Nicola Kirk: Author and Collector of Paranormal Stories and Other Strange Encounters

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So you’re not my husband… or the kids… or the cat… um… can I phone a friend?

When I wake up in the night, I don’t expect to find anyone else in my room. Other than my husband. And perhaps the kids if they come up for something. Or perhaps the cat, if the kids have let her escape from downstairs. But other than that…

Just by way of background information, in our room, we have a large skylight just over the foot of the bed. I did wonder if it was going to let too much light in when we first had it installed, and whilst we could have got a blind for it (at a massively unreasonable and inflated cost) we eventually decided it was fine without, and to be honest if I get up for any reason in the night, I appreciate the ambient light so I don’t go clumping straight into the bedpost. So when I turned over the other night, surfacing from sleep as I did so, it was a bit of a shock to find my husband half sitting up in bed next to me and what looked like another figure of my husband standing next to the bed looking down at himself. I had a moment where I struggled to make sense of it all and then woke up completely with a jolt. I half sat up and found that what I thought had been my husband sitting up in bed was actually just his elbow sticking up from under the duvet at a strange angle instead. Ah… thank goodness that’s all it was, I thought to myself. But… who had been standing next to the bed? What had I seen there?

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Amusing Pareidolia At Its Finest.

There are various reasons why I think I actually saw something that night and that it wasn’t just a case of pareidolia. The first reason is that it stays quite light in our room because of the big skylight, even with the blinds drawn in the rest of the room. You can see quite well, even in the middle of the night. Also, there is nothing on my husband’s side of the room other than a pair of blank wardrobe doors. There’s nothing hanging from those doors, certainly nothing that could be mistaken for a person. All the crap in our bedroom is mine and is, uh, artfully arranged on my side of the room… I laid there for a few minutes wondering what I’d actually seen before finally settling enough to drift off again.

Bubble Gum Fail

I’ll teach you to wake me up with your phantom bubble blowing antics…

And then there are the odd noises… oh, we LOVE odd noises in my house! Some nights, at about three or thereabouts, I’ve woken up to the sound of something going ‘POP!’ Not the kind of popping or clicking I expect to hear in my house as things contract and expand, but the sound you get when someone’s blown a nice big bubble with gum. Two or three times I’ve woken up to that noise. I suppose it could just be a noise my ears make as I start to wake up, however, about a week ago I awoke to hear a door open in our room followed by the sound of something skittering across the wood floor. But our door hadn’t opened. It didn’t even sound like our door opening (which makes a very distinctive scuffing noise as it opens because it’s dropped a bit and needs adjusting). As for the skittering sound… nope, I got nuthin’.

Nicola

Weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

© http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2018

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The above image will lull you into a false sense of security over what is yet to come…

I’ve written before about some of the weird dreams I have. My Dearly Bemused tells me he very rarely remembers dreams and, based on the dream I had the other night, sometimes I envy him. The one I had… well, it left me shuddering with revulsion and rather pleased that my daughter came in to see me at 3am because she’d managed, somehow, to smack her head on the wall in her sleep. An impressive feat and one that I didn’t mind getting out of a nice warm bed to deal with because… the dream was about spiders. Not your common or garden diddly little guy that you can turn a blind eye to when you spot it hiding in the corner of your sitting room, but mind-blowing huge ones that appear to be more intelligent than the average person. The kind of spider that you suspect has been observing you for quite some time, and now knows your daily schedule, what your middle name is and where you hide your chocolate stash.

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If I dream of a house, it’s generally always my parent’s house. I haven’t lived in that house for about twenty years. That’s quite some time but I retain a very close tie to that house. It’s the only house I remember growing up in because we moved into it when I was three and I stayed there until I met my Other Half. It’s the house my grandmother also lived and died in, so I suppose it’s no surprise that it’s the house my brain likes to visit when it sleeps. But for some reason, when I dream of that house, it’s never quite as I know it. There’s always something a bit different about it. In this particular dream, I was looking for a way in because at my parents’ house you never go in the front door. No, no, we use the tradesman entrance. I know not why, it’s just something we’ve always done. In my dream, when I realised the front door was not going to be opening anytime soon, I made my way back down the front steps and went past the garage, which was open for some reason. That garage hasn’t been open for many a year, although I know it does open because I remember seeing it when I was a kid and thinking it looked as if B&Q had just exploded in there. Now the garage was open slightly and the light was on. It was getting dark outside so I thought I’d nip in and turn the light off, shut the garage door and then… Oh, hold on a minute, there appeared to be some kind of mini office in there now off to one side that I had never seen before and… well, I can’t leave that light on either because dad will go loopy over the wasted electricity.

So I went in.

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Fine, it wasn’t quite this big but… it was close!

And found out very quickly why I never go in there because the place was festooned with horrible cobwebs filled with bits of dead or discarded spider parts. You know the way their bodies disintegrate and fall apart and (shudder) …well, there are no words to describe it really and that’s quite some confession coming from a writer. But I’m not a total wuss, I told myself, and even though my skin was crawling fit to leave my body, I bravely made my way over to that odd little office bit which I know doesn’t actually exist, and reached out for the light switch. And then stopped. Because sitting just above the light switch in a cloud of webs was one of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen. I paused, quite literally shivering with horror in my sleep. I started to surface out of sleep at this point because Disgust Mode was desperately shaking Sleep Mode by the throat screaming ‘What the hell is going on here?!’ But the horror wasn’t quite over yet. Because above that spider was something quite magnificent, in a deranged, make your skin freeze in a way you wouldn’t believe possible kind of way. Very rarely do I get that feeling but heaven knows I got it then, because through the layers of web I could make out legs as thick as my fingers, attached to a body as big as the palm of my hand. And it didn’t even have the grace to be one of those fuzzy looking spiders either. Nooo, this bastard was shiny, black and I remember thinking that if one of those legs were to break, it would make a sound like a snapping twig.

“Mummy, I hit my head on the wall!”

Daughter dearest, you will never know how happy I was to hear about your plight at 3am that chilly morning so I could nurse the nonexistent bump on your little head back to sleep.

Spiders…

Nothing requires that many legs.

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Nicola

Weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

© http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2018

I’m Not Leaving.

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Like This House For Example!

Some people stick in your mind. Sometimes they stick in your house, too. Even long after they’ve died.

People’s first reaction when you tell them you’ve seen a ghost is often to try and convince you otherwise with explanations of what they think you’ve seen or heard. I am as guilty as anyone of this. Or at least I used to be. If you want to hear some great snippets of paranormal curiosity, I learned very quickly that the last thing you want to do is to tell someone that it was probably all their imagination and the peculiar scream they heard coming from within their house in the dead of night was actually kids playing outside (oh come on, I swear some kids are nocturnal), or the reason their Aunt Jackie’s vase threw itself onto the floor is because a particularly heavy lorry rumbled by and… um… well, vibrated it right out of its locked cabinet, obviously!

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Nothing makes a story more credible than when someone you know well tells you of a creepy occurrence.  Both of my grandfathers have passed away, which is a great shame as I never met my dad’s father and barely remember my mother’s father. My mother told me of a time after her dad had recently passed. My grandmother, Nanny H, was in the kitchen washing up when all of a sudden she came dashing into the sitting room with a face as white as flour and plonked herself down in a chair. When asked what was wrong she said ‘I just saw my husband walk past the kitchen window.’ The story still gives me the shivers when I think about it.  I’m sure my grandmother would have known if she’d seen her dead husband or not – to me, there seems very little room for error there.

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That Ghost Is Going To Wish It Hadn’t Bothered…

Something more recent happened to my South African correspondent and Co-Seeker of All Things Spooky, Tarryn. A couple of days ago she was at home, the house was quiet and she was just pottering about before going to pick up the kids. ‘Then I heard a man’ s voice in the house,” she said.  “I couldn’t make out what it said and I thought it was my husband until I realised he wasn’t home yet. I panicked for a moment, wondering if someone had broken in and when I looked at the dogs to see if they’d noticed anything, I saw that all three of them were just sitting there looking at me. I was feeling a bit freaked out so I locked up the house and got out of there.” When stories come from people you know and trust, it certainly gets you thinking. As does the following story from another of my friends, Marlena.

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When Marlena was 18 years old, her grandfather passed away. Not long after, she was at home with her grandmother when she heard the doorbell ring. She looked out of the window and saw someone standing out by the gate. She called her grandmother to tell her that someone had come to visit but when her grandmother got there the man… was gone.  On its own, that would be enough to put the wind up most people, so imagine waking up one night to see what appears to be the same man sitting in the chair in your bedroom but not being able to make out the face. She called out for her grandma but when her grandmother came the man had gone. Marlena saw him one more time and when she mentioned it to her grandmother’s sister, she suggested it was probably Marlena’s grandfather. Marlena said it then suddenly made sense and all the pieces fell into place for her.  Marlena felt he had come back to visit her and her grandmother again.  She said she never felt frightened by the apparition, just felt a bit sad.

And so, to finish off, I felt I must include the latest from Most Haunted and their 2017 Hallowe’en Special.  Whilst at Croxteth Hall in Liverpool, during an epic ghost hunt Karl went off on his own to one of the upper floors.  Watch from 1.14.20 to 1.19.05.  Whoever’s currently refusing to leave that place clearly doesn’t agree with the layout of the bedroom one little bit!

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail@hotmail.co.uk

©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2018

 

 

I Hear Footsteps…

6am should be a quiet time. A time to stand bleary-eyed in front of the bathroom mirror with a toothbrush hanging out of your gob while you look at your reflection and ponder… good grief, how do I fix that? Unless you live in my house. This morning at 6am, I was indeed standing in front of my bathroom mirror with said toothbrush and eyes half-shut against the glare of the bathroom cabinet lights (I don’t care if they’re supposed to create a subdued lighting effect, it still felt like I was staring at the sun) when I heard the sound of footsteps heading towards the bathroom door. I paused my half-hearted tooth brushing and stared at the door behind me via the mirror. That’s the thing about watching as much ghosthunting as I do, you suddenly remember all the unexplainable things you’ve seen and apply them to moments of oddness in your own existence. It all went quiet for a moment and I wondered if perhaps I’d imagined it. But then, to my horror, and in true ghost movie fashion, the door handle slowly began to turn…

“Morning mummy! Can I watch your phone while you get ready?”

Oh yes… children… I remember now, I have children…far scarier than ghosts and demons and equally as likely to be out of bed at an unreasonable hour haunting me with their heavy footsteps.

Whilst watching World of Mysteries – Hidden City of London there was an interesting bit about Hampton Court, Richmond Upon Thames, where one of the wardens at the palace describes reports of footsteps being heard upon a stone floor when the floor in the room is carpeted (at 33.31 mins). Is this a case of the ‘stone tape’ theory? Or perhaps the ghost just fancies freaking someone out and is going all out to find a bit of uncarpeted floor in the corner of the room to stomp about on (I know I would – I’d make an outrageous ghost). And of course, Most Haunted is not to be outdone on the ‘spooky footsteps’ front. When they visited Haden Hall (Season 20 Episode 4) at 19.05 mins Karl hears the sound of what he describes as ‘banging sounds galore) but from the way the chair suddenly pings around, perhaps they were disembodied footsteps of someone approaching the chair to move it. And during a visit to Todmoreden Church in Series 19 Episode 4, Karl finds himself down in the depths of the church vault (41.25-44.17 mins) and it sounds for all the world as if something’s walked down the steps, had a bit of a huff and a sigh at finding Karl lurking down there already, and then turns around and walks back up the steps. It must be a very peculiar sensation being able to hear something walking towards you but not being able to see what it is. How can you prepare for what you can’t see? Do you run away, do you stay and find out what it is, do you just… carry on brushing your teeth?

You go look! Okay, we’ll both go look. In a minute…

It takes a lot of guts to go into an abandoned place, looking for ghosts (or just to be nosey) and even more guts to stay and investigate when you’ve heard footsteps coming from the floor above. Like this chap who found an abandoned house used as a Hallowe’en attraction in the past but now left to ruin. Do you think you’d have the bottle to go and find out who (or what) the footsteps belonged to? Perhaps if you were carrying a very big stick… ?

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2018

The Whistler

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My son has been learning to whistle.  That’s nice, I hear you say  (come on, I’m sure one of you said it).  Well, it would be nice if he could string a tune together.  At the moment, it’s nothing short of brain damage.  He’s discovered he can make a sound if he sucks air in, but hasn’t yet mastered whistling when he blows out, so he always sounds as if he’s on the brink of hyperventilation.  Our house is haunted by random wheezy half notes and disembodied complaints that it’s ‘too hard to whistle’, followed by other disembodied complaints elsewhere in the house that ‘if you don’t learn a tune soon, I swear I’m going to go crazy!’

Whistling has recently taken on a new interest for me.  I have been watching Most Haunted and they have discovered that whistling sometimes gets results of the paranormal kind.  (My partner in crime, Tarryn, and I are currently on season 20 of 21, and we’re rapidly dissolving into a panic as to what we’re going to Armchair Ghostbust once we’re up to date, so any suggestions for future hunts would be much appreciated … apart from Ghosthunters because, well, the drama that goes on in that programme is anything  but paranormal)

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During Most Haunted’s visit to HMP Shrewsbury (Part 2) (series 18) at 22.10 mins in, Karl whistles and asks for whatever is lurking to copy him.  And… it apparently does.  There are quite a few other instances during that investigation (which is a massive three-part investigation) where they get whistled responses to their requests, so it’s worth a watch.  Also, during a visit to Rowleys House (series 20) at 29.40 mins, whistling and asking for a response pays off.  Where does the whistling come from?  I wouldn’t have thought ghosts possessed sufficient lung capacity to squeeze a whistle out?  Yes, yes, I know, I can hear people shouting in disbelief ‘you’re taking Most Haunted seriously!?‘  But I have to say, having seen every episode from series one, the team has come along in leaps and bounds, edging away from mediums who quiver spasmodically while they declare that Mary Loves Dick!!! (yes, I swear it happened, you have to see it to believe, even Yvette can’t quite keep a straight face) to chairs being tipped over balconies and dragged across the floor (series 20, The Fleece Inn).  And if you take it at face value, it’s all very impressive.

Image result for MOst Haunted amusingBut going back to whistling, one story I read years ago that involved paranormal whistling has stuck with me after all this time.  In Robert Schneck’s superb book ‘The President’s Vampire: Strange but true tales of the United States of America‘ there is a story which I believe is called ‘The Bridge to Body Island’.   I won’t ruin the story for you, suffice to say that whistling is the last sound you’ll want to hear after you’ve read it.  You can also watch The Bye Bye Man for a cinematic treat based on the same allegedly true story.  Sadly, it didn’t get a very good rating on Rotten Tomatoes BUT… don’t let that stop you from seeing if it’s as chilling as Robert Schneck’s story that’s haunted me all these years.

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2018

COMING SOON – SLIVER

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Well, It’s Almost Done!

I’m pleased to say that after numerous re-writes, arguments with characters and the odd gender reassignment, my latest novel, Sliver, is finally out of my head and onto paper!  There’s still some editing, correcting and general faffing to do, but here’s a taste of what it’s all about:

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I’ll let you know when the Beast is Unleashed.

Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2017

Image result for bad taxidermyYou know son, I’m not sure the cat was ready to be stuffed.

I don’t talk about my paranormal infatuation in front of my kids.  Mainly because I want them to be able to sleep at night (and thus let me sleep at night too) and partly because  I think they need to go and find their own infatuations.  As long as it’s not taxidermy.  Or pickling onions.  Can’t stand pickled onions.

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Fine.  FINE!  I’ll have a shower later then.

So I find it a little puzzling when my daughter, who is only four, comes scooting downstairs from my room one afternoon, where she has been busy rearranging my books for me, whether I like it or not, telling me that: “There was a strange noise in your bathroom and I didn’t like it!  I think your bathroom is hunted!”  We had a brief debate about my bathroom not being hunted or haunted:  “No, it’s okay, we don’t have any ghosts here, trust me I’ve looked.  I’ve even tried phoning them…” I told her, looking wistfully at my Ouija board.

A few days before she had come bursting into my room at 3am complaining that there was someone in her room.

“There’s something in my room!  I saw it!”  I poured myself over the edge of my bed, half asleep, half wondering if I could get back to the fantastic dream I’d been having, scooped her up and said it was fine, there’s nothing, it’s fine, why am I awake at this hour, back to bed, go to sleep…

Two minutes later, she’s back.

“It’s no good mummy, I really can’t sleep, it’s just too dark!”

Urgh…

I scooped her up, again, took her back to bed, again, and left her little bedside light on and her door open.  She was happy after that.  She never used to be worried about the dark but recently she’s got this thing about the house being haunted.. or possibly hunted, it’s hard to tell at times.  I’m pretty sure that she’s not been reading my blog…  so what is it?  What changes in kid’s minds from not caring less that their door is shut at night and their room is dark, to suddenly waking up, complaining that something is in their room, that it’s too dark, that their parent’s, um, bathroom is hunted…haunted?

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When my son was smaller, I recall coming home once with him from an outing and opening the front door.  My son went in first and while I turned to shut the door, he said to me: “Who was that man?”

“Hmmm?  What man?” I asked, thinking he’d seen someone go by outside.

“The man that went up the stairs?”

I turned around and had a proper Sixth Sense moment:

WTF…? A man went upstairs what man who just went upstairs do I go and look do I get the hell out of here is my son having a laugh here because I’m SO not laughing right now what if there is someone upstairs I never heard someone going up the stairs should I tell my son to wait here while I go and look what if I tell him to hide in a cupboard no can’t do that or I’ll be hours looking for him afterwards what is going on here I am TOTALLY FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW!!!

Needless to say, I didn’t find anyone and as soon as my son had announced he’d seen someone going up the stairs leaving mum in a horrified stupor he just went right back to whatever he’d been doing before without a care that he’d probably given me at least three new grey hairs.

On a separate note,  the house has been remarkably quiet of late.  A picture did fall off the wall but… that was probably my fault because I’d used one of those dodgy ‘Will Hold Your Picture Up Forever!’ sticky hooks which clearly hadn’t paid attention in class.

And finally… just because it’s funny:

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Nicola

weirdworld@hotmail.co.uk

©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2017

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