Growing Up With The Paranormal

Rachael Gleave

Everyone has their own ghost story to tell. This is mine.

When my experiences began with the paranormal it was something to be kept private, a family secret. Now that I have lived long enough and have experienced so much in my life, I felt it was finally time to break the seal on some of the stranger things that have happened both to me and my family.

This book contains true tales of visitations, guardian angels, possesions, ghosts, haunted houses, little blue aliens, Exorcisms, spiritual cleansings, soul mates, loss, attempted suicide, near-death experience, pets, life and death and everything in between and after.

As dark as my life has sometimes gotten, I have always held on to the spiritual, and this book features the events that shaped and guided me throughout my life, and that led me to become the proud Witch that I am today.

I hope my story will help others, and perhaps help to guide any who have questions about where they belong in life.


Rachael Gleave currently lives in Leeds, West Yorkshire with her two familiars and occupies her time either pottering in her garden or indulging in one of her many crafts.

She can be reached at:


This is the biggest and the scariest encounter of my life so far. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I lived through it. It not only further opened my eyes, it also made me realise that there is pure evil in this world. Things that not only go bump in the night but things that can hurt, and can hurt you not only physically but mentally. Once you see into that world you are never quite the same again.

It was winter of 1985, and my Grandma had recently died of a massive heart attack at only 54. That changed my life forever, she was my whole world, my safe place and now, at 12 years old, I had to grow up fast. Mum and I moved from York where we were living at my Grandmas pub into a council house in Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire. We were moving back to the area where my mum grew up in a little town not far away called Cleckheaton.

We had nothing, and I mean nothing, only the clothes on our backs, a mattress and a pair of curtains. It was a harsh winter too; with snow a foot deep and freezing temperatures. We had no family, no friends – we had left it all behind. It was just me, mum and her boyfriend, with no money as the benefits were slow getting sorted out.

Opening the door to this 1950s’ two-bedroom house, with its small front and back gardens, on a long street. Just a seemingly normal house, bare and cold, but it was a roof over our heads.

We all snuggled together under our coats and an old curtain. That night, we fell asleep and carried on sleeping for two days – it was so cold that I think we were hibernating.

Things were slow to get moving with no money for food or electric, we had to get help from a charity but as proud as we were, we actually fed ourselves from supermarket skips, we found wood to burn in the old fireplace and found some furniture and tried to make a home. Things were bleak, very bleak, but as a kid you kind of take what you have and make it into an adventure.

I started high school, but it wasn’t what I expected. I was bullied for being poor, for being different.

I liked learning yet I couldn’t go often, as I was so scared of going to school. Mum was fuming and at that time school head teacher didn’t really care. I went to the library a lot, and I made a couple of friends who were in a similar situation, and seemed as though things were sorting themselves out- but mum and her boyfriend argued a lot and finally, one day, he left. I’d loved him like a dad, so that was someone else leaving me.

I think with all this going on we weren’t really paying attention to little things around the house, but we gradually started noticing odd happenings.

It started with soft thumping noises in the attic, maybe just the wind- there were cold spots on the landing, and smells from nowhere- the scent of tobacco, beer and the stench of vomit.

Sometimes things would go missing, just little things we had maybe misplaced but couldn’t find- little ornaments, school shoes, pens. We would go into the garden and there they would be, under the bushes. We shrugged it off as just a cheeky ghost, as you’ve read, we were used to odd things. So we just ignored it and soldiered on.

An old woman would often be seen at the landing window, waving to people who passed by. Mums friends and neighbours would ask her who the woman was we had living there. Short, grey hair in curls, chubby faced, rosy cheeked and always looked pleasant.

We would be confused as there was no one living with us. Maybe it was a reflection in the window of something? Maybe it was someone’s idea of a joke?

There was a middle aged lady next door, who had been there many years and had lived in the area since she was a child. She was nice and would often ask us in for a cuppa and a chat. One day she told us that there had indeed been a lady fitting the description that lived in our house in the ‘50s. She had been a lovely lady, with a seemingly nice husband, but no children.

The lady next door told us that she found out that when the husband went to work he would lock her in the attic until he got home, when he made her cook and clean. She was regularly beaten and rarely seen at all by the neighbours. One day when the husband came home he found her in the attic where he’d locked her in – but she was dead from the beating she’d suffered. It was kept quiet, and the husband just disappeared. Maybe that’s why she was always seen at that window?

My mum nicknamed this spirit Martha. Martha would be seen on many occasions, and by many people. Although we lost a couple of friends that had seen her on their way upstairs to the bathroom and would never step foot into the house again.

