Sunday, June 28, 2009

Black-Eyed Kids in Kansas

It was warm for a December afternoon in Hutchinson, Kan., when Katie came home from work in 2008. Katie’s ride dropped her off across from her duplex, and as she stood in the street, her ride moving slowly away, she knew something wasn’t right.

“I noticed two boys standing in my driveway,” she said. “One had longer dark hair and the other had his hood up so I couldn't see him very well.”

The teenagers, about 15 or 16 years old, seemed to be watching her – Katie felt they were waiting for her. She steeled herself and walked nervously across the road toward her porch. The boys had lurked around her neighborhood for months, but they’d never been so bold as to stand this close to her home.

“I had seen them before, lingering in the yard, but they always left before I got out of my ride's car,” Katie said. “I had seen them late at night as well standing across the street when I would go outside to have an occasional late-night cigarette.”

But, although pangs of unease told her to run, their boldness angered her. She stopped and asked them why they were on her property.

“They told me they needed to use a phone and that the neighbors would not let them in,” she said. “That was when I noticed their eyes – they were coal black. Just black. No white and not even a hint of iris or pupil.”

Fear shot through her, but as evenly as she could, Katie told them she didn’t have a telephone. Katie walked up her porch steps and began to unlock her door when the boy in the hood spoke.

“He asked if they could come in for a glass of water,” she said. “I turned to look at them again thinking maybe my mind was playing tricks. But no, when I turned and looked into their eyes they were pitch black as the first time.”

These children with dead, black eyes had spoken softly to her, emotion and vocal inflection absent from their words. As she looked at these boys, whose long hair and hooded sweatshirts she felt hid more than skin, she knew she had to get away.

“I felt panicked and fearful but also very vulnerable and cold,” she said. “It was like I wanted to let them in but I knew there was evil present. I had felt uneasy before seeing their eyes but now it all came out.”

Then one boy said something that turned her fear into complete terror.

“The hooded one then told me they couldn't come in unless I told them it was OK and that they hoped I would because they were thirsty,” Katie said. “I opened my door and darted inside. At this point I shut the door and locked it.”

She dropped onto the couch, her breaths coming in short, heavy gasps, when something tapped on the window behind her head.

“One of the boys stood there staring through the glass,” Katie said. “I remember his words very clearly; ‘just let us in, miss. We aren't dangerous, we don't have anything to hurt you with.’ I was beyond frightened at this point.”

Katie jumped off the couch and ran through the duplex, checking doors and windows to make sure they were locked.

“I did wonder if they really couldn't come in unless invited but I didn't want to find out,” she said. “I sat in the living room silently waiting for a sign that they had gone.”

When her boyfriend came home a short time later, the black-eyed teens were still at the house.

“(He) asked if I knew who the two boys outside were and I said ‘no,’” Katie said. “He told me they had been standing in the driveway when he pulled up but walked away when he stepped out of the car.”

He didn’t notice the boys’ eyes, but “they gave him a strange feeling.”

Katie later asked her neighbors if the black-eyed children had asked to use their telephone like they had claimed. The neighbors noticed the teens standing in Katie’s driveway, but never spoke with them.

Although it’s been more than a year since Katie turned the black-eyed children from her door, she knows they’re still around.

“I still see them every now and then standing across the street watching,” she said. “But they have not approached again.”

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 Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Ghost in the Building

The old building on Siler Road on the south side of Santa Fe, N.M., sits in an industrial area. It’s housed a printer’s shop and a line of small businesses – it’s also home to something destructive.

Sally Blakemore rented a space in a newly built addition in the upper reaches of the building when she discovered something was wrong.

“I was a member of a large 10-person marimba band that plays 1,000-year-old Shona music from Zimbabwe at the time,” she said. “This music traditionally was channeled to the African people and they interpreted it through singing. It is used to contact the ancestors for ancestor worship rituals in Africa. We just play it for fun.”

The band members stored their instruments in Blakemore’s studio and, during a rehearsal one night, something let the band know it didn’t want them there.

“As we played, the water dispenser in the studio, which had just been filled, literally exploded off its stand,” Blakemore said. “It was the kind of dispenser where the plastic bottle fits upside down into the holder and a spigot for filling up your glass.”

As they played, the water bottle and a potted plant Blakemore had sat atop it, “literally threw themselves up and out of the metal container and smashed on the floor spewing water everywhere and smashing the plant to pieces,” she said.

Band members initially thought vibrations from their instruments may have caused the crash, but quickly dismissed it.

“It just didn’t make any physical sense because the weight of the water, to pull it up and out, could not have been achieved by vibrations in the water,” she said. “We were baffled and a little freaked out about it and ended rehearsal early.”

