So once upon a mid/late nineties time, I had a famous relative who would get a lot of fan mail. Most of it was the usual stuff… underpants, locks of hair, photographs of their dog, friendship pendant halves… creepy and stalkerish, but nothing all that terrifying. What I guess the fans never knew is that the sheer volume of mail meant that a lot of the crap they would send would end up in the garbage, the donation bin, or MINE.
One day, a padded envelope arrived. It was a battered home movie tape with a handwritten label. I’d never heard of the title, but was a bit of a movie buff so thought I would give it a go. This was waaaay before it was easy to download movies, and even before DVDs were common. You could still see where the sticky tape had been put over the anti copy tab.
A few days later, I had the house to myself for the night. The perfect time to watch the battered VHS tape with the handwritten label. I locked the doors. I got a blanket. I made popcorn. Then, because I am very safety conscious, I got my teddy. And pressed play.
What followed was one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences of my life. The film was fuzzy and filmed on handheld cameras. It looked like a home movie. It didn’t seem like it had been edited at all, ran for over 2 hours. And for at least 75% of the time I was scared out of my wits and absurdly grateful I’d had the forethought to get my teddy.
I have never been so utterly terrified by a film before in my life….
The tape was ‘The Blair Witch Project’.
3 months before release and before any of the hype had started. I had never heard of it and for all intents and purposes, for me, it was real.
BEST way I could have seen the film.
You can bitch about how crap it is all you like, but it was the flagship for ‘found footage’ films, and noone else had quite done anything like it before. Love it or hate it, it had a gigantic impact. And seeing it under those circumstances was what scared the crap out of me. I never saw it in a cinema. I saw it in a dark empty house, not knowing anything about it except what it told me- that it was ‘found footage’ that had arrived on a battered VHS tape in the mail.
Thank you to the mysterious stranger who sent that tape, you fucked me up for life :)
David and Jerra sat cross-legged on her bed, their fingers on a Ouija board’s planchette. This night in the mid-1980s grew long as they asked questions, and the triangular plastic piece skittered under their fingertips, and spelled out answers. “We were about 16, we would play with a Ouija,” David said. “We contacted a spirit by the name of Zabul. We were playing in her house when it said that it was there behind a door.”
Three doors stood on the walls of Jerra’s room, one to a closet, one to the hallway, the other to outside. On shaky legs, David and Jerra rose from the bed and peeked behind each door.
“We checked the closet door first, nothing,” David said. “The one to the hallway, nothing. The one to the outside, nothing. As we were checking the one to the outside, the one to the hallway closed.”
Startled, they put the Ouija board away for the night, but they kept coming back, and so did Zabul. Zabul’s communication soon turned dark.
“We reached out to Zabul a couple of times,” David said. “I don’t remember exactly what the threats were, just they were threats.”
But the threats were enough to make them give up on the board. Pre-Internet, David and Jerra, from a small rural Midwest town with limited resources, never explored the word “Zabul.” If they had, they may have abandoned the board sooner. Zabul, meaning “prince,” is the basis for the name of the prince of demons Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies.
“Ask yourself this, would two 16-year-olds going to high school in the 1980s really know the word Zabul?” David said. “I don’t think so.”
A few years went by without incident, and David and Jerra went to separate colleges, Jerra to a local private Southern Baptist school, David to a state university almost three hours away. David didn’t know it at the time, but something went to school with him.
“During my freshman year of college, I walked in while a couple of people were doing the Ouija,” he said. “When I walked in, it started moving a lot between the letters Z-A-B-U-L. It was back and forth, back and forth.”
David sat on his friend’s bed, watching the two use the board, wondering if they knew Jerra and if Jerra had put them up to playing a joke on him. They didn’t know her, and this was no joke.
“I knew I hadn’t told them, and Zabul is not a common name,” he said. “After a little while, I asked them to ask it if it knew me.”
The planchette skittered to “yes.”
St. John’s, a small, old city in eastern Canada, is known as “The City of Legends,” and like all old places with legends, this region has a long history of hauntings.
Dean Lundrigan’s first exposure to his region’s haunted history was as a child in a place he, until that time, felt safe – his home.
“The house in which I was raised was one that was built on the foundation of what was once a cemetery and it had a history of supposed hauntings,” he said.
At nine years old, Lundrigan shared a bedroom with his older and younger brothers. His younger brother would often crawl into bed with Lundrigan or their older brother because he was afraid to sleep alone.
“On one particular night, I awoke to what appeared to be my little brother standing at the foot of my bed staring at me as I slept,” Lundrigan said. “I immediately asked him, ‘What are you doing standing at the foot of my bed watching me sleep?’”
The figure at the foot of his bed didn’t respond, so Lundrigan called his little brother by name. The figure stood still, quiet.
“Finally I sat up in my bed only to discover that my younger brother was sound asleep in the other bed with my eldest brother,” Lundrigan said.
Terrified, Lundrigan slammed his eyes shut and when he found the courage to open them again, the boy was gone.
“I did not know if (my little brother) was sleep walking and somehow managed to jump back into the bed without me noticing, or if it was the spirit of a young boy who happened to resemble my brother,” Lundrigan said.
But over the years, Lundrigan has become certain what he saw wasn’t his younger brother.
“This is the very first time that I saw an actual apparition in this particular house but all the years leading up to that moment were as horrifying as that moment itself,” he said. “The house itself just had an exceptionally unnatural feeling to it.”
The next day, Lundrigan told his mother of the visitation and received an ominous warning.
“She told me that if you saw the spirit of someone who was still living, it was a symbol of death,” Lundrigan said.
If this was the case, Lundrigan is certain the death omen didn’t involve his still-living brother. But this wasn’t the last time something strange came looking for him.
“During the summers of my childhood I would spend a lot of time at my grandparent’s home which was located about half an hour away from my house,” he said. “On one occasion there when I was about 17, I was walking up the steps to go to the washroom and I felt the presence of something or someone ahead of me which I assumed was my grandmother.”
But when Lundrigan rounded the corner he saw a black shadowy figure leave one room and enter the bathroom.
“It didn’t strike me right away what this figure could have been because I just felt a presence that I assumed was human and I was in shock,” he said.
Lundrigan looked into the bathroom still expecting to see his grandmother, but the bathroom was empty.
“I knew that this figure I saw had to have been real and not a figment of my imagination because it was no ordinary shadow on the wall,” Lundrigan said. “It was in mid air gliding three dimensionally across the hall.”
The next summer, while Lundrigan slept at his grandparent’s house, he awoke to find something on top of him.
“I couldn’t move even though I was trying so desperately,” he said. “It felt as though I was awake but I could not open my eyes no matter how hard I tried. It felt as though some sort of force was holding me down.”
The force released Lundrigan once he regained control over his eyes and fingers.
“I moved my eyes from left to right while my eye lids were still closed and twitched my fingers back and forth,” he said. “I could not work up the courage to move anything but my fingers and eyes. When about five to 10 minutes passed, I jumped up out of bed, turned on the light and grabbed a Holy Bible that was in a desk drawer, all the while my heart was pounding rapidly.”
Lundrigan had to report to work at a local fast food restaurant at 5 a.m. and it wasn’t close to 5 a.m.
“Let’s just say that I was there a tad early because I was too terrified to stay in that house any longer,” he said.
Although Lundrigan hasn’t had a paranormal experience for a few years, he knows it’s inevitable that something else will happen to him because something strange has always followed him.
“My whole life I have always felt the sensation that I have been under some sort of watch,” Lundrigan said. “I have been constantly looking over my shoulder because I’ve felt an eerie sensation.”
