Location: Taormina, Italy
Date of Encounter: Fall 1992
I was traveling through Sicily during the fall of 1992. I stayed in the gorgeous town of Taormina for one night at a cozy old hotel run by a German lady. There were some internal stairs leading up to my bedroom door and onward. As I lay in bed, getting ready to go to sleep, I heard some footsteps on the stairs, followed by moaning, as if someone was in a lot of pain. It sounded pretty creepy. I was thinking of getting up to see who it was, when it stopped. Then, suddenly, there was a man's voice calling a woman's name with great sadness. Each time it called, the voice came from a different direction — from outside the window, from the internal stairs, from the ceiling, from the adjoining rooms. I was pretty nervous by that stage, and just pulled the sheets up over my head.
When I later told my Italian cousin's wife, she told me another great story. She grew up in Naples. One afternoon, when she was a teenager, she and her friends went to a large park in the city. It began to get dark, but they didn't know how to get back to the gate through which they'd come into the park. Up ahead, there were two large trees. A man walked out from behind one tree, heading in the direction of the other. He was rather odd, in that he was wearing dark, very old-fashioned clothes — a top hat and coattails. They called out to him, asking for directions. It was as if he was completely unaware of their presence. He reached the second tree, but didn't come out from behind it. The girls thought he was playing some prank, hiding from them, so they ran up to the tree to find him. There was no one there!
Later on the same trip, I stayed for one night in a hostel in the French city of Montpellier. My dorm window faced a large, gutted, derelict building across a small lane. During the night, I was woken up by the sounds of what seemed to be demolition work. It made a huge racket. Glass was being smashed, and you could hear brickwork being pummeled and toppling to the ground. At the time, I just assumed that they were pulling down the old building. I was annoyed that they'd do this kind of work in the middle of the night, but just dismissed it as a cultural peculiarity. The next morning, the other people in my dorm were commenting on the awful noise during the night. I walked up to the window, expecting to see the old building completely flattened. It was exactly as it had been the previous day!