Saturday, December 17, 2011

Return of the Wicked Priest

Author’s note: This is a follow up to a story I wrote for Mysterious Universe and one for this blog about encounters with a bizarre, threatening man dressed as a priest.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system covers 104 miles around the San Francisco Bay area, and may be home to a monster.

Elaine Steele lived in San Francisco for about 10 years and often used the train to commute to and from work, usually sitting quietly in her seat, as is the norm on the BART, aware of, but rarely interacting with her fellow passengers.

Then one Saturday, her BART experience changed.

“It was June 10, 2006,” Steele said. “I remember the exact date because it’s my birthday.”

Steele didn’t normally work on Saturdays, but boarded the train around 7 a.m. to fill in for a sick coworker. However, something was wrong.

“When I got out of bed that day I felt this bizarre feeling like something bad was going to happen,” she said. “I was going to ride my bike to work but saw that it was kind of gray outside and although not cold, was worried that it could rain. So I decided to take BART but felt a little sick to my stomach at the thought.”

Steele dismissed this feeling because she was going to work early, not only on a Saturday, but on her birthday.

“I went in but even remarked to my boyfriend that I had a strange feeling about today,” she said.

Only four people sat in Steele’s car when she walked on at 24th and Mission and sat with coffee in hand. As she texted her boyfriend about birthday plans, someone sat in the seat behind her.

“I didn’t turn around to look,” she said. “Who does that?”

Seconds later, her new companion’s presence commanded her to look.

“I felt this chill travel up my spine,” she said. “While not fully summer yet, it certainly wasn’t cold in the train. I looked in the window next to me to see the reflection of who was sitting behind me. I saw a priest.”

Steele relaxed at the image of a man of God – but that feeling did not last.

“I actually felt like turning around and saying ‘good morning,’ but I did not,” she said. “Instead the priest tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘good morning.’”

She froze. Unless a BART traveler recognizes a frequent traveler and just says “hi,” or flirts, “generally, people keep to themselves. This type of behavior is not normal.”

Steele looked over her shoulder to return the priest’s greeting, but the words stuck in her throat.

“This guy was so scary looking,” she said. “He looked sweaty even though it wasn’t yet hot and he had this big birth mark that took up one side of his face and it was dark pink. He had incredibly thin lips and large teeth, and he had freaky, basically colorless eyes.”

As she stared at the priest, with his sweaty, pasty skin, and milky eyes, he moved – but she didn’t see it.

“It was like he didn’t take up space like a regular human,” she said. “His hand was resting on the back of my seat and I stared at it, then it was gone and he was adjusting his robe – but I never saw his hand move.”

The priest’s hand was in one place, then in another.

“It was like he just removed his hand from that place and decided it was going someplace else but didn’t actually move to make it happen,” she said.

As she watched, the outline of the priest’s body shook like a bad TV signal.

“It seemed like he was vibrating,” Steele said. “It was like the outline of his body hummed with vibrations, kind of like an animated cartoon.”

“Good morning,” she said back to the priest, then turned quickly away, inching forward on her seat to get as far away from him as she could.

“I felt bad but the guy was really freaky, so I didn’t want to be sitting close to him since he was leaning forward in his seat,” she said. “I kept hearing him say things under his breath that I couldn’t make out, which at the time I thought ‘chanting.’ He was also breathing like in a really forced way, like taking these deep breaths and exhaling in a loud and obvious way.”

He breathed heavily enough to move her hair. Steele wanted to bolt to another seat, but didn’t want to offend the holy man. Then she felt his hand.

“He reached out and touched my hair,” she said. The priest’s touch wasn’t normal. “It was sort of like having your hair stick to something when he touched it. Not like he pulled it, but like my hair got wet and that heavy feeling after.”

Steele pulled her hair over her shoulder and turned around.

“Please don’t touch my hair,” she shouted, but the priest was gone. He was no longer in the train car.

“It was like one second he touched my hair then he vanished,” she said. “I looked around at the other people on the BART as if to say ‘did you see that?’ and no one paid me any mind.”

Terrified, Steele shot from her seat and looked everywhere. The priest wasn’t in her car, or in the next.

“I know that people probably wondered who is this nuts lady running around and yelling at a priest? But I didn’t even care,” she said. “I was distraught, very shaken. I sat back down near the door as I was almost at my work.”

When the train pulled to her stop and Steele stepped off, the morning still was not right.

“It was so creepy,” she said. “I kept feeling as though someone was watching me.”

Steele’s job puts her into daily one-on-one contact with drug addicts and violent criminal offenders, but she said she has never felt afraid like she did on that train.

“I shake hands with these people, help them, travel alone in cars with them and not ever have I felt fear for myself,” she said. “This priest thing scared the crap out of me. I want to make sure that you know that this isn’t a man. There is no way.”

