So, when I post stuff like this, which is the vast majority of the time, I'm totally joking.
But when I recently posted this, I was only half-kidding...
...much to my own surprise. Now, you can consider me a "ghost" writer in a rather literal sense considering Seven for a Secret and my works in progress all involve the paranormal to some extent. I'm also an avid fan of shows like Ghost Hunters, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and Ghost Whisperer with a very open attitude toward the possibility of grounded spirits. That doesn't mean I don't have a degree of skepticism, too. There are several incidents appearing in Seven for a Secret and one of my WIPs that actually happened to me, but unlike in my stories, my real-life experiences had completely natural explanations. They might've given me an initial fright, but their causes were readily apparent. Things like that make for great material, though, so I love to let my imagination explore the supernatural explanations that would create a more interesting tale.
What happened to me last weekend, though, I truly can't explain--and not for lack of trying. It really doesn't make for the most exciting story (so please adjust your expectations accordingly), but I'm going to relate it here anyway. It all began at a wee Tudor cottage in Herefordshire, England.
My husband and I, both US expats living in London, decided to enjoy a long Thanksgiving weekend in the countryside. We arrived in the evening, so just decided to settle into our holiday cottage and snack from the welcome basket that the owner had so graciously provided. Sitting in the living room, I noticed movement in the corner of my eye, so I looked directly at my husband's
wool scarf where it hung on a coat
tree across the way and saw a few pieces of its fringe lift up.
It was sort of an awkward, hesitant motion, but I was about to dismiss it as my eyes playing tricks on
me until my husband said, "Did you see that, too?"
I know what you're thinking: drafty old cottage. Hey, I've seen
enough Ghost Hunters to know to try to debunk this stuff! But this was also a newly renovated cottage with its hatches effectively buttoned up; everything's pretty well fitted, insulated, and air-tight. Nonetheless, we checked the area around the scarf for a draft, but
there was nothing (and it would've taken a gust to reach it from the door--and just the one, as it didn't happen again--but it wasn't even windy outside), and there were radiators, not air vents blowing heat. Plus, nothing else hanging near the scarf had been disturbed. The few fringes that moved were almost selectively so.
long afterwards, I watched our bag of crisps teeter side to side. Not out of the corner of my eye but straight on, right in front of me at my feet. The tiny coffee table was covered with stuff, so we'd set
the bag on the floor, propped against a table leg but standing fairly
upright. We didn't kick it with our feet or anything--I hadn't even
moved my legs, and my feet were several inches away from it, my husband's even
further. Even if it had simply lost its balance, I'd think it would've
fallen on its side from the angle that it had tilted, not lean over then sway back to
where it was. And again, no draft whatsoever--there
wasn't even a door or window on the other side of the room where the source would've had to be, just enclosed space. My husband, for the record, had been looking at his laptop at that point so hadn't seen the bag, but he heard it scrape against the table when it moved. He even tried to recreate it by swinging his foot, but it only caused a slight breeze that barely ruffled the bag--and that was when kicking at pretty full force, which he obviously hadn't been as we were just sitting there relaxing.
I proceeded to have an incredibly vivid dream
that night about seeing a little girl's ghost. I had risen from the bed to see my husband already standing by a table next to it, and the girl emerged from a wardrobe with a single eye that eventually became two.
She wore her blond hair in braids, and I had an entire, comprehensible conversation with her--not dream babble
that didn't make sense or that I couldn't remember when I woke up. I learned that her
name was Sarah, and I asked if she minded that we were there; with a shrug and shake of her head, she
said she didn't at all. I also asked her if there was anyone else with us in the house, to which she gave a sort of vague, noncommittal answer; at the time and even now, I'm not sure whether she was being dismissive because another presence was nonexistent, nothing to worry about, or simply something she didn't want us to worry about. Ignorance is bliss.
In any case, we didn't experience anything
after that--unless you count my husband's toiletry bag crashing to the floor
while I was taking a bath the next morning. But I can see that happening if it was just ever so slightly off balance and gradually leaning, leaning, until it fell off the wooden beam. The hot
water heater could've caused some vibrations that got that going. Who
knows, as I didn't see how precariously his bag had been
sitting to begin with. Yet surely the scratching that woke us the morning after that was just a mouse in the rafters.
Regardless, we weren't surprised to find afterwards that the village has earned some honorable mentions on the Haunted Hereford and Hereford Paranormal sites. And we think it makes sense that if something were to be there, it would be curious each time a new visitor arrives at the rental cottage. That it would poke about a bit, feel us out, and on deciding we're harmless, leave us alone to peacefully coexist. We'll never know.
One thing for certain, however, is that the
atmosphere in the entire place was HEAVY. I found myself taking extra
breaths just to relieve some of the pressure bearing down on me. That's a sensation I first felt at Ground Zero in New York City and proceed to feel in old buildings all over London. For now, I won't confirm that I believe in ghosts, but I do believe in energy and that some places are heavy with the weight of their own histories.
So wherever we go, whatever we do, let's work on leaving happy imprints behind us. :)