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A Solitary Paw Tapping On The Windows

Krepostnoi

Increasingly disenchanted
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
4,334
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.
 
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.... :grouphug:
 
Interesting post, welcome.

So the first time it came from above, (the windscreen), and the other three times from below, am I right?
 
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?
 
Sounds like it could have been one of the 'Little People'...leprechauns are everywhere in Ireland...
 
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 :D 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.
 
Krepostnoi said:
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)
 
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!
 
On what basis are these assumed to be fast entities rather than two different ones coordinating in the prank?
 
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:)

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.
 
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.
 
amarok2005 said:
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 Púca.
 
Great story. It reminds me of something I was told by a friend, over 40 years ago, about his brother who would have been about 13 at the time, and - whilst in bed - saw a black hairy hand creeping up from beneath the bed. I think it happened more than once. He was terrified! There was no suggestion that any drink or drugs were involved, but - given the location, in bed - I wonder whether his experience had been some form of hypnagogic hallucination?
 
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.

What story did you plan to tell? (an observation from your words nothing more.)

From your opening post we observe that this is a 3rd person report given to you by a young person, not that this invalidates it in the least, but just to set the ground.

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.

From the onset, we see that your young daughter may not have been feeling sociable, but was feeling in good spirits despite experiencing something that many older people would have found quite traumatic, this may be relevant later on.

It was only days or weeks afterwards - we must have been back home by then - that she told me her experience in the car:

Only days or weeks... that is quite a huge shift. 1 day 1 week 2 days, 2 weeks, can you be more accurate? The experience was not told directly following the event, which is unusual in itself, given that a child experiencing something unusual would likely exit the car (you mention she was not scared at the time) and tell the first person they come across what happened.

You state 'we must have been back home by then'. Do you not remember if you was at home or not when she told you about this experience? If my daughter had told me about something so strange, I'm sure I would remember the location of where (and when) it was told.

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.

That is a very accurate account from such a young person who decided to keep it to themselves (for no apparent reason, given that you stated they were not frightened, why did they wait so long?)

As she recounts it now, she says she did not find it particularly scary at the time,

She did not find it scary and yet withheld the event for so long. Unusual.

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

Unusual for a child to speak of perception, are these your words or hers?


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?).

Very strange that they waited such a long time to tell you and that they remembered it so well, yes.

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.

Did she just describe it, or did you 'help' her with idea's or images to help her remember?

A very interesting tale, marred somewhat by the fact it was not told to you right away (it would be understandable not to tell someone if it had frightened you, but you state this was not the case)

Could it just be a made up tale from an over active imagination to explain why they didn't feel particularly sociable that day? (a fact you revealed yourself in the telling?)

Edit: I noticed that my above posts sounds somewhat skeptical, and given that this is your first post, I would not want to you to think I am 'bashing' you, that is not the case at all. But I do have quite an analytical mind and the way I frame questions may come across as somewhat offensive, forgive me if this is the case :)
 
Sifaka317 said:
It reminds me of something I was told by a friend, his brother who would have been about 13 at the time, and - whilst in bed - saw a black hairy hand creeping up from beneath the bed.

I think it happened more than once.

Was his hairy uncle involved :D
 
AnacondaEq wrote:
Very strange that they waited such a long time to tell you and that they remembered it so well, yes.

You say this several times in your post, Anaconda. Why do you consider it strange? I experienced plenty of things in my childhood that I debated with myself for days whether I should tell my parents or not -- not anything weird, questionable, or self-incriminating (well, not always :) ), but simply because the subject would lead to many questions, doubts, and odd looks I'd just as soon have lived without. If I'd ever seen anything I truly considered paranormal/fortean, I doubt I'd have mentioned it at all.

There are numerous stories on FTMB and in supposedly true ghost story collections where the witnesses claimed to have seen something weird as a youth with a friend or sibling and never spoke of it for decades -- even with the friend/sibling they knew also saw "it"!

(It'd take some hunting to track them down, but one I recall was the "Little Black Dog" that jumped through a solid wall and landed between two young brothers -- the poster's brother denied it happened until well into adulthood. UPDATE -- that one is called "Dog From Nowhere" in It Happened to Me! Vol. 4.)
 
