First, a bit of background about me: When I was about two years old, I was playing with my cousins in my parents’ bedroom. We were running around jumping off the bed and onto a nearby chair. My mother tells me that she was walking in to tell us to stop just as my cousin and I jumped on the bed at the same time. I was half the size of my cousin, so her weight caused me to bounce off at an odd angle and I fell, head first to the floor. I lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital. I can’t remember the incident, but I have a little scar on my head that confirms it (we had tile floors). I do, however remember a dream where I am sitting with an old man of bright eyes and a long, flowing white beard. According to my mother, since that accident, I’ve always mentioned ‘things’ that I saw but no one else could.
Around the age of nine, I was visiting my mother’s family in another town and playing in the back porch with some cousins. The sun had set just a few minutes before, and the sky was still a dusky blue colour. Their patio had two levels. Off the porch, one would step down into an orchard and garden, go off about 20 yards and take a step stair to a lower level where the tool shed was kept along with other equipment. I was sitting on a hammock on the porch, playing with some Barbie dolls and suddenly I felt compelled to look up towards the shed. A woman dressed in white was staring right at me. I didn’t get alarmed, as I thought it might have been the live-in maid. I went back to my dolls when the maid called us kids from the arcadia door to let us know supper was ready. I looked back to the shed and nobody was there; the maid was wearing a blue flower print dress, by the way. Some years later, I would awaken in the middle of the night to find an old woman hovering over me. I would shut my eyes and open them again and found myself staring at the ceiling. This vision followed me over the years, over three different childhood houses, four different countries, four different states, and different circumstances.
Everyone, especially my husband, thought I was imagining things. They all told me that I was dreaming, and that I woke up thinking I’d been awake the entire time. I started to agree, because all these things happened a few minutes after I climbed into bed. My husband made fun of me and what he called my “spirits” until one morning, when he experienced something himself.
About a week before my husband’s experience, I crawled into bed and talked to my husband about our upcoming plans to move. He nodded off and I closed my eyes and said my prayers. Something fell off a tallboy bureau in my room and I opened my eyes. To my horror, I saw my four year old son perched on the edge of the bureau, ready to jump off. I screamed for him to stop, but he jumped off, and disappeared before hitting the ground. My husband was awakened and tried to calm me down, telling me I was dreaming, but I was awake! I know I was awake because I was still in the middle of praying when I had opened my eyes. I jumped off the bed and went to the boys’ room, and saw my little one sound asleep in his bed. I stayed with him that night. The next morning, I met with my husband’s amusement and reproach for having waked him. I kept thinking about it the entire day at work, but soon forgot about it.
A week later, our son came into our room around 2 in the morning and said something had scared him in his room, so he climbed into bed and fell asleep there. My husband can’t sleep with the kids in bed, because they kick him and push him too much, so he went and took our son’s bed for the night. The next morning I heard our dog barking in the kids’ room. I was still in bed, contemplating the glories of not having to work on a weekend when my husband shuffled into the room and stared at our still sleeping son in the bed. He looked really puzzled when he lifted up the blanket and checked him. I asked him what was wrong and he asked me “Has he been asleep all morning?” I told him that yes; we’d both been asleep, until his dog woke me up. He asked me if I was up earlier to go to the hall bathroom. I told him it wouldn’t make sense since there is a bathroom in our room. He looked really troubled and said “You’re right… you’re not even wearing red anyway”
He then explained that he’d been awakened by the dog jumping into bed with him, and a few minutes later, he was staring at the mural on the kids’ wall when he saw a small person run in front of the door in the hallway, heading from our bedroom in the direction of the laundry room. The placement of the bed only allows a small angle of the hallway to be seen through the door, so all he saw was a short figure in red run through the hallway past the door. The dog barked at the passing figure and that’s how he knows it wasn’t his imagination or a dream. I confirmed that I too heard the dog barking, but unfortunately had not seen anyone. I immediately recalled the image of my son jumping off the tallboy. Whatever that was had also been wearing red.
Our house was brand new, built in 1999 in the Northwest area of Phoenix, Arizona. We were the first and only owners of the house, so there is no history attached to the building. However, the area is known to Native Americans as the stalking ground of certain spirit creatures with a rather strange sense of humour and also the ability to shape-shift. Over the four years we lived there, I experienced strange things, like doors opening by themselves, the alarm going off at night when I was alone with the children, unexplained bruises on my arms, laughter, voices… Our first dog wouldn’t go into our kids’ room. You couldn’t drag him in if you tried. I once awoke to the urging of someone’s call and saw a man clad in dark robes and a crown of leaves on his head smiling down at me. I woke my husband up, and as he opened his eyes, the man was gone.
My mother-in-law is a very devout Catholic and she brought in a legion of priests and holy water and had the house blessed. She even urged us to get our son baptized. We didn’t stay in the house too long after my husband’s experience, but he was scared enough to listen to his mother and has since baptized our son, enrolled both the boys in religious education and hasn’t missed a single Sunday mass since. As for me, I still have the feeling that something is following me around. Last night I heard voices and footsteps in the hallway of my new apartment. I’ve taken a few pictures where there’s always a fuzzy white orb hovering around me… I don’t know what any of it means, or if it means anything at all… It may just be a product of my imagination, or it may be someone trying to tell me something. In the meantime, I’ve learned to not be afraid of the old woman and the crown of leaves… But that other thing, the one posing as my son…THAT one I am still scared of.