Wednesday, 23 September 2009
This happened to me approximately three years ago, on a seemingly ordinary evening of a seemingly ordinary day.
There is a short underground passageway under a city street (not an avenue, nothing particularly wide, just an ordinary two-way street) near my former home that I used to cross every day for many years (until two and a half years ago, when I moved). I was so familiar with it that I could walk through it blind-folded, if necessary.
The early evening that I am talking about I was walking towards the stairs that lead down, into the underground passage. There were two or three girls hanging around the entrance to the staircase. Nothing extraordinary so far.
When I was about 15 metres or so from the entrance, suddenly a blood-curdling scream came out of the passageway. The girls obviously heard it too, because they all turned around and looked towards the stairs, to see who would emerge or what would transpire.
What immediately struck me as strange was the fact that, after the scream, NOTHING, no sound whatsoever, was heard - and this is a passageway where the echo of every single step resonates right to the top of the stairs.
That worried me: I was afraid that I would find somebody lying there - and I didn't even have my cell phone with me (to call for the ambulance, if needed). The girls just stood there, as if frozen, and watched me descend the stairs.
But there was something else that I also found very unusual: unless the person who screamed had been alone all the while, I should have heard the steps of whoever made her (it sounded like a woman) scream like that, even if that person was going in the opposite direction.
Moreover, I should have seen that person emerge on either side of the passage. The passageway is not a very long one - there was time enough for me to see him/her come out on either side while I was still walking towards the stairs.
But I didn't see anyone coming out - and I didn't hear anything.
That worried me even more. As I descended the fifteen or so stairs that lead underground, I braced myself for a possibly unpleasant encounter (cursing myself all the while for having left the phone at home).
There was nobody in the passage.
It was completely deserted, and no steps were audible anywhere. There was no sign of any unusual going-on anywhere; and certainly no sound.
As you can probably gather at this point, I only mentioned the girls because they were my only "witnesses", my only proof - to myself - that they had heard it, too, and from the very same direction. (There was no other place around from which an echoing sound like that could have come, anyway.)
I have tried to reconstruct the event, going as far as making a friend of mine take off his shoes in the underground passage and run (because such a swift disappearance from the place would only be possible with almost preternaturally speedy running), while I positioned myself in more or less the same place where I had been when I heard the scream (i.e. above ground, a few metres from the entrance to the staircase).
Even when he was barefoot - and we live in an urban environment where nobody has been seen barefoot in public for hundreds of years, I would imagine - I still could hear the clapping sound of his running feet from where I was standing, above ground.
To this day I have not been able to solve the puzzle of that scream. And I am only posting it here because - for all I know - it might have been a spacial/temporal distortion of some kind. Certainly I can't think of any plausible ordinarily "logical" explanation for it. Still, I am keeping my mind open.
But I have read about similar events since. One is too elaborate to explain it in detail here; and another one bears only a partial similarity. You can read about it here: