Funny to think that I started my life in the church yard right next door to the cemetery; even more peculiar is the fact that I thought nothing of it. Well it was all I knew and that made it normal.
It was normal to be sitting on the back verandah looking out over the cemetery, oftentimes while someone was being buried; and that was after having listened to the strains of the various and familiar organ music which was so much a part of funerals and continues to this day.
We were never encouraged to believe in the existence of ghosts even when the unexplained happened, and we were quickly shushed if we ever had a strange experience and had the nerve to ask why it happened.
The graves and the entire church yard formed the sum total of our playground, and part of playing involved jumping from one grave to the next and reading the headstones.
It was little wonder then that at nights the spirits would come seeking out playmates in the darkest hours as well.
I used to think they were dreams. I was not wide awake but I was aware that I was outside because I could feel the coldness of the night wind as I was taken from my bed into the cemetery. The chill would spread down to my bone marrow and even now thinking about it, I am feeling that same chill.
Somehow by morning, I would be returned to my bed and the coldness would stay with me for hours, forcing me to get outside as soon as the sun came up.
One night when I was being taken, I woke up and before I could cry out I was immobilized as the spirit or spirits dragged me off the bed. I could not move and I made guttural sounds when I tried to cry out.
Perhaps because I was awake, it affected how the spirits moved me because getting me out of the bed proved difficult. Eventually my mother woke up which frightened the spirits and I had an awareness of something catlike that scaled the door, and escaped through the broken out mesh above the door.
The lamp was out and she re-lit it and went back to sleep. Comforted by the light, I snuggled under the covers and soon went back to sleep.
I never spoke about it at the time, most likely because I would not have known how to express my experiences, and furthermore my mother was never receptive to anything I had to say. I was most probably a little older than three years old.
Eventually we moved and I no longer had those experiences but I used to wake up in the nights and hear chains being drawn on the road. We moved to live on Main Street. A neighbour said it was a rolling calf which is a form taken by some spirits.
I never liked cats or maybe I was afraid of them and maybe because of the experience.
When my daughter was young she fell in love with cats, so eventually they became her pets. As I became familiar with them I confirmed that that was no cat scaling up the wall like that, not at that height. And the strength they had to pull me from the bed, well, I can’t prove it was a cat but I can’t disprove it either.