Friday, June 24, 2011

Ghosts, flies and scratches

The smell roused five-year-old Caitlen Crotts’ mother from sleep. It was the smell of death.

Caitlen’s family had just moved to the house in Galax, Va., a house once occupied by cousins who dabbled in the occult. The Crotts immediately found their cousins had left something behind.

“On that first night, I was asleep on the pull-out couch,” Caitlen said. “My sister, having just been born, was in the bedroom with my mom and dad.”

It was then the stench wrenched her mother awake.

“She smelled something awful,” Caitlen said. “Awful and strong enough to wake her up from a deep sleep, and trust me, my mom sleeps deep. It smelled like decomposing bodies and burning.”

As Caitlen’s mother snapped awake, she moved her eyes toward the open bedroom doorway and saw a man.

“A tall man was standing there,” Caitlen said. “She woke up my father and he jumped from the bed and chased after the black shadow man.”

Caitlen’s father chased the tall, dark man into the kitchen. The intruder ran toward the back door.

“The black shadow man disappeared through the back door,” Caitlen said.

Her father threw open the door and ran outside, but the shadow man was gone.

The Crotts family soon discovered there were more spirits in the house than the shadow.

“A few months later, I remember getting up in the middle of the night and going into the kitchen,” Caitlen said. “I don’t remember why I went in or what woke me, but there was a man in the kitchen cooking. He looked normal to me and I was not afraid.”

The man asked Caitlen if she would like biscuits.

“I told him no,” she said. “I went back to bed in my baby sister’s room that night.”

That wouldn’t be the last night Caitlen slept in her sister’s room; it happened more frequently after she began to see the blonde man.

“It was summertime and I had just gotten my own bedroom in that house,” she said. “My bed was against the wall and I had a big vanity right on front of the bed at the foot. I remember waking up one morning and, still laying in my bed, looking into the mirror. There was a man there, in a purple turtleneck sweater, with long blonde hair.”

The blonde man didn’t move; he just stared at Caitlen through the mirror, his expression blank.

“I quickly pulled the covers over my head and huddled there. I didn’t scream,” she said. “A short time later, I looked in the mirror and the man was gone.”

He would be back – often, and Caitlen wasn’t the only one to see him.

“He frequently appeared in my mirror when I was in bed,” she said. “Once, my cousin stayed the night. She woke me up crying and said someone had just hit her.”

She claimed the attacker was a blonde woman in a purple shirt.

“I know it was the same man,” Caitlen said. “She thought it was a lady because the man had very long blonde hair, but he is a man. I remember that ghost the most because of how often he was in my mirror in the mornings. Even now, 14 years later, I’m afraid of mirrors.”

There was also something wrong with the bathroom. It attracted flies.

“That bathroom was filled with flies at least once a month,” Caitlen said. “It would randomly just fill with big, black flies. My mom would go in with a vacuum and, frustrated, clean out the flies. She did this so many times.”

No matter how her father tried to plug possible entry points in the bathroom, the flies returned. Caitlen thinks the flies may in some way be connected to an event that happened the next day.

“One night, a night that preceded a fly-filled bathroom morning, I woke up to a pain in my foot,” Caitlen said. “I screamed and called for my mom. When she turned on the lights, we saw that my sheets and blanket were covered in blood and my foot and ankle were netted with long scratches.”

She never stayed in her bedroom again.

“After that, I had to share a room with my sister beside my mom and dad’s room,” she said. “My room stayed vacant for the rest of the time we lived there.”

Caitlen’s family is certain the former tenants attracted the spirits.

“It was a fairly old house and before we lived there, my cousins had lived there,” she said. “They frequently partied and had a somewhat crime-filled lifestyle. My mom lays the blame here for the things that happened there; she says they were into black magic.”

Although Caitlen said her cousins weren’t educated in satanism, they dabbled in it, and used a Ouija board “almost nightly.”

