Do you have strange, haunting childhood memories? Or is it only my morbid love for eerie ghost stories that makes these images stick in my mind?
I am sure you have had some odd occurrences as a child? Perhaps even paranormal ones. Isn’t that one of the gifts of childhood? A time wondrous strange, when anything is possible because we haven’t learned that some things are not?
Nostalgia is heightened when I hear a child song like this from the dazzling film, The Innocents, based on Henry James’s eerie Victorian ghost story, The Turn of the Screw.
Play it while you read this post, and maybe you will have a mysterious memory or two…
The Horse in the Woods on Crow Hill
My mother’s parents, Meme and Pepe Caron, lived in a rather ramshackle house in a clearing at the bottom of Crow Hill in Worcester, Massachusetts. As children my brother, Jim, and I spent many long summer days up there. I remember the slopes being covered in golden rod, young birches, and slatey rocks that shone like silver in the bright sunshine. Unlike the humid, swampy, mosquito filled woods that surrounded it, the top of Crow Hill was drier, the air fresher, weeds pricklier, and the views went on forever.
One side of my Grandparent’s yard sloped up to a narrow plateau used for parking, and from there was a straight path up the hill. To the left was a stand of trees that turned into deep woods. There were the remains of a house that once been next to the woods, but was now only a basement with a treacherous wooden floor and a fireplace with a fallen chimney. I was about nine years old, when, always the explorer, I decided that instead of climbing the hill from the obvious path, I would see if there was a way through the woods.
I walked for quite a while, always wondering if I should back, but then there was a brambly little path to follow so I wouldn’t get lost. I always loved the way pine needles layered the ground like a brown carpet, so that the little streams shone black and sparkling in their rocky beds, ferns glowed bright green, and the occasional prize of a Lady’s Slipper would appear. Eventually I arrived at wide clearing and saw a fenced enclosure with a horse inside trotting back and forth under a canopy of oak leaves. I had never seen this horse before! And even stranger, there were no buildings anywhere about, no shed, barn, or house anywhere nearby.
I have the ability to converse with horses — an Irish jockey who came to me for a Tarot reading in London told me I was Horse Whisperer — and so the beautiful bay horse and I spoke for some time; he was a gentle civilized beast who like to run around pretending he was free.
I went home and told my Grandmother. She listened as always with her mind someplace else. She didn’t seem to know about the horse and the fenced yard in the woods. I decided to go back the next morning and bring my brother along.
And indeed, I picked up the path of the day before, walked across the brown needle floor, stepped over the little streams, but could not find the fenced yard or the horse! Jim told me I was making it up! But I wasn’t. I just could not find it. I think I was still looking when we were called in for lunch. I never found it again….
White Rabbit Trick
One Easter morning, I received a very fine toy rabbit. It was white, and had a fine blue dress, and very long ears. I was so happy with this rabbit, that when we went to visit some family friends, I brought it with me.
The adults being boring, I went outside with my rabbit and wandered around in the large back yard. In those days every house had a swing set…I don’t seem to see those any more…This one was in front of a tall green hedge , probably of the ubiquitous mountain laurel.
I always loved to swing and would always try to force myself higher and higher. I had the idea that if I flew high enough, I could swing in a full circle over the top bar and come back down safely. Good thing I never accomplished that! But I was holding the rabbit, and flying so high, that I was pulling the legs of the swing set out of the ground. Suddenly the rabbit flew out of my arms, straight behind me, and into the hedge!
So what? you say. A rabbit in a hedge. Big deal! But I couldn’t find it! I looked up, and down, inside and out. I remember walking through the hedge into someone else’s yard, and still, no rabbit. I called the adults out into the yard to look for it, and they couldn’t find it either. I was distraught! I had only just gotten it after all.
I still don’t know what happened to that rabbit. At the time, I imagined it went into a Time Tunnel, those being quite popular back then. Or maybe the Easter Bunny took it back. But even now I wonder if I had swung myself into another dimension without realizing it, lost time, and simply forgot to bring back my toy rabbit?
UFO Dreaming: Speaking of Other Dimensions…
When was a child, I used to love The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. This drove my my mother crazy for some reason. She could never understand my taste for the macabre and the paranormal. But maybe the era of the 1960′s, with all the buzz about the 21st century, when everything would be robots, space ships, we would love on other planets, and automation would make life so easy that nobody would have to work any more. When I was small, TV was fairly new, and it only came in black and white.
As I have said many times, I grew up in a house in the woods in Massachusetts. (If you want to see it, you can google map it, and explore the whole neighborhood. It is still the same! Google 4 Lexington Avenue, Leicester, MA. and you will find it, including the woods.) At night there was always a light over the treetops, moving from side to side, in what appeared to be the depths of the forest. Many times we got on top of the old stone walls that ran all through the woods, intending to follow them to the other side where we were convinced we would find alien spaceships. The stone walls didn’t go straight or very far, as they were the remains of pasture boundaries from 200 years before. We never made it to the space ship, so the mystery lingered on.
It was one thing for there to be a light above the woods at the back of the houses. We were used to that! But one hot summer night, a light appeared above the trees in the direction where the sun came up, above the tiger lily stream and the grassy clearing where grasshoppers, frogs, and crickets lived. This was the bright place.
I decided that that was definitely a UFO and told the other kids that we should try to go and find it. It couldn’t be that far away. But they poo-pooed me! I guess they weren’t as into the Twilight Zone as I was.
