It’s October, which means I try to devote each evening to watching a horror film, ranging from classics like Nosferatu to personal favorites like Poltergeist to ones I just never got around to watching like The Omen (the original—it was okay). But what about “non-fiction?” Have you ever had an experience you just can’t explain? A spooky story? I asked the staff about their “unexplainable experiences,” whether they define them as supernatural or something else. Here are a few for your reading pleasure. If you have any of your own “spooky” stories, please share in the comments! —Ginnis Tonik, Lifestyle Editor
Melinda Pierce: When I was twenty and stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado, I had a dream that an old house we’d lived in as kids was trying to eat my sister. Poltergeist style. She was thirteen and still living in Georgia with my parents. I called my mom the next day and asked if little sister was okay, and my mom said that a few days before my sister had moved in their bedroom on the floor and refused to sleep in her bedroom. She wouldn’t tell anyone why.
It was several, like five or so, years later when I just happened to mention it to my mom again, and she said that my sister finally admitted that one night in her bedroom a dark figure leaned over her while she was in bed. I’ve never had another experience like that and neither has she. I think the dream was a signal that something was terrifying her.
I’m a big believer in there being things out there we don’t understand, and this falls into that category. I’m also a big believer in not inviting in bad spirits, and I sleep with a massive amount of lights on.
Ginnis Tonik: I was probably in junior high, and a family friend had just purchased a house near an infamous park in my hometown—infamous for its tales of ghosts, witches, and other spooky things. Her backyard happened to back right up on the park. My bestie and I were running around playing and decided to go through the back gate that led to this park. Holding hands, we crossed through the gate, and immediately halted once our feet touched the park ground. I felt this heaviness in my chest, a great sense of foreboding. We hadn’t even looked at each other, but she asked, “Do you feel that?” And I responded with a yes. We turned right back around and returned to the safety of our friend’s yard. We knew that nothing good could come of going further when we both felt that awful spookiness.
Al Rosenberg: This is a story of me being an incredibly unsafe person, which I swear I’m usually not at all. For context: I am a very Jewish person, which, in my case, means I don’t really believe in anything supernatural. I’m an incredibly mundane person (though I’ve been trying to incorporate more of the otherworldly—like my horoscope—into my everyday).
My roommate had moved to Vermont for the summer, and I was to drive to pick her up at the end of her stay and bring her back to Chicago. I left Illinois at a reasonable time, but stopped over in Michigan to see a lover and stayed a little too long there and got no sleep at all. So, I drove the rest of the way to Vermont in one go, on just a few hours of sleep and many hours awake.
It was around upstate New York, in some mountains, after hours of accidentally driving through Canada, that my body started shutting down on me. It simply could not be awake anymore. I was actually exhausted. I had also consumed in just a few hours more coffee and sugar than I had probably had all year. I tried everything to keep my eyes open. Slapping myself, getting out of the car and running around it, blaring the radio and rolling down the windows. I was on a tight timeline, and I couldn’t stop to sleep.
So, I came to a one-lane road that wrapped around the mountain, and I passed out. I had been playing the same CD over and over, so all I know is this: I blacked out/passed out/fell asleep as “How to Be a Heartbreaker” came on, and woke up/came to my senses/whatever five songs later at “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).”
And I was fine. And still driving. And then panicking.
So, I pulled over and napped for a bit before continuing my journey. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but to this day I believe it was a miracle that I didn’t die/drive off the mountain.
Robin Babb: Funny, my story also involves driving. Although, I bet a lot of us have “I almost died while driving” stories.
One morning when I was in high school, I was driving back from a friend’s house after a movie marathon/slumber party. I was driving east on I-10 and it was a Sunday, so there were not many other cars out on the highway. It was a lovely day.
Suddenly I saw, out of the clear blue sky above, something falling. Falling right towards me. Something that, given its and my trajectory, I would collide with in a certainly very uncomfortable manner. It was a giant pane of glass. Like, Beverly Hills penthouse windows kind of giant.
Acting out of terror and not logic, I slammed on the brakes and swerved. I might have closed my eyes. My car spun across five lanes, and I wound up facing the wrong way on an exit ramp, face-to-face with a police car whose occupant seemed just as shocked as me. Out of my peripheral vision, I saw the pane of glass shatter on the highway, right where I would have been.
After a moment of wide-eyed staring, the police officer motioned me to move onto the median between the traffic lanes and the exit ramp. I parked there for a moment and tried to bring my heartbeat back to normal, then drove the rest of the way home.
I don’t tell this story often because it bugs me—I still can’t figure out where the hell that glass came from. There were no 18-wheelers hauling glass ahead of me; I was sure of that. I’m not generally a superstitious person, but I definitely sometimes get a “I should have died that day” feeling.