Monday, March 14, 2011

Phantom Door - pt 5 of personal paranormal experiences

Phantom Door


Dana Davis

I spent the majority of my childhood and young adult years in various aspects of show business and heard all kinds of stories about theatres being haunted. I sometimes think managers made up some of the stories because what’s a theatre without a ghost, right? This incident didn’t happen at one of the theatres where I worked. Instead it took place at a local community center where I spent a lot of time in rehearsals. I was about twenty-one years old.

I’m preparing for another rehearsal and have my arms full of costumes and props as I approach the door to the building. As I get closer, I begin to shift all the stuff in my arms so I can get a hand free to open the door. I’m having trouble because I’m carrying way too much. Just as I get about four feet from the door, it swings open. Not a little bit. It opens enough for me to get through with all the stuff I’m carrying and stops as though someone is holding it. Only there’s no one on the other side.

I chuckle nervously and step inside then turn and say, “Thank you.” I watch in amazement as the door closes itself and latches.

I stand there staring at the large, heavy metal door with the push bar. I’ve been coming to this place on a regular basis since I was fifteen years old, so I know for a fact it’s not easy to open. Even when other doors in the facility are opened and it’s windy out, there isn’t enough cross breeze to open it. It’s too heavy.

I stride down the hallway, glancing back to see if the door will open again but it doesn’t. When I get into the rehearsal studio, my choreographer and good friend is already here.

He looks at me and says, “You look spooked. What happened?”

I tell him everything and ask if it’s ever happened to him. No, it hasn’t. And he’s here even more than I am. As other performers arrive, we tell them the story and ask if any of them ever had a similar experience with any of the exterior doors. Nope. Not a one. They rib me about having my own personal ghost valet and we all get a good laugh.

I came and went through that door many times after that day with my arms full, but it never opened like that again. I have no explanation other than it was a very odd occurrence. I lost that choreographer and good friend a few years later to a deadly disease, but whenever I see a heavy metal door with a push bar, I think of him and that building and my personal ghost valet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ding-Dong-Ditch or Ding-Dong-Ghost? - pt4 true paranormal stories

Ding-Dong-Ditch or Ding-Dong-Ghost?

By Dana Davis

My parents were out, leaving me, my younger brother and sister and a younger cousin at home alone. It was the middle of the day and we were goofing around and chatting. We started talking about paranormal stories we’d heard from various family members. What happened next went something like this:

I’m telling them the stories I’ve heard about our great-great aunt being a medium and the odd happenings that were reported around her, when the doorbell rings. I go to the door but there’s no one there. I step onto the porch and out into the yard, thinking some kids were playing ding-dong-ditch, but I don’t see anyone.

“Who is it?” my sister asks.

“Probably just kids.” I shut the door.

We just get back into the family room, when the doorbell rings again. We race to the door, hoping to catch the miscreant this time. There isn’t anyone there. The four of us go outside to check but none of us finds anyone so I let everyone back inside.

Just after I close the door, the bell goes off again and I yank the door open. Again, no one. We’ve never had a problem with the doorbell in the past and I’m a bit flummoxed. The light is on. It looks like it always does. Nothing odd. It has to be kids. I often baby-sit for the couple across the street so I go into the kitchen and call over there. The husband answers and I tell him I think someone is playing ding-dong-ditch with us.

“Can you see our porch from there?”

“Yes,” he says.

“Do you see anyone?”

“No. I don’t see anybody.”

While I’m on the phone with him, the doorbell rings again. “Did you hear that?” I say. My siblings and cousin are too scared to go to the door. Phones in this time have cords so I’m stuck where I am.

“Yes. I heard it,” the neighbor says. “I’m looking right at your porch but there’s no one at the door.”

“Okay, thanks for checking,” I say into the phone. I hang up and the doorbell rings again.

My siblings and cousin are cowering in the family room yelling for me to get rid of the ghost. I laugh and tell them it’s not a ghost. But at this point, I’m beginning to wonder. I ask my brother to get me a screwdriver. I go onto the porch to undo the doorbell and see it I can figure out what’s making it go off. Maybe a wire is shorted. It rings just as reach for it and I jump. My siblings and cousin got brave enough to follow me but now run screaming back into the house.

I call to them that I’m going to test it. I push it and it works just fine, no sticking, nothing out of the ordinary. With shaking hands, I manage to get the lighted button off so I can look inside. The wires all look connected. I don’t see anything wrong. I screw the cover back on and go inside, waiting for it to ring again. It stays quiet.

We never found out for sure what caused that doorbell to go off like it did. My family lived in that house for over fifteen years and that was the only time it happened.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jury Shmury

So, I have jury duty today. I’m still a bit dizzy today and had to get up at 5:30 this morning so I could brave Phoenix freeways to get here before 8:30. Then they opened the doors late and I really had to pee. So far, the upside to this place, as opposed to the downtown courthouse I had to got to last time, is that parking is nearby and I don’t have to walk six blocks in the summer heat.

Metal detectors. Fun. Just like the airport, only no great destination waiting at the end. And no drinks or food allowed inside the building so my snack and water bottle are in the car. I’m thirsty. Right now, I’m sitting in a small stuffy room with one table in the middle and chairs lining the walls. They do offer water and coffee here but we’re not allowed to take it out of the room. I’m sitting in a corner chair because they have no computer work spaces or wifi in this backward place, either. So, unfortunately, I can’t blog in real time. You’re reading this hours after the fact but I’m writing as much in real time as I can and not get arrested for contempt of court.

Okay, guy with a badge just entered. They need seven jurors. The rest of us will probably go home before noon. Please let that be me. Oh, joy. A video. Okay, he just turned down the lights. Not good for those of us with Meniere’s Disease. But at least he’s leaving so I can keep typing. Can you say death by boredom? I feel like I’m in government 101. Again. I wonder how much they paid these people in the video to say good things about jury duty. No one in this room looks excited to be here. Or maybe it’s just the lighting. Ooh, maybe I should apply as an actress for jury movies. Put all that Hollywood training to work again. Blah, blah, more video talk. I’ve heard all this before. And I could find this info on the net, if they just had wifi. That’s right, they don’t. Do I sound cranky? Well, I’m balancing my computer on my purse because there are no work stations. Hey, video’s over. Oops, guy with a badge coming back in the room. More later.

Okay, well, they got us lined up with numbers and marched us into a courtroom. It’s just before 10. This is a dui case. They don’t usually want people like me on dui cases, not when my teenage nephew was killed by an impaired driver. Questions about work, kids, spouse. The usual. Followed by a series of questions the judge asks and we simply raise our juror number if we qualify. Ooh, I raised my card at least four times. Next, we go back out into the waiting area for another round of sit and wait. Oh, goody. Crap, it’s only 10:30 and I’m hungry. I was queasy this morning so all I had for breakfast was toast. Where’s my snack? Oh, that’s right - I’m not allowed to have any food. Did I bring anything for this headache? Nope. Okay, now the bailiff is calling us in one at a time for more questions, so I don’t have to wait long before I’m back in the courtroom.

This time the judge wants explanations to the questions I raised my juror number for so I tell him what he wants to know. Hmm, the prosecutor and arresting officer look pleased with my answers. Can’t say the same for the defendant and his attorney, though. One final question from the defense. Ah, I’m fairly certain he won’t pick me now. More thank yous and please take a seat outside. Yeah, yeah, I got that part down.

Okay, now I’m back in a chair outside for more waiting. It’s after 11 and I’m really hungry now. I wonder if I have time to go to my car for a snack. Better not risk it. I’ve been trying to work on my editing on these breaks, except I keep reading the same paragraph over and over because of the disruptions. Just too many people talking and moving around. Bailiff calling out names. The guy next to me is coughing. Great, hope he’s not contagious. No time to dwell on that now - Being called in again.

