A few details before I start my story. I live in northern California in a small townhouse with my girlfriend. I’ve decided to change the names of both people and places, just to be cautious. I don’t want anyone going out to the beach I was at trying to dig up clues and instead find the trouble that I found. I’m sorry this is so long, I’ve tried to keep it as brief as possible. You have to understand that I’ve barely slept at all in days and it’s difficult for me to keep my thoughts in order.
Saturday - March 26th: John and I found the camcorder half buried in the sand on Stinson beach. When I picked it up out of the sand, water leaked out from inside the camcorder. Sand was packed into every crevice and the battery pack was missing. We dried it off with a beach towel and popped the cassette drive open, there was a digital cassette cartridge inside the drive, it had a yellow plastic head and a Panasonic logo, but no label or sticker attached.
It seemed like the camcorder itself was pretty much trashed but we figured it still might be possible to recover the data on the tape itself. I had an older Sony digital camcorder at home that used the same type of tape. I took the tape and camcorder inside with me when John dropped me off at home later that day. I set it down on my computer desk and forgot about it for almost a week.
Thursday - March 31st: John came over again next Thursday and saw it on my desk. I told him I had forgotten about it and hadn’t even tried to play back the tape yet. We popped it into my Sony camcorder and hooked it up to my PC’s Fire-wire port. Opened up Roxio’s Video Capture application and told it to scan the tape for footage. Only one scene appeared on the screen. I will describe it to you as best as I can recall:
A few feet in front of the camera is a woman. Her back is to the camera and she is walking down a narrow dirt path, possibly even a deer trail. Tall dry grass and small bushes line either side of the path. Based on the lighting, it is mostly likely sometime in the early morning or evening. The sky is cloudless and tinged with a soft orange color. Other than the shuffle of foot steps the only thing that can be heard is seagulls crying and the soft sound of ocean waves breaking against the shore in the distance.
Here are a few found footage horror movies that I really enjoyed:
The Banshee Chapter
Blair Witch project (a great classic)
The Poughkeepsie tapes (this one is kind of hit or miss with some people)
Noroi: The Curse
Do you remember your very first best friend? I do.
Midnight was giving birth in the closet at the end of the hall. The repeating pattern of deep growls and shrieks woke me.
Kittens! I nearly shouted as I crawled down from the top bunk. My sister stirred on the bottom bed. I paused on the ladder, held my breath, hoped she wouldn’t open her eyes. After a moment, she rolled onto her side and fell back into deep sleep. I was glad she didn’t wake; I wanted the kitties all to myself.
Midnight continued to scream.
I cracked opened my bedroom door and saw my parents kneeling in the hallway, peering into the closet. They noticed I was standing there and told me to get back in bed. “But I want to make sure Midnight is okay,” I protested. She was mine, too. I should’ve been allowed to check on her. Dad refused to let me come out of the room. He said he would get me when it was over. Mom agreed with him. She said I was too little to watch.
Too little? I was four years old and knew that babies came from a mommies belly. Plus I had been waiting forever to see the kittens. My parents weren’t being fair!
“Please let me?” I begged. “I’ll be good.”
Mom commanded me to go back to bed. I crossed my arms and shook my head. Dad threatened to spank me. I stomped my foot and cried, thinking a tantrum would make them understand that I was right, and they were wrong. Dad didn’t care much for my new approach; he picked me up by the arm and carried me to my bed. He said to keep quiet or else he would take the nightlight and lock me in the dark.
"It’s not fair!” I screamed, instantly regretting it. Dad squeezed my arm so tight that I began to cry for real. When he let go, I rubbed the spot, trying to make it look worse than it really was. He told me I was punished, then pulled the nightlight from the wall.
"No, don’t!" I cried out.
Ignoring my pleads, Dad went back into the hall and slammed my door shut.
I heard my sister sobbing from on the lower bed. I felt bad that she had to suffer for my mistake, so I climbed down and cuddled up next to her. I told her I was sorry. She was terrified of the dark, more so than I, but eventually she relaxed and fell back to sleep while holding my hand. I couldn’t rest though. Midnight’s persistent shuddering cries and gargling noises, kept me from closing my eyes. I stared into the black, waiting.
