Because it’s Halloween I thought I might share a spooky experience I once had with you. Many years ago a friend rented the most amazing top floor of an old house on a posh road in Belfast. The place was amazing and even more amazing to rent it as students. To get to their flat you had to go into the main house’s atrium and on the left was a door which led to a spiral staircase straight out of Downton Abbey.
Once up the stairway, having passed a room half way up which upon peeking through the keyhole showed a glimpse of Victorian nursery wallpaper, you came into a hexagonal hall off which all the rooms of the flat led. The first bedroom had a door off the hall and another door into the living room. And to one side were a couple of stairs leading into a small kitchen and further stairs which led up into the attic, an incredibly spooky empty space, with numbers where presumably servants’ beds where and those bells that would have summoned the staff to tend to the house owners.
Beside the kitchen was a bathroom and beside that was my friend’s bedroom with a wonderful big antique bed. There were more bedrooms, a dining room and an amazing cast-iron balcony that ran around two sides of the house with one bedroom and the living room having old patio doors that opened out into the balcony overlooking manicured lawns and set gardens. It was an amazing flat and I loved spending time there.
There are many things I could tell you about the place, such as how the woman who’s bedroom opened into the hall and the living room would see lights go on in the living room and shadows pass by her door even though she knew no one would be in the living room. Or how they all spoke of times sitting on their own in the living room, hearing someone come up the stairs and having called to them, and even gone out realised no one was there but them. Or I could tell you about my pal hearing people speaking in French from one room only to go in and find no one there and apparently the house was once used as a French consulate during wartime. I could also tell you how the owner of the house downstairs would also complain about the hectic noise from them when they would be watching television and not leaping and jumping about the place. That one was mostly explained by the creaking of an old house and how quiet steps across a floor can sound like baby elephants to the person below.
There are two experiences I had in the house, the first can easily be explained by a sceptic and maybe I’ll write about it here later in the post or maybe I’ll just concentrate on the second, which cannot be explained.
On this night in question my pal and I were out and got back to her place with the guy she was seeing late, we continued the evening in her room, listening to music, laughing and joking before calling it a night at ridiculously late o’clock.
I went into the bedroom with the two doors and started to read a magazine in an attempt to fall asleep.
Then I heard doors opening, closing, people running up and down the spiral stairs, which ran down the side of the bedroom, there was a bath running, doors opening and slamming shut and people going up and down the stairs to the attic. At one stage I was going to open the door and tell my pal and her fella they should probably keep it down as they were making a lot of noise but something stopped me and I got back into bed and eventually fell asleep.
I figured at the time my pal and her fella had a row, had made up after some tooing and frooing on the stairs and decided to have a bath at 5am. But thinking about it after there was too much commotion for two people, far too much.
The next morning, or rather later that day, my pal gave out yards to me for making so much noise and what the f*ck was I thinking having a bath at that time of night. Funny though, she never left her room at the time to give out to me. I explained I never left the room, that I thought it was them and I don’t remember now how the conversation went after that, other than us both concluding that somehow we heard a past morning of the house going through the motions again. There was no one else in the flat but us and we all heard it as clear as day.
That happened, I heard it, a number of us heard it and we can all back each other on that, the next one is more of a feeling and as such you can dismiss it all you want, what I just told you has witnesses and is verifiable. The next one, well, you’ll probably have to just take my word for it or disregard it completely, all I know is that I felt it.
I was staying another night with the Young Wan who was two at the time and we were all staying in her room in the same big antique bed. My pal wasn’t yet in bed and the Young Wan and I were already sleeping when I woke up, bolt upright thinking someone was in the room looking at us. As I sat up in bed looking around the room with no one there I remember thinking ‘it’s only the wee boy coming in to check out the other child in the house’. I wasn’t scared, it all felt normal, okay, safe even and I lay back down and went to sleep again.
I’ve probably given both these stories far too much of a build-up for what they are, but they felt big at the time and when someone asks me if I believe in spirits and the like I say yes because I’ve heard them or heard something. And as I said I don’t know or understand if we heard spirits or somehow heard a morning past or what it was, but I can’t explain it and no one I’ve ever told it too can explain it either. So there you go, I hope you’re having a Happy Halloween and as it is the night that the veil between worlds is supposed to be at its thinnest I hope you only have visitors you can see and touch and who are welcome