“They decorated the house in skulls and things like that,” she said. “And they listened to music that scared me, even now it gives me a disturbing feeling.”

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 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,

Friday, June 17, 2011

There's Something in Our House -- Part Two

Author’s note: This is the second of a two-part story about something wicked that has invaded the Liberty, Mo., home of Kim and Mike Smithmeyer, and their seven-year-old twin boys.

Three years after the Smithmeyers moved into their newly constructed home in Liberty, Mo., strange occurrences slowly appeared in their lives. After four years of unexplained bumps and slamming doors – things started targeting the children.

A child-sized body hit the bed one morning, rousing Kim Smithmeyer from sleep. She expected one of her twin boys, Dan or Randy, trying to sneak into bed with her. She prepared herself, then snapped up to surprise them, but no one was there.

This wasn’t the only childlike event that crept up on Kim. Small voices have called “Mommy” in the night, although when she checked on her children, they were asleep.

Then things began to talk to the twins.

“Randy has mentioned how come sometimes when Dad isn’t home he’ll hear (Dad) say, ‘hey, fellas,’” she said. “Randy has also said ‘I’m really tired of doors shutting and no one comes through them.’”

Kim is sure her experiences in the house haven’t influenced what her children have told her, because they don’t know what has happened to her.

“I have not talked with my kids about any of the stuff I’ve seen. They’re seven,” she said. “He’s hearing doors shutting. They came down one night and said, ‘can we sleep with you? We’re tired of hearing scratching sounds in our room.’”

Although she hasn’t heard the same slamming doors or scratching sounds the children have heard, Kim said the twin’s room feels different than any other room in the house. And they feel it, too.

One day Dan, who’s been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder and often acts out in anger, misbehaved and Kim sent him to his room.

“If he doesn’t do something right the first time he gets angry with himself,” she said. “I took a glass of water up there and said, ‘what can we do about your anger?’”

That’s when darkness wiped itself across Kim’s life.

“I’m just tired of the voices telling me to do bad things,” Dan said.

Calmly, Kim asked, “What do you mean?”

Dan looked at his hands.

“Well, I don’t want to say because they’re bad words and they might hurt your feelings,” he said.

“You can tell me anything,” Kim told him. “If it’s bad, you don’t need to deal with it anyway.”

Dan looked at his mother.

“The voices tell me to kill you,” he said.

Kim sat looking at her son, trying not to let Dan know how much these words disturbed her.

“They tell you to kill me?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Anything else?”

He looked back down.

“To hurt the cats and to do things to my brother,” Dan said.

Kim stood and said she was going to get Daddy. When Mike came to the room, they sat, Dan on Kim’s lap.

“I don’t want to say it,” Dan said abruptly.

“Did someone just say something?” Kim asked.

“Cut the bitch’s head off,” Dan said in a weak voice.

Kim looks back on that moment in horror.

“He said the voices said they killed Jesus,” Kim said. “We don’t watch scary movies. I can’t imagine him saying he wants to kill me.”

They took this normally polite, friendly boy to a psychiatrist the next day. Kim said they’re open to therapy, medication or a paranormal solution – anything to help their son.

Dan spent the next weekend with his grandmother. “He was perfect,” Kim said.

But when Dan came home, bedtime was not so perfect.

“When we brought him home from Mom’s, he was in a great mood, but when we took him to his room his whole demeanor changed,” Kim said. “He just said, ‘can I just sleep with you?’”

“You don’t want to sleep up here?” Kim asked.

“No, I don’t want to sleep up here.”

Kim could see the fear in the boy’s eyes.

“I said, OK.”

As Kim and Mike watched the boys walk down the stairs toward the master bedroom, muffled knocks thudded in the room.

“I heard three knocks from the closet,” Kim said. “I said to my husband, ‘I know you heard that. That was three knocks, Mike. That was from the closet.’”

Mike, who had held the door the entire time, looked at Kim, his face ashen, and shook his head.