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
The group of friends walked through Vandalia Cemetery, tombstones dotting the ground glowing yellow in the moonlight. This cemetery in Porterville, Calif., called Scranton Cemetery by the locals, has a troubled past.
“The legend that I have heard since I was in high school is that there used to be a home for wayward girls in the middle of the cemetery,” Porterville ghost chaser Tammy Heston said. “And the head mistress of the school was extremely abusive and also was into devil worship and some of the girls were used in that practice as sacrifice.”
A girl who is said to have escaped this home was captured, killed and buried somewhere in the cemetery, but Heston tends to think that part of the story is urban legend.
“I have not found anyone who actually knows this for a fact, but the kids around here seem to believe it,” she said.
A run-down building “with an old sink and bathtub” near the center of the cemetery lends some credence to the “home” story, but part of the legend Heston is convinced is true – the cemetery is haunted.
“From the moment we arrived at the cemetery, we started feeling weird things,” said Heston, who has seen spirits since she was young and is able to sense their presence.
The group decided to separate into pairs and investigate the cemetery. They were equipped with a camera and a compass.
“When a spirit is present, the compass needle will spin like crazy,” she said. “And it was going nuts that night.”
Heston chose to walk the perimeter of the cemetery, her niece by her side.
“We were together walking around by the side of the cemetery where the headstones date all the way to the early 1800s,” she said. “And I got the feeling that someone was walking along side me with their hand on my shoulder.”
Heston didn’t mention this to her niece because she didn’t want to alarm her – but the feeling alarmed Heston. Then she saw something dark and sinister.
“As we walked I would see a black figure hiding behind the headstones,” she said. “It wasn’t human and it didn’t walk or run ¬¬– it floated from headstone to headstone.”
After wandering Vandalia Cemetery, the group met back at the cars and discussed what they’d experienced.
“Everyone had seen the black figure that I had seen,” Heston said. “Then we saw it again as it darted behind a tree. So we started walking toward it to see what it was.”
As the group got closer to the figure, the black thing peeked from behind the tree and saw them approaching.
“When it saw that we were near it, it let out a blood-curdling screech and flew up into the tree,” she said. “We got a fairly good look at it and it was definitely not human but it wasn’t spirit either.”
The entity appeared to wear a long black dress or cape and a hat.
“It looked like a witch’s hat,” Heston said. “That was one of the freakiest things I have seen.”
Although Heston doesn’t belong to a formal paranormal research group, she does explore the unknown.
“I have done some ghost hunting on my own as I have had many experiences and I’m interested in the paranormal,” she said. “I have investigated a few reported haunted places and have taken some interesting pictures and things like that. I haven’t gone on an investigation in awhile but have some pretty freaky stories to tell about some of my experiences. But I thought the one with the humanoid thing was about the scariest.”
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt
When I was a young child, I had a large stuffed toy bear, and named him “Baron”. Baron was the one I always blamed for stolen candy and broken dishes, dressed in
a button up shirt to imitate Calvin dressing up Hobbes, that kind of best imaginary friend who I would talk out loud to. I don’t remember a whole lot about what went on, but some things (which they will not discuss with me) happened to make them get rid of Baron and take me for counseling, and then to several religious figures in the local community. This didn’t last long, and I turned into (according to everyone else) a healthy, well adjusted young man.
Two weeks ago, I was in Cleveland on business. There was a small antique shop on the other side of the street where I was parked, and after finishing what I was there for, I walked up to the door for a quick peek. “Merryweather Curiosities” was not only closed but in a severe state of disrepair, and very dim inside, but I could swear that back in the shadows I saw movement once or twice. As my eyes adjusted to peering through the glass into the darkness, shielded by my hands, I saw a stuffed bear that looked very much like Baron tucked away in one of the corners. Nothing of note happened and I went home, only to come back the next day to retrieve my clip-on sunglasses that I had accidentally left in the waiting room of the office.
Baron, and it was indeed my childhood friend, was on the sidewalk outside the shop, a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper plastered around his leg by the wind. There was no pricetag. On closer inspection, his fur was ragged and worn in some places, mostly on the extremities of the forepaws, and most oddly, his eyes were gone.
I looked up and down the street and put him in the back of my Isuzu Trooper.
At home, I hurried in to check my email and phone messages. I forgot to bring Baron in, which I sometimes do with groceries if I don’t need them right away. In the morning, I went out to the car. Opening the door, I was practically bowled over by a very powerful stench of rust, mold, and what can only be described as the scent of a filthy wet dog. A dead filthy wet dog.
The back lining of my trooper had been torn out after it started to mold from being used as a work truck (hauling firewood in the winter got it wet and dirty), so I figured that maybe the carpet up between the seats needed cleaning, and that some of the smell might be coming from Baron who if I remembered properly from the tag, was machine washable. I pulled him out, put him on the porch, stuck my bike in the back of the trooper, and drove down to the local carwash and auto detailing place to have the interior steamcleaned to see if that would help. My seat was slightly misadjusted and some of the controls were sticky for no apparent reason. The cycling ride home was uneventful. The bear was still in the same position where I left him.
Once I got home, I snapped a quick photo with my cameraphone just for fun, and stuffed Baron into my Staber washing machine, which is an expensive high quality washer, and ran him as a light cold water load. Afterwards, I spread him over a laundry rack outside to dry because it was such a nice sunny day. Right after coming inside, the phone started ringing. It was the auto detailer, and they wanted me to pick up my car (this was much earlier than expected).
On arriving, I found the Trooper to be only partly cleaned but the smell was greatly diminished. None of the college students who worked there would look me in the eye or give me more than a monosyllablic reply. The manager pulled me aside, told me that he wanted me to take my car and leave, that he wasn’t willing to discuss anything about it, and that there would be no charge. This made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed, and I tried to think of what might have happened. The Trooper had the windows rolled up tightly while sitting in the sun and was very warm, so I put on the air conditioning on the drive back. There was almost no airflow, and then a few dried feathers started to spiral out of the vents, followed by a shaking rustle and a dead baby bird dropping onto the carpet from the under-dash air vent.
I immediately pulled into the Target parking lot, locked my car, and spent an hour pacing and then looking underneath the car. I decided that the source of the stench and problems with the carwash had been birds nesting in the air conditioning ducts, which then died. I finally scooped up the dead hatchling with a plastic bag, dropped it in one of the errant shopping carts and got back in my car. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something looking at me from in back. Not malevolently, but accusingly. Like I had done something wrong.
At home, I worked outside for a while cutting down some new brush growth and dragging it down to the ditch by the road, then went inside and out into the back yard to check on Baron drying. The rack had collapsed and he was sprawled on the ground several feet away, but completely dry. It almost felt as though there were hard objects inside him, just deep enough to be difficult to feel under the padding. There was no smell. I put most of my problems outside of my mind and carried him upstairs to be stowed away in the guest bedroom, with some of my other old stuff.
For a few days, nothing happened. Then I began feeling like I wasn’t alone in the house. My girlfriend came over, and started to mention seeing things out of the corner of her eye. I said they must have been my cat Harlequin, but we found her upstairs asleep on my bed. That night when we were watching The Island, we both heard a very loud banging sound coming from upstairs. Later, she swore she heard footsteps descending the basement stairs and then sounds coming from underneath us. I was still trying my best to be skeptical about the odd things happening, and made fun of her being easily spooked. Our night didn’t last much longer, she went home and I stayed up listening to every single sound - and this is an old house, it DOES have some creaks from the heat making it expand and contract - with my hair slowly prickling up on the back of my neck. Some of the pieces from my chess set were missing.