So we're back from Dartmoor: my silence has not been due to an encounter with the Hairy Hands (in fact, it was very late on a Friday night as we made our way near their apparent hunting ground, late enough that in my tired state I didn't want to go tempting fate...) but to the far more mundane reason that when I refreshed this topic on my phone, it didn't show me we'd gone into a second page...

AnacondaEq, you have asked a lot of questions, and while I appreciate the sentiment of your final paragraph :) there's no need to apologise for asking them: as I said earlier in the thread, M and I have come here precisely in the hope that being asked questions will help narrow down her experience. Time allowing, I'll open a new thread for the story I had planned to tell. That one does involve me directly, and M also plays a non-speaking role, but we also have a house guest with us just now who experienced some of the strangeness, too, so I can ask her for corroboration.

I'm afraid I can't be more precise about the time that elapsed between this encounter and M telling me. I am almost certain she told me in our kitchen at home. It took me a strangely long time to realise this might be a good candidate for IHTM, so I didn't think to take notes when she was telling me for the first time. I'm also not taking written notes when I discuss the questions raised here with her, and accordingly I am paraphrasing what she says: the reference to perception is almost certainly my way of putting what she actually said.

The account certainly sounds accurate (although, as we later established, I got the order of appearance wrong in my initial post) but that's because we have talked it over quite a lot, to try and get clear in our own minds what happened. And, clearly, human perception and memory is fallible. I do believe that what I am posting here is an accurate summary of M's testimony, and that she is telling me the events in good faith. Whether that actually counts as objective accuracy is a question that is answered in the asking of it :D The most I can say is that I am sure M and I are doing the best we can.

Do I think it's a made-up tale? Well, again, absolute certainty is impossible, but knowing my daughter, I would be amazed if it was: *liberal parent klaxon* we try to encourage her to be open about her feelings, and try not to make her feel guilty for having what are often termed "negative" emotions. We almost certainly would have said to her it was fine to stay in the car if she didn't want to come in straight away, and if she'd not come in of her own accord, my OH or I would have gone back out in a bit to check how she was doing. I can't be certain that's what we told her, precisely because that is our standard approach, and so it would not have been memorable due to its being outside the usual run of things, IYSWIM. So, no, I don't think she would have wanted to try and deflect attention from her unsociableness: I 'd like to think we wouldn't have made a big issue out of it.

As a postscript, it only now occurs to me that she got to ride a pony later that same day, with that same family we were visiting. The excitement of that, and she really was very excited, because she wasn't having regular riding lessons at that stage, may well have driven other things to the back of her mind. I also, actually, think the fact she didn't find it scary at the time might be another reason why she didn't tell me straight away. She's normally not slow to tell us when she's frightened.
 
As a sufferer of temporal lobe epilepsy I am familiar with the kind of hallucinations one can have with this condition. One is as you describe hallucinating perspective, feeling bigger, smaller, further away, etc, so I think it was a hallucination, whether or not she has TLE is not known and I am not diagnosing that as I am not qualified.. but the brain is probably the place you should be looking and not the paranormal. BTW I have hallucinations like you wouldn't believe...
 
Plus people who don't have any conditions affecting their brain have hallucinations all the time for all sorts of reasons. I was wondering if it was a hallucination because of the strange feelings about space M experienced and wondered if that also affected her perceptions of time as well - the speed of the taps. It could have been something physical there like a cat being interpreted differently to usual as well.

I saw a 'vision' of a downed WW2 aircraft when I was 5 but didn't tell my mum for years because I assumed I was imagining things (I was always being told off for daydreaming by teachers at primary school) but then I heard about local legends of aircrashes and then started wondering to myself whether I had experienced something weird after all (I never found any proof). So I can well imagine that M didn't say anything until she started to think 'hang on, that's odd.'

Welcome to posting Krepostnoi and M. I hope this adventure either moulds M into a Fortean herself or confirms an already burgeoning interest in weird stuff. It's a huge amount of fun.
 
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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.

Could you possibly tells us:

a) Precisely where the car was parked.
b) What was in the area around the car--to the best of your recollection.
c) Whether your daughter has mentioned the episode (unprompted or otherwise) in the intervening four years since you made your initial post here?
 
What struck me was the claim, in Krepestnoi's second post, that these paw taps on three windows (from different locations) occured in a `matter of seconds`. That's an awfully short time for such an event to happen in! And an awfully short time to make any kind of identification of what was doing it. Perhpas that's just semantics though - how long is a `matter of seconds`?

