I like spooky things, but I wouldn’t consider myself a big believer of the supernatural. In fact, if this hadn’t happened to me, I would easily write all ghost stories off to be just that - stories. But it did, and for 30 years it has lingered in the back of my mind “was that real?”.

When I was 4, we lived in a house in San Jose, nestled in a relatively new suburb in the 80s. I was a toe headed little girl, looking like a twin of the girl in that movie Poltergeist. In fact, there were so many similarities to our circumstances at the time to that movie that it has been a running joke it was a near documentary, but the weirdest one was that I was the only one that could see this thing.

The first time I saw it, I was sitting in our living room, playing with my toys on our brown shag carpet. Something wizzed by my head, and when I looked up, I saw a hand floating about 4 feet above where I was sitting. No body, no face, just a hand. White and gnarled with bright red fingernails. Just hanging there, palm facing me like it saw me, and we both just sat there... I guess “looking” at each other. When my mother walked in, it flew behind her, hovered a bit, and then was gone. I didn’t tell her what I saw at that time, but that wasn’t the last time it hung around.

In fact, it was far from it. The Hand became a regular part of my life in that house for a few months. I was only 4 so I only have glimpses of these moments, but it always came with a deep sense of dread when it arrived. When I was trying to do arts and crafts, it would hover over the table before knocking things over, then it would fly away. It would open all of the cupboards and drop plates to the ground. It would throw things into the walls, and when I would tell my parents that it was very clearly The Hand, I was across the room and they knew it, they would laugh and say it wasn’t possible. And it always seemed to like to hide in the coat closet when it was finished wrecking havoc.

As an adult, I’ve asked them if they ever saw me doing these things and they say no, but that I would always blame The Hand for the weird, often violent things that befell our house. The thing is, I would actually say “The Hand is here” BEFORE these things happened, yet they could never account for my actually causing anything, and often the things that happened were impossible for a 4 year old girl to inflict. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to prove it was just me being a weirdo, but nothing ever sticks.

The moment I realized The Hand was not just an annoying menace trying to get me in trouble was just prior to our moving away. My older sister was baking cookies in the kitchen while I was in the living room watching TV, - we could see each other through the cutout between rooms, and when I got that gut feeling I’d always get when The Hand showed up, I looked over at her. Sure enough, there it was, hovering between us in that little space between. I said “Nikki, The Hand is here. It’s right by you.” Frustrated, she grabbed the sheet of unbaked cookies, looked me square in the eye and said “Lauren, I’m so tired of this HAND thing, ITS NOT REAL.” And as she was saying those last words, I watched the hand push her into the oven behind her. She burned the whole side of her arm. It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen, and for being so young, it’s pretty intense how clear that memory has stayed with me.

The following week, we were clearing the house for our move. The Hand was hovering behind me, following me everywhere. On our way out, I looked behind me, knowing it would hide in the coat closet when I got too close. I was terrified it was going to follow us and that it would be my fault. That final day, as I walked toward it, it zoomed into the closet, and I slammed it shut. That was the last time I was in that house.

I haven’t seen it since.

Recently, I looked up the house on Zillow. Out of all of the houses in the neighborhood, this house has had the most resales. I wonder if it was just me and my strange little imaginary enemy, but even at 34, I honestly can’t say it was just my imagination.