I went to sleep with a small light on for the first time in years, and finally drifted off around 3 am. I can’t remember much from my dreams from that night, but I woke up with most of the coverings balled up on the floor and dark bags under my eyes. The one mental image that remained was the lingering sensation of being trapped deep underground in a space too small to pass through, with the knowledge that something was coming after me.
Harlequin didn’t show up for her breakfast, but I figured she was just out sleeping in the bushes or in a sunny spot. I realized that I hadn’t seen any birds or squirrels around lately, and there hadn’t been any birdcalls in the morning. Harley takes a bird now and then, but not enough to silence them all. Walking out the front door, I saw a massive puddle under the back of the trooper. It was something like motor oil but was dried and blackish brown. Test driving it showed no problems and there was no longer any smell at all. Also, the feathers were gone. At this point, I began questioning whether some of the events were just my overactive imagination running wild after a period of stress and extra work. I decided to take the car for a drive to make sure nothing was wrong, and ended up heading toward Cleveland again. The antique shop popped into my mind, and I made a beeline for it, thinking maybe I could ask where they found Baron. I was starting to put some of these strange occurrences together.
At the corner where I had picked up Baron, there was only brick wall at the section where the shop had been. I thought I was going nuts. It was the exact same place, but nothing was there. I walked to the next door down, a local coffeehouse. The grayhaired lady behind the counter told me that there never had been any “Merryweather” shop there.
Sure that I was going mad, I came back home to see the local utilities board scooping up all the brush I had been cutting over the past week. One of the orange hard-hat wearing workers flagged me over and pointed at what the backhoe claw had unearthed pulling up branches. There was a good four or five cubic feet of small bones mixed in with the twigs and saplings, drying white and brown. Feathers, fur, and scraps of flesh still clung to most of them. Among the bones was a pink flea collar exactly the same as the one Harlequin had been wearing.
This incident caused me a great deal of difficulty with the city, fortunately some of the executives on the utilities board and city council members were close friends of my parents and didn’t take to any wild flights of fancy as to why a small animal graveyard might have appeared in my discarded branches. I was beginning to be terrified about the possibilities. My house was rapidly taking on a very uncomfortable feeling, and no one came inside without commenting on feeling unease or even outright fear. At several times I heard low moans uttered from other parts and this happened once while a guest was over. The shuffling sounds increased in frequency, always happening on a floor I wasn’t on until one day they started happening several rooms over on the same story. This set me on edge like nothing you would believe. It was worse than hearing the scraping sounds inside the walls at night had been. Sometimes I would wake up with a few scratches on my face, or feel something jump up onto my bed at night. I started to question my sanity more and more. The next night my girlfriend was sitting on the couch while I stepped into the kitchen for a drink of water. I heard a low thump and dragging sound, and then the wind howled around the house. Coming back into the living room, I discovered her laying limp with her eyes staring into space, monotonously repeating “there is a way out. there is a way out. there is a way out,” over and over. The altered voice I could rationalize away. The chorus in the background, I couldn’t. She has since refused to talk or have any contact with me.
Up to this time, I had only looked in the spare bedroom a few times, and Baron was always in his place, eyeless sockets staring into space. I looked at him that day I heard the shuffling, and caught myself starting to talk to him. This time it wasn’t a pair of child friends, it was me threatening him with the evisceration of his stuffing and the fate of being stuffed into my woodchipper if he didn’t stop whatever was going on, if it was related to him and I was sure it was. As I spoke, I felt chills trace up and down my spine and tears jumped into my eyes for no reason. The room felt twenty degrees colder and visibly darkened. My heart was in my throat and I felt an incredibly palpable sensation of hostility spreading through the air like waves.
Shakily I backed out of the room, slammed the door, and ran downstairs to fix myself some tequila. I noticed in the kitchen that most if not nearly all of my knives were missing, and that there were chunks of wood missing out of the locked cupboard under the sink, a holdover from when the previous owners had had small children to keep away from drain cleaner, almost as if a very short person had been gleefully chipping away to try to break past the latch.
After drinking for a good twenty minutes, I started to rationalize everything that had happened. The feeling that washed over me had been a natural reaction, all part of my mind spooking itself and reacting on cue to my subconscious desires to find strange and scary things. Emboldened by liquor, I strode back upstairs and decided for no apparent reason to repair Barons eyes. I remembered that once, long after Baron disappeared but still in my childhood, that I had found a small box with a pair of stuffed animal type eyes in it, nestled in strips of paper with scrawled writing, and then was scolded heavily for snooping. As if my hands found it unbidden, it only took a few minutes of searching in one of the upstairs closets. The box was wooden with inlaid crucifixes and a carving of the Virgin Mary, which struck me very oddly as my parents had most definitely not been Catholic. Inside were many little strips of parchment, almost as if it had been put through a shredder. Written on each one was a Latin phrase, repeated over and over from one strip to another. Underneath a wrapping of these were a pair of simple button eyes that I recognized as definitely having belonged to Baron in the past. They felt very, very cold.
I took a needle and thread left over from my last shirt repair and took Baron downstairs. Slamming him onto the dining room table, I roughly stabbed the needle into the sockets, laced in the eyes, and sewed them both tight. Again, I felt as if there almost might be an actual skeletal structure under his padding, but after prodding quite hardly, found nothing. After taking a few pictures of my handiwork, tired of the whole thing and wondering why I had done what I did, I opened the basement door, threw him down the stairs, and locked it.
Nothing happened all day and all night. Maybe I had solved the problem. Loading my week’s laundry into the machine, I noticed that it was already full of liquid. Looking closer with a flashlight revealed a layer of scum floating on oily water, glinting red under the beam from my mini mag. My reflection swirled and distorted in the water, and I heard whispering, not just one voice but one main tone with a whole chorus of others in the background. I slammed the lid down and put a cinderblock on top of it, and ran the machine empty. Five minutes later all of the power to that side of my house went out and I have still not been able to find the circuit fault. I called up an electrician the next morning, after a tormented night of sounds and bumps, and then tried looking up an exorcist. Exorcists unfortunately aren’t in the yellow pages. The workman came around noon and went down to the basement (where I had not gone) to check the breakers. He left shortly after going down and told me that he was never coming back and that he had a good mind to hit me with his wrench for calling him here. The shadows in the corners of the house seemed bigger than before, and I don’t like shadows that shift and adjust when you aren’t looking. There was a puddle slowly forming under the washer.
I went outside to pace under the sun, and started to notice odd scraps of ragged fabric stuck to some of the trees and brambles edging my property. One of them was recognizable as part of one of my much older stuffed animals, from when I was a toddler. There must have still been a box of them tucked away somewhere. I went upstairs to look, and found only a decapitated Pooh in an otherwise empty cardboard box. Pooh’s eyeless, mouthless head was on the seat of my car. The rest of the never-alive animals slowly came to view as I dug through some of the uncleared thickets, some of them with their heads separated, some of them much worse. I saw the entrance to the crawlspace under the sideporch was open. This crawlspace leads directly to another crawlspace that goes to the basement. I saw some scraps of fur and stuffing laying in the entrance and was sure that I heard heavy, animal breathing deeper inside.
