Many years ago before I hit puberty, my parents bought a charming new house. It was on a big block of land and surrounded by lush gardens. It was also in an outer suburb of Melbourne, full of similar leafy estates.
Although this house was big (or at least it was through my child-sized eyes) it only had one bedroom. Later Dad built an extension with extra bedrooms to support his four kids but on our first night, I shared the study with my older sister; my brother slept in the lounge room while my parents slumbered with my baby sister in the one official bedroom.
But on that night I had a dream that has haunted me to this day – several decades later. In the dream I awoke to hear a call for a doctor coming from the kitchen. Between the study where I lay and the distressed voice, was the living room. Although my heart was racing, the distance between it and me gave comfort.
This voice had an odd drawl – almost sing-song like. I can’t remember what the name of the medic was, but it would continually call ‘doctor’ in chilling monotone, followed by the two syllable name in a bizarre rising inflection.
Eventually I fell back to sleep until the voice called out again, this time from the living room. I speculated on why my brother hadn’t woken, while I covered myself under the doona, sweating and shaking. Eventually I fell back to sleep.
I remember as a child that I’d regularly see shapes moving and dancing in the darkness. As I roused for the third time, the silhouette of a man peered at me, sounding pleased that he finally found the doctor. I hid under the covers too frightened to call to my sister asleep in the same room.
“Scream” by Idea go
When morning came my bed sheets were drenched in perspiration. It so happened that when putting me to bed, my parents forgot to turn off my electric blanket.
Although this explains what triggered this freaky reoccurring dream, as a child it was easier to accept that maybe there was a ghost in our house.
As the years rolled on in that charming home, I used to have a favourite spot to watch television. I would sit with my back against my parent’s fashionable teak cabinet while the entrance to the study I slept in that first night, was to my right.
The door knob to that room would often turn while I sat there, although no one had their hand on it. The door itself would never open but the handle would slowly rotate, eventually giving me a sense that someone else lived in the house, and this someone was kindly looking out for me.