Animal Ghosts or Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter by Elliott O'Donnell
"From the hall proceeded doorways and passages, more than my memory can now particularize. Of these portals, one at each end conducted to the tower stairs, others to reception rooms and domestic offices.
"The whole of the house being too large for us, only one wing--the right and newer of the two--was occupied, the other was unfurnished, and generally shut up. I say generally because there were times when either my mother or father--the servants never ventured there--forgot to lock the doors, and the handles yielding to my daring fingers, I surreptitiously crept in.
"Everywhere--even in daylight, even on the sunniest of mornings--were dark shadows that hung around the ingles and recesses of the rooms, the deep cupboards, the passages, and silent, winding staircases.
"There was one corridor--long, low, vaulted--where these shadows assembled in particular. I can see them now, as I saw them then, as they have come to me many times in my dreams, grouped about the doorways, flitting to and fro on the bare, dismal boards, and congregated in menacing clusters at the head of the sepulchral staircase leading to the cellars. Generally, and excepting at times when the weather was particularly violent, the silence here was so emphatic that I could never feel it was altogether natural, but rather that it was assumed especially for my benefit--to intimidate me. If I moved, if I coughed, almost if I breathed, the whole passage was filled with hoarse reverberating echoes, that, in my affrighted ears, appeared to terminate in a series of mirthless, malevolent chuckles. Once, when fascinated beyond control, I stole on tiptoe along the passage, momentarily expecting a door to fly open and something grim and horrible to pounce out on me, I was brought to a standstill by a loud, clanging noise, as if a pail or some such utensil were set down very roughly on a stone floor. Then there was the sound of rushing footsteps and of someone hastily ascending the cellar staircase. In fearful anticipation as to what I should see--for there was something in the sounds that told me they were not made by anything human--I stood in the middle of the passage and stared. Up, up, up they came, until I saw the dark, indefinite shape of something very horrid, but which I could not--I dare not--define. It was accompanied by the clanging of a pail. I tried to scream, but my tongue cleaving to the roof of my mouth prevented my uttering a syllable, and when I essayed to move, I found I was temporarily paralysed. The thing came rushing down on me. I grew icy cold all over, and when it was within a few feet of me, my horror was so great, I fainted.
"On recovering consciousness, it was some minutes before I summoned up courage to open my eyes, but when I did so, they alighted on nothing but the empty passage--the thing had disappeared.
"On another occasion, when I was clandestinely paying a visit to the unused wing, and was in the act of mounting one of the staircases leading from the corridor, I have just described, to the first floor, there was the sound of a furious scuffle overhead, and something dashed down the stairs past me. I instinctively looked up, and there, glaring down at me from over the balustrade, was a very white face. It was that of a man, but very badly proportioned--the forehead being low and receding, and the rest of the face too long and narrow. The crown rose to a kind of peak, the ears were pointed and set very low down and far back. The mouth was very cruel and thin-lipped; the teeth were yellow and uneven. There was no hair on the face, but that on the head was red and matted. The eyes were obliquely set, pale blue, and full of an expression so absolutely malignant that every atom of blood in my veins seemed to congeal as I met their gaze. I could not clearly see the body of the thing, as it was hazy and indistinct, but the impression I got of it was that it was clad in some sort of tight-fitting, fantastic garment. As the landing was in semi-darkness, and the face at all events was most startlingly visible, I concluded it brought with it a light of its own, though there was none of that lurid glow attached to it, which I subsequently learned is almost inseparable from spirit phenomena seen under similar conditions.
"For some seconds, I was too overcome with terror to move, but my faculties at length reasserting themselves, I turned round and flew to the other wing of the house with the utmost precipitation.