Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Own Personal Ghost Story


The other night, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone, or something, was in my room with me.  I sat on the edge of my bed, head in my hand, looking into all the shadows to see if I could spot something.  “I’m a grown man,” I was telling myself.  “There’s nothing there.  I’ve got work tomorrow.  I need to sleep.”  

I could feel my body flush and the hairs all over my skin stand up and I knew sleep just wasn’t going to happen.  I ended up turning on the light in my bathroom and closing the door enough to block out most of the light but keep my bedroom illuminated.  I think I finally dozed off early in the morning and got a couple of hour of sleep.  

What was it that gave me this feeling?  It was a list of things...

Lights Out
This is a short film I saw on Facebook.  It was part of some short horror film contest called “Who’s There?”  Here’s the link if you’re curious.  Don’t watch it before you turn out the lights to go to sleep.


For weeks after seeing this film I found myself pausing before turning out the light.  I would glance at shadows to see what was there.  Every time I thought of the ending this chill would go through me.  I was just getting over its impact when, the night my Japanese group had a scary movie night for Halloween, we uploaded to someone’s laptop and showed it.  This is how I learned the title and reminded myself how creeped out it made me feel.  

I think the film also altered my perceptions.  It was after watching it that I noticed the Tree-Man waiting at the end of the walkway from where I parked my car.  

Tree-Man
When I first saw it, I jumped back waiting to see what it would do.  Coming home late at night, I turned the corner from the garage where I parked my car to walk down the path to the front of the complex to where the stairs to my apartment are.  

There it was, standing at the end of the walkway.  It looked like this big bearish guy, twice the size of any pro football linebacker, arms held out from his side like someone ready for action.  

Then I noticed that this guy had no head.  He was a mass egg-shaped body and twisted  gnarly arms on two thick legs, planted in his position.  

I crept forward, one, two three cautious steps.  By the fourth step my perspective had shifted enough that I could tell what it was.  Two trees planted near the front of the property were combining their outlines to form this giant apparition.  I relaxed and walked forward, watching as Tree-Man morphed from its threatening self to something more like, though not completely like, the two trees it was formed from.  

Each night, I turned away just before this transformation to normalcy was complete at a side path that cut across the driveway.  I would look over my shoulder, watching Tree-Man become two trees in the dark, but not quite becoming those two trees before being blocked out by the edge of one of the units.  

Every night, turning the corner and seeing Tree-Man I would come to a halt.  I’d watch it.  I pick out the small discrepancies that told me it was just the shadows of two trees.  I’d walk up the pathway and turn right away from it.  

This week, I decided to defy Tree-Man.  When I came home, after feeling the impetus to pause and check it out, I squared my shoulders and walked straight ahead.  I passed the side walkway I normally took.  I kept heading straight toward Tree-Man at the front of the property until it completed dissolved, pulled apart by my closeness and a determination to see this thing that was startling me rendered back into its actual form.  
“Showed you,” I thought as I walked past the second tree right before the sideway.  I turned right and headed toward the front of my building to go up the stairs.  

That night, just as I was about to fall asleep, someone blew on my face.  

I jumped out of bed, now fully awake.  Heart pounding, I looked around.  There was no one there.  Then who...?  What...?  

My window was opening and the head of my bed is right underneath it.  It must have been a sudden breeze.  But that window faces a building across a walkway and there are never any breezes.  Only when someone walks past my window on the second floor walkway do the blinds move.  

It was my fan then.  I had it on.  I felt a gust from the fan.  But the fan doesn’t oscillate and it’s pointing toward my feet.  How could a gust from the fan hit my face?  

It took me a long time to get back to sleep that night.  I kept trying to convince myself that it was nothing.  My imagination.  Some normal cause that I didn’t notice being half asleep.  It worked well enough to get to sleep that night, but only barely.  

Because I knew from experience that strange things with no explanation can happen.  

Poltergeist
From the time I was thirteen years old to the time I was in my first year in college, I was haunted by a poltergeist.  Or some demon or devil was plaguing me.  Or my puberty inflamed brain was emitting psychic energy that was causing objects in my room (specifically my bed) to move, to which I was ascribing some outside source.  

It all depends on what you believe as to which explanation you like best.  Here are the facts as I experienced them.

Starting sometime after my thirteenth birthday my bed would move at night.  At first it was a shaking.  The frame would flex and bounce as if we were experiencing a small earthquake.  Think around three on the Richter scale.  The first time it happened that’s what I thought it was until I noticed that nothing else in my bedroom was moving.  

I jumped out of bed and watched it.  My bedroom at the time face the streetlamp on our corner so my room was well lit.  The mattress strained this way and that, like it was trying to get up.  It shuddered.  Then it finally lay still. 

I slept on the living room sofa that night.  And many nights after that.  

It eventually added another sort of movement to its dance.  Laying in bed, I would start to feel something pressing against me.  It was as if someone was inside the mattress was pushing against me with their hands.  