It felt like forever.
I’m not sure how it happened, but the next thing I remember is Mom waking my sister and me. “Come see,” she urged. The sunlight coming through the window lit up her smile.
The kittens were tiny versions of Midnight. Eight of them in total. All the same jet-black color — except for one; he had a speck of white fur above his nose, with white front paws to match. That one … that one was mine. I knew the moment I saw him.
Dad said we could give them names. It wasn’t an easy task since they all looked the same. After several failed attempts to remember which was which, my sister decided the best thing to do was to call them Kitty-Cat, but she was only two years old and pronounced it Key-ca. The oddball was the only exception; he was mine to name, so I named him Charlie.
Charlie was more playful than the rest of the litter. Whenever my sister and I were allowed to pick them up, he would roll on his back to let us pet his belly. Sometimes he would try to suck on our fingers, mistaking them for a part of his mother. It never failed to make my sister laugh. And sometimes, when Midnight laid down in the box to feed them, he would get turned around, managing to walk away from her. Mom would pick him up, turn him in the right direction, and say, “You’re going the wrong way, Charlie!”
Eventually the kittens opened their eyes. My sister and I were allowed to play with them without supervision, but only if we stayed in the hallway. Dad said we weren’t allowed take them out of the closet because they were still too small to run free. We didn’t mind. Sitting on the floor petting them was one of our favorite things to do, especially when Midnight fed them.
Charlie was turning out to be the runt. He ate well, but he never latched on to Midnight like the others did. While they loved to pad at her stomach and purr, Charlie was always too busy going the wrong way. No matter how many times we picked him up and faced him in the right direction, sooner or later he would get turned around again.
Time went on and the kittens got bigger. They meowed whenever someone would walk down the hall, demanding us to stop and play. Sometimes they got up on their hind legs, just barely able to peek over edge of the box.
One day, my sister yelled something about the kittens. Mom and I came running from the living room to see what all the fuss was about. Charlie was in the hall, on the outside of the box, trying to correct his mistake. He clawed at the cardboard, wanting to make his way back to the other side. He kept falling over, shaking himself, then trying again. It was funny. Feeling sorry for him, Mom picked him up, gave him a kiss, and sat him next to his brothers and sisters. “You went the wrong way, Charlie,” she said.
That was the first time Charlie broke out of jail, but not the last. He would make it over the edge, and either Midnight or Mom would grab him by the scuff of the neck, then toss him back into the box. It happened again and again. The whole family had to help keep him where he belonged. After a while, everyone got tired of dealing with his shenanigans. We officially changed his name to Wrong Way Charlie, and let him have free rein of the hallway.
Even Midnight stopped caring. All the other kittens were content to stay in the box, but Charlie came and went as he pleased. He never went far though. Sometimes he would sneak a peek into my bedroom, or into the bathroom, but that was the extent of his exploration. It was easy to forget that he was only a few weeks old, and too frightened to venture into any of the rooms. The box and hallway was the only world that he knew … the only place he felt safe.
A few days later, I woke to the sound of Grandma’s voice coming from the living room. She was talking to my sister about making her a new dress. No one told me Grandma was coming over! I thought. Excited to see her, to see if she brought me a present, I jumped out of bed, and ran down the hallway. I feel this … soft crunch … under my foot. What was that? I turned around to see what I had stepped on.
Then I screamed.
Wrong Way Charlie crawled toward me; the back half of him was crushed and twisted. Horrible sounds escaped from his small mouth: Meeeaaahhh. Meeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.
I continued to scream.
Charlie was still trying to crawl toward me while making that resounding, awful sputter. His body trembled, and his little head twitched incessantly. Mom came running down the hall, my sister right behind her. Blood was everywhere, a trail of gore soaking into the carpet. All I heard was screaming — screaming, screaming screaming; it echoed down the hallway, and throughout the years.
