Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Missouri Men In Black?

Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on strange encounters in Missouri.

The man in the Jefferson City, Mo., Target seemed out of place. As Lynn Graves walked to the checkout line, she saw the man, dressed in an out-of-date business suit and thin-framed sunglasses, quickly approach her.

“I saw him walking in like he was really on a mission,” Graves said. “I was checking out and he comes up right behind me with one item.”

The man stood close enough to Graves to make her uncomfortable and began to mumble, although Graves couldn’t understand what he said. She purchased her items and stepped forward.

“After I paid I was still fumbling with my money while he was paying for his,” she said. “He told the lady, ‘Thank you’ in a very deep voice. It sounded like me when I try to make myself sound like a man. So it was kind of a fake voice.”

Graves’ daughter and a friend were standing a nearby and noticed something odd with the man as well.

“When we got in the car, we waited for him to walk out and he did,” Graves said. “Very straight and with a mission like he did when he walked in.”

The man got into an early 1990s model Crown Victoria and drove away. But the three got a look what the man purchased – adult feminine diapers.

“After we drove off down the road we were talking about how strange that guy was,” Graves said. “I told my daughter and her friend that he reminded me of an MIB.”

Men in Black, first reported in author and UFO researcher Gray Barker’s 1956 book, “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.” are reported as thin men, often exhibiting behavior like they don’t fit in with society. They wear sunglasses, old fashioned black suits or out-of-place clothing, and harass people who have UFO encounters. Some MIBs tell abductees they are government agents, others claim to be aliens, and still others just make their presence known.

Graves thought the man might be a MIB because of a dream.

“I had a very realistic dream only a couple weeks earlier about me, my daughter and one of my friends seeing an alien craft that ended up abducting us,” she said.

Like many who claim alien abduction, Graves can’t remember anything past the initial encounter, and woke up some time later feeling disoriented.

“(Graves’ daughter and friend) kinda took me seriously because he was that weird,” Graves said.

Graves might have brushed off the encounter with the strange mumbling man in Target if she hadn’t seen him again.

“I decided to just go to Jefferson City to Barnes and Noble to look for any book that related to this (MIB) subject,” she said

She took her daughter and two male friends on the trip and, during the drive, told them about the similar men she saw while at work at a Lake of the Ozarks hotel (more of this in Part Two).

"I told them about these men after they told me about a strange call they got on their cell phone from a man with a very low voice that asked if they called his phone,” Graves said. “I got a cold chill when they told me this, because I got a call similar to that at work on our work line. And the voice just cut right through you. It was scary.”

Pulling into the Barnes and Noble parking lot, Graves told her passengers she hoped they saw one of those men – not knowing they would.

“We were in the bookstore for a while looking at all different kinds of books,” she said. “After we all went to the new age section and started looking at the books about the government, aliens, and such, the same guy that I saw in Target comes up and starts looking in the same area that we were.”

And the man became intrusive.

“It’s like he kept buzzing around us and getting in our way,” she said. “He was doing that mumbling thing again, and I still couldn't make out words. I turned around to one of my friends and mouthed to him ‘that was one of those guys.’”

The thin, mumbling man never looked at Graves or her companions, but Graves felt he was monitoring them. Graves said the mumbling began to sound like a bee’s buzz as the man looked at books about 2012 prophecies.

“We all walked to the front of the store, I watched him over the shelves,” she said. “My daughter took a picture and a video of him. He was wearing the same sunglasses, and kinda dressed the same.”

The man also carried a cell phone, noticeably older than cell phones used today.

“We saw him walk straight over to the corner of the store and sit with a book across from a lady,” Graves said.

When Graves glanced back, the man was gone.

What did Graves see? A man simply out-of-tune with society, or do MIBs monitor her after an alien encounter that may not have been a dream?

“I want someone out there to know about these men I've been seeing lately,” Graves said. “The first ones I noticed in public, and the rest have been showing up at my job. These men I believe are non-human people of some sorts. The weird thing is I really think these guys are taking an interest in me.”

Next week: Encounters at work.

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 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,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Night of the Howler

Lightning flashes filled the bedroom, followed seconds later by booming thunder, rousing 10-year-old Dave Barsalow from sleep. The autumn storm rolling through New York State’s Hudson Valley engulfed the 100-year-old farmhouse, a strong, moaning wind piercing the night.

As Barsalow lie in his bed on the first floor, his parents and sister asleep upstairs, he realized something was outside his window.

“With the wind there came this other sound,” Barsalow said. “It made goosebumps race over my body. It was an ungodly howling. A wailing that didn’t, couldn’t have come from human lips. No animal I knew could wail like that.”

This noise, from what Barsalow later called “the Howler,” came from outside his first-floor bedroom window. His parents and sister slept in bedrooms upstairs.

“I was terrified,” Barsalow said. “I jumped out of bed and raced to my grandmother’s bedroom.”

