I decided because it’s Halloween (almost) that it’s really the perfect time for me to share a story with you guys. I really really want to stress a few things before I begin:
1. This is a true story. By that I mean that I am telling the facts of this to the best of my recollection. I have not amended or embellished any of the events. I am not claiming that the events that I am about to describe are actually supernatural, I am merely describing something that I have not been able to explain.
2. You should know that I am about the most sceptical person that you will ever meet. Really. I love science and I always attempt to rationally figure out things that I don’t understand right away. I generally don’t believe in anything supernatural, such as ghosts or demons. You could show me a picture of a ghost and I would state that there must be a rational explanation for it. Despite what happened to me, I do believe that there must be a scientific explanation for what occurred. I just don’t quite know what it is.
Okay. So I’ll begin.
It all began when I was a child. I don’t really know how old I was, but if I had to guess, I’d say I was around eleven years old. I lived in a tiny village in the south of Ireland. When I say tiny, I mean TINY. It had one shop, the size
of someone’s living room. There was one pub, a village hall and a school with an enrolment of roughly fifty pupils, including me. The school only had three classrooms, which hadn’t been updated properly since the late nineteenth century. There were even inkwells in the desks up to the 1990s.
I lived in a collection of small houses about a five minute’s walk from the village. I was very close friends with the other kids in my small neighbourhood.
I don’t remember why exactly I was walking to the shop on that summer’s day. I also don’t remember why I was on my own. My mother probably sent me to get something. Anyway, I was making my way to the local shop, minding my own business, when I heard noise coming from the primary school.
Now, just to be clear, the shop was twenty yards straight ahead of me. The school was about the same distance, but up a road to my right. I couldn’t see it. The school was closed for the summer so there shouldn’t have been anyone in it. What I heard wasn’t just one person, it was several dozen children screeching and laughing very loudly. It sounded like break time. This didn’t make any sense though, as there wasn’t any school in session. Even though this was strange, I wasn’t entirely thrown by it just yet. None of my friends were with me which meant that it could have been them playing in the school. We often used the basketball court or the football pitch during the school holidays. The thing is, there was only ever a handful of us at a time so that would not have accounted for the noise. So my young mind jumped to the next logical conclusion: my friends must be hanging out with other kids and there must be some kind of event going on. I remember getting so exited at this prospect that I ran as fast as I could towards the school. The noise was absolutely deafening, and it was definitely coming from the playground.
This is where it gets weird. When I got to the school, there was no one there. Not only that, but I was met with an eerie silence. The noise just stopped. I had gone from hearing maybe sixty kids playing to hearing nothing. Needless to say, I was confused. Confused and unsettled.
I went back to my housing estate and told my friend. I asked her if she had heard the noise, as our houses were just a field across from the school. She said she hadn’t. We spent the remainder of the day trying to come up with plausible explanations but we couldn’t think of any. She knew that I was not one for melodrama or lying so she was just as perturbed as I was.
It could have ended there and to be honest, if it had, I probably would have forgotten about the whole event, strange as it was.
Years later, in the middle of the night, I woke up to my mobile ringing. I was sleepy and confused but was able to see that it was my friend who lived three doors down ringing (the same friend whom I had told my strange event to). I ignored the call but then noticed that I had over ten missed calls from her so I answered the next one.
“What is it?” I moaned, groggily.
“Oh my God. I believe you. I had my doubts but…you can hear it too right? It’s been going on for over fifteen minutes!”
“What are you taking about?”
“The kids. The noise. Can you hear it?”
I went silent. I felt myself go colder than I’ve ever experienced. I know that someone could point out that maybe I now only heard the noise because she had pointed it out, but I had been shuffling around my bed and hasn’t really listened. I sat up and looked out my skylight. I could see the school was in darkness. But yes. I could hear the children again. Laughing and playing, as if on a break. At two o’ clock in the morning.
I felt sick.
“Yes I hear it,” I whispered. “It’s definitely coming from the school, right?”
“But there are no lights on. I’m looking at it now. It’s pitch black.”
And just as suddenly as I had heard it, it was gone.
The next morning, we discussed it at length. I don’t remember much about the following few weeks and months, but we didn’t hear it again for a long time. No one else in the village reported hearing it either, which only added to our confusion. We stopped talking about it entirely after a while.
When I was in college, I moved out of home but I used to come home at weekends with my boyfriend to stay, and my friend used to return to her house also. I remember telling Jack about the events years before, and he had been quite sceptical. He didn’t expressly say that he didn’t believe me, but I knew he felt that I must have misheard something or just been confused. He is also extremely sceptical and rational and I knew he wouldn’t believe any of it unless he actually witnessed the events himself. He eventually had the pleasure.
When we stayed at my house, he slept in my old bed under the skylight and I would sleep in the bed across the room where my sister has always been. One night, I awoke to jack hissing my name across the room. He was sitting bolt upright in bed.
“JAAAANE! JANE! JAAAANNNNNE!” He was practically spitting my name.
“Hmm?” Again, it was the middle of the night. Before he said anything, I heard it. Like the times before, it was as clear as day: children playing. And lots of them. Coming from the school.
“What the hell is that Jane?” Jack was visibly shaken. I couldn’t answer him. After a while, I whispered to him
“I told you.”
“I know. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
To this day, Jack doesn’t like talking about it.
The next morning, we rushed to my friend’s house to tell her what we heard. When she answered the door, she beat us to it.
“I heard it too,” she said, ashen-faced. We all just stood there, in silence. We have never spoken about it since.
While the whole experience was no doubt unsettling, I wouldn’t say that I felt a great deal of fear. I still believe that there must be an explanation. I have never really sought one I suppose.
When I recalled the story to my sister, she said that perhaps it was foxes. We did live behind a field after all, and foxes can make some bizarre sounds. They are known to make high-pitched screeching sounds. Perhaps she is right; it is a more plausible explanation than the ghosts of fifty dead children came out to play at night. So yes, I’m going with foxes. *hides under duvet for eternity*
Anybody want to share a strange experience? Or maybe you want to reassure me that I didn’t live a quarter of a mile from a haunted school?