The first members of John Markway’s family who noticed something wrong were the twins.
John and his three sons, the twins 17, the youngest 12, moved into the house in Bothell, Washington, with John’s new wife, but not until the twins started running track in high school, did any of them notice the darkness in the neighborhood.
“They were putting in practice time running the roads around our house and they soon discovered that this area has some eccentricities,” John said. “The area of strangeness seems to parallel a road, now called a street, that runs not far from our house. It appears to be a typical ’20s-era farm road that is fairly common in these parts.”
When John’s family moved into the area, they heard stories about that road, stories of a local “peeper, which was creepy, but probably just kids right?” John said.
It wasn’t just kids. Kids wouldn’t go anywhere near that road.
“An area on the road perhaps two short blocks from our home was simply unpleasant,” John said. “Everyone avoided that stretch of road except for car use. Hell, blackberry vines were out in the road, and kids used a detour through a field to bypass the place.”
When the twins took that road on their evening running route, they sensed a phantom jogger ran behind them.
“After consulting with other neighborhood runners they discovered that that area was avoided for that reason,” John said. People, including the twins, “would hear footsteps mimicking theirs behind them, breath upon their shoulders, hear breathing and upon a couple of occasions had things thrown at them.”
Although the twins didn’t believe in the paranormal, they had no explanation for what was happening to them on that road.
“What really got my attention was the incident that ended their nighttime running in that direction,” John said. “Number Two twin encountered a green fog in a sort of cloud about a block away. He said that it glowed.”
A few nights later, John decided to go out in the dark and look at this road himself.
“It was probably late September to October. There was a full moon, about 42 degrees and absolutely clear, something not common here,” he said.
John’s youngest son, 12, accompanied him.
“We got up onto the road and got our bearings,” he said. “No green fog; life is disappointment.”
But John wasn’t to be disappointed.
Father and son walked down the lonely road toward the spot John’s older son encountered the fog. A narrow shoulder separated the road from the field and thick trees on the left.
“I had a flashlight but do not remember using it,” he said. “I looked in back of us for a second, and saw a shadow rapidly approaching us from the south.”
The shadow seemed to be caused by something in the sky. John first thought it may be an airplane, cloud, or some kind of balloon, but he saw nothing that could have caused the shadow.
“This was no small shadow, this literally encompassed everything,” he said.
Immediately the dim grayness of the night turned noticeably darker – but the moon and stars still shone through a cloudless sky.
“We continued to walk, making for a streetlight that seemed to mark the end of the affected area,” John said. “When we got there, a crossroads, there was what looked like a wolf grinning at us under the light pole. Too weird. We took another way home.”
Neither John nor his son encountered anything else strange on their walk home, but after that night, everyone in the house began to have strange experiences.
“Other phenomena afflict our lives,” John said. “At times we go through 20 light bulbs a month, and sometimes we know ahead of times that they will blow. We have repeated phantom visitors – the sound of someone coming in the front door, footsteps, phantom dog scratches, and things falling from walls.”
The darkness John and his youngest son experienced outside may have followed them inside.
“My wife and I both feel that the house is too dark,” he said. “And sometimes feel as if we are being drained. We both have medical retirements and we spend a lot of time here. We were ready to move when the housing bubble popped. We have a lot of equity but no one is buying, or we'd be long gone. Something is wrong with this place.”
Copyright 2011 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, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.