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The Cottage


When I was in my early 20's and just married to Larry (1st husband, now ex), we rented a cottage from my Grandmother that was on her property of five acres in Marin County California. My great-grandparents bought the property in 1933 moving from Oakland California to Marin, the cottage was already there, so you get an idea of how old it was. It began for me in 1986. This is a true recollection to the best that my memory can deliver. The first I noticed something was off was coming home one day and seeing all my carved wooden animal figurines turned opposite of how I had set them on the mahogany table by the picture window in the living room. I was shocked because I knew Larry wasn't a person who played pranks. However, I asked him when he arrived home from work and he denied having anything to do with it. The next thing that occurred was a knocking in the wall between the living room and an extra room that was actually an enclosed porch room. I was seated in my rocker, reading a romance novel and there was a rapping on the wall. A constant rap, rap, rap. Not a pounding, but rather a knocking as if someone were at the door. At first I thought it was an animal. The more this happened, in different areas of the house, I doubted it was an animal. Once I called Larry into the kitchen to hear this knocking, but when he got up from the chair in the living room and walked to the kitchen, it stopped. That was frustrating because it kept happening more and more and he wouldn't believe me.

We had those roll up shades on all of our windows and many times, they would simply fall off onto the floor. I would go and inspect them, looking for a breeze or something that may have knocked them off, but I couldn't find any source for the shades to fall as much as they did.

Things began to disappear that I would search everywhere for and never find. Like cassettes and books, etc. I remember once a heavy candle fell off the book shelf, and I yelled, "Stop it!"

The more strange things happened, I became aware of a feeling of being watched.

In the living room against the wall was a rattan desk. One evening I was seated there writing and I just knew someone was in the room behind me. The hair at my nape stood up and I swung around and said, "I know you're here."

Then the terror began for me. We were in bed, sleeping and I opened my eyes to a black figure standing right there by my side with a sawed off shot gun pointed directly in my face. I screamed and screamed so loudly that Larry jumped out of bed and ran for the light. Once the light was flicked on, the figure was gone.

The next time this happened was maybe the next week. I was in bed and I would open my eyes and there by the bed was this black figure, featureless, but human in shape, more short and broad, perhaps 5 feet. I remember blinking my eyes and thinking, this isn't a dream! I'm awake and its here! That thing is right there and I can see it clearly! This time, in its hand and raised over me was a six bladed knife. I had never seen one before. It had one handle and the blades were curved and turned inward and all were pointed down at me. The thing raised it with passion as if to plunge it into me. Again I screamed over and over so hard that Larry jumped out of bed and turned on the light.

I have to tell you that I have never been more frightened. If I had a bad heart at that time, I have no doubt that my health would have suffered.

When I told people like my parents and friends, they thought I was suffering from night terrors. I do not believe this is the case after years of searching. And it was not sleep paralysis. I've read extensively on these subjects and none seem to apply to my case.

This entity or whatever it was, began to appear more frequently.

Once it had a sword over my head and I could see the moon light reflecting off the blade as it was about to plunge it into me. Again, my screaming got Larry up and the lights on.

Only one time it appeared on Larry's side of the bed. In its hand was a baseball bat. I was so terrified that I would try and crawl UNDER Larry to get away from this thing.

Larry was a terrible snorer so one night I kicked him out and into the porch room to sleep. That night the black figure appeared again and this time I screamed and got up out of bed. Running to the window, I pushed it open and knocked out the screen and had one leg out when the lights went on. I stopped and turned to Larry and he was calling to me. I'm glad he stopped me because the fall was a two story one onto brick steps.

Only once did I see a white figure in the house. It was in the early morning and I opened my eyes and looked in towards the small hallway between the bedroom and bathroom and there was a white figure looking at me. I gasped and sat up in bed. When this thing saw me looking at it, it actually ran into the kitchen. I was horrified. Jumping out of bed, I grabbed my fathers hunting rifle, which was in its case under the bed, and ran with it to the bathroom and locked the door. I took out the rifle, loaded it and stood trembling behind the door telling this thing that I had a loaded gun and I wasn't messing around. My language was not that tame! I think I stood in the bathroom for maybe five minutes and finally opened the door and walked around the little house to find nothing. No door was open and nothing was out of place.

It came to a point that I was afraid to go to bed. I spent many late nights up in the living room watching movies and dozing on the couch.

This story is very long with too many details for here, so I'm going to try and trim it a bit and bring it to its ending.

This all ended on January 8 1987. It was approximately 7am and I was sleeping when I was awakened by a strange noise. At first I thought it was deer on the roof - one corner of the cottage was right up against the hill, so many times, deer would climb on the roof and walk around. Anyway, I lay my head back down and was going to try and sleep a bit more when a disembodied voice said in my right ear, "GET UP!"

I did just that and when I opened the bedroom door, I saw the kitchen had smoke in it. The cottage was on fire. I ran to the porch room and stupidly opened the door and the room was engulfed in flames. I ran back to the kitchen and called 911. The dispatcher told me to set the phone down and get out which I did.

The house was gone and we lost everything. I had nothing but my PJ's.

My grandmother rebuilt the cottage that same year and Larry and I moved to Sonoma County - wine country. I have never experienced anything like this after the fire. I haven't even had a nightmare and certainly no night terrors. I've seen no black figures nor any white figures.

