I was put in mind of this experience and provoked to write it down to share by Spockie's experience "Band of Runners".
I was 8 or 9 years old at the time and was visiting the Grand Canyon area with my father and brother. We were staying in an old 3 story walk-up motel (the kind that is only one room deep with no internal staircases - all rooms being reached via an open gallery that runs along the frontage of each level). I don't think the aging facility was even equipped with air conditioning as every night during our stay (much to my chagrin and trepidation) we slept with the big sliding window wide open - my cot slid right up against it.
I couldn't sleep a WINK the first two nights because of the howling of the coyotes. I had never before heard anything even remotely like it and to my young ears it was dreadfully eerie and menacing. I just KNEW that at ANY moment a huge, frothing, snarling, blood thirsty coyote was going to come bursting through the tattered screen and eat me up!
As bedtime on the last night approached, I deeply hoped that exhaustion would win out and I would miss the evening's wretched serenade. Soon after the lights went out, my father and brother were sound asleep and I could hear their light snoring. I lay in my bed wide awake and scared stiff waiting for the ghastly howling to begin.
Gradually, however, the oddest thing happened - I felt the strangest calm wash over me like a cool breeze. That's when I heard the distant voices. I was never a kid to wander off on my own but for some unaccountable reason, I got up from my bed, unlocked the door and stepped out onto the gallery (our room was on the 3rd floor). The voices -for I could tell there were a great many of them- were singing!
Best of all to my delighted though bewildered young mind was that I recognized the song! It was Colonel Bogie's March - though I knew it as the tune the campers were whistling in 'The Parent Trap'. And I had never known the song had lyrics. I could only make out bits and pieces then but recently I looked up the song after it came up over a dinner conversation and this is what I found:
" (tune:"The Colonel Bogie March," written for ANZACS ("Australia New Zealand Army Corps") in World War I, was popularized by being featured in the 1960s film about WWII in Burma, "The Bridge on the River Kwai," from the novel by Pierre Boule.)
Come on & join our breakfast club
Come on & we've got the best of grub
Come on - you won't regret it
You'll never get it as good as we've got
Comet will make your teeth turn green
Comet it tastes like gasoline
Comet will make you vomit
So get some Comet, and vomit, today!
Ajax will make your teeth turn blue
Ajax it smells like Elmer's Glue
Ajax will make you relax
So get some Ajax, and relax, today!
Arrid It keeps your armpits dry
Arrid It makes you smell, "Oh, my!"
Arrid Helps you get marrid
So get Arrid, and get marrid,today!" (https://www.disboards.com/threads/help-me-with-a-song.691542/)
The moment I read those words, I knew it was what I had heard - the memory is still clear as crystal in my mind. I remember too they all sang with a distinct Irish brogue.
They were the merriest bunch I had ever seen as they seemed to materialize into view along the dark gravel road. Dozens of them there were - all marching along in loose formation lustily singing out at the top of their lungs.
And as they passed the building they simply faded away. I could hear their singing for a few minutes after they had gone. I went back inside and dropped off to sleep. The coyotes were quiet that night.
For some time I simply assumed the band to have been as mortal as you or I. But as time has passed, I have put more thought into it.
First of all, where the devil might they have come from? I distinctly recall how remote and isolated that aging motel was. Several times on the approach, I had thought my father to be hopelessly lost as we had driven for so long without seeing any sign of civilization - at least 20 minutes at a rate of no less than 50mph.
Second, why was I the only one on the gallery? Neither my father nor brother seemed to have heard a thing - they certainly weren't awakened by all the sound. And I heard no angry voices from any of the other rooms even though I worried I might as there were other open windows and ours was one of several cars in the lot - though not nearly enough to have held as many people as I had seen in the march.
Third, I could hear their voices but not the sound of what should have been dozens of crunching feet on the dry gravel road.
Fourth, that song had not been popular for decades. The tune may pop up here and there on the rare occasion but I have never heard the words sung anywhere else.
Last, they truly seemed to vanish rather than fade into the dark as a flesh and blood figure does.
What were they? Flesh or phantom? I truly do not know but whatever they were, they were good and merry souls who brought a world of comfort and rest to a very stressed little girl that night.
I love reading these good experiences - enough scary ones doing their rounds. Hurrah for the Irish Brigade 😊