This wasn’t necessarily a LOT of time, but I was in solitude, and it was at sea. When I was 23 I was a dockhand for a boat-rental club. I bought myself a 27ft Catalina sail boat and lived on it at the docks for about a year while I worked for the boat club. I would often get toasted on 101 proof peppermint schnapps and go joy-sailing late at night on the Chesapeake Bay for kicks. My main sail tears, and my atomic 4 engine breaks down.
I drift out of the channel, drop anchor, plug in my back-up batteries for power for my anchor light, and bed-down in my forward berth to wait until morning for one of my co-workers to tow me back in. I’m about a mile offshore, well out of the channel in about 60ft of open water when I hear a rhythmic thudding on my hull beneath me. It was like someone was doing a semi-fast snare-roll with closed fists against my hull. There was nothing in my head that I could figure could make that noise happen besides someone diving under by boat and literally beating on it.
I went topside with my flash light to investigate and couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and the sound continued on and off for about 15 minutes then stopped. It was a calm night with nearly no wind or waves at this point, and I visually couldn’t see what could have been making the noise. It came from mid-ship so it couldn’t be the motor being weird or something, and I checked my bilges for any anomalies and couldn’t find any.
It left me pretty shaken up because I just couldn’t figure what could make that sound as loudly, and as precisely as it was. I could FEEL the bumps hitting against the fiberglass hull. I eventually got back to sleep and made it back to the docks next morning. I dove on my boat that day to check for anything amiss and didn’t find anything off. Needless to say that was the last time I went out alone at night..
Where do I start? So I was just about 24 years old, when my cousin Charlie had gotten throat cancer. He wasn’t really my cousin, he was my Dad’s cousin, but for whatever reason I always called him cousin Charlie. Anyways, he and his wife lived up around San Louis Obispo, and when he was finally recovering from cancer, he went to stay in his estate in mainland Hawaii. At one point he needed someone to babysit his house in San Louis, and I volunteered.
Fast forward, I’m staying at his place by myself; we’re talking Satellite Internet and Television slower than a snail. I had found myself enthralled in a Lord of The Rings marathon and proceeded to stay up till around 2:30 am. Changing the channel meant what ever channel I was clicking meant it would choose 4 stations down from my selection so I was hesitant to change the channel.
The marathon ends and I proceed to make some green tea. That’s when I hear it. A distant scream calls across the valley below. I knew it was a human scream but for some reason I just refused to believe it. The thing about houses inland from San Louis is that you have a lot of room between your neighbors; we’re talking about 2 miles apart from each other. If someone played music on the other side of the hill, you had no problem hearing it. I thought maybe they screamed because they were watching a scary film, or perhaps they were playing a board game; I really don’t know I just did my best to imagine it was me over exaggerating.
About 2 minutes had gone by, and I passed it off at this time, getting lost in Infomercials. That’s when I heard something familiar to a fire cracker, but then I heard it multiple times. Something didnt seem right, so I grabbed the nearest blunt object and headed upstairs. My Cousin Charlie has a 360 degree second deck which I proceeded to go and take watch on with a fire poker; like that would do me any good.
I listened, but I could only hear the wind. I would later end up falling asleep in one of the rocking chairs, and then waking up about 40 minutes later.
What I later found out from my Cousin Charlie is that a man had got into a big argument with his wife and shot her as she ran from the house. I also later found out that because I was the only one who had left the outside lights on that she had run towards me, but died from her wounds about 60 percent of the way here.
This still gives me chills.
I grew up in the arctic.
In the town I lived in, as long as it was a clear night, it was an extremely normal occurrence to see all sorts of strange lights move across the sky. Keep in mind the winter is long in the arctic, which means longer amounts of time being spent under the stars. It’s quite beautiful, as long as you don’t mind the cold so much. Sometimes I would drive a snowmobile a few kilometers out of town, shut it down, and just lay down on the snow looking up at the majesty of it all, the only thing disturbing the silence being the occasional breeze.
The northern lights are also a common occurrence. Doesn’t happen everyday, but often enough that they start getting ignored after a while, as long as they aren’t too spectacular anyway.
On one particular night, without asking my parents (it was their snowmobile), I decided to go on one of my midnight drives out of town. I drove a few kilometers over the hills to find a spot devoid of light pollution from town, shut off the machine, and settled in to a good spot to look up and be introspective.
It wasn’t all that interesting a scene. A few satellites passing here and there, some relatively boring activity affecting the magnetic field, etc. And then I started noticing a clicking noise…
At first I thought it was the sound of the snow machine cooling down, as engine expands and contracts a lot in the cold. But the source of the sound definitely wasn’t coming from that direction. My next thought was there must be an animal nearby in which case I need to get out of there fast (you don’t really want to mess with a wild animal). But, the clicking is far too regular for an animal to produce it. It was fairly mechanical sounding. And again, the source of the sound isn’t coming from anywhere around me laterally. It was coming from up. So naturally I look up determined to ascertain the origin of this strange noise.
I see what I always see: stars, northern lights, a lazy satellite crossing the sky…all normal stuff. But before I dismiss it altogether and begin heading home, I notice something strange in the Aurora Borealis. There were three rather strong points of light. I ignored them at first thinking they were oddly symmetrical stars, but this proved false. They were definitely getting brighter. I kept staring in morbid fascination as they grew stronger and stronger, yet still only remaining single points in the sky. All the while the clicking noise is getting louder and louder and more pronounced, almost like someone started with tapping a pen on a desk to clacking billard balls together inside my head.
Then it stops. The lights are gone, the clicking is not heard, and aside from being a little stiff, cold, and rather petrified, I’m fine.
So I jump back on the snowmobile thinking maybe I’m going crazy. The machine takes a little longer than usual to start up, and I’m beginning to worry, but soon it’s running and I’m heading back to town. As I’m driving back several plausible scenarios as to what occurred are running through my head. I’m thinking it could’ve been a helicopter from the mine, or some strange northern lights behaviour etc. Probably not that big a deal.
I pull up to my house. Lights are all dark. Strange. It wasn’t that late when I left. Open outer door as quietly as possible, remove winter gear, enter inner door. House is quiet. Really quiet. My parents are teachers and are usually up late marking or watching T.V. All I’m thinking is I have to get to bed without anyone noticing. Proves to be easy as I’m soon under my covers. I go to set my alarm for the next day. All of the sudden everything makes sense.
Engine hard to start, stiff, rather chilly, nobody up when I was gone what felt like relatively short period of time…
It was almost 11:00pm when I left, and now it was creeping up on 6:00am. I stood, staring at clicking lights for almost 7 hours.
I never ended up sleeping that night, and I don’t go on late night snow machine rides anymore.
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