Dark Autumn Skies
I have recently enjoyed flicking through the accounts on this site and have thus decided to share a few of my own experiences. It seems that when I look back I had a childhood that was somewhat filled with unusual sightings, feelings and 'paranormal' events.
There was one particular house I lived in in New Zealand. It was a two-storied 70's style home built on a high hill, surrounded by other homes and an extensive road system, but its beauty was that it had panoramic views of the Auckland harbour from 3 sides of the top floor - this being the main attraction for my mother and I when the two of us moved in. We rented the home from a young family who lived next door whose elderly parents had once occupied our home. The only part of the lease agreement that we weren't keen on was that they had insisted they keep some of their parent's belongings in storage in one of the downstairs rooms. Both my mother and I disliked entering the room as it was always cold, musty and their belongings had been covered in old drop-sheets (in cheesy horror-flick fashion no less!) to protect from dust and sunlight that entered the rooms single window.
There were many occasions where my Mum and I were aware of another presence in our home. One particular day I was returning from school (I was about 14 at the time), and I came home to find my mother sitting at the base of the concrete steps outside the house looking a bit shaken. I could see she was the colour of ash and she was drawing hard on her cigarette - attempting to absorb as much of the sun's warmth as she could even though the long shadows of the late autumn afternoon were cast across the property. When I quizzed her as to why she was sitting there she reluctantly explained that she thought she had 'felt' something in the downstairs room that she had set up as a sewing den which shared a common wall with the mildewy store-room. She explained that an hour before I got home she went downstairs to sew a few garments in the sunlight that was cast through the big windows. Sometime after that she said she had an unusual feeling that she was being watched from behind from somewhere deeper inside the house - through the doorway to the room. When she dismissed this notion and continued sewing, the feeling returned moments later, only this time she felt as though something had entered the room and had crossed half the void between the doorway and herself, and was standing there just staring at the back of her. She said she turned quickly and saw nothing but couldn't shake the feeling. Again moments later, she described the whole right side of her head and neck had rippled with goosebumps and the sensation was as if someone were standing directly behind her, leaning with their face right forward over her right shoulder, glaring at her and her handiwork. She let out a small scream and fled from the room to sit outside in the warm sun and recollect herself until the time I got home.
This occurrence seemed a 'one-off' for a time, and then I experienced something myself. Again late one afternoon I was travelling home on the bus from school. The main bus route would see the school bus meander around our suburb and come down a hill that was overlooked by our home. I would often look up at the house as the bus travelled down the hill toward the bus stop as I was preparing to disembark. This particular afternoon, I looked up at the house and saw my mum standing at the dining room window on the top floor. She had short blonde hair and was wearing a black knitted sweater, and I shot her a happy smile and broad wave from the bus window just as it was stopping and the view of the house was obscured by trees. She did not wave back or acknowledge me and I figured she hadn't seen me. As I climbed the dirt track cutting through the back of our property and neared the house I saw her walk through from the living room and appear at the kitchen window. I knew she was cooking up a storm and was eager to see what would be for dinner. When I let myself in through the downstairs back door I chanted my usual greeting and heard no response. I climbed the staircase to the second floor and called out to her relentlessly. I wandered through the entire upper level, and upon entering the kitchen saw a note on the bench top. It appeared Mum had nipped down to the supermarket for some groceries and had told me to grab a snack from the fridge. At that moment I flushed both hot and cold and felt as though I weren't alone in the house. I ran from the house and couldn't believe what I had witnessed. Sure enough, 20 minutes later my mum returned from the store with rosy cheeks and bags full of groceries. When I think back to this occasion, I can picture this 'woman' clearly in the window. Now I can 'see' that she was indeed not my mother, but had similar colouring and complexion. The innocent expectancy that a woman in our window was indeed my mum (who else would it be?) had led me to believe it was her. There were no signs of intruders that day, and my mother's clothes were quite different to what I had seen this figure wearing standing in the window a half-hour earlier.
After that occurrence, things got a little more serious. One evening she and I had sat up watching music videos until late on TV. We were both tired and retreated to our rooms which shared a common wall. It really had never occurred to me that my bedroom on the second floor was directly over the gloomy store-room downstairs that was almost never opened or entered into, in all the time we spent in the house. This particular night I had wished my mum a good night, and closed my bedroom door. I was only moments in my bed when I heard a very loud series of three sharp and angry rappings through my floor from the room below! It sounded as though someone were standing in that eerie black room with a broomstick thumping the ceiling of that claustrophobic space. Mum yelled "OI!" from her bedroom, thinking that I was creating a ruckus. I shot out of bed and flew into her bedroom explaining it wasn't anything that I had done, and that the sound had come from the room downstairs. Mum was a bit panicked as she was a single woman raising a son, and she felt that perhaps we had an intruder! She armed herself with a cast-iron bedside ornament, and I with a solid metal vacuum-cleaning pipe (?!) and we threw all the lights on in the stairwell. We slowly crept down the flight of stairs to the first landing and then rounded the corner to ascend the second flight. When we got down there, we found nothing in the house at all- only that the door to the store room stood slightly ajar. Though we loathed the idea of going in there, we flicked the switch and found it empty aside from the usual shrouded mounds of bric-a-brac and dank-smelling furniture. Well, even at age 14 I was still not going to sleep alone that night so I slept on the floor of my Mums room (naturally the side farthest away from her bedroom door)!
Several months later we decided that we had such a large space just for the two of us, and we obtained permission from the landlord to advertise for a person to share with us. We had much interest and eventually a woman named Marilyn moved into the huge, redecorated sunny sewing room on the ground level. She was a friendly chatty woman who had much in common with us, and we really became friends. She also became aware that occasionally she felt as though she was being watched but never really made a fuss of it. The top floor of the house was the main hub of the home with all the main living areas, and at the end of the day Marilyn would retire to her room downstairs at night. Occasionally during the day she would also take a coffee down to her room and read a book where there were less distractions.
One bright morning, I awoke with the sun streaming through my blinds. My bedroom was at the end of a hallway that faced the kitchen. Along this hallway doors opened off to other rooms to the side, as did the stairwell leading to the ground floor. I exited my bedroom and saw mum making breakfast in the kitchen. I shot her a "morning..." as I walked along the passageway toward the kitchen and she turned and replied cheerfully. As I passed the stairwell that went off to the right, I glanced downstairs to the first landing to see Marilyn going back to her room. I shot her a brisk "morning!", and she simply did not answer. I remember thinking "her hair is getting really long" as I saw her from behind. She reached the landing and turning left out of site down the next flight. She was wearing a cream knitted top and rose coloured pants - her long brown hair brushed pin-straight down her back. To my surprise my Mum promptly answered "I already said good morning!". I replied "no, not you, - Marilyn", at which point I had already passed the stairs and reached the kitchen door. I walked across the kitchen and through the doorway to the adjoining lounge, and saw Marilyn sitting on the couch in her dark blue robe sipping a cup of coffee. She looked up and exclaimed that I looked quite startled. I flew back through the kitchen to the head of the stairs babbling what had just happened and the 2 ladies joined me, peering down to the landing of the stairwell. Once again, a very cowardly but thorough search yielded nothing - but again the storeroom door was open - ever-so-slightly. For a room that we kept closed, detested and seldom entered, finding the door slightly open happened more times than I care to remember!
Until this day I can swear that I saw what I saw, and I have long since had other unusual things punctuate my life in a similar manner. We moved from this home, not due to any unrest or fear - just through regular circumstances of wanting to move on. I often wonder if the unusual entities of that home still haunt the bright and sunny corners of that house on the hilltop.
Thanks for your patience in reading this epic!