My whole life I've loved scary movies and I have a brother a few years older than me, so its safe to say I was watching them at WAY too young an age. Combined with the fact that I had a very over active imagination, I was scared of everything. The grudge was hiding in my closet, the clown from IT was in the shower drain, Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street was hiding under my bed, etc. As an adult, I've been able to write off most of my more unusual experiences and memories as simply a child getting worked up over shadows. However, there's one memory in particular that I cannot for the life of me explain away.
It's my earliest memory. I had to have been about two years old. I was young enough that I still slept in the crib in my upstairs nursery, with my parents a couple rooms down the hall from me. To clarify, I was too young to have really seen any scary media and my mother was quite protective of me with those things until I was a few years older. I wasn't the best sleeper, and I'd frequently wake up during the night. I remember being uncomfortable alone at night in that room. I assume that's true for most babies? Not scared necessarily, just...uncomfortable.
When I woke up this night, I remember tossing and turning, playing with blankie and overall just hanging out. All of a sudden I looked over through the bars of my crib and I distinctly, vividly remember a pitch black shape with glowing, deep red eyes. It stared directly at me and I remember feeling the breath on me. I screamed. Cried. My Dad came in and picked me up, carried me to the hall and calmed me down by pointing at all the different parts of a painting hung in that upstairs hallway. I remember counting the apples in the tree with him as he comforted me. When I tell people my earliest memory, its just of my Dad coming in and taking me out to that painting to comfort me. I don't mention the pitch black shape staring at me through the bars on my crib. To be honest, I've tried to write it off for a long time as a dream.
I got to thinking about it recently though. I was only a couple years old. I didn't know what scary stories were, I didn't understand the concept of death or ghosts or demons. I was pretty voraciously sheltered until I was about 5 or 6, and then my brother started in with the scary movies. Is it normal for babies to dream of things like that? I know there's the old internet 'fact' about only being able to dream of faces you've seen before, not being able to create new faces. I don't know if that's actually true, or if it even applies to shadow creatures, but I know I wouldn't have seen anything like that as a child. So I either conjured it in my imagination, or maybe it was something real?
In the above section I only wanted to include what I distinctly remember. But there are more things from that night that I believe happened, they just are a bit more fuzzy. I clearly remember the glowing red eyes and pitch black shape. There were two windows on the opposite wall and I vividly remember the moonlight streaming in through them, before one window - the one on the right - was mostly occluded by the black mass. The fuzzy part is that I remember thinking that it was like a dog, but I don't remember if it was the shape of a dog, or just a black mass at about large dog height. I also think I remember it making a low growling sound, but that could just be my imagination.
That nursery was remodeled into a guest room when we got older, and after I moved out for college, that became the room I stay in any time I visit. To this day, I cannot sleep in that room without a light on. I'm still uncomfortable in there and my anxiety spikes at night if I have to sleep there.
I've looked into Black Dogs, demon dogs and Death Omens, but I don't believe that anything happened around that time? My grandpa would have lived another year or so and he's the only one that passed when I was a kid. No major life changes either.
Has anyone heard of anything like this? Not necessarily a Black Dog in a demon dog sense, but something similar? Possibly a different shadow creature with glowing red eyes? Or does anyone know if this just sounds like normal baby imagination?
Please let me know! Thank you!