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  • Karen Hamilton-Viall

An assortment of oddities

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

I've already outlined the two main ghostly events in my life thus far. I thought I'd bundle the remainders together into a box of assorted flavours. I can not say as definitely that a paranormal explanation is attached to them but they were all odd in their own particular way.

I'll start with the first. It happened, whilst I was still a teenager living at home in an average suburban three-bed 1930s semi-detached house in South East London. One of the many that were put up during a mid-war building boom. I don't recall exactly how many families had lived in the house before us but we were at least the third. We always had cats and at the time of the event, we had two female cats, Jilly & Tessa. Whilst sitting in our living/dining room one evening, both cats jumped off their seats and ran forward hissing at a fixed point in the room. We looked to see what on earth could be disturbing them so much but could see nothing there. The hissing continued for about 30 seconds to a minute, their hackles fully raised. Then stopped just as suddenly and they returned quite soon to their previous serenity. They weren't hissing at each other, they had known each other for years, they were standing beside each other hissing at something unseen. The only rational non-paranormal explanation I can find for this is that perhaps a rat or something was under the floorboards but this is not the normal response they used for prey but usually only for other cats or perhaps dogs. Animals however are known for seeing and hearing things that people can not. Never again did I have such an experience with an animal. I did however have another pet-related experience. A year or two after moving out from home, whilst lying on my bed with my eyes shut but not asleep, I felt pressure, as of a cat jumping on my bed and heard a small meow. I opened my eyes fully and nothing was there. I checked the whole room. I thought at first it was the new cat we had got but my door was shut the whole time. I'm certain I was awake and I was leaning on my hand, just resting my eyes. I never had an experience like that again.

At a similar time (probably my early twenties), I went one day to visit Chislehurst Caves in Kent. The caves have a long history of human use and occupation. I was on a guided visit one Sunday and had just listened to a story about a ghostly Cavalier. We each had a lantern I think and I was at the back of my group as they disappeared around the corner. Thinking on the tale just told, I was looking at the floor when a pair of booted feet crossed the path in front of me from left to right. I looked up, expecting to see, perhaps a Larper, whom I knew rented the tunnels to run their role-playing adventures. I looked to my right and down the passage, there was nobody there and was too long for someone to disappear in the second it had taken me to look up. I looked all around me but there was nobody to be seen. I was totally unphased by this but surprised and could see no reasonable explanation. I couldn't look long as I had to catch the rest of the group and didn't want to get lost in the many miles of tunnels. A pair of feet, might not seem much of a paranormal experience but with my only plausible explanation quashed, I could not think of another.

My last experience happened one dark March night in 2009 when my husband was away on a course. Normally we spend nearly all our time together. Feeling the absence of him for the first time in years, and knowing the van was not on the drive, I slept with the light on. I slept fitfully that night but was woken at 4AM by a gentle knocking on the front door. My heart shuddered into life, beating a heavy thump, thump, thump. I slipped on my dressing gown and made my way to the front door. The door is glass and with the light on I could see a vague figure of a woman.

Feeling vulnerable I asked through the door. "Who is it? What do you want? It's 4 AM."

"I'm looking for my missing daughter have you seen her?" She asked.

"No, I haven't."

"She's 15 years old and she's gone missing. I have a letter and a picture of her, I'll leave them under your doormat."


I felt like I should probably let her in but having just woken and as I was on my own, I didn't. She wandered off and I raced around to the living room window. I saw the back of her disappearing off and she seemed to fade away as she got to the edge of the street light.

I was struck by such great terror. I made myself a sweet cup of tea to shake off the paroxysms of fear. Then, although I'd never been brought up with any great faith, I felt myself reaching for the shelf and an old bible. Eyes closed, I let the book fall open on a page and put my finger on a paragraph. Blinking my eyes open, I read the paragraph as follows:

"In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bone to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: An image was before my eyes, there was silence and I heard a voice saying, Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in house of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which we crushed before the moth? They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish forever without any regarding of it. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

Call now if there be any that answer thee; and to which of the saints will though turn?"

The verse could not have been more fitting if it tried. Unable to speak to my husband as his phone battery had died, I e-mailed my brother with all the details, including the passage above. I had to tell someone. As day dawned the rational mind tried to take over. I opened the front door and the only thing I found tucked under the doormat was an advert for the local pub, the White horse. Interestingly the White Horse is said to be haunted itself. Remembering my own grandma, I reasoned however it was probably a lady with dementia. It's easy to be rational in the daylight but in the dark still hours of the night, it was fear that took hold. Maybe I should have opened the door and helped her but like the bible verse, fear certainly did come upon me and make my bones shake. To this day I still think about her and my decision not to open the door, was I right, was I wrong, was she real or just a poor lost wandering soul in the night?

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