Something completely out of the ordinary today! The supernatural. Do you believe in it or not? I like to think I am a very grounded, down to earth sort of person, I don’t watch Sci-Fi movies and I rarely fantasise about things, well except perhaps about a holiday in Bora Bora or some such thing! I have had two strange encounters in my life, one with a ghost and one with a UFO and both experiences have happened in France.
The first was when I was 19 years old and staying in a house owned by my family in Normandy. It was the sweetest little cottage nestled on a steep hillside deep in the Norman countryside. It sat right at the edge of a tiny village that boasted no more than a handful of houses, a church and a wonderful restaurant which was only open at lunchtime. The latter only served one set menu – three courses including wine – and in the summer we sat outside and ate on a covered terrace. The clientele were mostly locals, there was only the most occasional tourist.
The cottage was just beyond the restaurant down a narrow winding lane that led to the farm at the bottom and perhaps it saw one or two cars driving past a day, and that was a busy day! There was a large farmhouse kitchen and a lovely sitting room with a huge inglenook fireplace. Bizarrely there were two staircases. One was situated in the sitting room and led to a huge bedroom above and the other was in the kitchen and led to another slightly smaller bedroom and a bathroom. It was in the bedroom above the kitchen where I always slept. My bed faced west towards the door and there was a skylight just to the right of my head, I always left the shade open so that I could lie and gaze at the stars on a clear night. It was on one of these nights that for some reason I awoke early, I remember afterwards looking at my clock and it was a little after 6am. But I have no idea why I woke up, except the moment I opened my eyes I was aware that someone was watching me. There in the corner was a little girl; she was about 6 or 7 I would imagine and she was either sitting or kneeling down and she was looking straight at me, I stared and stared some more and then in a blink she was gone. I had never seen her before and I never saw her again. I have never seen another ghost in my life, I don’t even know if I believe in them, but I do know what I saw that night was real.
My second experience was far more recent. It was in February 2009 and took place close to where we lived back then in the department of the Pyrenees Atlantique. We were equidistant between the cities of Pau and Biarritz, deep in the heart of the Béarn.
It was a dark winter’s evening and Izzi – who was 13 at the time – and I had been to the supermarket. That night we had decided not to go to our nearest local store but to go to a slightly larger one some fifteen minutes away. I know exactly what time it was as the store closed at 7.15pm. As we drove out of the carpark the grills were coming down in front of the doors, and we were virtually the last people to leave.
We drove our normal route home, out into the country and then, turning off the main road, we turned down smaller roads and headed towards our home village which sat in a low riverside valley.
The final few kilometres I knew like the back of my hand as I cycled that tarmac nearly every day. As we headed down the final hill before we got into the valley where the road cut between fields and endless farmland, we rounded a sharp bend to the left. On the right hand side was the most beautiful old Béarnaise farmhouse, complete with a pretty duckpond which I always admired when cycling past. It was completely surrounded by trees.
As the road straightened and levelled out I noticed a red light at the foot of the hill way in the distance to my right. Nothing out of the ordinary at all and I commented to Izzi that they must have installed a new telephone mast or something there as I had never seen the light before. We carried on chatting about this and that. A few seconds later I glanced across the fields to my right again, the red light was still visible and I went back to talking about why the light was there and how I know I had never seen it before. We drove on and I kept looking to my right, the light seemed to be moving towards us. Perhaps it was a low, a very low, flying plane, or a helicopter. But there was just the one red light and it wasn’t throwing out a beam, it was a flat light.
Over the course of the next 200 metres or so the red light moved closer and closer to us, it was travelling at about 20 feet above the ground, no more. We both became somewhat fixated watching it, whilst I kept half an eye on the road; my speed had slowed to a crawl. There were no other cars, no houses, no other signs of life, just us on a narrow country lane and the moving red light. Then, when it was no more than 30 feet from us it suddenly shot straight upwards by 20 feet or so. It was a pulsating red light and the whole thing appeared to be in the shape of rosette with two short streamers hanging down.
It was on Izzi’s side of the car and so she was able to press her face hard against the window and stare. I can tell you by this time blind fear had taken over. I am not quite sure when everything changed, when it went from curious interest to utter terror. My face burned with a fierceness I had never known before, I felt as if I was on fire, I pressed my foot hard down on the accelerator, I just wanted to get out of there. Izzi was petrified, “Go!!!!” she screamed.
From her side of the car Izzi watched it fly over and seemingly stall on top of us. As it passed above us all she could see was a black triangle and then it appeared to be literally hovering over our roof. We had no radio on, there was no noise and yet we could hear nothing, not a single sound, certainly not the sound of a helicopter or plane. It was silent apart from the engine of the car and the thump of our pounding hearts.
I raced down the final part of the road to the village breaking every speed limit, the shopping bags in the back of the car now strewn across the floor. I flew, almost literally, across the crossroads; this being a river valley there were no trees and I was able to see well in advance that there were no other cars because there were no lights. We had no idea where the flying object had gone, it could have still been right on top of us, because it hadn’t gone left or right, we never saw it again. We rounded the corner into the village still driving at a crazy speed. We hastily made a plan, we’d stop, leave the engine running, lights on, and on the count or two we would both open our doors and run as fast as we could into the courtyard and then into the house. I didn’t turn off the car and we didn’t even close the doors – we just scarpered.
We told Roddy in garbled terms what had happened. Our words tumbling out in a jumbled rush. He ran out into the barn and grabbed a bicycle, he wanted to go and investigate. He so wished he had been there, he would have stopped and looked. I wish we could have done because we will never know what it was, but I also know we could never have stopped, not even for a second, it was the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. He returned half an hour later; he’d seen nothing, but strangely all the village dogs, the farm dogs, the dogs who lived outside on chains – they’d all been quiet. Normally if anyone passes, certainly on a bike, they bark and bark, a chorus we were well used to; but there was nothing, just silence.
I downed a glass of red wine in record speed, I needed some strong fortification. Millie was having a guitar lesson and her tutor’s wife was on her way in her car from a neighbouring village to collect her husband. When she came into the kitchen, she told us that she had seen a strange red light down near the river. We poured her and her husband a glass of wine and we tried to make sense of what we had seen.
That night, all five children slept in our room on mattresses on the floor, everyone was far too scared to be alone. The next day was a Sunday and we walked the road to see if we could see anything, but found nothing. Roddy had a friend who was very high up in the French military at the time and Roddy asked him if there had been any exercises taking place in the area at that time. Obviously this was confidential information and the friend wasn’t able to say much but he did confirm that there was nothing, no drones, no movement, in the vicinity on the night in question.
I was never able to cycle that road on my own again. Even now, when I even think about this, or on the odd occasion when I recount this story to someone, I come out in goosebumps. The hairs on my arms stand up on end and the same happens to Izzi. Neither of us believe there are aliens running around but we do wonder. I am quite sure there is life on other planets and perhaps there are UFOs, because a UFO can encompass so many different things, literally speaking they are after all, unidentified flying objects. But I am not one to believe in the likes of ET, although I loved the movie! But this is one of those experiences that we cannot explain and to this day, eight years later, it still totally freaks us out. The most obvious is that it was a drone, except Roddy’s military friend told us otherwise and the fact that it simply disappeared, we didn’t see it on the left side of the car, in front or behind, it just simply vanished.
So tell me do you believe in the super natural? And have you had any strange experiences? And can you shed any light on mine? and also, do read Izzi’s comment below!