This is about an entity I've come to think of as Tweed. Because the first time I saw him he was wearing a tweed jacket, and it changed something in me. Sometimes hauntings come from a location, sometimes an object or sometimes a person. I think Tweed might have come from the location.
In the mid 80's, I was around four or five, we lived in a house on Hotham Street in Box Hill. However, when I checked it out on google maps the suburb now says Mont Albert, bordering suburb. But I've based my research on Box Hill because that's what the address was back then.
Many of Melbourne's older suburbs were named after towns in England by the predominately English white settlers. The city of Melbourne is mapped out in a grid, modelled on London. Box Hill is named after a place in Surrey, England. It's just outside the main city of Melbourne, outside of the grid. It seems the white settlers were the first people on the land, which would make for a nice change. Many Australian towns have brutal histories of white settlers stealing land, and enslaving the original indigenous owners. Similar to America's history. But I'm not finding any indigenous history for Box Hill in my research.
Hotham Street in the 80's was a hodgepodge of homes from the 1920's or 30's era and some more modern 60's brick homes. We lived in one of the '30's houses. It was sandwiched between another 1930's looking home and a block of units which were orange brick, probably built in the 50's or 60's. We were right near the corner of Whitehorse Road, next to the brick units. Whitehorse Road is one of the early roads in the town, now a main road.
According to Wikipedia in the late 1800's Box Hill was favoured by artists who wanted to paint the Australian bush. It was also home to farming, orchards and vineyards. I've written about the Hotham Street house before here with Chalk Man and those weird things that sounded like reverb:
Behind our yard was a paddock with at least one horse. We used to feed the horse from our back fence. Down the road a bit was a laneway which must have been near a vineyard at some point because there were a lot of vines rambling up the trees and around the grass. The laneway was very dark, dense and lush. It lead to the horse paddock around the back. Beautiful place.
This happened around the time of Chalk Man and the other weird things I experienced at this house. I don't know which came first.
Well, my bedroom was a pretty simple affair, the bed was under a window. The window had some kind of curtains which were quite sheer. There was a street light that shone in from somewhere. It was quite light in there with the lights off. When I was in bed the window was to my left. My bedroom was down the side of the house, neither front nor back, in the middle. Outside my window was the side fence and a tree. A spindly tree/shrub thing. Tall but rambling, possibly a tea tree.
One night I woke up and saw a peculiar looking man in the tree outside my window. He was sitting back in the branches like he was quite accustomed to doing so. I wasn't afraid, but curious. I liked to climb trees, but I was sure this tree wasn't strong enough to climb. I could see him where the curtains hung out from the window. My pillow was maybe two feet from where the window started. So I was seeing him from the end of the curtain. The tree was not terribly sturdy. It didn't make a lot of sense. He sat there looking at me and I kept looking at him. His demeanour seemed relaxed.
His skin was pale and sort of reflecting the street light. But his nose had my full attention, it was so long, big and unusual, shaped like a toucan's beak. It jutted out about six inches, like a toucan. His mouth seemed wide. He wore a tweed jacket or coat. I don't recall his eyes, well I think they were large. His hair looked teased or like it had been left to it's own devices. I couldn't get over his nose though. I think he had dark pants, he seemed quite lanky.
You could say I dreamt it and I might have. But it felt so real and vivid. I was into wandering around the house at night if I woke up, little weirdo that I was. But that night I stayed in bed and just watched this nose guy in tweed. I don't know how long it lasted but I know it was peaceful. Probably drifted back to sleep. That's the end of that memory.
I think we need to talk about what a little psychopath fashionista I was as a toddler. Back then I had ugly thoughts about what people wore, constantly. We'd be anywhere and I'd be judging everyone based on their fashion choices or lack there of.
My inner dialogue ran like: 'Not with that eyeshadow, honey' and 'Why is she wearing that belt with that hairdo?' And 'As if anyone's going to take him seriously in that jumper'. I never said these things out loud, but I constantly judged fashion. If anyone wore one of those one long sleeve with one bare arm monstrosities I practically lost my s&*#. But never outwardly showed it. Okay, so to this day I still haven't forgiven the one long sleeve one bare arm crime against fashion. But the rest I grew out of.
After seeing Tweed at the window I became obsessed with anything tweed. I wanted to know if we had any more tweed in the house. Because mum had a grey tweed jacket. I can't say tweed was my favourite fashion textile at that age. I was into hot pink, lycra and sequins. But I guess that started to change. I became obsessed with finding the same tweed tree guy was wearing.
I would stare at mum's tweed coat or granddad's tweed hat and ask questions about how it was done. 'How do they get the colours in there like that?', 'What holds it all together?', 'How does the pattern come together?' I never got a satisfactory response to my child understanding. Only that it involved wool and spinning and things I couldn't comprehend. But it all sounded quite amazing.