Yea! I’ve been dismissed! It’s 11:30 and I’m starving! Can I go now? No. Have to wait for slip of paper. Of course, I’m one of the last people to get mine. Figures. But, hey, I’ve got a nice little box of snacks and a bottle of water in the car. I’m outa here!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Phantoms and Doors - pt3 of true paranormal stories

Another true-life paranormal story

Phantoms and Doors

By Dana Davis

One night, when I’m about twelve or thirteen years old, I awaken to the feeling of being watched. My room feels eerie, different, like something has changed. I can’t explain it, other than feeling like somebody besides me is there. That’s when I look up to see a black mass of a shadow in my bedroom doorway. Though I can’t see any features, I have a distinct feeling it’s a male presence. It looks like it’s wearing a large hat. I don’t know why I think that because I really can’t see anything distinct, jut a shadow. But I definitely see a hat coming up from what I think is a head. My heart seems to stop in that moment. I can’t breathe.

I try to ignore the feelings and tell myself that I’m just seeing things, that there can’t be a person in my doorway, that it must be a shadow from some strange object in my room. But I still have the distinct feeling I’m being watched and I start to shiver with fright when the shadow remains.

In a panic, I pull the covers over my head and am so scared that I barely hear my own whispers of, “Go away, go away, go away.” Trembling, I peer out from beneath the covers but the black mass is still there.

I hold my breath. My heart starts pounding so hard I think it will pop right out of my chest. I hide under the covers again and utter for it to go away. When I finally get the nerve to look again, whatever it is has disappeared. The room no longer feels different. I no longer feel like I’m being watched. Everything is, well, normal. I want to go to the bathroom but am too scared to get of bed. So I huddle under my covers until I finally go back to sleep.

The next morning I try to figure out what could have made that shadow in my doorway. But everything in my bedroom is in its place, just as always. I’m very good about keeping things in their proper places so I can’t explain the mysterious shadow.

Not long after that incident, I awake one morning and shuffle into the kitchen. My mother is here making coffee or something. My dad and siblings are still in bed. The conversation goes something like this:

My mom turns to me and says in a low voice, “Did you hear the front door last night?”

“No, why?”

“Well, someone knocked in the middle of the night. Woke me up.”

“Really, who?”

“That’s what’s so strange. I went to the door and looked out the peep hole and saw a man in a suit and dress hat standing on the porch. When I opened the door, he was gone. There was no one. I looked for a car or something but it was quiet and I didn’t see anybody anywhere. He was just gone.”

Now if you’re wondering why my mother would open the door to a stranger in the middle of the night, you have to understand this was the 70s in a small town and we had a locked screen door between the inner door and the porch. Even though we kids were taught about stranger-danger, these were the days when people kept their doors unlocked and garage doors open all day so children could come and go as they pleased. The only times my parents locked up was when we all left the house to go someplace or before they went to bed at night.

I study my mother and she seems awed by what she experienced, and maybe even a little spooked. Men don’t wear dress hats anymore, which makes her story all the more fascinating to me. Gooseflesh makes me shiver as I ask, “Who do you think it was?”

“Well, I think it was my grandfather.” The man had died when my mother was around thirteen years old (my age at the time) and she’d been very close to him.

“Really? You think it was him?” I’m actually relieved by this news because it makes the shadow I saw seem less threatening and I move on to curious. “What did he want?”

“I don’t know. Maybe just stopped by to say hi.”

I nod. We don’t say much else about it and she smiles at me as we get breakfast ready.

I’m not sure why, but I didn’t mention the shadow in my doorway to her until many years later. And I still find it strange that my mother would come out of the blue with her story about her dead grandfather who once wore a dress hat, especially after my own experience of the shadow man in the hat. Either way, I never saw that shadow again and, as far as I know, my mother never had another strange night visitor come knocking at the door.

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