Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Ghost Story

The funny thing about brushes with the paranormal is that most often than not, I didn’t realise anything paranormal was taking place until after the fact.  What I found very strange is how 'normal' the paranormal can feel while it’s happening:) In my experience- there were no cold spots, no hair raising on end, no shadows or apparitions, no warning that anything was amiss.

As a teenager- I actually tried to have a real honest-to-goodness ghost experience. (Doesn’t everyone?)  I visited haunted places. (Not alone, mind you. I did stick to the rules of how-to-survive-in-a-horror-movie 101) The reported ‘witches grave’ hidden in the woods off a desolate road.  The street that everyone says if you’re going too fast on, your car will shut down mysteriously due to the ghost of a driver who died going too fast around a corner. I even used ouiji boards!

In graveyards.

And sat through the Warren’s (the ghost hunters who investigated the actual Amnityvill Horror incident) presentation at UConn every Halloween.

Alas, I can’t say I ever had a true ghost experience until I came to Europe.

My junior year in college I lived in a Paris appartment on the Rue Campagne Premiere, a few down from this building- the notorious art deco facade of Andre Arfidson created in 1910. 

Another American girl and I were assigned the one bedroom apartment- one of the only ones owned by the program.  The rest of our study-abroad class stayed at the Cite Universite.  The apartment was old- perhaps constructed in the 1800’s.  The front door opened into a hallway with the bedroom door at the very end.  The door on the left led to a spacious bathroom with an old claw-foot bath.  The right entrance-way led into a large living room with a small kitchenette off to the right side.

There was no way around it-our bedroom was creepy.  It had a big condemned marble fireplace build into the facing wall- causing us to push our small beds into the room at odd angles.  Mine had to block across the extra door leading to the bathroom in order to fit. 

But the creepiest thing was the huge intricately-carved gold-plated mirror.  It looked heavy and you could tell it was old by the way the mirror itself was yellowed and cracked in some places.  It took up the whole wall above the chimney.

The first night in that room I woke up several times and could have sworn my bed was moved into a different place every time.  Once I woke up and felt like I was in the middle of the room.  Then I awoke but my head was facing the foot of the bed.  I was too drowsy and out of my element to be frightened- I just figured it was jet-lag giving me the impression my bed was moving around the room while I slept.

And when I was awoken the next night by a piercing noise and a woman’s voice talking frantically in the night- I was sure it was just some parent calling and leaving a message on the answering machine-  not realising the time difference.  But in the morning, there was no message.

My roommate had some experiences as well- feeling as though her body was being lifted and flattened against her headboard until she was in a sitting position every time she fell asleep.  When she finally got sick of startling herself awake, she ‘went with it’ and told me later that she dreamt my bed was no longer in front of the bathroom door- that the door was open and the light was on in the bathroom.  And behind the big double windows with the wrought-iron barrier- a woman was trying to get inside.  Even though we lived on the second floor with no platform or latter, she was there, behind the window, slapping the glass and trying to say something but my friend couldn’t hear her.

I also experienced what I later discovered was the ‘old hag’ syndrome.  Several times- sometimes in broad daylight, while I was falling asleep or just waking up, it would feel as though someone had stretched out on top of me- like a heavy weight.

 I couldn’t move or react.  But I could see clearly that nothing was there and hear what was going on around me.  I just couldn’t move. 

Or the time I dreamt I was bitten by a snake and my hand felt pinched and swollen for a full five minutes after I woke but there were no marks.

I chalked it up to fatigue- I was going out and staying out late.  Had a lot going on socially and academically.  But I had never experienced the ‘old hag’ syndrome before then. And I haven’t experienced it since.

And yet, throughout all of that- I wasn’t frightened.  Not really.  It’s now, writing down the experiences- that I know in my gut that all was not right at our little appartment on the rue Campagne-Premiere.  And probably still isn’t.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN Everyone:)  I hope I was able to contribute some spook to your day!  Mwahahahaha!

Have you ever had any close encounters of the ghostly kind?  Did you realize something weird was happening while it happened or only afterwards? 

47 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I love reading stories like this, but no, I have none of my own. I'd like to. Lol

Mohamed Mughal said...

Well-written and interesting. Happy Halloween!

DL Hammons said...

