BY ASHLEY BARRY
Some people are born with clairvoyant abilities. Sometimes the ability wanes with time. Many people even chose to ignore it out of fear. My mother, a believer of the supernatural world, always warned me about the dangers of tarot cards and spirit boards. She believed they were gateways to dark realms and, if I tampered with them, I would be potentially inviting bad energy into my life. I usually disregarded her advice because I thought her supernatural experiences were nothing more than fiction. I was in denial. After all, it’s very easy to dismiss another person’s experiences with the supernatural. I grew up in the northeastern part of the United States, where it’s more common to be closed-lipped about supernatural experiences. I only recently started to embrace my ability and be more mindful of the universe.
Before I developed memories of my own, my mother said I used to wake her up with my hysterical laughter in the dead of night. My parents, tucked in their bed in the next room over, would laugh along with me. It was better than waking up to the wails of a terrified child, which I later did due to night terrors. I was an odd, but loveable child. When she would check on me in the morning, she noticed that my stuffed animals and dolls were strewn about the bedroom like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I was too young to verbalize my experiences, so my mom could only guess and speculate. My mom, a superstitious woman, believed I was playing with a ghost.
A poltergeist lived with us for about seven years or so, rarely manifesting itself as a physical form. If it did adopt a physical form, it usually appeared to us in the form of a bouncing light or a patch of fog or mist. Once, when my mother was home alone and milling about in the kitchen, she heard the entity descend the old staircase that led to the front hall. It produced audible footfalls, as if it were an adult male wearing heavy boots. When my mother peered into the hall, she saw an orb of light whiz towards the living room. She went after it, but it was already long gone.
It wasn’t a cruel or negative entity, never meaning to do us serious harm. The spirit was playful and childlike, a genuine prankster. Everyday objects would mysteriously vanish all the time: my toy boat, my sister’s ballet shoes, my mother’s watch, and so on. Though the entity’s presence gradually dissolved with time, I do have one chilling memory of it.
It happened when I was seven-years-old. My oldest sister, who was a teenager at the time, was looking after me while my parents were out on the town. I was sprawled out on my floral quilt, likely engrossed in some fantasy novel. The first knock was quiet, a gentle rapping at my bedroom door.
“Julie?” I asked.
The knocking persisted. My door decoration, a plush rainbow hanging from a warped nail, bounced with each and every heavy handed knock. Whenever I mustered enough courage to get up and open the door, nobody was there to meet me on the other side. My sister wasn’t the type to play pranks on me, but I still ran down to the basement, where she was painting her nails, and accused her of knocking on my door.
I closed myself off to the supernatural world for a long time. It frightened me, but I also felt isolated. I was afraid to share my experiences because I operated in a culture where such things were not typically discussed. I was scared that people would think I was delusional or mentally unbalanced. When my grandfather, a jolly man with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, died a couple of years ago, I experienced a spiritual encounter in the same bedroom with the knocking ghost.
I was chatting on my cell phone with my long distance boyfriend. My grandfather passed on a few days earlier and I was in need of some comforting words. The call never disconnected, but I stopped hearing my boyfriend on the other end. Something interrupted the signal. When I glanced upwards, I noticed a faint ball of light near the corner of my childhood bedroom. The ball, which was perfectly spherical, was burnt orange in color. The entity, floating at a sluggish pace towards the mirror, lingered for a period of time before vanishing completely. I later crawled into my mother’s bed, a twenty something woman, and told her about my experience. She was loving and patient as she stroked my hair, comforting her adult child. Despite my previous dismissal of her warnings and experience, she
I’m now nearing thirty and I still see mist and phantom body parts. In my current apartment, a section of an old family house I rent from my grandmother, I constantly see movement out of the corner of my eye. Though my ability isn’t as strong as it was when I was child, I’m more accepting of it. I was given this gift for a reason and I don’t plan on spoiling it.
Ashley Barry writes for a number of pop culture websites. In the past, she has written for The Mary Sue, Kill Screen, FemHype, Bitch Flicks, Not Your Mama’s Gamer, and more. In addition to being a writer, she also runs a YouTube channel called Hyrule Hyrulia. Her channel features interviews with professionals in the gaming industry, let’s plays, and more. She tends to highlight unique and/or progressive projects.