“Kim,” he said. “I felt it in the door.”

At this point they decided to do something about whatever lurked in their home.

“I feel like a fool. I talk to the house,” Kim said. “I say, ‘I know something’s here. Please just don’t scare my family leave my children alone.’”

Although Kim and Mike are interested in the paranormal and watch various ghost hunting TV programs, they don’t talk about it with the boys.

“I am intrigued, but I’ve never done Ouija boards or anything,” Kim said. “I just think everything is possible. I think we’re going to keep the boys in our room for a while.”

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 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,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

There's Something in Our House -- Part One

Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part story about something wicked that inhabits a Liberty, Mo., home.

The 2000s looked promising for Kim and Mike Smithmeyer. Steady jobs at the Ford Motor Company’s Claycomo, Mo., plant, construction of a new house in Liberty, Mo., and the birth of identical twins, Dan and Randy; all by 2003. In 2006 Kim took a buyout from Ford to stay at home with the boys and go back to school.

Then things changed. Something dark came into their lives.

“The first thing was in 2006,” Kim said. “Dan was three. I was just holding him and he was looking at the stairs and said, ‘Mommy, who are the people coming down the stairs?’”

Kim looked, but the stairs were empty.

“Honey, I don’t see them,” she said. “Could you describe them?"

Dan ignored his mother, intently looking at the stairs, moving his head as if he was following something.

“Then he said they were gone,” Kim said.

Although she dismissed this incident as a three-year-old’s imagination, she soon discovered it wasn’t.

“A couple of months later, it was late at night, my family was sleeping and I was going to do laundry,” she said.

She reached toward the laundry room door and the door handle moved.

“I went to grab the laundry room door and the door just literally, like you were opening the door handle, it moved on its own.”

Kim stood before the door, not believing what she’d seen, put the laundry basket on the floor, walked to her bedroom and went to sleep, leaving the dirty laundry until tomorrow.

“I know what I saw and I know I heard it, but I tried to explain it away,” she said. “I just kept trying to dismiss it. I just could not come up with an explanation. I thought I did not see that. I told my husband, and he said, ‘yeah, no.’”

Then things escalated.

“We started hearing the sounds of footsteps above us,” Kim said. “Then it would sound like when our kids would run down the stairs and we’d look, and there would be nothing. The kids would be asleep.”

Kim was asleep one night when something in the house got personal.

“One time I was taking a nap on the couch and I woke up and to what I thought was my husband coming home from work,” she said. “I laid there because I just wanted to sleep. He tucked me in. I felt the tuck in. I (went back to sleep and) woke up 20 minutes later and it was not near the time for him to come home.”

Kim called Mike at work.

“I said, ‘did you come home?’ He said, ‘no.’”

Mike has downplayed the occurrences in the home, Kim said, although they’ve all experienced electrical problems, like a television changing volumes and lights turning on and off.

But his opinion changed with the banging.

“The last four months has been the worst,” Kim said. “Things have kind of changed.”

Kim came home one day in April to find her husband had taken the children to a pizza restaurant.

“I was so excited I was home alone,” she said. “I had taken my clothes off and was going to the bathroom.”

She found she wasn’t alone.

“My bedroom door slammed so hard that I have some knickknacky stuff on top of our armoire and everything shook,” she said. “I thought someone had broken into my house.”

She called Mike to see if he’d come home, but he and the boys were still at the restaurant.

“Someone is in the house and I’m naked,” she told him.

Mike said he would call 911, but Kim had second thoughts.

“I looked out the door and nothing was there, so I locked the door,” she said. She took a rifle out of the closet – a rifle with no ammunition, hoping the cocking noise would scare an intruder.

“I went out and everything was secure. There was nothing in my house – human,” she said. “All my doors were locked, nothing had been disturbed and my cats were sleeping.”

She ran back to the bedroom, locked the door and waited for her husband to come home.

“That’s the first thing that’s been scary to me,” she said.

