Personal Hauntings by Kitty: The Stalker-Spirit and the Territorial Ghost in Florida
The Arden Avenue Shadow Man
After leaving Maryland at the age of 19, I moved to haunted Tampa, Florida to attend school and make a life of my own. I lived in a few campus-owned apartments while I was first going to school and then ended up moving into a rental home on Arden Avenue in Tampa. This part of Tampa is not that great of an area, economically or crime-wise; however, the street and neighborhood that the rental was located in was a decent working class to lower-middle class family neighborhood. The houses on this street are fairly well-kept, with green yards and quaint little homes. The house pictured to the right is not the actual house I lived in at this point, but it resembles it...minus a pretty blue paint on the siding, bigger and nicer porch, and a nicer yard in front. Most of the homes on this street were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s and when you step inside, you almost feel as if you are going back in time.
Obviously I loved the look and feel of this house, as I am an addict for anything from the 40s and 50s. I had a room on the first floor, with a huge walk-in closet...the window frames were the originals and the ceilings were fairly high. It was really a very pretty and old-world looking room...my favorite in the house. I shared this rental with three other young ladies my age, two of whom were close friends for awhile. For many days and nights I felt very comfortable in my room, I would open my windows to the side yard and listen to the rain hit the tin roof. I would take naps and paint and do all of the things that I don't have time to do as an adult now. I felt connected to that house in a weird way...but one night my comfortable connection with the Arden Ave home began to diminish.
If you have read any of my earlier hubs, you will know that I am a lucid dreamer, and used to be a very avid lucid dreamer a few years back, and also more importantly to be noted that I was during this time of my life. Usually my lucid dreams are pleasant or enlightening, even the frightening ones seemed to have no oppression over my innate awareness and ability to overcome obstacles while dreaming. However, one night my lucid dreams took a turn for the worse...a terrifying turn.
I woke up to a tapping sound on my bedroom's window...a bird? No, it can't be...it's too loud to be a bird...then the blinds flew up on both of my windows and a pair of eyes accompanied by what seemed to be an evil man was staring at me through the old glass pane. I was so frightened, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I tried to get up to run away...but I was paralyzed. I couldn't move a muscle...I just lied in my bed...motionless...trying to scream out but my vocal chords weren't even functioning. I felt like I was suffocating...then...I really woke up. Phew...the whole thing was a dream...a very lucid and vividly terrifying dream, I thought the next morning.
That whole day I tried putting the dream out of my mind...I just wanted to forget about it, but the idea of being paralyzed in a dream was frightening to me...it was new. I couldn't figure out this strange occurrence but I knew it would be the only one I would have to tolerate. My mind was quiet for at least week...no crazy sleep paralysis inducing dreams...so I was back into my mellowed state of mind. One night I laid down in my bed and fell asleep listening to a celtic flutes album, when a familiar noise woke me from my sleep...and this time I wasn't dreaming that I had woken up...I was really awake. Tap...tap...tap. I felt as though I was re-living my nightmare from the week before...I couldn't move. I heard the tapping noise again on my window...the same window from my dream! There was someone outside of the house...tapping ever-so-gently on my window. Is it a bird? No...the sound was too dull for a bird's beak. A cat? Cat's don't knock...they don't have knuckles! My whole body was shaking and the paralysis crept over me in reality this time...I waited until the tapping noise ceased and then could not sleep for the rest of the night. In fear that the window-tapper would come a-calling again. I was never comfortable in my own room or house following these incidents and I ran away from the house a month later. I had to get out of there...it was like everywhere I went, I felt as if someone was watching me, following me. Like I had an invisible stalker who could invade my mind and dreams...and physically knock on my window to instill real fear in my mind like I could never explain.
During this scary time in my life, I was having regularly occurring nightmares and bouts of sleep paralysis...I started believing that I was under a psychic attack of sorts...though I honestly didn't know of anyone who would want to bother me. Years later, after this occurrence and after reading a lot about paranormal experiences, I think that maybe it might not have been a person messing with my mind...that it very well could have been a darker entity that didn't like my existence in that house...maybe it knew that I could sense its presence and took pleasure out of scaring me? I have no idea what really happened but I know that these experiences were very real...and very frightening. I hope I never experience something to this degree of horror again.
A Mischievous Ghost
After my Arden Avenue haunting, I grew up quite a bit and settled down to have a family and start a career. We moved into a house in Florida, not too far from Tampa and we were very happy with the house that we had chosen. Our daughter was a young infant at this point and the house was just the right size for the three of us. The energy of the house was captivating and the moment I stepped inside of it, it felt right...it felt like home. The house was in a small neighborhood in a suburb of Tampa and was built in 1954...being home to an elderly couple first, before any renters moved into the home. Supposedly the elderly couple was our landlord's grandparents and they passed in the house.
When we first moved in, I had the creepy familiar feeling again...like someone was watching me. I ignored it, knowing it was my wild imagination running away with me. Following our move-in, less than two weeks after my "being watched" feelings, I was standing in the kitchen microwaving something and my husband was sitting in our living room. We were talking about things being moved or maybe about the AC being turned on too high (when we both swore we didn't do it) when I said, "Maybe it's the ghost." Immediately upon my tongue hitting the "t" in ghost, the electricity in the kitchen went out! I gave out a little yelp and ran into the living room, where my husband was seated. We both thought that experience was very creepy...just the timing of it freaked us out a little bit.
The electricity randomly going out occurred again, one night when my husband was gone and I was home with my daughter. She was sleeping and I foolishly was watching "A Haunting in Connecticut" by myself...and the electricity shut off...but only in the living room where I was sitting. In the rest of the house the electricity was still running. Needless to say I was freaked out again and stopped watching the horror flick. I had this feeling that maybe there were some spirits hanging around the house that maybe just needed to get used to us being in their home. Call me crazy, but I talked out loud to them...just letting them know that we were a family and we liked it here and asked for permission to share the home with them. Ever since that day, we are living comfortably in the same home and are very happy...with minor things occurring here and there but no more creepy feelings or random power outages.
© 2011 Nicole Canfield