to our situation. The drowned boys father had died at a relatively young age just over 2 weeks prior, due to cancer.
As she said the words I wondered if it had been him in my room the past 14 nights. Was he looking for his son? I ran to the back garden to find the old piece of door that we had found scratches on all that time ago. As I looked at the markings it became clear to me that the jumbled up, upside down and back to front letters spelt out a word.
A New Begninning
We left the house in 1987, having endured the haunting for the best part of a decade on and off. We moved about as far away as we could, my siblings had all left home, and we now lived in a modern 3 bedroom detached house in the country.
I had until this point felt that the events were location-based. That was to change one afternoon as I was walking home with a friend. He was fascinated by the tale of the haunting, and we spoke of it all the way home. Little did I realise that mum was having a hard time again, the kettle and iron were acting up, hot cold, on off, with no intervention on her part. We entered the house, and my friend said something along the lines of "Hiya Bet, put the kettle on will you." The kettle promptly obliged, again with no help from my mum. He ran out the house with a pale face and bloodshot eyes, and would not return for over a week. A few days later, the familiar sound of running up and down the stairs started, but things died down again very quickly, and we soon got on with life as normal.
We moved again shortly thereafter, to a rented large house further into the country. Again, small things occurred, but nothing of great interest apart from a trapdoor to the loft that would lift out of its recess and rotate by 45 degrees whenever you left the room. On worthy event happened at Christmas dinner 1990. it was witness by my mum, dad, sister, granddad, granny, and Nan. It was the familiar running up and down the stairs, only this time there was no staircase for the noise to be made on, as we were in the single story part of the building.
I have since grown up, married a fantastic woman, and am starting a family of my own. We have moved house 4 times ourselves in this period of time, and I am sorry to say that we have had thumping up and down the stairs in each property we lived in. Eventually we left the UK, and as we were preparing our journey, I began a reoccurring dream.
It was simply a voice, every night for 3 weeks saying " If you keep travelling so far and wide, how can I hope to follow you."
We have had several events in our current location, including a spontaneous puddle of water appearing on the floor, and various noises, but nothing has ever gone to the same level of intensity of my youth.
I often find myself wondering what exactly it was. I am open to ideas and suggestions on this dear readers, as nothing seemed to add up. Classic poltergeist activity, mixed with classic haunting and a drowned, angry little boy whose father was dieing of cancer at the time of greatest intensity, and the watchful figure, who seemed sad more than anything. Or could it be something altogether more sinister and demonic, merely pretending to be all these things, or using their souls for his own sick enjoyment, whilst making our lives hell.
I have no answers, but I do hope that every one of you enjoyed this journey in some way, I feel I benefitted greatly by finally telling this story, and I thank you all for the opportunity, and for providing me with an audience.
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