The second time I saw, what I think was Tweed, was at another property in Box Hill. My parents were constantly splitting and getting back together back then. When they split, this time, I went with mum to the top of a terrace. It was a flat above my grandmother's florist shop.
One night, around tea time, I heard a fight in the street below. Mum wasn't bothered by the fight but I went to the window. Saw some guys going at it on the street, likely drunk. But I also saw a pink figure, like a dull neon light, peering over the fence on the corner. The shop/terrace was on a corner and there was a driveway or loading spot to the side with a fence/gate around the back. I could see where the fence/gate began. This pink thing had a long nose, like the tree guy, and was peering over the fence presumably at the brawl. The fight ended as soon as it began, just a couple of yahoos.
I told mum there was someone behind the fence but, because of the brawl, she took it the wrong way and called the police. I couldn't get her to listen. So the police came and I guess I told them there was a pink man with a long nose looking over the fence. There's this hazy memory of a rather bemused older man with a younger looking chap in tow and mum talking a lot.
Next time was at my grandmother's place. Parents were splitting again, this time for good. My grandmother's shop had moved down the road to the arcade so the terrace could be demolished to make way for a parking lot. Not even a good one, just a block of bitumen which next to no one used. It's still there today, but everyone parks on the street. Let's hear it for the 1980's Box Hill council!
So I was staying at my grandmother's house in Ferntree Gully. It was Christmas time, don't know before or after Christmas but the tree was up. Her tree was probably from the 50's or 60's. It was about 5 ft, wire frame with green tinsel for leaves. It was quite gaudy. My grandmother was a pianist.
One night I had it in mind to get up late and play piano in the dark. Like that would be so gothic and cool. (Hey, it would.) So I did, but I saw some pink outside from the window next to the piano. First I thought it was reflection from the Christmas tree but it was moving across, not dangling or static, like any tree ornaments. I kept watching, it looked like the same pink figure in the police report. This time, perhaps like the fence time, it was like an outline, aura, or neon sign or a drawing. But moving like any person. I think he looked up at me, or towards where I was, which scared me and I went back to bed.
Didn't get to fulfil my goth purpose. Just as well. The piano was outside my grandmother's bedroom. Not the best of ideas.
I would have been about six then. My grandmother's house was single story but the front was elevated. The front windows looked over the yard at about a second story height. The figure was moving between the border of the neighbour's yard. There was a short fence that ran along between the yards. But the fence had come apart and been removed along where the pink figure was moving. I don't remember which direction he was moving, towards where I was, or towards the neighbours. Only that I got jumpy when his head faced my direction. I think I was shocked to see him again.
Only while typing these occurrences up have I noticed the window theme. Well, the next time broke that trend.
Much time had passed, possibly ten years. My parents had well and truly separated. I was now a teenager and Ouija boards were of great interest to me. I managed to summon the so called 'Charlie demon'. Only I didn't know about 'Charlie' until I joined YGS and realized I'd been paranormally punked all those years ago. Long story short through the Ouija board I contacted some creep calling himself Charlie. The next few months were bothersome to put it mildly. I'm not anti Ouija boards, quite the contrary, but I am anti misusing them. I was writing the handbook on Ouija misconduct as a teenager.
That creep's reign of terror included touches, inappropriate ones at that, a general sense of foreboding, and one creepy apparition. It left me very fatigued and filled with self doubt. I'll write about that one day. I believe I let in some creep human ghost.
Some time after, when things had returned to normal, I saw Tweed again. This time I'd just gone to bed. I heard something like a quiet bump near my bedroom door. I could see a silhouette and barely make out the same tweed coat, messy hair and nose from the tree all those years ago. He was standing near my door, watching me I guess. I could see the wall behind him, so he was pretty transparent. He tilted his head slightly, like a pleasantry. Then faded away. It was nice, like the time at Hotham Street. But this had happened in a house we were renting in Ferntree Gully. Second time I'd seen him in this suburb.
The last time was a couple of years ago. This time it was very different because it was a dream. But it was the most revealing interaction I've had with this entity. I believe it was a visitation dream.
In the dream I was working in a haberdashery store in Ferntree Gully. This store existed in the 80's and 90's and was possibly there before I was born, but I never worked there.
It's daytime, a dark cloudy day. Interior lights are on, warm light, the old style globes. I'm working behind the counter. A man walks into the store and comes up to the counter. He looks familiar, hands me his coat. I can't place him. He's wearing black, no tweed. He says something to me in a different language. I don't know the language but understand the message 'You're beautiful, I see you'.