Blakemore, who designs pop-up books, was later working on project with her assistant when she realized something was definitely wrong with the building. They were sitting on the floor in front of a sofa when a thud pulled their attention away from their project.

A bar of handmade soap a friend had recently given Blakemore sat on the rug. She had earlier placed it on a table on the opposite side of the sofa.

“The soap had literally thrown itself up in the air, over the sofa and landed on the carpet where we were working,” she said. “We were astonished. How could this happen?”

She investigated the history of the building and found her incidents were not alone.

“An older Spanish man who had been a printer at the printing company for 20 years said, ‘One night, it was late, and I was printing a rush job for the next day. Something made me look up from what I was doing and I saw a face in the glass window cut in the door to the print room,’” she said.

The man stopped the press, grabbed a metal bar and ran down the hall to confront this person who wasn’t supposed to be in the building. He saw “‘two legs wearing blue jeans rush into the photo room,’” Blakemore said.

The figure appeared to be a 17-year-old boy. The man yelled after him and ran into the photo room. No one was there. It disturbed the man enough he left the building and described what happened to the owners the next day.

A story Blakemore uncovered may explain what the man saw.

“The building at one time had been some kind of youth detention center,” she said. “The story is that a boy had hung himself in the back room area where the printer was now working.”

Blakemore soon moved out of the building due to financial issues, but a year later moved back in to a studio on a lower floor of the building – the floor where the printer saw the teenaged boy.

“There was a definite creepiness in that hall,” she said.

Things were quiet when she first moved back to the building, but after a few months the destruction started again. Over a weekend, behind the locked studio door, something ripped apart a large framed mirror.

“The mirror, which was hung on a very large nail and frame support, had been literally torn apart as if someone had taken the edges of the frame and pulled them revealing four-inch nails that had been forced from the frame,” she said. “The wire still hung on the frame hanger and the pieces of frame were pulled out and all distorted around the dropped glass into a trapezoid, torn apart.”

The mirror itself was intact, laying in the floor “as if it was placed there,” Blakemore said. “My hair stood straight up in horror.”

During another rehearsal, a coo-coo clock threw itself off the wall and slammed into a door. The adults in the room only saw the clock; the children saw something different.

“Children who play in a children’s band … all looked toward the door of the room,” Blakemore said. “After we finished the song they asked who the guy was standing in the door.”

Since then, band members have started trying to appease whatever spirit haunts the building.

“The children thought we should make a place above a stair area as a spirit house for the uncomfortable spirit,” she said. “They placed a little basket up there with some candy in it and flowers and some paper offerings of blessings. Since that time we have not had an incident. The room seems calm 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 Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Haunted Conservatory

Central Methodist University has anchored the small town of Fayette, Missouri, since its doors opened in September 1857. During the past 150-plus years, a number of people have died at the university – and some may still be there, awaiting graduation.

Ghostly stories, of knocks, taps, footsteps and apparitions are often associated with dormitories.

“Howard-Payne is where all the whacky stuff happens,” said Melanie Schaefer, a former financial assistance counselor at the university.

A stone outside the Howard-Payne dormitory reads “Howard Female College.” While the college refurbished the dormitory in the 1940s, a falling brick killed a student, reported the campus newspaper, The Talon. Since then, her spirit has appeared outside the dorm, but more typically is experienced inside the building, turning electrical appliances on and off, knocking on doors and rattling pipes.

But bigger things happen at the conservatory.

Sean Maples’ supernatural investigation group Missouri Paranormal visited the university and is convinced something haunts the building.

“We spend most of our time debunking things and I would say 90 percent of the stuff we run across we can explain,” he said. “But it was one of most interesting ones that we’ve done. We really had a lot of weird experiences.”

The building moaned.

“It was probably right around one in the morning. It was just me and one other investigator in the whole building,” he said. “We were probably two feet apart. It was so loud I was surprised the other team members outside the building didn’t hear it. It literally echoed through this church.”

The noise died as quickly as it filled the sanctuary and, Maples realized, it came from the side of the building that held the exits.

“We decided to go downstairs in complete darkness and out of the auditorium in complete darkness to get out of that building,” he said. “It spooked me a little bit. We went back in there and could not determine the cause of it.”

The heat was not on in the building, nor was the air conditioning. Maples’ group has been back twice and has not been able to explain the noise by natural means.

In the auditorium, Maples and other investigators have heard voices “like whispers.” Maples has captured a number of these on audio in the form of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (voices recorded in an empty room).

“One of the weirdest things we caught on EVPs was a cat,” Maples said. “There’s a cat meowing in the basement of the church. We looked all over and couldn’t find it. We really didn’t find that significant at all, until the second visit we captured an EVP of a man in the auditorium talking about a cat.”

That man may be former band director Tom Birch, who died in that room May 1, 1964, while conducting the piece “The Catacombs” from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” at the annual spring concert.

Jim Steele, owner and publisher of The Fayette Advertiser and The Democrat-Leader, was a senior at the university and was in the auditorium when Birch had a heart attack.

“It was kind of a warm pleasant spring evening,” Steele said. “He had the white starched shirt, tails. (He had) Just as he had gotten into (The Catacombs) there was a ‘whoo,’ a gasp you could hear in the audience.”

Birch dropped onto the stage, fell into the drum set and died.

Since then, people occasionally report seeing a man in a tuxedo that looks like Dr. Birch standing in front of the auditorium smoking a cigar – such as the image a student saw in the 1970s.

“A girl was going from the student union across campus to Cross Memorial Clock Tower on the campus’ quadrangle,” said Robert Bray, Central’s Alumni Director at the time. “The apparition appeared and said, ‘Nice evening for a concert.’”

Frightened, the girl convinced her boyfriend to go with her to the conservatory. She found a picture of the man she’d seen – it was Dr. Birch.

“You can tell it’s a male in the church, the voices we captured,” Maples said.

Other spirits that reportedly haunt Central Methodist University are N. Louise Wright, dean of the conservatory of music who died much like Birch, during a performance; and the ghost of a young stable boy who was killed on the university grounds during the Civil War.

During the group’s last visit to the university, they captured an EVP that may have been the stable boy asking for help.

“Each one of us carried a two-way radio; they’re all on the same channel,” Maples said. “When (the child’s voice) happened, two of the people with radios were standing next to me and mine was the only one who went off – it was a kid.”

Missouri Paranormal approaches reported hauntings as skeptics, treating orbs and bumps in the night first as things that can be explained terrestrially. But they couldn’t explain the Central Methodist University hauntings.

“A lot of activity we captured didn’t really follow the normal expectations of a normal haunting,” he said. “It seemed like the activity was very sporadic. It was a hit-or-miss deal. If you weren’t in the right spot you didn’t experience it.”

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 Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Evil Little Man

The house sits on a large piece of land near the Tule River in California. Several outbuildings dot the property, but only one ever made Tammy quicken her pace as she walked by – the barn.

“About five years ago, my three kids and I lived in a house just off the river here in Porterville, Calif.,” Tammy said. “The lot we lived on was about 100 acres and there were five houses and one very old spooky barn.”

Tammy and her children had two dogs, a cat, two turkeys, six chickens and a couple of ducks, none of which would venture close to the barn. Some of the other animals weren’t as lucky.

“We had had a lot more chickens and ducks but they had started disappearing,” Tammy said. “I also noticed that none of the neighbor’s animals, or stray animals for that matter, would go anywhere near that barn. It was without a doubt just creepy.”

But the barn was on the way to the river, and they often had to walk past that building, its big doorway gaping and black as a pit.

“We always got the feeling of being watched,” Tammy said. “I am a bit sensitive to spirits and things like that anyway so all my nerves were jangling whenever I went past that barn.”

Often, when the sun began to set, Tammy and her children would notice their animals acting strangely, often staring at the old barn with trepidation.

“Many a night would pass that all the animals around us would be barking and howling and just going crazy,” she said. “I never saw anything and thought the dogs were just barking at each other.”

But one night she noticed not all the noises came from their animals. There was something else.

“Sometimes we would hear noises coming from the barn but always just figured it was rats or some other wild animal as we had all kinds,” Tammy said.

But then she saw the little man.

“One evening my son, who was seven years old at the time, and I had just come back from grocery shopping,” Tammy said. “We parked and got out of the car and as I was opening up the back to get the groceries out I noticed a movement out of the corner of my right eye.”

Tammy looked to her right but didn’t see anything. Then, as she lifted a grocery sack from the car, she saw the movement again.

“This time I heard a very freaky, very evil-sounding chuckle,” she said. “I looked in the direction of the sound and there standing about 50 yards from my son and I was what I can only describe as a gnome.”

The entity was about two to three feet tall. Baggy black pants hung from its waist and the “creature” wore a gold-colored shirt. It had a salt and pepper beard and hair that ran from beneath a red, pointed hat.

“That thing grinned at us and the creepy grin spread from ear to ear and its teeth were a gross brown and pointed or jagged,” she said. “It had a bulbous nose and large, deep-set eyes, though I really couldn’t tell the color of them. I never got a closer look at it and don’t know if it was wearing shoes or not because at that moment I dropped my groceries grabbed my son and ran for the house.”