Midnight leaped out of the closet and ran toward me. Wide eyed, she hissed and swatted, then lapped at the blood flowing from Charlie’s gaping mouth. Grandma grabbed ahold of me, held me close. My sister pressed her face into Grandma’s side so she wouldn’t have to see. Mom and Charlie were still screaming, still making those appalling noises. I couldn’t tell them apart. “It’s still alive!” Mom wailed. “It’s still alive! Oh my god, what do I do?”
Though Grandma tried to protect me, I couldn’t look away. Charlie was crying in agony. The look on his little face said: Why is this happening to me? What have I done? Make it stop. Please. Please, make it stop.
“You have to kill it!” Grandma shouted, angry. “Put the thing out of its misery for Christ’s sake!”
Mom ran into the living room and turned the corner. I heard a drawer in the kitchen pulled open then slammed shut. She came running back, hammer in hand.
"EEEEEEEEEHH!" Mom shrieked. She pounded the hammer down on Charlie’s head, over, and over, and over again while Midnight attacked her, trying to protect the kitten.
And yet Charlie still crawled toward me, gurgling: Meeeaaahhh. Meeeaaahhhggg.
Midnight kept scratching and hissing. Mom kicked her away and brought the hammer down again. After the fifth or sixth drop, Charlie finally stopped making the awful noises. Chunks of his skull and brain littered the hallway.
It was hours later before I calmed down enough understand what had happened. Mom told me that it was okay. Dad said it wasn’t my fault. They said these things as they cleaned up the mess that used to be Charlie. But it wasn’t okay, and it was my fault. My kitten got hurt because of me. If I hadn’t been running, my Charlie would be alive. — I killed him.
Charlie was my first best friend, my first responsibility, and my first introduction to death. He’ll always be with me. Even now, after all these years … every time I walk down a fucking hallway, I see Wrong Way Charlie’s mangled little body crawling toward me.———
Last year, I spent six months participating in what I was told was a psychological experiment. I found an ad in my local paper looking for imaginative people looking to make good money, and since it was the only ad that week that I was remotely qualified for, I gave them a call and we arranged an interview.
They told me that all I would have to do is stay in a room, alone, with sensors attached to my head to read my brain activity, and while I was there I would visualize a double of myself. They called it my “tulpa.”
It seemed easy enough, and I agreed to do it as soon as they told me how much I would be paid. The next day, I began. They brought me to a simple room and gave me a bed, then attached sensors to my head and hooked them into a little black box on the table beside me. They talked me through the process of visualizing my double again, and explained that if I got bored or restless, instead of moving around, I should visualize my double moving around, or try to interact with him, and so on. The idea was to keep him with me the entire time I was in the room.
I had trouble with it for the first few days. It was more controlled than any sort of daydreaming I’d done before. I’d imagine my double for a few minutes, then grow distracted. By the fourth day, however, I could manage to keep him “present” for the entire six hours. They told me I was doing very well.
The second week, they gave me a different room with wall-mounted speakers. They told me they wanted to see if I could still keep the tulpa with me in spite of distracting stimuli. The music was discordant, ugly, unsettling, and it made the process a little more difficult, but I managed nonetheless. The next week, they played even more unsettling music, punctuated with shrieks, feedback loops, what sounded like an old school modem dialing up and guttural voices speaking some foreign language. I just laughed it off; I was a pro by then.
After about a month, I started to get bored. To liven things up, I started interacting with my doppelganger. we’d have conversations, play rock-paper-scissors, I’d imagine him juggling or break dancing, or whatever caught my fancy. I asked the researchers if my foolishness would adversely affect their study, but they encouraged me.
So, we played and communicated, and that was fun for a while…and then it got a little strange. I was telling him about my first date one day and he corrected me. I’d said my date was wearing a yellow top, and he told me it was a green one. I thought about it for a second and realized he was right. It creeped me out, and after my shift that day I talked to the researchers about it. “You’re using the thought-form to access your subconscious,” they explained. “You knew on some level that you were wrong, and you subconscious corrected yourself.”
What had been creepy was suddenly cool. I was talking to my subconscious! It took some practice, but I found that I could question my tulpa and access all sorts of memories. I could make it quote whole pages of books I’d read once, years before, or things I was taught and immediately forgot in high school. It was awesome.