Inside, as the sun faded, the noises started again. I looked at some other pictures I had taken before and found one I hadn’t noticed where Baron’s eyes glowed a faint eerie red. Staying in the house for another night was a terrifying prospect. I was being forced to accept that some sort of evil supernatural entity was making a residence and destroying my life and my wellbeing. Looking in the downstairs bathroom mirror, my skin was almost china-pale, with dark veins showing through. The corruption that was overtaking the house was starting to get me as well. As I looked at my face in the mirror in the dim fluorescent light (I needed to change one of the pair and hadn’t) the reflection slowly faded to grayish dark, and swirled into ornate patterns that gave way to a pure blackness that looked back at me through a pair of bright red eyes, the only thing I could see. I heard a horrible scream that might have been my own, as the lights went off through the entire house. The bathroom door is opposite the basement door, only a few feet to the other side and back a bit. I could hear slow shuffling sounds coming up them. My maglite was in my hand and my adrenaline was on full fight or flight mode. I chose fight.
I shone the light into the door and pulled it open. I swear to god I’m not crazy, and this is what I saw. There below me on the steps was Baron slowly walking up on two legs, one of my kitchen knives in his paws, scraps of other animals hanging off him. I yelled at the top of my lungs and shut the door, but it bounced back open. I was already several yards away, running upstairs for my guns. In my bedroom, the moonlight filtered through my curtains and I quickly grabbed my 870 and prepared to charge back down. I felt prickles on my neck and turned to see the eyes outside my window. They winked out into nothing with an unearthly moan and I left the house as fast as I could. I did not see ‘Baron’ on the way out.
The rest is too difficult for me to write down just now, from the ordeal under the cellar to what we found in the crawlspaces. With the help of a Wiccan acquaintance, my house is partially cleansed (thank God!) and the bear is now locked up in a box. I need to sell it, for someone to willfully accept it. Please help me.
There is a large rip on the back, a small one on the belly that is sealed up with red thread. The eyes are firmly attached and for reasons I am not willing to discuss should not be removed under any circumstances. I am not a professional ebayer or anything like that. I just want some peace in my life again.
(The original eBay auction was here.)
About a week ago I found a usb stick on the way to a pc repair business where I work part time. It looked really standard, just a small metal box. I only saw it because the sun reflected off the case. For a second I thought that the pavement had just erupted into light. Anyway, I decided to take it to the police station after work but of course, because I work with computers, the temptation to look at the contents was too much.
There were a few folders with incomprehensible names, and 3 others: “Case Notes”, “Training”, and “Emails”. There were about 100 emails, mostly unconnected, but a few were really interesting. Usually, I wouldn’t go snooping through such private information, but I felt such a strange urge. In the end, I kept it. I think I’m going to hand it in to the police still, sometime in the future. I’m going to share with you the more interesting emails, ordered and formatted (where appropriate) for easier reading, and maybe you can help me decide what to make of it.
How’s it going? I know we haven’t spoken lately, I’ve been busy with uni and there’s some drama been going on in my family, and I’ve basically had no time. Sorry about that. I’m emailing because I need some advice (what’s with the fucking hotmail account by the way?). It’s about Becky of course. You helped me out so much going through all that shit with her. I still think about her practically everyday, but I’ve taken your advice. It’s been difficult avoiding contact, but I’ve managed. Ok, I still have her number even though she deleted mine, but I blocked her on facebook and all that other stuff. Well, until she fucking emailed me yesterday. She needs help, it’s about John, the new guy. I want to punch his head in. She seems really upset. Should I reply?
No lol, doesnt matter why, you dont talk to a bitch until at least a year after ok?
Good luck, Dan
Subject: Hey Matt, we need to talk
I hope life is treating you well. It’s been a while huh? Any girls in your life? The past week I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I remember the moment when you said that you never want to speak to me again so clearly. I didn’t mean to hurt you like that. I know my old address is blocked, I made this one to contact you. If it’s ok, can we talk?
John has been acting weird and I need some help. I’m asking you because… Well Matt, to tell you the truth, I’m getting scared of John and you are the last guy I’ve been close to other than him for a while, and I don’t want to tell my friends because they might judge him. Am I becoming a stereotype? Ok, if you don’t immediately want to delete this email, please keep reading and I’ll explain, but if you want, continue to ignore me and I will understand, and I really will never to try and contact you again.
Last month John tidied up the bathroom. Sounds stupid I know, but he really went at it. I went in there and it was spotless. The surfaces gleamed, he’d put some sort of freshener down, and everything was exactly in its right place. You know how much stuff I have, we can’t fit both our toothbrushes in the cupboards, so we lay them down by the sink? They were parallel to each other, completely straight, completely aligned. I was a bit freaked out, but I was also proud, you know? He just acted nonchalant, like it was nothing.
Soon the rest of the house is super tidy. All the books are ordered alphabetically, everything put away, the magazines on the coffee table stacked up in a square. I’m a bit weirded out, and I ask him what’s up? He says that it doesn’t matter. Why would he be doing so much for me? My first thought was that he was cheating on me. I have his facebook password, so I checked, and nothing. His phone? Nothing. At the time, I was still suspicious, but not anymore.
A week and a bit ago, I go into the kitchen, and he’s rooting through the cutlery draw. He’s picking up pieces of cutlery, examing them, and laying some on the counter and putting some back in the draw. The ones on the counter are perfectly aligned. I asked him what the fuck he was doing, and he responded with “we don’t need all this cutlery Becky, I’m going to throw these out.” I said “John, I know that’s bullshit,” and he got really angry, really defensive, so I left.
Last night I woke up at about 1, and John wasn’t in bed. I heard him rummaging around downstairs. I snuck to the top of the stairs. Remember the coat hanger in the hall? We put a small bookcase next to it, and he was rifling through the books, taking some out. He was speaking to himself, whispering numbers and equations. I said “John…” and he looked up. I said “what are you doing?”
He said “Honey… There are 75 books on this bookcase. That’s 3 times 25, which is 5 times 5. It likes 5s.”
I was shocked and said “What likes 5s?”
He said “The Long Face,” and then started sorting books again, ignoring me. I guess his behaviour over the past month got to me and I snapped. I ran downstairs, shouted at him and tried to put some of the books back on the bookcase. He grabbed at me Matt, he fucking grabbed at me. I couldn’t move he was so strong. He pulled his free hand back, and I thought he was going to hit me. He said very carefully, very slowly “This bookcase needs 49 books. 7 times 7. It doesn’t like 7s. It likes 5. Ok? I’m going to have to train you up.” I was so scared, I ran out of the house.
Wow, that was longer than I thought. I’m staying at Alex’s right now. Can you come over? Even if you can’t help sort this out, talking would be great.
Hope to see you soon, Becky.
Subject: I don’t care, I’m gonna do it.
I’ve thought it through, and I’m gonna talk to her. I don’t care what you think.
Subject: Holy shit, it’s worse than I thought.
Sorry about being a dick in that last email Dan, but I think I still love her. But listen, shit has really hit the fan, and at this point I just need someone to tell.
I went round to Alex’s (Becky is staying there), and as soon as I knock on the door she flies out and gives me the strongest hug I have ever felt. Her face was so red, I think she’d been crying non stop since she left her house. Shit, I forgot you didn’t know. John was being weird and she felt she had to leave. So, I comforted her, and got her some hot chocolate. Alex had fucked off somewhere, she probably didn’t want to deal with Becky. Once she had calmed down enough, she asked if I would escort her back to her house and maybe confront John. I was looking foward to that let me tell you.
When we got to her house she told me I should go in first. On the doorstep were 7 neat piles of books. I slowly pushed the door open, and called out to John. There was no answer. Becky had told me before that the house was tidy, but walking in there freaked me out a little. It was like the house had no inhabitants, had never had inhabitants.
