I hope it is ok to include all of my happenings into one story, it will be a long one, but I feel they all have a connection in some way.
I have lived in the small town of Tulare, CA my whole life. Between the 2 houses I have lived in, I have experienced many things that can be classified as paranormal. I come from a somewhat religious family; we do not attend church regularly however we are of the Christian faith. There is only one other person in my house that believes in the paranormal and she does not doubt anything I've told her.
When I was very young (too young to remember) my parents told me I had horrible night terrors. They would hear me screaming and when they came to investigate I would be terrified of the "snakes in the corner" of my room or "the people outside". Of course these things never really existed and were apparently part of my dreams. My first encounter with the paranormal I can remember is the day after my Grandmother passed away. I was sleeping in my parents' bed (as I did for the first few years of my life since I was terrified of the dark and the things in it), and I awoke at some point in the night. I lifted my head to turn over and go back to sleep, when I looked to my left and saw my grandmother. She was yellowish/white all over as if being projected from a movie projector and it looked like she was sorting through papers on my mother's dresser. I got scared, put my head back down and shut my eyes tight, eventually falling back asleep.
The second encounter was in the same house about a year after my first encounter. I was sleeping in my own room that I shared with my brother. He slept with his radio on at night, which was an old receiver that had an orange backlight when powered on. One night I woke up because of a cold breeze on my face which wasn't unusual since the house was old and pretty drafty. When I opened my eyes I saw a dull white blur move out the bottom of my vision (I was laying on my side) and the room was still. As I was calming down, the power on my brother's radio switched off, startling me under the covers. After a few minutes I poked my head back out but saw nothing the rest of the night.
I recall having dreams around this time about people with red eyes. They would either be looking in my bedroom window (which had no blinds) or I would be looking down the path through the living room, kitchen, and into a hallway we called the breezeway, and there would be a tall dark figure in a robe with glowing red eyes that scared me so much it snapped me awake.
All was calm for a while, until my entire family started hearing pounding. It sounded like someone was charging full speed and ramming into doors in the middle of the night. We didn't think too much of it as the house was old and made noises, but they frightened me nonetheless.
At a friend's birthday party, who lived on the same street as me, sometime between 3am and 4am him and all of his friends were all fast asleep all over the dark living room. I have always had trouble sleeping, so I was up playing Super Nintendo as I usually did when I couldn't sleep. I heard banging of pots in his kitchen (behind me and around the corner from the living room). I assumed his cat was in the cupboard knocking stuff around. His mother came out directly after the noise and asked what I was doing as if blaming me for it. Of course I said I was just playing games, so she went to the kitchen and found every cabinet door wide open. This was my only experience out of my own home.
We moved to another house across town when I was 11, and everything was pretty calm until I was about 13 or 14. I started sleepwalking again, and would wake up in strange places. The last time I remember that happening, I woke up in front of our front door. It was open and I was staring out into the darkness. I do not recall dreams when this would happen, and I usually was only frightened because I was suddenly standing in a dark room for no reason.
We took a fishing trip to Pismo beach a few years ago a couple of months after my friend's grandmother had passed away, so we stayed in her trailer park home there. I slept in the living room on a cot; my 2 friends were on the pullout bed. I was having trouble sleeping as usual, and I kept hearing "tick-tick" quickly, about every 10 seconds. I thought it was something outside because it was windy so I forgot about it. As I lay in the dark thinking, out of nowhere I hear a horrible loud screeching/static sound that sounded like it was being played out of a speaker at full volume. She had a record player in the living room, so I knew where the sound was coming from. As I lay with my hands over my ears, I was amazed that my friends did not wake up and my father (light sleeper) and his friend did not come out of their rooms. After less than a minute, I jumped up and ran to the record player. The selector switch did not turn it on or stop the noise, so I removed the speaker wire from the speaker closest to me, which stopped the noise altogether. To this day I don't know what caused that and why disabling one speaker stopped the other as well, especially if the thing had no power to begin with. Nobody else in the house heard the noise, which I can't believe because it was so loud. I managed to fall asleep for about an hour, which made for a rough day on the sea.
Things had been pretty well since then, until the middle of June this year. I had a nightmare that I was looking into my bathroom mirror, and as I slowly got closer to the mirror, my reflection turned into a horrifying girl/woman (hard to tell the age) with solid black eyes with a very threatening glare. I "woke up" but was paralyzed. This was definitely not my first encounter with sleep paralysis, but definitely the scariest. After about 10 seconds of panic and fear, still seeing the girl's face in my mind, I managed to regain control and roll over. When I did, I saw a black robed figure standing in front of the window next to the bed, looking at me. I saw no face or eyes, but I got the feeling it was female. When I saw it, I was not so much scared as unreasonably angry. When I saw the figure I immediately became furious. All I could do is shut my eyes. When I woke up again, it was daytime and the feelings of fear and anger were gone.
After stumbling upon instances of shadow people online, which I had never read about before, I knew what it was that I saw. I read about the "hat man" and the "robed figure" that people commonly report seeing and the robed figure matched perfectly. Since that night, I have had sleep paralysis a few times and only had one nightmare that I can remember. I had a dream that I had sleep paralysis and finally broke out of it, ran calling my mother, but nobody was in the house. I turned around and saw a female sitting at a desk, who looked dead (slumped over with her face downward). Finally I snapped awake for real.
Since then I can NOT sleep in a dark room. When I do, I get a sinking feeling and feel like there's someone there, but there never is when I look around. If I sleep with the TV on, which is what I've been doing, I feel safer, yet I still feel like someone is watching me from afar. This feeling is intensified if I'm alone in the house. It may just be paranoia but I can't shake it. I have recently started taking a medication for depression, which has put me in a better mood. Since then I haven't seen anything or had sleep paralysis, but I still can't get rid of the feeling of something being there. I still wake up every night around 3 or 4 soaked with sweat, but that has been happening for a long time.
My mother has also shared her experience with sleep paralysis in our current home. She says it does not happen often, but when it does she hears 2 people whispering. She has also had dreams about seeing the "gates of hell" in our living room as she described it, but I can pass that off as just another dream.
I'm wondering if all of these experiences could be tied together, as if something has followed me from my childhood home. It strikes me as odd that these things would start happening, then stop for upward of a couple of years, then start again at random times. Could this just be an overactive imagination? I'm 22 now and should not have to sleep with a TV on! I would love to hear your opinions.