I'm pretty sure this was my first experience with the paranormal; at the very least, I can't recall anything similar occurring earlier than this.
The year was nineteen sixty-eight, and we were living in an apartment on Washington Avenue, right at Nineteenth Street. It was a two story house divided into front, middle, and rear apartments-my mother, my two brothers and I occupied the middle unit.
I had a cat, a gray and white Angora female I'd named, for some reason, Tiger; go figure the twelve year-old mind. Tiger was my constant companion when I was home, sitting on my lap, and sleeping at the head of my bed with me.
This particular spring night, Tiger and I had sat up until one am, watching the late show. The late, late show flick didn't interest me, so I switched off the set, turned on the light at the top of the stairs, and started to bed. Tiger, as was her custom, darted ahead of me, and started up the stairs.
She got to the fourth step up, and stopped, her gaze fixed at the top of the stairs. Me, I'm looking, and seeing nothing at all. Tiger walked back down the stairs, and stood there at my feet looking up at me. I scratched her on the top of her head, tickled her under the chin, and told her, "Go on, silly", or some such.
She started up again, and once more froze on the fourth step, turning around and coming back down. There's nothing to be seen on the staircase or the landing, the 75-watt bulb in the overhead fixture erasing the shadows.
I'm tired, but a wee bit creeped, too-she's never done this before. I picked Tiger up, and lightly tossed her up the stairs...
She landed about halfway up, and immediately went into scared-kitty mode, tail bushed out, fur standing up all over, staring at the top landing, making a yowling noise I hope to never hear again. With a hiss, she wheels around, dives down the stairs, and dashes under the sofa, refusing to come out.
Needless to say, I slept on the sofa that night... The next night, everything was normal, and it never happened again.