Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ghosts - Day 7 of A-Z

I thought long and hard about this letter. That fact that in graphic design circles the lower case 'G' is considered one of the most attractive letters aesthetically - Times Roman, usually. In our graphic design studio at Glamorgan University, in Pontypridd (the birthplace of Tom Jones, no less), they had a six foot poster of a lower case 'g' hanging up on the back wall. As an aside, the graphic design department has been relocated to Cardiff in a place called, The Atrium.

But I digress... please, read on.

Back to the letter 'G'. I've decided to write about 'Ghosts', and my own personal experiences, actual or imagined - that's for you, the reader to decide. Though first, I'd like to set the mood by sharing another tune from my youth, going back to 1981: Japan and their song, 'Ghosts'.





My First Encounter:
I think I must have been 4 or 5 years old at the time when this event happened to me. The old family home in Canton was a Victorian terraced house with three bedrooms. The front bedroom belonged to our parents, the middle bedroom belonged to my brother and I, and the back bedroom belonged to my sisters. Back then it was double beds for the kids. Each room had an iron cast fireplace, wooden sash cord windows with single paned glass and a chamber pot under the bed. Our toilet was outside attached to the back of the house in the garden.
I remember waking up alone in the bedroom. It was a sunny day outside and I was very happy to play under the blankets in my favourite game of making tunnels. At one point I recall kneeling up and pushing the blankets above my head with both arms. Without warning I am pushed from behind with enough force to throw my head backward as I fall forward onto the mattress. I throw back the blankets and roll out of the bed laughing, thinking it is my brother or one of my sisters messing about. I run from room to room looking for them. Nothing. I go downstairs. Still nothing. I only find my mother in the kitchen preparing food. No one else was in the house.

Also, I do recall a habit I had of taking a particularly favourite toy of mine, be it a die cast car or toy soldier, to bed and placing it on the bedside table. But in the morning they would be gone, never to be seen again.

Next Encounter:
This happened when aged 11 or 12 years old. We had moved up in the world and had single beds to sleep in, but our bedroom was still the middle bedroom. This particular night I remember waking up from my sleep, lying on my back. What I saw next is hard to describe, but basically it was a dark mass floating directly over my bed - darker than the room. This thing seemed to be as long as my bed. 
I was terrified to such an extent that I couldn't move an inch. I'm frozen solid with fear, realising this thing is ever so slowly lowering closer and closer, its blackness gradually blotting out the view of my room behind it. I break out in a sweat. I feel beads of my own sweat running down the sides of my limbs and body. It's disgustingly uncomfortable, but I'm so terrified I dare not move. I'm listening and feeling my heart pounding in my chest as this shadow is getting closer and closer towards me, as if in a slow motion free-fall. It was all I could do to pull the blankets over my face and hide. Eventually I fell back to sleep.

Strange Shadows:
Not much else happened after that. Life seemed to go on. I got on with school and swimming for City of Cardiff, and just growing up. It was around the age of 16 that my brother had moved out to start married life, my eldest sister had left years before to pursue her dancing career. I had changed rooms to the ground floor middle room after my sister had bought the family home. Mum and dad had moved to a flat on the other side of Cardiff, and part of the deal for selling the house to my sister was that I got to live there until able to afford my own place. But I still paid my way, by working at a wholesale fruit and veg market in Bessemer Road.
    Around this period is when I kept seeing shadows out of the corner of my eye. These were usually most active at night. My sister had installed a safety glass door dividing the dining room from the hallway. It was from the kitchen/dining room that these shadows could be seen flitting from the bottom of the stairs and darting into the middle room and back again. I know I wasn't going mad, as my sister had also witnessed them on several occasions. 
    During the same period, my sister and brother-in-law called me up to their room to look at something. Upon entering the room, both were stood at the foot of their bed staring at the quilt. At the very centre of the quilt was a raised area, circular in shape and larger than a big dinner plate... and it was warm to the touch as if a cat or small dog had been curled up asleep on the quilt. But we had no animals in the house.

