Home Archives Shadow Figure at a German Manor House

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Witness: Ryan Hill
Location: Outside of Hamburg, Germany
Date of Encounter: late November, 1996

When I was seven years of age, my family and myself — at least 40 individuals took a journey from our homes in Exeter, England, to stay with my father's uncle at his manor house outside of Hamburg in Germany. After three days of taking in the sights, we made our way back to the manor house. At this time, after at least half an hour of driving through isolated country roads, we arrived back at around half eight at night.

Great-uncle had promised my cousins and me that we would take a hike through the woods on his vast acreage before we were to turn in for the night. We decided not to venture too far from the main grounds as the night was rolling in quickly and the air became increasingly colder and filled with a light mist. No one could blame us at this time for being weary, we were only children, and all of the adults expected our silly little fears to get the best of us. The lads and myself would play jokes on the girls — they always scared the easiest!

By ten at night, our little legs started to give in on us. After 20 minutes of complaining, Great-uncle took us back to his home.

With all but the moonlight, and the pale specks of light which we could see from the house, we found it difficult to keep our step along the slippery dirt path. You see, it had rained before we arrived back from the city. We trudged in through the huge oak doors of the old manor to be greeted by our parents and Nana, as well as German swears, as cook had cut his thumb. It was now most surely time to get to our beds. My parents hurried us up the grand marble staircase to the third floor, where us children were allowed to sleep. I looked forward to sharing my room with cousin Chris for the third time now. He was always my favorite cousin! We took our turns to take a quick shower before we went to bed. After the final time that mom had burst in through the door wailing at us to "Get to bed!" with her watchful eyes still looking on, we slipped into our beds. She bid us good night, and left for the balcony where she was to join my aunts and uncles for wine and German chocolate.

As boys will be boys, we defied my mom. We sat by the open window at the far end of our room, where we threw pebbles we'd found in our shoes at the kitchen windows below us. We hoped to piss off cook before bed! But, oh well, we didn't get his attention. But still we sat. We sat and stared across the fields of runner beans and the easterly crops of carrots. The manor had gone quiet. Stone cold. As we still looked on, only the sounds of our breathing could be heard across the grounds. The air was an icy cold, but with a pleasant crispness that made it bearable to withhold. With all the lights on the grounds put out, we could only see by the moonlight. Across from the first field, opposite our window, was an old farm building. We took for granted that the barn wasn't used at all. We never saw Great uncle or any of the farm hands enter it. Quite dilapidated, the barn stood lonely amongst the beans.

After a while, I became bored of staring out of our window, and I took to bed, leaving Chris alone. I drifted to sleep.

"Ry, Ry, Ryan!" I was shook awake by my cousin. He whispered slowly and softly, "Ryan, come to the window, there is something you will not believe." Chris sounded anxious, and quite scared. He led me by the arm to our window. Still weary-eyed, my sight was blurred. He pointed out of the window at the old barn, and I followed his directions with blurry vision. I rubbed my eyes open, and looked once again towards the old barn. "Can you see it? Can you?" He asked. "Yes," I replied. Through the gentle moonlight, we could see a figure standing in one of the windows of the barn.

Whoever it was, we could only make out its bold outline in the darkness, but we could see it was a person, and it appeared to be looking in our direction. We took to hiding behind our tattered drapes, a delayed reaction indeed.

We were pretty freaked! It was like, one in the morning, and some stranger was standing in the old barn. We stepped out from behind the drapes, Chris hid behind me. I gave him a sharp look of annoyance.

As we looked onwards towards that window, the figure began to move around, quite rapidly. It would stop every so often to look back at us, it seemed quite pissed, and it was pacing backwards and forwards, from side-to-side, in circles and circles. Chris and myself had no clue what to do. We became scared. We slammed our window too in our confusion. All we could think of doing is getting help. We ran from our room down those huge marble stairs to Great-uncle's chamber. We hit hard against his door. He soon stirred to greet us with irritation. He understood little English. I told him there was someone in the old barn, he scratched his head and began to mumble confusing German words. He stormed back inside his room, only to emerge once again with his robe and a flashlight. He then headed for the main doors. As he did, we ran back to our room to look on.

We could see him, at least 300 meters to the west of our window, flashlight in hand, he kept it pointed at the ground. As he moved closer to the old barn, the strange figure stopped in his tracks, only to face us once again, completely motionless.

We assumed that Great-uncle had begun to climb a ladder to the raised level of the barn, to meet this person. We could see his light becoming brighter as he stepped closer. We could see Great-uncle's head pop-up in the back ground behind the person, but unable to see it, as his light was pointed downwards. He stood up. And as his bright shaft of light passed over the stranger, and directly in our line of sight, we squinted our eyes and turned away from the brightness.

As we looked out of our window again, the figure was gone, only replaced by the figure of Great-uncle in his robe, with his flashlight. I turned to Chris, and like wise he looked at me. We were stunned, stunned with utter bafflement. We then walked from our room, down to the main doors in confusion, but with no doubt of what we had seen.

Once meeting Great-uncle, he muttered "Zair vaz no von in ze bahn, little boyz, you should not make up zeez zilly stories, go to sleep."

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