Monday, July 09, 2007

Supernatural Doings Afoot

I just saw a spectral apparition of two huge black boots in my hallway, moving towards my bedroom door.

This wouldn't normally bother me, but I was already feeling quite jumpy*, and it wasn't that long ago that I saw the spectral apparition of a huge man in an aran jumper standing in practically the same place, which for some reason at the time I interpreted as 'a giant from the real world come to get me'.

(Sometimes I have these sub-Philip K Dickian notions that I am not in the real world, but in a dream, and that soon I will wake up into the real world, and it won't be as nice.)

My parents were looking after a haunted house in France once, and I went to stay with them, and saw the ghostly apparition of a pair of shoes, a pair of grey socks and the bottom of a pair of trousers standing next to me as I was brushing my teeth.

When I lived in Slough I often used to see the otherworldly apparition of a lone black sock, darting from the living room into the hallway. My brother lives there now, and he and his girlfriend see the sock ghost quite regularly. Apparently the house used to belong to Aleister Crowley, but I don't know if it is his sock.

I sort of believe in ghosts (although not to the extent that I strew special ink and trigger objects about the place at night to see what they get up to) but I'm at a loss to explain why so many of my brushes with the supernatural have involved footwear.

Still, I'm glad, because it's quite hard to be scared of ghost shoes and socks.

But all the same, brrrr.

UPDATE: Following this disturbing experience, I had to select the least frightening book from my bookshelves to take to bed with me. This turned out to be Piers Morgan's memoirs.

* It later occurred to me that the reason I was feeling jumpy was because I'd been reading Tim Footman's analysis of 'Climbing Up The Walls' by Radiohead, which really unnerved me. Top marks for incisive and unsettling deconstruction, Mr F. Although it doesn't take very much to freak me out - I had nightmares for days after watching Edward Scissorhands.


Billy said...

I was alone last night and was convinced I could hear tapping in the walls (some kind of poltergeist I assumed)

I turned all the lights on and stomped around. Turned out it was someone parking their car outside. How that sounds like tapping I have no idea.

patroclus said...

You're very brave, Billy - I would have hidden under the duvet!

I think that maybe the fact I have been staring into a laptop screen all day might have something to do with me seeing things flashing in front of my eyes. It can't be healthy.

wyndham said...

You appear to be haunted by the Haberdashery department of Grace Bros, P. Once again, your life proves more interesting than mine.

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Curious. Supernatural footwear.

If you could somehow harness this spectral footwear for personal use, you'd never need to buy another pair of socks again and you'd save a fortune (well, maybe just a moderate sum of money actually).

Still it would make a great show for ITV4... Britain's Most Haunted Hosiery

Tim Footman said...

Aleister Crowley lived in Slough?


Valerie said...

I've long kind of felt that Crowley had an oddly conventional — or at least not terribly imaginative — streak, actually. Almost all of his writing is directed towards, and in the language of, conventional Christianity. Couldn't he come up with something novel?

But I'm a bit of a satanism snob, myself.

I love the concept of being haunted by feet, though really it's the shoes that interest me. I would not be surprised to be haunted by shoes. Plus, my grandfather was a shoemaker. Perhaps you have a secret history with shoes, or feet, that you haven't yet revealed to us.

Mostly Rob and I have only seen or heard ghost cats. Sometimes they are very convincing. I don't actually believe in ghosts, but at the same time I believe your experience and ours, and it's always interesting when both Rob and I see the same ghost cat at the same time. (Unless it's just actual rats, rather than ghost cats. We do seem to have a lot of those about.)

Dave said...

What a restrained and high quality group of readers you have. Not one of them has said anything about souls/soles.

So I won't lower the tone.

james henry said...

I'm always in Cornwall when the interesting things happen.

patroclus said...

W: If this is the case, then perhaps Valerie is being haunted by Mrs Slocombe's pussy.

9/10ths: Hoo, yes, I'd love to see Derek Acorah being possessed by a sock.

Tim: I don't think he actually lived in the house himself. He probably rented it out to students, the evil buy-to-letter.

Valerie: A satanism snob? Wow. Who would be in the creme de la creme of satanists? Also, I don't have any backstory about feet or shoes that I know of - my ancestors mainly made jam.

Dave: I hereby declare the Great Soul/Sole Pun Competition open. Other relevant puns also welcome. Bonus points for anyone who can get Philip K Dick, Aleister Crowley and Piers Morgan into one spectral footwear-related joke.

James: You were there when the giant from the real world came to get me - what more could you ask for?

rivergirlie said...

why only the feet, i wonder? how odd. i think i'd rather that than a big scary face, though.
i once was very freaked out by strange spectral noises in my parents' house - i think i was about 11 - and it turned out a pigeon had fallen down the chimney and was flapping round in the (closed off) fireplace. that was a relief - i think as much for me as for the pigeon, once we finally released it.

James said...

How bizarre that would really of freaked me out. You didn't down a bottle of whisky before these sightings did you?

patroclus said...

Rivergirlie: Oh god yes, if there had ever been faces, I'd probably have gone mental by now. Maybe I only see feet because I'm so short. I was pleased to hear the pigeon was saved - did you have to break into the blocked-up fireplace with a crowbar?

James: No, but I'd had a glass of wine, a Natracalm tablet and some microwaved prawns, which might well produce the same sort of effect.

