This second part of my childhood paranormal experiences compiles the few incidents that I documented after my family relocated from the Chicago suburbs to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Part of my notes on these southern paranormal experiences, which I wrote down in my late teens, have been lost. I have done my best to fill in the few missing bits. A conversation with my brother on Christmas Eve (2016) was very helpful in confirming details of an incident that involved him.
We lived on a part of the island called Sea Pines Plantation, which was and remains a major tourist mecca. Besides many residential neighborhoods, Sea Pines also has a huge number of rental condos and villas for the tourist fueled economy. The several world famous golf courses drew many visitors as does Harbour Town and South Beach Marina, which are filled with shops, restaurants and many water related activities. Everything from boat rentals and tours to fishing charters and dolphin viewing excursions. My parents purchased a one story, modest but modern house in a neighborhood called Greenwood Forest. The lots were small but very heavily wooded and we lived on a very quiet, snug cul-de-sac called Wildwood Court. When we first moved in (and for the first four years) there were only two other houses on the street. Pine, live oak, pampas grass, oleander and azalea are much of the flora that populated the woods around our house.
There were three bedrooms and my brother and I shared one. I was ten when we moved into the house and it wasn’t until right around the time my twin brother and I turned thirteen that anything I considered paranormal occurred. Our age, I believe, was integral to much of what transpired. The mysterious bed-rocking (discussed in part one of this account) that had become a part of my typical evening had ceased when we moved but while writing this up, it struck me that this might have been so because my bed in the new house was the upper bunk of a bunk-bed built into a three sided nook of the room. In short, there was no bed frame to rock. One placid, sunny summer afternoon in 1980, soon after I had turned thirteen, I was sitting on a couch in the living room reading. Directly to my left was the kitchen, which was exposed via a large open space above a built-in kitchen banquette. From my vantage point I had a clear view through the kitchen to the back door. This door, I need to point out, had a large pane of glass in it that allowed a full view of a small gated utility area, one side of which was an attached shed. To get to this backdoor (the door was actually located at the front of the house but off to the side) one had to first enter into the utility area through a tall fence door.
Engrossed in my magazine, I was startled when I heard the door suddenly open. Quickly standing up I saw the door opening and the handle rotating as if a hand was manipulating it. It opened halfway, as if to allow a person in and then swiftly closed, clicking shut loudly. This door always stuck a bit and required an extra effort to close it fully. It sounded exactly as if someone was returning home and the opening and closing of the door mirrored the action of somebody entering. The problem here was that nobody was there. At least that I could see. As I earlier noted, it was a bright sunny afternoon and there was only an occasional hint of a gentle breeze. My parents, who had been out jogging, came back home about fifteen minutes later and when I told them what had happened they had no satisfying explanation. They were winded after their run and I don’t think really gave what I was saying any real consideration, not that I expected them to have a solution.
Only a week later I was again alone and sitting on the same couch reading. It was close to nine in the evening and was dark outside. Our family cat Tigger was nestled on my lap napping when suddenly a jarring, wrenching sound followed a loud metallic clatter burst forth from the kitchen. Tigger and I both reacted simultaneously, turning our heads towards the ruckus. Jumping up from the couch I ran to investigate and was stunned at what I found. The silverware drawer was dangling precariously, as if someone had just violently pulled it out. Several knives, forks and spoons were scattered on the floor and the silverware that was still in the drawer was haphazardly strewn about, mostly jumbled up towards the front.
At this point, I think it’s important to suggest I do believe there was a link between the puberty my brother and I were going through, some rather intense emotional issues I was experiencing and these two incidents. On Hilton Head, my brother, sister and I attended a private academy. As the order of the day, if you were a boy, was Izod and Polo shirts, khaki pants and neatly trimmed hair, my, let’s call it individuality, wasn’t greeted with open arms. I had long hair, regularly joked at the expense of the teachers during classes and wore t-shirts that alerted all to my favorite bands (my Black Sabbath Heaven And Hell t-shirt, with its angels enjoying a smoke break always caught the attention of other kids and school staff). The joking I engaged in was certainly inspired and influenced by the ostracism I keenly felt every day. This was due in no small part to my sartorial and hair choices, but long story short, I was distinctly feeling a lot of intense negative energy along with my physical changes and it does seem a strong possibility that all those pent-up emotions were seeking expression.
