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Alzheimer’s or The Hat Man Shadows?

Posted on February 20, 2011

Please bear with me as I lay the groundwork for this tale.  It is important for the reader to have a grasp of the situation as a whole to be able to form an educated opinion.

My grandmother and my grandfather were married for over 50 years.  He was an officer in the US Army during WWII, Korea, and he trained military personnel during the Vietnam war.  He suffered many debilitating diseases due to his long service history, causing him to be declared legally handicapped and to be virtually shut in the house except for occasional forays out to see his various doctors.  My grandmother was his primary caretaker, and my mother and I helped when we were needed, as well.

The four of us lived in a duplex house, built as such around the turn of the century (research states about ca 1915), in Western Massachusetts.  My mother and I lived on one side, while my grandmother and grandfather lived on the other.

My grandfather passed in 1989.  My grandmother was left despondent and grieving. She had been with my grandfather her entire adult life, and had spent literally every waking moment for over a decade taking care of him and trying to keep his quality of life good while keeping him alive.

My grandmother was a deeply religious person, raised Roman Catholic by an established family that traced it’s roots in America back to the Mayflower and even further back to England.  She converted to Protestant Episcopalianism when she married my “Shanty Irish” grandfather who had immigrated to the Bronx from County Cork when he was 7.  Needless to say that this marriage caused a bit of an uproar in the family.

From the family stories that were told of my great grandmother, she was a force to reckon with.  Staunchly religious and controlling, she ruled her household.

From what I was able to occasionally glean from my grandmother in later years, my grandmother had shown signs of being a “sensitive” from a very early age, but my great grandmother would dampen any abilities and beliefs in anything other than the church, usually by some archaic religious ritual.

The house I grew up in was, well, extremely active paranormally. There were many, many occurrences there.  My mother and grandparents chose to ignore my pleas to discuss any of this, and scoffed it off to bad dreams caused by scary movies, which I wasn’t even allowed to see.

My grandmother never stopped grieving for my grandfather. She would be interactive with my mother and I, coming over to our side of the duplex several times a day, and vice versa. She had an overweight (“treats” equaled love in my grandmother’s eyes) miniature poodle that she had had for years, and which now gained the majority of attention and doting since my grandfather’s passing.

My grandmother’s physical health was always excellent. She had developed osteoporosis a few years after my grandfather’s death, and had suffered from arthritis for years, but had no other serious health issues.

I had grown up, moved out of the house, and went off to university. My grandmother still owned the duplex, and my mother still lived on one side, while my grandmother still lived in the other.

My mother called me one night and asked me to come home, which was a rarity. When questioned, she explained that we needed to talk about some “family things”. I agreed and made the trip home.

When I arrived, my mother was quiet and seemed oddly diminished. My grandmother and I had always joked that my great grandmother’s personality had resurfaced in her granddaughter, my mother. My mother’s domineering manners were not present now.

We sat down and she started off by apologizing to me that she had dismissed my fears about the house while growing up. She stated that she had informed my grandparents that to verify my stories would only scare me more.

Needless to say, I was not amused. I quickly ascertained that there was a good reason to this sudden apology and confession.

I thoroughly believe that spirits “feed” off of energy. The highest point of activity in the house was when I was going through puberty, although it was by no means dormant other years.

Apparently, the house was going through an “active” stage again. My mother told me she had always known there was something “wrong” with the house, and had actually done some research herself on it.
The main issue right now was that my grandmother had seemingly been scared enough that my mother feared she would suffer a stroke, and had had to go to the emergency room to be calmed down after an occurrence that had prompted my mother to call me in for backup.

My grandmother slept in the bedroom she had shared with my grandfather. She slept with a light on every night, which she had done ever since my grandfather had passed. I had been unaware of this, but she had told my mother after he passed that since my grandfather was gone, he wasn’t there to protect her from the things in the house any longer.

I had the dubious honor of “interviewing” my grandmother and trying to get her calmed. The following is directly from my notes that I took while talking to her that I later transcribed into my journal. These were taken about two days after the event, and therefore still clear and not clouded by time and retelling after many years. Direct quotes are in quotation marks.

Apparently she had woken up in the middle of the night (around 2 am). She stated that she was definitely awake as she had reached onto the nightstand for a drink of water, when she looked down at her poodle which slept in a dog bed on the floor next to her and noticed that it was shaking “like a leaf” and whimpering. She asked the dog “Whatever is the matter?” She then looked towards where the dog was staring.

The light she kept on was a 40 watt bulb, on the dresser across from the foot of the bed. In between the dresser and the bed, she saw a tall figure, broad shouldered, with a wide brimmed hat. Since the light was behind the figure, it was in shadow, and therefore she couldn’t discern any features.

My grandmother had called out to the figure “Frank! Frank!”, thinking it was my grandfather. She clearly remembered that she thought it was my grandfather at first, in the first few seconds, because of the silhouette of the cut of the clothes the figure wore.  She said “The shoulder’s and the hat reminded me of a suit your grandfather had in Germany.” (Post WWII Allied- occupied, ca 1945).

When the figure didn’t respond, she began to be very, very frightened. She stated that she started to recite the Lord’s Prayer in her head to herself, and that she had felt “Cold, very cold, and terrified, I was afraid to move.” It is interesting to note that when I asked her if it had ever crossed her mind that it was a living intruder, she said “Absolutely not. I knew that it wasn’t human.” When I asked her why she felt terrified, she said “I knew it was there to torture me.”  When I asked her to explain “torture”, ie:, did it want to hurt her, kill her, etc, she said “I felt that it wanted to make me scared and hurt. It wanted to see me cry.”

After my grandmother had remained frozen in the bed for a few moments, she said that the figure had raised it’s head. It had apparently been “glowering” at her from underneath the wide brim of the hat, and she hadn’t ascertained this until it moved for the first time.

She said that she didn’t recall any features except for “It’s smile… It smiled at me, and I couldn’t think anymore, I just started crying.”  After this, the figure disappeared. It didn’t fade away, it didn’t dissipate, it didn’t walk away. It just vanished.

She was able to move then, and picked up the phone from the bedside table and called my mother over from next door, hysterical. Her dog had started howling once the figure left the room, and my mother verified that she could hear the dog both through the shared wall and the phone connection. She raced over, and my mother stated that she found my grandmother sobbing for my grandfather, and the dog had wet the floor. She couldn’t get my grandmother calmed down. She took her pulse which was racing, and she decided that the best course of action was to get her out of the house and to a doctor.

My grandmother told the emergency room physician her tale, and he told her it was a “bad dream”.  Before releasing her after a dose of benadryl, the doctor recommended my mother to take my grandmother to grief counseling, even though years had passed since my grandfather’s death, as he believed that she hadn’t really come to grips with it. (Which I concurred.) He also said to follow-up with her primary care doctor to do preliminary tests for arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

The tests done a week after the incident were inconclusive (it was, and is, very hard to test for Alzheimer’s and the like), but she was found to be “Lucid with an excellent range of short term memory, no signs of phobia, no signs of dementia. Arteries are clear with normal/low cholesterol levels.  No medications.” (From her medical records. I also spoke with her primary myself, and with her permission, took notes.)

My grandmother continued to live in her side of the duplex for years until she had to go to a nursing facility due to the Alzheimer’s that did eventually claim her. My mother continued to keep an eye on her. There were other occurrences that happened on both sides of the house for years, until she moved to the nursing facility, whereupon my mother was forced to sell the house for the estate.

What I ask the reader to think about is this: Was the figure she saw that night a hallucination brought on by early stage Alzheimer’s? Was her natural “sensitivity” being brought to the fore by the Alzheimer’s?  Was her subsequent mental state cause for another bout of activity in the house?

Keep in mind Alzheimer’s patients go through an extreme range of emotions. They experience confusion and despair when they start to have problems remembering everyday things. Think of it as the patient devolving. Patients suffering from such diseases basically revert to childhood, becoming increasingly dependent on the people that they were once responsible for. Patients suffer extremes in mood as the plaque builds up in neuro pathways. They often become aggressive when they were once placid, and sometimes violent.

This releases extremely negative energies into their environment. If the house has non-corporal “residents”, then would this not “charge” them?

Another aspect of this is, what if mentally ill patients who claim to have experiences that are categorized as typical displays of their illness, or medication, or actually showing a marked increase in sensitivity? Could they be both clinically ill, and still be correct in their beliefs?

I am a scientifically minded and trained woman who rules out every explainable possibility before tackling the “supernatural” aspects. I am involved in an established Paranormal Investigation group with ties to TAPS and other reputable groups. We investigate with all prejudice for “normal” explanations. We use science as our basis.

Saying this, I believe that the experiences I have had, and many of the experiences read about on this site have a truly scientific explanation that is yet to be classified. Can both science and the paranormal have a place? Absolutely.

Sent in by Jules Trie, Copyright 2011

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Tags: Alzheimers, Shadows

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