Saturday, 11 August 2012

Footsteps in the night

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I once had a spooky experience which I've never been able to explain in a satisfactory way.

Many years ago when the kids were small, we booked a week’s holiday with my wife’s parents. It was a self-catering cottage in Somerset, a thatched cottage with beams, lots of character and attractive views from the rear garden.

It dated back to the seventeenth century and had been renovated and extended only a few years before our visit. We knew all this because the owners had left a folder with a brief history of the cottage and details of the restoration.

The bedrooms were all upstairs off a long landing, the kid’s room being at the far end, ours in the middle and my wife’s parents next to us.

One night we were all in bed when my wife and I were woken by the sound of footsteps on the landing – walking away from the kid’s room and on past ours.

I nipped out onto the landing and although it was dark, I could see well enough to know there was nobody there. Switching on the landing light, I went to check on the kids, but both were fast asleep. In any event, the footsteps hadn’t returned, so it couldn’t have been them. They didn’t sound like bare feet either.

“What was it?” My wife asked.
“Nothing – there’s nobody there and it wasn't the kids,” I replied. We stayed awake for a while, listening for those footsteps, but eventually dropped off to sleep.

The following morning, we mentioned the footsteps to my wife’s parents. They had heard them too. Later we worked out from the information folder that the footsteps had stopped round about where the stairs used to be before the cottage was renovated and extended.

We didn’t hear the footsteps again and no doubt there are explanations, but it was an odd experience. I'm sure I could explain it one way or another, but it would be a fabrication and I prefer not to do that, prefer to leave the incident unexplained. Not inexplicable – unexplained.

 Would we go back to the cottage though?



Sam Vega said...

I've never had this type of experience, and I respect your attitude of leaving it as it is, so as not to overlay it with theories and ideas, etc.

A good friend had a similar experience in a Dorset church (measured footsteeps as if in boots, up and down in the roof-space above the nave). I suggested clicking timbers as they expanded/contracted, or some machinery, or workmen. But he was adamant that had I been there, I would have known that these explanations did not fit.

There are often reports of unexplained footsteps, apparently. All very odd.

Anonymous said...

Had an odd experience way back, went into a room at home and smelt a strong smell of pipe tobacco - just like my father used to smoke. Old house with a chimney - but very odd.

Another thing is the all put fingers on upturned glass/table/ring of letters/is there anybody there? business. Not in a hurry to try that again.

A K Haart said...

Sam - it could have been clicking timbers, but it didn't sound like it to four people and only happened once. Even so, it's a possibility.

Roger - an old house with a chimney can have a mix of evocative odours. Very powerful memory triggers.

I've never tried the upturned glass game, but I know people often find it quite scary.

James Higham said...

Think we've all had these. The Randis some in and say "imagined" and the auto-believers say it is a sign or it was a ghost.

How can we, in a spirit of scientific enquiry, rule out what this was about? Sure if might not have been a "ghost" but to say there is no force or entity we can't determine at this time goes against the evidence which does stand up.

And your feeling not to go back is quite rational in a metaphysical sense - possibly tapping into some survival instinct of old.

A K Haart said...

James - it was so odd I think we preferred not to explain it, that is to say, not to enquire. If it had happened more than once, I think we may have seen it differently.