Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

There is a ghost story in each of us, I believe. All but the hardest cynic will - once encouraged and indulged - offer a first or second hand account of a mysterious fright. My own is one of several years ago, whilst living still with my parents at their house in a local town.

No. 1. Blonde sandstone built in 1896. A t-shaped hall leading to several rooms, and the original kitchen - now for dining - was in my twenties used as a comfortable second lounge.

Home in the early hours of a Sunday morning, I sat in an armchair and drank a cup of tea. I was not drunk. Of sound, if not entirely sober, mind. I wondered had I left the exterior storm door unlocked and ajar. This was unlikely, yet presented itself as the logical reason for the blowing gale, which sounded - in settled weather conditions and with growing intensity - from the hall outside the room.

I heard then quite clearly, the dragging of a person of considerable weight. Not as a body might be dragged across a floor - but rather that of an able person, who having met with misadventure, may struggle a short distance to a suitable place of rest. And a scuffing sound, much like a shoulder leant against the wall for support - despite my certain knowledge of a large and heavy sideboard in the way. I froze and stared at the door - had it been further ajar I wonder yet as to what I may have seen.

Had either of my parents awoke in the night, with a cramping leg or a reason to be out of bed, I would have seen a light, heard the padding of bare feet or the creak of the bathroom door. But on reaching the end of the hall the sound effects stopped - not abruptly, rather as a dial on a radio would turn the volume down. The storm abated and the dragging disappeared. I sat in the armchair a good half an hour before nerves - and the absence of any alternative plan - enabled the 10 second dash to my room.

I checked of course, the following day - if either had risen in the night, but knew before asking that the answer would be no. It was the most unsettling thing, and something I cannot explain. It frightened me in a way that yet remains, I saw nothing, but heard - and sensed - that whatever occupied the hall was ill disposed with intent to cause alarm.

Others have, over the years, sensed disquiet in the house. My mother often hears a step in the hall, only to discover that she is quite alone. A Dutch aunt, a regular guest, tells of noise she cannot place and a shiver to the spine. An old house then, perhaps with souls who are loathe to leave.

I shall share this story not, with my son. He sleeps soundly at No. 1 of the occasional weekend. If ghosts walk the hall may they leave him alone. No place have phantoms in the dreams of a child - in fleece pyjamas under a heavy quilt. Warm and safe and very, very much of our world.

Postscript October 2013: Since writing this my Mum has experienced another incident - sitting in the lounge off the hall she suddenly heard what sounded like a tray of dishes fall and smash on the floor. The disturbance came from the other side of the door - i.e. the hall. On investigation she found absolutely nothing to be amiss.

Prose for Thought

16 comments:

  1. Holy crap! I would have died with fright!

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    1. I nearly did! I froze - tea in hand - and sat there till it went cold. I had to walk through the hall to get back to my room. I was scared stiff!

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  2. Wow I think I'd have died with fright. Hugs x

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  3. Now I am scared...glad I am reading it in the morning hours....! x

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  4. Oh you have made me want to write up my ghostly tales - I really really enjoyed this.
    Thanks for sharing via Prose4T as I really enjoyed it.
    Liska
    @NewMumOnline
    x

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  5. Oh my God - I wouldn't have been able to leave that chair. Absolutely chilling - although I'm reading this is natural daylight, I feel the urge to turn on every light in the house.......... just to make sure! #Prose4t

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  6. Oh my goodness I have goosebumps reading this.

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  7. I'm a real spooko of a person and in previous houses have heard and seen things that couldn't easily be explained. Not nice is it! Last New Years Eve I heard some strange noises at my mums and no I had not been drinking! Well not that much,anyway!

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  8. Gosh. Glad your son sleeps soundly. could prove a nightmare. Lovely story, sent a shiver down my spine!

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  9. Has your Mum looked into the history of the house? I saw a ghost at my parents' old home when I was young. My dad found me talking to her through a window!

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    1. Oh wow I'd love to hear that story! We don't know much of the history, other than when it was built and the owners prior to my Mum and Dad. It would be really interesting to find out more...

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  10. Fabulous! I also have had my fair share of encounters Helen. Love hearing about yours. x

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  11. My god this is scary!! Especially as I originally read it at 12.30am last Thursday night/Friday morning! I would have been totally spooked out! Thanks for sharing with Prose for Thought x

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  12. I wouldn't have been able to leave the chair! I think you're right - that if pushed, we all have a story like this in us...

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  13. Heavens above! That was very scary. There is something definitely going on in your parents house.... obviously an old house with old, old stories. X.

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