The dream changes scene. I'm now standing in a disused room in a large home, it's night time the lights are off. This room is filled with old furniture, and statues, some covered with sheets. There are a couple of pianos in this room. I can see an expansive garden outside.
I go to play one of the pianos. But tweed guy, still wearing black, and looking like a normal person stops me. I didn't realize/know he was there. He says (in his own language) 'Don't play them. We have to go.'
The scene changes. Now we're standing on a road, or driveway outside same house, it's still night. There are a lot of people, very rowdy, it's a street party. They don't see me, or Tweed guy in black. Something is coming, a bright light far down the road. Too bright, too big to be a car. It's slowly getting closer. I become aware they can't see the light. The closer it gets the more reckless the party seems. I begin to understand the light is the pandemic. I realize who the foreign language guy is. We walk through the party, which makes me nervous. I ask 'Are you sure they don't know we're here?' He nods. I understand we have to get out of the road before the light arrives. We briskly walk across a lawn toward a forest. Dream ends.
A theme in dreams for me is houses, usually big elaborate olden day ones, but from any era really. I will dream of either hidden rooms in homes I know, or homes I don't know but know in a dream sense. In these dreams I'm always alone and I always explore. They're nice dreams.
This dream is different. I can hear people in other rooms, or outside, but I can't see them. This was a first.
When he says 'you're beautiful, I see you'. I understood it to be an inner beauty, not a come on. In the dream I recognize him, his face is familiar. But I've not seen him before. I think I was recognizing his energy signature, even though it was registering as his face.
When I thought about this dream the next day I realized the coat he handed me at the beginning was the tweed one. But I don't know if I carried it from scene to scene.
At the time I dreamt this I was going through a divorce. Never thought I'd say that, but then, does anyone? Perhaps the timing was key. It's a huge adjustment. We were together for eleven years. Even though it ended, I consider it a successful marriage. We fell out of love, but we'll always care for each other.
More recently, inspired by that dream, I began researching the Box Hill area. I was born in Box Hill on the kitchen floor of a house in James Street. I wrote about that house in Green Room, well the house opposite actually. But James Street is not far from Hotham Street.
I didn't know about the Box Hill artists camp, which was a movement in the early years of Box Hill. On the city's Wikipedia page there's a painting:
'Down On His Luck' I instantly recognized this painting. It was everywhere when I was a youngen. I also recognized the style belonging to another three panel painting, same artist. This one:
'The Pioneer' I knew the story of The Pioneer as a kid. It fascinated me. Staring at these paintings as a kid I used to imagine fairies in them. Because it looked like a fairy wonderland, the colours and the light are both dreamy and earthy. This is when I started to move away from my hot pink lycra ways and stopped judging people by their clothes.
As a kid I always thought of Tweed as some kind of nature spirit, and he could be. But I treated my research as if he was human. I looked into tweed textiles and, after all these years, matched the tweed. It's Donegal tweed, Irish.
The style of coat/jacket looks similar to this:
But he wore/wears it unbuttoned or halfway buttoned. The colour is beige or fawn, with brown buttons, like this:
His language could be Irish/Gaelic, that would match the tweed style. I don't have any Irish in my family to my knowledge. It's Scottish on my mother's side and English on my father's. But it's possible he's one of the Irish settlers. Or came in with some Irish settlers as a nature spirit, adorning their fashion, as some tend to do.
The nose thing, I looked into WW2 prosthetics, and nothing matched. The closest I can describe is resembling a Casanova mask, or plague mask. Except it doesn't seem to be a mask.
Not long after meeting my stepmum dad moved from Hotham Street. My stepmum, biggest refuter of anything supernatural, HATED the Hotham house. She said it was too dark and depressing and would change the subject. She does that whenever weird stuff is afoot. I think there was magic in that house. The house they moved to was near identical to the Hotham one. It was obviously the same plan with a few tweaks. That always amused me.
We were the last ones to live there. It was demolished in the late 80's or early 90's. Just before it was pulled down we went there. I'd been pestering to visit it for some time. Anyway we went with one of my friends, met dad there, had a bit of a picnic on the old back lawn. It was a great day. My stepmum didn't come lol. Weird everything seemed smaller because I was older. We were going to go inside but looking in the windows someone had left rusty old tools and nails strewn around. The old double doors of the lounge were gone. So were the light shades and a stained glass window taken out. Nice to think there might still be a bit of the old house in use today.
I've been looking at Irish farming pictures and depictions from the late 1800's, early 1900's. The clothing seems to match Tweed's coat. So I'm fairly confident he's either an Irish settler or an Irish wee one who hitched a ride. Whoever or whatever he is I'm glad to know him. He's instilled in me a love of tweed too, obviously.
As always I'm open to a natter, opinions, observations and accusations of insanity are all welcome.
Thanks for reading.