Mine was right around my 13th birthday. Now, I'm sure there were experiences before and I know there have been many since, but it's the birthday one that stands out in my mind.
Picture, if you will (insert Twilight Zone music here), a group of girls. Mostly between the ages of 12 and 14. A slumber party and too much pizza. At some point we started telling ghost stories. One of the stories -- probably mine -- had to do with the Ouija board my dad received as a birthday present when he was about that age. The board had told of his aunt's upcoming nuptials. Years later, it told the number of times my parents would change their wedding date.
The board was eerily accurate both times.
This, of course, led to us giggly girls to want to play with the board. (NOTE: I don't need anyone to tell me the evils of using Ouija boards or to explain that the board is a portal to the "dark side" or even to reiterate that it isn't a toy, despite how the Hasbro toy company markets the board.) So Dad got the board out for us.
We had no idea what we were doing. I remember saying a quick, silent prayer that only good spirits would contact us. I didn't want my birthday party ruined by a jerk spirit!
We lit some candles for effect and sat around the coffee table holding hands. We even allowed my little sister and her friend (invited purely to keep my sister out of our hair!) to participate. The moment the circle was completed, though, a gust of wind blew the candles out -- cracking one of the votive holders, even! The temperature seemed to drop.
That may not seem amazing to you, dear reader, but my birthday is the middle of August, and Nebraska summers can be a lot of things but cold and windy aren't usually among them. Oh, did I mention that the wind blew from wall to wall? And there were no open windows -- the air conditioner was on? When we turned on the light, the bulb burnt out!
Coincidence? Maybe. I didn't think so then and I don't think so now.
I remember my sister crying. To this day, I don't think she's used any type of spirit board again. For me, the experience opened my eyes to the unexplained.
I've grown since then. I'm more careful about using spirit boards. I won't say I don't use them anymore, but I certainly don't treat them as toys. And I'm very careful about teaching others to use them.
What about you? When did you first discover the paranormal?