This happened back in the early nineties when I first started having the worst of my problems with depression. One winter afternoon, I decided to take a siesta. I lay on the bed and went to sleep almost immediately, but then started to have very scary and disturbing dreams (daymares). I don’t recall what they were about, but something was suffocating me and I remember telling myself I needed to wake up and I kind of swam up out of sleep like a drowning man struggles to the surface of a dark pool.
Finally, like a scene from a film, I sat bolt upright, covered in sweat, gasping for air and filled with panic. It had got dark while I’d been asleep and I felt like a terrified child, so I quickly jumped off the bed and went to switch the light on. As I walked past the end of the bed, though, I tripped and fell face down, but didn’t hit the floor as you’d expect, instead landing floating a few inches above the carpet.
Even more panicked, I scrambled upright and made it to the light switch which I duly flicked on. Only the light didn’t come on and as I flipped the switch up and down in confusion, I looked around and saw myself still laying on the bed. For a second my hair stood on end with fright and then I was suddenly back on the bed and struggling to wake up again.
Heart thumping, still drenched in sweat and filled with panic, I sat bolt upright as before. Absolutely scared to death, but a little relieved at the thought that what had just happened had all been part of my nightmare, I rushed over to put the light on. As I got to the end of the bed, however, I tripped and fell face down as I had the first time and again landed floating inches above the carpet. The light wouldn’t switch on either and though not really wanting to, I looked at the bed and there I was, laying on my back, eyes closed, just like the first time, only now the silhouette of a woman was standing by the bed looking down at me and that also raised the hackles on my neck.
I couldn’t make out any features as she was completely black, like a deep shadow, but the outline looked like an old lady in a hooded cape. Well, by then, paralysed with fear would describe how I was feeling, but for a second time I was suddenly back on the bed and struggling to wake up. When I sat up again, everything seemed exactly the same as the first two times. I got up and went towards the light switch for a third time, fully expecting to trip over again, only this time I didn’t and when my shaking hand flicked the switch, the light finally came on and everything in the room was normal.
Now I’m not a particularly religious person and I can’t say whether my soul or spirit had left my body, but I am 100% certain that my mind was over by the door looking back at me on the bed. There was nothing unclear about it, normal feelings, normal sight, normal shiver of fear running up my spine. My body was still on the bed, but my thoughts were definitely over by the switch. My fingers could feel the switch as I flicked it and I heard it clicking, just as one always would. It wasn’t like being ghostly, it was as if there were suddenly two of me (heaven forbid, one’s more than enough), a lifeless me unconscious on the bed and the real me standing in the corner of the room, confused and terrified.
The whole experience really shook me up and I didn’t want to sleep that night. In fact, I was so scared and troubled, I had to leave every light in the house on in case I woke up and needed the loo, like a frightened little boy. You may dismiss all this as just being a particularly vivid dream, but I know otherwise.
Nothing like that had ever happened to me before and hasn’t since, I’m very glad to say. The way things went that afternoon are burned into my mind and I can remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was too bloody frightening not to remember it. I think I may have actually stopped breathing and that’s why it happened, though I can’t say for sure. Possible, because your mind can do some strange things to you when you’re in the grip of depression. Even people who snore often stop breathing, sleep apnea they call it, but who knows.
Several years later, while I was working on a switchboard, I had a very strange conversation with an old lady who claimed to be psychic. She told me that an elderly man had lived alone in my flat for many years and died there, which was absolutely true. She said one or two more things that she had no way of knowing and then she suddenly told me not to worry as my grandmother was close by and watching over me. Gave me the shivers and I immediately thought of the dark figure I’d seen by my bed and couldn’t help but wonder.
I never met either of my grandmothers, or any of my grandparents come to that. My parents were quite old when they had me, 50 and 42, so their parents were either dead, or like my mum’s dad, hated and shunned. My father was born in 1906 and my mum in 1914, so their folks would have been born somewhere around the mid to late 1800s. Would one of my grans have worn a hooded cloak, quite possibly and my mum once told me the night her mother died she woke up to see her standing at the foot of her bed, smiling down at her. Since then, I have always made the joke that if my grandmother really is watching over me, she isn’t making a very good job of it! Come on gran, where are those winning lottery numbers?
There concludes the tale of my out-of-body experience and now I must return to the more mundane stuff of life, like washing up and cleaning the sink.
Don’t have nightmares people…