I am 57 and I have autism. I was brought up by my grandfather in Tyne and Wear, England. I have an excellent memory of my childhood, way above average. I think this may have something to do with my autism.
I must have been about three and a half. This would make it around October 1956. We lived in a small flat and on this particular evening my grandfather was sitting in the living room reading a newspaper. I was amusing myself running around singing and shouting and generally being a pain.
It was around 8:00 p.m. and quite dark outside. I stood at the open doorway to the old-fashioned scullery. Although the light was off, it was just light enough to make out the sink at the far end of the scullery just under the window. I would often dare myself to take a step or two in to this dark room.
The light from the living room only seemed to light the entrance a little. I would always run out after just a couple of feet and in to the comfort of the light. I always felt that I was being watched by something in there.
This particular night, I actually saw it. The old-fashioned sink had no draining board, just a bench and under there. My grandad had a lot of old bottles for some reason.
Amongst the bottles was a creature that appeared to be made of fire. It had stick-like arms and legs and these were not covered in flames like the main body. There was no head. The eyes and mouth were on the main body and were cartoon-like in appearance. It was dancing and gesturing for me to come closer and smiling at me.
I remember smiling back, but I was afraid to walk closer to it. I told my grandfather that there was a fire under the bench and he came to look with me. There was nothing there; it had gone in those few seconds it took for my grandad to come and take a look. He was annoyed with me for disturbing him whilst he was reading the paper.
After that, I saw it a few more times. It was always under the bench and always dancing and smiling at me and still beckoning me to enter the dark scullery. I would just smile back and whisper that I was not coming any closer. I whispered because I thought I would get in trouble from my grandad if I mentioned the fire again.
Several years later, when I was about twelve, I saw my first packet of fire lighters. I was shocked when I saw a very similar cartoon trademark creature on the box. A flame with stick-like arms and legs and a face on its main body. Although we had a coal fire, we never had fire lighters as my grandad used a gas poker to light the fire. We also had no television at that time so I could not have been influenced by either of these. I know that what I saw was real and seemed intelligent and I often wonder what would have happened if I had been brave enough to go to it when it beckoned me into that dark scullery.