At the time of this happening, which would be almost 3 years ago, I had sustained a back injury from playing rugby, and my fiancée (whom is now my wife) was undergoing various forms of cancer treatment and surgery for malignant melanoma.
To try to get away from the stresses being put upon us we decided to take a long weekend break to one of our favourite places, a little cottage in the Lake District, which we had been many times before. This cottage is not an old building in any way, probably 15 years old, but I do not know what was on the original site of the building. Across the road, however, there is an old Church and cemetery.
My wife and I had travelled up to the Lakes on the Friday evening with our two pet pugs, and invited my parents, my brother and sister, and my wife's mother to come on the Saturday, spend the day with us and they would leave on the Saturday evening after dinner. We could not do too much as I was unable to walk properly, but the idea was just to get away and relax, which we did (until they all left on the Saturday evening!).
When they had gone it left just the two of us and the dogs. It was quite late so we watched TV for a little bit and then decided to go to bed. We had both commented how it had been a nice day and now felt strange and almost empty or depressing, but just assumed it was because the cottage had been full all day and now just felt that way as it was just the two of us.
We went to bed, leaving the dogs in the living area to go to sleep as we usually did. After around ten minutes of being in bed I heard a small scratching, as though one of the dogs was scratching at the living room door. My wife was dozing off and didn't hear it, so I asked her to go and tell the dog to stop scratching at the door. So she got out of bed, went through the bedroom door, opened the living room door (which are across the hall from each other), and came back in, saying that both dogs were fast asleep in bed! She got back in bed thinking nothing about it; however, I was a little freaked out by it so struggled to sleep at all.
The scratching continued all night, on and off, not in any kind of rhythm, just every couple of minutes, and would last a few minutes at a time. As I was struggling to sleep I decided to go into the living room and watch some TV. I stayed there until the morning. When my wife got up we both commented on how it still felt strange, almost uncomfortable.
We continued with our day, again still not doing much, just relaxing. We were due to leave that evening, the plan was to have dinner, then pack up and get home by 9/10 pm. We decided to watch a movie early afternoon.
After it had finished my wife decided she would do some 'multitasking', by starting to cook our meal and begin the packing up. Again, because of my back injury I couldn't do anything to help, so just lay on the couch watching TV.
The cottage is fairly open plan, so from where I was laying the living room was in front of me, the kitchen/dining area was directly behind me, and I could see our bedroom through the reflection in the French windows out to the balcony.
The meal was slowly cooking and my wife was in the bedroom, stripping the bed sheets to pack away, etc when I heard a grunt or choking noise behind me. I turned round as I thought it may have been one of the dogs choking on their food; however, there was nobody there. I asked and both dogs were with my wife (they follow her around constantly). Paired with the scratching noises from the night before I became quite freaked again. However, I didn't say anything to my wife as I didn't want to scare her.
Another five minutes or so passed and my wife was back in the kitchen doing some more prep for the meal. All of a sudden she came running over to me, saying that she had got that feeling when you sense somebody is right behind you. She assumed it was me as I do sometimes play silly little pranks like that to make her jump. She turned round quickly to try to beat me to the 'scare' but it wasn't me there, she saw somebody around the same height as her (5'-7") wearing a white cricket jumper, but couldn't make out a face as it disappeared as quickly as it came!
I said not to worry, and explained the things that had happened to me so far. It's fair to say that we were both scared now but we tried to carry on as normal. A few minutes later my wife was packing things up in the bathroom when I, too, got the sense that somebody was just behind me, so I tried to turn quickly to see what it was, but before I even had chance to move I heard a loud but almost whispering grunt, but this time it was directly next to my right ear!
I was extremely scared and shouted my wife to get in quickly! She came in and I told her, so we decided to get packed up quickly, eat and go. We got everything packed and sat down to eat so we could get out of there!
Whilst we were eating at the dining table the dogs all of a sudden stared at the living room door, which was partially open, then both started to bark at the door. At this point my wife calmly asked that if anything was there we had acknowledged it and to leave us alone. That was the last we heard or saw, we left shortly after that, and I have refused to return since, as I don't think I could settle in there again.
Since then my wife's treatment/surgery has been successful, I am back playing rugby, we have had our dream wedding, my wife has graduated from university with first class honours and is now a teacher and is extremely happy being in the career she loves.
Was this a family member telling us everything will be OK, or was this something more sinister making it's presence known?
P.S. Neither of us are skeptics per se, however probably needed something like this to firmly make us believe that there is something beyond the physical that we do not understand.