When I was 8, my family moved into an old Colonial that was built in 1810. My father still lives there. Until I was 17, every before I feel asleep, I would feel pressure next to me as if someone sat down on the bed next to me. This would always be accompanied with a feeling of increased pressure in the air. Although I knew this probably didn’t happen to everyone, I didn’t think about it much.
Until I got a cat. He was a present for my twelfth birthday. Each night, he would sack out on the bed near my feet. Each night, he would bolt from a dead sleep and glare at something in the doorway before hightailing it out of there. A few moments later, the pressure would return.
Again, while this was a weird thing to happen, I didn’t really question it. Maybe the cat was just neurotic. I didn’t talk about this nightly occurrence to anyone. However, I did refer this feeling/presence/what have you as “Charlotte.” I don’t know why.
So one day in the summer when I was thirteen, an elderly man and his middle-aged daughter pull up to our house and explain that the father lived in the house with his aunt while he was a boy and that he raised his family there for a few years. They had been visiting family in the neighborhood, and they wondered if they could take a tour for old times’ sake. My mom said sure. She, my sister and I led them around the house, and they recalled different memories.
Afterward, my mom asked them if they remembered strange occurrences or stories about the house. “Like ghosts?” the old man asked and chuckled. His daughter became very quiet and said firmly, “It’s not funny, Dad.” The man explained that everyone who slept in one bedroom felt a little unsettled, and his daughter interrupted to say that she always felt as if someone sat on the edge of the bed and she tried to go to sleep. Her father said they used to joke that it was just his aunt looking out for them—his Aunt Charlotte.
This confirmed what I had never admitted to myself. I had a freaking ghost that basically tucked me in at night for the previous five years.
Still, going to bed was never freaky or scary. I just tried to ignore the feeling when it came.
Until one night when I was 16. My parents had been going through a weird patch in their marriage, I was feeling depressed, and in general, it was a weird year. I went to bed; after about 20 minutes the cat took his typical bolting exit from the bed, and I felt the familiar pressure on my side.
Then I felt a hand brush through my hair.
Then I ran straight downstairs to the living room where my mom was dozing. She woke up when I burst in the room, saw my face, and asked what was wrong. I told her I had a nightmare and left it at that.
I spent a week sleeping in the guest room. When I got the nerve to go back to my room, I was nearly asleep when I realized I didn’t feel the pressure next to me. I did feel pressure in the air. I rolled on my back and saw the figure of a woman in her 60s, wearing a housedress, her hair pulled back in a bun, with her arms folded. She was looking right at me, very concerned. When I found my voice, she disappeared. I said out loud, “I don’t care if you stay, but I can NEVER, EVER, EVER see you again.” I never did.
However a few years later, after my parents divorced and my dad moved in his girlfriend and her 4 year old son, I wasn’t really surprised when she told me her little boy said a lady named Charlotte told him stories at night.