In 2010 I was sent by my PhD supervisor to attend a summer school at the Cargèse Institute of Scientific Studies (Institute d'Etudes Scientifiques de Cargèse). The school lasted for two weeks. The institute is about a 30 minute walk away from the village of Cargèse, and due to limited accommodation on the institute grounds, I was put up in a house in the village. The institute referred to it as the "Leca Maison". It was a three storey building, and I was staying with three other French delegates on the second floor. This level was accessed by a curving staircase up to the front door. Immediately upon entering the house, my bedroom was on the left. My bedroom had two beds (one empty, the other for me), a bedside cabinet, a table and chair and a wardrobe. Other than this, it was completely bare.
You can view the house using Google Street View here
Usually, I'm skeptical about anything ghostly: whilst I did believe in spirits/demons before all this, I have always regarded the real thing as so rare that in almost all instances, there is a logical non-supernatural explanation. I have never had an experiences like what I'm going to describe here, and I dearly hope I will never again. I simply want to record this information here, where others can read it too.
Now to start, I must tell you that due to the heavy lecture schedule, I left the house every morning at about 08:15 and often did not return until 00:00 (due to eating in the village in the evenings and socializing with the other delegates after lectures). Therefore I only experienced things at night. I don't know if there would have been activity during the day. I expect so (you'll see why soon).
Also, at the time, I was spooked by each strange occurrence when it happened, but I didn't think anything of it until I got home and my parents (who picked me up from the airport) asked if I had been sleeping okay. When I told them that I had had lots of disturbed nights and described what happened, I was suddenly horrified by it all.
On one occasion I woke up suddenly, out of breath, panicked and hanging on to the mattress because some invisible force was gripping my upper left arm and pulling me out of bed. I pulled my arm back trying to stay in bed. It was very hot, and I think I was probably lying on my back, covers kicked off, with my left arm hanging out of the bed. It lasted long enough for me to think to myself: 1) "Remember you're awake, because you won't believe it later"; 2) "Don't be afraid because you are Christian, you believe and trust in Jesus and with that, nothing can hurt you." It stopped suddenly and I lay in bed awake for the rest of the night unable to sleep. I'm not sure exactly how long it lasted. Probably no more than a few seconds.
On another night, I was very thirsty, so I got a glass of water and put it on my bedside cabinet, which was out of reach of my bed unless I leant right out. I lay there for about half an hour on the surface of sleep before the glass was knocked over spilling water everywhere. I managed to catch the glass before it fell to the floor and broke. At the time I just assumed that I'd knocked it somehow, but in the light of other things, I'm not so sure. Also, on my bedside cabinet I had my Bible. Having caught the glass, the first thing I did was grab my Bible because I didn't want it to get wet. Luckily, the water had managed to completely avoid it and it had stayed dry. Now I wonder if the 1) presence of my bible and 2) the fact it did not get wet were mere coincidences?
On another occasion, I heard the front door open and slam at about 3am (which remember is right next to my bedroom door), and then someone walking in to the building and slamming/hitting all the doors. They walked up and down the hallway doing this for quite a while making a huge noise. At the time, I thought it was one of my French house mates back late from the village having drunk too much (hence crashing into doors). I didn't think to ask them the next day (by this point I was not at all suspicious), but I can tell you that they all made it to lectures at 9am the next morning and also that there is no "night-life" in Cargèse. It seems unlikely that someone would be that inconsiderate anyway by being so purposely noisy. I asked a couple of them about the racket as well and they said that they hadn't heard anything, but that they sleep very deeply and probably wouldn't hear anything anyway.