When Barsalow reached her first-floor room, his grandmother was sitting up in bed. He climbed in next to her and pulled the covers tight.

“What is that, Grandma?” he asked.

Barsalow’s grandmother assured him the noise was just the wind.

“I knew it wasn’t the wind,” he said. “And I knew she knew it wasn’t the wind.”

The wailing came around the house, its scream sounding even closer.

“It had to be right on the front porch, right outside Grandma’s window,” Barsalow said. “Grandma put an arm around me and held me tight. The howling was right outside her window now, just a few feet away from us. I buried my face in her shoulder.”

Eventually the sound moved away, merging with the storm that worked its way down the valley. Barsalow finally dropped into sleep. When he woke, sunlight streaming through the window, his grandmother was already up.

“I climbed out of bed and peeked out the window,” he said. “I saw her outside already with a mop and a bucket, cleaning the porch floor.”

Barsalow ran to the front door and stepped outside.

“From there I could see what my grandma was cleaning,” he said. “There were muddy footprints all over the floor.”

The muddy footprints were small – like those of a toddler.

“They were little, tiny footprints,” Barsalow said. “I got goosebumps again. I asked Grandma what made the footprints. She didn’t answer and she kept cleaning.”

Barsalow’s nine-year-old sister walked from the house and onto the porch. She saw her grandmother erasing the tiny prints.

“She saw the footprints, too,” Barsalow said. “Thirty years later when I was telling my wife this story, my sister was able to confirm seeing those tiny footprints.”

However, Barsalow’s sister didn’t hear the Howler in the storm. Barsalow hasn’t heard that howl since, but two years after the first encounter, he saw the footprints again.

“It was a bright, clear morning after a nor’easter had dropped close to two feet of snow on us,” he said. “I was out walking around the yard, thigh deep in the fresh, cold powder. I noticed something odd. There was a set of footprints in the new fallen snow.”

The footprints surprised Barsalow. They were tiny – like the footprints of a child. There were no other marks in the fresh snow.

“This was the morning after a major winter storm,” he said. “There was little or no chance that anyone would have been out roaming in the snow-filled blackness of the previous night.”

The tracks came across an open field, through Barsalow’s yard and into the woods.

“I got a chill when I got close to the footprints because I realized that they were small, like a toddler’s feet,” he said. “I knew those tracks. They were the same ones that were on the porch on the morning of the visit of the Howler.”

Barsalow followed the tracks down the hill.

“There I stopped dead and my heart jumped into my throat,” he said. “At the bottom of a small rise the tracks seemed to split. The left foot went in one direction and right in another. That scared me just looking at it. The tracks, each foot on its own path, disappeared into the woods.”

Barsalow just stood in the woods dazed, looking at the tiny footprints.

“I tried to puzzle out what I was looking at,” Barsalow said. “I was 12 at the time, not a small child. I could think. And I couldn’t find an explanation for what I was seeing. Soon enough, I ran back to the house and went inside. I never mentioned the tracks to anyone. They scared me too much.”

Although Barsalow hasn’t seen similar footprints since, knowing the Mohegan, Pequot, Mohawk and Iroquois tribes that lived in and around the property all had legends of little people – some of which were tricksters associated with storms – makes some sense to him.

“Both times I encountered those small footprints it was the morning after a major storm. One in winter and one in summer. Coincidence?” he said. “I never did ask my grandmother about the Howler again. I think part of me was afraid to know what it really was outside the window that night.”

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 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,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Flying Thing

The summer afternoon beckoned Wade M. to stop in Del Mar, Calif., on his way home from San Diego to San Marcos. He stopped at the beach and spent the rest of that June day surf fishing.

He got home after dark, around 9 p.m.

“I relaxed, had a beer or two and went to my covered drive to clean my catch,” Wade said. “I completed that task and looked to the north at the rocky mountainside in the near distance.”

He didn’t expect to see what was there.

“Above my neighbor’s homes across the street something was shimmering and moving rapidly side to side in a space of maybe 60’ at 20’ altitude,” Wade said. “I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me from the time earlier in the day when I spent time on the beach in the bright afternoon sun. I was wrong.”

Wade saw two shimmering, nearly transparent parallel lines about three-feet wide in the air moving silently and quickly side to side in the faint glow of a streetlight.

“It was just wings and eyes,” he said. “The wings didn’t flap like a birds, it was more like a dragonfly, but dragonflies don’t grow three-foot wingspans, fly at night, or display what seemed to be some kind of intelligence like this thing did.”

The entity’s side-to-side movements encompassed about 60 feet in what Wade estimated was only a few seconds. When the thing noticed Wade had seen it, it stopped in the air across.

“Whatever it was, it halted its side-to-side movement and seemed to focus on me,” he said.

As Wade stared at the creature, he realized it was aware of him, too. Fear gripped Wade and he felt his hair rise from his scalp to his ankles.