That was around the time I started “calling up” my double outside of the research center. Not often, at first, but I was so used to imagining him by now that it almost seemed odd not to see him. So, whenever I was bored, I’d visualize my double. Eventually, I started doing it almost all the time. It was amusing to take him along like an invisible friend. I imagined him when I was hanging out with friends, or visiting my mom; I even brought him along on a date once. I didn’t need to speak aloud to him, so I was able to carry out conversations with him and no one was the wiser.
I know that sounds strange, but it was fun. Not only was he a walking repository of everything I knew and everything I had forgotten, he also seemed more in touch with me than I did at times. He had an uncanny grasp of the minutiae of body language that I didn’t even realize I was picking up on. For example, I thought the date I brought him along on was going badly, but he pointed out how she was laughing a little too hard at my jokes and leaning towards me as I spoke, and a bunch of other subtle clues I wasn’t consciously picking up on. I listened and let’s just say that the date went very well.
By the time I’d been at the research center for four months he was with me constantly. The researchers approached me one day after my shift and asked me if I’d stopped visualizing him. I denied it and they seemed pleased. I silently asked my double if he knew what prompted that, but he just shrugged it off. So did I.
I withdrew a little from the world at that point. I was having trouble relating to people. It seemed to me that they were so confused and unsure of themselves, while I had a manifestation of myself to confer with. It made socializing awkward. Nobody else seemed aware of the reasons behind their actions, why some things made them mad and others made them laugh. They didn’t know what moved them…but I did, or at least I could ask myself and get an answer
A friend confronted me one evening. He pounded at the door until I answered it and came in fuming and swearing up a storm. “You haven’t answered when I called you in fucking weeks, you dick!” he yelled. “What’s your fucking problem?”
I was about to apologize to him and probably would have offered to hit the bars with him that night, but my tulpa grew suddenly furious. “Hit him,” it said, and before I knew what I was doing, I had. I heard his nose break. He fell to the floor and came up swinging, and we beat each other up and down my apartment. I was more furious than I have ever been, and I was not merciful. I knocked him to the ground and gave him two savage kicks to the ribs, and that was when he fled, hunched over and sobbing.
The police were by a few minutes later, but I told them that he had been the instigator and since he wasn’t around to refute me, they let me off with a warning. My tulpa was grinning the entire time. We spent the night crowing about my victory and sneering over how badly I’d beaten my friend.
It wasn’t until the next morning, when I was checking out my black eye and cut lip in the mirror, that I remembered what had set me o ff. My double was the one who’d grown furious, not me. I’d been feeling guilty and a little ashamed, but he’d goaded me into a vicious fight with a concerned friend. He was present, of course, and knew my thoughts. “You don’t need him any more. You don’t need anyone else,” he told me; I felt my skin crawl.
I explained all this to the researchers who employed me, but they just laughed it off. “You can’t be scared of something that you’re imagining,” one told me. My double stood beside him and nodded his head, then smirked at me.
I tried to take their words to heart, but over the next few days I found myself growing more and more anxious around my tulpa, and it seemed that he was changing. He looked taller and more menacing. His eyes twinkled with mischief, and I saw malice in his constant smile. No job was worth losing my mind over, I decided. If he was out of control, I’d put him down. I was so used to him at that point that visualizing him was an automatic process, so I started trying my damnedest to not visualize him. It took a few days, but it started to work somewhat. I could get rid of him for hours at a time, but every time he came back, he seemed worse. His skin seemed ashen, his teeth more pointed. He hissed and gibbered and threatened and swore. The discordant music I’d been listening to for months seemed to accompany him everywhere. Even when I was at home; I’d relax and slip up, no longer concentrating on no seeing him, and there he’d be, and that howling noise with him.
I was still visiting the research center and spending my next six hours there. I needed the money, and I thought they weren’t away that I was now not actively visualizing my tulpa. I was wrong. After my shift one day, about five and a half months in, two impressive men grabbed me and restrained me, and someone in a lab coat jabbed a hypodermic needle into me.
