22 May 2015 | May 2015
As the new Poltergeist movie opens this weekend, it reminded me of my own experiences….
When I was eleven, we moved. It was a good move to be honest from a terraced three up, two down in west Hull to a rather nice semi-detached outside of Hull. It meant a better school and a nicer environment back then. It stretched my parents’ finances a bit too. It is funny though that my brothers and I really did not like that house the first time we saw it. It had terrible wallpapers, it was gloomy and ill lit, very cold and damp without central heating. Between the three of us, there was no excitement at moving there.
Of course, within a few months, that house was completely different. Central heating had been installed, old fireplaces blocked up and replaced with modern gas fires, new wallpaper and décor and new curtains. To make it seem more homely, a couple of internal windows had been added letting much more light enter into the rooms as well. It was transformed. All was well in the household. But it wasn’t to stay that way.
It started with the noises; strange noises at all times of day but mostly in the dead of night. Scrapping sounds and scratching sounds. Dad put it down to maybe a squirrel in the loft. I wasn’t as convinced. Things would also move around. I would place my watch by the bathroom sink to get washed and find it in the kitchen. At first, I thought it was Dad having fun as he was always a great practical joker but it soon became apparent that it was not him. Keys went missing. Money too. These would then just as mysteriously turn up in the strangest places like on a window ledge or under the sofa cushions.
The next developments though were what eventually had me relieved to leave and go to college. It was what kept me awake at night in total fear. Have you noticed that silence is loud? I mean when you are really really focused on listening to nothing it is very, very loud. I would lie in bed, head under the bedclothes, bedside light on and listen. The scratting sounds, scratching sounds and the sounds of doors opening that I knew were locked, the sounds of footsteps and breathing. It was enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
I would actually dread coming home from college for a weekend or the summer because of this. By the way, this only happened when I was there! Just for me apparently. I would literally go out and get drunk to stay there. The best example was one night close to Christmas. I was home from college and had been out with my friend and had a few. I was sleeping on the floor in my brother’s room that night. I lay down hoping to pass right out but instead I was cold stone sober and scared half to death by the sound of the front door opening. Now, the first thing I thought was that somehow I had left the door unlocked but I knew that wasn’t the case as I had checked it on the way up the stairs. The key was in the lock and that door was locked.
The front door opened and closed as I listened sitting half up in bed. There was a deep sigh and a little cough. Ice-cold fear ran through my veins. The silence was so loud it was unbearable. Then, the first foot step and creak of the bottom stair. My heart was beating as if to burst. Another long sigh and another step. And another. I was now fumbling for the light but my hands were shaking so hard I couldn’t find it. By now, the steps seemed to be at the top of the stair and moving along the hallway. The floorboards creaked and there was that sigh again. I was frozen to the spot but what I actually wanted to do was run. Run and anywhere. There was a moment’s silence and then I watched in disbelief and horror as the bedroom door began to slowly swing open.
I screamed. I screamed so loud you probably heard me in London.
A few moments passed by and then the door flew open and there to my utter relief stood my Dad in his pajamas holding a very large spanner in one hand and a flashlight in the other. He switched in the light and my brother looked about him in a state of shock through two sleepy looking eyes.
“It’s OK, I heard that too,” said my Dad. “I heard it too.”
We sat Dad and I and my brother for quite a while but all was quiet. Whatever it was it had gone. I eventually fell asleep and my Dad went back to bed checking the doors in the process.
We didn’t talk much about it the next day. It was simply something that happened in that house when I was home. My Dad said it was poltergeist activity and it was centered around me. I think he was right. We didn’t really know what to do about it but we did discover one thing. If I got angry, the phenomena stopped. So, that is what I would do. I would get angry and shout at whatever it was to get lost or perhaps using even more choice phrases. If a door started to open, instead of screaming, I pulled the door open with a verbal challenge. It had the desired effect.
From My Haunted Life
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