We searched around, and I kept calling for John, but he didn’t respond. Every room was so fucking tidy and put together, we were both on the edge of saying, let’s just go. And then I checked the bathroom. There was a trail of blood leading from the sink to the bath. In the bath was John. He was so pale, his arms slit from palm to elbow. I almost threw up and tried to stop Becky from coming in. But she did. And then she threw up.
We called the police obviously, but while we were waiting I noticed something. John was holding a small book. It looked like a diary. You know those moleskin things? One of those. And I took it, I don’t know why. Becky didn’t notice. She was pretty shaken up. Still is of course. What should I do with this thing. I can’t give it in now? Actually, when are you in town? I’d love to speak in person.
Subject: Meeting up
Wow thats fucked up. I hope youre ok man. Listen, im still away for like a month. Two at the most. Dont do anything stupid ok? I hate not talking in person, im so bad at it. You’ll be alright.
Subject: The Diary
I read the fucking diary. I guess it was written by John, and it explains his behaviour. Its not really a diary, more an encylopedeia I guess. Apparantly John believed in this entity called The Long Face. It doesn’t really explain what it is, but lists loads of rules for dealing with this thing. It likes multiples of 5s and will seek them out, it hates 7s, stuff like that. Pile things in this arrangement etc. What a freak.
Subject: I guess freakishness is contagious :P
The weirdest thing happened to me today. I was getting rid of some old dvds (holy shit remember four lions? Such a good movie), and I noticed there were 5 dvds on one of the shelves in front of me. It made me think of The Long Face. I laughed at myself, but as I went to put the dvd I was holding into the bag, I saw a face. On the bag I mean. The two clips looked like eyes, and the opening looked like the mouth. Yeah laugh if you must. I got 2 dvds out of the bag and put them on the shelf. The face was gone after that. I probably knocked the bag into a different position.
Becky is doing fine now. She wants to move out of her old house but the contract lasts until september, so she is going to try and find some replacement tentants. I know it’s very soon but I think I’m going to ask her out again. We should get back together. What do you think?
Subject: I think I’m losing my mind
Becky said yes! I took her to that italian place you love and we pretended it was out first ever date. It was great. But listen, this long face stuff is freaking me out.
I keep seeing it everywhere. I’ll be walking along and a car will pass, and the front of it will look like a face. I keep seeing faces in the froth of my coffee, in the shapes that buildings make. I’m going to make a confession to you Dan. I’ve started counting things. The books and dvds first, then cutlery. I think it’s because I heard that John counted this stuff too. Everything has to be in multiples of 7. If they aren’t, or even worse, if I see a multiple of 5, I see more faces. And each face I see looks angrier and angrier. As I’m typing this I can see the speakers as eyes, the keyboard as a mouth.
I know this bullshit is all in my head, but I can’t help it. I’m having problems sleeping.
Subject: It’s getting worse
You know that drawer that everyone has? Filled with all the shit in your house that doesn’t have anywhere else to be? Well it’s been driving me crazy. I can’t know if it’s safe if I don’t TIDY IT UP.
Subject: Becky :(
Becky caught me putting all the screwdrivers from the drawer in size order. She left, Dan. She left.
Subject: Why aren’t you replying?
I was walking to work to0day. I saw a car face and I was so sca4red. It was coming towards me and it looked like it wanted blood. I thought it was going to swerve and hit me, and that would be that. I figured out how to stop it though. It was red, so I started counting all the red cars. When I’m counting it seems to get confused. As I was walking into work I was at 20. I pretended I had counted 1 more, but it knew. Tomorrow I’m go7ing to do Blue.
i just want this to stop
y did i read the book? People need to be trained to repelu THE LONG FACE. They need to know. But why me? :(
I counted the pages in the diary. 125. 5 timess 5 ttimes 5. Mayb THE LONG FACE wants us to read it. Wat if I miscoutner? 126 is a multiple of 7. I’ll do it again
Subject: We had a good one
I’m going to burn the book Matt. If no one can read about this, maybe whatever fucking evil it is will just dissapate. Hopefully my emails haven’t been enough to trigger it for you. Don’t come over Dan. We are no longer friends.
Subject: I’m coming over
I’m back in a week. I’m coming over. Why the fuck haven’t you answered your phone?
And that’s it. There are no more emails by Dan, Matt or Becky. I’ve thought about it for a while, and I reckon something happened to Matt. I don’t know whether he succeeded in burning that journal, or what might have happened to it if he didn’t, but something must have got him. I keep thinking about that last email. Why wouldn’t he answer the phone?
The woman was intriguing. As Tim Davis sat the bar of the Miwuk Indian’s Black Oak Casino in Tuolomne, Calif., in 2009, he turned toward the pretty lady who sat next to him, smiled and flirted.
“I had been having a few drinks and hitting on a woman sitting next to me for about an hour,” he said. “We were hitting it off wonderfully.”
Then the air around them changed; it grew heavy, ominous.
“I felt something coming. That’s the best I can describe it,” Davis said. “The sort of uneasy feeling I always have when there is something about to happen that can possibly
injure me, kill me, or ruin my life in some manner.”
Davis stopped and looked around him. Older people smoked cigarettes and cranked slot machine arms behind him. A live band played from a stage on the other side of the bar. Life in the casino seemed as normal as casino life can be.
“Nothing struck me as odd,” he said. “I turn back to my bantering partner and continue the conversation.”
The person on the other side of Davis paid for his drinks and left. The seat didn’t stay empty long.
“Suddenly, a man sits down next to me,” Davis said. His uneasy feeling grew unnerving. “I glance over and have an overwhelming feeling of danger and evil coming off this man.”
The man was a giant.
“He was wearing flannel, appeared to have just come out of the woods,” Davis said. “He stood easily 6’8” and was built like a linebacker. Easily one of the most dangerous men I have ever encountered.”
It wasn’t the man’s size Davis felt as dangerous. It was something else.
“I’m certainly not small and have nephews and brother-in-laws 6’5” to 6’7”,” Davis said. “But they do not exude this sort of danger vibe.”
Davis turned back toward the woman he had been hitting it off with. She was getting up to leave.
“The woman I have been chatting with takes one look at the man gets up and walks away,” he said. But not Davis. “Being slightly buzzed I stay there to finish up my drink.”
He wished he hadn’t.
“With no prompting the man turns and looks at me and says the name of the town I am from,” Davis said. “The town has about 20,000 people and is a bedroom community about 400 miles away from my current location.”
This statement took Davis aback; he had never met this man. Then things became stranger.
“We chat for a couple minutes and he then says, ‘you are all right Tim,’ using my name which I had not given him,” Davis said. “The comment had the feeling of a decision on his part. Like he had decided not to kill me.”
A few minutes later, Davis stands up, excuses himself, and leaves the bar.
“I go see if I can find the woman I had been chatting with,” he said. “I find her across the casino at a slot machine and ask her why she just got up and left.”
The woman looks Davis full in the eyes and says, “Didn’t you get the, ‘I will kill you and stuff you in a van’ vibe from that guy?”
Yes, he had.
Who are these people? The ones who wander amongst us, radiating terror through no means other than their mere presence? Are they human, or something else?
About ten years ago I was recently divorced and living alone in a one bedroom apartment. The place was clean and the rent was decent. One of those places that had a doorman, I felt safe here. I was alone and loving it, focused on my career and not on my clingy ex husband. Things were finally looking up for me.
At the time I was working pretty late at the office and would often stumble into my apartment sleep deprived in the early hours of the morning and wake up by 6:30, 7ish to start the day. I started noticing that in the morning my door would be unlocked sometimes, I usually dismissed this as my sleep dead brain thinking that the bed looked more appealing than locking the door. Another thing that I noticed since moving in was that I seemed to misplace things more than I used to, little things like a hairbrush or nail polish, that sort of thing. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, just enough to be a slight annoyance in my day.
