I was somewhere between the age of 11-14 and my father had hired Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, from the video store. This was when Video Ezy still existed and we had a joint DVD and VCR player.
I walked into the rumpus room one day, and my father had already started watching the film. I am not sure how much of the film I have seen. All I remember is that when I saw the old lady in the bathtub, I felt physically ill and left the room. It is important to know for the story that I am not sure if I watch the scene with the twins in the hallway, with my father or not. It is a very famous scene and is referenced all the time and this is important to my story. I have never gone back to watch the film and probably never will and here's why.
A few days later I was alone in the rumpus room. It's was about 11pm and was I'm sitting on a bean bag as close to the TV as I could get. Behind me, to my right is the staircase leading to the dinning room.
A few meters from the top of the stairs my mother was asleep and snoring in her armchair. Upstairs again (split level home) my father was asleep in bed. No one else is home.
I was watching whatever is on TV at that time and kind of bored. All of a sudden the TV went grey and static. I rolled my eyes and sighed thinking it's my fault. This TV was maybe as old as I was or more and from time to time, I would accidentally push one of its buttons with my toes. So I got up, out of my bean bag and started pressing whatever button (except for the volume) to see which one will turn the TV back to normal. My face was pretty close to the TV now.
All of a sudden a black line dropped down the screen and following that black line was that scene from The Shining, with the twin girls in the hallway, saying "Come play with me." It then freezes, rewinds itself and they go again. "Come play with me." And again, and again, and again.
I'm was frozen and in shock.
I frantically started pressing buttons, in the hope it will stop, but then I realised the video is probably just stuck in the VCR. So I looked down and start to open the little flap on the slot.
But then between the "Come play with me's, I heared a second voice.
A calm, soft, whisper of my name.
I looked back up at the screen. It's still the same. I wasn't even sure if I really heard it but at that point, I'm wasn't sticking around to find out.
I ran up the stairs to my mother and tried desperately, in tears to wake her up.
Both of my parents are heavy sleepers and are slow wakers. And I think my mum may of taken a sleeping pill.
I yelled at my mum through tears trying to wake her and tell her what was happening. Meanwhile I could still hear the twins downstairs.
Mum came too, a little, and just brushed me off saying. "Just change the channel." Which made me angry and panic more.
Mum then looked at me quite angry and yelled at me for having the volume up so loud.
Thats when I realised I couldn't hear the twins downstairs anymore, but just the sound of the static on the TV. And it was very loud.
I cautiously turned around and peered down the stairs. My mother fell back to sleep, murmuring to turn the volume down.
I just stood on the top of the steps looking down into my rumpus room, at my TV, which was now showing just grey static, and the volume was really high. I eventually built up the courage to go back down stairs. Convincing myself again.
The videotape was old. It just got stuck.
So I went back to the TV and turned it off. I took a deep breath and checked the VCR.
I checked the DVD player.
I turned the TV back on. The static was gone but the volume was all the way up. To the loudest it can be.
We never have it on that loud. Only a third of the way, maybe at most. This was one of those older TV's where the volume would appear on your screen in a green bars.
I turned it down and just to be sure I quickly checked what was on TV at the time, incase the movie was on that night. I skimmed all the channels and it didn't seem to be. I then ran up 2 flights of stairs all the way to bed, ignoring my mum yelling at me for not turning the lights off in the rumpus room.
I remember not even being sure what just happened, happened, straight after it happened.
I planned to check the TV guide the next day, top to bottom, not just for the movie but also for anything that might reference the film, Stephen king, Jack Nicholson, whatever, and to also ask my dad where the Video he hired has gone.
The next day, I couldn't find anything in the TV guides that would explain it and my dad informed me he had returned the tape back to the store 3 days before because it was due back.
I still don't know what that was and for a long time I think I just blocked it out because my brain just didn't even know what to do with it.
Then when I was around 21 I thought it was happening to me again. I was watching the film Twister at 3am by myself. It wasn't. But I have never felt fear like that in my whole life and I never want it to happen again. The whole experience lasted 5 seconds but it took my heart and shaking body literally hours to calm down to a normal pace. Since then it's been a bit harder to ignore this memory.