By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Allow me to indulge my fascination with the supernatural. I so rarely get the opportunity, and Halloween is the perfect excuse to stretch my legs, so to speak.
Consider that eerie stories of ghostly encounters and the like have always been a topic of interest among my family and friends. We’re the type of people who enjoy sitting around the dinner table and sharing spine-tingling experiences about apparitions and urban legends.
I wouldn’t necessarily call the preoccupation a morbid attraction to the macabre. Instead, this is more of an appealing distraction from the daily grind, one that hooks us with underlying aspects of the metaphysical. Ghoulish though it may be, there’s a certain magic that exists in the supernatural world – should you choose to believe in that type of stuff – and it’s the belief in magic that fills me with wonder.
The stories that raise my eyebrows are personal accounts of a creepy, unexplainable occurrence from an otherwise rational person. For instance, a good friend whose skepticism is matched only by his honesty once shared a story with me about an old woman who tried yanking him from his bed.
As the story goes, my friend, who we’ll call Shawn, was walking home from school with a group of friends when they came across a wooded area (of course). He was 9 and living in Kansas at the time, and Shawn said that while he didn’t enjoy traipsing through the area, it was an oft-used shortcut that proved useful. Besides, he was always with friends.
One day, a friend told him a story about a witch that lived in the woods. People in the small town claimed she could sometimes be seen sitting in the trees, looking down on unsuspecting passersby and waiting for the right person to happen along – a person, or a child in this case, she deemed fit to sacrifice towards an end I cannot recall.
In any case, know that Shawn is the consummate skeptic – even as a child, I’m told. So naturally, he scoffed at the idea of a woman living Blair Witch-style in a cold and unforgiving environment.
Later that evening, Shawn, who was uncharacteristically restless for an active 9 year old, hit the sack a bit earlier than usual. In the middle of the night, a gentle tug startled him awake. Annoyed, a half-asleep Shawn thought his cat, which sometimes slept on the windowsill located at the foot of his bed, had climbed onto the covers. So he wriggled his feet a bit as if to shoo it away. It wasn’t until the second tug came that he knew something was wrong.
Noticeable was the force in which someone, not something, grabbed his foot and pulled, not to mention its timing – when he fell back asleep, as if it was preferred that he’d be unaware of what was happening to him. Suddenly, Shawn was filled with dread as he recalled the story of the witch in the woods.
Ever the skeptic, however, Shawn sat up to prove to himself that lying at the foot of his bed was only his mischievous cat. What he found was a “wild-eyed” old woman hanging out of his second-story window and dressed in dirty, ragged clothing, grimacing as she reached for his feet.
In disbelief, Shawn said he recoiled in terror but couldn’t scream. All he could do was close his eyes and hope she was gone when he opened them. Sure enough, she was gone, and Shawn was safe. All that laid before him now was a closed window and messy covers.
To this day, he questions what he really saw that night, and so do I. After all, as kids, we have an active imagination. Sadly, that’s something that’s lacking in the lives of children today.
If what Shawn experienced was indeed some sort of subconscious fear implanted by a friend’s anecdote to pass the time, is it more likely that he manifested this woman in his mind, or that it really happened? Whatever the case may be, at the very least it served to make us think about something other than our taxes, which was the topic of discussion before Shawn chimed in with this gem.
If you have similar stories, email them to email@example.com before 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, and we’ll include them in our Halloween edition of the San Benito News the following Wednesday.