Fast Forward to next Encounter:
Now I'm 20 years old. Still living at my sister's house and still in the middle room. Life is great. I'm seeing a girl, enjoying life and working at the STAR leisure centre in Splott as an attendant. I'm a creature of habit Always was, always will be. For me, there is a place for everything and everything has a place. Easy enough. Never lose anything.
    Then the shadows start appearing in my room again. Initially they appear as what I could only describe as being 'children', usually playing about at the foot of the bed, and oddly with red, curly hair, but aside from that feature, they are as black as the deepest pit. I'm half asleep, half awake. I would sometimes sit up and watch them, talk to them, but all the while everything felt ok - good vibes, shall we say.  
Then a shadow dressed in a harlequin outfit of large multicoloured diamond shapes, but the face and hands are totally black, made an appearance. Between him and the kids, I wasn't bothered. They seemed happy enough.
    
But then appeared the shadow in the farthest corner of the room, diagonally opposed to the foot of my bed. *Christ, this is giving me shivers just thinking about it! 
    This one was taller than the rest, easily six foot, and from its shape, seemed to be wearing a kind of armour - it's hard to tell or recall, mainly because unlike the children or the harlequin, this one had no other colour save black.
    Initially I would address him/it as I did the others. I even found it amusing. But I remember that as the nights progressed, the harlequin eventually stopped appearing. Then one-by-one the children started to cease appearing. With each passing night this tall bastard was gradually getting closer to my bed. I never saw it move, but each new night its position was always closer. Eventually it was only him--I'll call it him as that was the impression I got, plus this armour-like appearance was definitely male in size and shape--and by now I'm feeling it is there for no good reason and to do me no harm. So now I'm swearing at it, making threats at it, but still its appearances are getting closer to my bed.
  The night came when it appeared in the centre of my room. I snapped. Leaping out of my bed I attack it. At the point of impact I suddenly feel as if I've been dropped in to ice cold water. The thing has vanished and I'm rooted to the spot, struggling to breathe, body shuddering. My heart feels like it is about to explode inside my chest, beating so hard that it is the only sound I can hear within my own skull. I feel sick with the pounding blood and adrenalin surging through my body--but that intense cold is horrendous. I don't know how long I was rooted to the spot like that, maybe seconds, maybe a full minute or more? I don't know?

I could go on, but I won't. The less I talk about it the better I find it is. But has it bothered me? Yes. 
Have I been affected by it? Yes - I'm afraid of the dark, but I will move through the house in complete dark whenever I can to overcome that fear. Have I seen anything else recently? Yes, once - in an old thatched pub locally. Around the nook there is placed a bench and opposite a single chair. Whilst stood at the bar I can see from out of the corner of my eye a figure of a man sat in the chair, but when I look directly at the chair it is empty. 
    So I ask the barmaid quietly, 'Is this place haunted?' She smiles and replies, 'Yes it is.' So I point to the chair and say, 'It isn't by any chance a man in dark clothing sat in that chair, is it?' Well, the look on her face was a picture. 
    Wide-eyed she stares at me and says, 'You've seen him?' Apparently it is the ghost of a wandering minstrel. The last person the ghost took a shine to was a long distance lorry driver who stopped drinking at the pub as it would seem the ghost kept following him around, even beyond the boundaries of the pub itself.

Have any of you had 'odd' experiences? Anything similar to mine? Or are you of the opinion that such things are hogwash?

PS: I have long since left that old house and now live in a new build home :)

31 comments:

  1. *Great* stories.

    I've had my fair share of woo woo and ooga booga encounters. I was playing tai chi in the woods up North at my family's cottage. This is isolated land, 98 acres, not a soul around. It is pristine wilderness, woods and marsh and open fields. I was doing some standing meditation in a clearing, trying to focus my mind, and all of a sudden someone was laughing in my ear - as loudly as if he were standing a foot or two away from me.

