This occurred in March 1992. I vividly remember the occasion as if it had happened yesterday.
It was a Sunday afternoon in early March; typically for the time of year; cold, windy and rather gloomy. I had had lunch; there was a nice log fire in the sitting room, the TV was on, and I settled in my arm chair to watch the afternoon film. There was one slight drawback to my comfy little world - I would have to return to work about 4 pm. I was employed as a stockman and there were cattle to be fed.
My cottage was situated in a hamlet in the county of Dorset in southern England. The few houses in the hamlet were spread over a wide area. I had one close neighbour but the other houses were some distance away.
The cottage was said to date from the seventeenth century, and in a former life, the lean-to shed which was then my garage, had been the village Blacksmith's workplace where all the working horses in the area would come for re-shoe-ing. The garage still bears signs of a soot blackened wall presumably from the forge.
Up to this time I had lived in the cottage for eight years, almost without any untoward incidences. I say almost, because every once in a while I would swear I heard a child coughing. There was also the time when late one night I heard what sounded like grown-up's heavy footsteps slowly climbing the stairs. The seventh stair always creaked, and it creaked on this night. The hair on the back of my neck stood-up and I waited for the bedroom door to open. But it didn't.
One afternoon, I was having a casual chat with one of my neighbours who was quite excited about some of the results she had uncovered when delving into the history of the hamlet. "And did you know that two children had died from consumption in your house?" She exclaimed. Consumption is the ancient name for tuberculoses or TB. No, I didn't know, but in an unlikely way, it may be an explanation why I would imagine I occasionally hear a child coughing. Let me make it quite clear, I was neither a believer nor non-believer in anything to do with the paranormal.
As a precaution, I locked the cottage door as the stairs went up just inside the front door. A Sunday afternoon intruder could help himself from upstairs and I would be none the wiser. Also, I had friends who sometimes arrived unannounced on a Sunday. Their young boy aged four would race in and climb all over me if I was having a doze. If they arrive I would unlock the door and let them in.
I had been having a nap. When I awoke, I immediately became aware that I was not alone. The TV was still on and the fire had burned low. My first reaction was how my friends had got in since I distinctly remembered locking the door. Then I realised that the little person standing close-by wasn't my friend's young boy...
Imagine you are sitting in a chair facing the TV. To your right, and angled a little forward, is a small person. I didn't have to turn my head, just moving my eyes a little to the right gave me a good view. Standing not more than three feet away appearing to be watching the TV screen, was a small child. It was standing so close to the arm of my chair I could not see anything below its waist. I estimated the height to be in the three feet region, 90 cm.
The child was dressed in a smock with, and what I still remember most vividly, a deep - about five inches wide - beautiful lace collar. The front of the smock was gathered into what I can only describe as narrow pleats in a line across the chest and just below the level of the collar points. The hair appeared to be well brushed, covering the ears and must have been longer than shoulder length because I could not see the lower line. I had a clear side-view of the child's pretty face.
All the while the child was staring intently at the TV screen. Not once did it move. I have no idea what sex it was. It could easily have been a young boy with long hair and wearing a smock. The most striking thing was the colour. Everything I could see was a pale lemon colour, the hair, skin and the smock-all a lemon yellow colour.
I don't know how long I had observed this child - but it was probably no more than two minutes. I had decided to attempt to make some sort of contact. I decided to turn my head and look straight at it. That was a mistake. As my eyes faced it head on it very slowly disappeared. My feelings at the time were a mixture of joy and sadness, and definitely not scary. I never saw it again.
I moved from the cottage a few years later and have never met the new owners. If I did, I doubt if I would tell them of the little lost child. But who knows - perhaps they sometimes hear a child with a nasty cough.