Since I'm a newcomer I guess this will be a bit of an introduction to me and my experiences. This might end up being rather long. All my life I have seen spirits and creatures of Faerie. It was something I came to terms with years ago after my first obvious encounter.
When I was little I would always see things, but I never gave it much thought. Until the day one cat was killed. This was when I started to think maybe the things I saw weren't normal. I can't recall the exact year, I think I might have been six or seven, but at that time we still had the first cat that I was old enough to remember. He and I were the best of friends, as most little girls and their pets are. Our cats have always been indoor/outdoor cats, coming and going as they please, except at night when we keep them in.
I had a class trip the next day and it was summer, so the cats wouldn't be called in until after I had gone to bed. In the middle of the night I woke up and, as usual, my cat was asleep beside me in bed. I couldn't sleep so I turned on the light, and when I turned around again he was gone. At first I didn't think anything odd with this, especially since my door was open, so he could have just gone to eat or drink something and would be back later. Same thing when I left for school in the morning. It wasn't that odd for me not to see the cat before I left. It wasn't until I came back from the trip late in the evening that my parents told me my cat hadn't come in the night before, and he hadn't been there all day. After a few days he still didn't come home and I was still insisting that he'd been in my room.
It was at that point in time that my parents decided to tell me about our family's ability to see spirits and other creatures.
I can't remember exactly how we're related, but a female relative of mine witnessed the Wild Hunt, Odin's Host that travels across sky as a herald of disaster. Sure enough that war broke out not long after. That story still makes my hair stand on end.
Both my parents have seen ghosts more than once. My dad has premonitions, which I have had once or twice, as well as seeing and feeling things. My siblings have also had experiences with the paranormal; some that have shaken them up rather badly.
Luckily most of my experiences were rather harmless. I saw what I took to be benign fey in the woods and my first ghost would appear to be my dearly loved cat who I believe came back to say goodbye after he died. Currently my house is being guarded by the ghost of another cat who everyone in our family absolutely adored. We rescued him as a sick kitten and nursed him back to health, and he had a very happy life, living to a good old age for his breed. He had a habit of patrolling around the door the cats always used, as if he felt the need to guard his house and his humans who'd saved him as a kitten. From time to time we still see him pacing back and forth or sitting happily on the step and acknowledge him with a "good cat" from time to time. Unfortunately, not all of my encounters have been as pleasant or whimsical as a much loved pet coming back to comfort its owner.
In the Basement
The first real horrifying thing I experienced happened in the summer of sixth grade. I was invited to a sleepover at a good friend of a friend's house. The girl's parents were going out for the night, so they were glad of company for her while they were gone. Everything was fine until we went to go sleep in the guest room, which was in the basement. At first I didn't think anything of the basement being colder, it was mostly underground after all, and we were sort of glad after the hot summer day. We all slept on the same futon and I eventually drifted off. I don't know why I woke up but I remember waking up and seeing a black robed figure standing next to us. I wanted to wake the others up, ask my friend who was closest to the light switch to turn it on but I couldn't speak.
All the sudden something touched my arm under the light blanket, which scared me until I realized it was just my friend. At first I was relieved until I realized she was shaking, and in the dim light coming through the window I could tell that her eyes were stretched wide in fear and she was staring past me to where the figure was standing. The friend whose house it was, was on the other side of her and also staring. I don't know how but somehow we managed to unfreeze and get out of there. The weird part was when we talked about it the next morning we realized we'd all seen different things. I saw the black figure, one of the others had seen a monster from a book she'd read and the other a giant spider. It finally made sense, though, once we talked some more.
You see, at the time, as much as I loved the Lord of the Rings, the books and the movies, the Ring Wraiths horrified me: their voices, their appearance, their evil. Just everything about them scared me at that age. What I had seen to all appearance had been a black cloaked Ring Wraith. My friend who had seen the spider was extremely arachnophobic. Whatever was down there had tried deliberately to scare us by taking the shape of our worst fears at the time. We never figured out what it was, nor did we care to. It seemed whatever it was thought it would be a laugh to scare a group of young girls half to death since it didn't come after us thankfully, but that was something I was glad to pass on repeating or having expanded upon.
The 'Man' in the Woods
In grade 7, I had a group of friends over for my birthday. Since I lived in the country and my friends all lived in town, we decided it would be fun for me to give them a tour of our forest and teach them about some of the plants and animals we saw on the way. The forest is huge and there are a number of hiking trails going through it. As I've said, I've seen spirits in the woods from time to time, but they never really scared me or gave the impression of wanting to harm me. Twice I believe they actually protected me from harm.
On my birthday, however, my friends and I had a rather unpleasant experience. This time I was the only one who saw anything, but one of friends had complained about feeling uneasy just moments before, though at the time she tried to brush it off as just not being used to the woods, being a city girl and all, and another was cold but blamed it on the spring breeze. Unfortunately, barely two minutes later I saw a rather threatening looking man. He glared at us for a moment before saying, "What do you think you're doing here? You're not wanted here. Leave!" I nearly snapped that this was private property and he was the one who wasn't welcome before one of my friends cut me off by asking what I was staring at. Then I realized they couldn't see him, not to mention that his clothing was all wrong. At that point I panicked and told my friends to follow me before bolting back to my house.
I still go hiking in the woods, just not on that trail anymore.
Although unpleasant these two encounters weren't the worst that happened to me, but this post is already really long, and that story is long so I'm going to post it on its own.