Q: What was your scariest supernatural experience?

A: There are a few that I can think of immediately.

One night, the shadows on the bedroom wall started moving at the corners of my eyes and I kept hearing whispering and footsteps, so I sat up in bed with my hand pressed over my heart, my eyes darting around so I would stop having a “corner” of my eye, panting in terror. Just then, my cat pushed the door open, and when it creaked loudly, I screamed my husband awake.

Another night, I somehow ended up sitting on the bathroom floor with my face pressed into my knees, waving a wild arm over my head to try to “swat” away everything I could feel swarming over my head, whispering, “Please stop, please stop, please someone save me.” The first time I saw dementors I thought yes… that’s exactly it. That’s exactly what it feels like.

And by far, the scariest one was while my ex and I were split up, about a month before we “banished” “Alex” to the island. We’d lost our home in this mess, and living with my parents. Their house was violently haunted (but now looking back on it, and having slept in my parents’ house since, it wasn’t the house that was haunted at all), and during that time I heard two little girls giggling in the back bedroom in the middle of the night, a man who sat in my father’s chair all night long and stared at me with burning eyes, a cacophony of footsteps on the ceiling all night long, and that one time I got poked in the forehead while holding blankets over my head, so sure of my safety.

But the worst night by far was late late at night, after my parents had gone to bed and while I could hear them both snoring. I heard heavy, ominous footsteps above me slowly cross the living room through the kitchen towards the staircase behind me. I stopped being able to think a coherent thought (which happened a lot back then, honestly) and then I got this image of a withered old woman brokenly crab-crawling down the stairs with blood pouring out of her mouth and eyes over and over and over and over and over again as I sat frozen in terror, silent tears pouring down my face. As soon as I was freed from this horrible cycle of thoughts, I rushed myself into bed so I could be safe in sleep.

That kind of primal terror is so different than any other fear you can feel. It’s why I don’t watch scary movies. I’ve been frightened enough for at least one lifetime. I also think it’s why I still have dreams where I have to say “Hail Mary” and “The Lord’s Prayer” to keep myself safe.

They’re only just behind me, all the time. I’m sure of it.

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