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Gone To The Dogs

October 2005

As with most people on this site, I have had quite a few "unusual" experiences in my life. I am interested in the paranormal and some of the things that happened to me when I was younger I did not recognize them as being out of the ordinary until I got older and was able to figure things out.

My first experiences happened in an old house we lived in in upstate, New York. It was a four story Victorian house with a beautiful wrap around porch, a carriage entry way, a large kitchen downstairs and what I can only guess to be maids quarters and a smaller kitchen on the fourth floor. On the fourth floor my parents each had their own room, my father is a musician so he had a music room and the other room was my mother's sewing room. This is where the small kitchen was and where we had our meals.

Our first experience was the day we moved in. My brother and I were playing in the backyard while my parents were moving our meager belongings in when we looked up to the back of the house and saw an old man looking down at us from one of the fourth floor rooms, just watching us. We ran into the house to tell my parents and to ask who the man was. My parents searched the entire house and found no one.

As I was only 4 and not yet in school I would spend the days playing in my room while my mom was in her sewing room. Very rarely would I go up there as it was quite creepy. One time I was looking for something and my mother said it was in the "closet" in her sewing room. Now this was not really a closet but more of a dark attic type room that she used for storage. Since she was in the upstairs kitchen I felt brave enough to go in there, although I made a point to leave the door open, especially since there was no light in the closet. I remember going in and quickly looking for what I needed and as I turned the door shut on me. I remember feeling an oppressive presence in there with me and it was not pleasant. I started screaming and pounding on the door but it would not open. I tried over and over to open the door but it was as if it was locked. I don't know how long this went on for, but finally my mom opened the door and asked what was I doing. I was hysterical and told her the door locked. She said the door was not locked and did not even have a lock on it. She then went into the attic and shut the door behind her and opened it up to show me that it worked fine. She said that she had not heard me screaming or pounding on the door but that she was just wondering what had taken me so long and decided to check on me. Needless to say I stayed clear of that room from then on.

My brother was 7 and he had quite a dislike for his room in that house. I can't even tell you what his room looked like because I don't remember ever going in to it. Which I am only now realizing. I guess I didn't like it either. There were many nights he was terrified to sleep in his room and would stand outside my bedroom door and beg and cry to sleep in with me. Eventually I would relent and he would go straight to sleep.

Maybe his fears were well founded because he was the only one in my family to actually be hurt by whatever was in that house. The house had stairs with landings on each floor and one time my brother "fell" down the final flight of stairs and broke his arm. He said he was pushed but no one believed him. I remember him telling us that he was standing at the top of the landing and was suddenly pushed from behind. I guess my parents just assumed he was running and tripped but he is very practical and not the sort to make up stories like that.

I guess there was more than one spirit in that house because I remember one time being in bed on a stormy night when the power went out. I was sick and just laying there in the dark kind of scared when my radio turned on. No lights went on so the electricity was not on but my radio turned on and my favorite song came on the radio. I still remember the song something by Tom Jones, I think, "Send a Letter Maria". At the time this didn't scare me and I really did not think much of it.

The last thing that happened in this house was around Easter. We were going to have a big Easter party in our yard that day so I don't remember if it was actually Easter or I just had my days mixed up. Anyway I remember being awakened by large booms going down the hallway. They were so loud that they rattled the walls. I ran into my parents' room and asked them what the noise was. They were still sleeping and when I woke them up they said to go back to sleep and it was probably just the Easter bunny. Being 4 or 5 it sounded reasonable to me and so I went back to sleep.

When I got older I asked my dad about that experience and whether or not it was one of our neighbors that my dad got to "play" Easter bunny and hop through our halls and he said no. In fact, he didn't even remember this happening.

Shortly after we moved from New York to Hollywood, California. I don't remember anything strange happening in the apartments where we lived but I did have an experience walking to the store one day. My parents were going through a divorce and we kids were pretty much left unsupervised, allowing us to run wild.

I had gotten into the habit of walking from our apartment up Hollywood Boulevard to a little liquor store that sold candy. Being a typical 7 year old I loved candy. One day when I was walking to the store this car pulled up next to me and the man in the car gave me some money for candy. (I know this sounds so cliche', but it is true.) He was older and had emphysema I think because he had a hole in his throat and kind of croaked out the words. You would think I would know better but I guess I didn't. Anyway, this went on for a while. He would show up when I was going to the store pull over and I would take whatever money he offered and go and buy candy with it.

