The Phantom Home Invader: A True Story

Throughout my childhood and early teens, I experienced many paranormal events. These experiences stopped when I was around seventeen, so it is entirely feasible to assume that they were merely the product of an overactive imagination.

But one haunting felt so lucid, so undeniably real.

Although I am a writer, this is not a work of fiction. (If it was, I’d have conjured something more interesting, with pizazz.) I’m not doing myself any favours by stating this. It is, after all, a trope of horror fiction to claim to authenticity. “Guys, it’s true! It really happened!” (“I know; I was the ghost!”).

Whether you believe me or not is your decision. I won’t try to convince you.

I was sixteen. School had finished and I was home alone. My dad was at work and my mum had just left to go to the shops. I can’t recall where my sister was, but she was probably at some afterschool event. Outside, the sun was bright and the sky a clear blue – weather not often associated with paranormal phenomena.

Alone in my room, I’d started a YouTube marathon. I was using a pair of sound-isolating headphones, but still managed to hear a loud thump, followed by a rattling sound. I paused the video I was on (a PewDiePie let’s-play if memory serves correctly) and removed my headphones. The rattling sound continued. It was coming from downstairs.

At this point, I didn’t think anything was wrong. I thought our dog – a border collie cross called Skye – had got his paws on something he shouldn’t and was tearing it to pieces.

I leaned back in my chair, turned to face my slightly ajar bedroom door, and called his name in a scolding manner. The rattling continued and, as I listened, I realised it was coming from beyond the garage door, which is in the downstairs hallway. Skye, who sounded close to the garage door, woofed once but otherwise seemed unperturbed.

Then things started to get weirder.

I could hear the handle to the garage door turn multiple times in rapid succession as if someone had locked themselves in and were now desperately trying to escape. The door, however, remained closed and the turning of the handle eventually stopped.

Skye whined and I could hear him pacing in the hallway.

After a long moment of silence, footsteps could be heard on the stairs.

(Yes, it sounds incredibly cliché. Ghostly footsteps creeping ever closer to their fearful victim has been a trope in horror for centuries. If this were a work of fiction, I would avoid this trope. But I am trying to stick as close to memory as I can, avoiding any changes.)

Adrenaline kicked in and I was on my feet. I honestly believed someone had broken into the house. I didn’t know what to do. Should I announce my presence? Confront the home invader? Hide in the cupboard? Hide behind the door?

The intruder then bounded up the stairs, each footfall a booming stomp that echoed throughout the house. Reaching the top of the stairs, the invader ran across the landing into my parent’s room. Their bedroom door then slammed shut, causing various objects on my desk to shake.

Downstairs, Skye was still whining. As for me, I was quiet. I considered my options.
Eventually, I decided on a plan that was, in retrospect, pretty damn stupid. Beneath my bed, there was a realistic toy gun; a silver Berretta 92fs with half a dozen BBs. Unless you aimed for the eye, it was harmless. But it looked deadly. My plan was to keep the invader at gunpoint while I called the police with my mobile. (I was sixteen and it seemed like a feasible idea).

I crept onto the landing towards my parent’s closed door. Nothing could be heard on the other side. Without hesitation, I threw open the door.

There was no one there. I checked every inch of the room including the ensuite. Everything was as it should be.

When I went downstairs, Skye was by the garage door. At the sight of me he cocked his head and wagged his tail. He seemed more excited than worried.

The garage door was locked, the key still in the lock. I unlocked it, investigated. Again, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

To this day, I don’t know what happened. It is still fresh in my memory, but perhaps I imagined it all. Maybe, somehow, someone really did break in and manage to escape undetected. I have no way of knowing.

If you have a potential explanation, please don’t hesitate to message me.

I may write about my other experiences at a later date.

-James-

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