“I just try to ignore it, got tin foil on my windows now,” was the first thing Shanna said to me as I sat down to chat with her about her experiences.  She took a crazy long drag on her cigarette and as the smoke seeped out of her nostrils she continued, “I mean, it’s either ignore it or let everyone think I’m crazy.  You ever seen that movie with Russell Crowe where he is some crazy guy who’s smart enough to know he’s crazy so he ignores the crazy part of his mind for his whole life?”

 “A Beautiful Mind,” I offer.

 “Yep!  That’s the one – well,” she flicks her cigarette butt, ashes and all onto the curb, “I feel like him only that I’m not so geniusy.”

 She tells me her story while working her way furiously through an entire pack of menthols.  She first caught them when she was a little girl, she thinks she was probably eight years old at the time.  During this time of her life she and her family lived on a tiny farm in a double-wide trailer home.  Her father worked as a small cattle farmer, and her mother took care of the 5 children and grew vegetables and herbs in a large garden to help keep food costs low for the family.

 Shanna used to love helping her mother in the garden.  She liked weeding and planting, hoeing and pruning, watering and fertilizing and culling.  She spent all of her time out in the garden, often until darkness began to fall over their little farm.  She didn’t always work while in the garden, but she had a few toys she would play with between the rows of corn, or under the leaves of pumpkin plants.

 One day, Shanna explains, she surprised her mother by coming into the house from the garden without her mother having to call her in for dinner.  Her mother knew something was wrong immediately and asked Shanna about it.  The young Shanna told her mother that her father must have some friend in the fields helping with the cattle, and that he was standing near the tree-line (which was several acres from the garden), just staring at her.  She thought it was her father at first and stood to wave to him, but the watching man just turned and walked calmly into the trees, quickly disappearing among the tree trunks and leaves.

 Once her father came in for dinner an hour later, he claimed he was alone in the fields.  Shanna was given instructions to tell her mother about the man next time she saw him – if there was a next time, which they hoped there would not.  Their hopes were dashed as the watching man was spotted the very next dusk – Shanna dutifully ran to her mother who ran out to spot the man for herself.  She didn’t see him, and neither did Shanna’s father.  In fact, Shanna started to see the man almost every day, but no one else was able to see this person.  The only times Shanna didn’t see the watcher were the times she was with her parents or siblings.

 Her parents grew worried that the man may be a burglar targeting country homes – because rural homesteads tended to be less likely to lock their doors, and more likely to have a slower police response time.  After several more weeks of Shanna’s unique visions, her parents decided it was time to have the police come and investigate the property.  Their fears of a burglar faded and were replaced with even worse fears: someone was stalking Shanna for evil purposes, or their daughter was hallucinating.

 After a fairly thorough search of the farm and surrounding area with police dogs, there was no sign of anyone having been out in the woods that bordered the pastures of the family’s farm.  Shanna’s mother took her to the city to see a doctor – Shanna remembered thinking it was weird that someone could be a doctor and only ask questions.  She answered the questions and took a few tests that made her feel silly, and then went home.

 “I never heard the verdict from the doctor,” Shanna said as she exhaled a cloud of minty smoke, “She must not have thought I was crazy, though, cuz we never went back.  But I wasn’t allowed to play in the garden so late after that – mom always called me in well before dusk after that.  It didn’t help much, though.”

 Her visitations were less frequent after her playtime outside was cut, but they didn’t stop.  Once or twice a week Shanna would feel eyes on her, her skin would creep and crawl.  She glanced out the window to spot the faint silhouette of someone right outside her window looking in at her.  She couldn’t tell who… or what was outside her window, but it always faded into the darkness as she saw it.

 Her family – convinced that their daughter was being haunted by some malicious spirit – moved to the city as soon as her father was able to find work and sell off their cattle.  It seemed to have worked.  At least for a little while, as Shanna soon found out.

 “I was sleeping, and woke up one night to a tap-tap-tap on the window in my bedroom,” Shanna said, ‘I thought it was my sister – we shared room – so I just said to go to sleep and stop making noise.  I didn’t even open my eyes, I was tired.  But the tapping didn’t stop, and I didn’t sleep.  I realized my sister was sleeping still and the tapping got louder.  I sat up and looked at the window to see a face, a weird and pale face with deep dark eyes looking in at me.”

 The face, as soon as she spotted it melted into the darkness behind it.  She recalls it had no expression, and it definitely was not a human.  She isn’t convinced it is a ghost, and prefers to think it’s some type of alien presence that’s following her.  She is 34 years old now, and says she’s moved more than a dozen times and no matter where she goes the watcher comes with.

 “I’m not really afraid of Andy anymore,” Shanna checks her pack for one more cigarette and crumples the pack as she sees it is empty.  She smiles, a tired and resigned expression, “I named him Andy because I’ve never heard of anyone named Andy that did any wrong.  So far Andy just looks at me a couple times a week.  I don’t like it, so I put foil on my windows, but he still taps until I notice.  I don’t know if it’s just me, and I am crazy or if Andy is waiting for something.  All I know is that I’m tired of Andy, can’t figure why he’s not tired of me yet.”

 Skeptic’s Scale: 5/10 – I don’t know what to think of this.  Initially, I had chills to hear about a little girl seeing a shadowy watcher from afar.  But now that Shanna has moved so many times and is still experiencing the same problem with a ghost/alien, I might agree with Shanna: She could be crazy.  Maybe crazy is too harsh, but I would chalk her watcher up to hallucinations before the bogeyman.

 Next Week’s Everyday Paranormal Experiences, Interview #14:  “Sharks!”

 On the Article Series:

I myself am a huge skeptic of all things paranormal or extra-terrestrial and I tend to take most tales of either with a huge grain of salt – sometimes even an entire salt shaker, depending on the tale that’s being weaved.  I have even had a couple ghostly and otherworldly experiences myself, which I may relate in later stories – and I’m skeptical of those!  Is what I experienced the truth of the experience or is there an empirical explanation that I simply have not yet unlocked?  Regardless of my skeptical nature, ghost stories and alien encounters have always fascinated me as they have all of humanity for thousands of years. 

It is this fascination that I wish to convey in a unique and different paranormal or alien experience every week – Thursday, to be exact.  I will be conducting interviews with everyday people to hear their stories and relate them back to you, the Paranoid Gamers.  Perhaps I’ll be interviewing some of you, as well.

Do you have an experience of a haunted item, place, or person?  Have you been visited by aliens or heretofore undocumented intelligent life – terrestrial or extra so?  If you’d like to share your experience and possibly have your tale published in this series of articles, please contact me and we can relive your experience.


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