This story happened a short time after I had just turned 4 years old. This isn't specifically what I would call a ghost story.
Maybe it could be called an angel story. Doubt it was a mermaid.
I'll stick with unexplained encounter. LOL
It was the 4th of July 1982 and my whole extended family was at Huntington Beach near where Beach Boulevard runs into Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy the fireworks. Where we were, you get to watch the fireworks over the waves from the show they put on at the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose (which has since been moved) and also back on land behind us there would be a clear view of the fireworks from Disneyland and Angels stadium and every place else. It's been a favorite spot of my family for a while.
Anyways, I still remember all of the events pretty well because I had reoccurring dreams of the whole thing maybe from 8 or 10 (not too sure) up until I was 14 years old or so (Just an odd side note). Most of my family took up 3 fire pits but I'm sure we had more. It was a pretty big area of the beach we staked out. The fire pits are quite a bit away from the water.
The long story short of this is just when the sun was finally beginning to set my grandmother took me from my mom and we walked to another fire pit where my great aunts family was. While my grandmother was talking there I got away from her and sat down a short distance away playing in the sand. I believe she was comfortable I was in a safe enough place not far from her and playing near some of my extended families' children that she just let me be and continued her visit. The sun went down and the fireworks began.
I remember seeing the explosions over the water and seeing the reflections and immediately wanting to go touch them so I walked away somehow unseen from where I had been playing and managed to walk right out into the ocean. Yes I was pretty dang quick! I must have moved with a purpose too because somehow I managed to travel over 300 feet unnoticed just to get to the waters edge. I don't recall what I was feeling through this but curiosity and don't remember even getting to the water... In the dreams I had my memories are of the events leading up to me walking into the ocean, my grandmother and I walking past fire pits, it getting dark and the fireworks going off. Wanting to touch them and seeing the fireworks getting bigger and closer the sound of waves and then nothing. I take it this means I drowned pretty quickly without a struggle, or if I did I definitely don't remember any of it. My dream memories were being filtered through a 4 year olds understanding also.
Within the few minutes I had disappeared until I was noticed missing maybe 15 minutes had passed when my family was told a boy had just been found by the lifeguards and my parents got to watch me getting resuscitated by them. One of them told my mom that a woman had brought me to the station saying she was swimming out past the breakers and I bumped into her. The breakers are a long way out from the beach. She brought me to the lifeguards then went back out to swim. They had no further information of who it was that saved me. As you can imagine we went straight home after that.
Growing up I didn't recall my mother or father ever talking about the incident in any detail, but later in my childhood through the dreams I got curious about it and maybe when I was 11 asked my mom about what had happened when I drowned at the beach and she pretty much told me the same story from her perspective that matched my dream memories of the event. But also included the part I had never heard before about the mysterious woman who I just happened to bump into while she was swimming. After hearing that part and also the mysteriousness of the repeating dream that I had been having so many years it ended up sticking in my mind pretty intensely. I didn't tell my mother about the dreams until much later in my life when I was around 20.
I am not sure to this day that there was anything specifically paranormal about this event... Night swimmers aren't too uncommon... And on the 4th of July due to the fireworks show I could see why there would be people out there, the view would be great. But I do know that the chances for everything to line up the way they did for me to be saved from drowning at 4 years old at the beach that night were nothing short of miraculous if that was a real woman swimming out there.
My Mom likes to believe it was an angel. And I can say that I prefer that answer also. I also have to say as far as memory serves me that was my first odd encounter with things that don't really add up or were strange. But it was definitely a real occurrence as my family will testify. Maybe it was something that changed my life path? I don't know for sure. But I can say I have had a pretty active life when it comes to the supernatural and maybe that was the beginning. I guess I don't have to speculate about it... I'm currently living it.
I can say this, thank God for whatever it ended up being because I'm here today.