This was the single most terrifying event of my childhood. There were several minor events leading up to this climax, but all those events could, and were, rationalized in one way or another. This story, however, will forever be beyond my explanation.
When I was 14 years old, I lived in a huge house in a housing addition just outside of Davenport, Iowa. The main floor of the house was designed with the main hallway leading in a circle around and through the kitchen, dining rooms, living room, and music room. My parents worked the night shifts, so my older brother, little sis, and I were usually left alone by ourselves at night. We had a neighbor that we would call if we had any problems and of course we knew to call the police if anything serious happened. On one particularly late night, when we were upstairs getting ready to go to bed, all hell broke lose in the house. We noticed that my two cats and the family dog were slinking around upstairs, fur standing on end as if they were spooked. They all refused to descend the stairs and go down to their beds in the basement. My brother and I heard a giant commotion coming from the kitchen downstairs. It sounded as if papers and dishes were being tossed around. Naturally, we were scared so we gathered up my sister and the phone and went to the farthest corner room of the house. Our first impression was that someone had broken in and that they were trying to scare us. We called our neighbor and told him that there was something wrong and that we needed him to come over RIGHT AWAY! After we hung up the phone, the banging started. . . It was an obnoxious, violent knocking noise that sounded from down in the kitchen. The noise grew louder and more extreme every minute. It sounded as if there were people all over the main floor banging on the walls, furniture, windows, pots and pans, etc. Knowing we would have to unlock the door so our neighbor could get in, we took one of our dad's shot guns and proceeded to the head of the staircase. We flipped a light switch that turned on one of the main floor lights from upstairs. What we saw astonished us - I will never forget that scene, it makes my skin crawl - it was as if there was a wind tunnel running throughout the main floor. There was a vortex of papers, plastic cups, and small furniture flying a few feet off the floor in circles around the main hallway! There was no way that we were going down there now. . . My brother screamed down the stairs "Who's down there?!" and the incessant knocking and banging became unbelievably violent in response to his question. We scrambled for the far room and called the police. The next few minutes were a blur of fear and anticipation of help on the way. I am not sure when all the commotion stopped. Whatever was downstairs never came up the stairs to threaten us - it just pinned us up in the top floor while it wreaked havoc down below. . . When our neighbor and the police finally got in and found us, they said that there wasn't anyone in the house. We went with them to inspect the downstairs and found everything orderly and neat, as it had been before we went to bed. We asked the official if they had found any people outside banging on the doors and windows to get in and they said no. My siblings and I KNOW what we saw and heard and it was the same thing with each of us - flying papers and cups, pounding, noises, etc. . . We couldn't prove the experience except for the fact that the papers that were flying around were documents that my mother was currently using and had placed in a specific order before leaving for work that night. When she looked through them the next morning, they were ridiculously mixed up and out of order - if no one or no THING messed with them that night, how were they out of order? You tell me. . .