Very strange coincidence happened after the fire. My grandmother received a letter from a former tenant who had rented from my grandparents in the 1950's. Her name was Mrs. Smith (real name) and she said in the letter that her husband had forbid her to write to my grandmother, but he had recently passed. Mrs. Smith wanted to know if anyone had anything strange happen in the cottage. I remember well, my grandmother and I looking at each other in utter shock. Mrs. Smith went on to tell of entities she had seen in the cottage. One was an old man. My grandmother and I immediately recalled another tenant named Barbara who had rented the cottage in the early 70's. We ALL thought she was crazy when she reported to my grandparents that odd things were happening in the cottage. I was a kid at the time and Barbara told me that someone kept knocking on the front door and when she would go to look out the window to see who it was, no one was there.

Fast forward to 2005. The cottage and my grandmother's house was sold after her death, but my parents were still living on the same five acres at the base of the driveway. In other words, theirs was the first house as you entered the property. The lady who owned the cottage loved the place. She and my mother became pretty good friends. One day she went to speak to my mom. She asked if anything strange had ever happened at the cottage. My mother remained silent. She knew of my experience but said nothing. Anyway, this lady proceeded to tell my mother that her niece had been staying with her and was awakened at night to see a black figure standing by the bay tree outside the porch room window. It frightened her and she soon left. Of course my mother couldn't wait to call me to tell me. At once, I said - SEE! You all thought I was nuts.

I was one of four females that these entities appeared to. I have wondered all my life what these things were. The only thing I can tell you is, that black figure seemed to me to be male. It also seemed to me to be evil. This wasn't something that was friendly. It seemed to be sadistic and enjoy my panic.

One more thing I want to mention - my grandmother used to tell me that there was an old Indian burial ground near the cottage. This is what someone told her. I have no idea if that is true, but there were a lot of Native American tribes in Marin County.

Let me state that I agnostic. I was not raised in any religion, but am open minded. I just want to know what this black figure could have been.

Thank you for reading. ~Kat

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, ChevyKat, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
12 years ago (2010-10-29)
Just for the record, I have not read the others comments, just the authors-

It sounds to me as if there was something in there that truly had an issue with females. It is often said that some of these 'manefestations' feed off energy, regardless of if it is positive or negative, I am certain it did play off of your panic. The energy we as humans exude when we are in panic mode is filled with adrenaline, this 'thing' loved the charge.

I don't think you ment to be insulting by mentioning the Indian burial ground. I believe as humans, it is our nature to try to reach conclusions that are logical to our minds when we have these exprencies, that's all I thought you were doing.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

God Bless!
ChevyKat (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2010-10-29)
Hi you guys! Sorry I have taken so long to get back here! My oh my...

Blue_Raven80, to answer your question, no, Mrs. Smith lived in the cottage in the 50's, before I was born. She wrote the letter to my grandmother AFTER the fire - which was weird, I admit.

Darkness Dan, you are correct, Larry never once witnessed anything in the house. Here is something I left out because of privacy. My 15 year old step daughter (at the time) moved in with us 6 months prior to the fire. She bunked in the porch room. I never told her anything about this because being 15, obviously I did not wish to frighten her. One day, she came running into the living room telling me she felt as if she were being watched. Mind you, I was young, in my 20's and I had NO idea how to handle this. Honestly, I cannot tell you how I handled this - more than likely, not well.

Troyarn, yes, there had to be at least ONE good spirit/whatever there because, as I said, SOMETHING said in my ear "get up."

Vulcan10, I hope I wasn't being insulting mentioning the Indian burial ground. I suppose I was reaching for an answer! LOL. To this day, so many years later, I am still mystified by the occurrences. I'll add that I have lived in two houses since the fire and the 1st I lived for 10 years Nothing. Very benign, indeed. This house I'm in now, I had 2 things happen - nothing frightening like the cottage.
Thanks everyone for responding. ~Kat
blue_raven80 (13 stories) (338 posts)
12 years ago (2010-09-21)
That was a great story chevykat! I wonder why the spirit won't let males see or feel it? If you don't mind me asking, did Mrs. Smith told you anything about the house and the land that it was build?

DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
12 years ago (2010-09-20)
Great story ChevyKat, you certainly had a lot of frightning experiences. I do believe that these events that were witnessed were attached to the land as they still continued after the cottage was destroyed they also seemed like an intelligent haunting.
Very interesting to hear that previous owners experienced these events also, so Larry never witnessed any of the happenings there am I correct?

Thank you for sharing.

troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
12 years ago (2010-09-20)
Very good story, ChevyKat! I'm no pro, but I'd have to agree with vulcan10 in that it doesn't seem that the Indian burial site has anything to do with what happened and that this isn't another case of "shadow people". Whatever it was, it certainly was terrifying. I'm not sure I'd be able to stay there as long as you did. Perhaps something bad happened there long ago, before your family bought the land. The fact that this thing had weapons each night aimed at you and your husband is very freaky. At least there was one good spirit there ready to warn you about the fire. Then again, I'm now wondering how the fire started. Thanks very much for letting us hear about your experience.
vulcan10 (5 stories) (332 posts)
12 years ago (2010-09-20)
I really have no idea what a shadow person is. I've read what some thought they were but no one really knows or has real proof. I do know someone who's opinion I trust who has had experiences with them and hers runs in line with many of the books that I have read. Your's sounds more like a haunting of sorts, rather than the typical "shadow person" thing. For one thing, yours carried weapons and threatened you with them and you could see the glint off one of them. Shadow people always felt like they were beings that slipped from their reality into ours and observed us then back into theirs. (as to where "theirs" is or the means to which they accomplish this is beyond me) and usually they are not in (I.E. Haunting in...) one location and any who abide there can see them like happened in your case with the cottage. I'm native american too, and it doesn't sound like a burial ground haunting either. It sounds like yours falls into that abyss called a general haunting. Hopefully with all of the modern equipment the everyday person has now days, people will start to record these events in detail and maybe we'll be able to learn a little more about them. Thanks for the story.

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