    I took off at full speed, turned back, and there was no one there.

    I think the world around us is stuffed full of beings and energies that we can't see. Open your perceptions up just a little bit and a whole other world reveals itself. My question is, what's behind that?

    A-Z @ Elizabeth Twist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, very much so. Can't agree enough with you there. I love sitting down and having a good ol' exchange of supernatural chit-chat.
      Your little tale there creates a great visual. What creeps me out is that idea that something is focused on you, and you haven't a clue.
      I joined a spiritualist church for 12 months, and no, I don't consider myself religious (I'm a firm agnostic), but it was to join the psychic development circle. Now there were some strange (and some amazing) happenings.
      Going back to your story, I think there is nowhere more powerful, in terms of energy, than a wood. There is something primeval about it. Sometimes a wood can feel calming and relaxing, other times it just puts you on edge. I know you've experienced that feeling of being watched in a wood before when there hasn't been a soul around. Unsettling, isn't it?

      Delete
  2. Hmmm... interesting! You should write a ghost story... you have the makings of a good one. I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to ghosts, not that I don't believe you saw something... but personally, I've found that the mind is a powerful tool that can often play tricks on us.
    That's not to say there are no such things as ghosts. I've come to understand that just about anything is possible in this life. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I agree - the mind is an amazingly understood and underestimated power house. We have the ability to do so much if only we stopped and tuned in to our own innerverse. Likewise, I'm not one for religion, hence my agnostic stance.

      Although I do feel we, as a race, are only scratching at the surface of what this life-death-? cycle is really about.

      Science has proved that energy cannot be destroyed. The human body is, in itself, like a battery, full of electrical impulses and energy. So when our physical form dies, our energy remains. As to what happens after that, who knows? Maybe I'll send you all a post card should I get there before everyone else.

      Delete
  3. Great minds! We're both on the theme of ghosts today. Mind you, you have had your fair share in experiences. Have you never thought about writing them down? My grandmother said she'd come back and tell us about heaven, but she never did - although she might be trying to, mightn't she? Who knows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the hearth, Susan. Nice to have you stop by :)

      I have heard say that when we dream of loved ones who have passed, it is them actually making contact with us through our dreams, because that is the only time are mental barriers are down and our minds are truly open and receptive.

      Also, whenever you get that tingle up the back of your neck, in spiritual circles they say that a spirit is close to you. Make of it what you will ;)

      Delete
  4. You have scared the absolute life out of me. I've had some experiences when I was little but I try to block it out a bit, since I'm afraid to open myself up to that kind of thing. You should write ghost stories, you've given me horrid little goosebumps!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Nikki, it isn't fiction I've written - as far as I'm concerned, those things happened to me, though others would disagree. I failed to mention one incident where a tea towel started burning on the kitchen work top behind me - the work top was opposite to where the cooker was, nowhere near any kind of heat source. I can't explain that one away ;)

      Sorry for the goose bumps :(

      Delete
    2. Wooowww scary! And I agree with Amanda, below! They are so well written, even if they are terrifying!

      Delete
  5. These are great stories, Mark. Thank you for sharing them. I've had a couple of odd experiences too, but nothing as specific as yours - or as frightening.

    Just to add, the descriptions are wonderful. So precise and evocative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, now you're making me blush! But thank you so much :) Sadly, fact reads better than fiction, just wish I could carry it over to my fiction. Maybe then I would be writing for a living :)

      Delete
  6. A fair amount of the women in my family have had visitors. My first was my grandfather when he came to say goodbye - I was all of three. I always knew when he was around, and occasionally I half feel/half see him.

    A family friend bought a house that used to be an Inn, many years back, in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, and the once I stayed there as a teen I was very aware of the ghost there. Often it was just a sense, that tingling at the back of the neck, and something moved out of place that you knew was in place a heart beat before.

