Thursday, 9 August 2012

Strange Days Have Found Us

I've always wondered what I would do should I chance to see a ghost. I'd like to think that I'd be fearless and confront it head on, perhaps even try to interview it for inclusion in my next book!

However, the probability is that I would turn heel and get out of there as quickly as possible.

Indeed there was an occasion when I think I might have experienced a ghost. I say experienced as opposed to "seen" because few people actually do see ghosts. You might sense, smell or hear a ghost, but a full blown materialisation is a rare occurrence indeed. Indeed, seeing a ghost is as rare as the two sides in the coalition government being actually agreeing on something!

So, to return to the day that experienced a ghost.

I'd love to begin by writing "It was a dark and stormy night." But it wasn't. It was a bright and sunny August morning in 2003 and I was at Rait Castle near to Inverness.

Now there are several things I should say about Rait Castle lest any of my readers should decide to pay it a visit.

First off, it's one of the most difficult places to get to I've ever encountered. I drove round for over an hour trying to get close to it before finally giving up the ghost (he he I couldn't resist that), abandoning the car and heading off across the fields on foot.

Secondly, it's little more than a ruin surrounded by farmland and woodland. In fact hollow shell is a more accurate description.

So there I was traipsing across the fields as the ominous walls of the old castle (or what remains of them) got closer.

On arrival I started to explore the ruin and had got to a corner where there was a stone stairway that went nowhere. Suddenly the temperature dropped alarmingly, and I mean A L A R M I N G L Y . Then i heard footsteps ascending the staircase above me. Going round there was not only no one there, but there were also only about three steps before the staircase ended in a jagged drop.

And then.  I began to feel absolutely terrified and I mean T E R R I F I E D. Why do I keep doing these capitals?

I have never felt fear like it before or since and, I can honestly say, I couldn't get out of there quick enough.

It was a good mile or so back to the car over the open fields and all the way I felt that I was being followed and I had to keep looking over my shoulder, convinced that I was being followed.

Once back at the car I drove away as quickly as possible but it was a good two hours before the feeling of dread left me.

To this day I can't explain my experience. There is, honestly, no natural explanation for it. It just happened.
Which is why when people say they've seen a ghost or they've felt a ghost I rarely shake my head in disbelief. Because I know that things can happen and, even if we can't explain them away, they can terrifying and confusing in equal measure.

Till the next time ... Good hauntings.