By Ali Schultz
You don’t believe it until it happens to you. It’s a common phrase that most of us have probably heard at some point in life for a multitude of reasons. It is human nature for people to have an extremely difficult time believing things they do not understand.
When I begin to tell people about my experiences, I always catch myself prefacing my stories with something along the lines of, “I know you are going to think I’m crazy and not believe me, but … ”
From the time I moved into my childhood home, I never felt at ease. It is a strange feeling being so young and being able to recognize you are uncomfortable in your own home. When you’re young, especially, home is supposed to serve as a haven. It should be a place of solace and security. For my family and me, however, it was a place of consistent strange occurrences that none of us could seem to explain.
It all started when my brother, Eric, who was 5 years old at the time, awoke my entire household with a blood-curdling scream. When my parents rushed into his bedroom, he was hiding beneath his sheet covers. When asked what happened, my brother hesitantly told us all that he awoke to a man-like figure standing above him watching him while he slept. We were quick to dismiss him. Maybe it was an imaginary friend or bad dream. But we still asked him to describe what he saw. He described the figure of a large shadow man that stood over him. He had no eyes, but towered over normal-sized people. My parents and I were startled, of course, but didn’t think much of it.
It wasn’t really until the third or fourth time my brother experienced this terrifying occurrence that I started to worry, but in the back of my mind I always kept telling myself that this couldn’t be possible. A shadow man appearing in my little brother’s room? Sounds absolutely absurd. It wasn’t until my freshman year in high school when my world was turned upside down.
I would come home from school, alone in my house, and hear constant whispers. I would wake up in the middle of the night to the feeling of someone standing over me. I thought I was going crazy. I felt so uncomfortable in my own home.
I would fall asleep at night and wake up to the same woman’s voice whispering over and over again. I distinctly remember a time where my best friend, Lexi, came over after we both got off work. It was a sweltering Las Vegas summer day and we were both beyond the point of exhaustion. It only seemed necessary for us to take a nap. We lay down, talked for a little about our days and then both fell into a light sleep. We were suddenly awoken to the feeling of a woman breathing on our face while she whispered and laughed. Her voice was so close and distinct that I felt if I were to reach out, I could touch the lady. The worst part was Lexi heard it too. It was now apparent to me that none of this was just in my head anymore. Lexi, still my best friend, has yet to sleep at my house since this occurrence.
It was like I was constantly being watched in my house. It seemed like every day there was a new occurrence, and the absolute worst part of this all is no matter how many friends of mine refused to come over anymore or how many times my brother and I would tell my parents something was terribly wrong, they refused to believe us. They refused to believe in something they couldn’t concretely explain, until one day my dad came home from work to an empty house, or so he thought. He found my dog, a young Australian Shepherd with the temperament of an angel who would not hurt a fly, at the bottom of my stairs with all hairs standing up on her back and growling as if someone broke into our house. My dad, clearly startled by my dog, froze in his tracks and from all different directions heard over and over again in different voices, “I think he is home, I think he is home.”
From then on it was a never-ending surge of hauntings. Cabinets would open and shut throughout my house, my brother, now creeping into his teenage years, was still seeing the shadow man, lights would go out, and the worst part was the whispers wouldn’t stop.
When I moved away to college it only got worse. My brother started seeing the man everywhere and both my parents were finally convinced of the hauntings.
The final straw came one day when my brother got out of the shower, got dressed and looked in the mirror to brush his teeth when he saw the shadow man behind him staring and grinning. He did the only thing he could do for others to believe him and took a picture. In the background of the picture you can see the outline of the shadow man’s face.
We now had substantial proof that everything we were experiencing was real. We did not know what to do. We had to call someone in to bless our home. We were referred to a reputable psychic who was skilled in sage blessings. I will admit, I was hesitant at first, but I felt we didn’t have many other options. She too felt the lingering strong presence that was in our home. After the blessing, there has no longer been any activity. For the first time in my entire life, I can feel at peace in my own home. I do not have the feeling of constantly being watched nor do I feel panicked when at home.
My message for the skeptics is simple: Don’t totally disregard the paranormal because it is something you don’t necessarily understand. Too often people just dismiss things they have never experienced firsthand. I can’t explain it myself. I don’t know why whatever it was chose my family and me; I just know that what I experienced was real. Just because we do not understand certain things does not mean they aren’t all around us.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.