Yep, I’m one of those: a guy who knows he’s had an encounter with the paranormal. How could you not be, though? I have my faith and I feel that I can absolutely acknowledge the paranormal and maintain that faith. I’m not looking to spark a theological debate, it’s just how it is. Someday when you’re bored, ask me my thoughts on aliens and time travel — make sure to bring your own tinfoil though, I can’t promise I’ll have enough to make us both a hat.
[DISCLAIMER]: This story is factual — the names & locations have been withheld as to protect identities.
Winter – Feels like a lifetime ago.
The reasons why I’m at this house are unimportant — what you need to know and understand is that I am standing in front of a house with direction to obtain first person knowledge of the inside. I am to collect details and report back to someone with those details, no further information or elaboration has been offered or asked for. The hours of that day’s sunlight had long been spent and nightfall had taken hold.
The exterior of the home was nothing short of picturesque; brick clad exterior, dark shutters that have a sharp contrast, and a continuous uniformity with the rest of the neighborhood. The lamp post in the front yard is contributing its warm glow to the combination luminescence of the community. The windows were empty, listless, but maybe just resting in the weary of a marathon winter. As much as I would have liked to stand around and admire the structure, I had an engagement to get to and little desire to be late for it.
My first steps into the house were confident, those of someone who might even be coming home for the evening – the steps that followed were that of an intruder, as I was clearly made to feel. The light cast from the foyer light fixture was pale and weak; to my right, the shadows of the dining room felt defensive, almost daring me to cross a border that I didn’t know had been established. To the left of me was a heaviness that I had never felt before or since. The sickly foyer light seemed to be sucked into this heaviness and draped in shadow. There is no more graceful way of saying that there was an actual drapery of darkness that made everything a few shades darker than God had intended them to be, a density that could not be moved nor commanded. I felt compelled away from this corner of the house and as if I’d been silently warned against trespassing through it.
The kitchen and dining room were a reprieve from the heft but not completely impervious to the heavy despair that greeted me. With a task at hand, I couldn’t enjoy my asylum in the kitchen for long, I had to traverse the stairs.
While the downstairs of the home had been impressions, incidents of feeling, the upstairs was dominion of something sentient. An active intelligence had been made aware of my presence and it was obvious that it did not want me there. My first step on the upstairs of the landing had given me the feeling that I had interrupted something sinister — something unholy was in progress and I had the nerve to arrive.
It could smell my fear, taste it even, that much was clear. I refer to it as It because it didn’t have human characteristics — It was neither feminine nor masculine, neither afraid nor curious. As I walked through the upstairs, nervous fingers crawled over bare walls in search of light switches, and It remained behind me. It was always behind me, It wouldn’t be seen or confronted. I am six feet tall and It loomed over me at least another six to twelve inches. This consciousness was wielding dread as a weapon, lashing at my senses with its rage. At this point, I could only be sure that blood was flowing from my heart and to my brain; my fingertips were cold and my legs had the constitution of gelatin.
The bedroom in the middle of the hall had the same drapery of agony that the downstairs had and felt like purgatory — it felt like it’s where something would await torment, but the atrocity wasn’t committed there. If the middle bedroom was the waiting room, then the four walls at the end of the hall was the throne room.
The night had been moonless, but not starless. It was dark outside, but not so dark that dreams couldn’t make their way to those who slumbered. I had seen pictures of the home before I went in, so I knew that the room should have had windows — what I saw on the other side of the door frame could best be described as an abyss, completely devoid of light and life, of feeling and emotion. If It had an objective, it was to keep me out of this room. I imagine that there are people who stick their limbs into the jaws of alligators who felt more sure of their own well-being than I did as I’m groping the wall, hoping to find the switch. Darkness, by definition is the absence of light. Whatever sorrow and despair that dwelled in that room couldn’t be cleansed, even in the presence of light. I felt nauseous — I didn’t belong and I could not remain. What harm could have been inflicted upon me was not of this world and the ruin of flesh would have been a diluted comparison.
At this point I had my phone to my ear with the only other person who would have understood such an experience.
“It’s me,” I tried to keep my voice at least veiled in confidence and composure, “you’ve been to [address], right?”
“Of course, I was there yesterday.”
“Did you feel anything when you were here?”
Since meeting this person, I’ve come to rely on their sensibility, trust their direction. This person consistently displays wisdom, never acts or reacts from an emotional state of mind, and had earned my trust and loyalty. Knowing all of that, if I had been outside of my mind, this conversation would have grounded me in what was actually going on.
“It’s dark and it feels like something doesn’t want me here.” There was no point in trying to elude to anything, there was no need.
This person had felt it too. They didn’t tell me because I didn’t ask, they certainly weren’t going to volunteer it, I guess.
“Can you stay on the phone with me until I get out of the house?”
That phone call was a blessing, even if it was brief. It didn’t let me forget that I was unwelcome either. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I had the feeling like It was peering at me from the landing, like a lion stalking prey. The lights were off, my keys were in my hand, I was ready to leave. When I pulled the door behind me, I turned the deadbolt. Normally, I would have already thrown the thumb-turn on the doorknob, but frantic frame of mind considered, I had neglected to do so. The key slid into the tumbler, but wouldn’t move either way — sometimes if a tumbler has debris or residue, it can prevent the pins from shearing correctly. I pulled the key out to try again, and once the hand-held hunk of metal security was free …click. The thumb-turn had thrown itself. I tried to open the doorknob and it was locked tight.
I am thirty-three years old; I am not a tiny man, but in that one visit I had been reduced to the basic instinct of “make it out of this house alive.” I don’t intrude on It anymore.
You might have an idea of when and where I mean, but I’ll never tell. It didn’t want me there, you’re not welcome either.