We never told our friends about her, and some of my school friends wouldn’t know about her until they were at my house and going to the toilet. One friend of mine came down to the living room and was white as a sheet. When I asked what was up, he told me that as he was going to the toilet, an old woman had appeared beside him and went to touch his penis! Well, he was over 6 foot and I’ve never seen anyone go as white as he did. After that he would still come around to see me, but he’d definitely not go up the stairs to the loo again.

Things were still hard, as my mum couldn’t find work, and benefits were much worse than they are today. I still was getting bullied at school a lot, I would be followed home and throw stones at the windows and neighbourhood kids would shout at us and on many occasions would break the windows

Mum was finding it hard too, as a one parent family and was still a stigma. My mum was an amazing gorgeous woman, thin and she never looked her age and always dressed well. Woman didn’t like her as they would think she was a threat to their husbands. But we made a few friends, mainly our neighbours, who were gay and they always came to my mum for advice or with problems to sort. The women would take mum out with them and she began to enjoy a social life again and she got through a couple of boyfriends over the years.

We started going to spiritualist church nearby, it was like a family and we always enjoyed going there until the school bullies found out, and then we got a lot of agro and abuse , shouting ‘witches’ and taking the mick, again we ignored it and tried to build a life.

My mum had started to go through the menopause, and I was going through puberty, so there was a lot of tension and energy at that time – maybe that is what started it all off. Teenage angst and an angry mum, arguments, stress and tension. But we both shared a love of music, so I could never annoy her with my heavy metal rock music as she would just tell me to turn it up!

Mum and I mum would always talk into the night, late when we couldn’t sleep. We both started having nightmares, nothing unusual in that, but the content was, shall I say, overtly sexual. Nightmares of rape, of being attacked by an ugly thing that we could never really see in detail. The next morning in the shower, we would find bruises on our inner thighs that would be in the shape of a hand and fingers. We would find scratches and were both so tired all the time.

We had separate bedrooms, I had the biggest as it had a good sized window above the front door and sometimes at night I would climb out on to the porch above the door and shimmy down for a walk or to meet friends. My bedroom was big and covered with 80s rock magazine posters, I was really into Iron Maiden , Kiss, Wasp, Aerosmith- all the 80s music I still love. It was bright and airy and a nice space to chill out.

Mums room was typical of that time too, flowery wallpaper and pink bedding. We started getting uneasy feelings after a while, and most nights we would just sleep in the front room on the sofa, where we would hear noises from mum’s bedroom, like someone bouncing on the bed, banging noises and moans.

In the mornings the bedding would be in a heap and stained, as though someone had been having sex on them. We were getting really creeped out now. I would see shadow people go past my bedroom door. I would just turn up the TV and ignore it as well as I could.

We had stopped going to spiritualist church as kids would follow and shout insults and we didn’t want any trouble going at their door, so instead we went to see the local Christian vicar, who was a nice youngish man that listened to our problems and told us he would come bless the house and said it would all be over soon, so we prayed with him.

The day came and he took his holy water and bible around the home saying his blessings and afterwards, for a while, it did feel more fresh and easy and relaxing, which lasted for maybe for a week, and then all hell broke loose.

The smells came back first, like hot fetid vomit and excrement- it would make you physically gag. We got the drains seen to and cleaned. The smells would come and then just go as quick. It was like something breathing right into your face.

Then came the banging noises from in the walls- they would move room to room, and the attic door would raise up and then slam back down.

But what really got to us were the growls, and no pets would stay in that house for long. They would run away leaving me with nothing to sooth me. It seemed like there no joy could survive in that house. There was only tension and arguments, bad dreams and fear.

We slept downstairs all the time now, with lamps on and would pray most nights. Sometimes it would go quiet for days, but we knew it was always there.

One day my mum was cleaning the windows inside and she had to stand on a chair on the landing to reach the top of the window there. She would always do the windows like that, on a good solid chair, as both mum and I were short people of only 5ft and very skinny.

I was downstairs watching the small black and white TV we had been given. Suddenly I heard a loud bang and a thumping noise. I ran to see and my mum half way down the stairs gripping onto the hand rails. She had been cleaning away when felt a huge push on the chair under her feet and as it flew from beneath her she grabbed at the first thing she could, otherwise she would have hit the wall at the bottom of the stairs and God, what would have happened then. She was very shaken up and she actually cried for the first time in years.

No way could we move, council housing lists were very long, money was tight and we had nowhere to go, so we took to going on long walks, even at night, or would go to friends’ houses, or just spend the time sitting on the wall outside chatting to the locals.

