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Posts Tagged ‘old houses’

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In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it. Michelangelo

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England has more than a small number of old houses, mansions, priories, castles and so on, many having their own tales of haunting or ghosts. Whilst I have my own experiences of wandering through these places, including my feelings walking round Port Arthur, this tale is purely anchored in a vivid dream. All I will say is that the house of my dream is one I ‘know’ and have ‘been to in the distant past’ even though I cannot recall the details of it yet.

It was drawing close to winter, the weather had turned cold and a keen wind had whistled around the house for days.  It found any small crack or crevice to keen through and bring goose-flesh to your skin. It was easy to hear strange noises or perhaps whispered voices once the sun had set.

I was at my babysitting job on this bitterly cold Saturday night. I had stayed up late watching the old horror movies starring Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. They seemed perfectly suited for such eerie surrounds. When I was taken home again  had to make my way to the back of the house to get in. Behind me was the skyline of the old woods, trees writhing in the wind and bats silently flitting between the scudding clouds.  I was in a hurry to get inside.

image from theinsideofmyheadd.wordpress.com

It was late and I was grateful to climb between my warm sheets and pull my eider down under my chin. I was sure I would be asleep in minutes. Yet from there I slipped into  a strange land somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, or so I thought.

I saw this old house, so familiar and yet I knew, in one part of my mind, that I had never been there, yet. It had a dark and brooding feel to it, as though it had been long-deserted and had an unhappy history. I heard footsteps, a careful measured tread and with some surprise realised they were mine. I walked up the long and overgrown driveway towards the front door of the house. It felt as though the house was waiting… for me or someone else, I really don’t know.

There were six steps leading up to the front porch. The scroll work railing around the patio was rusted and dark, clinging vines wrapped around it all withered and dry, rustling eerily in the wind. The house had been empty for years, windows broken, boarded over now with jagged edges, the holes gaping into the blackness beyond.

My footsteps creaked on the wooden portico as I approached the door. The wind had picked up in intensity and the door creaked loudly as it moved slightly on its rusted hinges. Without conscious thought I saw my pale hand reach out to slowly push the door open. The screech of rusted metal protesting was loud in my ears and a nearby owl hooted as it flew off into the trees.

I did not want to enter that house so why were my feet pulling me forward?  Some intangible force seemed to be drawing me inside, deeper into the dark recesses of the house. The wind whistling through those jagged holes in the windows blew dried leaves rustling across the floor as the door opened further.  It made a sound like shuffling feet creeping across the floor.

image from cindi.ccfoss.com

I moved slowly forward, towards the old staircase. I could see it would have been beautiful when the house was in its hey day, but now was as broken down as the rest of the house.  As I stood there at the foot of the staircase I thought I heard a whispered voice calling from above. I couldn’t make out what it said and my tongue was clinging to the roof of my dry mouth. My legs had turned to jelly yet were rooted to the spot.

I hadn’t noticed that the little light which had been coming in through the door and windows had grown less. The wind was howling more strongly and I could hear thunder crashing off in the distance. Each time it sounded a little closer and the old house seemed to shake in the rumbling echoes.  Lightning suddenly flashed off in the distance, throwing an eerie light into the house.

The moaning of the wind now began to sound like the moaning of someone in pain, a sound which was getting louder by the minute. Another crash of thunder seemed to rattle the old house to its very foundations and the following lightning flash flared brightly. In the peculiar afterglow I thought I saw a figure silhouetted tat the top of the staircase. A woman in a long dress seemed to be staring down at me.

The crash of thunder pealed directly overhead followed immediately by the whip crack of lightning. Between the wind howling through the windows, the deafening noise of thunder and actinic flare of lightning the shape coalesced into the form of a woman, apparently floating down the stairs. I certainly could hear no footfalls.

Whether I could hear anything or not I no longer wished to be there. Without conscious thought, without moving I found myself once more tucked up in my bed, breathing heavily and drenched in perspiration, my heart hammering to its own beat.

I suppose one should expect strange dreams if one is watching horror movies! After all, it was just a dream – wasn’t it?

I have never seen this house and yet I know it. Another lifetime perhaps, only time may tell, it felt real at the time. I could smell the lightning and the dead leaves, the musty old house. I could hear the wind  and thunder, footsteps and was it a voice moaning? At the time it was real as all dreams or otherworldly experiences are real. It is up to you to decide. Whatever lesson I have to learn from this is still to be revealed.  Perhaps the message was for you?

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“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Albert Einstein

Blessings  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson

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Now that I’m tucked back in my bed

Was it really just in my head

Or a vivid dream

Or perhaps some kind of future warning

Perhaps a memory of a past dawning

No matter, it made my blood curdle as I did scream

The night was dark, almost moonless

Thunderheads piled high in the sky

Lightening flashes to make you breathless

As I crept out into the night feeling shy

The house was old and deserted

Ivy thick on its crumbling walls

No smoke drifted from its chimneys

Neither were footsteps heard in the halls

It was said you could hear ghosts footfalls

A high wall ran round three sides of the house

Both sides and the rear it seemed

So close you could almost touch its walls

Should I accept the dare that was called

Climb to the top and walk those walls

Crazy and foolish it sounded even now

Caught tightly in the web of this weave

Was it a spell someone cast over me

I know it was almost impossible to believe

image from undertheglass.net

Somehow I climbed that high wall

And balanced on its pointed top

Slippery with dew and ivy leaves

I trembled as I stumbled along

How would I get around the corner

What if I saw something looking out

Those things mattered not to my questing feet

I had to keep moving of that there was no doubt

Along the first wall and around that corner

The moonlight and lightning just enough to see

Across the back and near the kitchen

I swear I saw someone looking back at me

One final turn  and on the last beat

At last the third wall I traversed

When all of a sudden an owl hooted close by

And I slipped off that wall neath my feet

Between wall and house my head rebounded

Not a whimper did I make in pain

Praying that the ghostly apparition inside

Would not hear the noise that I made

As winded  I  kept to my feet and floundered

To the walkway in front of the house

I have no clear recollection

Of how I escaped from the park

Booming noises pounded inside my head

Fear gave my heart such a start

Mocking laughter echoes softly after me

As I stumbled away in the night

Too afraid to look behind me

Afraid what I might see in the moonlight.

image from fotozup.com

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