    The hardest one for me was standing on the edge of Colluden over twenty years ago and feeling the ground vibrate beneath my feet. I swear to this day I could hear the cannon, feel it, the rumble and an acrid taste in my mouth and then it was gone. I just stood there, crying and shivering - sadly I was with my ex then and was lectured all the way home for being a 'stupid female'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad, isn't it, when you have that reaction from people who are so disconnected from the world around them?
      Obviously you have an open part of you that is still very sensitive to the wider spectrum of things, shall we say ;) all I can say to tht is: well met, my friend, and thank you for sharing :)
      It is amusing to hear differing points of views regarding the topic of the existence of an afterlife. When I met my wife she was a church-going Catholic. So, in an attempt to see what Catholicism was, I attended Sunday mass with her for a year. I'll admit, I found being in a church very peaceful and somewhat calming, but certain aspects of that branch of religion I thought hypocritical. As an example, they poo-poo spiritualism, the existence of ghosts and spirits and the afterlife, yet worship the spirit of Christ, who died, and came back to life, and who could raise the dead? Then partake in a ritual of eating the symbolic body of Christ and the drinking of his blood - how more pagan can you get?

      But, religions are all full of contradictions - all of them, in one way or another. Hence my being agnostic. Live and let live, love and be loved. Peace and harmony for all.

      Thank you for sharing, Terri :)

      Delete
    2. PS: I also forgot the Catholic mention of 'the Holy Ghost' in their prayer ;)

      Delete
    3. I'm lucky, I'm now with someone who is not only an avid gamer, and pushed me kicking and screaming (okay, not quite but with a sulky - when they reject it you'll stop nagging me) into writing professionally, but he also understands when I get those 'moments'.

      Delete
  7. haha It's 2am here and I'm super tired. I got through your first encounter and partway into the second. I'll have to read it tomorrow as I get "sensitive" about this kind of stuff right before bed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Cheers Matt, you've given me a great belly laugh, enough to make my wife look at me as if I've gone mad ;)

      Delete
  8. Wow Mark, I don't know how you could still be sane after the experiences you have had!

    I am a believer and have caught shadows in my peripheral vision as well as feelings that someone/thing was close by.

    I have a story which occurred recently to my daughters girlfriends living in a new house in a new estate! They experienced various paranormal happenings and eventually hired the help of a psyhic to clean the house.

    He arrived and went about his business, clearing the house of a number of spirits! At the end of his visit he informed the girls that he would not live here if he was them and that one stubborn spirit would not leave and was definately not 'friendly'.

    The girls never lived in the house again, they left it abandoned until their lease ran out. My daughter accompanied one of her friends to the house one day to gather some belongings and when they walked into the living room a strobe light was on, without being plugged into a power outlet. Various other things occurred which could not be explained also!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the hearth, C.M - it's a pleasure to have you join us. I hope you enjoy your stay :)

      It's amazing how many folks have similar experiences and tales to tell. Makes me realise that I might not be as crazy as I once thought I was!

      Kind regards

      Mark K

      Delete
  9. Okay. It was a bad idea to listen to Japan on the headphones in the house alone whilst reading this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe... Sarah, the clue was in the reading, "I'd like to set the mood" ;)

      Delete
  10. When my brother and I moved first to Cornwall with our parents, our family inherited an old shed. My godfather kept a shoemaking machine in there which he'd owned since he was a young man; now rusted up and wholly out of order. They're weird machines to look at, a bit like a mangle, with lots of moving metal parts. I remember my brother and I running around the new house, taking in the sights, and then running into the shed. The shoemaking machine was turning of its own accord.

    I have to say that now I'm a bit of a skeptic: looking back on this memory, I wonder if my brother didn't tell me that it was turning, and excitement and time filled in the rest. Almost certainly so. Still, just a couple of years ago, as an adult, I went to my godfather's house in Wales. Whilst exploring the garden, my girlfriend and I came upon an old rotted outhouse, covered in ivy. There, at the back of the stall, was that old rusted shoemaking machine. Despite my scepticism, I'd be lying if I said that looking at it didn't still sent a shiver up my spine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A nice retelling Will. I would say just keep an open mind ;)
      Appreciate you stopping by and sharing. It would appear that there are far more of us with a story to tell than I imagined.