Sylvia said...

I don't know what to say.

Next time you see something, ask it what it wants.

patroclus said...

Sylvia: I'll try, but as far as I'm aware, feet can't speak. Anyway, suppose it wanted something that I don't have, like tapenade, or the 1982 Guinness Book of Records?

Betty said...

Perhaps there is a sinister boot or sock-related incident from your early childhood which you've blocked out. You need to reach some sort of boot/sock-related closure to make the apparitions go away for good.

The only time I've ever seen a ghost was when what appeared to be Tarzan swung past my bedroom window at around four in the morning. I was about ten years old and didn't have a drink problem.

james henry said...

Sounds like Tarzan did though.

Fidel said...

I never thought you'd be the one on the train to La La land. It must have been the prawns.

llewtrah said...

The big bloke in the Aran is probably also the wearer of the boots. You could do worse than ask a local spiritualist to visit. Your Aran-wearer may be a benign presence.

My previous home was haunted by a tabby cat. Several times I thought I was playing with one of my cats only to find my cat was asleep on the bed and I'd been stalking a non-corporeal cat. I got used to it eventually. My real cat, Squeak, could also see it and sometimes went into attack mode then ended up looking really silly/freaked when the enemy cat vanished (this looked really odd to humans who couldn't see what Squeak could see).

patroclus said...

Betty: I'm trying to Dad once made up a story for me when I was little about there being a huge flood and me escaping up a tree but one of my red wellies falling off into the water. Maybe that's it. Alternatively, I bought some new socks on Sunday - that could have brought it on.

Fidel: Blimey, I've spent most of my adult life in La La Land. What with the self-harming and the depression and the anxiety disorder and the panic disorder and the agoraphobia and the claustrophobia and the social phobia and the phobia of hairdressers and the overwhelming guilt and so on.

Hasn't everyone, though? The more blogs I read, the more I become convinced that there's no such thing as psychologically 'normal', and the sooner we realise there isn't, the sooner we can all stop taking anti-depressants and getting upset about how fucked up we are. And maybe for a change we could just enjoy ourselves and forget all about our supposed fucked-upness.


Er, or is that not what you meant?

Llewtrah: Ooh, you and Valerie both - ghost cats appear to be the order of the day! No spiritualists are coming into my flat; I've seen The Others, it will turn out that [WARNING SPOILERS FOLLOW...]

I am the ghost and the man in the aran jumper is the actual occupant of my flat and it will be freaky and weird and I'll have spent £80 on Matryoshka boxes from Habitat for no reason.

(You can look again now.)

llewtrah said...

Don't knock the spiritualist thing. They can be very helpful, even if it's just reassuring you, and some have the knack of sending a trapped spirit (or whatever it is) on its way. Honestly.

I'm atheist but there's a "fey streak" in my family and experienced a few spooky things including my own cat turning up to bed one night ... a few hours after he'd been put to sleep with kidney failure. I guess he hadn't realised he was dead and he tried to come to bed as normal. For quite a few years I knew when one of my other cats was going to die (even when it was unexpected) as I saw Scrapper - almost as though he'd come to fetch them.

Albert said...

The drummer in my band used to talk to dead people while he was taking a bath. He'd learned the technique from his father and said he just had to screw up his eyes and concentrate hard to summon them. He was so matter-of-fact about it that we never questioned him, especially since he was the only band member who strictly avoided all Class As.

patroclus said...

Llewtrah: I'm not knocking spiritualists - I just don't think the situation is severe enough to warrant one.

Albert: Did they know they were dead?

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

I was going to say something vaguely sensible about ontological insecurity, but got distracted by the idea of Derek Acorah posessed by a sock. I would so love to see that...

Valerie said...

The "problem" I have with most satanism is that it either verges on the conventional, or it's not saying much different than Rand's old "Virtue of Selfishness" rant. I want something more.. twisted. Disturbing. Nasty. I mean, if you're going to call it Satanic! But when you boil it all down, most satanism is pretty darned tame. I think this is because most humans are benign by nature.

I can't really think of a relation between jam-making predecessors and current podophilic manifestations. Unless visions are brought on by eating too much jam.

patroclus said...

OPC: Did you ever see that episode of Most Haunted where Derek Acorah was possessed by a gorilla? That was a fabulous bit of television. A sock - especially Aleister Crowley's sock - would be even better, I reckon.

Valerie: I suppose the really nasty humans don't bother faffing about with pentacles and circles of fire and stuff; they just skip straight to the maiming and the killing and the production of Now magazine.

I confirm I had not eaten any jam at the time these visions occurred.

fidel said...

Er no, not exactly what I meant, but I am with you on the intimidating hairdressers scenario.

patroclus said...

I thought not, Fidel, but I enjoyed the rant anyway. I no longer fear hairdressers; now I fear long car journeys. This does not bode well for next week's epic drive to the south of France. Brrr.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

>>Did you ever see that episode of Most Haunted where Derek Acorah was possessed by a gorilla?<<

Sadly not. That sounds great :)

I just realised, the sock thing sounds like something from TV Go Home...

10pm Most Haunted (Living TV*)

In which Derek Acorah tonight channels... a sock.

Producer: Deeply Ashamed Subtitles...888

*Dead TV, surely?