At our recent family reunion in Singapore, I shared with my mother and sisters about YGS when the conversation wandered onto the subject of strange experiences. My younger sister, Cara (all names mentioned have been changed), then revealed that she was sensitive to the spirits as well.
Around 2002, Cara decided to further her studies and get a degree. She and her friend Bea attended university together and they found accommodation in nearby Bedford Park, a southern suburb in Adelaide, South Australia.
The units (flats or apartments) at Bedford Park were built in a basic utilitarian design: four square-shaped units arranged side-by-side like boxes, three stories stacked one above the other in exactly the same way. It wasn't five-star housing, but the location was close to campus and the rent was reasonable for students on a shoestring budget.
The entrance to their ground-floor unit opened onto the living/dining room, which in turn led on the far right into the master bedroom. A short hallway separated the master from the second bedroom, with the latter having the bathroom on its left. The kitchen was located just beyond the living/dining area, sharing a common wall with the bathroom.
My mother came over from Singapore later that year to spend some time with my sister, who was the youngest to leave the nest. Mum stayed there for a week before flying to Sydney to see me for a few days, and then came back to Adelaide for the remainder of her stay.
While she was there at Bedford Park, Mum helped with taking out the garbage. She did this without incident for an entire week. After she returned from Sydney to Bedford Park, she made her way as usual out the kitchen by the back door to the bin bay area. The little path led past the electrical fuse box on the far wall.
Somehow on this occasion, Mum couldn't get past the fuse box. It was late afternoon; there was still plenty of light around. She couldn't see anything there that could be causing the problem, but she was certain that something big was in front of her, blocking her way. Whatever it was, it was not about to let her past. Mystified by this, Mum gave up after a few attempts, deciding to try again another time.
The next morning, she was able to reach the bin bay without any problem. On her way back to the unit, she met the neighbour who lived upstairs with her young daughter. When Mum mentioned her odd experience, the woman's eyes widened.
'I've felt that same way too!'
Cara agreed with Mum there was something not-quite-right about the whole property. But it was the best she could find at the time and she could not afford the cost of moving. By now, she had the skin-prickling sensation of being watched at all hours of the day or night, especially in the master bedroom, which was hers. She had the clear impression of resentment, and that someone or something was really unhappy at having them there.
Cara found herself staying away from the living room unless Bea was with her. A tree grew outside the living room window; its leafy foliage obscured part of the natural light coming in from the street. She thought it had an odd "cold spot"; it was always exceptionally cooler in temperature from the rest of the place, even during the heat of summer. She and her flatmate, Bea, spent many hours checking all the doors, windows, nooks and crannies for areas where drafts could be possibly have sneaked in. But there wasn't even a crack.
Bea proved to be even more sensitive than Cara to the nuances around the unit. She had chosen the smaller second room as being less "unsettled" of the two, but she soon felt so troubled in the place that she asked her parents for help. Bea's parents asked the pastor at their church to cleanse and bless the unit. The uneasiness didn't exactly disappear for either of them, but it calmed down noticeably for a while. But gradually over time, the strangeness began to build up again.
Then my sister woke up in the middle of the night with the weirdest feeling that someone was calling her. Cara sat up in bed and saw a shadow standing at the foot of her bed. From the width of the shoulders and the height, she had the impression it was a tall male figure looking down at her with a puzzled air and some curiosity.
Cara had the distinct thought in her mind that she knew came from this shadow man: 'Who are you and why are you doing here?'
So she thought right back at it: 'But I live here now.'
At her reply, the shadow man disappeared.
Fully awake now and quite unnerved, Cara got out of bed and turned on all the lights. She promptly did a search all through her bedroom, flinging open the cupboards, looking under the bed, everywhere she could think of. But she didn't find a thing.
In the days, months and years after that encounter, Cara would still get the occasional fleeting glimpse of a long shadow out of the corner of her eyes. But the disturbing feelings of being warned away subsided.
Cara ended up staying there for a total of seven years. There was no further episode with the shadow man. She and Bea got used to sensing the other flatmate simply as a quiet presence in the background.