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A solitary paw tapping on the windows
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KrepostnoiOffline
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PostPosted: 27-02-2014 22:57    Post subject: A solitary paw tapping on the windows Reply with quote

Hello, everyone, I'm a longtime lurker finally decloaking. This isn't the story I'd planned to tell, and it didn't even happen to me, but it did happen to my nine-year-old daughter, and I'm posting on both our behalfs (behalves?). It's quite long, for which I apologise, but I'd like to include as much detail as I can.

Last summer, we'd just pulled up in a small village not too far away from Cork; we were due to meet a family we'd not met before (my wife had got to know her counterpart through courses that she runs). My elder daughter M had been arguing with her little sister for most of the journey down from Portlaoise and, given that we usually live in the UK, we were not on familiar ground in many senses of the phrase. M was not feeling particularly sociable, and so she elected to stay in the car reading while the rest of us began to get to know our new acquaintances. A little while after, she joined us in the kitchen, and she seemed in pretty good spirits.

It was only days or weeks afterwards - we must have been back home by then - that she told me her experience in the car: she'd seen a thick, black, furry paw coming down from the car roof and tapping lightly on the windscreen, 1-2-3. Very soon afterwards, she saw it coming up from below the rear window of the car, and tapping on the back window. In very quick succession it did the same thing on both sides of the car as well, again reaching up from below. M could hear the paw as it tapped, but could not hear any other movements, especially nothing on the roof or from underneath.

As she recounts it now, she says she did not find it particularly scary at the time, although she did decide she would feel more comfortable in the house with the rest of us. That said, she does remember that her sense of perception changed when the paw was tapping on the side windows, as though either she had shrunk or the car had expanded: the window seemed further away than normal. She was relaxed enough to look all round the car when she got out for what it might have been, but she doesn't remember looking underneath or on top (we've got a Mazda Bongo, so it would be a stretch for a nine-year-old to see on top of it, anyway). It was only much later that she realised how eerie an experience it had been (and from my limited knowledge, is this not typical of encounters with the weird?).

We've talked about it again over the past couple of days. She describes the thing as a paw, more like a cat's paw than a dog's, but she could not make out claws or toes. It was black, furry, and 2-3 inches thick (she actually compared it with the diameter of the stilts she has). She only saw this one paw, and the limb disappearing past the window frame, but nothing else to which it might have been attached.

She is generally level-headed, and clear on the distinction between what she has made up and what she has actually experienced. I have no reason to doubt she is truthfully recounting her experience as she remembers it. We're both extremely curious as to what it might have been and if we haven't already trespassed too much on the generosity of this board with the length of my opening post, we'd be very grateful for any ideas any of you may be willing to share.
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MoookstaOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 12:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting opening post Krepostnol. Suitable bizarre.

Can I ask that you have discounted it being some sort of dream/nightmare? You mentioned a long journey and your daughter staying in the car....and her argument with her sister might have been a "crabbiness" brought on by fatigue?

Could she have fallen asleep?

Also what was the book she was reading?

Or maybe Google some animal paws and see if she can identify what kind of animal it was?

What about an ABC in the tree branches above?

Sorry K...that's what happens here....questions, questions, questions....

...welcome.... index2.htm
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davidplanktonOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 17:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting post, welcome.

So the first time it came from above, (the windscreen), and the other three times from below, am I right?
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PeripartOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 18:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's not a long opening post, not by a long chalk! It's about right, I reckon, and the story is recounted well.

Can you account for the whereabouts of your host family's children? Could it have been some sort of prank?
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 20:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like it could have been one of the 'Little People'...leprechauns are everywhere in Ireland...
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 20:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:
Sounds like it could have been one of the 'Little People'...leprechauns are everywhere in Ireland...


We call them the Vertically-Challenged People these days.
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KrepostnoiOffline
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PostPosted: 28-02-2014 21:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the warm welcome.

