When I think back on my life one experience of the paranormal stands out, in part because it is the only one I am fairly sure of, and also because of the feeling of dread it gave me at the time.
The summer I was eleven my grandfather died. For several years he had lived with my favorite aunt and uncle on their farm in northwestern Ohio. My mother and I travelled back for the funeral, staying at the farm. After the funeral was over we stayed on for a few days. We shared a room upstairs above the kitchen.
Each morning life on the farm would begin at dawn. My mother would get up and go down to the kitchen to help prepare breakfast with my aunt while my uncle would feed the animals. I, being the lazy city kid, would lay awake listening to my mom and aunt talking and cooking until they called me down for breakfast.
There were no other children there, and being a small farm, my aunt and uncle did all the work themselves, so we four were the only ones at the farm.
One morning I awoke with a start and a distinct uneasy feeling. Hazy sunlight was streaming through the window of the bedroom. As usual, my mom was already up and I could hear her and my aunt talking and cooking in the kitchen below. I could not shake my uneasy feeling. The morning seemed to have a surrealistic quality about it;almost as if I was a part of another time, another world, just visiting this one. Suddenly I heard a man's voice in the front yard call out "Hullo, is anybody there?". The voice immediately sent chills down my spine. Intuitively I knew it was connected with the uneasy feeling I had. I heard it again, closer, sounding like it was on the front porch; "Hullo, is anybody home?". At once I wondered why no one answered it, yet I prayed they would not, for I felt that something bad would happen if they did. I could still hear my mom and aunt in the kitchen and smell the bacon cooking. The voice called out again from the front yard. Why didn't they answer? The house was a small one and they had to have heard it. What about my uncle, who at that time of the morning was usually at the chicken coop in the side yard? Why didn't he respond? The voice continued to call out and I became more scared. I put the pillow over my head to try and blot it out, but for the next few minutes I continued to hear it. Then, after about fifteen minutes of silence my mom called me down to breakfast. By the time I got to the kitchen my uncle was also there. I asked who had visited; thinking, hoping they would say it had been one of my numerous relatives who lived nearby. They looked at me quizzically, and at each other, and one by one responded that no one had been there that morning. I described the voice I heard and again, they all said they had heard or seen no one, not even my uncle who could see most of the front yard from the coop where he had fed the chickens.
I did not know what to make of this. There was no possible way I, while upstairs in bed, could have heard someone out front and they could not, especially someone that called out repeatedly over a span of five minutes or so. I don't believe it was a dream, as I could hear and smell what was going on downstairs. Besides, I had never had a dream that lucid before, and in retrospect today, have never had one.
So who, or what was it? My grandfather? I don't think so. I loved my grandfather dearly, and while I might have been spooked if I had heard his voice after he died, I would not have had the uneasy feeling that I did. I certainly would have recognized his voice as he had come from Belgium to America as a young man and had forever after retained a distinct accent, which the voice I heard did not have. And finally, the grandfather I knew would never knowingly have frightened any of his children or grandchildren.
Indeed, years later during a particularly trying time for my mother, while she took care of my terminally ill father, she awoke one night to see my grandfather sitting at the foot of her bed. He stood up and said to her, "Don't worry hon, everything will be okay". With that he faded away, and my mother gained enough strength to see my father's illness through to his eventual death.
After almost thirty years, I still don't know what came to the farm that day, or what it was looking for. I only know that it's intentions were not friendly, and I thank God to this day that I was the only one who heard it.