Haunted Church NHIE Day 6

Day 6…Ever been in a haunted house for real?

It wasn’t a house, but it is a place I grew up in. Since before I was born, my parents have been church musicians. My dad played the piano and directed the choir, and my mom played the organ and led Sunday school. My first job was as a teacher’s aid in the nursery at that church.

Because of this, I spent a lot of time at this church when it was empty and quiet, and when a place is empty and quiet, things you didn’t notice before start to surface.

The odd thing (or not odd thing) about that church is that while I believe it was pretty haunted, there weren’t a lot of physical sounds and manifestations, but there were tons of “dark places.” Corners and specific locations in the building that felt stained with a specific feeling and impression, places that the eye is always drawn to for some reason.

My sister did experience one or two physical manifestations like knocking in the closet and such, but for me, all I got were feelings. The odd thing about those feelings, though, is that when I explained them to my sisters or heard them explain the places they were drawn to and what they felt there, it all matched up.

One of these dark places was the bench in the hallway by the restrooms. As I put out feelers to feel exactly where and what that dark place was, I was drawn to the very end of the bench and got the feeling of a little boy, very bored and mischievous, sitting there waiting, swinging his legs back and forth. He always felt seconds away from disobeying whoever had told him to sit there and running off to play. When I told my sisters about the little boy, they confirmed that they had felt the same thing there.

Another place was in the sanctuary near the back. My sister said she felt like an old man was sitting there waiting for church to begin. I had felt much of the same thing.

The strangest one that we all corroborated on, though, was in the Sunday school room. The corner by the closet and the rolling TV always felt dark, even when all the lights are on. I got an uncomfortable feeling from that place specifically and I felt uncomfortable looking at it for too long, even though I was always drawn there.

As I focused in on the feeling and location, it began to take shape, and not the shape I would have ever thought. It was large. So large that it reached the ceiling and had to hunch over. It felt cramped, like the space was too small for it, and it kept its arms close to its body in order to fit. It didn’t feel malicious, in fact it felt pretty benign. It just wanted to watch and to keep out of the way.

I told my sisters this and they were shocked because they had felt something big in that corner as well. One of them felt it as a pillar of dark smoke that reached all the way to the ceiling. The weirdest thing is that that closet is the same one my sister heard scratching and shuffling. When she had heard it, she had thought one of the kids was hiding in the closet and rummaging around in the Sunday school supplies, but when she checked, no one was there.

While I called these places of interest “dark places,” they only felt dark in an opaque sort of way, not an evil sort of way. I don’t think I’ve come into contact with very many entities that I actually felt threatened by. Most are just curious or minding their own business. The ones at the church were certainly in that category, if they weren’t just residual all together.

A/N: We’re almost done with this little series. It’s been so fun and has gone by so fast. I’ve saved the best for last. That’s right, tomorrow we’re talking about shadow figures.

Click here to read yesterday’s post, or here to read all the week’s prompts.


Did You Say Something? NHIE Day 5

Day 5…Ever heard your name called when no one was there?

When I was a kid, I heard my name being called all the time. It was one of those things in childhood where they happened and I just accepted them as the way things were. Sometimes you hear your name being called. Sometimes it sounds like people you know. It happens.

It wasn’t until I got older and looked back that I realized that this wasn’t something that was being talked about by other kids, it wasn’t something that was being put into after school cartoons. Just because I heard my name called every couple weeks doesn’t mean that anyone else did.

Now, there may be a scientific explanation for hearing your name being called. It might be something like that phenomena where, if you’re in a place that’s too quiet, your brain will manufacture false sounds. It could very well be like that.  But the way it always happened was so varied and specific that it was weird.

The first time I remember my name being called was summertime. I was nine or ten years old, playing in the back yard by myself. I don’t remember what I was doing. Maybe climbing on the swing set (my group of friends wholeheartedly believed that everything can and should be climbed), when I heard my cousin shouting my name from the front yard.

I can still picture it. It had a direction. It came from the far right corner of the front yard, under the apple trees. I thought, “Oh, I didn’t know he was over.”

He was more like our brother than our cousin. He came over to wait for the school bus almost every morning way earlier than I wanted to get up, and then hung out after school until his mom was off of work. We spent almost every day together, especially during the summer, so it didn’t surprise me to hear that he was over.

I walked to the front yard, expecting to see him, but when I turned the corner, there was no one there. I was very confused because I had heard him so clearly, so I searched the yard, thinking that he had walked off, but I couldn’t find any trace of him. I even asked my parents if he was over and they confirmed he wasn’t.

