Grace Jordan, arts and living editor
I grew up seeing shadow people. I know, it sounds crazy. Slightly unhinged. But it’s the truth. I was an easily frightened kid. I once saw the DVD case for a Chucky movie in a Blockbuster that featured the doll’s deformed face. Just from that one quick look at it, I couldn’t sleep by myself for weeks. That’s probably why my parents didn’t believe me when I said I was seeing things.
It’s hard to know when it truly began, difficult to pinpoint when the harmless fears of childhood morphed into something more frightening and more real. If you don’t believe in ghosts you probably laugh at the world real, but to 10-year-old me it was very real.
I would see shadows out of the corner of my eyes and in the corner of rooms. They were black masses that would shift and slip and stretch and would almost certainly disappear when I tried to look straight at them. The horde would stick to the corners, sprawling the length of the wall, and sometimes they would dart. It would be quick and most of the times I would miss it. But there would be times where I would see a clump of black make its way across the walls to another corner. No matter how much it happened, it would always leave me terrified.
I vividly remember the time something not human was in my house. I was around 13 years old and the house I had lived in since I was seven was decidedly haunted. As a twenty-one-year-old there is no doubt in my mind that something dark inhabited that house. On this particular day, I was left home alone and was sitting in my living room, probably watching Disney Channel. The bedroom doors from upstairs started to whine, swinging on their hinges. It made my blood run cold. I quickly muted whatever was on the TV and sat in silence, waiting for something else to happen.
I began to rationalize and talk myself out of it when I started hearing the floorboards bend in the upstairs hallway. It put the fear of God in me. I tried to tell myself it was just one of my dogs, but there was no way a dog could mimic the heavy noise of a foot meeting floor. That wasn’t the worst of it. No, the finale, the true terror, came when the footsteps then proceeded to walk down my stairs. I can still hear it. It was methodical, not the footsteps of someone simply walking down the stairs. One can argue that ghosts are just the product of time ceasing to be linear. But these footsteps belonged to someone, or something, that knew the fear it would cause. It was teasing me.
I have had other encounters with spirits. There’s been multiple occasions where I would see a person, only for them to disappear a few seconds later. Or times where things would fall in the night and door handles would rattle. But nothing has even scared me as much as that experience. I understand it’s hard to believe in the occult if one has no experiences with it, but the absence of scientific evidence does not negate the possibility of ghosts or spirits, or whatever you want to call them, existing. At one point humanity believed that Earth was the center of the Universe, so it’s not so crazy to think that something might exist outside of what modern day equipment can detect.