Seeing a ghost when I was on the farm affected me in ways that I still don't fully understand. Did it kick open the door in my brain (large grains of salt to be taken with this) to let other things in? It certainly seems that way, since seeing that spectral Granny was far from the only experience that I've had in my life.
All good things must come to an end, they say. And so it was that after my father lost his job in 1982, we sadly had to move out of the farm house and back down to the Bronx, to Mulford Ave. The new house was located across the street from my aunt and uncle, who lived in Hazel Towers. This was great, because I got to play regularly with my some of my first cousins who were very close to my age.
I had two first-hand encounters here, along with a few other stories told to me by my older siblings and cousins.
Encounter one: Meathead
The first was a subtle one, to the point where I didn't realize how odd it was until after it was over.
Staircases. Why do so many of my strange experiences begin and end with them?
It was the spring of 1982, and I was in the first grade. I came home from school and went upstairs to the bedroom that I shared with my brother Matthew. After a little while, I came back downstairs and into the kitchen to grab something to snack on. I have memories of the floral-print on a background of yellow wallpaper which sometimes gave me a headache. As I entered the kitchen, I saw a man who reminded me very much of "Meathead" from Archie Bunker. He wore a red, green and black plaid shirt with 70's-style brown hair and a mustache. He had blue jeans on with suspenders. Something seemed wrong to me about him, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
This person didn't register my arrival. I was startled at a stranger's presence in my kitchen, so I asked who he was, thinking that he was perhaps a friend of one of my older brothers'. He seemed to be around his mid to late 20's. After I asked his name, he simply got up and stepped out into the hallway towards the front exit, ignoring me.
I hesitated to follow this stranger. The hair stood up on my arms and my scalp tingled. I stood in the other doorway from the rear of the house. Both doors in and out of the house were closed and locked. Then something odd occurred to me; I had seen flowers from the wallpaper pattern through this man's shirt. He was very slightly transparent. I cautiously stepped out through the door from which this being exited, and found no one. I hadn't heard any doors anywhere in the house open or close. No footsteps. Nothing.
I went upstairs to my older siblings' rooms, and no one was in them. I called out their names. Nothing. The house was dead quiet.
Finally, I went to the back yard, where my parents and my brothers Kenny and Michael were chit-chatting, and, still clinging to the hope that I was imagining things, asked them if they had a guest in the house that could have been who I'd seen. When they said no, I turned pale and reluctantly told them about what happened, and about the fact that I could see the wallpaper through this being. My brothers exchanged knowing looks, my mother looked only mildly concerned, and my father snorted and admonished me for watching spooky movies.
I have no idea who or what that entity was, or what it wanted. I only ever saw it once. I didn't feel scared, apart from the surprise of seeing a stranger in my kitchen. It just was.
Had my brothers witnessed something/someone similar?
Encounter two: Angel Eyes
Having been baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic, I was instilled with notions of grand choirs of angels, and foul, twisted devils. Catholic mythology contains some very powerful imagery, etched into the murals and stained glass in virtually every church built since antiquity. I'll be the first to admit that I have a very strong and particularly visual imagination. All that being said, none of the stories or church services would have prepared me for what happened one night when I was eight.
I had a nightmare. It was some weird amalgam of several movies that I'd seen recently, and it culminated with me waking in a cold sweat with the impression of a monster waiting for me just under my bed. I was terrified, and though fear of its clutching, razor sharp claws nearly overpowered my need to run to my parents' bedroom, I managed to do just that. I went around to my mother's side of the bed, weeping a little from the memory of the nightmare. She cracked one eye, saw the state that I was in, pulled my head close to her and gave me a kiss on the forehead. She reassured me that I was ok, and told me to lay down across the foot of their massive bed. I did so, and after a short while, the comforting presence of my parents slowly started to lull me to sleep.
I turned over, looking up towards my parents' heads. My eyes glazed as sleep reached out for me in the same way that the imagined monster did. As I was sliding into the dark abyss of sleep, something slowly appeared over their heads. Something pale white. Something comforting. As I lay there, nearly asleep, I saw two pairs of glowing white eyes over each of my parents' heads. In retrospect, I imagine that I should have roused myself and freaked out, crying for them to wake up because there were freaking glowing white eyes over their heads! I didn't, though. As I said, their presence was such a comfort to me that I fell fast into a deep and dreamless sleep.
I woke up for school the next morning in my own bed, so I suppose that my father carried me there. I felt fantastic, but was reluctant to share what had happened. Finally, sitting at the dining room table in front of my morning bowl of cereal, I told my mother. I was fearful that she'd tell me that I was just having a twilight dream as I was falling asleep, but instead she smiled and called my father over. She asked me kindly to repeat my story to him. I knew he wasn't overly fond of the strange things that most of my family had experienced in their lives, so I told him my story with the expectation of another admonition. Instead, he quirked a small smile, nodded slightly, and came and gave me a hug.
At times when things seemed darkest, I recalled those eyes, and I drew comfort from that memory. I have long since divested myself of Roman Catholic teachings. I am a happy agnostic. As such, I initially had a hard time reconciling this and other instances that smack of the divine or devilish. I've come to believe, though, that entities like those I saw that night and others of more negative bent, are simply entities that have existed since long before mankind gave them names and classified them as "angels" or "demons" or "faeries". We have only limited abilities to perceive and/or interact with them. Specific emotional states seem to enable one to do so, though the exact causes for those occurrences are next to impossible to replicate at will.