One day he pulled up and had a woman in the car with him and when I walked over he had dollar bills in his hand and with the woman's help he said he would give me the money if I went with him in the car. I remember being so scared I could not move. All the warning bells were going off in my head but then I remember thinking about how nice he had been with the candy money and he did have a lady in his car so it might be okay. I was standing there wavering when I heard this voice say "Hey old man leave that little girl alone." I turned and saw this young man stepping from the street and walking up quickly behind me. The man and woman in the car drove away and the spell was broken and I found I could move again. The young man told me to go straight home and not to talk to that man again and that he was evil. I turned to say thank you and he was gone. I looked everywhere and he was nowhere in sight. I know that he was a guardian angel and if he had not shown up at that moment I would have gone with that couple and who know what would have happened. Shortly after the man and his wife were arrested for molesting children.

We then moved out of Hollywood into the San Fernando Valley and nothing happened for a few years. The house felt good and there were no problems with spirits until a few years later. My father's best friend was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and he came out to live with us so he could get the care he needed and be with some people who loved him. He lived in our house in terrible pain until the day before he died. After he died we would feel cold spots in the house and hear footsteps.

One time we were all sitting in the living room when something caught our attention at the far end of the room. Everyone turned to look in that direction, even our dogs. I then remember watching my dog watch something walk across the room in front of us and exit through the hallway. My mom said, "There goes W***," who was my dad's friend.

Shortly after this happened I was at home on a weekend afternoon sitting on my bed reading. My parents' house has hardwood floors and I heard one of the dogs running across the floor into my room and jump up on my bed. I assumed it was my dog, a German Shepherd, because the bed sure bounced and he was a big dog. I turned to give him a pet and there was nothing there. I remember letting out a yell and running out of the house. I sat on the front porch and waited until my parents got home to go back in the house. I don't know what it was but it never happened again. Funny, without mentioning my story my aunt was telling stories and explaining to me why she would never go up into the top level of my grandmother's house and she described the exact same instance as happening to her. What is this thing? Is it tied to a family?

The only other thing that happened with my phantom dog was about 7 years ago. I was back East visiting my other grandmother who lives in a very old house that is rumored to be haunted. It is over 200 years old and backs right up to the cemetery--no fence or anything. You just keep walking in her back yard and eventually you start seeing tombstones. My cousin won't set foot in that house. My dad used to stay there when he had work in New York and he would hear taps played at night. He set a tape recorder out one night and heard nothing.

When I last stayed there I was sleeping upstairs facing out. My mother and I were sharing a bed because it is a very small house and there is nowhere else to stay. I was awakened in the middle of the night to the distinct feeling that there was something right there at the edge of the bed face to face with me. It was definitely a malevolent presence and I was immediately wide awake. I could not see anything but I could definitely feel it and I was so scared I could not move. Then, very softly over my shoulder I heard the low protective growl of a dog. This was coming from the middle of the bed where my mom was laying. I felt the presence dissipate and instantly I felt safe and went right back to sleep. Funny thing is that my grandmother does not have a dog.

My last experience involves my best friend Sandra. We were in high school and it was Summer time. Those golden days when we would spend our mornings and afternoons at the beach, come home take a nap and shower and then go out with friends at night.

My best friend is a tough cookie. She has lived with sexual and physical abuse, an addict for a mother and a number of other things. She is a survivor and does not scare easily. I think that in not wanting to be a victim she has become very strong. Several years before this happened her young aunt was diagnosed with cancer and was taken quite suddenly. She left behind a young son who then lived with Sandra's family.

Anyway,we had just gotten home from the beach and decided to take a nap before figuring out what to do at night. I woke up to Sandra's hand gripping my arm. I asked her what was wrong and she said that her aunt was here in my room. I said where? And she said that she was behind my bed--it was a large mahogany bed with the headboard against a window. I told her there was no room for anyone to be there and that she was probably dreaming. She said that she was not and that she never even took a nap.

I had a dresser that faced my bed and the dresser had a mirror attached to it. She said that she was laying there trying to go to sleep and looking in the mirror when she saw her aunt standing behind the bed. She turned around to face her and her aunt looked horrible. She said that she looked like she did during her last days in the hospital--all shrunken and ravaged from the cancer. She said that she was in a hospital gown and still had the IV attached to her arm and the long walking IV she had and used to walk with down the halls. Sandra said that she was very mad and that she had a book in her hands and was pointing to it and saying that these were the things she had wanted to do in her life and did not have the time to do them and that it was not fair. Sandra said that her aunt was there yelling at her until I woke up. She said that she could still see her reflection in the mirror until we started talking and then it just kind of faded away.

I again told her that she had probably been dreaming and that I was going to go take a shower and get ready for the night. I remember my dear tough friend following me into the bathroom and sitting on the toilet seat while I showered and got ready. She was so scared she would not be alone for anything. This is what finally convinced me that she had not had a dream.

Those are some of my favorite experiences.

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