Monday, July 14, 2008

Voices in the Darkness

The air at the California ranch was calm the night Darren Hullstrunk took a group of friends to his family’s property near Fresno.

The calmness didn’t last.

“We’ve all heard, seen, felt something in this ranch house and heard all the stories from the parents and how scared they have gotten,” he said.

Darren and friends who’ve been at the ranch before – Brittany, Audrey, Mike, Mark, and Mike’s brother Richie – pulled down the drive and arrived at the ranch house on the evening of June 22. The night had started to cool, but the trip, to this point, was normal.

“Audrey, Richie and I went for a walk and we went the same route the walk always goes,” Darren said. “We got back to the house and we all stood outside because it was cooler then the house was.”

Richie sensed something was wrong, but nobody realized that – yet.

“Richie zoned out and stared at a large dog statue for almost a good five to 10 minutes,” Darren said. “It wasn’t ‘til Mark had moved the statue that Richie snapped out of it and looked behind him. He didn’t know what happened.”

Hungry, the group moved inside and discussed dinner. The women volunteered to go to the grocery store.

“As they left, Richie suddenly sprung up and pulled up a blind and just stared outside,” Darren said. “Mike moved his finger in the way and Richie just pulled it down.”

Darren ran outside and looked in the direction Richie was staring but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He could, however, still see Richie staring out the window.

“His head went to an angle as if he was following something, but nothing was there,” Darren said. He went back inside and everyone was now looking out the window. “Mike opened the blinds fully and we all looked out and saw nothing.”

Then Richie told what he’d seen.

“Richie said he saw a shadow that ran towards the car,” Darren said. “But didn’t know if it followed the (women) or went into the grape vineyard or the other side of the road.”

As the men sat around the living room, Richie “zoned out” again.

“This time as if he was trying to write out something with his finger,” Darren said. “He snapped out and didn’t remember a thing.”

They called Richie’s family to pick him up, but didn’t know the depth of Richie’s fear until he got on the telephone.

“As he was talking on the phone they told him to say a prayer over and over,” Darren said. “After the first time he said it, he got a headache and said he couldn’t say it again. He started crying and saying he has to get out of here, it’s going to get him.”

What it was, Richie didn’t say, but when they walked Richie outside to Mike’s car, he panicked.

“Richie started freaking out,” Darren said. “‘It’s out here, it’s going to get me,’ he went on.”

Darren looked around them, but saw nothing.

Mike took Richie home and as soon as they drove off the property, Richie felt better, but couldn’t remember anything that had happened. But, before he left, Richie told everyone about the voices.

“He said if he didn’t leave it was going to kill all of us and it didn’t want him or Mike there,” Darren said. “Richie told Mike he was hearing two voices, the evil one and another one telling him how to counter the evil. He made Mike promise to leave a light on.”

By the time Mike and Richie left, Audrey and Brittany had returned. After supper, Darren and Audrey went outside.

“We had noticed (earlier) there was no moon outside and no clouds with only a few stars,” he said. “When Mike got back there was a moon and it was blood red.”

Although, unnerved, Darren is fascinated by the encounter.

“I’m going to be checking the area for sightings for the next few weeks,” he said. “I want to see if I can find out what happened.”

Copyright 2008 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 c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at:,, or visit Jason’s Web site at


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