Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Discombobulating memories of ghosts..

There are two experiences from my childhood which continue to disturb me and force me to question the limits of reality: both based around being haunted. With all my training and thinking and reading, I still have no idea how to explain what happened to me. This absence of any possible explanation pushes me to accept the paranormal. Allow me to recount what happened all those years ago:

We moved to the hamlet of Marston when I was 8. It was two miles from Wheaton Aston (where I had grown up until then) and consisted of nothing more than perhaps 10 houses scattered across perhaps half a square mile. Our house was down a small road from the hamlet – there were just two houses next to each other. We had a pond and maybe an acre of land. At night in the winter, I used to be haunted by a blood curdling breathing sound. I knew I would get haunted on a particular night whenever I heard footsteps going by outside. It used to come up the stairs and pause on the landing (my room was closest to the top of the stairs). There were two times when it really really scared me. Once, the sound appeared to be dragging a sack up the staircase. It would heave and something would move behind it. I hid under the duvet, holding my breath. Another time (the worst experience), the sound entered my room. Again, I hid under the covers. I heard the breathing noise slowly draw near to where I was lying. It then seemed to lie down on top of the duvet. It didn’t feel like a human shape – more like an even weight pressing down – like a very heavy duvet being laid across. The breathing noise was just inches from my head, a rasping, loud slow breathe. I nearly wet myself. Another time, the son of my mom’s friend came to stay. I heard the breathing and pinched him awake. He was irritated I’d woke him. “Did you hear the noise?” I whispered too him. I really wanted independent confirmation of my experience. “Shurrup” he muttered, and turned over and fell asleep again. To my annoyance and fear, it was only when I heard him soundly asleep that the noises began again. I also recall another night when I heard what I thought was a scream downstairs. This time, I was brave enough to go and investigate, instead of hide. I went down the stairs, down the passage and turned on the kitchen light. There was our cat in the middle of the kitchen floor, hair standing on end looking like it had had the fright of its life. The sound I’d heard was the hissing miaow of the cat. What it had seen or witnessed I have no idea.

These haunting experiences came after another event which took place in the first house I lived in, on School Road in Wheaton Aston. I remember waking up with the strange feeling that something else was in the room. I hid under the duvet and held my breath. The next morning, there were two strange marks on the ceiling, each consisting of three slightly converging sooty black lines about two feet long, with a perpendicular line crossing the three lines towards the end. I thought they were footprints of some kind, but now I think they were more like signs for something or other. I was perhaps 6 or 7 years old. I called my parents into the room the next day and my mom said – “Wes, are you trying to scare him?” My Dad had laughed and denied it. I told friends at school and they all laughed. So I dragged one of them to visit my room and see for himself: Jonathan Fox. He went quiet when he saw the marks (I wonder if he can remember this?)

Years passed and we moved out of the house in Marston and back to the village. I read up on ghost experiences, and found that one popular ‘scientific’ explanation is that children and adolescents often experience haunting and that it can be explained by hormonally-induced hallucinations. So I started to disbelieve what had happened and push it to the back of my mind. The preoccupations of adolescence took over and I forgot all about ghosts.

Then, when I was about 17, the family were sitting round at Sunday lunch at Church Farm (the house we moved to after Marston). Church Farm was also haunted – but with more of an intangible presence than a specific presence (this presence has been felt by others who have lived there). The topic came round to ghosts at the Marston house. I piped up, “Yes, I used to get haunted there and no one ever believed me.” The oddest thing was that my sister then said (and this was the first time I’d ever heard it), “Oh yes, I used to get haunted. It was a breathing noise that used to come down the corridor. I used to sit up in bed and try and work out what it was, but I could never see anything. But I could still hear the breathing.” I had to give it to her, Victoria was braver than I!

Now I am left with these odd experiences, and I am pushed to strange almost ridiculously x-filesy clich├ęd thoughts of hidden dimensions and alien visitations. And the project of complete rationality threatens to be undone by its very foundations, as Godel’s theorem writ large tends to show. Ultimately, all my philosophical enquiries are haunted by this spectre of foundational incompletion.


Folabi Akinrogunde 9:08 am  

I've had quite a few spooky things happen to me in my time also, though none of them are quite on the same scale as your breathing, dragging "thing".

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP