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  Columnist: Tobias Wayland

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Posted on Sunday, 28 February, 2016 | 0 comments
Columnist: Tobias Wayland

When I was younger, I used to think that either my parentís house was hauntedóor I was. Now that Iím older and Iíve gained some perspective, I think itís the world thatís haunted. It seems that every corner of the globe is beset with spirits, demons, and monsters; and although Iíve travelled only a small portion of our planet, every place Iíve gone has had its share. So I guess what Iím trying to say is that weíre all haunted, even if some of us donít know it, or actively disbelieve. I hope youíll take this to heart and listen with a sympathetic ear, then, as I recall a few of my own strange experiences.

I have shared the first few decades of my life with a shadowy beingóor beingsówhose purpose I have yet to fathom. I have written of one such encounter with this mysterious phenomenon in my article, Part of the Darkness is Darker than the Rest; this is another:

The ghosts of furniture burn for a few seconds when I flip the switch. The dining room is perfectly dark; the kind of absolute darkness that can only exist as an immediate contrast to a recently extinguished light. Itís a dazzling, brilliant darkness that envelopes you completely and leaves you senseless. My parents have made it clear that the light from the dining room disturbs their sleep slightly less than closing their bedroom door at night, but still enough to be unacceptable, so this is a black maze Iíve grown accustomed to navigating. Countless repetition has taught me where to step to avoid the table and chairs, which floorboards creak, and how to find the entrance to the living room without running into the wall.

Iíve sidestepped the large wooden table, and Iím concentrating on slowly guiding my feet to just the right part of the rug to remain silent, when I feel something next to me. I feel it in my gut, the same way you might feel that thereís something in the dark before you trip on it. I know where everything is supposed to be in here, and absolutely nothing should be directly to my left at face-heightÖor breathing. The thing, whatever it is, radiates a casual malevolence, and the near side of my body tingles as I feel it draw close. Although I cannot see it, the monster must be only inches from me when it hisses. It makes a sound like an angry cat, and I feel stale breath on my face. I havenít moved since I first felt its presence, but I steel myself, resolvedly whisper ďleave me alone,Ē and quickly cover the remaining distance to the living room, up the stairs, and into my bedroom. Not once do I think to turn on the lights.

Admittedly, with the absence of my sight I can only assume that this creature shared the shadowy visage common to the entities I had previously witnessed. But I feel comfortable in this assumption, without any evidence to the contrary, since the vast majority of my early interactions with the unknown were comprised of intrusions by these dark entities.

I saw shadow people throughout the time spent at my parentís house, and still do from time to time. None of the other incidents were quite as dramatic as the one mentioned earlier, or the contents of Part of the Darkness is Darker than the Rest. I would see shadowy forms flit from room to room in the house, or duck behind the shed while I mowed the lawn. I think itís possible that I mostly witness them simply going about their business, with the most powerful interactions coming when I interrupt them or get in their way.

At times I would hear voices; often these were gibberish, but other times there was a clear message:

I heard a voice once while I was lying in bed reading. I was lying there, propped up on a pillow, innocently bettering myself with whatever sci-fi or fantasy novel I was reading at the time, when a voice told me quite sternly that ďThere is no god beneath this house.Ē I have no idea why it ever suspected that I might think there was.

I still have no idea what that message was supposed to mean, or if it meant anything at all. I wonder if the purpose of these interactions is to be purposely enigmatic, or if the reality of them is so alien as to be completely uninterpretable.

Sometimes the voices were muttered, indiscernible conversations. Despite being an unwilling witness, it still felt like somehow I was the one intruding. I think this is why they were always the most terrifying. These particular voices were sexless and somber; the kind of voices that one might attribute to any number of mythological beingsóthe monsters whose gender is never mentioned, because itís irrelevant to their function in the story. I have always wondered what purpose they possessed in the story we shared.

I still hear voices to this day, albeit infrequently. This is a difficult thing to admit, of course, because of the obvious stigma. I donít feel as though I am mentally illóat least I sincerely hope notóand Iím especially inclined to give myself the benefit of the doubt since there havenít been any negative consequences as a result of the phenomenon, nor do I exhibit any other symptoms. Mostly I hear my name called, as though from a great distance, usually by a woman; whereas other times it is merely whispered from across my shoulder. I can never quite place the identity of the caller, but it sounds so familiar that I feel like I must know this personóeven if weíve never met.

Many of these incidents correlated to my being in bed, and most often began while I was awake; but not always, as seen in Part of the Darkness is Darker than the Rest. There were also many times when I awoke to my blankets being buffeted or torn from me by invisible hands, although my least favorite nighttime activity was when these unseen assailants would dig painfully into my ribs. Unfortunately, as a child, my total ignorance regarding the cause of these phenomena left me completely unable to defend myself. There is a folk belief among children that pulling the covers over your head is sufficient to ward off monsters, but that has not been my experience. All it ever did for me was made me uncomfortably warm.

Luckily, with age comes wisdom, and over the years Iíve picked up a few occult tricks for warding off these sorts of things; and even if itís only psychological, the result has been the same, so I find some comfort in that. And despite all of thisóthe encounters, the messages, the research, all of itóI still couldnít tell you what Iíve been dealing with. Every time I feel like I get closer to an answer, a dozen questions are revealed instead. In fact, just between you and me, anyone who claims to have definitive answers as to the nature of any truly paranormal phenomenon is begging for my distrust. Any honest investigator will tell you that the field of paranormal research is still too new and too weird, and that we are only now attaining an understanding of the basic mechanics of the universe necessary for us to even properly study it. But thatís the nature of this business, of courseóonly charlatans and madmen claim a monopoly on truth.

If I know anything, though, it is this: monsters and spirits are real in the sense that we experience them. I canít yet tell you the true nature of my experiences, but I can tell you that they absolutely did happen to me as described, whatever meaning that will prove to hold; and I can promise you that I will keep trying to find out whatís really happening until Iím satisfied with the answer. Thatís the best I can do; the best any of us can do.

Article Copyright© Tobias Wayland - reproduced with permission.

Tobias Wayland is a passionate Fortean and outspoken agnostic who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Heís spent the last eight years investigating the preternatural; which has, at best, served only to illustrate the fact that any answers are still hopelessly outnumbered by questions.

His website can be visited at: http://singularfortean.com/

  Other articles by Tobias Wayland

Sanatorium Hill
Columnist: Tobias Wayland | Posted on 6-5-2016 | 0 comments
Madisonís old tuberculosis sanatorium stands sentinel over the Northport neighborhood, looming between it and the decaying remains of the areaís tortured past. ...

Forest Hill Cemetery
Columnist: Tobias Wayland | Posted on 1-31-2016 | 10 comments
Forest Hill Cemetery is a real life horror movie premise. This ghostly graveyard sprawls over 100 acres, encompasses seven Native American effigy mounds, and h...

Fairy food for thought
Columnist: Tobias Wayland | Posted on 12-19-2015 | 2 comments
Joe Simonton broke one of the cardinal rules of dealing with fairies: he not only accepted food from these strange beings, but he ate it; a decision he would li...

Whimsical Wisconsin
Columnist: Tobias Wayland | Posted on 10-12-2015 | 2 comments
In 1919, 13 year-old Harry Anderson witnessed a fairy procession just outside of Barron, Wisconsin. One summer night, car trouble forced the young man to leave...

Unhallowed aliens
Columnist: Tobias Wayland | Posted on 9-6-2015 | 7 comments
We are a species beset by monsters. We are haunted by ghosts, possessed by demons, stalked by Sasquatch, and abducted by aliens. Humanity rails against the sh...

   View: More articles from this columnist ( 9 total )

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