There is a deluge of ‘ghost hunting’ shows on television nowadays. While I still consider myself as sitting on the fence when it comes to the existence of ghosts, I cannot deny that watching these shows does leave me feeling a tad shaky. At least for a few hours after the show concludes till I am able to fall asleep. I am a shoddy sleeper, by the way. The slightest sound, the smallest movement, anything out of place, a faint flash of light, a trickle of water from the taps, etc, wakes me up. Add to that: a slight change in the sound of the fan, changes in temperature, sound of the air conditioner, a treading footstep, a choking car on the road, a heavy sigh…
This calls to mind a bizzare incident that happened about a year back when I was still living with my Mum and Sis. We were having dinner and watching “A Haunting” on Discovery Channel. It’s a show which re-enacts ‘ghostly’ incidences that families and individuals have faced in their lives. That day’s story was about a family that had moved in at a country estate in the suburbs just outside Manhattan. The house was previously occupied by a family where there were a series of murders. There were speculations on the father losing his mind and murdering his family before killing himself etc. Yes, kind of like The Amityville Horror. Though I thought that the re-enactment was insipid, the element of fear was infused well into the show. So around 30 minutes to midnight, we turned off the television and retreated to our rooms. As usual, I found it hard to fall asleep. Various thoughts were racing through my mind. My sister was having a sleepover at her friend’s place so I was sleeping in the room alone. My Mum was in the other room.
I don’t remember falling asleep but I do remember getting a strange odour in my sleep. For a moment, I imagined that the temperature had dropped a tad bit. When I forced my eyes open, I saw a dark figure standing at the foot of my bed. It had no form. It had no eyes or ears or mouth. I couldn’t understand if it was male or female. All I remember was having this feeling of dread spread across the room, throbbing, pulsating current of the fear. I was immobile for what seemed like forever, trying to find my voice. I forced my vocal cords to respond with a barely there sound. I could feel myself trembling. I leaped out of the bed and ran towards Mum’s room. I think it took me ten minutes to reach her door!
I remember trembling for fifteen minutes and repeating “Who was that?” over and over. Mum touched my temple and declared that I was running very high temperature. I don’t recall getting drenched in the rain or taking a bath at odd hours to have caught a cold. Mum consoled me for another hour before I calmed down.
Amid sips of water, I narrated what I saw. Mum’s lips were in a tight line. I don’t know what she thought of me: a fool, a sissy or if she thought that my fears had a logical base. I refused to sleep in that room for the rest of the night. Mum and I were awake till dawn and finally, exhausted, fell asleep.
Till date, I have no idea what woke me up and why Mum didn’t tell me that patent dialogue ‘It was just a dream’. Was it because it wasn’t? It could have been a figment of my imagination. I imagined the whole thing with remnants of images that were imprinted on my mind after watching the show on Discovery. But what about that feeling of fear and dread. I swear I have never felt so afraid ever in my life. I have stayed completely alone in various cities but this level of fear far surpasses any that I’ve ever felt. I, seriously, have no explanation. Have you?