I'm asked you for your scariest stories. I've pillaged my family's history for spooky tales. I've read more urban legends than a person ought to in a lifetime.
But I think it's time I step up and share with you my own creepiest experience, the one that still keeps me up some nights.
It's Halloween after all. It's like Creepy Corner Christmas.
As I've mentioned before I grew up in an old, oddly shaped house in Seattle, Washington. The house looked like it had initially been a small ranch style house, then it's previous owners kept randomly building onto it. The second floor looked like it fell out of the sky and landed on the original house's roof. Think a mini 1960's Winchester Mystery House.
Nothing was normal about moving into that house.
Upon moving into the house, I was around four or five, the owners "warned" us about one of their sons, the one that had lived in the upstairs apartment. He was unpredictable, had emotional issues, and there was a mild concern that he might come knocking on our front door after his family had moved out. "You probably shouldn't let him in," was his family's advice to us. Thanks.
He thankfully never showed up, but the first few months in that house were spent constantly telling me to NEVER OPEN THE DOOR TO ANYONE.
Even weirder, when my family signed the documents changing ownership of the house, the previous owners gave my parents a letter "releasing" the house to us. They released the trees, the grounds, the spirits, the energy of the house -- my parents were a little unnerved but they completed the sale nonetheless.
Oh, and did I mention that upon investigating the basement, the previous owners had left an entire DOLL COLLECTION down there? Around 30 DOLLS staring at you out of the darkness. Thanks again.
As we started settling into the house little things here and there started to happen. Nothing that couldn't be explained away -- a light turning on then off on it's own, the TV cycling thru channels then flipping off, doors heard opening and closing -- it was an old house that needed a lot of updating, so this could all just be "wiring" or "foundation problems."
A couple months into our time at the house, my Aunt Muriel came to visit us. A retired high school teacher from Hong Kong, my Aunt Muriel reminded me of, and still reminds me of, an Asian Bea Arthur. Grounded and straightforward, she's a lady you innately respect and trust.
One night, while the grown-ups were up late talking, I crept out of bed to eavesdrop on their conversation. I kind of wish I hadn't.
My aunt was telling my mom and dad about something that had happened to her the other night in the house.
It was winter in Seattle, so it was damp and cold out. The old house did not heat very well, so, with everybody out (I think I had some school function that night), Aunt Muriel went upstairs to my parents' bedroom, the room with the huge wall heater, to watch TV.
At some point in the evening, Muriel heard the heavy fire door that separated the upstairs "add on" from the rest of the house open and slam shut. Now I'd like to add that that this door was HEAVY. If it was shut all the way, I had to throw my five-year-old body against it to open it.
Assuming we were home, Aunt Muriel called out to my parents, and continued watching television. She heard heavy footsteps come up the stairs, then walk down the hallway. The footsteps stopped just outside the bedroom door.
Again, Aunt Muriel called out to my parents, telling them to come in, but the door did not open. Curious, she got up, and opened the bedroom door. There was nobody there, just a dark, empty hallway.
Still not shaken (I don't know HOW), Muriel flipped on the hall light and went downstairs to explore the rest of the house. Nobody was there. We all came home about an hour later.
My aunt's incident stuck with me, and all the little "problems" with the house started to make me just a little bit more uneasy.
A few weeks later, my "unease" escalated.
I was a fitful sleeper as a child. I would talk in my sleep, have night terrors, and once in a while sleep walk. It wasn't odd for my mom to sit in the chair at the foot of my bed sometimes, and keep an eye on me when I was especially restless.
One night I woke up just before dawn and saw someone sitting in the chair at the foot of my bed. Assuming it was my mom, I called out to her. Whatever was sitting in that chair was not my mom.
"It" slowly -- really slowly -- turned just it's head toward me and in the pre-dawn gloom I could see that it was smiling. Dark "eyes" and a big, opened mouth smile.
All I could do was stare as I watch the thing stand up, keeping it's head turned and trained on me, then walk around the foot of my bed and slooooooowly walk toward me.
The strangest part about what I saw was that while it was all blackness and shadow, I could make out one hand gently tapping what would have been it's thigh as it moved toward me. Pat, pat, pat. I could make out an oh so soft patting sound as it got closer and closer. Still grinning, still not my mom.
Finally, right before it reached my head, I came unfrozen and dove under the covers. I still heard the patting sound.
In a cold sweat, I stayed under those covers until I saw daylight creep under the comforter. I carefully peered out, and the room was empty.
I never told my family about this incident, until recently, as I was sure they would tell me I was dreaming or that I made it up. But I was awake, I know I was awake.
I never really saw anything like that again in the house, and was able to carry on a fairly normally childhood despite the strange occurrences.
So that's my ghost story. It's not the scariest story ever told, but it still sends chills down my spine.
Maybe it was some sort of "waking dream", maybe I was still reeling from my aunt's experience. But this is a reason, I'm still a little bit afraid of the dark. This is a big reason I keep my eyes clamped shut if I wake up in the middle of the night. This incident is a major reason as to why I'm fascinated by the paranormal.
It's open season on ghost stories! Tell us all those stories you've been saving up! Anything goes this Halloween!