One night, though, I had a dream that was so real I have never forgotten it. It was like a black and white B-movie scene. I was wakened by the sound of thunder and a flash of lightning! I opened my eyes, and saw that the wall where my window was had been peeled back like a piece of steel, leaving a large space through which I could see a lone tree on a low bare hill lit like something from Night of the Living Dead. Around the tree, these little gray people with large black cat eyes, and vestigial features, were gathered. Suddenly, they poured through the gap in the wall, and into my room, to stand there, just looking at me with all of these big, glassy , vacant black eyes. Then a very tall figure, wearing a floating gossamer robe surrmounted by a very large bald head, and the same pupiless black eyes, walked through the crowd of Greys and sat on the edge of my bed. To this day, I can feel the touch of its hands as it slid them around my body. I began praying to Jesus. He came did His shepherd thing, herding them all back out through the gap in the wall, out to the tree on the hill.
What was that about?
When I was in my healing practice for a few years, I attracted clients who complained of being kidnapped by ETs, taken onto space ships to be subjected to horrible scientific experiments, and implanted with monitoring devices much as the ones we use to tag wild animals for study. I took much of this with a pinch of salt, for it was all over the media in the 1990′s, and people can be highly suggestible. Still, my healing energies seek to clear the source of the trauma, the symptoms are not the defining thing.
Having remembered this dream I had as a child, I would tell it to my clients. Every single one of them told me that that was what their dream/visions were like: very real, very B movie, and very surreal.
One of these clients had an actual photograph of two spirits she saw in her hedge. They were very clearly there, looking mischievously out, but they looked like faeries to me, not ETs. It was a remarkable photo either way! There was no way it was doctored. It was an actual image of these two faces peering out of the hedge.
Do you believe in the Grey Aliens? In my childhood in the 1960′s, they didn’t have a common description; they weren’t called Grey Aliens. I didn’t even know about them. Sometimes I wonder if they were a breed of faeries. Disappointed in me when I called on Jesus, they fled.
My Hebert grandparents lived in a very spooky Victorian house with deep walk-in closets, and steep rickety stairs going down into a dark basement worthy of H.P. Lovecraft. The father of my grandfather had been very clever with his hands and made mahogany bookcases, a wonderful box incised with apple branches that I loved dearly and that my mother couldn’t wait to get rid of. It was made as box for a handmade wooden jig saw puzzle of a Guardian Angel escorting two children over a bridge in the forest. My great grandfather also made weird things such a wooden Crucified Christ inside a large bottle you would normally expect to have a ship in. He made a splendid medieval style cabinet for a Communion Chalice and the Host, or Blessed Sacrament. This cabinet could be brought up beside the bed so the priest could give Absolution to the dying.
My grandparents bedroom was wallpapered in wine colored brocade, with French windows that opened out between lace curtains, all very down at heel, the faux luxury of the French. The bed was against the north wall under a painting of the Virgin Mary, and I often slept in it. At the opposite end of the room was the walk-in closet, full of hatboxes, powdery smelling old people’s clothes, high button shoes, and my father’s childhood toys.
Among these was a wooden rocking horse. I remember one night, I was having trouble sleeping beside Meme who was snoring. Living in the country, I was used to absolute darkness, and absolute silence in the night. This house was in the city — in a back road off of a busy street, and the noise of snoring combined with passing cars bothered me so that I tossed and turned for ages. Also, the moonlight, or streetlight, was streaming in through the lace curtained window, casting a wide beam of light across the floor that touched off glints and shines on things stored in the shadows of the open walk-in closet. At the threshold of the door was the old rocking horse, white as a ghost with a pale, stiff flying mane, and tail.
Someplace between waking and sleeping, I remember opening my eyes and gazing at the rocking horse as it rocked back and forth, back and forth. There was no wind, no sounds of the house settling. The horse just rocked and rocked, creaking quietly. I fell asleep for a while, until I was disturbed by intense moonlight at the window. I opened my eyes again. The horse was standing still, but then, as if it knew I was looking, it began rocking. Intrigued, I shut my eyes, and kept them closed until the creaking stopped. As I slowly re-opened my eyes, the horse was standing still, but again, as if it knew I was watching, it began to rock back and forth back and forth all over again.
There is probably some rational explanation for this. Of course there is! But still, it was one of the spookiest things I ever experienced, and that is a big part of it, don’t you agree?
The Grave in the Woods
Last but not least, have you ever stumbled upon a lone grave in the woods? My friend, Mary, and I did. We were walking across a field, looking for wild strawberries, when we came to a stand of maple trees and a grassy clearing. Since wild strawberries grew very close to the ground, we were combing through the long grass and there it was! A grave with the name Abigail something, who died in the late 1700′s.
It was strange to find a grave all alone like that. One could not help but wonder why she had been buried far from everyone else, rather than in one of the cemeteries that had been built when Massachusetts was a colony of England. I don’t think she was very old, which for kids like us, would make it doubly shocking.
In my adult years, I have since learned that suicides would be buried far away, in unhallowed ground. The reason was fear of haunting, or that the suicide, being damned, would come back as an Undead, and Vampire…
Did a Vampire stalk the night in Leicester, Massachusetts?
If you like these type of stories I have a related post about Salem Witchcraft and my experiences with some dolls.
Click the links below:
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