The worst incident was this one night, early on, when I was trying ignore it.  This was after my dad, coming home from work late one night, found me on the sofa and asked me what I was doing there.   What I told him, he screwed up his face with annoyance.  

“You’re just dreamin’.  Get back to your room.”  

I was keeping my eyes closed, telling myself over and over again that it was just a dream.  Nothing was happening.  I needed to get to sleep.  It was my imagination.  Repeating these things like a mantra, I rolled on to my back and opened my eyes.  Above me I saw...  Nothing.  

And I mean nothing.  It was completely black.  Remember, this room was always well lit because of the street lamp.  But look above me, all I could see was darkness.  

I was just starting to resolve what it was I was looking at when it descended on me.  I was engulfed.  I was bound.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t get out.  I tried to pull my hand up to pull down whatever it was, but they were bound to my side.  I was blindfolded, wrapped like a mummy and buried in darkness.  

Then, I wasn’t.  I fell out of bed and crawled to the door.  By the time I turned around the bed was not moving any more.  The covers were thrown back as if inviting me to return.  

I slept on the sofa.  

I know this was a true experience because I have a witness.  One night, jumping out of bed I knocked over something and made a racket.  While I was still on the floor my mom opened the door to my room.  

“What is going on--?”  She looked past me.  Her eyes went wide.  She looked surprised but not afraid.  

“It does move.”  That was all she said.  She stepped aside and let me leave my room, grab a blanket from the closet and sleep on the sofa.  Dad never told me to go back to my room after that.  

I guess I show relay how it ended.  I was in college.  I was working on my second official girlfriend at the time.  I had moved into my own apartment with a friend from school, but the poltergeist followed me.  It would do that.  I would change my furniture, change rooms, rearrange where everything was.  It was stop for a time and then start up.  

My girlfriend was religious with a strong streak of unconventional spirituality.  I decided to tell her about my situation.  She looked at me with a thoughtful expression.  She was silent, thinking about what I told her.  I waited to see if she’d call me a nut-job.  

“Have you ever asked it what it wanted?”  

“Huh?  No...  I just want it gone.”  

“Ok, but what about what it wants?”  She looked at me like it was as obvious as the nose on someone’s face.  “Maybe it needs something from you and needs you to do it.”  

I shook my head at the idea.  What could it want that I could give it?  But as a concept it certainly had the advantage of not having been considered before.  

A couple of nights later, it started shaking again.  I lay there, now more annoyed that scared after five years of experiencing it.  I remembered what my girlfriend said.  With a, “why not?” shrug, I got out of bed, got on my knees and put my hands together to pray.

“Dear God...”  I was a devout Catholic boy back then, but this was a new one.  Was there a patron saint of poltergeist banishment?  “I don’t know what this is.  I don’t know what it wants.  I don’t if it’s good or evil.  But...  If there is something that can be done for it or given to it that won’t harm me or anyone else, please do so or show me how I can do it.  Amen.”  

It stopped.  Right then and there.  It was almost as scary a moment as when it first started, five years earlier.  I remember spreading my hands and arms over the surface of the mattress, feeling nothing but perfectly normal stillness.  

The next night, it moved again, but it was different.  Instead of shaking and twisting, it was a softer, smoother motion.  Like being on a boat in gentle waters or laying in a hammock being rocked by a summer breeze.  

I got out of bed, got on my knees and said my prayer again.  It stopped again, right away.  My bed hasn’t moved on its own since.  

I’ve become very much the skeptic in the thirty-five years since then.  I’ve been told all sorts of stories by other people, co-workers and friends, strangers and mere acquaintances.  One person I worked with years ago was captured for a time by a UFO.  She remembers the object in the sky, the white light hitting their car, time slowing down...  And then, they were driving as they were before, except it was hours later.  I always ask questions to see if it was something explainable.  They always assure me that it wasn’t.  

I come away from hearing these stories with doubt, but never outright disbelief.  Because I know what it’s like to have something unknown and unknowable happen to you, with only the smallest scrap of evidence that it isn’t you just being insane.  

I slept on the sofa the night on Friday.  I stayed up let and let myself doze off in front of the television.  I woke up at 3 AM Saturday and crawled into bed then. 

On Saturday, I slept in my bed.  I turned on my porch light, and opened my front blinds to let the light shine into my bedroom.  I slept pretty soundly.  

I tell myself it was...  Just my imagination.  An overdeveloped imagination hyped-up on a scary movie, seeing monsters in what I know are shadows.  

I tell this to myself...  Silently.  And I go my usual way from the garage to the stairs.  No point in walking past those trees way down at the front.  No reason to go there at all.  

2 Comments:

Anonymous AnnD said...

Go say hi to them. Maybe they know some vampire trees.

October 26, 2014 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

And the reason I would want to become acquainted with vampire trees is...?

November 2, 2014 at 11:57 AM  

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