Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of something you could plainly hear but wasn't there? This is a true story that happened to me many years ago and was my first and only experience with the supernatural.
When I was twenty-one, I met Jim, at our first meeting we became instant best friends. We both lived in Clear Lake, Iowa, a small town in Northern Iowa. We bought a boat together and spent every spare moment on the lake. This was the closest friendship I was ever to have in my life.
A new job took Jim and his family to a small town in Minnesota. I was then operating a restaurant in Albert Lea, Minnesota, so we were over two hours apart from each other. Jim's wife invited me to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend with them. I considered that a great idea and made plans to go but my mother's strong objections took me home to Iowa instead. That weekend, the day after Thanksgiving, Jim was killed in an automobile accident
Two weeks after my return from Jim's funeral a strange episode happened that will always mystify me. I had gone to bed and was laying there in the dark trying to get to sleep. Suddenly the entire room was filled with the sound of beating wings like a large bird was in the room. I immediately turned on the lights and the sound stopped. When I turned the lights out the sound began again. This went on for several hours and then stopped.
This began a nightly event, always in the same northwest corner of the room. As long as the lights were on the beating wings would not be heard. I began to sleep with the lights on. The ceiling was solid and there was no attic in this building. I had a carpenter check the entire building out from top to bottom. There was no plausible reason for this nightly sound of beating wings. I wondered if this could all be in my mind. It was proved that this was not the case when I spent the night in my parent's home a month later. To my astonishment, after falling asleep, I awakened to that same loud sound of wings beating. This time I had a witness, my mother was awakened to this same loud sound. It was also coming from the northwest corner of the room just as it had in my apartment in Albert Lea.
The sound of wings beating went on in my apartment for as long as I lived there. I learned to sleep with the lights always on so I was not bothered by it, this sound of wings never occurred again after I left Albert Lea. I have never forgotten it and have talked about it with close friends from time to time.
Thirty-six years later, I was at work and as I was walking back to my machine after lunch break I suddenly received this strange voice in my head. A voice said, "The screech owl, I was trying to tell you about the screech owl". In a flash I had at last made sense of those beating wings of years ago.
One rainy spring night about two years before Jim's death, he and I had been driving around the lake, looking for a place to dock our pontoon boat. Suddenly there was a flash of wings and a thump and we had hit a bird. Jim who was a great lover of animals stopped and picked up the injured little Screech Owl. The owl was still alive and we took it back to Jim's cottage. Planning to take the injured bird to the vet in the morning, Jim placed it in an open dresser drawer in their bedroom. As it was late by the time we got home I slept on the couch. Jim's wife's screams and the sound of a bird flying around the cottage awakened me about three in the morning. The owl had recovered and was frantically attempting to get out of the place. It finally settled down but we all slept with the covers over our head the rest of that night.
Jim has now been dead for over forty years and I am finally comforted.