I have experienced two paranormal occurrences in my life. Thankfully I had witnesses at both events so doubts about my sanity can remain just doubts. In celebration of Halloween I have decided to put both down on paper.
My first ghost I encountered was on Governor's Island in New York City. The home we lived in was on Colonel's Row and was a three story brick affair. Its rooms had high ceiling, small windows and were generally poorly lit. The evening I saw this ghost was the usual nasty sort you find in late autumn in the city. Dreary, cold and rainy. It is fair to say we were primed for the coming event. My mother had ordered us to get our bathes done and David had just finished while Jon was waiting for me to get out.
The bathroom was at one moment a noisy and active place with three boys chattering away, the normal sounds of bathing and the ever present patter of rain on the windows. The next it was as if time had ceased to function. Our lives had gone from a movie to a picture in an instant. I felt frozen, lying in the bathtub, caught in the act of leaning my head back to wash the soap out of my hair. In my periphery, Jon and David were both, suddenly and alarmingly silent statues. What they were seeing and feeling was beyond me at that point. In fact, during the brief time the thing was in our presence, I felt almost nothing. I could not feel the tepid water or the cool air on my exposed body, nor even my hands, feet or legs. Physically, the only part of me that I was conscious of, was my eyes. They felt huge and dry. As the thing glided across the threshold of the door, my eyelids seemed to be straining to peel back. There was no thought of closing my eyes or even blinking. There were no thoughts at all and no fear. My mind seemed inoperable, disengaged, seemingly unable to comprehend the thing in front of me.
The ghost did not seem solid yet it had a physical presence. It was of varying shades of grey and though it was vaguely human in shape it had no legs and had only small thin wispy arms. It had emerged from the darkened corridor beyond the bathroom, paused at the doorway and then glided silently into our bedroom to the right. We saw it for maybe a second and a half.
With its disappearance, I gained only an awareness of events happening around me. I controlled neither my mind or body. Complete terror controlled these. A piercing scream erupted from me, joined in unison by screams from my brothers. Even as I was clawing at the tub to pull myself out, my brothers, towels in hand, raced through the bathroom door, heading for the stairs.
"Wait for me!" No words I can type can describe the utter desperation I heard in my own scream. Panic controlled me to such an extent that my body felt as if it were controlled by strings above me. Torrents of grey bathwater flowed onto the tiled floor as I exploded out of the bath, desperate not to be left behind. I stooped to grab my towel only to find that it was not on the ground where I left it. My brain fixated on the towel. I needed a towel. A towel lay next to the toilet. I lose a second of my life then. One moment my mind recognizes the shape on the ground, 6 feet away as a towel, the next instant without moving or even thinking about moving, I am above it. I could see my arm, as if it was someone else's reach down to grab it.
I spun around preparing to bolt out of the bathroom. The bathroom was completely empty, I could only hope the black hall beyond is empty. Fear blasted through every cell in my body, causing me to want to throw up. I wailed "Wait for me!" at the top of my lungs. A very distant part of my brain was embarrassed over my cowardice. My body didn't care and surged forward on its own accord, the strange puppet like feeling was back. My head bounced on my shoulders, soap stinging my eyes. My only control at that point was to force myself not to look to my right. IT was to my right. The thing.
My panic stricken body dashed into the black windowless hallway. Just as I turn to my left to head for the stairs, a strange thing happened to me. I felt myself lifted off the ground. I look up in the dim light to see my feet above my head. I had taken the turn too wet, too fast and too out of control and had gone flying head over heels into the dark.
I hit the ground with a wet slapping sound. There was no pain but amazingly control. For the first time since this started I felt my fingers and toes. I felt like I was back in charge of my own body. I sprang up naked, the towel lost in the darkness. For that split second of lying on the ground, my fear had abated. It came roaring back when I heard the sound behind me. I still to this day, cannot tell you what it was. The wind? The rain? The towel sliding off the hamper where it had landed? The thing? Whatever it was, it caused goose bumps to break out all down my back in a wave.
I took off running for the stairs. I look back feeling fortunate to have slipped in the hall. I had been so out of control I might have killed myself going down those stairs. As it was, I astonished myself the way I went down. Every 8 year old kid will go down the stairs six, seven at a time with one hand on the rail and the other on the wall. I took a dozen stairs in near complete darkness, soaking wet and naked. Hitting the landing I turned to the right and leaped another dozen into the dim light of the stairwell to the next landing. The glow of the light from our family room and the hysterical babbling of my brothers filled me with relief. I ran in to the room not caring that I was naked.
My brother's and I agreed we had seen a ghost and we each agreed on all of the pertinent details. But as the years went by and the terrifying memory faded, I started to laugh at myself for such foolishness as believing in ghosts. It was not until the events at Red Feathers Lakes, 17 years later, that I decided to once again believe my own eyes.
Peter Meredith is Vice President of sales and marketing of Light Energy Designs
. His usual writing focus is on energy efficient lighting but since this is not always fun he sometimes lets the pen takes him elsewhere. To read about love, health, money and personal discovery, please visit his new blog