Did the after-effects of my nightmare enable me to perceive those beings? Or did they show themselves to me in an act of kindness - to soothe a frightened, vulnerable child? I'll never know, but I'm glad that nothing much more negative showed itself to me that night.
That wouldn't happen for many more years.
What could those eyes have been? Have you ever had a similar experience? Comment below!
Hi there. My name is Douglas McMillan, and over the course of over 40 years on this spinning blue marble, some very odd things have happened to me, and I'd like to share them with you.
I was born in the "New" Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, New York, on August 23rd, 1976 at around 6:00 PM. I was the first male born there. I was, at that moment, the 6th child born to my mother and father, and the only survivor of the three children that were supposed to be born into my extended family that year. Two of my aunts miscarried, and as everyone knows, deaths come in threes. When my mother went to the hospital, pretty much every member of my extended family, as well as a good portion of the neighborhood, were in attendance, offering prayers and positive energy. Luckily, I was born healthy and screaming, and I wasn't the only one to take a huge breath that evening.
My family stayed in the South Bronx until 1980, when my father got a promotion at his job in corporate America, and packed up the family to move into 66 Cricket Hill Road, a large house on a 30+ acre patch of land in Dover Plains, NY, around 70 miles north of NYC. It was used primarily as pasture land for race horses. I'll never forget the sight of the foothills of Bear Mountain laid out in front of me when I stepped out onto the back porch in the morning. It was simply majestic.
On occasion my parents would let us young'ns feed the horses an apple. The fear that the animal would accidentally bite my hand, the sensation of the horse's lips brushing against my palm, tickling me, the delight as I watched it munch contentedly on the apple - it was an amazing feeling. I still feel a certain bond with horses to this day, though I've only ridden two of them in my adult life.
There were stories of strange goings-on at the farm. Old Jerry Law from the property next door would tell us spooky stories. (He gave me my first dollar bill, which seemed like a fortune!) He told us of a ghostly old lady reputed to roam our home. I never really paid the story any mind, since I was just 5 years old and barely understood the concept of what a ghost really was.
My cousins Peter, Danny and Joey would come up from NYC to visit from time to time, and on a warm summer night, we built a camp fire in the back yard and the older kids would play frisbee. I've been told by several family members that while they were tossing that plastic disc around, a strange blur came from the field adjacent to the back yard and ran behind Danny, and disappeared around the side of the barn. They cautiously searched for the source of the blur, fearing the possibility of a mountain lion or other medium-sized predator. The only thing that they found, though, was a grave that was completely obscured by brush and bushes. The name had been scrubbed clean by time and weather, but the fact that it was a grave marker was unmistakable.
A few weeks later, as I recall, came the event that would shape many aspects of my life, yet it happened so fast that at times I wonder if it was really just a dream. My mother corroborates everything, though, so I'm forced to accept that it did, in fact, happen.
If you've attended my lectures or presentations, you have likely heard this story before. If you haven't, enjoy! If you have, enjoy it again!
It was around 2:30 in the morning. A time that I've since learned is called the Witching Hour. I woke up from a sound sleep, feeling very thirsty. I clambered out of bed and went down the back staircase, which led directly to the kitchen. You see, the farm house was an old styled home, with 6 bedrooms, a large kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a living room, a formal dining room and both a front and back staircase. I arrived in the kitchen, got myself a glass of water from the tap, and headed back to the darkened staircase. I was young and my senses were quite keen, so I didn't need the lights on, obviously! I mounted the first step and started the climb back to my warm, comfy bed in my sky blue bedroom.
By the third step, my sleep-muddled senses picked up on the fact that someone was standing on the top step, watching my ascent. I thought it was my mother, that she may scold me for being up so late. I put my head back down and continued my climb, eager to pass her and scurry back to my room. My scalp tingled; the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms stood straight up; my cheeks flushed. Confused, I took another step. I glanced back up, this time to search the face of the woman who bore me into this world, to try to understand where this feeling was coming from.
It wasn't my mother's face. It wasn't a face at all. I was looking at a blotch of grey where this figure's face should have been.
In my shock, I somehow recorded every detail of this figure, from her iron grey hair up in a bun on top of her head, to her long black nightgown with white lace at the neck and cuffs; the Susan B. Anthony brooch that she wore at her neck; the fact that around the knee area, her legs faded away to nothingness.
Looking back through the filter of time, I've come to realize that Granny from Sylvester and Tweety was haunting my family's home!
Lacking this comical revelation, though, I did what any sane, reasonable 5 year old boy would do in my situation, I think: I screamed, dropped my glass of water, ran back down the back staircase, up the front staircase, and dove into my parents' bed, crying uncontrollably.
After a few moments of shock and fear for my safety and sanity, followed by several minutes of calm, reassuring words and gestures, my mother coaxed what had happened out of me. After I blurted out as many details as I could, my mother calmly looked me in the eyes, laughed softly, and said, "Oh, her? She's nothing to worry about. I already spoke to her. She just wants to be sure that a good family is living in her house."
And that, folks, is how the paranormal was normalized for me at the tender age of 5.
Thanks for reading! I'll be making posts about my continuing experiences with the supernatural every other week. Feel free to share your paranormal experiences and/or stories below!
Born and raised in the Bronx, veteran of the USAF, trained chef and professional paranormal investigator