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!