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I Suppose I Dreamed It?


In 1988 my company transferred me to a new town in March, and I spent the next six months settling into a new job and a new house. When September came I realized I hadn't had a holiday, so I decided to take the ferry to Calais, then take a leisurely drive through France to Belgium, on to Holland, into Germany, then come back through Luxembourg and Belgium again. There was no need to book anything as the holiday season was over. A few days from the end of what had been a very pleasant holiday I was heading up through the Ardennes. This area of heavily wooded hills is very scenic, with picturesque vallies, isolated farms, small villages lost in the forest and many chateaus.

One evening (it was also my birthday) about seven o'clock I was expecting to arrive at a small town in which I thought I might find a guest house or hotel, but at a certain point I realized I'd taken a wrong turn. I had a good torch, so examined the map. I saw I had three alternatives. I could go back to the town I'd last come through, about thirty ks back, go back to where I'd taken the wrong turn and this time hope I found the right road, or go on to a village about 15 ks ahead, and hope there was something there.

I decided on the last alternative. It was now getting darker, and as I approached the small village ahead I saw on my left a sort of substantial house, set back among trees. There was a street light on the road (as always in Belgium) and I could see the house was abandoned and the garden overgrown. I thought if there was nothing in the village I could try and sleep here, as it had a big porch, and I was getting tired. The village did have a small shop that was open, but the lady serving told me the nearest hotel was twenty ks further on, or thirty-five back the way I'd come. I bought some bread,butter, cheese, water and wine and decided to head back to the abandoned house.

I ate and drank in the porch, and thought I could sleep with my dirty clothes in a shopping bag as a pillow, and a couple of tartan rugs, but the night grew cold, so I took a look round the house to see if there was a way in. Three sides were very secure, but on one end I found a door into what looked like a conservatory or greenhouse. It had obviously been burned at some point, but there was a french window at the top of some steps. I tried it and it was unlocked.

Inside many of the panes had been broken, but it was still more sheltered from the wind than the porch, so despite the old scorch marks I moved in there and got to sleep near eleven o'clock.

I was awoken some time later by loud and very insistent banging on the door, and I could hear angry voices and see lights. I shouted 'It's open!" in French, wondering what the hell was happening, and very frightened. In the end I just got up and opened the door. There was a group of about twelve people at the foot of the steps, carrying lanterns of all things. When I opened the door some shouted "C'est lui!" (That's him!) A very beautiful black-haired woman come up to steps, looked me in the face and shouted "Oui, c'est lui!" (Yes that's him) and the whole crowd surged up the steps towards me, with every sign of intending to me harm.

The next thing I knew I could hear birds twittering, and sunlight was streaming through the glass of the conservatory. My God, what a relief! It had just been a horrible dream. I packed my stuff up, and went back to the car, noting that it was about eight-thirty - I had slept a long time by my standards.

I drove through the village and just beyond it was a house on the left. A woman was hanging up washing in the garden. I did a double take - it was the beautiful woman from the night before, who had shouted "Yes! That's him!" I stopped the car and got out, rather hesitantly, and went up to her. It was definitely her. She smiled as I came towards her, and showed no sign of recognition, which was a relief. I pretended to consult the map with her, and she indicated the route I had to take to Libramont. I asked her if she knew anything about the house on the other side of the village, and she said 'No, it's been abandoned since just after the war. A German who was stationed here during the war bought it, but during the war he had assaulted my grandmother (she used the word 'attaquer' so it wasn't clear if she meant raped or simply assaulted) so the locals killed him, in September 1946. Then they burnt some of it I think."

"Just let me ask you one thing," I said. "Do you look anything like your grandmother?"

"What a strange question!" she said. "But how did you know? Yes, everyone in the family says I look exactly like her when she was young."

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Aodagain, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Aodagain (1 stories) (4 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-11)
Nalchen, yes, good question, and believe me I considered doing that. However I was tired, I didn't want to go back, and since I hadn't booked anything and had drawn a blank in the village I was slightly worried that even in the next place there might not be anything. In fact there was a small hotel as I saw when I drove through the next day, and as the lady in the shop had told me. I suppose basically I just needed to rest and wasn't even thinking all that logically.
nalchen (9 stories) (58 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-10)
wow! What an enthralling story. One of my favorites. You have narrated it in such a wonderful way.