More often than not, my public self bottled up frustrated feelings, even though I had quite a bad temper, and I feel this contributed to the above mentioned (likely) poltergeist manifestations. More specifically, as has been discussed in psychical literature, I feel that the puberty I was going through, combined with pent up anger and frustration led to these psychokinetic events. All the intense emotions that had built up in me needed an outlet and psychokinetic expression just makes sense to me. Worth considering too is that both of these possible poltergeist incidents occurred while I was preoccupied reading. As has been noted time and again in case studies of people experiencing apparitions while in some way distracted from the world around them, it seems pent up psychokinetic energy often seeks these moments to become known as well. The main point here, I believe, is that a state of mind when one is disengaged from the world around them is conducive to multiple forms of paranormal activity.
Although my notes on further poltergeist-like incidents at this house are missing, from what I can remember, the only other events I experienced personally involved a sliding glass door that led out onto the back porch of the house. On at least two occasions, at night before going to bed, I remember locking this sliding door only to notice it unlocked and open about a foot just moments later. This lock needed to be pressed down with a good amount of force, so for it to suddenly become unlocked and the door itself opened, suggests possible further poltergeist-like activity. Something just struck me that I never thought about before. For at least a year, three toads would appear at this sliding door at twilight each evening. I would bring them some lettuce (or whatever) and they would let me pat their heads with my finger. I dubbed them King Edward, Prince Rupert and something else I have forgotten. Their appearance every night always seemed a bit magical to me and they were always sitting there in a perfect line. They always seemed almost like they were ready to talk and should have been wearing smoking jackets and sipping port. My mom remembered them too when I would bring them up before she died. It probably has nothing to do with the door becoming unlocked and open but I felt it worth mentioning that it was the same door. Maybe a YGS reader will have some insight into toads appearing at the same spot over and over.
The last major phenomenon was experienced by my brother. I recently questioned him about this incident on Christmas Eve (2016). On the night in question the rest of the family - me, my mom, dad and sister were at a special school event. The “Lower School”, which comprised grades one through six, put on a “Lower School Circus” every year. My sister and I were in the lower school and so were a part of the thing. As a quick aside, the reason I was still in the lower school was because I had been held back in both grades three and four. I really got into far too much trouble back then. At any rate, my brother had opted to stay home alone. We were both thirteen when the following occurred. Upon our return to the house around nine PM, he met us at the door and seemed agitated and upset. He told us that about an hour after we left he was watching tv in the living room when he suddenly heard what sounded like loud breathing. Investigating, he said the breathing “seemed to come from everywhere” and could be heard in every room of the house. I referenced this incident in the comment section of someone else’s account when I used it to suggest how the odd sounds a refrigerator can make can be confused with something paranormal. Over the years I have had refrigerators that, once or twice daily, have sounded like Darth Vader had magically teleported into the kitchen. The sound is related to the cooling element and having heard this many times over the years I discounted my brother’s experience as the family refrigerator. Discussing this incident with my brother just a few days ago and thinking about it while writing up these notes has forced me to analyze it afresh. He is adamant that the breathing sound was at the same loud volume in every room in the house. No matter if he was in the kitchen or the master bedroom’s walk in closet, he heard it at the same, even volume. It’s important to note that I don’t remember that refrigerator ever making weird sounds. Typical conformist appliance.
If it had actually been the ‘fridge, the sound would have almost certainly been inaudible in the far reaches of the house. My initial conclusion that my brother experienced a combination of the refrigerator “respirating” and jittery nerves combined with being alone doesn’t really add up. My thought now, especially after talking about this recently with my brother, is to conclude that the breathing sound was either associated with the other poltergeist activity or had another paranormal origin. In retrospect I wish I had kept a detailed daily dairy of events during this period, as it seems likely that there were other smaller things that occurred that would’ve been interesting to consider as part of a bigger picture. As a young teenager, however, that was as likely as me waking up one day and listening to Anne Murray instead of Iron Maiden.
What I hope to discover from the YGS community, is whether anyone has experienced anything similar to any of these occurrences or can note patterns I haven’t noticed. I’m particularly interested in finding out if anyone has ever heard a sound of breathing that seems “to come from everywhere.” It would be great if I could finally pass on to my brother, “It seems I might have been off base about you acting like a faint hearted and trembling chambermaid in a storm lashed mansion straight out of a 1940s era melodrama all those years ago.” Although I do, of course, still consider that a possibility.