Edge of Fright

In 1992, I awoke to my worst nightmare ever

A personal tale from the dark side

Back in 1992, I had heard about night terrors and lucid dreams — those strange and often recurring visitations that poison our sleep and shake our sense of reality to the core.

But this was no lucid dream or night terror I had just experienced.

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This was something truly horrible.

It happened late on a Friday night in 1992 as I lay half-asleep in my old childhood bed in my parent’s house in Springfield, Massachusetts. My father had gone to play jai-alai at the Hartford fronton and was due home soon.

I hated jai-alai. I always thought it was a rigged game. But my father loved to bet on the sport, and he was pretty lucky on the trifecta. Rarely did he ever leave the place empty handed.

My mother had gone to bed hours earlier after watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. It was her nightly routine.

Around midnight I thought I heard my father fumbling outside the front door with the house keys before the door quietly opened.

My father tip-toed into the hallway and flipped on the light switch.  

The light in my eyes roused me instantly. Squinting, I saw my father take off his hat and coat and put them away in the hallway closet. But there was something else in my field of vision.

I squinted again, and this time there was no mistaking what I saw.

There was a thin woman in a black dress, standing next to me at my bedside.

I was frozen with fear. I couldn’t say a word. In fact, I felt almost paralyzed.

“This isn’t happening,” I thought, and to prove it, I shook my head to the left and right several times, just to be sure I was really awake.

The black apparition was still there in the exact same spot, looking down at me through what appeared to be a dark veil or thick mass of long black hair that covered her entire face.

I could even make out the black embroidery in her dress — a mourning dress? I thought.

The whole time she never made a sound. Finally, my mouth decided to work.

I let out a scream so loud and blood curdling my father came running into my room shouting, “What is wrong with you?”

”Did you see it? Did you see it?” I said, rattled to the bone.

”See what?”

I looked around the room in near panic. The woman was gone.

”Nothing,” I said. “I think I was dreaming.”

In my mind, I knew this had been no dream, but something genuinely paranormal.

A few days later I spoke with a psychic friend of mine about my experience. She told me what I had witnessed was a  “negative spirit.” The thing could have attached itself to my father, she said. Sometimes, negative spirits will choose to visit us during moments of weakness, looking to feed upon our fears and self-doubts, and maybe do us harm.

Although it’s been years since that terrifying incident, often I will find myself nervously drifting off to sleep, only to feel my eyes open suddenly, as if expecting to see the woman in black standing at my bedside once again.

They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them, I repeat to myself —  over and over again.




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