Since her teenage years, author Clare Johnston has felt a powerful attraction to the supernatural and experienced premonitions that she then sees play before her. Here Johnston explains the disturbing encounters she has had, including seeing her deceased grandmother, who had promised to be at her wedding, the day before she was to get married …
Sitting on the bottom step in the basement of a home in Glasgow, surrounded by bewildered friends, I finally felt calm.
The last hour I had baffled them by talking about a terrible accident in the stairwell.
It was 1991, I was eighteen and this was an event that would prove to be the most disturbing of all, in a year in which I experienced a series of strange premonitions and supernatural experiences.
I vowed that night to find out if something had happened in that stairwell, so I was sure of this sense of serious danger that had engulfed me.
Clare Johnston (photo) experienced for the first time a series of strange premonitions and supernatural experiences at the age of 18, in 1991, when she was studying at the University of Glasgow.
But I didn't have a chance to investigate, because the next morning I was awakened by the most terrible sound.
In the beginning I heard my neighbors on the top floor – two young male doctors – talking loudly. Then I heard a bang, a loud shout, and then something solid fell in the air and hit the banister on the way down.
I thought, hoped, that it could be a piece of furniture until I heard the heartbreaking sound that followed. It was the screams of one of the men on the ground floor.
It was he who had fallen 60 feet from the attic – he had extended his hand to grasp the wooden frame around the attic opening when it had disappeared, losing his balance and falling.
I ran to the stairwell accompanied by my roommate.
& # 39; Go downstairs and hold his hand & # 39 ;, his friend called to us as he hurried to call an ambulance.
When we reached the ground floor, the sight of the body of the injured man, his limbs turned under him, his broken bones, was overwhelming.
My roommate held his hand while I stared beside him and stared into his frightened eyes and told him over and over again that you were fine.
Then, just a few days before her wedding in 2003 (photo), Clare had another vision
But all the time I was tormenting about the accident the night before with my & # 39; feelings & # 39; had caused.
Miraculously, and luckily he survived. The stair rail had broken its fall.
But the fear of that experience meant that I would never have foreseen anything like that. I said out loud that I wanted these premonitions to end. They were much more than I could handle.
There was a sequence of strange events in the months prior to the stairwell accident.
I felt someone on the stairs. I turned around and saw my grandmother walking towards me on the last few steps. She said nothing, just laughed. My grandmother died of cancer 15 years ago …
I was at the University of Glasgow in my first year and lived with three roommates. I had a private room and it was by far the coldest in the property. Chillingly cold.
Within a few months of my entry, I started noticing what I felt as a presence when I was alone.
I would see what I thought was a figure in the corner of my eye, turn, and nobody would be there.
Then one morning I woke up earlier than the others and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, only to discover that the kettle was freshly cooked. I put my head around the doors of my roommates' room and they slept very deeply.
Not long after that I woke up early one morning to see my alarm clock change from 6:59 AM to 7:00 AM and thought to myself how strange it was that I should have woken up well at that time.
Clare stood at the top of the stairs in her parents' house when she felt a presence beside her. She turned and saw her grandmother who died of cancer 15 years ago. A young Clare pictured with her & # 39; Nanny & # 39;
Like most students, posters covered the walls of my bedrooms and suddenly, one by one, they began to fall to the floor.
The largest, who had hung on the door, rolled across the floor before my eyes. I stood up and ran to my best friend's room, astonished by what I had seen.
This state of affairs soon became a conversation between my friends from the university who all made them spend Halloween with me.
I played to develop a small system for reading playing cards and I was very good at telling friends about their lives and families, because they would test my paranormal skills.
Then I started to experience dreams that came true.
Clare & # 39; s new novel From the Outside (photo) investigates whether we can make death right with the mistakes we take to the grave
In one of them, I dreamed that I was running a rehearsal at the university for a play in which I acted, to find my fellow cast-mates in the dark, except for a single faint lamp, because there was a problem with the lights.
The director stepped forward to explain what had happened and then turned to the young man next to her and said: & I want to introduce Chris. He plays your man in the show. & # 39;
Chris stepped forward to say hello and I recognized him from one of my classes. He was wearing a red, checked lumberjack shirt – the same one he was wearing the next day when that exact series of events actually took place.
After the horror of the accident, things settled down. I moved flats and I had no supernatural experiences for years.
That was until just a few days before my wedding in 2003.
I lay in bed one afternoon, taking a break from the chaos of last-minute preparations, and while I lay there, I thought about all the things I still had to organize.
I closed my eyes and in an instant I was transported to my parents' house in the Borders from where I was leaving for my wedding.
It wasn't a daydream, it was more than that – like a film imposed on my head in which I played a role.
I stood at the top of the stairs and wore the white dress ready to go. My mother and sister were in the bedroom nearby and I waited for them to come out and come to me.
On my left I felt someone on the stairs. I turned around and saw my grandmother walking towards me on the last few steps. She said nothing, just laughed.
My grandmother – I called her nanny – had died of cancer 15 years ago. We had been very close and her death had left me saddened.
Just before she died, I sat with her and told her I was scared. She looked at me and said with conviction: & # 39; Don't worry, I'll be there on your wedding day. & # 39;
Far away from the scary premonitions and experiences of the past, this vision brought me so much comfort and I knew without a doubt that my grandmother had sent me a message.
Years later my mother had a very similar experience with Nanny and there is no one on earth who could convince us that we had imagined that.
Far away from the scary premonitions of the past, my grandmother's vision brought me comfort. I knew she had sent me a message …
From my intrigues in the hereafter and the extraterrestrial contact I believe I have had, a story grew in my mind and I started writing it. That story became my new novel, From the Outside.
It revolves around 44-year-old internet entrepreneur and philanthropist Harry Melville who dies in a car accident and (on the other hand) observes the impact of his death on his twin brother Ben and his wife Sarah.
When they come out of his shadow, we learn that Harry is not quite the man depicted in the praises at his funeral – and because secrets have been discovered, we think he has a lot to do.
The novel investigates whether we can make the same mistakes in death that we carry with us to the grave.
Those moments in my life, good and bad, where I have felt supernatural connections, have reminded me of the idea that death may not be the end – and that maybe, perhaps maybe, our loved ones can influence us from behind the grave.
I don't have all the answers, but I like to think that those we have lost are never far away, that they are still part of our lives, and that it is only a matter of time before we meet again.
From the Outside will be published by Urbane Publications on July 4 and is now available for pre-order from Amazon and other major bookstores.
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