One question? Why sleep in an abondoned house when you had a car. Wouldnt it be better to have driven the next 20Km say in 30 minutes and taken rest at a proper hotel? Just curious.

Aodagain (1 stories) (4 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-09)
In answer to Beaglemom, actually I am the most obsessive holiday planner you could ever meet! As soon as I come back from one holiday I start planning the next one. However quite a few things were different that time. First I was a lot younger and more carefree then and far more inclined to take a chance. Second there was way less tourism then, particularly casual tourism but in pre-internet Europe every town had its little hotel for commercial travellers, and the chances of not finding accommodation were low. Third there was no internet booking, so it was not really that easy to reserve anything. Fourth the holiday was a bit of an impulse (my fiancee refused to go at such short notice) when I realised I hadn't taken a holiday that year. Talking to Ardette, you're right about the Ardennes. In Autumn they're misty, wet, with huge forests, and just the place where you might expect the supernatural. However that period was unusual for September - it was sunny, bright and beautiful, an Indian summer in fact. I forgot to ask the villagers, but that dream happened on my birthday, and since they said the German came back just after the war (which ended in August) I have often wondered if the incident took place on the same date.
BeagleMom (3 stories) (84 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-08)

Well you have succeeded in your account worming itself into my favorites! Enjoyed your narrative immensely. I am a romantic at heart and a lover of good stories. So, of course, I really liked it. Rather well told.

This story just slays me because I am the type to plot out a trip and know weeks in advance where I will be and stay. I find, even in the 80's, it hard to believe anyone would just leave to chance something as important as where to spend the night! Of course, I am no camper, as my poor hubby will attest to. But I can imagine there are people who live the sort of life where "chance" is an attractive prospect! I mean no disrespect.

Thanks for sharing your story,

Mother of Beagles
Aodagain (1 stories) (4 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-07)
I find Tweed's comment quite interesting. I have slept in a car on many occasions, but would never do so if I could find somewhere flat to stretch out - the car would always be a last resort, and in fact that night I would have preferred to drive to one of the other towns rather than try the car. I had absolutely no fear of any intruders in the night, it just isn't something that's very likely in that kind of area. I was a bit tired when writing the story, but there was a sort of sequel to it. I went back to that village the following year with my fiancee (now my wife) and talking discreetly to the locals who were very friendly, got a few more details. It would appear that the lady in question had been more or less blackmailed into sleeping with the local German commandant (I'm not sure how, but it was something to do with threats to her family) and when he came back and had the cheek to buy the house her family and her new fiance were outraged, and went round and killed him. I asked discreetly if the grand-daughter was the descendant of the German, but they all said no, her mother wasn't born until 1948 or 1949. I don't think anyone was ever punished for the killing.
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-07)
Aodagain, I love your narrative and have put it with my favourites.

Having had four months touring (in a VW Combi) and camping experience on the Continent, I too know how easy it is to take a wrong turn. My worst experience was trying to pitch a tent in the dark when under the influence, lol. Next morning we realized how precariously close it was to the edge of a Roman spring (in Italy). Not nearly as exciting as your narrative!

I too am glad you didn't see the ending in your dream.

Thank you for sharing; brought back some interesting memories for me.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-05)
Very well written account Aodagain. Luckily, you just got to see the "highlights" of the dream and didn't have to see how it played out. Yikes!

Thanks for sharing and welcome to our community. 😊
Argette (guest)
7 years ago (2017-05-05)
I sure wouldn't do it...

Sleep anyware but my car, that is. I can only guess it was a Mini Cooper. We rented one to get us around France, and they are small.
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
7 years ago (2017-05-05)
Hi Aodagain,

Not to sound rude or anything, there's something quite odd about not sleeping in the car. 😕 I don't know, I'd be too scared of squatters bursting in without warning in an abandoned house.
Argette (guest)
7 years ago (2017-05-05)
Aodagain, I know how easy it is to get lost in rural Europe. My own experiences taking a wrong turn led to what felt like a time slip, in the South of France.

One would think the Ardennes would be especially haunted, so any unusual experiences there are highly plausible. I've had similar experiences myself, several times.

Having French and Belgian roots, I'm putting this well-told story into my favorites! Thank you, and welcome to YGS.

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