The following incidents are what initially sparked my fascination in the paranormal and occurred when I was between the ages of four and fifteen. I have broken this account into two parts.
In my latter teens I wrote down what I could remember of these events and these notes have been extremely helpful, as they include details I would otherwise have forgotten. Sadly, I was only able to locate a page and a half of these notes. There were at least three, I believe, but I will do my best to fill in the missing bits. The missing notes only effect the second part.
Just before turning five my family, which comprised my mom and dad, my twin brother, younger sister, two dogs and a cat, moved into what would be our fourth house. We had originally lived in Chicago but this house, like the previous one, is located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. This house is on Concord Drive in a neighborhood called Brook Forest, which is comprised of winding roads and sizable houses on acre lots. The house was built in 1967 and has an architectural style that could be described as Colonial Revival. It looks exactly the same today as when we lived there in the early to mid 1970s and has grey painted wooden panels offset by maroon shutters. The main Colonial section is two stories and adjoining that is a one story wing that comprises a den, enclosed patio and garage.
I have a vivid memory (and this is pertinent to a recurring phenomenon that I will describe shortly) of going to look at the house just prior to my parents finalizing its purchase. This visit was so my brother, sister and I could see the place. The woman who was living there was holding a young child when she met us at the front door and, as it turned out, was selling the house after her husband had died of a sudden heart attack. From what I can remember hearing, he died in the house. This woman's appearance is still etched in my mind. She looked sad and worn out. Recent events in her life seemed almost literally written on her face.
Being kids, we were interested in seeing where the bedrooms were. The second floor contained four bedrooms; the master bedroom, my sister's room, a room that was initially my mom's sewing room (later to be my brother's room) and a bedroom my brother and I initially would share.
Soon after moving in (this would have been in the latter part of 1971 or early 1972) I vividly remember hearing, while lying in bed trying to go to sleep and sometimes in the middle of the night, the voices of a man and a woman arguing. This went on every night for several months. On at least two occasions I got up and walked down the hall to my parents' bedroom only to find them fast asleep. The voices were distinctly angry but always sounded oddly muted and I couldn't make out exactly what was being said. It was like listening to a fight through a thin barrier of water. The sounds of the arguing commonly occurred after everyone else was asleep but there were instances where I could hear my parents downstairs and the arguing voices upstairs. The sound seemed to come from the general direction of the master bedroom.
I was curious about the voices but as I was between four or five when it started and around six when it stopped, I had no reference point and therefore wasn't frightened by them. I found the sounds a bit odd but they just became a part of a typical night for me. Brush my teeth, say goodnight to my mom and dad and then, at some point during the night, hearing the two arguing voices. The voices always started up as if in mid-argument. I could easily distinguish that they were adult voices and were clearly angry. My only speculative theory about the voices is that I was somehow hearing a replay of an argument between the sad looking woman who sold my parents the house and her deceased husband. What intrigues me is that one of the voices I was hearing (if my theory is correct) was of a person still living at the time. This seems like a potentially good example of intense emotions, as expressed by the argument, saturating or impregnating the atmosphere of the master bedroom area of the house. Why I was the only person in the house who seemed able to pick up on this "residual" argument isn't completely clear.
Starting roughly around the same time as the nocturnal voices was a phenomenon that lasted for roughly three years and also occurred every night. Unlike the voices, this phenomenon would also follow me elsewhere. Within a few short minutes of lying down at night, the bed would start lightly rocking as if by an unseen hand trying to coax me to sleep. This would occur whether I was at home or even in another state. It would even happen if someone else was also in the bed. For instance, I have a clear recollection of a family trip to Colorado where my unseen rocker made itself known. It was always a two day drive from Illinois to Colorado and we would stop at a Holiday Inn along the route (it was always a Holiday Inn).
As my brother, sister and I were little kids, my parents would always get a room with two queen sized beds. Usually my dad would hunker down with two of us kids and my mom would sleep with the remaining kid, or vice versa. On the occasion in question, I was sleeping in the bed closest to the door with my mom next to me. As soon as I could tell my mom was asleep, the customary gentle rocking began. I recall glancing over the edge of the bed and could see the comforter swaying in time to the rhythm. My mom was not awoken by the rocking.
Although, like the voices, I did find the nightly rocking strange, without any point of reference I simply accepted it. As far as I can remember it never occurred to me to mention it to my parents. Out of the ordinary it may have seemed but it never frightened me. Both my parents passed away a few years back so I can't question them about it.
One other event at Concord Drive seems possibly related to the nightly bed rocking. One night I had fallen asleep to the rocking, as I always did, and awoke in the middle of the night. Directly across the room from the front of my bed stood a dresser that had a small lamp on it. This light was commonly left on overnight. Upon opening my eyes I was surprised to see a completely black figure that appeared to be a woman reaching under the lampshade. She then turned out the light. This figure was like a cutout of black construction paper. The form definitely had a female outline. I could make out the outline of hair and the arm reaching under the lampshade was thin. This figure did appear to be wearing a close fitting garment that had a sleeve that reached to the wrist. The hand seemed to protrude from this sleeve. I have to emphasize that the figure was pitch black. The lamp light revealed nothing other than this black cutout figure.
Thinking back on it, it almost seems like the figure absorbed the light around it. After it shut out the light I just went back to sleep. Again, although it struck me as something out of the ordinary, the form seemed to radiate a calming, motherly quality. This essence just put me at ease. Shutting the light out struck me as an act of kindness.
I have no way of knowing who or what this figure was but recently I have considered a possibility. My brother and I were adopted when we were just a few months old (my sister was adopted from another woman three years after we were). Just a few years ago my brother and I were able to reconnect with our birth mother. It has been an incredibly great experience getting to know my "bio-mom". We are now quite close. She flies out from her home in Arizona to visit and my wife and I fly out there to see her. Through this relationship I have discovered a family and history I had never known before. My bio-mom revealed that her mother and father both passed away tragically young. I bring this up only because I now wonder if the reassuring figure I saw and the nightly bed rocking were in some way connected to the grandmother I never knew. It might explain why I always felt comforted by the rocking and wasn't alarmed by the motherly figure that shut out the light.
As this is where my paranormal experiences at Concord Drive end, it also a good place to conclude part one of this account. My family and I would move to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina in 1977, when I was ten years old. Part two will compile my continuing childhood paranormal experiences after the move. I really look forward to hearing the opinions of the YGS community concerning these events. It will be interesting to find out if others have experienced anything similar or have thoughts on what might have been happening that I haven't considered.