It wasn’t the last.

Next week: Something talks to the children.

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 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,

Friday, June 03, 2011

What was that Thing in the Sky?

Author’s note: The following story may or may not be of paranormal origin. The story is, however, about something unknown, and that puts it firmly in the realm of “From the Shadows.”

The city glow of Sedalia, Mo., lit the night around the state fairgrounds as a crowd gathered for the coming July 4, 2010, fireworks show.

Paul Michaels stood in that small crowd when, at about 9:20 p.m., before the fireworks show began; something appeared in the evening sky he couldn’t identify.

“There was what looked like a plane about 150 feet off the ground,” he said. “There was a cloudbank right on the edge of the fairground, all along 16th Street. I saw it pop out of the clouds.”

As Michaels watched the craft, he became convinced it wasn’t a normal airplane.

“What I saw running south to north was a plane 150 feet above the tree line. It looked exactly like a plane,” Michaels said, but it didn’t behave like an airplane. “You couldn’t hear it coming. It came right over the top of us. The fireworks hadn’t even started yet.”

Little traffic drove past the area, most people there to watch the fireworks show had arrived, so city din was light.

“(The craft) was just as quiet as a balloon,” Michaels said. “It looked like a military plane.” But, at the same time, it didn’t.

Michaels, who had done electrical work at an Air Force base in Texas and had observed many military aircraft, noticed it didn’t act like any craft he’d seen.

“It didn’t have any blinking lights,” Michaels said. “And the canopy didn’t look like a canopy.”

The craft had an orange-yellow glowing “observation dome” in the front – and it was slow. Too slow.

“If you moved your hand through the air, that’s what you were experiencing,” Michaels said. “This thing was floating.”

Living in Sedalia, Michaels has had many chances to watch military aircraft in flight. Whiteman Air Force Base in nearby Knob Noster is home to the 509th Bomb Wing, the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber and many other aircraft that do training runs across the area.

“Mom lived out in the county on a 40-acre lake and (military aircraft) would shoot out over that lake,” he said. “They were buzzing all the time. They’ll come in at an angle, from southeast, not from south to north like this one. But you hear them coming and going.”

He stood and watched this craft fly slowly out of sight; then another appeared, floated slowly and silently until it was out of sight. No one else seemed to notice.

“Fighter jets will shoot through Mom’s yard at 8:50 at night,” he said. “But (with these craft) you didn’t hear any swoosh or anything. It was doing a steady speed. It was doing faster than traffic, but I’ve seen trucks going down the street faster than they were going.”

The craft had no markings, insignia or writing.

“They just baffled the hell out of me,” Michaels said.

One day Michaels spoke with a man who worked at Whiteman Air Force Base and described the craft to him. The man had an answer.

“A-10s,” Michaels said. “He said they can be quiet.”

So Michaels looked into the A-10 Thunderbolt fighter jet. Even though the craft Michaels saw looked like a military plane, “it didn’t look like an A-10.”

“Talking to people from the airbase, they said the A-10 can do that (fly low and silent), but you can still hear them,” he said. “It still makes noise. These were quiet as a church mouse. I’ve got an old ’63 Dodge that makes more noise than that.”

Michaels asked if what he saw could be an advanced military craft not released to the public. The people from the airbase said yes, but the base didn’t have it.

All Michaels wants to know is what he saw.

“I’ve seen some things I don’t know how to explain,” Michaels said. “I’ve talked to several different people who can’t explain them either. I don’t believe in things until I see them myself.”

And he has.

The question is, what did Michaels see slowly cruising low over the state fairgrounds in Sedalia, Mo., on July 4? A known military craft, an unknown military craft, or something from beyond this world?

“I’d be interested if someone out there has seen something like what I saw,” Michaels said. “I don’t want someone to try and explain it away. I know different.”

If you have an idea what might be flying slowly and silently through our night sky, please comment on this post or contact me by email.

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 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,