My own encounter with unexplained breathing in the corner of my room
MY INTEREST IN the paranormal and all things unexplained stretches back to my youth. I don't know the genesis of it exactly, but it has been a lifelong fascination. Many people who explore the reality of ghosts and hauntings can point to a personal experience that they or some member of their family had with the phenomena, but I have not had many such experiences. In fact, I've only had one significant encounter with a phenomenon that I have not been able to explain to myself with complete satisfaction. It was rather unnerving at the time, as you'll see, and this is the first time I have written about it in this blog.
The exact year, month and day have long been lost to my rather poor memory for such things, and it has now been more than 30 years since this happened, but the actual experience I remember well.
It was summer and I was home from college and living in my family's huge house in Central New York. I am part of a large family of 12 children, so a large house was required, obviously. Built in the 1920s, I believe, it was - and is (my sister still lives there!) - a wonderful house with sliding pocket doors, three staircases up to the second floor, French doors in the living room, a full basement with a monstrous, multi-limbed furnace, and a big, full attic. It was space enough for all of us, or most of us anyway: all 12 children never lived there at the same time; the older ones were off on their own by the time the smallest ones arrived.
We all loved the house, and although our collective experiences there - joyous, sad, hilarious, routine and wonderful - could fill volumes, it was not a place we could call haunted. Like all older houses it had its creepy little corners, creaks and groans from age, and could fuel unusual fantasies (I still have dreams about a secret room in that attic that I know cannot exist), but as far as I know no one claimed a ghostly experience there. At least not while I was growing up. That made it somewhat more difficult to account for my experience.
It was June, July, August - who knows? - but I was on summer vacation from college and so was somewhere in my early 20s. The time was probably around midnight or not long after. I had stayed up to watch TV and now had gone up to my room for bed. My younger siblings and my parents were in their rooms, asleep presumably, while a few of the older ones were probably still out and about. In any case, the house was quiet.
I had the bedroom to myself - perhaps the first time I had a bedroom to myself in that once-crowded house. By now, the older kids had apartments or houses of their own, providing more breathing space for those remaining. (I just now realized how "breathing space" adds irony or symbolism to my experience.) It's an average-size bedroom, probably 10 x 12 feet, with a few features that distinguish it from any other bedroom in the house: it has its own bathroom and a door to a second-floor porch, the latter which was rarely used because of the frail and dangerous condition of its railing. Its door was always kept locked, but the porch could be accessed (which we occasionally did as kids) by crawling out onto it through the small bathroom window.
THE BREATHING BEGINS
The night was warm and still. I prepared for bed, turned off the overhead light via the wall switch, and slipped under the sheet and blanket. I was tired, but don't recall being unusually so. I was lying there for only a few minutes when I began to hear the sound of breathing. It seemed to be in the room somewhere. I was puzzled and could not imagine what the cause could be. We had no pets, except for a cat perhaps, which certainly was not in my room. And the other bedrooms were of a sufficient distance away that it could not have been the breathing of another family member. Besides, as I sat up to get a better listen, I could tell that the breathing seemed to be coming from the far left corner of the room (the opposite direction of any other bedrooms), where there is the door to the porch and one of those old iron hot water radiators.
Next page: Where was it coming from?