I woke up from my stupor back in the room, strapped into the bed, music blaring, with my doppelganger standing over me, cackling. He hardly looked human any more. His features were twisted. His eyes were sunken in their sockets and filmed over like a corpse’s. He was much taller than me, but hunched over. His hands were twisted, and his fingernails were like talons. He was, in short, fucking terrifying. I tried to will him away, but I couldn’t seem to concentrate. He giggled and tapped the IV in my arm. I thrashed in my restraints as best I could, but could hardly move at all.
“They’re pumping you full of the good shit, I think. How’s the mind? All fuzzy?” He leaned closer and closer as he spoke. I gagged; his breath smelled like spoiled meat. I tried to focus, but I couldn’t banish him.
The next few weeks were terrible. Every so often, someone in a doctor’s coat would come in and inject me with something or force-feed me a pill. They kept me dizzy and unfocused, and sometimes left me hallucinating or delusional. My thought-form was still present, constantly mocking. He interacted with, or perhaps caused, my delusions. I hallucinated that my mother was there, scolding me, and then he cut her throat and her blood showered me. It was so real that I could taste it.
The doctors never spoke to me. I begged at times, screamed, hurled invectives, demanded answers. They never spoke to me. They may have talked to my tulpa, my personal monster. I’m not sure. I was so doped and confused that it may have just been more delusion, but I remember them talking with him. I grew convinced that he was the real one and that I was the thought-form. He encouraged that line of thought at times, but mocked me at others.
Another thing that I pray was a delusion: he could touch me. More than that, he could hurt me. He’d poke and prod at me if he felt I wasn’t paying enough attention to him. Once, he grabbed my testicles and squeezed until I told him I loved him. Another time, he slashed my forearm with one of his talons. I still have a scar; most days I can convince myself that I injured myself, and just hallucinated that he was responsible. Most days.
Then, one day, while he was telling me a story about how he was going to gut everyone I loved, starting with my sister, he paused. A querulous look crossed his face, and he reached out and touched my head. Like mother used to when I was feverish. He stayed still for a long moment and then smiled. “All thoughts are creative,” he told me, then he walked out the door.
Three hours later, I was given an injection and passed out. I awoke unrestrained. Shaking, I made my way to the door and found it unlocked I walked out into the empty hallway and then ran. I stumbled more than once, but I made it down the stairs and out into the lot behind the building. There, I collapsed, weeping like a child. I knew I had to keep moving, but I couldn’t manage it.
I got home eventually; I don’t remember how. I locked the door and shoved a dresser against it, took a long shower, and slept for a day and a half. Nobody came for me in the night, and nobody came the next day or the one after that. I twas over. I’d spent a week locked in that room, but it had felt like a century. I’d withdrawn so much from my life beforehand that nobody had even known I was missing.
The police didn’t find anything. The research center was empty when they searched it. The paper trail fell apart. The names I’d given them were aliases. Even the money I’d received was apparently untraceable.
I recovered as much as one can. I don’t leave the house much, and I have panic attacks when I do. I cry a lot. I don’t sleep much, and my nightmares are terrible. It’s over, I tell myself. I survived. I used the concentration those bastards taught me to convince myself. It works, sometimes.
Not today, though. Three days ago, I got a phone call from my mother. There’s been a tragedy. My sister’s the latest victim in a spree of killings, the police say. The perpetrator mugs his victims, then guts them.
The funeral was this afternoon. It was as lovely a service as a funeral can be, I suppose. I was a little distracted, though. All I could hear was music coming from somewhere distant. It was discordant, unsettling stuff that sounds like feedback, shrieking, and a modem dialing up. I hear it still – a little louder now.
I am going back through all of my r/nosleep posts, and have realized that putting the source through the tumblr posting tool is not actually showing the source to the post. I’ll be spending tomorrow editing each and every one to make sure the source is properly attributed. I will be putting the original link to the reddit post and user at the end of each r/nosleep post I make rather than in the source option tumblr gives me. I am sorry to any user whose story I have posted without a link back to the original.
Please if anyone sees an unsourced post or a wrong source message me so that I can correct it.