Last Thursday, before Christmas, Rachael had a strange experience. She had to leave exceptionally early to be at work. I don’t remember if it was 5:30 or 6:30, but it was earlier than she usually left.
As she generally does, she went out a little bit before she was ready to leave and started her car. Yeah, it is kind of crazy when the cars are both in the garage, but never mind.
She opened the garage door and came back in to finish her breakfast and get her coffee. Then she went out, backed the car out of the garage and started down the drive. To her complete surprise she saw a man walking along the street behind her.
This is Westerville. There are never people walking around before daylight in the mornings especially so early. It startled her to say the least. More than that, as she watched him for a couple seconds, she became frightened. The man was moving with a strange gait, slowly and smoothly. He never glanced her way but simply continued walking. He was dressed in an outmoded style, a 1940’s or 50’s fashion in a long old fashioned overcoat and the kind of hat that used to be called a fedora—like Indiana Jones wore. He had a white scarf wrapped around his neck and over half of his face. That in itself was strange; it was cold, but not nearly cold enough to have a scarf wrapped so warmly.
From his gait and posture, he wasn’t an old man, yet he walked very slowly, not like a stroll or a pleasure walk but very slowly and smoothly. Someone walking for pleasure at that time of morning is a little crazy, but someone walking because they had to be somewhere would warrant a much more deliberate and hurried pace. And he certainly wasn’t walking for exercise. I think it was the speed and his attitude as much as anything else that frightened her in addition to the time of day and the silence.
Since she was so frightened and he just kept walking, she had trouble deciding what to do next. The alternatives were to call Michael, but that would take time; or she could drive back in the garage and close the door, but that process is slow enough that if the man did have bad intentions he could easily slip inside before the door closed; finally the she came to a conclusion and hurriedly closed the garage door. Then she backed down the drive as quickly as she could. Because the man was now to the right of the drive, Rachael tried to angle her car straight out instead of veering to the right as she usually does.
After quite a few minutes of ignoring the noises of the running motor and moving vehicle and garage door going down when Rachael got down the drive and paused to turn toward Sunbury, the man seemed to notice her. He stopped dead and slowly turned to face her! As he looked straight at her, he began walking toward her! No wave, no indication of what he wanted, but only slowly taking a couple steps toward her at the same pace. It scared her tremendously. She twisted the steering wheel and took off down Smoke Burr toward Sunbury. She was so frightened that she ran through the red light (there is very little traffic on Sunbury at that time of morning) and turned down the street to the gas station.
When she got there she stopped and called Michael to have him go and check on the man. Of course, he was gone.
We talked about it for some time when she got home. She was still frightened and said that one of the managers at work had asked if she thought it was a ghost. Now I DO NOT believe in ghosts, but I have to admit that I wondered something similar. The behavior of the man, his old fashioned clothing, and the odd time of day, they all contributed to strangeness and an eeriness that doesn’t exist in a commonplace, well-to-do neighborhood like Twelve Trees.
Rachael won’t leave before daylight alone any more. That’s how frightened she was. Michael gets up and watches her as she backs down the drive and leaves. She double checks the back door when she lets the dogs in. I have to admit that I’ve made sure it is locked even when I let them back in myself.
As for the man… I don’t suppose we’ll ever know who he was and where he came from. Or even if he was some sort of paranormal reflection. I don’t know. Scary though.