The first time I had seen a spirit I was only a few weeks from being fifteen. I lived in North Plainfield, New Jersey on Mountain Avenue near Route 22.
We were out dancing, I hung around guys and girls a lot older than me and was walking up the back stairs (a flight of stairs that went to our second kitchen (yes, we had two) in that big old house. When I was about halfway up the stairs I was overocme with this feeling of discomfort and fear. Something seemed to be with me in the dark. My parents had forgotten to leave the light on. It was very dark at the back of the house.
I got to the top and onto the porch that was screened in and to the back door nearly at the other end of the second story blacony/porch - all the while looking over my shoulder. I chalked my nervousness up to the creepy cricumstances (the feeling subsided) and knocked. The feeling returned quickly though and I knocked loud and hard because it was overwhleming and unnerving.
Just when I was sure something dark and sinister was going to get me my dad opened the upstairs back door and let me in. It was very late Saturday night - early Sunday AM. The place we went to dance was actually quite a long drive away in Morristown. I had church the next day, and wanting to the sleep in to the last minute I got a shower that night/morning.
I was in the shower when that unsettling feeling returned and, I was so uncomfortable and "creeped out" that I actually had to look outside the shower curtain to be sure I was alone. I was hoping my sister, notorius for sleep walking, had ventured into the bathroom but there was no one there.
Got into bed, the feeling subsided while I was still in the shower and I remember what happened vividly. Always used to fall asleep to music. I was listening to a popular radio station back in those days (this would be about 1985) and it was called Z-100. They had these "loveline" calls where people would call in and talk about their scandalous espisodes - I was waiting for the music to come on knowing the "lovelines" were about to end.
Could have only laid there for about five minutes when a dark spirit, I could even make out its features, walked past the foot of my bed. To see that spirit was so alarming and seemed so unnatural that I was overcome and frozen with terror though my head was screaming with panic and for help. It took a moment for me to get my voice but I screamed as loud as I could, "there's a man in my room."
My fahter was an FBI agent at the time and completely unaware that I meant a spirit man. He came barrelling in with his firearm and my mother on his heels. They thought I meant an actual flesh and blood man when they heard me scream and I hadn't stopped until they came in to my room. My father looked around for this man but, my mother was looking at me. She could see the horror and fright in my expression and knew I meant something else. I kept searching for this spirit in a panic. She stayed with me while my dad searched the entire house and until he returned.
My dad later told me that he knew from my expression that I had seen a man but his taking hundreds of burglary reports all those yeas on the police force in Southern California, before he was a G-man, made him naturally think it was a prowler.
Later I described what I had seen and he was certain I was describing my grandfather. I later learned that my grandparents had chosen to be cremated and their ashes were temporarily stowed away in our massive walk-in attic.
They tried to calm me down and get me back to sleep but I was so terrified that I only remained alone in my room for a couple minutes before I snatched my top mattress of my bed and dragged it into their room. I slept at the foot of their bed. It was two weeks before I could even go back into my room - sent my sister and brother in there to get my things.
That was the first itme I had seen a spirit without waking up to it. I once woke up to a young adult woman standing over me, when I was six and she had this evil grimace on her face.
I was sure I had seen the girl, I had even slapped at her, to get her away and my hand passed right through her and she remained there still. I closed my eyes and opened them again and she was just standing there and staring at me. She didn't leave until I screamed for my mother. I sort of always had doubt about the little girl because I had woken up and thought it was my imagination or some waking dream. The spirit in my room in Jersey was clearly there and I saw it arrrive, unlike the girl.
Those were the first experiences I had with the paranormal.
The features I could make out on "the dark spirit" were that he appeared bald by his profile and had a big belly - big old pot belly. Just like my grandfather.
My grandfather killed himself about seven months after my grandmother died and not very long before the incident. They found him uttering my grandmother's name with his last breath's. My uncle was out mowing some acrage in Southern Cal at my gradnfathers, when he heard the shots (my grandfather is proof that a suicide can fire two shots). My uncle had been worried because he had noticed bullet holes in the ceiling and one on the wall above my grandfather's chair; shots fired when my grandfather had backed out in retro. My uncle thought, or probably had hoped, my grandfather was just mourning in his own way but, realized he was wrong when my grandfather finally built up the courage to end his own life.
My grandfather had my grandmother's ashes and when my grandfather killed himself no one had the heart, the family feeling badly, to take my grandparent's ashes except my dad.
I suppose the "dark spirits" features were not that detailed but those couple things made my father think it might be him and I myself was never totally sure. It was the terror I felt that always made me doubt it was grandfather (as MurLag mentioned) but, it was the lonely walk without even looking my way that made me think it might be him and he was lost and perhaps searching for grandma.
My mother says that days before she prayed that I would see what would become of me if I did not change my attitude. I was rather wild and willful and had quite a mouth - not vulgarities but very defiant. This also makes me think it wasn't my grandfather if my mother's prayer was answered. She told me several years later during a tearful confession that she wished she had never done that.
The house itself we leased to us for cheap from friends in the FBI. It was this little estate with a driveway that went around the house in a U and had tall massive hedges in the front. The attic was totally creepy and had a weird set of half-steps up to it. The stairs we across the hall form my room. There was a gazebo in the back and a barn converted into a garage. The garage had a little stream behind it that ran under the highway and through our yard and across North Plainfield. The Watchung Mountains were clearly in view from my bedroom. I loved that house but the experience there tainted my experience with fear.
The little girl had freckles and red hair. My experience with her was in Lawndale, California and was one of many "seeing things" during a period in my youth that spanned three different houses. I saw her only once. She was not glowing white , but somehow was easy to see in the dark. She was older than a little girl but younger than a grown woman - I always thought about fifteen. It seemed she wore an old blouse with a square neck and orange flowers that bordered the collar - it might have been a dress I cannot recall much below her belly but her expression made me think modern or recent though in retro her blouse could have been from another time.
She made no gestures and said nothing. She was the reason i learned to sleep the covers over my head with just a little gap to breathe (because it got so damn hot under the covers). I've overcame the covers over my head years ago though. The expression on that girl's face is crystal clear in my mind even today and this happened nearly thirty years ago.