When I was 18 years old I saw a ghost / apparition / supernatural being, whatever you want to call it. This experience was terrifying and immediately afterwards I wondered how I was ever going to be able to view the world in the same way again.
As time passed however the memory of this experience dimmed and I put it in a place of most likely being some sort of freak hallucination. Then years later I happened to stumble across something which forced me reconsider this experience in a new light.
I’m sharing this experience now, mostly because friends have told me that I should. I’m also hoping this account resonates with anyone out there.
I was staying at our family coast house. An old, simple, small, dark-brown ‘fibro’ dwelling originally built by my Grandparents. It is still located on the South Coast of Australia about 20 minutes south of Batemans Bay, by a small but beautiful quiet little beach called Rosedale. I was there with a group of my mates from high school.
At that stage the house had two really small rooms and one open area with a kitchenette, a few more beds, and a dining table.
I was sleeping in one of the small rooms. It had two big windows that faced out onto the deck that overlooked the ocean and one door on the opposite side of the room. It had two beds, one in front of the windows long-ways and another perpendicular on the north side of the room. I was sleeping in the bed by the windows and my mate Tristan was in the other bed. From the position I was sleeping I had the two big windows facing the beach on my right site, the door into the room on my left, and Tristan’s bed at the other end of the room, on the wall past my feet, perpendicular to me.
On an otherwise normal still night I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t move.
I was completely and utterly terrified. It was like nothing I had ever experienced or could have imagined.
I remember trying to scream and not being able to clench my throat to make any noise. I remember desperately wanting to make any noise at all that could wake up Tristan up so that he could help me. I could see that he was sleeping soundly at the other end of the room. I felt physically wrong, like my body had become stuck in some sort of abnormal paralysis.
I remember noting how I couldn’t think straight. It was quite difficult to string my thoughts together, a bit like being really drunk (not that I would know). I don’t know if this was just a side effect of my terror but it was like my thoughts were swirling around in a whirlpool, frantic and incoherent. All I could really make sense of was that I was in a very wrong situation and that I had to get out of it.
I remember having phantom sensations of being able to move my arms as if I was pushing the covers off myself but then finding that my arms were in fact motionless and not doing anything at all. I also remember having the physical sensation of being able to roll over and completely around, but again finding that my body was not actually moving at all. I remember having a very strong awareness of the room. It was lit by the moonlight, quiet and still.
And when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse, when I felt like I was at the limit of my fear, the door to the room opened and in walked what I came to endearingly refer to as ‘The Fuzzy Dude’.
It was in the shape of a man and the manner / general body language was very calm and casual. Like it was just walking by and doing its own thing, familiar with its place.
It was like it was made of wispy vaporous light. The light was coming out of it so the shadows seemed like the wrong way around. It had two dark shadowy places for the eyes. It was ‘smudgy’ and when it moved it left a trail, almost something like a photographic film effect. I remember there was a trail coming from the back of the head a bit like the shape of those old fashioned English sleeping hats, like the kind that Santa wears. I could see the shapes of where the hands were but not the detail of fingers. As the arms and the body moved there was this lingering, fading, smudgy impression that slowly faded.
Strangely It didn’t have a particularly menacing or scary vibe in any way in and of itself, however the simple fact that it was there at all was enough to send me into an overwhelming state of panic and extreme terror.
I remember having the reaction to shut down, close off, shut my eyes and wait for whatever would happen next. I don’t remember actually shutting my eyes but I remember that the Fuzzy Dude moved out of my field of vision and was generally moving in my direction.
I was at an absolute peak level of fear, kind of closing off and bracing myself, and in a way refusing to accept what was happening / was about to happen. I remember then having a feeling that was like breaking through layers and layers of thick hard freezing cold ice.
Then I was ‘awake’ and back to normal. I had returned to that state we all know as normal, except that I felt really, really nauseous, and emotionally and physically shattered. Something about going through the layers of ice was like putting my body through a very unnatural process.
I wobbled out to the table in the kitchen area and sat there in the dark house with various mates sleeping soundly all around the place. I remember sitting there and just thinking like; What the fuck!!!? What the fuck was that!? How am I ever going to sleep again? What is this universe that I am a part of?
I sat there for hours and didn’t go back to sleep that night. The next morning Tristan said something to me along the lines of; “What was going on with you last night?…”, “You were going off”. Like I had been really loud in my sleep or something. I remember being a bit surprised by this as I assumed that I was completely silent. I also thought like man, I wish you had just woken me up!
Then it was like a dream, in that for every second I was awake my memory of the experience dimmed just like the way memories of dreams do. However because this was so significant it was also etched firmly into another part of my memory.
I have spent the rest of my life processing this experience. After a couple of years or so however, after it happened, I did tend to think of it as an experience that had happened in some sort of dream like realm and that what I experienced must have come from within my own mind, like a dream that seems real. I am aware that in the right conditions we are all capable of seeing all manner of things that will seem completely real to us at the time.
This was a relatively comfortable theory for me.
One thing about this though that always niggled at me a bit was the nature / image of The Fuzzy Dude. The way it really did seem like nothing I had every conceived of before. As it appeared to me, it was not even like any images, even artworks etc that I had ever seen in normal waking life. As far as ghosts or supernatural beings go it did not fit at all into preconceived idea for me as to how something like this might look.
Then, years and years later I stumbled across something which really freaked me out…
I happened to be looking through an anthropological book about Australian aborigines and there was a photograph of an ancient Aboriginal rock art painting depicting Wandjina (or ‘Wanjina’) figures. Here are some more examples in Google image search.
As soon as I saw this picture I was struck (in a very eerie way) that what I was looking at was exactly like The Fuzzy Dude, only drawn in the abstracted style familiar to Australian aboriginal art. Wandjina figures always include the dark shapes for the eyes and some sort of radiating light coming from the bodies, particularly the head.
I have absolutely no doubt that these drawings depict what I saw as The Fuzzy Dude.
I have done a little bit of research about the Wandjina characters and I found the results to be a bit vague and inconsistent. At one point I found some information that suggested that in at least some Aboriginal cultures they are regarded as malevolent beings that want to steal your energy, and that it is generally not good to be visited by one, particularly if you are a pregnant woman. In other information such as on Wikipedia they are referred to as ancient creator-like spirit beings, and that as cloud and rain spirits they have continuing influence over the forces of nature.
One day I’m hoping I will get the chance to speak with an aboriginal elder about my experience. I would like to hear some first-hand interpretations of the Wandjina beings.
Otherwise, I would say that I rarely think about this experience and I wouldn’t say that it has particularly changed the general course of my life in any way. Just something weird. Something to think about.
In writing this article and looking up pictures of ghosts I also noted that the traditional ‘western’ image of the ghost, that being the white sheet with big black eyes is in fact very similar to that of the Wandjina figures, just without the radiating light (and a few of the other details). This had never occurred to me before. I wonder where these depictions of ghosts can be traced back to and whether other cultures use similar imagery?
Otherwise if you’ve had a similar experience or feel that you can shed some light on this, please feel more than welcome to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.