There's something spooky about horror writers. We seem to attract weird and inexplicable experiences! My fellow contributors to the new Horror anthology, Touched by Darkness are no exception, and a number of them have agreed to share their strangest experiences with us. To start us off, I'll hand you over to Julia Kavan - author of Dreaming Not Sleeping:
I’ve had many spooky encounters during my life – one of them witnessed by Cat herself earlier in the year - http://www.catherinecavendish.com/2012/08/diavolino-arrives-at-waterstones.html. I’ve heard disembodied voices as a child, I’ve seen ghostly figures walking across the landing at home and we have a phantom cat (or two).
Late one winter’s night I walked up the High Street towards my house, and as I drew level with the house two doors down from mine, I saw the figure of a man walk through the gate and up the steps to my front door (illuminated by the streetlamp right outside), before carrying on up the side path of my house and into the shadows. There had been no one walking up the street ahead of me and I couldn’t say where he’d come from. He just appeared. Stupidly, (don’t try this at home) I followed in his footsteps, expecting to confront someone trying to access the back of the house. There was no one. There was nowhere he could have gone without making a lot of noise – we had a rusty side gate that needed oiling and squealed when opened, and it was impossible to climb over in the dark (don’t ask me how I know that J ). The gate was still shut so I opened it, accompanied by the usual racket from the old hinges, and did a very nervous check of the back garden. Nothing. The only way out was past me and back down the steps.
There had been several nights when I’d heard footsteps walking up the side path – the living room wall backed on to it – and although we had a small window looking out on the side garden in the cupboard under the stairs, I never dared to look through it... just in case someone looked back.
I kind of put it all down to my overactive, creepy imagination. Until the night a friend of mine rang the doorbell. It was late and dark. He told me he was just passing and had just seen a man walking up the steps to the front door before disappearing up the side path...
(He did check the place out for me – there was no one there)
As well as disappearing people, I’ve also had an entire building vanish – at least temporarily. There was a bookshop that I used to visit very regularly – almost weekly – where I would buy books on the paranormal and about magic... except for the day I walked down the hill and couldn’t find the shop anywhere. I walked up and down the hill several times. There was no bookshop. It was as if it had been plucked out of the street and the gap it would have left had sealed up. I gave up looking, deciding that it must have closed down, but puzzled as to why there wasn’t even an empty building. I even remarked to someone I knew who I met later in the day, that it was a shame the place had shut down as it had been there for years. They were as surprised as I.
The following week I walked down the hill to visit another shop....and saw the bookshop sign hanging in the place it always had. I carried on down the hill straight to the door and looked at the display of books they always had in the window. I went inside and bought the book I’d intended to buy and asked if they had been closed the previous week – the owner insisted they had been there as usual, but it had been a quiet day. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find it....
Touched by Darkness is available from: