Itīs been just over ten years since these events took place, and not until recently, and thanks to "Castle of spirits", have I finally come to understand what in fact might of happened to me.
During my student years I was living in a small two floor house in the north of England. I lived alone and I had never experienced anything strange in the house until one cold winter morning.
I had set my alarm clock at the usual time and I would normally have woken up to make my way to college. However, that morning I woke up somewhat earlier. I did not spring from my bed, I hardly ever do that, but instead I felt conscious and aware, but did not open my eyes. I knew where I was, what time it would probably be, I even started thinking about the first classes I would have that morning. Suddenly I heard the creaking of the carpeted wooden steps that led to my bedroom from the floor below. My initial response was to lay very still and listen, and soon enough I felt the tension growing in my body.
Obviously someone had broken into the house and was making his way to my bedroom. In what seemed a totally conscious state of mind I prepared myself for the worst and clenched my fist, ready to attack and defend myself from the possible intruder. As you can imagine my plan was to jump ever so suddenly from my bed, just as I felt the footsteps coming closer, and meet the unwanted visitor face on. It was in that precise moment, in what seemed like a split second, that I saw a dark silhouette standing between the half open door of my bedroom. It was almost like a flash, as by then my eyes were wide open and the figure was no longer there. Shaking and dissoriented, I tried to work out what had happened. I even searched the house, with much caution, but it was totally empty. The days passed and slowly I began to forget about the incident, trying not to let it overwhelm my fears. Soon after some rather strange things ocurred in my house.
The first was the TV. One day I was in the kitchen preparing dinner. In the background I could hear the News at Ten, and as I was cooking my mind just drifted into various non-important thoughts, and soon enough I made my way back into the lounge next to the kitchen, and sat down to watch some TV whilst having dinner. My suprise, and sudden rise in adrenaline came as I realized I was now watching another channel. My first reaction was to find the remote, which was on another table. It was impossible that I had changed channel, and I was utterly sure of having left it on the BBC news. Not understanding what had happened I made the effort of not giving it much more thought and went about trying to eat my dinner. This incident never happened again.
On another occasion I was cleaning the house and as usual I liked to have some background music, if anything to encourage me to finish my chores. I had recently bought a music tape and I thought I would make a copy of the last 3 songs of the A side, which were the ones I had discovered I most liked. I would use a compilation tape that I had already been listening to, and where I had space somewhere in the middle to include the 3 songs over others that I had become bored of. I fast forward to the end of the third song and pressed record on the recordable tape deck. I returned to my duties with the last 3 songs playing in the background. For the next few days Iīd listen to it a couple of times, until one day whilst on the bus listening to the tape on my walkman, I suddenly realised that something seemed odd. I had recorded songs 4,5 and 6 in the order that was in the original tape, but at the time and especially when I arrived home I realised that they had been recorded as 6,4 and 5. This is totally impossible as one tape deck plays and the other records, and in no moment did I stop and fiddle with the recording. It took me a couple of days to find out as I wasnīt entirely familiar with the order of the tracks on the album, but clearly they had been taped in the wrong order. I immediately called a close friend and explained what had happened, making him listen to the original tape and the songs on the compilation. He knows me since we were kids and knew I wasnīt trying to play a silly trick on him. He initially didnīt understand what I was fussing about, but when he finally realised he didnīt want me to continue speaking about it and advised me to get rid off the tape. Over the years I lost the tape, and I still canīt understand what happened.
The final incident is perhaps less strange but still dubious. Some time after the before mentioned incidents, I happened to come across a cat that seemed to always be hanging around my back garden. As Iīm somewhat fond of these furry animals and he clearly seemed to be a stray, I took it upon myself to adopt him. He quickly settled in and during the first two or three weeks everything was fine. He was a sweet cat, playful and tender and I was really glad to have adopted him. Then soon after he started acting very strangely. The first time I noticed him staring at the ceilings I totally ignored it as I imagined it was normal cat behavior. However, everyday that passed it got worse. From then on I would almost always find him in the lounge, under a chair, staring at an area of the ceiling. This would happen for a long period of time, and although I was tempted to take him to a vet and find out what could be the problem, I was soon to leave the city to continue my studies in another University. I finally left the cat in the capable hands of some nearby neighbours. Although this behavior is probably normal in some cats, I must admit it helped to make me feel altogether uncomfortable with that house.
For many years this story has rested in the back of my mind, occasionally I would tell it to friends, especially those avid of a "scary story", but over the years I seem to have become sceptic about these issues. The first incident about the black shadow was the one that has most disturbed me, as Iīve had similar experiences, but browsing through "Castle of spirits" I have finally come across a coherent explanation: Sleep Paralysis. I intend to do some research on the subject as it might explain other frightening experiences Iīve had. As for the TV, the tape and the cat, I still donīt know what might of caused them, but I guess that was such a long time ago that Iīll just keep it as curious memory.
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