When I talk to others about ghost stories, it's usually the apparitions they see that scare them the most, or stick with them. So it's ultimately ironic to me that the one experience that truly terrified me, and ultimately has stuck with me the most was an encounter with a spirit I did not see, and never wish to meet again.
I live in Las Vegas, but my family and I regularly visit California. When I was sixteen, we went on one such trip and stayed in a Hilton within the LA area. It was a pretty typical thing with me that I'd get my own room attached to a main room, and then my parents would have theirs. Pretty simple set-up, and this time was no different.
At least, until I went to bed my first night there. That night, I had a lot of trouble sleeping, and I sat up, watching TV for a while before finally laying down and trying to get to sleep. Except that night, as I finally managed to get my eyes to close around two in the morning, my rest was disturbed.
Suddenly, I was hearing loud footsteps, and heavy breathing, like the kind you might hear from a patient in a hospital trying to gasp for air being given to through a tube. Or as I described it back then, very Darth Vader-like. I grew annoyed, and turned over in the bed, trying to ignore it. Granted, I figured it was someone outside making a lot of noise, and had no say in how much noise they made.
About two minutes into this, I realized that the noise seemed to be getting closer and closer to my bed. As a kid up until then, and even after this, I had had my fair share of run-ins with spirits. So I mostly tried to ignore it, because even though I had, none had really terrified me (other than a nasty run-in with two amber eyes at my guest bedroom doors at about age six or seven, but even then...).
I was not prepared for what happened next.
As the breathing and footsteps came progressively louder, I realized a hot, breath-like air was running down my neck. The footsteps finally ceased, but the breathing persisted, as did the air. My eyes shot open, and I immediately tried to assure myself it was the air conditioner acting funky. As my parents are non-believers and frankly had told me there was no such things as spirits enough that I could partially convince myself.
And then, I searched for the air conditioner. Only to find there was no vents near my bed. The only singular vent was on the other side of my room. The breathing persisted, but I didn't give a damn to try and figure out what it was anymore. I practically flew from my bed, threw on the lights, and all at once, it ceased. The breathing, the footsteps, and the hot breath down my neck all gone.
The first thing I did was run into my parents room. Needless to say, they were not happy to be woken up, but I had never had an encounter like this before. And I was truly PETRIFIED to the point of begging them to let me sleep on the chair in their bedroom, or on the couch bed in the main room, but insisting that I would not sleep in my room. Whatever was in there I could tell was not friendly, it wanted me to know I was there, and was trying to scare me, and I figured that was not the sign of "Casper, The Friendly Ghost".
My parents weren't buying it, and sent me back to bed, insisting I had a nightmare. But a waking nightmare? It was not something I believed. The breathing had continued, and the breath had continued long after I had opened my eyes. But reluctantly, I dragged myself back to bed, and managed to sleep with little-to-no problem, and no more breathing, footsteps or the like.
The rest of the stay was rather uneventful, with the exception of the feeling of being watched in the room. I was thankful to be spending most of my days at a theme park, so I spent a lot of time out of the room. And I was hoping that was the end of the terror after going a night without anything like what happened. Heck, maybe my parents were right, I thought, maybe it WAS a nightmare and now I was paranoid.
Then, when I was sitting at the desk in the room the night before we left. I heard it. This deep, deep cackling. It seemed to resonate through my room and shook me to my core. It only lasted half a minute or so, but it was enough for me. I didn't go back into that room until my parents forced me to that night.
Needless to say I was thankful to leave the next day, and put as much distance between me and whatever the hell was in that room as possible. Evil spirit, angry spirit, or demon? I'm not really sure. Though my friend thinks that it was a demon of some kind, I try not to dwell on what it was. I was just thankful that it never hurt me and only scared the hell out of me.
I have never had an encounter like this since, but I'd be curious to see what others might be able to make of this story. Perhaps, someone can give me answers about what I might have encountered or even shared a similar experience in a Los Angeles Hilton.