This is one of the earliest memories that I can recall, and some of the finer details escape me but I can still see the actual event and moment in my mind very clearly. This happened in the 1985 or 1986.
Up until the time I was 8 years old my family lived in an apartment complex in Elizabeth, NJ. We didn't live in the best neighborhood to say the least, but my parents did the best they could to keep us safe and sheltered from the craziness of urban living during that time. Our apartment was on the 4th floor of the complex very close to the stairwell. The layout of our apartment helps paint the picture: as soon as you walk in you are in the living room, with the one one bedroom directly in front of you. To your right is a very small hallway with 2 entrances to the kitchen on the left side of the hallway and the bathroom at the end on the left as well.
My mother had her own experiences in this place, and she has told me times when she was so scared to be alone that she would wake me up as an toddler by scratching my arm (not hard mind you, just enough to wake me) so that my cries would break the silence and give her something else to focus on.
I was about 4 years old when this happened. I remember waking up one night for one reason or another, and for whatever reason my 4 year old self had I crept my way out of the bed I shared with my parents to the bedroom door. My mother was sleeping and my father was working the night shift at his factory job.
I opened the bedroom door just a crack, enough to look into the living room and the hallway in our apartment. Kitchen overlooked the parking lot and there was plenty of light coming in from there so my eyes didn't have to adjust all that much. Against the hallway wall I saw 4 shadows moving along towards the kitchen and bathroom. At the time it didn't strike me as odd or frightening, but more of a curiosity. But as I type this I am getting a serious case of the chills:)
I watched these shadows as they crept along the wall until they were out of my sight. I cannot recall if I told my parents about this the following morning but this memory has stuck with me ever since.
If you were to ask me what shape these shadows had to them I would say that (and I swear I'm not making this up) they looked a hybrid of movie monsters (Dracula, The Mummy) and cereal mascots (Count Chocuka, Boo-Berry). Or at least that's what my 4 year old mind interpreted it as. Needless to say when I told this to my wife and other family members later on I get laughed at. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.