The return of supernatural synchronicity
Often over more recent years, when I have investigated or researched the paranormal it has been focused on the experiences of others and my own have faded into the background somewhat. Highlighting my own experiences to the world was not something I really wanted to do, but sometimes it is those experiences that allow us to find common ground. Once those connections are made, then we find it easier to share our own experiences with each other and from that usually comes a great conversation regarding the paranormal. This was one of the reasons that I really fell for the paranormal field early on, but equally one that has been long since forgotten by me in pursuit of something a little more scientific let us say.
Personally things have changed for me a great deal over the years and that is similar for my view of the paranormal field, which has continuously evolved for me. My more spiritual friends would call it a journey I am sure, and who am I to disagree with them. Although for me each time I think about a journey of any kind, my mind shows me a map with thick red line moving from one major city to the next, with the Indiana Jones theme music playing in the background. Yes, I am an Indiana Jones fan.
One great journey I was fortunate to be a part of was the original Supernatural Synchronicity series that Sarah Chumacero and I wrote, which evolved into a book later on. This was something that came into being thanks to another one of those paranormal conversations and eventually became a fantastic collaboration between us both from different places on the planet. Proving that even when you do not see someone face to face; I have actually never met Sarah in person, you can still work well together. I am sure neither of us would ever realise that such an approach to work would later become a normality to many people around the world as we all felt the restrictions of COVID-19. In fact working in such a way is actually easier than you would think, it just requires a little organisation and work obviously.
However, as life has been ever changing of late my own blog has somewhat suffered and my own writing has become a little focused on other projects. More on those soon and I am really looking forward to sharing them with you all soon. As I wanted to get back into writing my blogs again a little more regularly, I decided I would contact Sarah to see if she fancied another little collaboration series like we did before and here we are again.
This time it is the Supernatural Synchronicity Case Files where we hope to explore the paranormal experiences and then add our own little spin by attempting to provide a probable explanation of some kind based on what we know. A little X-Files meets Sherlock Holmes perhaps.
What better place to start than our own experiences and this time round I head back to my youth to look at an experience I believe I had when I was only eleven years old. Whilst I am unable to categorically say this one experience was the reason I am interested in the paranormal, it certainly could be said that it may be seen as my first ghost hunt. Although in reflection how I went about that was in a manner I would never attempt today.
The Woman in the Window
When I was around eleven years old I lived in four bedroom house in the Broadwater area of Stevenage which backed directly onto Shephallbury Park. We had lived in the house since I was in Junior School and although originally a three bed, my father had converted the first floor to add an extra room. I remember the house as being particularly well situated as I could pop in for a drink during our Schools cross country run. Something which actually got me in trouble a few times.
Directly across the park from my house was the large Shephallbury Manor, a building that always fascinated me and my friends. When I was eleven it stood empty following a stint as a school for boys, but it had not been empty long. My eldest sister could remember some of the rather unpleasant boys that were living there for while, as they often would cause trouble for children walking home from school.
However, as my friends and I began to venture further towards the manor during school holidays the large empty manor called out to us as a place of adventure. We would often shortcut through the grounds keeping hidden in the woods, but gradually getting closer and closer to the building. The place almost taunted us, inviting us in, as if it was not happy with being empty and quiet. I have to admit, as the place became more dominant in our travels and our games; I wanted to know more about the place. I seem to recall a little background research at the time. There was even a rumour of a secret tunnel that came from somewhere and of course stories of people passing away there. Still I don’t really recall hearing a particular ghost story about the manor. Certainly not one that stuck with me, that is for sure.
That said though, there was certainly at least one or two of my friends that would have promised at the time that they knew someone that told them that the manor was haunted by various ghosts. There may even have been a story of a school boy much like us that went missing after getting caught on the property like we were doing. However, we all knew that was simply the more frightened member of our group trying to scare us all into going the long way around. Well that never worked at all.
In fact, most often as we quietly made our way through the manor grounds I would find myself looking up at the various windows just in case there was anyone there. Even though I knew the place was completely empty and we were alone in the grounds. At least that is what I though, what we all though.
On one occasion, not unlike any of the others, my relationship with the manor changed forever. We quickly made our way through the hole in the fence and across the corner of the now overgrown lawn to the cover of tree line. From there my friends waited as each of us made our way across the grass. Even though the place was empty we took every precaution not to get caught, we were not that bad kids and trespassing was probably the worse thing we done back then. This time I was last through, but as I reached the tree line I looked up at the windows. By this time my friends had began to move off through the wooded area, but I became frozen as my eyes locked with those of a woman staring back at me. My memory is a little hazy on this, but I believe she was in an attic window or certainly an upper floor window. Eventually I blinked and looked towards my friends, called out to them, but when I looked back at the window she had vanished. I shared what I had seen with my friends, but it was dismissed quickly. I never really understood if they did not believe me or simply did not want to consider that someone could be in the manor.