      Delete
  11. Haven't visited in a while, but I am a bit shocked by the post -- interestingly written experiences.

    I'm intrigued as to your second experience and how you drove the descending shadow away -- or did it just not penetrate the bedsheets?

    Now, I'm Catholic, but I don't discount the existence of ghosts (human spirits) and nastier things (non-human spirits) quite possibly because I come from the Philippines and -- well -- there's a long post on belief and personal experience and cultural acceptance there by itself. The blessing of a new house or business is an expected ritual to keep nasty spirits at bay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alexander,

      Welcome back to the hearth - you're always very welcome here anytime :)
      Regarding the floating shadow over my bed, unsure what happened as I did drift off to sleep? From what I gather, the Philipipines has a great diversity of beliefs and religions, but correct me if I'm wrong. Culturally, there seems a more open-minded approach to everything, including religion. Whereas here in the UK, it has to be black or white, no in-between. That's where the problems arise, but I think that's an historical throwback to a time when religion ruled the land and people.

      All the very best to you, Alexander

      Mark

      Delete
    2. Yes, we do have a variety of beliefs (syncreticism is the word, I believe), but we are officially a predominantly Catholic country.

      The Catholic Church is a big influence in our lives and in politics, but at the same time we don't hear a lot about 'ghosts don't exist' here. In fact, in the provincial areas (which do have TV, radio, and internet) there's a lot of folk wisdom in addition to modern views on the matter.

      To illustrate: remember the movie The Blair Witch Project? A lot of folks in the province were wondering why the three kids didn't just turn their shirts inside out and backwards or start praying or some other counter-charm.

      All the best!

      Delete
    3. Alexander,

      My apologies if I might have caused any offence regarding the Catholic faith, but having married into a Catholic family, and attending mass for 12 months after we met, I just found the attitudes, in the UK at least, somewhat at odds with how I personally perceived following a faith entailed.

      I do have a question for you though, not related to this post - I'm just curious how you came by my blog? I was looking to see if you had a blog of your own, but Google+ seemed the only choice?

      If you are an artist working within the fantasy arena I would be most interested in seeing more of your work, if at all possible?

      Regards,

      Mark

      Delete
    4. @Alexander - OMG, that bit you wrote about turning shirts inside out made me LOL - I'm of Portuguese descent and among my family, it's believed that wearing your clothing inside out scares away witches! :-)

      Delete
  12. Mark, I noticed you'd posted this several days ago but, as it was night when I came upon it, decided I'd better wait till day time to read it. And I'm really glad I did! YIKES, DUDE!!!!!!!!!! You can entertain doubts in your mind about whether what you're seeing is a trick of the light, or your imagination, for only so long. But when other folks are seeing things which can't be explained away, you know it's gotta be REAL.

    ::SHUDDERS::

    You're a seriously brave guy, to rush at that "black knight" apparition!

    The only ghostly experience that I think I've had is I was lying in bed one night, my feet uncovered, and felt something grab on my toe and pull. I jumped in bed and thought maybe I'd fallen asleep and dreamt it. It didn't happen again (thank GOD) so I reckon that's what happened. (Thank GOD!!!) :-)

    Some Dark Romantic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A ghostly chiropodist, maybe? Even though I joke, I'd most likely have turned the light on and slept with it like that, feet firmly tucked away.

      As for brave? Nah... I wasn't fully conscious I don't think and was acting on autopilot I suppose? But it's something I really wouldn't want to ever repeat again. Never.

      Delete
    2. I still think you were brave - *my* autopilot would've had *me* running in the *opposite* direction. :-)

      Delete