Inexplicable silhouettes, faint breathing, and shuffling feet made the bungalow a Haywards Heath author shared with his granddad ‘almost unbearable’.
Maz Maric’s granddad died in 2013 after living with dementia for five years.
Leading to his death, ‘the bungalow where he lived seemed to carry his thoughts’, Maz explained.
He moved into the bungalow to prevent his granddad moving into a care home when he was diagnosed.
He said: “At first, his condition was not so hard to live with, but as the months passed, his hallucinations became more frequent, and he lived in a state of fear. The things he would ‘see’ would terrify him.”
After his granddad’s death, Maz, who lives in Haywards Heath, started to relate to his grandfather’s feelings in the bungalow.
“Sounds of walking and ambling about the corridor, when I knew my granddad was in bed, and the strange silhouette by the curtain on one occasion that vanished as I approached, made some nights almost unbearable. On one evening, I awoke to the sound of faint breathing at the end of my bed which circled me for several minutes.”
Maz then looked through the journal he kept whilst living with his granddad.
“I was surprised at just how many times something had literally gone bump in the night.
“At this point I was interested in why I began to experience things. Was it my mind playing tricks, or something leaning towards the paranormal?”
Lights turned on, the kettle heated up, feet shuffled in the corridor.
“Walking down the corridor at night I would feel something brush past, or hear whispering,” he said.
“On more than one occasion I was so convinced someone else was in the bungalow, I was about to call the police.”
Scared but intrigued by his experiences, Maz started to dig a little deeper.
He called care homes across the country, to see if others who had cared for people with dementia had similar experiences.
Carer A said: “I was in bed one evening and heard someone in the hallway.
“I knew it would not be [the patient] and was actually convinced the place was being robbed. I lay on the floor and looked under the gap between the floor and the door, and saw nothing. I got back into bed, still listening, when the footsteps suddenly seemed to be in my room, circling the bed. Believe it or not, I actually pulled the duvet over my head!”
Maz found that others have linked dementia to the paranormal.
He continued: “Some paranormal groups I have spoken to believe that the dementia sufferer may be able to tap into the spiritual world, much like they believe children and pets do, that somehow their brains have regressed to a more open state of mind.”
Another carer told Maz how they ‘lost count of the number of times I would see something move in the corner of my eye’.
Maz is still searching for others with similar experiences to add to his website at mazmarik.weebly.com
Carer B said: “I got used to hearing the toilet flush when nobody was there, and lights going on and off, but one night I went to the window because I thought I could hear something rummaging through the bins, like a fox or a cat. “I peered out into the darkness and noticed a patch on the window, as if someone had been breathing on it from the outside. The carer on the previous shift had recorded that [the patient] kept repeating ‘it’s in the garden!’”
Some carers told Maz stories of feeling objects touching them as they walked around during their shifts.
Carer C said: “Every now and then, a light would come on in the hallway, or you would hear a scraping.
“On one occasion, I saw the light come on in [the patient’s] bedroom, and checked to see if everything was OK.
“He was fast asleep, and in his condition could not have made it to the light switch in time.”
But Maz has tried to rationalise the strange experiences.
“I felt it was possible that, for some reason, the hallucinations my grandfather described could manifest itself into the imagination of the carers, meaning that any creak or groan from the bungalow matched with something they had already been told. A bit like walking in the woods at night after watching a horror movie,” he said.
“Science will tell you that dementia alters your brains way of working, and hallucinations are the result of this, and that anybody could be influenced by the things he described.
“It is not hard to understand how sitting in a house at night time where the occupant had been talking tom dead relatives all evening, and complaining of faceless women walking around the building could give you the spooks.”
However, the long list of stories has led Maz to conclude it is not all in carers’ imaginations.
“Can this all be explained with people simply getting a little paranoid and believing the ramblings of dementia sufferers? I’m not so convinced,” he added.
Using the accounts, his journal and information gathered from his grandfather, Maz has written a paranormal horror, The Absent, to be released on all eReader formats on March 1st 2015.
The book tells the story of healthy adults who spend a night in his granddad’s bungalow. He explained: “What happens to them, is the same as what happens to many people with dementia, which is a terrifying, confusing world, that flickers between sane and insanity with each passing second, and where time, instead of moving forward, goes back as far as your earliest memory. In many ways it seemed like my granddad was in some sci-fi horror movie, to which there was nothing I or anyone else could do.”