Friday, April 3, 2009

Spine Tingler: Look Out the Window, NOW!

Our summer home on the quiet Mobjack Bay inlet of the Chesapeake was a beautiful Victorian white clapboard on blocks to prevent flooding during storms. We usually left it unattended through the cold season, but if there was a chance for hurricanes, we would rush down and board up the windows.

One such September we went down to the house with only a skeleton crew of my father, brother, me, and my dad’s friend (for the extra strong arms to board up a few dozen windows). I was, as usual, relegated to handing them nails and bringing them sweet tea on the assembly line. My seven-year-old body could feel the barometric changes in the weather and knew something really big was about to happen.

And it was!

Dad went out in the afternoon to help out a friend and assist him with securing his own house, as well. Father’s friend, remained behind, taking a nap on the screened porch after all the hard work. My brother Scott and I decided to play board games. The house was always kept at a bare minimum and my parents wanted to promote creativity, so there was no TV or even a radio to warn us of what was to come.

Just after dark the winds began to howl horrible. The boards on the windows were rattling against the siding and it sounded as if the top of the house could pop off at any time. We were too distracted to play our games, so we pushed the board aside. Scott went to the kitchen for something to eat and I remained in the living room, pacing the floors, listening to the weather.

I wasn’t particularly scared of storms at that age. I hated losing electricity because I thought hurricane lamps were so scary, but my father had gotten me over the thunder sounds with stories of angels bowling and the very loud booms being that the angels just had a strike. I used to try to score in their game in my head to distract myself.

Not this night.

The pressure in my head was bothering me and the air felt thick and heavy and still inside the house. It was suffocating feeling being inside such still while outside it remained hyperdynamic.

I walked over to the window facing the street and stared out at a large board looking back at me. It rattled and I startled as I watched it bouncing wildly against the house.

Turning away and walking back to the Clue board game to put it away, I distinctly heard someone say “Look out the window.” I stood up and looked around. My brother was in the kitchen facing away from me spreading some peanut butter on bread. The voice had sounded like an adult whispering. Still, I had to ask.


“Hmm?” He called out over his shoulder.

“Did you just say something to me?”

“Nope.” He called back. “Probably the wind.”

I turned back to the window just as I heard a very distinct, very clear woman’s voice snap, “Now!”

I looked up just as the board sucked itself right off the siding and flew away into the night. I rushed to the window and held onto the sill, studying the shapes in the night to see something very dense, very thick, and very strangely light compared to the surroundings. My ears popped just as I heard a huge roaring, holding my breath, as I watched the trailer across the street tumble off its foundation and land on its roof as the roaring gray thing passed towards the dock.

“Scott!” I screamed.

My brother stood in the doorway to the living room, hands on hips. “What’s your problem? It’s just a loud storm.”

“No! The trailer!” I pointed.

“The windows are covered up. You can’t see anything.” He scoffed.

I actually rubbed my eyes and rechecked. Yup, I could see the trailer on its lid perhaps 50 feet from its foundation.

“T-the trailer!” I pointed, my mouth wide open.

Scott came up to the window with a heavy sigh of older brother's frustration and looked out.

Holy hell!”

He ran into the porch room and woke up our deeply sleeping guardian. Dad’s friend took Scott and they both rushed over to the trailer. I followed in the torrential winds, barely able to walk against it with my tiny frame. I was sobbing with fear as an molten pool of lightning made a strange ceiling in the sky, not reaching the ground, just crackling and sizzling above.

Dad’s friend yelled at me to get inside his camper truck away from the lightning. I hugged myself tightly against the cold rain and winds, looking back at the trailer and thinking it wasn’t such a good idea to get into a camper. I remained in the middle of the road, shivering, frightened beyond reason, and terrified for the folks inside the trailer. I knew they had a few children.

Dad’s friend and my brother broke their way into the trailer to climb in and help the residents. Other neighbors pulled their cars over and got out, helping to carry the bloodied people from the trailer. They were hurt, but they’d be okay.

When we settled into the house for the night after all the drama, I dried my hair with a fluffy towel and looked outside where the trailer remained askew.

“Dad says you saw a tornado.” My brother told me from the doorway.

“Really?” My mind didn’t fathom what a tornado was except that it took Dorothy to some psychedelic land away from her family. I was relieved the kids in the trailer weren’t taken away to Oz.

I was even more relieved that woman’s voice warned me. What if she hadn’t? What if through the sounds of the storm, we didn’t realize their trailer had been thrown? One of those people was bleeding pretty badly from the shattered glass…

“Thank you.” I whispered softly as I curled into my feather bed.


  1. Wow. I know that word is cliché, but: Wow. I've heard of similar things happening. I wonder if voices such as that are from relatives or guardians on whatever there is for the other side. Thank goodness for the people in that trailer that you listened!