Creepy! (no pun intended) :)

whispering words said...

I love stories like this, creepy but interesting. If you could would you stay there again?

Anne said...

What a scary story! I have had dreams as well where I feel like I can't move. I usually walk up screaming!
Happy Halloween!

Old Kitty said...

That's sooooooooooooooo spooky! Yikes!!!! I love that you didn't think you were being haunted (and of yes you were being haunted - I so believe in such things! Yikes!!!) until after the fact! You brave brave souls!!

Oooh I have goosepimples on my goosepimples now! Take care
x

Christine Danek said...

I love stories like this. I had my bed shake once. I was at an old Bed and Breakfast. I didn't know what happened. And my daughter claimed to talk to my grandmother (after she passed away). Yeah, a little creepy.

Paul Tobin said...

I was driving to Exeter one sunny summers morning and I saw my father in the passenger seat, he had been dead for about three months. Very strange, but not frightening. I think that since becoming a Reiki Master I have become more sensitive to the otherness that it all around us.

Talli Roland said...

Ahhhhhhh! You have totally freaked me out with this! I live in an old block of flats in London, built in the 1800s, and I shudder to think of all the souls drifting around the rooms!

Kelly Polark said...

Yikes!!!!
I think I'd be so freaked out if anything spooky happened to me!!!

Zoe said...

Now that was creepy, Creepy. Actually had a little *shudder* when picturing your bed moving to another spot in the room...nice!

Samantha Vérant said...

That was a creepy story, Creepy! Do I smell a book concept on the horizon? A haunting at a boarding school in Paris???

Linda Kage said...

CREEEPY! Ghost strories scare the crap out of me. Though friends and I have tried to find the Hornet spook light that supposedly haunts our area. Never did find it!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Perhaps not a haunting but I have toyed with the idea of a Possession in Paris!:)

Ashley said...

You are braver than me! I wouldn't have lasted more than one night there.

Vicki Rocho said...

Just a couple days ago, I sat on the couch watching TV before I got the kids up and my TV turned itself off. I said (out loud) "Oh no you don't. You don't turn my TV off." And before I could reach the remote, it came back on.

Ranae Rose said...

Ooh, what a spooky room! 'Old hag syndrome' is creepy - I used to have something really similar (sleep paralysis with hallucinations) often.

Yeah, I've had some spooky encounters with the paranormal too. I've just shared one on a blog called 'True Author Ghost Stories', but it's pretty long and I don't have enough energy left in my fingers to re-type it! lol

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is creepy. Can't say I've ever had a ghostly experience. I haven't gone looking for one either.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Cool Renae! I'll check it out!

storyqueen said...

Creepy! I got goosebumps!

And you are right, when we are in the middle of weird stuff, our brains rationalize everything.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

YIKES!!!!
nonononooooo!!!
jiminey christmas that's scary! but i can see how you'd try to logic it away.
wowza!
*shivers*

vanyelmoon said...

As a child I had some experiences that when I now look back on, were probably paranormal. I think I am too logical today to even notice. I know that sounds sad, but I think as we get older we loose that magical little spark that makes childhood so wonderful. We can still have an imagination, but we are too quick to logic away anything out of the ordinary.

Jess said...

Holy crud, that would have freaked me out so badly!! Um, I think you just pitched us a story for a bestseller--the ghostly version of Anna and the French Kiss:

Katie and the French Ghost Woman Who Has A Desperate Plea Or Request Of Some Sort (okay, so the title needs work).

Matthew MacNish said...

Wow. How fascinating! I've never experienced anything like this.

Em-Musing said...

When I was a teenager, my father brought home a book written in 1858 from an antique book dealer that had methods of casting spells, incantations, the Pythagorus wheel,and how to do geomancy in it. I was fascinated and played around with it. It wasn't long before we had ghost sightings. My father finally burned the book when he saw a ghost.
Now, I never take a shadow for granted.

Becky Mahoney said...

Oooh, creepy! I've never experienced the paranormal, but even though I love ghost stories, I don't think I want to. Brrrrr.

J. A. Bennett said...

That is crazy! Hind sight always amazes me!

Tamara Narayan said...

Not all the time, but often enough to drive me nuts, my cable will blink out at exactly 9 pm for three minutes. I don't know if this is paranormal. It probably has a rational explanation.