“I was sure it was a real thing, then I noticed the thing had big black eyes,” he said. “It sounds silly but it actually looked like the stack of money with eyes in the Geico insurance commercials that have run on TV recently. But they weren’t friendly eyes at all.”

Then the thing quickly shot across the street toward Wade. He dropped and it swooped over his head.

“The thing was interested in me,” Wade said. “It was staring me down when it was across the street and either attacked or was trying to intimidate me, or who knows what, when it came at me.”

Wade moved from under the covered part of his drive to get a better look at the swooping thing. It was directly above his head.

“I felt great fear,” Wade said. “I said to the thing out loud,’ I see you.’”

It moved again.

“It zipped back into view from the direction it had gone, and was looking directly down at me with the weird unblinking eyes,” he said. “It realized I was looking right at it, and it took off in a flash.”

The next day, Wade asked neighbors about the entity.

“I talked to the lady across the street,” he said. “I told her what happened. She didn’t see anything, but told me of an encounter she had in a grove with something similar.”

A week later, Wade saw it again.

“It may have been at my bedroom window in the night,” Wade said. “But it’s gone. This time for good, I hope.”

Author’s note: Do you know what Wade saw? Let me know at

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 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,

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Fight for a Man’s Soul

Bob Higgins went for a rebound in a Mormon Church gym when someone cut out his legs and he fell to the court, his head bouncing off the hard wood floor.

“I suffered an extremely hard concussion and lived,” Higgins said.

Higgins, a Catholic, had twisted his ankle playing in that gym before, and after his teammates dismissed his injury, he vowed to God he’d never play there again. But he did – and as Higgins lie on the floor unconscious, he felt his spirit leave his body.

“I was out and floated up through the hoop looking down at myself as my teammates carried me off,” he said.

Higgins said he could see a clear silver strand connecting his spirit self to his physical body as his teammates moved his body onto a stage adjacent to the court. Then they left his body there and resumed the game. His spirit self stood, watching the game until he saw people approaching.

“A group of what I think were angels began walking my way,” he said. “Then out of the group a small man came having been directed by a taller bearded man from a group of robed men.”

This small man reached out to Higgins and carried him up a tunnel of light.

“We arrived at a large glass-like temple with black and gold flakes in the shiny floor, mostly black,” he said. “The purple curtains were very tall all around.”

Higgins’ guide took him up steps to a throne holding a bearded man.

“He had dark black hair and bore scars on his hands and feet and face,” Higgins said. “I am sure it was Jesus. He looked like a biker, not menacing but authoritative and in control.”

This man Higgins believed to be Jesus wore sandals of gold and jewels. He looked at Higgins, then, unsmiling, gave commands to the small man who had brought him there.

“I felt kind of ashamed to be there because I really didn't want to be there,” Higgins said. “I knew he knew all about me, but it went so quickly and I felt like it as a blur and I really had no control of myself at this point. I could think and see, but I didn't breath or feel anything; I was just an it.”

The man on the throne gestured to a person Higgins felt was an angel. The angel took Higgins by the arm and led back to the tunnel. Higgins didn’t like what waited for him back in the gym.

“We descended swiftly and I found myself sitting up still out of my body and I saw around me large men in bright robes; large blonde men with backsides like ‘he men,’” Higgins said. “Very big guys fighting with fierce looking scraggly men trying to reach around savagely at me with long nails; dirty desperate looking men who I could barely make out in the darkness.”

These unkempt men in rags fought with Higgins’ angels, trying to grab Higgins, then one angel touched Higgins and he woke.

“Whoa, I had a headache,” Higgins said. “I had to be carried back to my apartment with a concussion and off work for a week.”

Higgins believes his experience has to do with breaking his promise to God.

“I think I let the devil in,” he said. “I had not kept my vow not to play ball with the Mormons because I had been hurt before playing ball with them and they just left me there. Mormons aren’t bad, it was just a failure on my part to keep my vow.”

Something happened to Higgins after his concussion – something that lets him see future horrors.

“I got warnings of attacks in my sleep about terrorists, through the first Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing,” he said.

His most terrifying premonition was on Sept. 10, 2001.

“A spirit tried to wake me the night before 9-11 and told me, ‘Wake up young man, your nation is under attack,’” Higgins said. “I asked in my sleep, ‘Where? Where? By whom?”

The spirit told him Washington, D.C., and New York.

“I was so disturbed to see rubble and smoke as if I was propelled in time to the scene,” Higgins said. “I was choking.”

Higgins kicked in his sleep and woke his wife who asked what was wrong.

“I told her what the spirit said to me and she remembered it later that morning and was astonished,” he said. “I was sorely confused. I thought about it all morning and I couldn't decide what I should do.”

He realized there was nothing he could do.

“I felt bad knowing this and not doing anything to this day,” Higgins said. “Watching in horror as the planes hit the second time then people jumping to their deaths.”

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 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,