    My own family has a story like this: My great-grandmother Minnie was driving off the Navy base in Long Beach CA after a trip from the commissary, several years after her husband Monty died. Just as she pulled out of the gate she heard her husband's voice saying in a soft but stern tone: "Minnie..." At that moment she felt pressure over her hands on the wheel and a pressure on her ankle that moved her foot from the gas to the break. As she stopped short a large vehicle from behind a blind corner plowed through the place her car would have been, going far too fast. Had she not been stopped she would have been smashed sideways.

  2. Yup. It's funny. I'm not the "hearing voices" type of psychic. As a kid, I was used to having to touch something to make a tie to it, but I always had the sense in that house of a soothing grandmother type following me around, observing me as I read from the antique books in the library room. I remember my first reaction had been that it was my mother, but she was up in our main house in Fairfax. She sounded like she had a southern drawl a bit. When my brother thought it was the wind, I listened closely to the sounds and sometimes it did sound like voices (sort of like when you listen to an EVP and think a humming sound is a person murmuring). I kind of shook it off until I heard "Now!" That was very urgent and I reacted by instinct and not by logic. Instead of stopping and going "who said that?" I rushed to the window. I felt like an elder was giving me orders and I just promptly did as I was told. I never heard her again in the house. I wonder if it could have been my internal instincts giving me an avenue to explore what my psychic side knew but my logical side wouldn't confront? I love that story about your great-grandma. My father said I got my abilities from his sister. When they were kids they rode in a car and one sister sat in the front with her friend and her friend's mother who was driving and the rest of the siblings were in the back. My aunt got hysterical for her sister to get into the back seat with them. She made such a scene that she climbed into the back with them. Less than a minute later, a train hit the car and killed the two in front and my aunts and dad were saved in the back. Unfortunately, the sister who climbed into the back seat had to have extensive plastic surgery, but she survived. The problem with gut instinct is that it's perfect in retrospect, "I knew I should have picked the one on the left..." and those kind of comments, but the key is to look back in retrospect and figure out exactly how your mind and body felt when you wanted to pick the one on the left and picked the one on the right instead. Once you know how your mind and body reacted beforehand, then you can tune into it in the future and make the right decision the first time by looking for those senses. I do a lot of online PSI testing to try and learn what those internal signals are in retrospect. I suspect you're very sensitive too. You might want to try it. I usually go to

  3. As my daughter would say, kewl!

    So, do you think that the voice actually came from the room or possibly from your head via your ear?

    In a big sense, imagine the inner ear playing the part of an EV instrument. You'll have to make up some kind of scenario in your head - but visualize the woman approaching your ear and literally entering it to some degree.

    The middle ear consists of the eardrum, the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. The eardrum is basically just a tightly stretched membrane which vibrates as incoming 'pressure waves' reach it

    ("The pressure in my head was bothering me and the air felt thick and heavy and still inside the house.")

    Then again, who knows. :)

  4. Oops, forgot the main thing I was going to say. I WANT THAT HOUSE - waa, waa, waaa.

    I'm a victorian fanatic. Raised in Indiana, I appreciate all old wood slat homes and the workmanship from back then in comparison today, which is a total joke.

  5. Lastly,
    I found it odd how I had something on the line of a hurricane planned for a post today before reading your tornado experience in here so I thought I would share.
    What else is there? To Gail Ettenger, wherever you may be

  6. This was indeed a spine tingler!! Great narrative -also great atmosphere! best to you as always!!

  7. It sounds like your guardian angel was watching over you that night. Another good spine tingler. Looking forward to the next....

  8. I have to admit that when I heard her voice, I remember looking up immediately (I was facing away from the window) and looking exactly where I heard the voice. It definitely had a location in the room very precisely, which makes me think it might not have been something I heard in my head. When she snapped (kind of growled lowly) "Now!" I reacted like any kid having a female adult insist you do something--I rushed to the window. One of the things I enjoy about ghost hunting nowadays is that the things that happened to me growing up made me realize something is definitely occurring that's unusual. Now, I have the logic of an adult to look back. I think what might have been getting me that evening was the incredible drop in the barometer. Like EMF, some folks are more tuned to it. If you've ever been in a reportedly haunted place, you can sometimes feel that head pressure. You hear the TAPS members on "Ghost Hunters" mentioning that often. It really does happen. Your head feels pressure and the air feels heavy and it's like breathing mercury. I'd like to pick up a barometer and use it on the next expedition to see if I can verify the drop in barometric pressure. Soon, I plan to put a scene from my "The Hunt: Ghosts" manuscript on here, a scene from the lighthouse investigation where this kind of thing occurs to them on a stormy night. My hypothesis is conditions such as high EMF, geomagnetic activity, electrical storms, extremely dry conditions, and drops in barometric pressure can actually make it easier to see/hear the things that occur with ghostly phenomenon. "Ripe conditions," as it were.