Don’t look now (no, do) but the Standard Issue writers are about to share the spookiest thing that’s ever happened to them.
When my children were small we lived in a very old cottage. My husband and I had survived past the stage of having one ear cocked for waking babies but there was still the occasional nocturnal visit for some reason or other so I wasn’t particularly surprised one night to wake with a start and come face to face with my six-year-old standing beside the bed.
“Go and get back into bed before you get cold,” I said, and then I went back to sleep. It was only when I was making breakfast the next morning, mentioned the nocturnal visit to my daughter and she said, “Oh, that wasn’t me, Mummy,” that I remembered the little blonde girl who had been studying me so carefully had had long wavy hair. Holly’s was short and straight. She’d also been fully dressed in a blue pinafore over an old-fashioned frock, which poses the question, if it wasn’t Holly…?
I was staying in my friend’s auntie’s caravan and had had an argument with my then-boyfriend. He was in the lounge and I was sulking on the bed but three pokes to the side of the mattress sent me running into his arms. There was nobody there but the two of us. It felt like somebody was trying to tell me something (but reader, I didn’t marry him).
Christmas night 1979. A house in the middle of nowhere. I was 14. Ornaments clattered on the shelf, jittering to the edge until they fell one by one onto the floor. The shadows quivered and the bed shook. I was so terrified I was unable to be alone in the dark again from that night until the night my son was born (when I officially grew up).
“I’d flip the house lights off and make my way by torchlight down into the auditorium, the theatre creaking and settling around me.”
About six months ago I woke to the sound of the bedroom doorknob clicking and the door swinging open. I figured it was a draught but when I looked down the door was propped open against the wall by a handbag my daughter plays with. I was more confused than scared so I went to check the front door of the flat, which was still bolted shut. Both daughter and husband still fast asleep.
As I walked back down the hallway, I saw a cardboard toy box propped up on its side, really awkwardly, right in the middle of the hallway, which most definitely wasn’t there before. I am so very cynical about this stuff but I can’t quite explain that night and I remember thinking, “If this is a ghost, he’s a playful fucker.”
I used to lock up the UK’s oldest working theatre at the end of the night. Getting from the lighting box to the fire escape in pitch darkness was a terrifying five minutes. Built in 1788 and virtually unchanged, it was a claustrophobic mass of wooden beams and tiny passages and had a locally famous ghost. Originally lit by candlelight but safely changed to flickering electric flames, it was terrifying even during the day if you were alone.
The lighting box was at the top of the gallery, the furthest point from the fire exit through which I would leave after I’d finished teaching my youth theatre classes. I’d flip the house lights off and make my way by torchlight down into the auditorium, the theatre creaking and settling around me. About halfway to the door was the point that I would panic, convinced there was something with me in the dark.
The fire escape led into a pitch black, cobbled alley, but at least it was in the open air. I left the job to work in London, a place with plenty of nocturnal neon and bustle. A few years on, and I’m back to locking up a theatre alone again. I must really, really love my job.
“We heard carol singers outside, and it was beautiful, so we both went to the window to watch them. There was nobody there.”
One Christmas, me, my mum and dad were staying in a converted mortuary in Somerset (Ed: we could probably just leave it there…). Despite the fact I have been brought up with this, I am still scared of the dark, and I find it very difficult sleeping in places I don’t know.
My parents were at the house a few days before me and my dad had the foresight to tell me that weird things were happening in the house. These weird things included the radio switching itself on in the middle of the night and footsteps around the house.
I arrived on Christmas Eve and, after a lovely day, Mum went to bed early, leaving me and Dad cracking open the sherry, watching shit telly and stuffing our faces. Around 11pm, we heard carol singers outside, and it was beautiful, so we both went to the window to watch them. There was nobody there.
I was shitting my actual pants as my Dad then said, “The radio will probably come on now.” The radio came on and I didn’t sleep a wink for the whole week I was there. Happy flipping Christmas. Then of course there was the Indian man that stood in my bedroom for three days, waiting to collect the man next door who was an alcoholic. On the third day when the man died, the Indian man disappeared…
I was waiting in a tiny backstage area to go on during a play. Four of us were in the show and the other three were onstage. I got a sharp poke in the ribs, just as I was about to go on, from… no one. There was nobody there.
Last night I nearly weed myself because I could hear someone knocking on the door. I eventually plucked up the courage to check. It was the dog wagging her tail against it in her sleep.2005 Views
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