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Active Share-house

About 5 years ago I was living in share house in Paddington. It was a huge house, a bit of a maze really, and as far as share house living goes it was great - big rooms and lots of space. The house was on an elevated, steep block, and totally exposed to the road in front. The first signs of something strange afoot were innocent enough - bolted internal doors opening of their own accord while you were in the room, footsteps up and down the hallway at all hours, and usually only when there was one person in the house. We blamed these things on settling floorboards, wind, and the harmless creaking's of an old house, of course. Things began to get strange, and scary, when there was an almost complete change of occupants. At first it was inexplicable but highly annoying things. Like the car radio turning on full blast so it would wake the sleeping household, at odd hours of the morning in a completely LOCKED car in the garage. The only keys were in my handbag, in my closed bedroom. This happened a couple of times. Around the same time the footsteps, self-opening bolted doors etc were on the increase. I'm sure that most of us thought that someone was being a clown and a bit immature about it.

One night while we were all sitting in the lounge room, the boyfriend of a flatmate turned to us and asked, "Who was that? Your landlord?" He had seen an old man, stooped over and wearing an old-fashioned suit, walk from the back door, down the hallway and past the lounge-room. Nobody else had seen him, and a search of the house revealed no visitors. My bedroom, the master bedroom at the front of the house, then became the centre of all activity. My bed was beneath the large side windows which I always kept open for fresh air, being a fresh air freak. On this side, there was a fair bit of elevation, plus there was a very overgrown prickly shrub entirely covering the side of the house, so it didn't seem to present a safety issue. You couldn't see the windows from the street. On this particular night, for seemingly no reason because it was neither cold nor windy, I decided to close the windows. I stress again that I always sleep with open windows. I fell asleep as usual. My eyes flew open some time during the night; and I had the weirdest gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I squinted at my alarm clock - 3.05am. As I closed my eyes to return to sleep, the shrub outside the window began rustling wildly. Just wind, I thought, or a possum. Then there was an audible and distinct rap on a pane of the glass, and then the next, and then the next, down all four. I lay frozen in my bed. Possums don't generally tap on your windows. Then the rustling of the shrub again.

Then the tapping began on the front windows, facing the street, but more violently. They were shaking and rattling. Realising that someone was trying to break in, I crept out of bed, scared out of my wits, to the phone just outside my door. I whispered to the police that someone was trying to break into our house. They were sending a car around. Terrified of someone breaking down the front door and being caught alone in the passage in my nightie (like in the movies, right?), I dashed into my flatmate's room, scaring the hell out of her in the process, crawled into bed beside her, whispering that someone was trying to break in. She said, "I was wondering what the noise was!" The police, bless them, were there in a flash (no pun intended), accompanied by a sniffer dog. A search of the entire house, underneath, backyard, neighbours yards etc revealed nothing. Not a whiff or a clue. But I knew what I'd heard and that I wasn't crazy. I was freaked out for the next couple of weeks though, and I kept those windows firmly shut, not wanting to invite trouble.

About a month later, I woke again with the same feeling in my stomach. I looked at the alarm clock. 3.05 am. The thought crossed my mind 'that was the time last time'. I waited nervously to see what would happen. The rustling in the shrub started, then tapping on the windows above my head. But this time I was quite angry, certain it was a 'friend' playing some practical joke. So I waited out the sequence, and crept out of bed to the front windows. I knew that with the glaring streetlight and the length of the windows, even if someone tried crouching out of view, I'd be able to see them. Sure enough, the rattling began on the first pane. I waited until it started on the middle pane and quickly wrenched the curtain back, delighted I would catch the mongrel in action. There was no one there. No one at all. But the windows were still tapping and rattling. I froze, horrified, certain I was losing the plot. Luckily for me, this sequence of events never repeated itself. Over a period of time, as you do, I reached a level of assurance that things had returned to 'normal'. But things were about to get even hairier.

Meanwhile I had a young cat who was glued to my side, in total love and devotion. He'd follow me everywhere, even to bed where he'd sleep curled around my feet. One evening after retiring with the cat, I was looking around the dark room, thinking about the day's events, and the things I had to do tomorrow. I noticed a shadow forming in the middle of the room, but I didn't think much of it. Billowing curtains, moonlight - all of that. The cat, however, leaped out of bed and dashed through the gap in the door I always left him. The shadow became darker, and seemed to be taking on a human shape. It became denser and denser, but with a rush of relief I felt the cat jump onto the bed, and walk up my legs onto my lap. I reached down to pick him up and cuddle him, but there was nothing there. Then I heard the tinkling of the cat's collar in the kitchen, two rooms away. I was so scared that I felt paralysed by fear. The shadow seemed to loom closer towards my bed. And I had the sickest feeling in my body, and a cold chill running up and down me. I began praying (and I'm not a religious person) and praying for all I was worth. I kid you not, a beautiful beam of glittering yellowish-white light seemed to shoot down through the ceiling, straight at the dark form, making it fragment and disappear. Being in an altered emotional state, I have no idea how long this took. Eventually though, a feeling of peace washed over me, the weight lifted from my lap, and almost immediately the cat returned to my room.

I gave notice and moved out of the house as quickly as I could. That last experience was one too many. Since then I have a very healthy respect for the paranormal, and for picking up the 'vibes' in a place. If they don't feel good, then I don't stick around!

Submitted from: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia