Was it a Ghost?
In 1998 I went travelling for 6 months and stayed in quite a few hostels, some nice, some not so nice. This particular one stuck in my memory for a long time for reasons that still make me feel uncomfortable. Even the memory of it scares me a little. This is the diary entry of the night I spent there, exactly as it was written and exactly as it happened:
OK, let’s try and work this out, this is the 27th June, Saturday, 1998 I think…. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to work that out. I’m on the bus up to the Bay of Islands. I’m so tired, my head’s all fuzzy. I left Paula and Janet at Alan’s Pace, International, Backpackers at 7.15am. I had a terrible night’s sleep.
I dreamt about this old man (I could only see his sillhouette like a black shape) in the room. He was pushing a chair around the room, kind of leaning on it so he could walk. The floor sounded to be tiled and I could hear the feet of the chair scraping and squeaking as he pushed it. I saw his old baggy cardigan and his hunched back so clearly. He stopped at the door at the foot of my bed and turned towards me and just stood there looking at me. I presume he was looking at me, I couldn’t see his eyes, he was just black.
I could feel the atmosphere, he was so desperately miserable, I don’t know how I know that, he just oozed misery and a solid, blank aloneness.
When I first saw him I presumed it was the older man in the bottom bunk (we were in a mixed gender room), and I just asked him ‘What are you doing?’ He never answered and I carried on thinking it was him until I think I woke up. When he turned to me I felt absolutely terriffied, totally panicked and I started to try to shout at Janet or Paula or anyone else in the room to wake up. I couldn’t shout properly and my voice just broke up as soon as it came out of my mouth. I was just shouting and screaming and he just stood there staring at me.
I woke myself up with a yelp, eventually the screaming in my sleep had run over into real time. It was horrible because when it was all happening and I was panicking and shouting to try and wake people up, I couldn’t remember anyone’s name. I just remember shouting ‘Cath’, the name of an old friend from years ago.
The room was quiet when I woke up and I tried to ignore the long shadows cast onto the wall that looked like fingers. I spent a while calming down. The last part of the dream was the man floating half way between the ceiling and the floor, facing the door, after I’d seen him push the chair and stand up on it.
When I woke it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t the man in the bottom bunk and that it wasn’t ‘real’. The awful thing was that when I thought about it, at the end of the dream, the man was floating as if he was suspended on an invisible rope, hanging, his head rolled forward. I didn’t dare go back to sleep for ages because I felt like he was waiting for me to go back to sleep and that it would all carry on again.
This morning I looked at where he looked to have been hanging from, and there’s a trapdoor into the loft there.
I’m sorry to be so overdramatic, but I think it was a ghost. It was so vivid. It didn’t have the same quality as a normal nightmare. There was sound in it, I never have sound in my dreams as clearly as that.
I think someone climbed on a chair and hung themselves in there. It was only this morning when I actually analysed the atmosphere in that place as ghostly. Yesterday I commented that the place was joyless, and it really was. It wept damp and cold and despair from the walls.
It makes me shiver to think about last night. Something dramatic to remember at least. I was going to ask the lady at reception if the place was haunted this morning, but I felt silly, so I didn’t. I would have liked to have known though.’