My older daughter (now 7) refuses to be upstairs by herself, even in the middle of the day. When I'm watching TV I can see to the top of the stairs out of the corner of my eye. Every once in a while, I think I see someone walking down the stairs, but no one is there.

julie fedderson said...

Your story was fascinating! I've had flashes of bizarre things happen--like snippets of premonitions and deja vu but never anything to this extreme.

Michael Offutt said...

Very spooky experience you had there. This is the kind of thing that Ghost Hunters would eat up.

JEM said...

That's so spooky! I've never really had a supernatural experience, although I've had a few brushes with situations I couldn't explain. I'm just going to go find a well lit place with a lot of people now...

Cortney said...

How scary! I've just had the creepy feelings before, like I wasn't alone in my room, in the dark. But nothing like that! And side note--you lived in Paris? I'm completely jealous, I would love to go to Paris someday!

Theresa Milstein said...

I'd be scared to sleep.

They always tell writers to have the characters disbelieve the magic/paranormal when they first have contact with it. I read one book where the character took it in stride. You show it can happen in real life.

CNHolmberg said...

"As a teenager- I actually tried to have a real honest-to-goodness ghost experience. (Doesn’t everyone?)"

Um. No. Never. :O

And this post seriously freaked me out.

Angela Brown said...

Ouiji boards, ghost hunting, haunted houses...NO!

Scaredy Cat here, NOT reporting for duty. I love a good paranormal read but that is as far as it goes. No RAP (random acts of paranormal) for me, please.

Now I must go find something about unicorns, rainbows and fluffy bunnies.

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm a sucker for Ghost Hunters on the ScyFy channel. We used to have a ghost in our house, but the poor thing was just stuck in the time warp. He couldn't get to Heaven. He was a nice old man, but he did like to hide things. Leave your keys on the kitchen table, find them in the bathroom. Leave the hairbrush in the bathroom, find it stuffed in between the pillows on the couch. Now when anything goes missing, it's Mr. Morgan's fault. Although I don't know if ghosts travel.

Meredith said...

Oooh, how creepy! Sounds like there were a lot of crazy things happening in that apartment!

C D Meetens said...

Ooh that was creepy! I think I'd have been scared stiff!

The one time I thought perhaps I had seen a ghost was on a tour of the Queen Mary. Obviously, some things were rigged, but the guide didn't point out the mirror (where I saw a face), and no one else noticed it. Still, who knows?

mshatch said...

omg, I can't believe you didn't get freaked out. I don't know if I could've stayed there.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Considering how many horror books I read as a teen, I would have seriously been freaking out if this happened to me.

REINHARDT! said...

I had a very similar ghost experience to yours in Italy. I think as Americans, we're not used to places being that old. Like totally ancient old. All I know is that I got made fun of by a bunch of Italians because I hadn't just assumed there'd be ghosts around.

LTM said...

omg, Katie! I would've demanded a different room the first time my bed moved. LOL! And that old hag thing--it seems like I read about that in native American culture. Like they believed it was something important happening... I can't remember. Either way--Eeeep!!! :p

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, I have. They're not fun stories and I won't relay them here. As a result, if it doesn't feel right, I'm out of there. And yes, I knew it was happening. Ick.

I don't mind writing about paranormal--shapeshifters, vampires, aliens and what have you. I steer away from ghosts/ demons.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Sarah Pearson said...

I occasionally get what you term 'old hag' syndrome. I used to get scared and think there was something wrong with me but now I've learned to live with it.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

That IS creepy -- gives me chills! And I can definitely see you using it in a story!

Sadly, I think I'm immune to the paranormal. One of those people who have the sensitivity of a block of wood, no matter how interested in the subject manner I am.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss katie! yikes! for sure thats pretty scary stuff. i didnt ever have stuff like that happen but one of my brothers did and my mom told us bout a ghost being in her bedroom when she was more young. i wrote a scary story bout what happened to my brother.
...happy halloween hugs from lenny

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

That's quite a story. I can relate though. The house I grew up in was an old Native American school that had been remodeled into a home. I had some pretty creepy supernatural experiences in it. Unlike you, I WAS frightened. Years later, I learned that my sister and brother had similar encounters with the invisible residents of our home. Happy Halloween.

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