My children's maternal grandmother lives in an average mid-terrace, early Edwardian property in Hertfordshire. It's a comfortable sized house (not two up two down) with an attic bedroom which has a very large dormer window on one side and a smaller window facing the main road, and a standard flight of stairs leading to it. In Spring 2001 I worked in London and my partner was working locally, bringing up our daughter. We were temporarily living with her mother.
One evening I returned from work and went straight upstairs to the room. My partner and daughter were both asleep in bed. I decided not to disturb them and to go back downstairs for something to eat. Beforehand though, as always I started to quietly change out of my suit. I had taken off my jacket and was unbuttoning my shirt, whilst looking in the half-light of the evening for an appropriate place to temporarily hang my clothes when I realized that a young woman was standing in the doorway, not 3 yards away from me watching me undress. I thought it was either a friend of my partner's sister (who was 16) or a friend of their mum, but it didn't occur to me that this could be anything other than a person in the house who I didn't know that had inadvertently stumbled into the room. We looked directly at each other for about 5 seconds (I was deliberating whether to ask if she wanted something in particular) before she turned on her heel and exited the room. I immediately followed her, and of course, she had vanished before making the descent of the stairs. I thought still at this point she had possibly left in a hurry due to embarrassment.
All the while, my partner and daughter remained asleep in the bed right next to us. I went downstairs and asked my partner's mother if someone else was in the house, and she confirmed that she and a (very masculine looking) male friend of hers had been the only ones in the house, and had remained in the front room all evening, and that the sister was out that night at a friend's house.
So I had to draw my own conclusions. This was a young woman/teenager, probably aged between 16 and 20. She had very plain clothes on, nothing spectacularly old-fashioned, or stylish. Just the sort of clothes the lady at the library might wear (if you pardon my expression), quite fitted like a working woman. She had her hair tied back in a style no different to girls at any time in the 20th century. She looked at me slightly as if she was ashamed about something. She was solid, albeit totally silent. She vanished on the stairs, but not before turning round the corner as if to make the descent. I have no ideas about the history of the house, except that it was built in 1903, and nothing similar has happened since.
As an extra, within days of this encounter I was involved in a very serious car accident, in which my friend and I were utterly unharmed, despite complete devastation to the car a motorway street-lamp and barriers. I've allowed myself over the years to associate the two.
Any thoughts anyone?