I grew up in an old country house, built near the start of the 1900s in SouthWestern Ontario. The house was out of the city limits, down a dirt road with no street lights and the closest neighbors were no less than 200 yards away from our property line. We had a large yard that was well populated with large old-growth pine trees, cedars, maple, oaks and willows. The inside of our house was rather basic, with a kitchen, bathroom, living room and our patents bedroom on the main floor, while my siblings and I had our rooms on the upstairs floor. The staircase was a typical old-school wooden staircase, complete with creaks and groans as you made your way up each step. The staircase had three initial stairs before a small landing, then a 90 degree turn from the landing to make your way up an additional 15 steps to the landing on the second floor. As a kid, my siblings and I learned how to ninja up and down the stairs without making much noise, but this was a very difficult task to do and had some pros and cons: Pro, you would always know when the parents were making their way upstairs to check on us kids, and con: you could rarely make your way downstairs without making enough noise to wake our patents.
Anyhow, at the time my story took place I was in my early teens – maybe between 11-13 or so – and I had been quite ill for several days with perhaps a flu. I was bed ridden and feverish and hadn’t spend much time outside of my bedroom for the day or few days up to this point. I woke suddenly around 3am without explanation. Looking at my red-light digital alarm clock, I noticed the time and attempted to roll back over to get back to sleep. As I was beginning to nod off, I heard what I thought was one of my parents on the first set of stairs leading up to the second floor to our bedrooms. I listened for a moment and heard another creak in the stairs – typical sound of the 2nd from the bottom stair that I had come to memorize – and figured it was indeed my mom or dad coming up to check on me. I called out “Mom?” but got no response, then tried again “Dad” and again, got no reply. I continued to listen and heard another step being taken, which landed the person on the stairs on to the first landing of the stair case. Then, after a moment or two of silence, I heard the stereotypical groan of the first stair off the landing, as someone continued to make their way up to the second floor. Once again, becoming more confident in my understanding of the situation and the likelihood that one of my parents were coming up to check on me, I called to them once again – but got no response. All this time, I continued to hear the expected creaks and groans from the staircase that would be made as you ascend to the second floor. Finally, the creaks stopped, as I heard a thud of a foot fall on the upstairs landing, followed by one step towards my bedroom, and then another.
I’ll take a moment to note – my bedroom door at the time was open. The door was a standard wooded door, with nothing special about its construction. I did however, have a white 10 x 16 inch “No Smoking” poster on the outside of my door, that, when the door was open, could be easily seen from my bed – which was positioned in the corner of my room, facing the doorway. At night, the light from our downstairs kitchen would beam up the stairs and illuminate the entry of my room, as well as the white poster I had hanging on the door – making the poster nearly readable from the pitch dark corner of my room that the bed was in.
So to continue further with the story – as I heard someone taking steps towards my bedroom door, I found myself feel frozen, either with subtle unacknowledged fright or anticipation of some sorts to see exactly who was coming up the stairs to my room at 3am. As if in the blink of an eye (I really don’t remember looking away at any point), I saw a tall cloaked man standing in my doorway in front of my open door, now covering the entirety of my white no smoking poster hanging on the door. I laid there in silence, staring to try to understand what I was seeing: I could see no facial features, the entity or apparition or whatever it was rather solid seeming and dark, almost as if light was unable to escape the outline of the entity. I don’t know how or why I thought it was a man, but his silhouette was broad and tall, and how his, what seemed to be, cloak draped over his shoulders and how he wore his wide-brimmed hat just had a masculine aura to it. The man and I stared at one another for what seemed to be a solid minute until I was able to snap out of it and quickly spin around to flick on my bedside light. When I turned back to see what exactly I was looking at or who was standing in my door, nothing was there – my doorway was empty.
I ran through the house, turning on all of the lights and woke my parents to ask about which of them came upstairs, but no one knew anything and they all thought I was crazy.
I will never forget that encounter – It’s nice to know that the “Hat Man” has visited others as well.
Submitted to Weird Darkness and My Haunted Life Too by Gregor McAlpin
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