When I was a young child I lived in a very large old house in Abbey Wood, a suburb of London, England. I was born in the UK and lived there until I was six, when we emigrated to Canada. The house we lived in was on the grounds of an old ruined abbey (Lesnes Abbey) which was torn down by orders of King Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monastaries in the 16th century.
One night when I was about two or three years old, my parents went out to a party and left me in the care of a babysitter. When they returned, after midnight, I was in the sitter’s lap by the big fireplace. My mother asked why I wasn’t in bed and the sitter told her she had heard me screaming and she ran upstairs to find me hysterical and pointing to the foot of the bed. There was nothing there that she could see, but I kept screaming, so she took me downstairs. The next morning my mother asked me what had frightened me and I told her there was a lady there by my bed. Attempting to reassure me, my mother said, "She was a nice lady, wasn’t she?" and I said, "No, she was nasty." My mother asked, "What did she look like?" and I answered, "She looked dead."
At this point, Mother got chills down her back because she had never heard me use the word "dead" and was quite sure that I was not familiar with the concept of death. She decided to consult a spirit expert. I refused to go back in the room where I had seen the apparition, and other weird things had happened in that house as well. For example, my father had a story about the evening a colleague of his, a doctor, was visiting and a cupboard opened by itself wih a creak. My dad’s friend said, "Shut that door!" and slowly the door closed with another creakig sound. My father said it really gave him a creepy feeling.
My mother contacted a spiritual medium, recommended to her by one of the neighbors, who told her that our house was quite notorious for being haunted. The medium’s name was Ena Twigg. She was quite a well-known spiritualist in London at the time (the late had moved on. She wrote at least two books about her experiences. In one of her books, "Ena Twigg, Medium", she writes about living in Lessness House and about the ghosts who lived there.
She came to visit and, after looking around our house, she told my mother that she could feel the presence of two spirits there. One was a kindly old gentleman who had once lived there and liked to play tricks. That was probably the spirit who made the cupboard door open and close, to the discomfort of my father. The other spirit was very sad and loved Lessness House. Perhaps this was the lady I had seen in my bedroom. She was definitely dead, and maybe her tragic demeanor was what had scared me so much and caused me to label her as "nasty", my vocabulary not being sufficient to find a more suitable description.
Anyway, the experience frightened me so much that I would not stay in a room alone until I was ten years old. One of my parents had to sit with my every night until I fell asleep. Lately, I have thought a lot about my experience. I am trying to find out more about the house where it occurred and maybe discover who was the apparition that I saw. I wrote my story, called "My Real Life Ghost Story" on Squidoo.com. You can find out more about the abbey by googling "Lesnes Abbey". The ruins are a London scheduled monument.