Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wait until dark

The trouble with going to bed early, is waking up early. And I mean early. Last night, I awoke with a start after a very intense dream involving walking in a tropical wood with Tracey-Ann Oberman and recounting a very long work tale to her while my brother, always about 12 in my dreams, fought with a friend in the canyon below.

Mrs F-C is currently plying her trade in Chicago, so all was still and quiet. I was wide awake. It was 1.12am. So I lay there, hearing every noise in the house magnified a thousand times. Then I became feverish. I had songs going round my head, alternating between the Pentangle's Wedding Song and then new single from Boyzone, which is insanely catchy. But then thoughts turn a little darker. The sound of a car: are they watching the house? Is there a nun with no face hiding just outside the bedroom door? Then I remembered a spooky story from my childhood that is, apparently, quite true.

My mum had an acquaintance called Mrs Glass. I only met her once when she came to visit me in hospital in 1974 (she worked there). Mum told when she'd gone, that one day a man knocked on Mrs Glass's door and told her to come quickly, her husband had dropped dead on the cricket pitch. She dashed up there, to see her husband in bat - who then promptly dropped dead right in front of her.

This story used to chill me, along with thinking about the accident black spot in Southampton we used to pass every day on our way to school. Just past Southern TV, just a bit by Bitterne Manor there was a triangular sign with a black dot in it that said 'accident black spot'. The neighbour who drove us to school told us a tale of a woman who was knocked down there. She wasn't badly hurt, and the driver knocked on a door and they took the woman into one of the houses there to rest up in while they called the doctor. She lay down on a sofa in the back room. But when the doctor came, she was nowhere to be seen. Brrrrr.

So in the dead of night, thinking of the person who died of TB in the bedroom next to ours, or the servant girl who was starved to death by the cruel lady of the house, or perhaps the young couple who lodged there in the 1960s who were found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning, or the troubled teen who hanged himself from the stairs at the turn of the century, it's then quite easy to drop back off, mainly because all alone in the dead of night, it's too scary to stay awake.



Matthew Rudd said...

Do you hate or fancy Tracy Ann Obermann? Must be one or the other...

Clair said...

I'm just impressed that you remember your dreams, for one thing. I used to, but now, hardly ever, which is a shame, because they were star-studded (Tina Turner and her pet rabbit; Joan Collins and Ian Ogilvy having it away on my bedroom floor).

Planet Mondo said...

I've had a stack of spooky moments over the years - my dad who was a complete cynic about this sort of thing had a few experiences too.

One evening after getting home from school he told Mum and I - how he'd been decorating upstairs when around mid-afternoon, he looked down saw my uncle Doug standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at him, dad told Doug he was surprised to see him as he thought he was on holiday in Spain, told him to hang on and he'll come down a make them a cup of tea. By the time he got downstairs Doug had gone - and it was all a bit odd.

A couple of hours later we got a call from my aunt on holiday in Spain - Doug had died that afternoon at around the same time dad had seen him in the flat..

Mrs PM and I often have the same dreams too, last week she dreamt she'd been out in the woods and someone in the group had lost a fingertip - on the same night I dreamt I'd been out in the woods with a group and someone found a fingertip

Five-Centres said...

Your tales sent a chill down my spine PM. I love them. That someone's dead apparation seems to happen quite a lot, doesn't it.

Bright Ambassador said...

Did you watch a lot of Arthur C Clarke's programmes in your callow youth?
I used to have nightmares about a book we had in primary school, it had a photo of a ghost in it, standing by a churh alter with a scary face in a monk's habit. Kept me awake for years.

On a lighter note, I thought about you on Sunday, when, returning from a Christening, a Southern Televsion outside broadcast lorry passed on the other side of the road. It must have been returning from a vintage vehicle rally, or summat. I wish I could have got a photo of it for you now.

Five-Centres said...

Perhaps you unwittingly entered a timeslip, and that Southern TV van was off doing a roundup from the Southampton Show.

Planet Mondo said...

In the same flat my bedroom drawers would open by themselves, and one morning I remember seeing a male silhouette at the end of my bed which walked in a complete arc from my mum as she walked into my room - I assumed it had been dad, and asked her had he got the hump or something - she told me he was still in bed and there'd been no one else in the room.

After that (it sounds comical but wasn't), my parents bought a newsagents where packets of things would literally fly off the shelves. In the stock room (large groups of heavy) boxes would be lifted and dropped, landing in exactly the same shape they'd been in on the shelf.

And one night after all coming back from a visiting friends the bathroom light fitting ( a large a glass ball the size of a football, mounted above the bath) had been unscrewed, laid in the bath and the screws put back in the mounting - it was solid heavy glass so if it had just dropped would have smashed and there were no breaks around the screw holes on the glass or metallic mounting.

I still got odd things happening now and again at home.

Five-Centres said...

You are Carrie, PM!

We had two mediums round to our house for a magazine feature. We actually do have ghosts. Some people refuse to visit us.

Sky Clearbrook said...

Jeez. I'm fucking shitting myself after all this!

Puts me in mind of those early Sapphire and Steel episodes or that Armchair Thriller with the faceless nun on a rocking chair in the attic.


Planet Mondo said...

I've had a few strange things happen, but I only remember the biggies - another was back when the standard way of answering the phone was by reciting your own phone number - sometimes involuntarily I would say the callers number before I knew who it was, which always freaked my mates out

I can't be doing with the Ghost watch type 'scaresationalism' or the new age 'energy' type puffery

I think really, it's probably all a lot less sophisticated and mysterious than people expect it be and possibly to do with some evolutionary tool we don't need anymore - why cave paint when you can photoshop - so to speak.

Roman Empress said...

My Mum was a nurse and she has some stories. Similar to PM, in that one night she turned up for work in the nursing home, where she was expecting an update meeting from the previous staff nurse, but this didn't happen, as she'd just left, so it was just Mum and a helper for the night, who turned up about 5 mins later. In the early hours, one of the female patients was up and walking around, which Mum says was unusual for her, and when the woman was sat in the library at about 3am, my Mum suggested she go to bed, although she didn't touch her and guide her up because she was quite a fit woman.
Anyway, the next morning the staff nurse returned and told her said woman had died 7pm the previous evening.
Don't know what to make of that.
When I worked as a nursing assistant briefly, odd things happened, like glasses smashing to smithereens in my hands as I held them.
Strange energies in those old buildings perhaps.

Five-Centres said...

Honestly, I'm chilled to the bone. Last night a took a mild sedative so I didn't wake up in the night!

office pest said...

I take it you didn't know any of the morbid history of your house before you moved in, but have found out since to try to understand 'happenings'? That's an impressive list of whoda thorts though. Maybe a search on previous occupants and their grisly fates would be a good thing for people to do when considering a house. Make a change from all that mundane stuff about bulldozers, bypasses and 'easements', whatever they may be.

Cocktails said...

I think that a surprising number of people have had strange or spooky things happen to them, so its equally surprising that so many people proudly claim not to believe in ghosts or the supernatural.

Something very odd happened to me once and I have been racking my brains for years, desperate to come up with a rational explanation for it - but I just can't find one. And it is this that still disturbs me!

Five-Centres said...

Don't keep it to yourself, Cocktails. Do tell!

Cocktails said...

Mmm, maybe a future blogpost. I'll have to make sure its a good story now!