Mum lost boyfriends as they would be scared off or just not understand. One once stood his ground, a lovely man, who was good to us both and who understood. Scared but brave enough to want to try to protect us. One night, as it was a particularly bad one, we were all sleeping downstairs, mum and him on the sofa and me on a little camp bed at the other side of the room. They were talking softly as I slept as I hadn’t gotten much sleep for a couple of nights.

As they lay there, they could see by the full moon light through the window three tadpole-like creatures, black and about a foot in length, crawling up from the bottom of the bed. There were whispers of voices, loud bangs and grunting like a pig.

Mum looked towards me and saw the tall figure of a bishop who appeared to be laying his hands on me as if in blessing. Mums boyfriend kept watching the black things crawling along the bed, then he and my mum let out a huge scream waking me and I saw them too. I heard pig squealing and we bolted for the door in our pyjamas out into the cold night air, leaving the door swinging open.

We ran about half a mile to the local church and knocked the poor vicar up from his sleep as it was 4 am by then. He was so nice and took us into the main church, and at the altar he blessed us all. Mums boyfriend had a very angry look, his face all screwed up and his legs were twitching as if they wanted to run. We all calmed down some by then, and the vicar said that I must have an Angel watching over me as the holy man was keeping me safe that night. We eventually walked slowly home, tired and weary and scared. But, however hard the vicar tried again and again to bless that house; it wouldn’t stay quiet for long.

One night me and my mum were alone, things with her boyfriend were getting to be a stressful and they were growing further apart every day. All of a sudden my mums face changed into an ugly and wrinkled old woman. She stared at me and with a deep, scratchy voice said “Charlotte! You should die!”

Well you know how in horror movies where the girl is trying to undo the locks on the door and there seems to be too many locks and not enough time? That’s how I felt. I ran. I ran and ran and ran until my legs gave in.

I took a long time to walk home as half of me didn’t want to go back. As I walked through the door my mum was back to her normal self. She didn’t know anything about what happened.

We got back in touch with the spiritualist church and they sent a man round to help us. He came a week later, a nice 50-ish man, hair greying at the temples, he was plump and jolly, with glasses and definitely what you wouldn’t expect, looking more like a friendly teacher than an exorcist.

My mums’ boyfriend also turned up to help, as he still cared about her. He held her on the sofa as she was sitting up and the man from the church started talking to her in a soft voice and read aloud from an old book. My god, what a sight it was. I wanted to run but was too weak to and a little inquisitive too. Well, I was until I felt the hot fetid breath on my neck and heard a low growling sound beside me. I was paralysed with fear,

The spiritualist splashed holy water on my mum, and I swear it hurt her so bad. She was grimacing at him, now, growling and mumbling. Mums face changed again and more words he spoke and more holy water he threw on her as she struggled and swore until finally she went limp, and her face went back to normal. She said she had never felt so peaceful. Call it an attachment or possession, but that thing had gotten into my mum and who knows what could have happened if it had been left longer.

The man from the spiritualist church explained that there was a demon infestation going on and one that would not go away no matter what or how hard they tried to make it leave the house.

I swear all this is true, I have kept it quiet about it for so long, you cannot tell anyone things like that for fear of been ridiculed all over again. I can honestly say that I have never been so scared in all my life.

I was 17 when we finally got a house swap. It was in a really bad area, somewhere near Batley, but we didn’t care. We thought that it would be nice to just sleep and feel safe and that nothing could be worse than that damn house.

The family decided to swap with us and we told them before what had happened and as usual, they laughed and said it was all nonsense and that no stupid ghost would ever appear and scare them.

A few months after we’d moved and were still settling in, they called over and brought their 5 year old son who had a plaster cast on his arm. They were fuming, and angrily told us of the bangs in the boys’ bedroom at night. They explained they had child gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and one day as the boy was playing in his bedroom she heard a thud and a cry. Running from the kitchen she saw the top gate open and her son at the bottom of the stairs saying he’d been pushed.

The boy had broken his arm and they were so angry with us. Mum said she had warned them beforehand and that they had been adamant that they still wanted the house.

It has been over twenty years since I finally left that house, and I still sometimes get bad dreams about it. But I also get inquisitive about it too. Has that thing gone from there? Is it still haunted? It’s not as if I could knock on the door and ask.

And what caused it to appear? Maybe it fed on all the energy from both menopause and puberty? Had someone ever done anything dark or used an Ouija board in there? Is it because we invited it in somehow? When I was a kid I would go into the graveyard at the end of the street and take the white and green glass chippings from the grave tops to put in a jar on the window sill, where they caught the sun’s rays and would sparkle.

I would really like to know if anyone has had any other experiences in or near that place, or if they know of someone who lived on Dale Lane.

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May 17, 2021 7:42 am