When I was two or three, my great-grandfather "Gunga" gave me a toy lion, which I immediately declared to be "Dog," and I carried it everywhere for years afterward.
Shortly after giving me Dog, Gunga died of natural causes. I vaguely remember having a conversation with Gunga after he had died, which I thought was perfectly normal as a three year old. I had assumed I'd imagined or dreamed the conversation until the subject happened to come up several years ago, when I was about 20. My mum told me that she'd heard me talking to someone in an empty room when I was three, and when she asked who I was talking to, I naturally answered, "Gunga." She'd apparently also smelled cigar smoke, which she associated with him. Unfortunately, she either didn't ask or didn't remember what we'd been talking about.
As I grew up, my mum introduced me to some aspects of the spiritual world, such as tarot and meditation, but I was a skeptical child and I was very into science. I never believed in anything I couldn't see and touch, and I never imagined that there were monsters in my wardrobe or anything like that. I'd been taught about religion, but decided for myself at around the age of ten that it wasn't true.
I'm mentioning all this to try to explain how powerfully the following events effected me.
In my early 20s I had at least one close call with death, escaping only due to an extraordinary series of unlikely events. It was at this point that I started to think that there might really be someone or something looking out for me.
Over the last five years or so I've started to realize that every situation I've been in has served to steer me toward the life that I feel I was meant to live. I don't want to get too airy-fairy here, so I'll jump right to the point of this story.
After months and years of serious reflection, I fished Dog out of the back of my wardrobe, and feeling sentimental, I apologised (in my head) for neglecting him for so long.
I was going to sleep with the toy in my arms when I developed a sudden and painful stomach ache exactly where Dog was touching my stomach. I cast him away and my stomach-ache immediately disappeared. I (mostly) dismissed it as psychosomatic, and went to sleep.
The next night I curled up again with Dog, and this is where it gets weird. Dog started to violently shake, almost vibrate. I'm certain I didn't imagine it. Dog has no mechanics or anything inside him that moves. The movement was definitely not coming from me. He was shaking so violently that if I'd let him go he'd have fallen off the bed, but I couldn't let go.
I was definitely unnerved, but I wasn't exactly scared. I knew it was Gunga, maybe remonstrating me for ignoring him for so long, maybe just saying hello. I said aloud something like, "You're scaring me, now stop it." And the shaking immediately stopped. Nothing has happened since, and I kind of regret telling Gunga (or whoever) to go away.