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