For those just joining us, let’s quickly bring you up to speed. This isn’t the first interview published with Anabelle here at Culture Junkies. Earlier this year, she gave us the lowdown on her band Veile, then joined us more recently to discuss her love for the horror genre. Truth be told, the latter interview was so long that I opted to break it into two articles. This time, however, she and I are sharing our paranormal experiences.
Now, you may think discussing this topic on a pop culture website is out of left field. Having written primarily about movies, TV, and comic books over the years – with some video game and music coverage here and there – I myself never thought I’d write about this subject. But when you consider that Veile’s debut EP was titled The Ghost Sonata, touching upon ghost stories with the very woman who lent her voice to said recording seemed like a cool prospect.
As it so happens, I have more than enough encounters of my own to share, having lived in at least three haunted houses in my lifetime. I wasn’t sure if she had experienced anything substantial herself, but it turned out that she indeed had. Hey, England is known for its tales of apparitions. Much like our aforementioned discussion of horror movies, this will be printed in a very conversational format.
Whether you choose to believe us is beyond my control; I know what I experienced and so does she. All I ask is that you enjoy the following transcription with an open mind. And since I can’t resist saying it: Who ya gonna call?!
Eric: Having lived in three haunted houses myself, I have a lot to share. But since you’re the one people are here to read about, obviously, let’s start with you. You once told me that you had some sort of experience, but would you like to detail that?
Anabelle: I was in the house I grew up in. I remember it very vividly. I was in my parents’ bedroom – and my mom was downstairs, my dad was at work – and someone threw something into the room. It looked like an acorn or some kind of pinecone, it was something of that ilk. I saw it clear as day, thrown in and land on the floor in front of me, and I bent down to pick it up and there was nothing there. So, I walked outside the room to go “who threw that?,” and there was a woman on the stairs dressed in, like, Victorian clothing. And this is like the most banal bit: she was just bending down to pick up a basket of laundry, so it wasn’t even like a terrifying…it was a very mundane sort of impression of a day. I was like, “What the hell?,” because I was calling out for my mom and it was just a woman on the stairs, hair in a tight bun, and obviously I freaked and ran into my bedroom, where the clothes just fell off the door and fell off the side, and then I ran downstairs to where I found my mom. I remember it all being so vivid but so odd in that it wasn’t anything you would see in a horror film. It wasn’t what you would expect. It was like fragments of memories that weren’t my own, rather than “it’s a spooky ghooooost” appearing in a sheet. That was the one that stuck with me.
E: That definitely sounds like a ghost, maybe a time anomaly. I don’t necessarily, and nor do a lot of paranormal investigators, believe in ghosts as spirits. I recommend reading A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Heaven by Corey Taylor. He’s had so many paranormal encounters that he wrote a book about it. He presents the “Intelligent Energy Theory.” He and I have had the same thoughts on so many things that I hope I can have this conversation with him one day. Basically, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, so what if someone has a strong enough personality that their psychic energy is imprinted on an environment, a place that was familiar to them? That’s why you won’t necessarily see a ghost if you go to a cemetery, but maybe somewhere they lived or worked for a long time. When people see a ghost doing chores on a farm, that’s because it’s something that’s occurred – but maybe these things can be intelligent and reach out. I’ll talk about this in my own encounters in a moment. But maybe it’s an anomaly in time. Maybe when you were seeing that woman on the stairs, you were seeing something that happened centuries ago.
A: There’s a horror film that I watched that described that exact theory about “energy can’t be destroyed” and “things leave impressions” and we can experience those. That’s interesting you bring that up.
E: They say time is the nonspatial continuum, where events occur linearly, usually in the direction of increased entropy. But what if time intersects at certain points and we’re seeing things from the past, or maybe from the future? What it we’re seeing something that’s in another dimension? What if someone is seeing you – and you’re the ghost?
A: That’s very Donnie Darko.
E: My memory actually goes back to age two. That’s as far back as I can remember. My parents were still married when I was at that age. This was probably in 1985, at a house they rented in Dearborn, Michigan, on a street called Mayfair (maybe someone can identify it). There was said to be an old lady in the house. I’ll preface by saying none of the entities I’ve encountered were malevolent. They’re just kind of there. But my mom saw the woman standing at the bottom of the stairs at night, I don’t know how many times. It was a two-level house, I can actually kind of remember the layout, even all these years later. You go up the stairs, and there was a bathroom in the middle, with bedrooms on either side. My bedroom was also the very coldest in the house, so maybe that was its origin point. My mom said one time she was sleeping with me at night and the covers weren’t over us – and then something pulled them over us while she was awake. Maybe it’s just an old lady doing you a solid; she doesn’t want you to get cold. There was also a time my mom asked where I was for so long and I said, “Playing with my friend.” She asked who it was and I said, “The ghost.” [I opted to leave something I saw out of this article. It wasn’t an old lady and it’s so weird that I’m still not ready to share it publicly. But I did tell Anabelle.]