Tammy reached the house, clutching her son close. Behind her the car trunk sat open, the groceries still inside, and a little, wicked man was laughing.

“We ran in the house where I promptly slammed the door shut,” she said. “I was trying to tell my daughters what had happened when we heard something moving in the garden under the living room window.”

As they looked toward the noise, the bent-over top of the thing’s red, pointed hat appeared in the window.

“I closed the blinds and moved away from the window,” she said. “The weird thing about seeing that hat under the window is that the window was about eight to 10 feet off the ground and that little creepy thing was only about two or three feet, so how was it able to be so close up to the window?”

Eventually, the thing left the window and Tammy retrieved the groceries from the car. She never saw the thing again, but until the day she moved, she knew it was still around.

“After that night whenever the dogs barked or howled we were pretty sure we knew what they were barking at,” she said. “We were also pretty sure of where our missing poultry had gone. From time to time we would hear a weird creepy chuckle and other noises coming from that old barn.”

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 Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Demon in the House

Author’s note: Carl Phillips is not the name of the counselor in this story. With respect for his professional privilege, it has been changed.

The modest Alabama home was typical for modern-day America; mom, stepdad, and three children – but soon after Carl Phillips stepped into the home, he knew something was seriously wrong.

“I am a licensed professional counselor that holds mental health counseling sessions in the homes of my clients,” Phillips said. “I was assigned to help a 16-year-old – whom had prior sexually molested his three-year-old sister – transition back into the family home.”

The sessions went well for about two months; then Phillips noticed something begin to chip away at the 16-year-old.

“The client began a very atypical downward spiral,” Phillips said. “I could not find a cause nor could I help him pull out of it.”

The teen soon molested his sister again and was taken from the home and placed back into a Department of Youth Services treatment center. But it wasn’t until the boy was gone that Phillips realized what tortured this family wasn’t the teenager, it was the house.

“I was asked to remain and hold four sessions with the remaining family members to help them cope with the 16-year-old's noted removal,” he said. The step-father, however, refused to take part. “During this time, the other brother, nine years of age, whom was very healthy mentally, moved into the bedroom that had been his 16-year-old brother's.”

And the downward spiral continued.

“While concluding a session with him, he asked me if I had ever heard voices,” Phillips said. “I was shocked by his question, which led to my questioning him about this comment, and he disclosed that he does not ‘hear voices,’ but instead hears a single voice originating from his closet.”

As Phillips listened to the boy’s description of the voice, the atmosphere in the room began to waver.

“Something in that room then changed, as if the air became slightly thinner and warmer,” he said. “I saw that the nine-year-old client also felt this change, as he had a look of terror.”

Phillips felt the urge to run, but something held him fast.

“I myself have faced many difficult situations in life, and I pride myself in never getting rattled,” he said. “But I felt complete, abject terror at this time to the point that if a child would not have been left behind, I would have fled the house.”

He didn’t, and the counseling session continued. The boy told Phillips of mornings when a deep, raspy voice roused him from sleep.

“He would be woken by the voice who would inform him that ‘no one loves you. It doesn't matter what you do, your family will not stay together,’” Phillips said. “He then began crying deeply, and disclosed that some nights the voice had woke him and told him go ‘and do (bad things) to your sister.’”

As these words spilled from the boy’s mouth, the tension in the room grew taut.

“I then instructed him to stand and pray as I prayed,” Phillips said. “Immediately upon beginning the prayer, the room again felt normal and the overpowering feeling of fear was gone. I discussed with the client about regular prayer and church attendance.”

A month later, Phillips’ required counseling sessions were over, and he never went back to that house. But the family wasn’t finished with him.

“A little over one year later, the family saw me out getting supper and came to speak to me,” he said. “I noticed the mom was with a different man than she had been with during the time she and her family had seen me as a counselor.”

The mother introduced Phillips to her new husband; then told Phillips what had happened after the counseling sessions ended.

“I got the coldest of chills when she disclosed the following to me,” he said. “Soon after I concluded sessions with them the prior year, her nine-year-old son had begged to change rooms. She explained that she and her ex-husband had been having very large problems in their marriage, and as a result, he moved out of their bedroom and into the one her youngest son had moved from.”

And it began again.

“The woman then looked at me and disclosed that she had divorced her ex-husband due to his decision to, early one morning, after midnight, molest her young daughter,” Phillips said. “I could not say anything for several minutes, and upon eventually wishing good-bye to the family, I reflected on their case, which was the most frightening matter I had ever experienced personally or professionally.”

Between the divorce and remarriage, the family moved from the house.

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 Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at