This is my second story I'm posting about my childhood in St. Charles, IL (STC). I've been hesitant to share it as most would think it's not paranormal, but I honestly have no explanation of how it could have happened otherwise.
I'm a female engineer who's very logical and good at troubleshooting issues that may not have an obvious cause but I can find a logical explanation where others typically can't. I still can't come up with a logical human explanation for this event. Please keep in mind that I lived out in the wooded country, on a short dead end street 10+ miles from a town, and there were 10 houses in the area spread out on 2.5 acre wooded lots or larger each. There were no large wild animals (there aren't bears or similarly large animals in the region) and people didn't meander there or show up lost. Actually lost folks or large animals wandering around never happened in the 20 years I lived there. So please keep that in mind.
When I was 6 we had new neighbors move in to the house next to ours. I was thrilled because they had kids my age. The house had previously been owned by some parents who passed away and then after living there for several years the kids (who were young adults) sold it to their cousins who were my new neighbors. The kids my age were 2 boys. One kid was 3 years older than me that I'll call T and another 1 year older. We were great friends and rarely foes.
Several years later when I was a young girl in my early teens, T (who was allowed to go out with his friends much later than I was) would sometimes tromp over to my yard after getting home late and throw rocks from the gravel area outside at my window to chat. My bed was right next to the window. I'd open the window and we'd whisper stories and generally chat for a hour or so. My second story window faced his house over the shrub trees and walking path and to his driveway so I'd often know if he was out (the light was on over the side door entrance) or already home.
One time during the summer months when my window was open I heard a car in his driveway dropping him off. I was probably 14 years old. I heard him get out talking to his friends and they pulled away. I whispered, as loud as I could without waking my parents, asking T to stop by and chat. He didn't respond as he probably didn't hear me. Then I came up with the not-so-brilliant idea to sneak outside and scare him. I'd spent many years in the woods pretending to be a spy or American Indian and learning how to blend in and be silent. As kids we'd often sneak around and scare each other.
So I silently sneaked down from the second floor and out my back garage door which led to our backyard below my window which led to T's house off the side through our gravel area then through a well worn path through the woods about 25 ft long. My parents had put in a gravel pit around the back of the house probably because nothing much grew due to the shade of the Oak trees. There were 14 inch Oak rounds set out as an uneven stepping path in the gravel and if you stepped off of the rounds the crunch of gravel/rocks would give you away. I picked my way expertly and silently across the log rounds facing T's house. My eyes got accustomed to the dark and I didn't see him. Also at that time I heard the door of his house close and the light going off signaling he went in, likely to bed.
I waited a bit as I thought I saw something move in the woods between our houses but not on the path we'd always use. If you didn't use the path there were a ton of wild rose and raspberry plants that had thorns and were painful to walk through. So I thought it was odd that he'd be in the woods but maybe he wanted to scare me like I was plotting to do to him. But I saw something human sized and dark moving though the woods slow and pausing every once in awhile like me. It was coming closer and I definitely saw it but it was strange in that it wasn't walking directly to my window to talk. Therefore I hunched down and waited in silence wondering if I could still startle him.
I watched a dark outline of a human or figure moving, but then it would stop and fade in the foliage. It seemed to be stalking slowly and listening/checking every few feet while hiding. I wasn't sure it "faded" but the only way I could tell better was to get closer and I didn't think I could do that without giving away my location. So I whispered after losing patience one last time for T but he didn't answer. I got bored of hiding and crouching so I quietly, tippy toed back to my garage door and went back inside silently locking up as I went.
I snuck back upstairs to my room above the area where I was just standing. My window was open and I definitely heard someone/something walking around the yard. I whispered again for T out my window but got no answer. Then I heard someone/something fall and grunt/moan pretty loudly in the window well right below my window. It wasn't enough to wake my parents but definitely loud enough I didn't mistake it and it sent a shock of fear through me. If you aren't familiar with a window well, it's a semi-circle hole connected to the house dug out about 3 or 4 feet deep and reinforced with metal. It allows a basement or subfloor window to be put in below ground level and the hole let's some natural light in. There is NO WAY T would have fallen in our window well. We had been playing hide and seek and many outdoor games for years since we were young around the whole neighborhood. We knew everyone's window wells and house footprints (plus paths in the woods) like the back of our hands. The grunt sounded humanish and not like an animal. It also pulled itself out quietly without a lot of thrashing.
Honestly I think my heart stopped beating for a bit. I know that's a common term but I was so startled by this event and it was not even closely expected. That's when I was startled out of thinking this wasn't a fun game and realized someone/something was out there and it wasn't T. I tried to look outside my window as best I could but there was a screen on my windows to keep the bugs out so I couldn't lean my head out the window to see next to the wall of our house directly below me.
I then heard the crunch of rocks as whatever it was stepped in the noisy gravel. Again T would know where the log rounds were and would not step in the gravel. He knew my parents were pretty strict and he was as good at being quiet as I was. Whatever it was stopped and I held my breath. I pretty much sat there with my face pressed against the screen 2 stories up for probably a half hour (it seemed like an hour but I'm sure I didn't have patience back then to wait that long). I never heard it/him/her leave but I grew tired and eventually fell asleep on my bed that was next to the window.
There are a few things I'm certain of:
- it wasn't T. I asked him later and he said he went to bed that night when he got home. He also would have no reason to lie.
- it wasn't T's friend who dropped him off that evening as he had a curfew and was rushing home himself so he wouldn't get in trouble with his parents
- it wasn't one of our neighbors and I can't think of any reason a human would be there. We had few neighbors and only 2 other houses out of 7 had kids. Again these 7 houses were spread out in 2.5+ acres per home.
- there weren't any big animals in the area. As wooded as the whole area was we only had some deer but they were hunted and didn't come close to homes.
- I don't think I'd be here telling this story but instead be a creepy, heart breaking, missing persons or murder story if I stayed outside longer than I did