The whole thing sounds pranksome and spectral to me. Isn't there some occult lore concerning the significance of three taps? Wasn't that mentioned in a thread somewhere once?

I would also say that a prank by other kids is a distinct possibilty too. You're a nine year old. You've got some kind of rubber claw of some kind. You see a kid (who is not from round here) sitting on her own in a car. What are you going to do? I would have - at that age!
 
It sounds like somebody pranked your daughter. Maybe she imagined the change in perception. I seem to remember, as a kid, looking at things and they seem smaller or larger than they should be.
 
Funnily enough, there's an account of a human hand pressed against a kitchen window in the new FT 371, but too high for anyone to reach without some ladder or whatever. On investigation, the witnesses couldn't find anyone outside at all.
 
Could you possibly tells us:

a) Precisely where the car was parked.
b) What was in the area around the car--to the best of your recollection.
c) Whether your daughter has mentioned the episode (unprompted or otherwise) in the intervening four years since you made your initial post here?
Apologies for the slow reply. I am back in the UK briefly, and have an awful lot of IRL stuff to attend to.

a&b) There was an unmetalled track leading from the road past the farmhouse. I parked the car on this track, next to quite a high wall, on the other side of which was at least one tree. This wall and tree were on the left of the car, the house was to the right, and, if memory serves, a little further ahead. I must admit, my memory is quite fuzzy about the exact layout, five years on.

c) I don't remember her mentioning it since the conversations that inspired my original post, and the conversations that were inspired by the replies. I've just asked her about it now, and she says she can't remember clearly. She does still remember seeing it. Now, in her retelling, she says she heard a soft tapping noise, maybe three times in quick succession. This drew her attention from the film she was watching (FWIW, in this retelling, she thought she was watching it on a tablet. My OP suggests she was watching it on a portable DVD player. The devil is in the detail!) She has twice described it as looking as though someone had got some furry fabric and wrapped it round a stick. She still maintains it went from one window to the next. It came up from under to tap the side windows, but down from the top to tap the windscreen. She is not sure from which direction it came to touch the rear windscreen. Interestingly, she just said that it freaked her out enough that she "legged it" to the house, rather than stopping to look what it might have been.
 
What struck me was the claim, in Krepestnoi's second post, that these paw taps on three windows (from different locations) occured in a `matter of seconds`. That's an awfully short time for such an event to happen in! And an awfully short time to make any kind of identification of what was doing it. Perhpas that's just semantics though - how long is a `matter of seconds`?

The whole thing sounds pranksome and spectral to me. Isn't there some occult lore concerning the significance of three taps? Wasn't that mentioned in a thread somewhere once?
Again, with the caveat that she no longer recalls very clearly, she maintains that she saw it tapping on one side, "duck down" (her exact words), and by the time she had turned her head to the other side it was already there. She is at a loss as to what made her turn her head i.e. she cannot be sure that she heard taps from the other side. Yes, I also noted the fact that she heard three taps, as opposed to any other number. There were no obvious repercussions to our family, however.
You see a kid (who is not from round here) sitting on her own in a car. What are you going to do?
Reasonable question. Trouble is, our car had privacy tints at the back (it was a Mazda Bongo that could also be used as a camper van). So any idle kid nearby would have had to look quite observantly through the windscreen at the front to notice her sitting in the middle row, behind the front seats. Not impossible, but not as straightforward as you might initially imagine.
 
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She still maintains it went from one window to the next. It came up from under to tap the side windows, but down from the top to tap the windscreen.

Thinking aloud:

My first line of thought--to obviate the need for lightning fast (unnaturally fast?) movement--was that the 'paws' were identical and different ones appeared in different places (they needn't all have been separate, but perhaps one was responsible for the windscreen and one for each side window). What, then, is (pretty) much identical and might, conceivably, be mistaken for a paw?

Alternatively, could it have been something that stretched all the way beneath the car with identical 'paw' endings--such that one end lowering would 'automatically' cause the opposing end to rise? I'm not sure what I'm getting at here, but if some plausible 'mechanics' could be established, then perhaps a physical candidate might be identified.

That got me onto thinking what things are (pretty much) identical and paw-like? Willow catkins keep on coming to mind unbidden (the paw/cat connection no doubt), but that hardly explains their movement even if one or more were around.

Must think on.
 
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