It is seven o’clock on an August morning in 1993. I’m seventeen and in the kitchen of an old terrace house in inner-west Sydney getting ready for school. My mind is far away from paranormal phenomena but on the advancing wrath from maths teachers for homework not done. Suddenly, as always, activity arises. Yet, this time I finally see something! Coming through the kitchen doorway, are two elegant and slender human limbs – an arm and a leg – in solid human form. Almost doll-like in appearance, they have golden, opaque skin. This certainly isn’t any family member. I stand there, paralysed by both terror and awe, whilst I wait for the rest of the figure to follow through. Instead, the limbs vanish, followed by several indistinguishable loud knocks. I walk slowly over to the kitchen door and look out into the hallway – nothing. Later, I explain to my mother what happened; everybody else would probably assume that I’ve been drinking too many coffees, or watching too many bad horror movies. My mother confesses that the following morning after my own sighting, at the same time, in the same place - she sees an identical apparition. The only difference this time, she hears her name being called first. Fast-forward two years later and I’m calling up paranormal investigators for help.

Years of activity comes to a head one night, when, out of the blue (activity tended to switch itself ‘on’ at sporadic intervals; it was common to experience a three month drought before action would start to kick in again) I am in bed trying to fall asleep when I hear the usual thing – footsteps strolling up and down the staircase. Whenever this would happen, despite the fact that I should have been used to it, the fear was so acute it was like rapidly falling through hundreds of levels of horror. This time, I hear breathing and female murmuring, and it certainly isn’t my own. It comes scratching and shuffling its way into my bedroom, accompanied by the sounds of things being dropped and banged about in the hallway. Normally I feel disconnected to the activity; this time I feel threatened. My Mum is away for work; my brothers aren’t home, so it’s only Dad, who is sleeping in the next room. I bolt upright, flick the lamp on and let out a blood-curdling scream. For the first time in my life, I yell out repeatedly to my Dad for help. Amazingly, he doesn’t hear me. When I question him the following morning, he stares back speechless, shaking his head, oblivious to the whole thing. He gets up early every day, is a light sleeper and nobody in the house has any record of sleepwalking. To this day, nobody has any answer as to why he didn’t hear me screaming that night.

I tell my mother I’m unable to sleep in the house anymore; that it has reached the point where we need help. My mother looks in the Yellow Pages and finds a listing for paranormal investigators who call themselves “The Ghost Lovers”. After explaining the situation and how her daughter is refusing to sleep in the house, they simply tell her that all I have to do is turn on a bedside lamp and ask it to “go to the light.” How turning on a bedside light is going to banish a haunting is beyond me. A few years later, I move out and although strange phenomenon continues in the house, the main brunt of it leaves with me, and eventually things start to calm down. Most hauntings refer to haunted ‘places’, but poltergeist-related cases should be more accurately referred to as haunted ‘people’. Even though paranormal activity was occurring in the house when my parents first moved in 1968 (my mother would hear footsteps walking up the stairs most mornings, which would stop on the landing outside their bedroom door) it certainly escalated from a residual haunting into an intelligent one, exhibiting at most times, classic poltergeist behaviour. Only in hindsight have I realised that this haunting peaked during my adolescent years. The most mainstream of theories refers to poltergeist activity as being caused by a suppression of psychological tension - most typically by a teenage girl on the threshold of puberty. Most parapsychologists believe that poltergeist activity is a type of unconscious psychokinesis, exacerbated by emotional turmoil. In the late 80’s, cassette tapes hurling themselves off my shelves and across the room was quite a ‘normal’, yet horrifying occurrence. If adolescent hormones are to blame for items launching themselves across a bedroom, then why there aren’t more reported cases about poltergeists targeting menopausal women? Perhaps poltergeists are simply generated by people in a state of stress, or that discarnate entities target one particular person through whom they then act. What makes this so hard to define is the fact that some cases are a combination of the two.