As a kid I had often been afraid of things that go bump in the night. I remember this happening ever since my parents had divorced back in 1965 when I was 4 or 5 years old, and my mom was raising my younger brother and I as a single mom. Maybe the divorce made me insecure and frightened of things in general. I'm not talking about anything I could pinpoint as ghostly - mostly I was just terrified of noises I heard or thought I had heard - footsteps outside my window (logically explained as this was when I had lived in an apartment complex-I lived in many different places as a child), and later on, thinking I would hear someone walking on our carpet in the hallway in the middle of the night.
Something was always seemed to be scaring me though. For instance, when I was 5 I was temporarily living with my grandparents right after my mom had moved us to Arizona from Texas. One morning I woke up on the floor next to the bed. Although that didn't particularly frighten me since I figured I simply had fallen off the bed during the night I do remember another night waking up and calling out for my aunt in a panic, because, I swear, something was intermittently shaking my bed. She came in and laid down with me for a few minutes. The shaking stopped after that and never repeated itself. She explained to me I was having a nightmare, which I matter-of-factly accepted and which also left me with the impression for years afterwards that one had to be fully awake to experience a nightmare. To this day, though I know now I was not dreaming, and I still don't know why my bed was shaking like that. Since this happened in Mesa, AZ it was not likely to have been caused by an earthquake either.
Fast forward about 10 years. My mom had re-married another man who became our legal father when he adopted my brother and I. We lived in a ranch-style type house which were very common in the Southwest in the 1960s and 70s and that my folks had purchased and built as a brand-new tract home several years earlier. So this isn't a story about moving into some mysterious and really old home with a lot of weird vibes. It was just your typical new home that everyone seemed to be moving into back in the days of early suburban sprawl in the Phoenix area.
Like I said, I had always been afraid of noises, and I was always imagining hearing footsteps on the carpet outside the doorway. I never saw or heard anything else. I was just creeped out by thinking I heard footsteps. In my honest opinion the ventilation coming from the central heating and air conditioning was probably the most likely culprit. But then when my dad was assigned to go oversees in 1974 I did see something that terrified the living daylights out of me.
So I was a freshman in high school. By then I had mostly gotten over the footsteps-on-the-carpet heebie jeebies. My mom, out of habit, begin to leave the kitchen lights on at night. I slept with my door open because the light coming in from the hallway offered a sense of warmth and comfort, as it probably did my mom.
Except on this one particular night I remember waking up. Looking at my little red travel alarm clock I always kept by the bed I could see it was exactly 1:20am. For some reason I glanced over at my door and what I saw literally petrified me.
From the diffused kitchen lighting I could see the distinct shadow of a human form cast onto the hallway wall outside my bedroom. What what was even more particularly frightening to me was that this wasn't just a shadow that happened to look like a figure, it was actually moving slowly toward my bedroom door - and to make it even more terrifying I could hear distinct footsteps on the carpet as it came closer. I could only watch in utter horror, because I was not in any way thinking that this was a ghost I was seeing, but a real flesh and blood intruder that had broken into our home and was sneaking into one of our rooms to attack us. But I was way too scared to scream or do anything but watch and wait for this person to show up in front of my doorway.
But that didn't happen. The shadow just stopped advancing and faded away. I could only sit and stare at my doorway for what seemed the longest time, but nothing else happened. Finally, all I could do was jump out of bed, run across the hallway (which was empty of any intruder) and into my mom's room and wake her up to tell her what I had seen. In her half asleep state she brushed it off to my overactive imagination. I fell into a fitful sleep next to her and when I checked the doors and windows the next morning everything was secure. So I pretty much didn't think about it much after that.
Except that isn't quite the end of the story.
About a year later, after my dad was back home from his over-seas assignment I woke up again late one Saturday night and heard someone moving around in the hallway and kitchen and could see their shadow as they moved about, cast onto the hallway from the kitchen light which was left on. I knew it was probably my dad, since he had a habit of falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV, long after Sign-off (the stations would end their broadcast for the evening and the station would be off the air with nothing but static on the channel). So I thought he was just getting up to go to bed, but I didn't hear anything else, so I got up to see what he was doing. When I walked into the kitchen no one was there, but at the end of the room, which was our family room off from the kitchen, my dad was sound asleep and snoring in front of the TV, which was just showing static since it was off the air. The weird part was it looked liked he hadn't moved in hours, let alone a few minutes ago. That is when I started to get a very creepy feeling about what I just saw and how it wasn't jiving with what I was seeing now. I could only run back to my room and try not to think about it.
I haven't had any other experiences with seeing shadow figures, and would tend to not believe in the paranormal if it wasn't for all the stories I've heard, not just on the internet, but from my friends and family. But that was just a little too weird for me to ignore as something just being my imagination and don't have any clue what it was I was seeing all those years ago. It's not as exciting as other stories I've read here but I remember being scared so badly at the time that I am at least grateful it's not something I've had to deal with as a regular occurrence throughout my life.