The Woman Who Wouldn't Leave
When I was 10 years old, I was staying the night at my uncle and aunt’s house. It was a beautiful, old country house that dated back to the 1800s (which, in Australia, is very old!)I was trying to get to sleep, and my younger brother was already dead to the world.
Suddenly, though, I began to feel uneasy. I opened my eyes, and saw a very solid looking, very old woman standing at the door. She was staring at me. I was absolutely terrified (the closest neighbour was acres away and the oldest person in the house was 45)so I covered my head with the blanket, praying that she’d leave. I must have fallen asleep, because when I lifted the blanket it was morning and all was well again.
Still shaken, I quietly told my aunt what had happened so I didn’t have to sleep in that room again. My aunt didn’t laugh it off. She went very quiet. She told me about the woman who had lived in the house before them; she had been the youngest daughter of the original owner of the house.
She was born there, and she died there. Then my aunt told me her own story about that room, which was a part of the original house. When my cousin was a baby, that was his room. My aunt had laid him in his cradle for a nap, before moving into the kitchen to do the dishes. However, when she turned off the tap, she heard the faint voice of a woman singing. Curious and not yet alarmed, my aunt walked just outside the door of my cousin’s room. The singing continued. Suddenly frightened, realising she was the only adult in the house, my aunt opened the door. The singing abruptly stopped. My cousin was wide awake and smiling upwards. My aunt, shaken, took my cousin out of the room and avoided it for the rest of the day.
Now, years and years later, I look back and wonder if it was just the overly active imagination of a child. But I don’t think it was. I get chills, even in the stifling heat of summer, when I enter that room. I don’t like to have my back to the door. It makes me feel uneasy when I walk by it, especially at night. My aunt’s experience was more benign, but equally as unsettling as mine. That woman, who was born in that house and died in it...I honestly don’t think she ever left.