"As a young adult, I worked for an environmental activist organization in Hamilton, Ont. It was fairly common practice to go out and have a few drinks after work to wind down. In those days, I was in the practice of walking everywhere including the long walk from downtown to my home up on the West Mountain.Unlike many other unremarkable nights, I found myself growing increasingly apprehensive as I approached the escarpment. For reasons I could not understand at the time, I felt drawn to certain objects along my journey that offered a sense of relief from this mounting anxiety: a flower petal here, a shiny rock or a lone tree there. In this way I progressed along my path towards the stairs that would lead me home. I believe these were the stairs at the top of James street? Going out of my way would have added an hour or so to my journey and being an impoverished young idealist, taxis were out of the question.As I approached the bottom of the imposing flight of steps to the top of the escarpment, I saw something that filled me with both wonder and dread. I should state that I am not a religious person in any way shape or form but the sight of this "entity" made me fear for my very soul.It was a large cloud of black smoke, perhaps twenty to thirty feet in diameter which seemed to move purposefully and in no way related to the light summer evening breezes. I was aware of what I would describe as a malevolent sentience and I broke out into a cold sweat, frozen in place watching this cloud move. I could feel a sort of electricity in the air, similar to being under the northern lights but much more intense. I could not be sure that "it" was aware of me or not but I believed that if it were, I would not be here to relate this story to you. This entity was some distance off, perhaps fifty metres or more and would stop, change direction and speed in ways that smoke or mists cannot.Once it had passed the bottom of the stairs to the point where I felt I could make a run for it, I broke into a fevered sprint. I raced up the almost fifteen-hundred steps which are as near to vertical as a staircase can be before being called a ladder and continued on for another three or four blocks until I no longer felt the presence of this malevolent thing.Certainly, the adrenaline caused by fear and trepidation played a significant role in my seemingly super-human endurance but even this is not enough to convince me of how I was able to manage such a run. I was a heavy smoker and drinker, despite my predilection for walking, I did no sort of exercising whatsoever and world class marathon runners challenge themselves by training on these stairs up the Niagara escarpment. I was barely winded. To this day I believe that I had help of some sort, the same sort of help that directed me towards those objects that gave me the strength to carry on towards this entity."
The witness also shared the following information in regards to this experience:
"Some time later, I took an interest in the paranormal and accompanied some co-workers to a psychic retreat in the US called Lillydale. Upon my arrival there, I saw this same black, smoky figure although this time it was a great distance away and I had no fear or impression that it was aware of me at all. I spoke with one of the resident psychics who suggested that negativity can call forth such things but she would not elaborate on it any further.I've heard mention of black smoke apparitions and when I saw movie trailers for the movie "The Grudge" many years later, I was astonished at how accurate the depiction of a smoky black entity was to what I had witnessed. Of course the movie was awful, but they got the black smoky apparition that moves with a sentient purpose almost spot-on.I don't presume to understand these events any more than I care whether anyone else believes me. I know the truth of what I saw and felt that night and for some reason, I thought your readers might might appreciate the story."
Our thanks go out to the witness for sharing this experience with us.