A: According to my mom, there’s a little girl in my room. So my mom at one point was very, very, very into psychic mediums. And one very strongly insisted on there being a young girl that resides in my bedroom. I’ve never felt that presence and I don’t think I have, but apparently I did when I was younger. My mom was telling me that I would talk about this girl in my room. For many years, she said that my brother had the ability, when he was younger, to see things we couldn’t. He would be that kid in a horror film who would be standing, talking to someone in the garden, or talking to someone we couldn’t see. And there was one point, one that really freaked me out because my brother is prone to nocturnal seizures, sleepwalking. There was one time when he walked into my room and it was like Paranormal Activity, he was standing there and I was watching him. The only thing he said to me was: “Who’s that behind you?” – and then walked out. So I didn’t sleep for the rest of that night. So there is a sensitivity in my family to it. [A relative of hers] had especially recounted a few in her house, sightings that she believes, but very different, more like glowing orbs or lights rather than an actual physical body, which is one I personally haven’t heard many people talk about. Everyone seems to go with the physical specter rather than a Ghostbusters-style..
E: Class-Five full-roaming vapor?
A: But it apparently did then form into the shape of a man before it disappeared, so not sure what to make of that.
E: Maybe you didn’t find the acorn because it didn’t exist in your time period.
A: I heard it, that’s the thing. It wasn’t just…I heard everything. You can explain, maybe, “I didn’t feel that right.” Sound, smell, when all your senses are engaged, it becomes much more difficult to find what we consider rational.
E: That’s like when people say, “You saw what you wanted.” And this brings us to the next one for me. We’re going chronologically. This house is in the city of Detroit, but I won’t say where because my mom’s boyfriend still lives there. We lived with him when I was in sixth through eighth grade. I don’t think he has the experiences so much as other people do in his house. My mom is the only one who’s actually seen something in there. She was getting ready for work in the bathroom, and she saw a man walk by her in the hallway in the mirror. That freaked her out. My experiences – again, nothing malevolent – but I would often hear someone on the staircase to the attic at night. The weirdest experience did involve physical contact: I was awake in my room and I had my head under the pillow. Something slapped the pillow very hard, as if it didn’t want me to fall asleep and suffocate in that position. That’s my thought. I sat up and nobody was there. My mom and her boyfriend were watching TV in the living room – and there was no way they could run that distance in a second without me seeing or hearing it. The other weird one was being in the basement doing something with the laundry and hearing bare feet walking on concrete behind me, so I ran up the stairs. I was probably eleven, twelve.
As for the house I grew up in, which was in my family from the 1950’s until they sold it in 2002 and we moved out of Detroit. My grandparents lived there, my mom and her siblings grew up there, and I spent a good amount of my childhood there. Nothing happened until I moved into the attic. My grandpa had a knee replacement surgery in 2001, which was about halfway through my junior year of high school. We switched bedrooms because he couldn’t do stairs, so he took my bedroom on what you would call the ground floor, and I moved into the attic. My uncle says he saw the spirit of my great-grandmother up there, I’d say in the early ’80s, either when he had gotten home or was visiting during his time in the Marines. I heard he was sleeping in the attic and ran down the stairs screaming, saying he’d seen his grandmother up there. A girl I know who is a Fortean investigator says ghosts aren’t always who they appear to be – they could take on another form.
These occurrences happened off and on for the the year-and-a-half I lived up there. This is one I’d previously heard about, but I would come home from school and the closets would be left open up there. One was like a sliding door closet made of heavy wood, so nothing blew it open. Someone would have to physically open that. Another was kind of like a crawlspace/cubby hole that we actually had to stick shut – but that would be open. Sometimes I would be walking around and a shade on window would very slowly rise up in front of me. I would be like, “Okay,” and pull it down. One time, something knocked over stuff on my dresser, like deodorant, hairspray, and other things. This next one was consistent. Are you familiar with the song “Antichrist Superstar” by Marilyn Manson?
E: You know the part when there’s that call-and-response, like, “dun-dun, hey!”? Every time I listened to that song, every time at the “Hey!” part, there was a thud on the wall.
A: What was your emotional response to those encounters?
E: I got used to it.
A: So it was like a “ahh, okay” growing up?
E: Yeah. I will say that when I lived in that attic, I never slept in pure darkness. There were two lights in the attic: there was one over the area I slept in, and there was one leading down the stairs. I would often leave the one leading down the stairs on, because there was always something unsettling about being up there. I think those were all the weird encounters I had in that attic. There have been other one-offs, but I’m not sure if I’d count the two apartments I’ve lived in since as haunted. One time, in my current apartment, I had my alarm set for when I had to get up for work. I opened my eyes early and I swear I heard a woman say, “Not yet,” and I went back to sleep.
A: It’s weird, if someone asks you if you believe in ghosts, very frankly I say, “I don’t know,” because what we categorize, what we believe versus what actually is, I can’t ever say for certain. But I’m like that with most of my sort of philosophy in life: I’m secure in the fact that I don’t have the answer. One person said to me: “If ghosts existed, everyone would know about it. Every single person would know it as a fact, because they would all just be walking around,” which I’m not sure is necessarily true, but for me, I’m content in knowing there are things I cannot explain, or things I never will be able to explain. There’s always the possibility that, yeah, maybe it was a ghost, maybe it was something else. Maybe it was an alien race looking in. I don’t know. I’m comfortable within the knowledge that I don’t know, if that makes any sense.
[She and I then discussed a recurring dream I’ve had since my time in the attic, which I won’t print because I’ve worked it into a song – and I’m not giving away my intellectual property just yet. But she proposed that it could be me who’s haunted, not the place. I guess we will leave you on that note.]
That concludes our latest interview with Anabelle. Be sure to look up both her and Veile on your social media sites of choice, as Veile are working on new material, in addition to Anabelle herself being poised to announce some exciting new ventures in the near future.