This is an account of various occurrences that took place at a converted Croft house on the island of Sanday in the Orkney isles.
It was at the beginning of February 2009 and a very cold snowy day when we moved to the small rented cottage on Sanday. We hadn't seen the house before hand, which in hindsight was a mistake, as the house was in an extremely poor state of repair, with sagging roof timbers, damp walls, old electrics and a dirty dated kitchen. The only source of heating was via a coal fire in the living room and three old 1970s heating panels. But the rent was next to nothing and it was the only empty place we could find at that time.
My husband and I took the bedroom at the front of the house, it was the only one without any heating other than a coal fire that we quickly discovered you couldn't use. The warmest bedroom on the front of the house was temporally shared by our two sons then aged 13 and 11, the small bedroom at the back of the house eventually became the older son's room once we had installed a small modern halogen heater. This room was next to the kitchen and was separated from the main house by a corridor. It was an extension built around the 1930s, thus isolating it from the rest of the house, but my older son liked the privacy it gave him.
At first nothing out of the ordinary happened, we were busy settling in. The first summer came and went. It grew cold again and the long dark nights drew in. One morning my eldest son came out from the shared front bedroom (this was before he moved into the back bedroom) and said he had woken in the night to see a person standing at the bottom of their bed. He thought it was me just checking up on them as I sometimes did, and had ignored it and gone back to sleep. I definitely had not gone in to check on them and their dad never had done it. I just wrote it off has a dream he had had. He wasn't worried about it, and my younger son had not mentioned anything.
A few weeks later I was lying in the bath alone in the house. I drew my eyes to the shiny chrome taps near my feet and saw the reflection of a woman just watching me from the open doorway, she was dressed in colourful clothing, sort of 70s at a guess. I quickly jerked my head around to the doorway but there was no one to be seen. The image in the tap had gone too. I had been getting the feeling of being watched before on a few occasions but had dismissed it. I never took a bath alone in the house again after that.
On another occasion I was alone in the house again, I was sitting at the pc trying to make head and tails of a problem with my eBay account when I suddenly heard the very loud sounds of a woman sobbing. It was coming from the bedroom that my youngest son had, just to the right of where I was sitting. At first I thought it was the wind, but looking out of the window straight in front of me I could confirm that not a single branch or blade of grass was moving, this was pretty unusual in itself, considering our location. (Anyone who has been to the islands will know what I'm talking about!) Now I grew a little nervous, but listened intently trying to make out if it was a woman and not a radio or a noise outside. An animal perhaps? The sobbing grew to a heart wrenching wail, it grew so loud I had no doubt in my mind that this woman had suffered a terrible loss of some kind. Like the loss of a child my mind screamed. Where that thought had come from I had no idea, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a tape recorder in one of the drawers at my desk, I frantically attempted to retrieve it without disturbing the cries, but as I feared the noises stopped as suddenly as they had started and it was eerily quiet. I strained my ears for a good few minutes keeping as still as a statue in case I heard it again. But I never did.
I cursed myself for not being quick enough to catch it on tape, mind you it turned out my tape recorder wasn't in the drawer anyway, someone had moved it, more than likely my older son. I did check the bedroom straight afterwards, but of course I didn't see or hear anything. I also checked outside, but it was the usual quiet rural setting with no one in sight.
I was haunted by that crying, especially since it happened just a few months before my daughter tragically lost her premature baby daughter. My first grandchild (this happened while she was staying with us later that year), she was flown to Aberdeen but the baby was born too early and only lived for 48 hours. I was with her the whole time. I can't help but wonder if it had been some kind of omen.
The night before it all happened I also swore I felt a tiny finger of a small child touch my outstretched palm of my hand while I slept. I remember telling my husband in the morning that I hoped it wasn't an omen for the unborn child. Part of me knew, but I chose to ignore it. Was this incident also connected or was it just a dream? It had felt cold and real enough to wake me, but dreams can feel very real at times.
I have other things that happened too, but I will leave it there for now. Thanks for reading.