The old house hasn't thrown any surprises at us for a while now so I thought I'd share a few older stories of strange but true encounters. I know they're true because they actually happened to me.
If you're here at this site, then like me you probably have a penchant for the spookier side of life, so I'll assume that you're familiar with Nicole Kidman's movie, The Others. Nicole plays the mother of two young children and is convinced her house is haunted. In one scene her character comes across a small figure sitting on the floor draped in a semi-transparent sheet, and in my opinion it's one of spookier scenes from the movie. Now imagine encountering a scene like that in real life. I don't have to imagine it, because I lived it.
I start work at 6am so I'm up well before the rest of my family and am usually at work before anyone else has even begun stirring. I prefer to shower in the morning so in order to avoid disturbing the rest of the house I shower with the bathroom door closed and the lights off, at least all of the lights off bar the bathroom. This means the hallway which the bathroom and our bedrooms open on to is only illuminated by the light from the bathroom.
This bathroom and hallway are actually the setting for all three of my short stories.
One morning as I was drying myself off after my shower, I thought I heard the door rattling. I stopped and looked at the door, then thought I must have been imagining things which is when the door handle gave a couple of distinct shakes. Someone on the other side was obviously trying the handle as if to open the door. For a second I felt safe in the knowledge that I was on the other side of the door, and then I thought of my wife and children asleep in their beds, and I summoned my courage, grabbed the door handle and pulled the door open to confront whatever was on the other side.
Another morning I opened the door and my blood ran cold, and I just froze in place at what I saw. Unlike the first morning there had been no warning rattle from the door handle, nothing to prepare me for the sight of a small figure draped in a white sheet, sitting just a couple of feet in front of me. Yes, just like The Others, and yes, it really happened.
Not too long ago I'd just given my daughter her bath, and because we have a new puppy who likes to explore anywhere and everywhere we've begun closing the doors to all the rooms which are off limits to her; this includes the bathroom.
Just as I pulled the bathroom door closed behind me I heard two knocks come from the other side. My daughter and I had just left the bathroom so I knew it was empty, and those knocks had definitely been on the other side of the door. Sometimes being an adult, especially a father, is not all it's cracked up to be. Exploring strange sounds from empty rooms is all part of the job.
You're wondering what had been rattling the door handle as I was drying myself, right?
I'm not sure who got the bigger shock as I pulled the door open; my young son, or myself. His bedroom is right next to the bathroom and he'd woken up as I took my shower. Wanting to see his Dad it had been he who'd been trying to push open the door when I pulled it open.
The figure under the white sheet? That was my little boy as well. This time he'd got one of his little chairs and set it outside the door, then for some inexplicable reason he'd chosen to drape his white crocheted blanket over his head before sitting down to wait for me to come out.
Finally, the knocks from the other side of the door-knocks on a door from an empty room? We had one of those expandable shower rods, and as we were no longer using it (but I hate throwing things away) it had been standing in the corner behind the door. I'd hung my daughter's towel up on the rack right next to the shower rod, which pushed it off balance, and as I'd fully closed the door the rod had over balanced all the way and rolled across the face of the door. Being a paneled door with two slightly recessed sections, as the rod rolled across the door it rolled into and back out of these two recessed sections, and that's what had made the knocking sounds.
I do believe in spirits, but sometimes there are also very real explanations for things that go bump in the night.