Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Haunted - My True Ghost Story - Part One
I first wrote this story for my journal in 2004. I have new readers since then who might like to know the tale. Also, it is Halloween at the end of the month so now seemed like as good a time as any.
I disliked the place the moment I saw it. Maybe I was prejudiced. The move had been arranged whilst I was away on holiday, I had no say in the matter. To leave all your friends and the bustle of city life at the age of nineteen is not easy. I said I would not go, I would move in with a friend and stay where I was. Mum went into fits of crying. One son had disappeared out of her life and we did not know if he was alive or dead, the other had settled in Australia. I was all she had. I gave in.
Nevertheless I disliked the place the instant I saw it, there was an air of gloom and sadness about it. This was not helped by the teeming rain, the fact that the road was unmade and was a river of mud. I had a bad feeling.
The property had stood empty for some time so it was bitterly cold when we entered and Mum showed me around. Just vacant rooms, bare boards but an aura of indefinable misery. It sent prickles up my spine and the back of my neck. Mum explain that, when we did move in, we could make it cheerful and cosy. She was not happy either. She had been a city girl all her life and did not fancy moving into this rural area with few amenities. She had much prefered other bungalows they had viewed in busier areas - but for some reason Dad had decided on this one.
A dark November day. Moving day. Mum and I went on ahead to await the arrival of the removal van which would bring our furniture and belongings. It got lost somewhere en route. There we sat on bare boards, no heating, no way of making a hot drink, watching the rain lash against the windows. The men did not turn up to connect the gas cooker. Not a good start. It was turned 10 p.m. by the time everything was sorted. A quick bite to eat and then bed.
I kept being woken up by something, I did not know what. I was totally exhausted the next morning. The next few days were a flurry of activity, unpacking, altering curtains to fit, the usual things you do when you move house. We had already noticed the coldness. That place was never warm. You could have the fire blazing in the lounge, the central heating on highest setting, but it never seemed to warm up. We were always cold. We put it down to the dampness of the unceasing rain.
One night I was awoken by the sobbing of a woman. Naturally I thought it was my Mum. I crept into the adjoining bedroom. She was sound asleep and so was Dad. The crying had stopped. I got back into bed. A few minutes later the same thing occurred, a woman crying as if her heart would break. Once again I checked on Mum - she was sleeping soundly. I was to hear that sobbing many times in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Christmas. Despite the tree and decorations nothing seemed to lift the aura of the place. It remained gloomy and it remained cold, we had never been so cold in all our lives. Boxing Day it snowed, it snowed so hard we could open neither the front door nor the back door the following morning. Dad had to climb out through a window to shovel the snow away. It snowed on and off for the next three months, the sea froze, it was one of our coldest winters. Getting out was nigh on impossible and we felt so claustrophobic in that place. We started arguing with each other which is something we had never done before. We felt we were in an ice tomb but we also felt we were not alone.
Then the stain appeared. It was on the lounge ceiling directly above my Mother's chair. An irregular shape but seeming dark and oily against the whiteness of the rest of the ceiling. Dad assumed with first the rain and then the endless snow that we had a leak in the roof somewhere so when the better weather came he went onto the roof to check the tiles. All was well. Into the loft to see if anything there could cause it. Nothing. He repainted the ceiling. The following day the stain was back. A week later he painted again. Once more the stain returned, always the same size, always the same place and always a horrible oily grey colour. He called in builders to check the chimney, maybe we had trouble there. They did some patching up although they had found no major problems. The ceiling was painted again. The stain returned. Exasperated, Dad called in professionals and had the ceiling completely stripped and re-plastered. Two days later the stain came back. Nothing on God's earth could shift it. We found our eyes constantly drawn to it.
Then Mum asked me if I had heard a woman crying!!! She said she had assumed was me but when checking found that I was asleep. It started to plague us night after night and sometimes during the day. Dad never heard anything.
Things started to go missing. You could put your keys down in the middle of the table, go back for them moments later and they were gone. They would be missing for weeks and then suddenly turn up on the mantlepiece. We lost track of how many new keys we had to have cut. Other things as well, like purses and jewellery - all would disappear, it would seem into outer space, only to turn up much later in the most unlikely places.
We had quite a few pictures hanging on the walls. They would forever be crooked. We would straighten them only to walk past a couple of minutes later and find them all hanging at strange angles. My father said it had to be because we were not far from the railway and it must be the vibration of the trains. It was not the vibrations that caused it as we were to find out. We had all been out together one day and returned to find the pictures all neatly lined up along the floor against the wall. The nails holding them were still in the wall, the hangers were intact but the pictures were lined up in a solid row against the bottom of the wall!!!
I had been in little doubt that the place was haunted. I felt it from day one but any remaining doubts vanished. Sometimes I would see a shadowy figure out of the corner of my eye, fleeting, nothing you could actually turn and catch. I once heard a child laughing and another time I glimpsed a fair-haired young boy. Our dogs were never happy there either. They would prefer to sleep in the kitchen when previously they had always been with us. They did not like going into the living room.
Then, one night I was lying in bed reading a light hearted book. Eventually I closed it and reached out to turn off the bedside lamp. As I did so, an icy cold hand gripped me around the wrist. I felt the imprint of fingers, so distinct, so clear that I froze for a second. This could not be happening, but it was. I fled to the lounge where I sat in the chair wrapped in blankets and with the lights on until the morning came.
To be continued..............
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