I'm really freaking out about this, so I hope someone will be able to offer me some advice or at least a little reassurance that I'm not going crazy!
Last night (Monday 15th March) at about 9pm, I took my puppy Olly out for a walk in the park across the street from my house. It was absolutely freezing and pretty dark, but I know it's a relatively safe place and there are usually quite a lot of people walking their dogs around there. We were playing fetch as usual with a couple of tennis balls over on the large golf course, which is surrounded by trees but is usually well lit at night, when Olly shot off into the trees for no reason. I was calling him and could hear him crashing around amongst the dry leaves, but he wouldn't come back. I started to get cross, so decided to go in and get him myself.
I pushed my way in through a lot of bare branches and scratchy bushes and was squinting around for Olly as it was a lot darker than on the golf course, and I didn't have my glasses on (I'm not exactly blind, but things are a bit blurry if they're more than 6 feet away!). Luckily Olly is mostly white so I found him easily enough and clipped his lead on. Up until this point I'd been fine, no creepy feelings, and no butterflies in my stomach, I was just thinking about getting out of the freezing cold and into my bed. This is where it gets weird, I'll try to describe it as accurately as I can, but the whole event lasted around 5-10 seconds (I think) and happened very quickly.
I was leading Olly back towards the golf course, and put up my left hand to push away a branch that was at head height, and the branch grabbed my hand. As in, it closed what felt like warm fingers around my gloved hand and literally yanked me forwards and upwards towards the golf course. It was too sudden for me to think about screaming or resisting or even gasping. I remember looking at Olly, whose lead was still clutched in my right hand, and he was staring at something above my head, and his eyes were wild.
That's when I noticed my feet were coming off the ground. Olly barked and lunged forward at the same time as I thought to myself "Why am I holding on to this tree?" because I was still gripping the 'tree branch' hand thing, so I just relaxed my grip. My hand immediately slipped out of my glove, and I bumped heavily on to the ground on my bum, and had Olly land on top of me very heavily. I looked up and saw a large black shape rocketing up towards the sky, like I said, I hadn't got my glasses on, and it all happened so fast it was impossible to distinguish what was happening let alone what anything looked like, and Olly was barking and jumping all over me and licking my face.
So as I'm sure you can imagine, I was about ready to dissolve into a gibbering pile of wimp after what had just happened. I grabbed Olly's lead and speed walked out of the park gates; Olly seemed perfectly happy again and was trotting along next to me. Once I was out of the park, my courage completely failed me and I ran, sobbing, across the road to my house, double locked the front door and tried to explain what had happened to my boyfriend whilst hyperventilating/crying/hiding under a blanket.
Needless to say, he was very skeptical, but Olly pushed his way under the blanket and kept licking my face and whining, so my boyfriend was a bit concerned as to why I was so shaken up. He made me a cup of tea, and basically said it would be easy for someone to get their glove caught on a tree branch and think they'd been grabbed and start to panic, and that maybe Olly had just been barking because I was distressed.
I went to bed shortly after, and Olly slept cuddled up next to me. My boyfriend said I was crying and whimpering in my sleep, but I don't remember having any nightmares.
I'm really freaked out. I know what I saw, but I don't know how to make sense of it. My boyfriend caught a 6am flight to Ireland this morning, and won't be back until the weekend, so it's just me and Olly until Saturday. I guess what I'd like to know is, does anyone know what it could have been? I live literally opposite the park, would it come to my house? If it had wanted to hurt me, wouldn't it have just done it there and then?
Thanks for reading.