Woo! I’m an official Cryptkeeper for this year’s Countdown to Halloween. I won’t be posting every day like some do, but I will be posting more than my usual once or twice a week. This year’s contributors actually include a bunch of blogs I’ve been known to read – including AEIOU and Sometimes Why, Branded inthe 80’s, Goodwill Hunting for Geeks, Neato Coolville, The Sexy Armpit and of course I-Mockery! just by standing next to these people I feel more legitimate :D. Kind of sad to see Adventures of a Geeky Vixen and Plaid Stallions aren't joining in this year and I do wonder why The Girl WhoLoves Horror never joins in, you’d think this’d be right up her alley? I guess they must have other stuff to do, but I don't, Halloween rocks, I'm not in a position to enjoy it as much as I used to be so writing about it will make me feel better about my lot in life!
Anyway, I shall be using Countdown to Halloween to post about anything remotely horror and/or monster related, I cannot promise some of it won’t be tenuously linked but even tenuously linked is still linked right? right? Guys? Anyway to start things off here’s a few creepy but completely true encounters from my worthless little life.
#5 The Monster in Next Door’s Garden
Primer: we have a large chest freezer in our shed that we store most of our food in, often when I wake up in the middle of the night starving there’s nothing in the small freezer up here so I have to go to the chest freezer, I don’t just walk down the garden at 1 in the morning for the fun of it, though being out in the dark when no one else is around is pretty fun.
So while walking down the garden at 1 in the morning, I live in a row of terrace houses and we have long but not very wide gardens separated by shoulder high wooden fences, I disturbed… something scratching around in next door’s garden and pissed it off, for the whole walk back from the shed it caterwauled, sounding like a mix between a road worker and the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, and as it’s gravelly angry growl-shouts screeched out the fence moved in and out, bulging, like it was moving in time with its screams and breathing. With this beast going off behind such a high fence and me being far too concerned for my safety to look over it, I never saw the thing, or how it could make fences bow with it’s just its voice.
What was it? I’m still not certain: we have a lot of foxes ‘round here, some even live in an overgrown garden next-door-but-one, or did when this happened, though whatever it was didn’t make any sounds that I’ve ever heard of a fox make, and I’ve heard a surprisingly lot of fox noises, as the little bastards honk and screech all night just outside my window, we also get the odd badger and heron and I have no idea what a pissed off badger sounds like. As for the breathing fences, it could easily have been that most cliché of things: just the wind; it was a particularly windy night, though the fence on the other side of my garden wasn’t bowing.
#4 The Girl By My Door
One night I woke from a normal dream, it probably involved sex or school, they usually do, to see a girl by my doorframe, with long hair and robed in a long dress with long, flowing sleeves, she lowered her head, put her hands together as if to pray, and then faded away.
What was it? It was almost certainly a Sleep Paralysis Hallucination [http://www.livescience.com/49457-sleep-paralysis-hallucinations.html], I had these type of things infrequently when I was a teenager (when this happened) – hell one time I saw a huge tower of boxes and that scared me shitless (I have, I’m glad to say, not stayed a sufferer of cardboardophobia).
#3 The Girl at College
I went to a lot of colleges between the age of 16 and 25, this happened at the very last one I went to (and the only course I ever completed) shortly after the start of my second year: I was leaving for the day when lo I saw a girl standing around outside on a one-person-wide walkway in front of one of the buildings, leading from a main entrance to the driveway I was walking up, I noticed her because she was a little brunette and looked sad – wounded brunettes being a particular fetish of mine – she wore a thin blue hooded sweatshirt and a scarf, both of which were in fashion and it was autumn so nothing out of the ordinary there. I then looked away for a second, I can’t remember why, probably to make it look like I wasn’t perving when I so obviously was but maybe to rub my face and/or eyes as I often do, when I looked back she was gone. She hasn’t walked past me, nor joined the crowd leaving via the main walkway (trust me, I checked) and anyway I hadn’t looked away long enough for he to do either.
What was it? Not sure, it’s totally possible she did just run off to the main walkway and I couldn’t see her, if she’d’ve run fast I suppose she could have made it there. As for her being a ghost…well…if you were a teenager would you haunt a college when there was a perfectly good pub next door?
