It happened at 3 a.m.
Yvonne Steele, 57, awoke in her bed in New Lebanon, Ohio, and got up to use the bathroom. She knew it was 3 a.m. because she looked at the clock. She’d soon start looking at the clock a lot.
“When I lay back down in bed, I looked up and there stood a man in a long black coat with a black top hat on,” Steele said. “He was dressed as if he stepped out of the late 1800s.”
The man had a handlebar moustache and reddish hair.
“He was a nice-looking man who appeared to be in his late 40s,” she said. “He stood there looking down at me and said, ‘We use it to haul people around. It is not a car and not a bus. It is a combination car and bus so we will call it a cab. That makes sense to me.’”
The man then turned and walked out Steele’s bedroom door. As she lie in bed, wondering what just happened, a thought kept naggingt her.
“I thought to myself, ‘it makes sense to me, too,’” she said. “I was not alarmed by seeing him and was not afraid at all. I thought it was strange, but went to sleep.”
The next morning she told her mother about the encounter.
“When I said he was wearing a long black coat, she looked at me and said, ‘was he wearing a top hat like Abraham Lincoln?’” Steele said. “I just looked at her in disbelief and said, ‘yes.’”
One night when Steele’s two brothers were about six and 10 years old, they were lying in bed and saw the same entity standing in their room – and, individually, they told their mother.
“Neither of them were afraid of him and each did not know the other saw him until years later when they were discussing it,” she said. “No one had ever said anything to me, but when I began telling the story, my mom immediately knew it had to be the same guy.”
The house where Steele lives is on the same property where her family’s former home stood. She is sure it was the same entity her brother’s saw.
“I have never believed in the ‘other side,’ but I did see this man and have no explanation for it,” she said.
A few days after Steele’s encounter, something else happened that she can’t explain.
“An antique clock that sits on my dresser chimed 3 o’clock one morning,” she said. “The clock is over 150 years old and when I went to bed the night before it was on 1 o’clock where it has been for years. When I woke up the next morning it said 3 o’clock.”
The pendulum is not attached to the clock so Steele doesn’t know how the time could have changed.
“I do not believe in ghosts and yet this happened to me,” she said. “I have no explanation for this and a friend of mine who does believe in the spirit world informed me that it was a spirit trying to tell me something, though I don’t know what. If I had to give a description of this man to a sketch artist I could. I remember him and how he looked as if he were standing in front of me right now.”
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
You can get Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at www.amazon.com.