I don’t remember many of the other instances in detail, but I know they happened often enough that I had come up with an explanation for them: whenever I heard my name called and no one was there, I believed it was God just reminding me that he was there.

As I got older, those instances got less and less frequent until one time just a few years ago when I was walking past a forest that is definitely full of something or other in the spiritual sense. I had my earbuds in, listening to music, and suddenly I heard an urgent whisper, kind of loud but still whispery, right in my left ear, “Emily!”

It startled me and I quickly took my earbuds out and looked around. But there was no one there.

That’s not the first thing that has happened in and around that forest, but that’s a story for another time. I just think it couldn’t have been a coincidence that it was there that I heard my name being called.

I don’t know what causes this kind of audio hallucination, or if it truly is paranormal, or why they sometimes mimic the voices of people I know. If it’s paranormal, I don’t think it’s anything to be afraid of, just so long as the voices don’t lead me anywhere dangerous.

I think they’re probably just trying to get my attention for some reason: either because they have something to tell me, or they’re just seeing if they can. Or maybe it really is just my brain manufacturing false sounds. Who knows.

A/N: While I can only recall a few specific stories of hearing my name called, I do know that I heard it all throughout my childhood and off and on through adulthood. It’s one of those things that seem so normal when you’re young and then you look back and think “What?” Tomorrow’s all about haunted houses. Stay tuned!

Click here to read yesterday’s post, or here to read all the week’s prompts.

The Witching Hour: NHIE Day 4

Day 4…Ever had any experiences at 3am, the Witching Hour?

If you ask a ghost hunter, or anyone who regularly investigates haunted locations, what time of the day or night has the most paranormal phenomena, they will probably all say the same thing: 3 A.M. The Witching Hour.

Maybe it’s the significance of the heavy symbol of three, or maybe it’s just because it’s as middle of the night as you can get and dead quiet. For whatever reason, more weird stuff happens at 3 A.M. than at any other time of the night.

For me, when paranormal stuff happens in the dead of night, I don’t think to look at the clock, so I don’t actually know if it is strictly 3 A.M., but I would bet it’s close. One instance in particular comes to mind, and I wasn’t the only one who experienced it. 

It was the middle of the night and I was asleep in my room. Suddenly, I heard something loud and electric tearing through the silence of the living room.

Confused, I lay there for a little bit, trying to figure out what that sound was, but then I realized it was TV static. Everyone had gone to bed hours before. My first thought was that my dad had gotten up early to watch an old movie as he sometimes did on Saturday mornings. But this was way too early for that.

The loud static continued. No one was turning it off, or switching the channel to make it stop, or even lowering the volume. It was just buzzing away, so loud I could almost feel it.

Reluctantly, I turned on my bedside lamp and put a sweatshirt on. I wasn’t excited about investigating the living room in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t classify my family’s home as haunted, but sometimes, if I stay up too late and it’s 3 A.M. and I have to go into the hallway that leads to the living room, I’m very careful not to look into the darkness too long. I feel like, if I look too long,  I’ll see something there, particularly whatever something it was that hung out by the front door, making the whole entryway feel weird and dark.

As I walked into the pitch black living room and made for the nearest lamp, I felt like I was walking into a trap. This was exactly what got people killed in horror movies. In the dark, I could see that the TV wasn’t on. I switched on the lamp and approached it, thoroughly spooked and confused.

From the other hallway emerged my sister. She had heard the noise from the other side of the house, and like me had gotten up to turn it off. We checked the DVD player, the speakers, everything we could think of, but they were all off. Finally, we came to the stereo box that led directly to the large speakers on the sides of the TV, which we didn’t use for anything except the CD and record player.

It had one of those hard-to-push buttons that sticks far out the front, then gets pushed flat. That button had been pushed all the way in. The stereo had been turned on, it had been turned to the record player, and the volume had been set loud.

My sister and I didn’t know what to do except turn the stereo off, go back to bed, and try not to think about it. To this day, I don’t know how that could have happened. It had been manually turned on and switched to the record player, as if someone was trying to listen to music.

A/N: This isn’t the only thing that has happened at 3am in our house, it’s just the main one that happened to me, personally. Tomorrow, we’re talking about the phenomenon of hearing your name called when no one is there. Get ready!

Click here to read yesterday’s post, or here to read all the week’s prompts.

The Jaywalker: NHIE Paranormal Edition Day 1

Welcome to the first day of Never Have I Ever: Paranormal Edition, where I tell about times when, I believe, I brushed shoulders with the spiritual world. There is going to be one of these every day until next Friday. Please enjoy!

Day 1…Ever seen a ghost and thought it was a real person?

Yes. Just once and it was the most confusing day of my life.

I was with my sisters, going into town to go shopping for school clothes. There aren’t many times when all three of us are available at the same time, so whenever we get to do things like this, it’s really special. 

We piled into my car on that Saturday mid-morning and started towards downtown. Now, where I lived, there were tons of canyons and rivers, and because of this, this particular town was built on two levels: an upper “on the cliff” level that looks over a waterfall (sounds farfetched, but it’s 100% true. This is Oregon, after all.), and the other half of the town was on the bottom of the cliff right next to the river and waterfall.

We lived on top of the cliff several miles back, between farmland and forests, so to get to downtown, we had to drive down a steep, winding path along the canyon with no guard rails. (You’d think a lot of people would miss a turn and run of the road into the canyon, and you’d be right.)

The narrow, elven path wound down the cliff and ended at a stop light right by the mouth of the falls. There was a nice little lookout point with a statue of the town’s founder, where you could gaze out at the falls and the creepy old paper mill. At the stop light, on the right street corner, was a pub. Very popular and always crowded. People were always crossing the road because the parking lot was almost always full.

We were stopped at the light, waiting to make a right turn, and to the right of the car about 10 feet away, I saw a man in a light colored Columbia-style jacket standing at the crosswalk, facing the lookout point, like he wanted to cross. You know that little jaywalking lurch-and-stop thing you do when you don’t want to wait for the light to turn but you don’t want to get hit either? That’s what he was doing.

As I watched him, I said, out loud, something to the effect of: “Don’t you dare.” It looked like he was going to wait after all, so, slowly and with a strict eye on him, I began to turn onto the other street.

But as soon as I turned, he was gone.

He didn’t go inside—there weren’t any doors on that side of the building—and he didn’t walk away—there was nowhere to sneak off to because of the cliff. I looked in my mirrors and everywhere else I could think of, but he was nowhere to be found. He was just…gone.

I told my sisters what had happened and asked if they had seen the guy and they were like. “No. When you said ‘Don’t you dare,’ we weren’t sure what you were talking about.”

I guess there’s a chance he did slip away or that I just saw a post or something and it wasn’t actually a person, but it was so real, guys. I was staring at him. Glaring at him even! He had hair, clothes, facial features, facial expression, body language, everything! And it was in the broadest of daylight.

So…what/who did I see and where did they go?

A/N: Stay tuned for tomorrow’s story about seeing something in my room in the middle of the night.

Click here to take a look at all the week’s prompts.

Never Have I Ever: Paranormal Edition

Hi all! This month, there is a Friday the 13th and I thought it would be the perfect time to host a little ghost story challenge. I’ve put together some paranormal “Never Have I Ever” prompts for you guys and I, myself, will be posting an anecdote every day starting a week from Friday.

If you’d like to join in, please do! 🙂 And if you use these prompts to write or draw something, please send me a link so I can check it out.

If you haven’t had each (or any of these) happen to you, that’s ok (better than ok, that’s good!). I haven’t experienced all of this either. Feel free to just talk about it in general, or tell a story you’ve heard. No hard-and-fast rules for this challenge.

Never Have I Ever:

  1. ..seen a ghost and thought it was a real person.
  2. …woken up in the middle of the night and seen something in my room.
  3. …gone ghost hunting.
  4. …had any experiences at 3am, the Witching Hour.
  5. …heard my name called when no one was there.
  6. …been in a haunted house for real.
  7. …seen a Shadow Figure.

Have fun! I’ll circle back with you in two weeks.

my elemental friend is back

I truly didn’t expect to hear from them ever again. But over the last month, we have spoken a little. I don’t know why that is, but I care less about the why and more about the fact that I don’t have to say goodbye just yet.

Maybe our relationship has finally fully changed and it took a summer to do so. Or maybe I’m spiritually lonely again since I’ve grown disheartened by the church I’ve been attending and am still searching for somewhere new.

Either way, I’m glad I get to chat and learn from them again. I’ll deal with the why later.

Attacked by Ghost Spiders

I spent Tuesday night waking up in a panic every half hour, thinking I was being attacked by bugs. Spiders on my pillow, on my blanket, on my floor, on my face, everywhere. I must have turned on the light and brushed off my sheets and checked my floor a dozen times.

