Wednesday, November 5, 2008

personal experiences with the paranormal

Chris O. and I were discussing personal paranormal experiences this weekend and I brought up the idea of my possibly writing about some of my more interesting ones for the blog. I've been at a bit of a loss over what to write for the MAPR blog ever since it was started, particularly since Chris O.'s accounts of our investigations are so prolific, and I'm not always quite sure what's appropriate to write about in here. Writing about my own paranormal happenings seems to have struck a happy medium with my twittering brain.

The incident I described below happened to me as a young child and is the absolute first brush with the paranormal I've been able to dredge up from my memory. It was uncomfortable to write about, especially after so many years, and it took me three glasses of iced tea and a mountain of cigarettes to do so, along with quite a bit of surly mumbling to myself. Even though over the years I've spoken about it to many people, I found myself strangely affected by actually putting it down in a written form. It made it more real to me; it stopped living in my memory as just a story of mine and took on a new life of its own.

I'm the kind of person who has a metric tonne of stories; I hand them out freely and gleefully like they're the best candy ever. I've lived the kind of life which has resulted in a thousand entertaining stories- many of them not paranormal related in the slightest. And I write them down frequently, with ease. Writing any of those others down haven't given me the same chilly feeling on the back of my neck.

On with the show.


I don't quite remember how old I was, but I clearly remember my family was living in Blackwood in an apartment complex which was then called Nob Hill. It was a large and sprawling web of buildings, identified only by letters of the alphabet. Throughout my first eight years, for one reason or another, we moved quite a few times throughout that network of buildings, although I really only have memories of the last building we lived in: G.

Our apartment in G building technically only had two bedrooms, but my industrious mother finagled the small space into having four. She had the master bedroom, my eldest brother had the second bedroom, my middle brother bedded down in a very large pantry area off of the kitchen, and I had a small bed in the hallway closet. A building inspector's nightmare, but we were only barely above the poverty level and our single mother did not have much money to play with.

One night, my mother had thrown a small party in the apartment for some friends of the family and due to the noise level, I was allowed the small and infrequent treat of sleeping in my eldest brother's bedroom. My closet bedroom was right off the living room and sleeping with the door shut was nigh on impossible in such tiny quarters. Five minutes of closing the door and it would grow unbearably stuffy in there, even in the winter months. In an effort to keep me in bed and asleep (meaning: with a closed door), I was put into my brother's bedroom.

I couldn't sleep, of course. Being a small and excitable child in a unfamiliar environment (I was not normally allowed to even step foot in my eldest brother's room), I was unable to relax enough to drift off. Adding to that was the fact I could hear things coming from the living room: bubbling snatches of conversation, music, and laughter; the clinking of beer bottles and whiskey glasses; the front door slamming whenever someone arrived or left. It was dark in my brother's room, with a taunting slice of pale light sliding in under the door. I hadn't wanted to go to bed in the first place and had tried to bargain with my mother for an extra hour of wide-eyed fascination, of being allowed in the company of so many adults. I was unsuccessful in this endeavor and thus, was banished from the living room for the rest of the night, still not sleepy enough for bed and full of complaints on the matter.

I laid on my side with my knees drawn to my chest, my preferred sleeping position even now as an adult, and fixed my eyes on that line of light cutting through the blackness of the bedroom. Not much time passed before I saw the door open slightly, maybe only four or five inches and letting in a spill of light from the living room, then close quietly again.

At first, I thought someone had mistaken the bedroom door for the bathroom and upon discovering their mistake, quickly closed it again and I huffed in irritation. All notions of this flew from my head when I saw a pale shape, formless and shifting against the carpet. It was maybe about as tall and long as a large dog and moved slowly and unsteadily on four leg-like protrusions toward me. It was like nothing I had ever seen before and I wordlessly watched it, unsure of what was happening.

When it reached the bed, it rose up and rested itself on the edge of the bed. It didn't seem to have a solidity to it, almost as if it were made of fog, and when my young brain clicked on this bit of information, I broke out in sheets of gooseflesh and my heart raced in my chest. I tried to call for my mother, but my voice was stoppered in my throat. It leaned closer to me and the nearer it got, the more frantic I became to cry out. I knew I could move away from it, my limbs still were able to function, but I was afraid to back away as that meant I would probably fall to the floor and like any self-respecting child of my age, that meant being entirely too close to Under the Bed for my liking. Caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, I remained frozen in place.

It reached one of the leg-ish protrusions to my face and I slid my head away, afraid of the damp cold I could feel exuding from its touch. I couldn't make out any features of the form, it didn't have any, but when I moved away from it, I felt its sudden flush of anger at my resistance. The part of it trying to touch my face resolved into vague finger-like extensions and wound through my hair, beginning to pull me closer. When I pulled back slightly, it tightened its hold and yanked hard, dragging me by my hair to the side of the bed. I felt several of my hairs pull free from my head from the force of its tug.

The pain shooting through my scalp was enough to finally set my voice free and I began to scream for my mother, for anyone, to come help me. I dimly heard the music in the living room get turned down for a moment, as if someone had thought they'd heard something. Hoarsely, I screamed again. The form pushed itself into my face and my vision filled with its non-face, a liquid and swimming sweep of white smoke, before it suddenly let go and made for the door.

I back-pedaled myself through the bed until I hitched up against the headboard, with the blankets tangled in a disarray around me, shouting and crying for my mother. I saw the door open a few handful of inches and quickly close it again. Only seconds later, the door flung open and banged against the wall. My mother, with party-goers in a concerned clot behind her, rushed to me and gathered me into her worried arms. When I asked her many years later if she remembered this incident, she told me I had fought her for several minutes with my eyes wide and unseeing, completely unable to recognize who she was and that I absolutely refused to sleep in my brother's room ever again.

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