The encounter itself stuck with me and fascinated me for sometime. I even avoided cutting through the manor grounds for a little while, not because i was scared, but because I was now concerned there was someone in the building and we may get caught. Eventually though my friend convinced me that it was still empty and I returned to cutting through the grounds. The woman in the window did not make an appearance.
Just as I was putting the experience behind me, which for an eleven year old was likely to be a few weeks, the woman returned to catch my attention once again. This time around we were following the same old path, but she was in a first floor window I believe. Again we locked eyes and it took for me to blink and avert my attention before she disappeared. This time though my friends took me more seriously it would seem and we ‘legged it’ through the woods to safety. More concerned the woman in the window was potentially someone in the manor that was about the catch us trespassing on their grounds.
This encounter provided a talking point for our little group and that evolved into a plan to find out what was going on in the manor. The plan was simply to get a closer look, by getting right up to the building using the wood as cover where we could. It was a bold plan and looking back slightly stupid. All kinds of things could have gone wrong. If my children are reading this, never do what I did.
As ever we entered the grounds through the usual hole in the fence and ran to the tree line for cover, but this time we took a new path that would bring us close to the building itself. Our hearts raced, the adrenaline flowed through our bodies and we cautiously peered through a couple of the windows. Feeling slightly more braver than the rest and invested in finding answers, I moved ahead where I found an unexpected opportunity. An open window to the basement. I was going in the manor to find out more, but only one or two were coming with me. The others saw it as a step too far. They were probably right in all honesty.
The basement was flooded, so we were going to get wet, but it was also filled with old desks from when it was a boys school. So, we used them as stepping stones to find the exit of the basement. Then we slowly and cautiously climbed the stairs to the ground floor, the place was silent. As I peered out into the area ahead of me there was a noise, a knock perhaps I can not be sure as my memory fails me now. I turned to ask if my friends had heard it, I guess they had as they were already gone. I was left in a predicament then, should I carry on or join them and head out. Not knowing what was ahead of me, I decided to follow my friends reluctantly.
Annoyed and disappointed I left the manor grounds still none the wiser regarding the woman in the window, but my friends seemed to tell the experience as if they had fully explored the entire building. Strange how we often exaggerate things, especially when we wish to portray that fear did not get the better of us.
Analysing my Own Experience
Looking back at this experience these days I often find it interesting in various ways. Initially there is the simple possibility that there was an actual woman in the building. We had no knowledge if anyone was living there or staying there as a caretaker, so we do not really have enough information to discount the possibility of an actual woman being my ghost on this occasion.
The only thing that seems to go against this is the distinct belief that the place was not occupied at all. Still this does not mean that a caretaker of some kind may have stopped in to check on things from time to time, which may have explained why I only saw the woman on occasion. Equally, we were not silent in our journey through the grounds, we may have attracted her attention which led her to look out of the window. Then catch me as I looked back at her.
Rupert Sheldrake talks about the sense of being stared at in his book of the same title. It may even be possible that we happened to feel each other starring and that drew our attention to lock on one another. My assumption that no one was present in the building then had me formulate a belief based on the stories from friends that the manor was haunted by the ghost of a woman staring out of the window.
To me the woman in the window may have also been an hallucination based on some random information bouncing around my mind. Which presented itself as the apparitional form of a woman in the window, twice.
One thing I do remember about the woman was that there was nothing overly memorable about the experience apart from seeing her and locking eyes with each other. Otherwise her clothes did not appear to be specific to any era or in review now I do not believe I would like to attribute her to any particular year. There was nothing that stood out. A little boring as apparitional experiences go I am afraid.
No one else I know has seen the woman in the window, and apart from the two times I saw her I have never seen her again. I live still in the same town, but when I walk past from time to time nothing appears to draw me to a particular window as it did then. It is a little more difficult today though, as the Coptic Church now owns the property and where the wood was that we used to sneak through; they have built a Coptic Cathedral. The place is often buzzing with activity, so seeing someone in one of the windows may not be uncommon.
Is it also possible that what I saw was precognitive, showing me someone in the building in the future? That remains to be seen and is hard to prove as seeing a ghost in the window.
One thing is for certain, the experience I had was unusual. Not because I saw a woman in the window, but because of how I felt during the experience. The way I felt like we locked our gazes for what seemed like forever, but when I broke that stare she would vanish. It seems strange to say as I am quite a rational individual, but the experience felt different from my gut. Although I equally have to be aware that this happened to me well over thirty years ago now, and memory is not the best in these circumstances.
To this day it remains a case of; did I witness and apparition or simple a person in the manor window that day.
Share your experience
As this series moves forward, we will need more and more experiences from all over the world whatever they may be. If you would like to share your experience as one of these blog posts, suitably anonymised of course and then analysed by us; then please feel free to contact me or Sarah using our website contact pages.
Feel free to share your thoughts on my experience.