Moooksta, no need to apologise, it's questions we've come for, at least as much as for answers, in the hope that a well-honed query will help clarify matters for us. And it's already working: discussing your responses with M, it turns out that I've got (at least) two details wrong in my initial description. Firstly, M wasn't reading at all, she was watching a DVD. You'll be pleased you asked: apparently the particular episode (No. 6, we think) she was watching had to with an emperor being changed into a donkey; M can't remember anything in that episode that might have put her in mind of a big black paw. A detail we had previously missed: M was wearing earphones hooked up to the DVD player, yet she could still hear the taps. I wonder whether they were in fact bangs, muffled by the earphones, and this was why she could not hear any other sounds.

The second detail was that I got the order of apparition wrong: she first saw the paw tapping the window nearest to where she was sitting (just behind the driver's seat), coming up from below. It then passed to the near side, and tapped the window behind the front passenger seat, again from below, then the rear, from below, and finally the front windscreen, this time from above. So almost exactly contrary to what I'd led davidplankton to believe, the first three times were from below, and the last time was from above. She said it all happened "in a matter of seconds".

M is adamant that she was not asleep, or even that tired. It is true that we were on the road, having spent the previous night in a Portlaoise hotel and the prior weekend in Dublin, so I must presume a certain amount of travel-induced dislocation was affecting all of us.

Googling animal paws is an excellent suggestion. M had not previously been familiar with the concept of ABCs, and she is now a little spooked at the thought, once she realised that alien did not mean outer space Very Happy I must admit, that was one of the possibilities that occurred to me. It's only now I realise that we could email our new friends and ask them if they have any local knowledge that might illuminate the situation. I seem to remember a wood behind a wall running alongside the driveway, so it's at least possible that a cat (or other animal) might have jumped from the ground to the car roof, and then into the trees and away.

Peripart, I cannot be sure where the host family's children were as we arrived. I recently read (and thoroughly enjoyed, although that's probably another thread) Borderlands, and so I am very reluctant to discount the possibility of it being a prank. At the same time, I might expect there to be some sort of more obvious pay-off, if only shouting "Boo" as M got out, because the eldest child was no older than M. Without that, it somehow seems a sophisticated sort of trick to play for children that age, IYSWIM, but perhaps I am underestimating them.
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LimelightOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2014 00:43    Post subject: Re: A solitary paw tapping on the windows Reply with quote

Krepostnoi wrote:


That said, she does remember that her sense of perception changed when the paw was tapping on the side windows, as though either she had shrunk or the car had expanded: the window seemed further away than normal.


Was she ill or under then weather at all? The big/small thing- an altered perception of the sizes of either yourself or the things around you- seems to be a common hallucination during childhood illnesses. (There's an entire thread on it somewhere)
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HenryFortOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2014 00:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

its one of my favourites : http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6550
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amarok2005Offline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2014 02:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having spent some time scraping together everything I could on the "Hairy Hands of Dartmoor," I'm tempted to compare the tapping paw to them, but the resemblance is not as close as I thought. Theo Brown, in Devon Ghosts (a delightful book, by the way, if you can find it) coaxed her mother to write an account of her encounter with the Hands circa 1924:

"At last I looked up to the little window at the end of the caravan. I saw something moving, and as I stared, my hear beating fast, I saw it was the fingers and palm of a very large hand with many hairs on the joints and back of it, clawing up and up to the top of the window."

So, though inhumanly hairy and sometimes described as clawed, the "Hairy Hands" were definitely hands, not catlike paws.

Another thing that strikes me about this story is the impossibly fast movement around the car. I recall, over a lifetime of reading ghost/fortean tales, stories of knocks being heard at the front door of a house -- then, only seconds later, at the back door, impossible for a single human being to do. In fact, in the FTMB, under the thread "Running Spirits" (I think it's called), there was a story of a "being" that moved so fast it popped up on one side of a police car, then it was on the other side in a split second.

I've often thought I should chart down details of fortean stories as I read them -- and see how often oddball details pop up. Maybe I'll start now!
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2014 16:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

On what basis are these assumed to be fast entities rather than two different ones coordinating in the prank?
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HenryFortOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2014 18:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

it does have the ring of mokeys-at-the-safari park about it

Last edited by HenryFort on 03-03-2014 09:38; edited 1 time in total
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KrepostnoiOffline
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PostPosted: 03-03-2014 00:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limelight, M maintains she wasn't feeling at all poorly at the time, just a little unsociable. She certainly wasn't showing any symptoms to us.

