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
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 newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.