The longer I lived there the more frequently I seemed to forget to lock the door, at first it was every once in a while then it seemed like an almost daily occurrence. More things went missing, things like pictures, shaving razors and most disturbingly, my underwear. This went on for long enough that I started to get a little paranoid. I started to take the time at night to make sure the door was locked, I got into a habit of every night after I locked the door to turn the handle three times and say to myself “It’s locked, it’s locked, it’s locked.” Time after time I would wake up and the door would be unlocked. One time I even tried staying up all night to watch the door, but I ended up falling asleep in my chair.
I decided that my mind was not reliable enough to stay up all night so I invested in a video camera. I went all out and bought the fanciest camera that I could get my hands on. So one night I set the camera up facing the door. I hid the camera under a pile of towels on the floor. I locked the door and went to bed.
When I woke up, my apartment looked normal. Nothing missing that I could see. I decided to check the tape. I fast forwarded through hours of footage, not seeing anything. I was just about to give up when I noticed the handle of the door jitter. Then it slowly crept open. A figure slid through the half opened door. And walked towards the camera. It paused. Looked around as if it was listening for something. Then walked forward into direct view of the camera. I paused the camera, the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck started to rise. I was staring directly into the face of the maintenance man of the building. I could see those big thick glasses and curly hair. I had no doubt who it was. I played the tape a little more. He looked comfortable as he walked around the apartment. Then he turned and walked towards my bedroom and out of the view of the camera.
I didn’t know what to do, sobbing I called the police. I tried to explain over the phone but couldn’t. Soon enough two officers arrived at my doorstep. I told them everything and showed them the tape. I remember seeing the blood drain from their faces. They promised me that I was safe, and that they where going to get this guy.
I needed to lay down, but didn’t want to be alone. One of the officers offered to stand outside my apartment door as I took a nap. As I was laying in bed unable to sleep but to drained to move, something kept nagging at me. I laid there for a few minutes tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable or rest. My mind was racing. Then a realisation slowly washed over me and chilled me to the bone. We watched the tape, and saw the man enter my home…but we never saw him leave. I froze , then started shaking. I needed to get to the front door. I sat up and looked around the room. I couldn’t see anyone. I swung my legs over the side of the bed cautiously, my feet hit the cold wood floor and I felt warm breath on my ankles. I raced out of my apartment as fast as I could and to the safety of the police officer. He called for backup. They found the man under my bed, clutching a knife and a Polaroid camera.
To this day I cannot sleep alone.
I’ve always wanted to share this experience with someone who could relate, and since the therapist I saw as a result of this happening couldn’t, maybe r/nosleep can.
When I was about 7-8 years old I lived with my grandparents in South Carolina. They had this big house that used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad and I used to love discovering all the cool passageways that ran all over the place. When I wasn’t doing that, my grandfather took me fishing and hunting while my grandmother would teach me how to sew and cook. Kind of girly things for a little boy to be doing, but those skills definitely helped out in the long run.
My folks were military, so rather than drag me around and traumatize me with multiple moves they had me stay at my grandparents’. My room sat at essentially the middle of the house. It was surrounded on all sides by thick walls which used to house passageways but had since been sealed off. I hung up pictures and cool things befitting an eight year old’s room. I loved the house, but it started to feel a little off after a while.
I noticed that my things kept disappearing. Nothing incredibly valuable, just trivial things like my toothbrushes and combs. No, they never reappeared at some random place, and I would never see them again. My grandparents spent a fortune on my various grooming products, I imagine. It was just my stuff though, which left me and my family in confusion. They used to joke that a ghost must have taken a liking to me.
They were kidding of course, but I started to get really freaked out over this notion. I started paying attention to very minor noises and details, and whenever something odd DID present itself it would creep me out to the extreme. I remember drying a favorite shirt of mine, only to come back five minutes later to find the dryer door open and my shirt gone. My things would be moved. Pictures of me that were on the walls would go missing. Most importantly, these little holes started appearing in the walls around the house.
They first showed up in my room, then they just popped up all over the house. The kitchen, the bathrooms, the living room. Everywhere except the master bedroom, where my grandparents slept. This really creeped me out, so one night I decided I was going to sleep in their room. I slept in a pretty comfy sleeping bag on the floor, and for the first time in awhile I felt pretty safe.
Two AM rolls around and I wake up to this weird tapping sound. It’s almost as if someone was hammering something a little ways off. It was the middle of the country and people are often awake doing random things at all hours, so I started to write it off. The moment I started to shrug it off, I happened to look at the far wall, directly facing me. Just in time to see a jagged piece of wall fall out, leaving another tiny hole. I yelled and woke my grandparents. They were genuinely upset for me, so we packed up a few things and left for a weekend.
When we got back, the first thing I noticed is that almost everything in the house that had anything to do with me was either gone or damaged. My room was now host to at least thirty different holes, all in varying shapes and sizes. I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was go to bed. Me and my grandparents stood in my room and demanded whatever was in the house to leave me alone.
There was no great relief, there was no angry outburst, there was no ghostly laughter. Just silence and me feeling scared and a little silly. I decided to be brave and stay in my room that night.
I awoke around 12 AM to a thump, the kind I usually attribute to my family moving around knocking into a wall. I started drifting back off, only to hear another thump. Then another.
Eventually these grew pretty rhythmic. I was scared out of my mind. I bolted upright and started scanning around my room. I grabbed the flashlight that I had grown to keep on my nightstand and started shining it everywhere. The floor, the walls, the holes. The thumping stopped, but I kept looking around frantically. Eventually my beam caught something shiny and I fixated on it. As soon as I realized what it was, I screamed and started crying like a little girl for my parents. It was a human eye.
My grandparents came in and saw this, an unblinking human eye staring out at the room. The police were called and came immediately. They opened the sealed portions of the house and searched every passageway they could find. Eventually they came to the section behind my far wall, where the eye was located. I wasn’t privy to the information when I was that young, but when I got older my grandparents told me what it was.
The police came upon this tiny room, only big enough to hold one person comfortably if only barely. They were first greeted by what they described as a thick layer of garbage and waste. Most of this “garbage” was my things that had gone missing. My combs, my toothbrushes, my socks, my shoes, my washcloths. My favorite shirt. At the wall, surrounded by pictures of me, was a man. He was completely naked, the only thing keeping him upright was a belt around his neck looped over a nearby low rafter. The cause of death was autoerotic asphyxiation. He had died staring at me, pleasuring himself, surrounded by his sick fascination with me.
I don’t think there’s any getting over it. I can’t stand the dark now, and now when I go to sleep…all I can think about are holes.
Daniel Natal’s aunt heard him call to her from somewhere in the house. She walked from room to room, searching for him, but couldn’t find him – because he wasn’t there.
This incident marked the first time a member of Natal’s family heard a disembodied voice, but it would be far from the last.
“The second instance was related to me by a cousin who said that he heard me calling him from his upstairs bedroom,” Natal said.
Natal’s voice kept saying, “In here. In here.” As Natal’s cousin followed the voice, it led him to his bedroom closet. He opened the closet, but Natal was not there. He found Natal outside playing basketball.
Natal read a February “From the Shadows” that featured the story of a Lawson, Mo., family who often experience the disembodied voices of family members; they determined their incidents to be a form of telepathy.
“I’ve experienced extremely similar phenomena for some time,” Natal said. “In my own case, the facts don’t lead me down that path. It would appear to be far, far, far more complex.”
