Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ghost cats & other monstrous phenomena

Okay, Halloween is long gone, but I shall tell you a chilling tale of the other night.

Okay, it's not chilling at all. It was quite nice. But it reminded me of the time ... and then there was also that other time ...

Yeah, I'm a brilliant story teller me, you can see my career is gonna go far - - probably down the nearest drain! LOL.

So, the other night. ... Hmm, maybe I better go back aways, to when I lived in Reading, and before.

When I was little we had a cat called Wormsley.

[My mother, going to find a kitten: "Ugh! That cat's got worms!" Said kitten runs over and rubs against her leg purring.]

She was always a feature of my life, as she was a member of our household before I was - until we moved to Exeter and she moved into the old people's home next door, for a quieter life (our household was chaos incarnate much of the time). She was getting old and thin and we would occasionally see her sunning herself on our front lawn or the low wall beside it, and then about nine months later we saw her no more....

Many years later, while I was at University in Reading, I was rudely awoken in the middle of the night by a hurly-burly of of spectral cats - imagine a constantly moving ball of hyper cats playfully screaming and scratching their way across the landscape as they travel from one place to another on their joyous, tumulous, straight-out-of-the-witches-handbook, tangle of cats journey. Wormsley was one of them, and they had stopped by for a brief visit. They were in the area for two days and then they continued on their hurly-burly way.
It was a bit of a surprise, but I have had more freaky encounters than that, and it was nice to see her again + having fun with her friends.
(That same year the ghosts of our pony and our dog also came to visit me.)

A few years later, still in Reading, I was at the cinema with a friend and as the film ended we both felt the nice warm furry black cat (that had settled there unnoticed at some point during the movie) get up and jump down as we prepared to stand up. We both looked at it as it jumped down and there was nothing there - just the physical sensation of a cat departing. I scanned the floor between the seating but could see nothing. "Was that a cat?" My friend replied, "I think so." "Where is it? I didn't see it?" My friend, "It was a ghost, I think." I blinked a bit, but that tallied with my experience too. It was just a bit of a surprize having one turn up mid-cinema, during a sunny and otherwise uneventful afternoon.
The cinema staff were unaware of any cats, or of any ghosts, in screen 3. I did check....

And now we catch up with me living back in the safety of the Wilds of Devon - I think I mentioned previously that I inherited my mother's cat when she died. He was called Ubiquitous, otherwise known as Black Cat, and he was lovely in his own extremely scraggly Evil, Black & Midnight way. I changed his name to Monster shortly after I adopted him, after The Kingfisher Incident. (But then this was the cat that was witnessed by 3 other people, and me, folding up a swallow in mid-air after it made the mistake of flying in to my mother's kitchen.) I can only assume the kingfisher was ill or asleep or ... but then again Monster was a teleporting cat:

Cat in a locked box on the passenger seat. Cat by my elbow while I'm driving. Locked box empty. Hmm.

I used many far less flattering words to describe him that kingfisher day, but Monster seemed to fit him better than Ubiquitous or Black Cat, and Evil Black & Midnight Cat is not something you want to be shouting when it's his dinner time: so Monster became his name.

I never did really sense his presence when he was alive, unless he was actively hassling me - I think that may have been part of what made him such an astonishingly good hunter - and after he was killed in a hit and run, I still didn't really feel his presense strongly, although you could see him when he was around if you looked through the corner of your eye.
I first realised he was around again when I nearly tripped over him ... Have you ever done that? Seen something virtually under your feet as you are walking and trip as a result - only to realize there was nothing physically present for you to trip on?
He visits a lot, but I usually only sense him as something unseen out of the corner of my eye, or as I nearly trip over him.
(That cat was always getting under my feet! He's even worse now.) ...

But the other day, I woke in the middle of the night to visit the smallest room in the house - which is on the landing next to the stairs - Monster was around and getting under my feet as normal. As I left, I glanced in to the stairwell and got the shock of my life (okay, I have had worse - but this freaked me nearly as badly). A large animal was looking at me, eyes reflecting in the darkness. It lunged up the stairs at me - - and as my heart lept in to my throat, I realised it was our wolfhound, Brit. She died about 20 years earlier and she'd come for a visit. Give me a heart attack or what, why don't'cha! *rolls eyes*
This sensing the ghosts of pets can be problematic....

After I'd got over the shock, I gingerly got back in to bed - incase there was some other spectral something-or-other hiding under it. Well you never know.
There wasn't. Phew!

Well, that was the not-really-chilling-at-all tale of me getting freaked out by the ghost of our pet dog. If you're not familiar with wolfhounds, she was quite a small one, she came up to my hip when she was standing on all fours. (Her dad was 10 inches taller at the shoulder.)

As an adendum, my favourite of my step-mother's many, many cats came to visit a few nights ago. He was always a very heavy cat, who was the purryest thing you ever met. He is still excessively heavy as a ghost. You know it when he's curled up on you. Sheesh.
I knew he had been ill and wasn't expected to survive. When I rang the next day, sure enough he had succumbed.

Ah well, at least they're all happy.

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