The other big thing to happen was me being woken up suddenly by a massive bang. It was so loud I thought they was someone in the house with a shotgun. They bangs happened intermittently with a spacings of about 15 seconds to a minute. The whole house (doors, windows, floor, my bed) shook with every bang. I lay there listening to it for about 15 minutes trying to work out what it was and if it was inside the house. Then my bedroom swung door open, so I got up, turned the light on and checked the house. I checked all the rooms, the front door, the windows and the shutters to see what it could be. I also hung out the window to listen for noise outside. I didn't find/hear anything so I went back to bed, and it was quiet for the rest of the night. The other three people in the house didn't hear anything, but again they said that they all sleep very deeply and never wake up. None of the delegates I asked who were living in the village heard any commotion in the night either.
Here are some other small observations that might be nothing: My bedroom lights were intermittent. Often you would flick the switch and nothing would happen. Then you could flick it again a few minutes later and the light would work. The light never turned itself on in my room, but would sometimes turn itself off. That could be poor electrics I guess. Also, the light in the hall way (not near the other bedrooms, but by the front door) had a habit of always being turned on the next morning, even if though I specifically turned it off either before going to bed, or during the night (if it had been left on). That could have been one of my flat mates being lazy with the lights though. Also, the wardrobe in my bedroom (which I didn't use - I just lived out of my case) was freezing. I only went in there the once at the start of the school just to look. When I opened it, I thought to myself, "Woah that's cold. I hope I haven't just disturbed a ghost!"...little did I know. Finally, on my first night I woke up feeling very 'unstable'. It felt just like my bed was floating and swaying about, like it was on a rough sea. Perhaps that was just one too many Pietras (a Corsican beer) but I didn't drink much on any evening while I was there. I was so tired at this point, I think I just went back to sleep and ignored it.
I guess there are possible logical explanations for everything I've described, hence why I wasn't too bothered by it at the time, but in hindsight and with them all occurring together, I'm not so sure. Especially as I did a little internet research and found an account from a researcher who went with his wife to the Cargèse Institute in 1991 for a summer school (19 years ago) and stayed in a flat which sounded very similar to the one I stayed in, in terms of location, steps up to front door, surroundings, etc. He and his wife experienced a number of the same things I did. He wrote it all down so he wouldn't forget the details and the account I read is his shortened version which he put on the internet. You may read it here if you want. Read comment 10 on this page: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/i-dont-believe-in-ghosts-but/page-3/
The house description and location sounds very similar to the place I stayed. The catholic church from my window was hidden behind another building, but trust me, it is there. The cleaners and ice cream shop were literally just down the road (measurable in yards, towards the village). The gardens down to the ocean and the distance is all about right. The curvy stairway is there. It seems he stayed on the top (third floor) while I was on the second. In particular he experienced a pool of water on top of a cabinet (like me), foot steps and front door noises (like me), and plenty of other stuff. This cannot be a coincidence. Some of this happened in the day as well, so I wonder if the spirit I experienced would have been active too if I was around in the day to witness it.
Finally, what strikes me is that whatever it was only seemed to target me and the activity focused around my room. Nobody else heard or experienced anything to my knowledge. I am left wondering if my presence there as a Christian with a Bible in full view (surely not such an unusual thing?) may have triggered the spirit to act in the way it did... Maybe to scare me away as it took exception to me? I've heard stories in the past about 'ghosts' getting very upset when a priest enters the house it's inhabiting. Also, I consider it strange that I didn't start piecing together the individual events to until after I'd left and was back in the UK. Ordinarily, if one of these events had happened I would have been quite scared by it and not been comfortable going back, but for the most part I was chilled out after each thing and either fell asleep again, or (in the case of the arm pulling) had forgotten about it by the next night.
You may also have noticed that I've been referring to whatever it was as a spirit. I'm loathed to use the word "ghost" since that implies that it's a trace of a human who has died. The Bible tells us that people do not remain on earth in anyway when they die (Gen. 3:19, Eccl. 12:7, Heb. 9:27 and others). I therefore believe what I experienced to have been a malevolent spirit/demon. I wonder if in the past somebody staying in the house has dabbled in the occult?
Well, that's my story. It's still fresh in my mind because I keep going over it. I also wrote it down soon after I got back to the UK, so I wouldn't forget it.