The odd thing is, bugs don’t bother me. I actually wanted to be an entomologist at one point. The whole experience was probably a combination of stress plus knowledge of the spider I found in the bathroom that I decided to leave alone.

However, I can’t help wondering if there was a spiritual cause. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve woken up and felt like I was being attacked (ex. the time my sister’s spiritual guardian kept visiting me at night to make sure I wasn’t a threat). If it was spiritual, it probably wasn’t something very strong. Just a curious spirit passing through.

Was it stress and spider dreams or a wandering spirit? Probably a little of both.

goodbye to my elemental friend

I think my relationship with the elemental is officially over.

I went down to their forest today, as I have every few days since I’ve been home. I stood there, gazing into the quiet shaded green, trying to sense anything at all that would show that they weren’t gone. Even just for the sensation of being watched. But I felt nothing.

As I stood there, puzzled and missing them, I asked God why I couldn’t sense them anymore. “Because you have me in your heart, there is no room for anything else,” he answered.

That wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear and I fought him on it. Shouldn’t having him lodged in my heart allow me to have more room for others, not less?

He clarified that I didn’t have that aching hole in my heart anymore. I wasn’t reaching out to the elemental to satisfy my spiritual longing anymore. And then it struck me, like finally understanding a foreign language: he was the one who had brought the elemental to me in the first place.

At the time, I was lonely and not getting the companionship I craved. I was also spiritually starved, but my hatred of the church was keeping me from filling that need, too. I was stuck in limbo, and that spirit proved to be just the kind of friend I needed.

A lump rose in my throat and tears came to my eyes. I still miss my friend, but I am more grateful than ever for the time we had together. Wherever they are now and whatever they’re up to, I wish them nothing but the deepest blessings. And while I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again, I’ll keep an eye open, just in case.

Planning Your Way to Enlightenment

I’ve been trying to manage God.

I want enlightenment so badly. I want to merge and disappear into the Holy Spirit so much it’s almost a physical ache. So I had been trying to plan out how to achieve that, keeping a strict eye on the horizon to make sure that I’m staying on course and that I’m progressing fast enough. As though developing a relationship was as simple and linear as reading a book. But it isn’t.

The only way to achieve intimacy and enlightenment is to do as that old Christian song says and let Jesus/the Holy Spirit drive the car.

The only way to take the next step is to let go. We are finite and we don’t know the path to enlightenment. God does, and he wants us to reach it even more than we want to reach it ourselves.

So do what you know is good for you (ex. pray, meditate, learn, practice), but do it without keeping an eye on your progress.

Trust that if you go where God leads, he will lead you where you are meant to go.

Loose Lips Sink Ships (Mainly Yours)

Words have the frighteningly strong power to change our reality.

I didn’t used to believe this, and so I used to speak more flippantly. But recently, I’ve been curbing what I allow myself to think and say, because I’ve seen what harm a loose mind and lips cause.

The reason for this probably has many layers. There may be a spiritual layer, of course, of us putting out whatever energy is moving through us at the time and letting whatever’s strongest ping back (usually negative, honestly).

But another reason our words and their root thought patterns are so important to control is because, most of the time, we haven’t made up our mind yet on how we feel and we wait for our words to solidify it.

We receive stimuli all day. It comes in, and then our brain must make sense of it. Some of it is obvious. “I haven’t eaten, therefore I’m hungry.” But other times, it isn’t as cut and dry. Most things in life are nuanced.

For example, maybe someone at your office never greets you in the morning when they walk past your desk. There could be many reasons for this and while a small part of your brain is a little irritated over it, the rest of it is reserving judgement for when you have time to decide whether this continual breach of etiquette makes your coworker a “bad” person or not.

Your irritation makes you want to complain about their behavior, but here’s the catch: the moment you complain, your brain makes its mind up, because words are inherently concrete. We can’t really express a half-baked thought through words.  The moment they’re spoken, that etherial thought takes form.

In this context, your brain decides to follow your words and suddenly, your whole being has decided that, yes, your coworker is a bad person for not greeting you. Which then determines your behavior and attitude towards them.

Instead, if you catch this irritation early enough, you can choose to give them the benefit of the doubt, or to even just decide it isn’t important and reserve judgment indefinitely.

Mental and emotional flabbiness are dangerous to entertain. When we give in to speaking negativity on a regular basis, it hurts us most of all.