After my brother and I were born, my parents got married and bought a very small house about 2 blocks from my dad's parents' home. This was a terrace house, just off the Uppingham Road in Leicester, which was built such that the fronts of all of the houses along that side of the street formed a single wall punctuated by side-by-side front doors, then side-by-side front parlour windows, with one door and the immediately adjacent window belonging to a single address. The front and rear walls of the houses were built of brick, laid in double-rows: effectively an outside wall and an inside wall with perhaps 2" of airspace between to create a barrier against the chill of winter and to prevent moisture from seeping through. The "shared" wall on each side, however, was usually a brick wall of single thickness. This had the unfortunate effect of making everyone aware of everyone else's business.
The houses in that street were old enough that the builders had distrusted newfangled indoor bathrooms. The toilet was the 3rd of the contiguous structures extending from the rear wall of the kitchen, but these areas could be entered only by leaving the house and walking past two storage rooms to get to the outdoor privy. My mother refused to move into the house until this early Victorian Era prejudice had been corrected.
Dad hired a builder to knock down the kitchen wall into the first storage room, effectively tripling its size to a narrow eat-in kitchen, and to extend the plumbing facilities upstairs to the back bedroom above the kitchen, turning it into a light, spacious bathroom with all-new chrome fittings, shiny white and mustard tiles (it was the late 1970s), mustard-colored fixtures, and everything mum had wanted.
That room scared the hell out of me, but it was nothing to do with the décor. I hated walking toward it; I hated entering it; I hated being in it; I hated turning my back on it as I left. It was a room filled with cold tension.
The problem was two-fold. Though dad had paid to update the structure and the fixtures, etc., there wasn't a lot of budget left over for additional electrical work in the rooms and areas which had not been renovated: the lights in the windowless upstairs hallway were controlled by a switch at the bottom of the stairs, inside the living room, and by a switch at the top of the stairs, outside my parents' bedroom door. The light bulbs were at the top of the stairs and at the other end of the hallway outside the bathroom door. My bedroom door was immediately adjacent to the bathroom door. If anyone left the bathroom door open to let light in, it was not an inviting sight; if it had been left closed, the end of the hallway was pitch black and even less inviting.
Whenever I complained about not liking the bathroom, my parents would tell me I'd got an overactive imagination. To be fair, at that age I was pretty scared of the spooks and monstrous disguises worn by "Scooby Doo" villains. The bathroom, unlike the cartoon's bad guys, always seemed like it was watching me.
As my younger brother and I grew up, we had bunk beds so we could share the bedroom above the living room. Our parents created a new rule; we could stay up a little later if we brushed our teeth and changed into pyjamas first. Once we'd been told that we had to go to bed, though, I had the responsibility for the hallway light switch. I'd wait at the top of the stairs next to the upstairs switch until my brother said that he was in bed. As the upstairs hallway was one step up from the top of the stairs, I'd be standing with my right foot resting on that step, and with all the grace a clumsy 6-year old could muster, I'd pull the light switch down with my left hand and start running toward the closed bathroom door, turn abruptly right through my open bedroom door, slam the door behind me, and clamber up the ladder to the top bunk (the privilege of being the older brother). When I'd calmed down enough, I'd use the pull-cord to turn the ceiling light off so we could sleep. My parents would come upstairs to check on us about an hour later after watching "Inspector Morse" or "Columbo."
On the last night I took responsibility for turning off the hallway light, I had a horrible experience. The bathroom door was closed, my brother was getting into his bunk, and I had my back to the closed door of my parents' room. I knew that my parents were in the living room with both dogs, as they'd stayed on the sofa to watch t.v. We'd closed the downstairs door to the staircase, and my little brother had preceded me to the bedroom. I turned off the light switch. The light, however, remained on. As I pondered this bizarre phenomenon, I realized that I was frozen in place. That's when the hands -which I could not see- grabbed my upper arms and rotated me rather firmly 90 degrees to my right so that I was now facing the stairs, my right foot suspended in mid-air instead of resting on the step into the hallway. I was given an encouraging push toward the stairs. I would like to use an acceptable term like "screamed" but I strongly suspect that I shrieked. That is when the light bulbs extinguished and the invisible hands let go of me. I pelted along the hallway, slammed the door shut, and I have no memory of touching any of the rungs on the ladder to my bunk. Honestly, if I'd tried to climb a ladder in that state of mind, I'd probably have twisted an ankle or broken a leg; I have no clue how I survived that ascent.
My parents both showed up about two minutes later (it felt like a month), and they were pretty insistent that I stop shrieking because it was upsetting my brother, them, the dogs, my budgie, the neighbors, and about half the cast of "Kojak."
I know now that I was not in serious jeopardy, as I was not hurled down the stairs; I was being encouraged to go away. At the time, the terror I felt made me think that -whoever or whatever it was- it wanted to push me down the stairs.
Over the years, I've considered various explanations which might account for the experience. I know that faulty wiring could cause an electrical short-circuit which may account for some of the phenomena, but the UK runs on 220 volts, not the 110 which America uses; 220 volts passing through my left arm, torso, and left foot would have stopped my heart while cooking my skin and muscles.
My guess is that someone who had died in that back bedroom did not appreciate his or her cozy haunt being disrupted by young adults and toddlers showering, teeth brushing, flushing, and splashing about in bubble bath (sorry, "haunt" was a bad pun). What surprises me the most about this, though, was that I dreaded traveling toward the bathroom, but I do not recall having had any paranormal experiences in there; the interaction (I hesitate to call it an attack or an assault) I've described here took place at the opposite end of the hallway.
Oddly, I was in my late twenties and living in America when my dad admitted that the bathroom in their first house had scared him, too; he had never closed his eyes in there -not even when he'd gotten shampoo in his eye while showering. I honestly couldn't believe he'd spent years telling me I was making it up as a child but, twenty years later, admitting he'd felt the same fear as we sat on his back deck drinking cold beers. I was flabbergasted and furious at the same time!
I don't think I've left out any pertinent details in the story, and I know there's little to be done about this haunting three and a half decades after the fact. However, I'm adding this narrative to the YGS archives, and -as always- I welcome discussion, questions, and alternative explanations.