#2 The Skeleton in the Garden
Now an incredibly vivid childhood memory
Primer: my parents split up when I was small, until my dad’s side of the family moved away I would see him two days a week, usually Friday and Sunday, but physically I would go his parents, my grandparents, who lived about 3 streets away from my house, there were two ways for him to drive me home, down my nan’s road and then up Carter Drive to my road, or ‘the other way’: down Sheila Road and then up Carter Drive, which way we went depended solely on which way my dad had parked and how lazy he was feeling.
While driving me home the other way, and somehow it being the other way made it all the more creepy, a children’s perspective equivalent of driving down an rarely used backroad despite this being a residential street and a major cut through to get to a school, my dad turned from Shield Road to Carter Drive and as clear as day, there stood a skeleton in the garden of the house on the corner. The skeleton was sort of glowing, like when you close your eyes and see the impressions left by the light. I looked at it dead on for the whole time it took to turn the corner – I didn’t turn my head fast and see it for an instant, it wasn’t a blurred light or a my eyes playing tricks on me in a split-second sighting, it stood there, awkwardly posed, glowing. While it was dark (it was 9pm) it wasn’t close to Halloween season, I think it may have been December or January. After it was out of sight I looked at Dad to see if he’s seen it, he was still talking and looking straight ahead so I guessed he hadn’t, I never told him I saw it until I was an adult – his reaction ‘yeah? Huh” he can be an enthusiastic bastard my dad can, but not always.
What was it? No fucking clue. I maintain it wasn’t an old Halloween decoration, it didn’t look like one - it looked like a projection, a flat, slightly-transparent image rather than a plastic model or a cardboard cut-out - and it didn’t stand like one, and anyway Halloween wasn’t as big a deal over here as it was in America then (this was the early 90s) or is over here now. Of course it could have been.
#1. The Man in the Bus
I spent a few years practically living in an Alternative pub in Romford called The Bitter End, I certainly spent Saturday and Sunday nights there, and later at an Alternative night called Church of Rock, The Bitter End’s long closed and I stopped going to ‘COR’ after my breakdown and never started again, I miss them both. Sometimes if I was too skint or still had some energy to burn off or one or more of my mates was too skint and/or had some energy to burn off and wanted to do it, I’d walk home – it’s about a 50 minute walk from Romford town centre to where I live and actually only uses 3 roads (four if you take the shortcut), you go down North Street, past the bus garage, across the A12, then down Collier Row Road, past my doctor’s, cross the roundabout and I’m home. I still ‘walk it’ to and from Romford fairly regularly and it is fucking uneventful – except once.
Parked outside the bus garage was a bus, who’d’ve thought right? A couple of buses are usually left outside overnight but not in use, empty, lightly off and idle, because I guess they have too many buses for the garage. Honestly I’ve never thought anything of them leaving the buses outside until I wrote that last sentence, they just always did, but yeah I’m guessing it’s due to space, the garage was built a long time ago when there was less traffic and less buses on less bus routes. This night me and my mate walk between the empty buses and the empty bus garage on our way home from Romford, I don’t drink or do drugs – I’m not a straight edge crusader I just don’t care to – he does drink, with some gusto, and had been, so we have two people in two different state of minds. In the bus, in the dark, a bus that had been shut down for the night hours earlier (it was really late, like 1am) was a man, just sitting on the seat (one of the ones you’re supposed to give up for elderly, injured or mums with babies, the bastard), not moving, just staring forward, wide-eyed. He was fairly smartly dressed, casual suit and clean shaven, certainly not a tramp and he didn’t notice our presence at all, or say try to call for us to let him out of the bus he’d found himself trapped on, just sat there staring, the darkness making him look like he was in grayscale. I says to my mate “did you just…” He cuts me off with “yeah.”, said in a way that meant without a doubt “don’t talk about that” so I didn’t, and we returned to chatting about whatever crap we usually chat about, music and dick jokes probably.
What was it? Whatever it was it was definitely there – two people, one sober, one half-cut, both saw it independently of one another without the other pointing it out. I don’t think it was a hobo, he wasn’t dressed like he’d been sleeping rough or even for the cold weather and there was seemingly no belongings in the bus around him, no sleeping bag, no backpack or carrier bags, he was clean shaven, so if he was a tramp he was bloody new to it. It could just have been some bloke who got stuck on a bus, but if so why not bang on the window and see if we could help him? For that matter, why not be asleep at 1am, tramp or not?
Aaand I’ve just freaked myself out, I’m off to watch to the Care Bear Movie, thanks for reading about crap, be back soon for more crap!