Unlike the Lawson family, Natal’s experiences with disembodied family voices moved from a simple beaconing to a conversation.
“This is where the pattern departs, and does so chillingly,” he said. “About six months after the first instances, I received a phone call from a friend in Idaho. She informed me, to my dismay, that she had just gotten off the phone with me.”
Natal hadn’t talked with this friend in eight months.
“She expressed skepticism, thinking I was pulling some prank,” Natal said. “I was adamant, though. I had not phoned her.”
However, she was just as adamant he had.
“But I just got off the phone with you,” she told him.
“Maybe it was someone who sounded like me,” he suggested.
“I think I would have been able to tell the difference after a 20-minute phone-conversation,” she said.
The thought of someone posing as Natal capable of holding a 20-minute telephone conversation with a friend shocked and somewhat frightened him.
“Whatever was imitating my voice had done so now for an extended period,” Natal said. “That event happened about 10 years ago, but the phenomenon hasn’t stopped.”
A number of years after the Idaho telephone call while Natal spent the weekend with his cousins in another city, his wife heard his voice in Center City Philadelphia.
“My wife reported that she heard me call her in broad daylight as she walked on the sidewalk,” Natal said. “She thought I must have come home early because someone with my voice used her nickname.”
His wife felt a hand touch her shoulder and, when she turned to greet her husband, no one was there.
“She found herself alone on the sidewalk, with the closest pedestrian being about 50 yards away,” Natal said. “No one was possibly close enough to have placed a hand on her shoulder.”
When they moved from Philadelphia to South Carolina, the phenomena followed them.
One day, as Natal lie in bed trying to drag more sleep out of the morning, someone poked him.
“Let me sleep,” he said, but the pokes continued. He opened his eyes and, through the open bathroom door, he saw his wife giggling to herself.
“The thing is, my wife doesn’t giggle,” Natal said. “And the time-lapse between the poking and her position in the bathroom didn’t allow sufficient seconds for her to have moved away so far. Something was definitely off, but I ignored it as I went back to sleep.”
This happened sometime after 10 a.m. When Natal finally got up from bed and walked downstairs to find his wife, it was around noon.
“Why did you keep poking me?” he asked her, then described the poking and giggling event.
She insisted she couldn’t have poked him; she hadn’t been upstairs since she woke at 8 a.m.
And the events continued.
In late winter 2010, a telephone ringing in the upstairs hallway shook Natal from sleep. He looked at the clock; it was 3 a.m.
“The first ring dislodged me from sleep,” he said. “So I was wide awake for the second, third and fourth rings.”
The rings bothered him. The rings belonged to a much older telephone – something Natal didn’t have in his house.
“A paranoid father, thinking a burglar might be in the house, I sat up,” he said. “Just then I heard someone answer the phone. It sounded like me. It was my voice.”
Natal checked the house, no intruders, nothing out of place, and his family still slept. It’s left him wondering what has intruded into his life, imitating him, imitating his wife.
“What the hell is going on? Inter-dimensional lapses? Mischievous imps? Mind-energy projected outward to create doppelgangers?” Natal said. “Whatever it is, it isn’t isolated to telepathy and assumptions of family-members coming home. It’s something far, far more complicated.”
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
I need you to do something for me tonight. It’s very, very important you do it exactly as I ask. No questions, alright? If you think that I’m going crazy, then just humour me, and we can have a laugh about it when I’m back.
Do you remember the vase that we found half-buried in Stromlo Forest, after the fire? The brass one, with the odd markings embossed into its base? It’s sitting in my bedroom, on my dresser just next to my little ring tree and make up bag.
I need you to get a black sharpie, and draw two eyes on your palms. Just simple ones – doesn’t matter how they look, as long as they are open, and the pupil is in the middle of your palm.
Then I need you to go to my apartment, and get inside. The key is in the envelope that this letter came in. Oh, make sure you get an empty gym bag and take it along.
The apartment will be dark. Don’t turn the lights on. You can take a torch if you’d like, but don’t let its beam touch the vase, ok? Not directly, anyway. Keep it angled at the ceiling or something. Or maybe just take a candle.
When you enter my bedroom, you may hear a whispering sound coming from somewhere – under the bed, behind the door or something. Just ignore it. Don’t let it freak you out, or convince you of anything – everything it says is a lie. Ignore it.
Go to the vase, and pick it up with both hands simultaneously, making sure the eyes on your palms are touching the brass. If anything happens, or something touches your skin, remember, none of it can hurt you. Ignore it.
Tip the vase over, until all the blood has drained out. It can just go on the carpet or whatever. Keep it tilted until no more drops are dripping out of its mouth.
Do not look inside, or put a finger inside (for God’s sake). Just put it in your bag, and get rid of it. Somewhere no-one will be able to ever get their hands on it. Don’t ask me where – get creative. I’m so sorry to ask you to do this, Jason. It’s just that you’re the only person I completely trust. If I’d known what I know now…ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I guess.
I’m…a bit ill at the moment. I hope to be well enough to fly home next week, so I’ll see you then, if everything goes well.
All my love, Jules
Please, I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried to tell my wife about this, but she’s a science teacher and thanks to my history of practical jokes, she thinks I’m just kidding.
There is something stalking me. I don’t know what it wants, but almost every night since I started seeing it, it has terrorized me. It doesn’t touch me, it doesn’t communicate in any sort of way, it just fills me with horror. If what I seem to ramble, please forgive me… I haven’t slept in several days.
We live in the second floor of a duplex with stairs down the back of the house to the basement where the laundry machines are. There’s a door at the bottom of the stairs before the door to the basement that looks out onto our back porch and into the back yard. Six days ago, I was going down to the basement to bring up some laundry and I glanced out the door as I passed. There was a figure standing at the far edge of our yard. Her back was to me, and she was just standing there, looking into the woods beyond our yard. She was dressed in nothing but a light gown. It had lots of flowing material coming off of it that was whipping around in the air slowly. The whole scene creeped me out instantly, but I thought she might be a friend of our downstairs neighbor, so I continued to the basement. When I came back up, she wasn’t there.
The next night, I went down again, and as I passed the back door, I looked outside. The woman was back. She was exactly like she was the night before, facing away, not moving. The hair on my arms and neck stood up straight when I saw her. I was even more creeped out when I realized she was in the same clothes as the night before. That’s when I did something I shouldn’t have… I opened the back door. Leaning out, I called to her to see if she was okay. She didn’t respond. She didn’t make any sort of indcation that she’d heard me. It was freezing cold, so I shut the door and locked it. Coming back upstairs afterward, I looked out the window and she was gone again.
Later that same night, I was in the bedroom, getting ready to go to sleep. Everything was dark, because my wife had gone to bed before me. Our bedroom looks out over the backyard, and my side of the bed faces the windows, so I have to go past them to get in. As I was doing so, I suddenly got that same deep dread feeling in my stomach that I had gotten the first time I saw the figure in the backyard. Something compelled me to hesitate by the windows. My hands were shaking as I pulled the curtain back a bit and peeked through the shades into the backyard. It was a clear night, so the backyard wasn’t shrouded in darkness. The woman was standing in the middle of the backyard, no longer at the edge of the woods, facing the house with her head tilted up to look directly at the window I was peeking from. I jerked away instantly, afraid she had seen me. Her face was covered in shadow and hair, but I saw her chin and nose. A sharp nose and a thin chin. Gray. Her skin looks gray, I think. Her hair is black and long. I was so scared, I jumped into bed and covered myself with the covers.
The next day, I played outside in the snow with my four year old daughter. She wanted me to pull her on her sled in the backyard, but just the thought of going back there made me scared again, so I talked her into digging holes in the snow in the front yard. That night, things went from bad to worse. Somehow, I had managed to forget about the woman. Then, in the middle of the night, my daughter started crying. Our bedroom is just across the hall from hers. I thought she might need to use the bathroom or just be having a bad dream, so I went into her room to see if she was okay. She was uncovered, curled into a ball on her mattress. I pulled her covers over her and that’s when she whispered to me.
“Daddy, there’s someone in my closet.”
Instant goosebumps. I turned my head slowly toward the closet door at the end of her bed. Normally, the closet is shut, but now it was open. The woman was standing in my daughter’s closet. Not even when it was clear that I saw her did she move or make a sound, just stood there and looked at me through the cracked-open door. My blood ran cold when I saw her.
“Get up,” I told my daughter, “Get in my arms, quickly. QUICKLY.” she scrambled up and hugged me tightly and I walked backward out of the room, watching the closet the entire time. In my mind I imagined her throwing the closet door open and running at us, arms outstretched. I just hugged my daughter and walked backward into my room. The woman never appeared in the doorway. I heard no movement from my daughter’s room. I tucked her into my bed and stood there watching the doorway to her bedroom. I did not go back in, I just stood there and watched and listened. When I finally got the courage to climb into bed, I didn’t sleep.
Sunday, I told my wife everything. I told her about the first time I saw this woman, I told her about calling out to her and seeing her from the window. I told her that she had appeared in our daughter’s closet. She told me it wasn’t funny, that it was my fault for our daughter’s bad dreams and that I shouldn’t encourage her to be afraid of her closet.
Sunday night, my daughter called to me from her room again. Call me a coward, but I couldn’t go back into that room. I called her quietly to come get in our bed, but she cried and said she was scared. I wanted to go and get her, but I was scared too. I told her to pull her blankets up and cover herself. Just cover yourself, honey, and you’ll be okay. I prayed that it was true. I lay there, peeking over the sleeping form of my wife and out into the hallway at the closed door of my daughter’s room and just kept praying. I heard her cry a while longer, then she went quiet and I hoped that she was asleep.
Monday, I piled toys in front of the door to her closet. By that time, there was no doubt in my mind that this was some sort of ghost or apparition, but I piled things in front of the closet anyway. Like a pile of toys could stop a ghost.
Monday night, my daughter did not cry, but I didn’t sleep. I lay there, looking at the ceiling, tense. Around 2:00, I heard her bedroom door creak open and I knew something was wrong. She must be scared, I thought, so I called to her like before, “Just come to me and you can sleep in our bed, Sweety.” But she didn’t come. I peeked over my my wife.
The woman was standing there in the doorway to my daughter’s room. Her arms hung at her sides, her shoulders slouched down. Her gown was dirty, like it hadn’t been washed in years, and hung off her likes torn rags. I wasn’t breathing, I wasn’t blinking, I just looked at her and she looked at me and I thought this is it, I’m going to die. She never moved, never made a sound. I whispered, “Please, go away. Please, leave me alone. Please, I’m sorry.” I couldn’t look away. If I look away, she will get closer. I was sure of it. If I close my eyes, when I open them, she’ll be standing over me, looking at me. At some point, she was gone. It’s like I fell asleep with my eyes open. I don’t remember her disappearing, just that I was looking at the doorway, and she wasn’t there anymore.
Last night, I lay awake, waiting. I asked my wife to shut our bedroom door because the night light in the hallway was keeping me awake. It was stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking. Like clockwork, I heard my daughter’s bedroom door creak open. I held my breath. Then I heard the floorboards in the hallway creaking and I started shaking uncontrollably. I heard our bedroom door open, and I knew she was standing there, in the doorway, not moving, just looking at me. I didn’t look. I couldn’t. I did what had I told my daughter to do and pulled the covers over my head.
I am a complete mess. A zombie at work. I don’t want to go home anymore. I think I see the woman in other places. A glance while driving and I think she’s sitting in the passenger seat of the truck behind me, or standing down the street asI drive off. Just sitting here at my desk, someone passes by behind me and I jump. I’m afraid that if I turn around, she’ll be there, waiting for me to look at her. And what if I saw her face? I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to see her anymore, but I don’t know what to do. The only hope I feel is that, for unrelated reasons, my wife is talking about moving. But our lease isn’t up until May. I don’t know if I can hold out that long.
The house in Ducor, Calif., seemed perfect. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and enough acreage for Tammy’s horses, cats and dogs.
It was also near family.
“In 1996, my three daughters and I moved here from Texas,” she said. “My husband had passed away recently and we needed to be near family.”
And the rent, Tammy had found anywhere from $600 to $1,500 a month for something of that size, was only $350 in Ducor.
“I couldn’t believe my good luck,” she said.
But she soon found the reason the rent was so cheap – it was haunted.
“One of the first things we noticed was the wallpaper in the bedrooms,” she said. “One of the rooms had wallpaper that made it look like a padded cell. It literally looked like it had mattresses stuck around the room. The next room had barbed wire wallpaper around it, but the best was yet to come.”
The ceiling in the master bedroom was black, surrounded by dark purple walls. Tammy later wondered if the house had decided the decor for the former occupants.
The first night in the house seemed quiet, but Tammy’s middle daughter sent terror through Tammy over breakfast.
“(She) told me that she had seen the shadow of a man kind of float past her bedroom window,” Tammy said. “I thought she meant outside the window but she said that, ‘no, he was in her room.’”
Tammy hired men to install alarms around the house and yard the same day. But that night, when something invaded the rooms of Tammy and her daughter, the alarms didn’t go off.
“I woke up feeling as though something or someone had sat down on the edge of my bed,” she said. “But when I opened my eyes no one was there so I thought I was dreaming.”
Then the water faucet in the kitchen came on.
“I went to see if one of the kids was up getting a drink of water but no one was there,” she said. “As I started to walk out of the kitchen to go back to bed the door to the fridge flew open.”
Although she couldn’t explain what happened, Tammy went back to bed.
“The next morning my daughter again told me about the guy who walked past her window,” she said. “But this time he had lay down on the bed next to her and was breathing and whispering in her ear.”
When Tammy asked why she didn’t wake her up, the girl said she was too scared to get out of bed.
“She just pulled the covers up over her head and went to sleep,” Tammy said. “That began a nightly ritual for her and for some reason she never went to my room to wake me up to tell me.”
Tammy’s family began living with the faucets turning on by themselves, the television and stereo blaring in the middle of the night, and the refrigerator and the front and back doors standing wide open. But there was more.
“One evening, as my daughters and I were watching television in the living room, a roll of toilet paper flew down the hallway, landed on the floor in the entrance to the living room and rolled into the kitchen,” Tammy said. “We were the only ones there and there was no explanation as to who had thrown the toilet roll down the hall.”
Tammy took her daughters out of town one weekend and asked a family friend to stay at the house to care for the animals. When they returned home, the friend was gone.
“He had left a note,” Tammy said. “It said that he would never set foot in that house again and he advised me to get my family out of it ASAP.”
When she later spoke to him, he told her about the faucets, television and stereo coming on by themselves, and that something invisible had thrown a two-liter bottle of soda at his head.
“That was the last straw for me as well as I didn’t want to put my children through anymore than they had already endured,” Tammy said. “If a bottle of soda could be thrown at someone who didn’t live there, what might happen to my children if I stayed?”
Tammy didn’t try to discover what was haunting the house – she wasn’t going to be in the house long enough to care.
“We moved out a week later and never went back to that house,” she said.
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt