I grew up in New Zealand, a country rich in spiritual culture from Western to Maori beliefs and practices. Even the government's transit authority must halt work when matakite (Maori seers) indicate the presence of burial grounds and spirits. In fact, a recent halting of a roading bypass project confirmed a matakite's prediction when bodies were indeed unearthed, then re-interned in another burial place. Maori have long seen and interacted with the deceased, and many, many people in New Zealand have stories to tell.
I grew up in a small town in the 1980s, mainly raised by my grandmothers as my own family was large and quite poor, and I was the youngest. My grandfathers had passed away, and I never met them. However, in one grandmother's house, I had my first of MANY spiritual experiences that continue to this very day.
Falling asleep one night as a five-year old, I was startled to see the heavy-set silhouette of a large and tall man walking into my room and toward my bed, when nobody was home but my grandmother. Terrified, I dived under the covers and stayed there until I fell asleep. My grandfather had lived in that house until his death, as had an uncle, although the uncle was not a tall man - but my grandfather was, and had problems with alcohol and violence.
From then on, my life became littered with similar experiences. The familiar "night terrors": a black shape hovering over my bed as I lay there paralyzed; black shadows walking around the house; scratching and tapping at the walls and windows; and constant tingles indicating I was not alone. I grew up terrified, to be honest, for most of my childhood! A strange man often spoke to me in lucid dreams. I dreamed vividly of the sheets being pulled down by unseen hands and being levitated in the middle of the night once, only to suddenly find myself awake with all the lights on and the sheets pulled down, where before the lights had been off and my sheets tucked firmly in. I cannot deny the experience felt like a dream, so perhaps it was, but the evidence and history seemed to indicate otherwise.
As I was moved from grandma to grandma, to aunties, back to my parents, and around and about all over the North Island of New Zealand, these almost weekly incidents followed me -- and even two of my cousins experienced them, too. Nobody believed me. My mother had her own spiritual experiences and considered herself "fey", but my father was very skeptical. Until the most revealing incident of all....
My father had left to take my sister to the airport, and my mother and I were at home alone eating breakfast and watching TV in her bed. I was eight years old. I left the room and walked up the hallway to the room at the end of the house that was my bedroom, around which strange events seemed to centre (animals would avoid the room, and it was particularly "heavy" in spiritual presence). My mother was behind me, walking up to the bathroom next to the room. As I walked into the bedroom, the centre of the room twisted around, like a blurry vortex. The strange part is, from the several bookshelves around the room, books lifted from the shelves into the air and scattered around the room, picked up by the strange force!
I screamed, not realising my mother was right behind me - and had seen it all! It was almost as if a portal of some sort had opened; like one of those old Windows screensavers that spun around the computer screen twisting and blurring everything. In fact, that's almost exactly what it looked like (even if it was still some years away from invention!). Perhaps, though, it was a spirit or entity. I saw nothing but a blur. If it were a portal... well, part of me wishes enormously that I had walked into it to see where it would go or what would happen, but as an eight-year-old, I was scared out of my wits. To this day, my mother affirms the story, who is really the only witness other than myself I can count on for the majority of my supernatural encounters!