Author’s notes: 1) This is the last in a short series on encounters with strange men in Missouri. 2) Witness Lynn Graves has provided me with a picture of one of these strange men, however, since the man is identifiable, I cannot publish the picture.
Lynn Graves saw the first strange man in Jefferson City. Thin, mechanical, and mumbling to the point of buzzing, the man followed Graves through a department store and a bookstore on two separate occasions.
Since those encounters, different men – although with the same robotic, soulless mannerisms – have followed her to work in the Lake of the Ozarks.
“I really think these guys are taking interest in me. These men I believe are non-human people of some sorts,” she said. “I know that they know I'm noticing them and talking about them to certain people.”
About three weeks after she first encountered the odd person with a false male voice, she heard that voice at work – 45 miles away.
“I was working on a day that was kinda busy,” she said. “I heard that same deep low voice that came from the man in Target, but from a different man.”
She looked and saw a fellow employee talking about the hotel with a thin man wearing a beige, button-up shirt and sunglasses. The man shortly left, but he would be back.
“A couple weeks after that I saw him again,” she said. “He asked me about rates. He was very weird the way he spoke and behaved.”
Graves started to tell the man the hotel rates when he interrupted her.
“Oh well,” the man said. “We got some place to stay down the road.”
Then he turned and walked away.
“The way he talked and moved reminded me of the guy in the first ‘Men In Black’ movie,” Graves said. The ‘guy’ in the movie was an alien who behaved robotically. “That’s what these guys would remind you of.”
The movie, “Men in Black” (1997) was loosely based on a character in ufology that resembles the men Graves reports.
When the man walked away, although still in the lobby, two fellow employees approached Graves and asked about the “weird guy.”
“I acted like I didn't suspect anything,” Graves said. “I just agreed that he was very strange.”
The man looked around the hotel’s gift shop before taking a decade-out-of-date cell phone from his pocket and pretended to have a conversation.
“He walked outside around the corner of the building where the parking lot is,” Graves said. “I watched and watched to see what car pulled out, but I didn't see anything.”
Later that night, a hotel guest complained his iPod had been stolen from his locked vehicle, but Graves didn’t think much about it until later.
About a week later, a boat explosion seriously injured a family at a dock near the hotel. Later that day, she saw two of these strange men.
“These guys were a little thinner but also wore sunglasses,” she said. “One of them was dressed like an obvious tourist. I think they try too hard to fit in.”
One of the men – who all appear to be between 45 and 55 – walked through the door and approached the front desk.
“He gave me en evil look out of the corner of his eye, but approached the other woman I worked with and asked her if we had rooms available,” Graves said. “She said, ‘no, we are full.’”
This seemed to be what the man wanted to hear and walked out.
“This guy was like, OK, and just walked off,” Graves said. “My lady friend that I work with made a comment that he was very, very strange.”
Later in the evening, she saw the second man walking back and forth from the hall to the lobby. The man also held an older-model cell phone to his ear, but didn’t speak.
“He looked at me out of the corner of his eye,” Graves said. “That guy gave me such a bad feeling of dread. The feeling I get from them paralyzes me.”
During Labor Day weekend, 2010, another boating accident near the hotel killed a young woman. Soon after, another of Graves’ strange men appeared.
“There were some young guests in the hotel that came up to me concerned about a very suspicious man down on one of the floors that was in shorts, a T-shirt and sunglasses,” Graves said. “Indoors in the evening? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was one of my guys.”
She called security on the radio and asked them to look for the man. Security couldn’t find him. Days later, one of these men showed up again.
“We had a group of business people in house,” Graves said. “I was standing at the front desk on a computer (when) all the sudden out of nowhere there was a guy standing by the fireplace on a cell phone, but not talking.”
The man wore layers of clothing and did not fit in with the hotel crowd. Graves reached to the desk and grabbed her camera, but when she turned back he had vanished.
“I was gone for no more than six seconds and when I came back he was not anywhere,” she said. “He was not standing by a door or hallway to where he could have escaped my view.”
Minutes later, a cab pulled up to the hotel, the cab driver steps out of the car and “falls flat on his butt.”
“These men I've seen are not guests at the hotel. They seem to only stick around for a short while,” Graves said. “Every time I see one of these guys at the hotel something bad, big or small, happens.”
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.