A tug on Rhonda Smith’s hair yanked her awake late one night in 2008. Smith, who lives near Springfield, Mo., expected it to be her boyfriend.
“My boyfriend worked at a bar and usually came home around 1:30 to 2 in the morning,” Smith said. “I was sleeping in my room and I thought John was home (and) was pulling my pony tail.”
She then felt John start poking her in the back.
“I told him to cut it out and come to bed,” she said. “It continued to poke me and pull my hair as to wake me to full awake.”
Now alert, Smith turned to tell John to leave her alone and come to bed – but instead found something terrifying.
“I saw a black – and I mean dark black – figure which to me looked like a man for the way it was built,” she said.
The figure just stood next her bed, staring at her.
“It was looking at me, but I don’t remember seeing any face on it,” Smith said. “This really scared me, but in my head I still thought somehow it was my boyfriend.”
The poking topped and Smith brushed off the figure she thought was John and went back to sleep.
“Then I realized John came home after this when he kissed me goodnight,” she said. “I fully woke up again and sat up in bed asking him, ‘weren’t you here a while ago?’”
John shook his head and told her he’d just come home.
“I knew something else had been in my room,” Smith said. “My granddaughter used to live here with her family before this incident, and she came out of her room saying something about a dark man and that she was scared and can’t get to sleep.”
Everyone thought the little girl’s “dark man” was imaginary, even Smith, until that night.
“Now I realize she’d seen something I saw,” Smith said.
Smith’s dog saw it, too. The dog follows Smith around the house, but one day it refused to go into a room.
“Sometime in the same week my dog was at the beginning of the hall and was not going in (the room) and looking up growling,” Smith said.
Smith saw the shadow man again on Jan. 17.
“I was sleeping in my bed with John; it was 2:45 in the morning,” she said. “I was facing the door this time and something bumped me in the nose like a big dog.”
Smith knew it couldn’t be her dog; her dog is small, and she’d locked it in its pen.
“I woke up to see at my bed level a dark image,” she said. “This little image went fast down and popped up to a man size image of the same dark man I’d seen before years back standing there looking at me.”
Smith lay still, trying to form the word “John,” but no sound would come.
“I closed my eyes and opened them to see if it was still there,” she said. “It was gone.”
Too afraid to go back to sleep, Smith got up and went downstairs.
“I thought maybe my house was haunted because other stuff happens around here as well,” she said. “So I had some local group from the Springfield area come out to do a reading.”
Smith wasn’t impressed with the results of the ghost hunting group’s investigation.
“The lady of the group said if it was dark then it was not a good thing,” Smith said. “Well I could have told her that.”
Smith, a Christian who reads from the Bible almost every night, now sleeps with the closet light and television on to keep the shadow man at bay.
“My boyfriend comes home from working nights at the local school as a janitor now and he has gotten slugged by me once because he has startled me when he kisses me at night,” she said. “I want someone else to see this thing, too. I know that sounds mean but why is just coming to bother me and freak me out?”
Copyright 2010 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, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
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 Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.