Amarok2005, M said she had chills running down her spine as she read the account you quoted, saying it was very similar to her experience, apart from the thing clearly not being a hand. (We'll be passing over Dartmoor later this week, as it goes. I may have to engineer a slight detour Twisted Evil)

PeniG, there may well have been more than one entity involved. I must say, at this stage, I'm still not sure I would definitively class the incident as a prank.

HenryFort, that's definitely a well-honed remark, thank you. For one thing, Fota Wildlife Park, with its resident simians, is not that far away from the place in question, although I am not aware of any non-human escapees from there. For another, if you imagine a monkey walking around on all fours with its tail held high, assuming it was big enough, from M's point of view in the car, restricted by the window frames, all she would see would be the tip, either coming up from below or down from above if our simian hero was on the roof. This would certainly explain why she could not discern any toes or claws in the "paw". Mind you, I know monkey tails are prehensile, but to the extent that they could knock or tap on glass? Still, I'm very drawn to that idea, and I'll see what M thinks of it tomorrow once she's awake.
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amarok2005Offline
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PostPosted: 03-03-2014 01:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krepostnoi: I was actually a little reluctant to mention the Hairy Hands, because I didn't want to scare your daughter from the FTMB! Heck, the Hairy Hands creep me out, and I'm an ocean and a continent away from Dartmoor!

PeriG: Two or more perpetrators seemed to indicate planning, reducing possibilities to hoaxers or something like the Little People. But now that monkeys have been mentioned -- yes, I could envision two or more monkeys briefly interested in a vehicle.

Yet reading the opening post again, the activity also seems very feline, if you've ever seen (rather, not seen) a housecat concealed in an open cabinet or behind a door. Roll a ball or drag a string near their hiding place, and suddenly a little hairy arm will shoot out and slap-slap-slap at the offending object, then disappear with no attacker visible.
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Pinlight_DukeOffline
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PostPosted: 03-03-2014 03:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

amarok2005 wrote:

Yet reading the opening post again, the activity also seems very feline, if you've ever seen (rather, not seen) a housecat concealed in an open cabinet or behind a door. Roll a ball or drag a string near their hiding place, and suddenly a little hairy arm will shoot out and slap-slap-slap at the offending object, then disappear with no attacker visible.


This was my thought, as well. Cats LOVE to climb up on, sleep on/under/in/around, and play on cars. Most car owners who park outdoors will know the familiar sight of dusty/wet cat paw-prints all over their cars. Cats will often stand on their hind legs to bat at or peer at something above. Though it would have to be a rather large cat to reach all the way up to a car window, even on hind legs. Coming down from the roof, though, that's totally a cat thing. Other aspects of the story cast some doubt upon it being a domestic cat, though - namely the speed at which the animal traveled around the car and tapped on the windows, and the loudness of the taps. Cats' paws would make a soft thumping, I would imagine. Plus the size of the paws - I can't imagine a cat with a 2-3" wide paw, though there have been accounts of massive housecats so anything's possible.

It's an interesting theory about the monkeys, though. I have lived in an area populated with wild monkeys and have a lot of experiences with them breaking into homes and cars. The above story rather puts me in mind of a macaque testing all the windows as a way to gain ingress. Monkeys will break into anything in search of food and are quite strong, strong enough to make noise on a car window. However their "paws" look more like hands and they don't tend to use their tails as hands but rather for balance. Also you'd definitely hear it if they leapt upon the car's roof as they are none too gentle. And correct me if I'm wrong but Ireland isn't known for wild monkeys.

The "prank" idea doesn't sound too far-fetched, either. I seem to recall a kind of back-scratcher which is available which looks like a large plush bear-claw on the end of a stick. Some clever children could easily sneak around a car batting a toy like this on the windows in order to startle the occupant. It would have been interesting to see if there were any marks or prints left on the windows.

And now for the spooky theory: it was a PĂșca.
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