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,

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Dreams of the Harlequin

Author’s note: This is a continuation of encounters with an entity known as the Harlequin. The entity began visiting Dan Mitchell of Wisconsin when he was five years old (follow my three-part story about Mitchell’s encounters at He’s not alone.

The Harlequin came to Kevin Brown of Portland, Maine, when he was a child – it came in the night.

“Like Dan I’m also 35 years old and remember seeing the Harlequin – this figure, person, spirit or demon – at around five to six years old,” Kevin said. “It started as a very lifelike dream.”

The Harlequin came to Brown with the ringing of bells.

“I remember laying in bed and I could hear the jingle, jingle of a bell and it’s coming closer,” Brown said. “That when I see the Harlequin come into my room. The Harlequin is dancing but never says anything.”

This thin, androgynous creature, its large, wide-open eyes glaring at him like lanterns, danced in the darkness. It smelled like summer rain – all like Mitchell’s encounters.

Then the horror began.

“While it’s dancing I can hear what sounds like two knives or metal scraping together,” Brown said. “As the Harlequin dances around my room I see blades at the end of its fingers.”

Terrified, Brown pulled his blanket over his head, but the jingle remained. So did the metallic scraping.

“It’s only after hiding that I hear the jingle, jingle of the Harlequin’s bells moving off into a different part of the house and the sounds fade away,” he said. “After waiting what seemed like forever I peeked my head out from under the bed covers.”

The Harlequin was gone – but it left something for Brown to see. Red footprints dotted the floor of his bedroom and lead out his door. Brown gathered his young courage, slipped out of bed and stepped into the hallway and followed the red footprints.

“I raced to my sister’s room,” he said. “I saw what looked like someone leaning up against the wall.”

It was his sister. He called her name, but she didn’t move. Brown slowly stepped into the room and saw the blood.

“Her face was cut at the cheeks so you could see all her teeth in some grim smile and at the end of the cuts were little blood red circles,” Brown said. “As fast as my little legs could carry me I ran back to my room and under the protection of my blankets.”

The sound of the Harlequin followed him.

“The jingle-jingle danced around my bed,” he said. “I could hear the Harlequin’s bells and I remember the smell of summer rain fresh off the pavement, and I could also hear a giggling. As fast as it came it went away.”

When Brown was sure the Harlequin had left his room, he looked from a small opening in his covers. More red footprints.

“They led off to my parents room,” he said. “In a panic I jumped out of bed running to my parents room. I found them in the same condition, the same terrible smiles with the blood red circles for cheeks.”

But the scene was from an even worse nightmare.

“The Harlequin slit the arms from elbow to wrist and pulled out the veins of my parents and pinned them to wall making them look like marionette’s puppets,” he said. “Scared to holy hell I ran back to my room and under the covers of my bed, one last time and it came – the jingle-jingle.”

Shaking in stark terror, Brown lay curled under his blankets shaking as the Harlequin’s bells and giggles danced around his bed. He lie there, crying until he felt liquid soak through the sheets and sat up, throwing off the blankets only to see the darkness of blood soaking into his sheets and the Harlequin standing in the middle of the room laughing.

“That’s when I woke up,” Brown said. This wasn’t the only time. “I’ve had these dream or visions all my life.”

But Brown doesn’t think these terrifying graphic visions are just dreams. He’s sure they’re something more.

“Like Dan my family has had some strange things happen as well around the Harlequin,” he said. “Like (Dan’s) family (mine) dismissed it as a child’s wild imagination. However, after a few years of not having the dream my family and I were sitting down at dinner and we all could hear in the upstairs bedroom a jingle-jingle sounds after looking for the source of the noise we never found it. I had the same dream that night.”

The jingles occasionally haunt his family.

“My mother was alone in the house and she swears she heard what she said was the jingling of bells upstairs,” he said. “Not scared of anything my mother went upstairs to find the source of the noise. Once upstairs she heard the noise coming from downstairs in the kitchen.”

When she went back to the kitchen, something sharp poked her shoulder and someone – some thing – screamed her name into her ear.

“She ran out of the house to my aunt’s next door and told her what happened in the house,” Brown said. “In the excitement of her story my aunt noticed and stopped my mother to show her a cut on her shoulder thin like a razor blade.”

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, November 11, 2011

Of Ouija Boards and Missing Records

The house Mike grew up in was always strange.

“In this house, furniture would lift up off the ground or you would hear someone calling you from another part of the house when no one was home,” Mike said. “There have been times when witnesses saw curtains open and close of their own accord. One summer, while we were away, the local kids sat across the street from the house and saw the living room windows open and shut on their own.”

Their pet dogs avoided certain parts of the house, especially the attic where the bedrooms were.

“There were times when things that were lost would fall from the ceiling out of nowhere,” Mike said. Although his family was convinced the house was haunted, “the ghosts that were there never made any attempt at harming us,” so they had no desire to move.

But the idea of ghosts in the house didn’t keep Mike from playing with them.

“When I turned 17, I had an accident in gym class requiring that I stay off of my feet,” he said. “My friends came over to visit and we started to play with the Ouija board.”

The friends immediately hit on something. The planchete skittered across the board under the light touch of their fingers, spelling out a name.

“A man named Irvin Cobb came through who claimed he was the guardian for my sister,” he said. “At the time, my sister had a diamond ring that she couldn't find and he told her to go to her room.”

She went into her bedroom and turned on the light, but didn’t see her ring anywhere. She went back to Mike’s room and said the board was wrong.

“The board was emphatic that she go back to her room,” Mike said. “When she turned on the light, she looked around and the ring just popped up from the floor of its own accord.”

Mike’s friend Patricia remembers that day well; she kept notes during the Ouija board session.

“It was 1979 I was a senior in high school,” Patricia said. “We actually got hooked. I remember the year since I asked what I got on a test and the response was, ‘you should have studied harder.’”

Although other “spirits” spoke to the high schoolers through the board, Cobb was the most active, and the most curious.

“He told two cryptic comments that we have not as yet determined,” Mike said. “The first was ‘the noise of silence’ and the other was ‘the reddening of the blood.’ For the blood comment, after many years, we assumed it meant caesarian births because all the young ladies present at the time ended up having.”

The silence warning is still a mystery.

After the teenagers packed up the board and left Mike’s house, Patricia went to the library and looked into Irvin Cobb.

“She did a search and learned that Irvin Cobb was a writer,” Mike said. “He had an autobiography and when she went to take it out, it was not available. When it finally came back to the library she was amazed to discover that the book had last been taken out in 1945.”

Another cryptic message, written by Cobb, appeared in the back of the autobiography.

“There was a comment to the effect that rather than say goodbye, he would say, ‘until we meet again,’” Mike said.

Cobb (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American humorist and at one time the highest paid newspaper reporter in the country.

Patricia took her notes of the Ouija session home, locked them in a box and slid it under her bed.

“Years later after we grew up, went to college and moved on, we happened to get into contact again,” Mike said. “She went into the box to locate the papers to see if there were any predictions that came true.”

But something was wrong.

“All the notes that were locked away had disappeared,” Mike said. “The lock wasn't broken and she was the only one with a key.”

Even though the Ouija board session didn’t frighten Mike (he didn’t find the experience negative at all), it, and the missing records, did frighten Patricia.

“I had all the notes and kept them under my bed and one day they just disappeared,” she said. “I have never touched a Ouija board since. I rarely talk about that experience except to say I do believe that board does work. While I was very curious it did scare me.”

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, October 21, 2011

Stalked by 'The Priest'

Author’s note: This is a follow up to a story I wrote for Mysterious Universe about a woman’s encounter with a bizarre, threatening man dressed as a priest. After the article appeared, I discovered this woman wasn’t the only person stalked by “The Priest.”

The stranger took Jared Thompson by surprise.

As the public train rumbled closer to Thompson’s home in San Francisco in April 2011, a male voice asked Thompson for the newspaper that sat next to him. Thompson looked up from his thoughts and saw the stranger.

He wished he hadn’t.

The man was dressed as a priest, but Thompson didn’t find that comforting.

“He was probably six feet tall,” Thompson, who stands 6’3”, said, “and he just felt wrong.”

The priest, balding with thin, “brittle” hair, stood before Thompson, his waxy, chapped complexion stained by a birthmark covering one side of his face.

“My gut reaction was that he was sick with something terminal,” Thompson said, “but then (the feeling) grew into something darker.”

As the man loomed over Thompson, terror grew in his chest.

“This guy was giving off the scariest vibes, and I am in no way sensitive to that sort of thing,” he said. “I thought it was weird that he was asking for the paper because at first glance I thought he was blind.”

The priest’s eyes were milky, but as Thompson studied the man, he knew the priest could see.

“His eyes were alert,” Thompson said. “He was tracking my movements visually.”

Thompson handed him the paper.

“When he reached to take it, the train lurched and he stumbled closer to me,” Thompson said. “I almost gagged. This man smelled. If you’ve ever had a rat die in your wall or cleaned up a mousetrap, it was the same kind of smell. It was sickening, sweet, rotting and oppressive.”

Thompson gagged at the smell, tears rimming his eyes. The priest took the paper and sat on the seat opposite him.

“But he was not reading the paper,” Thompson said. “He was staring at me with a huge grin on his face. In my entire life I have never felt the sick fear that I had when that priest was staring at me.”

Terror running through him, Thompson looked out the window, the city clicking past, and thought how much he wanted to see his wife waiting for him at home.

“The priest leaned over the aisle and said, ‘she wants to see you, too,’” Thompson said. “And then he gave me another awful smile. This was not friendly – it was horrible.”

Who was this man? Thompson wondered. A lunatic? Or something else?

“There was something about him that told me he had literally just heard what I was thinking,” Thompson said. “It’s not as if I was looking at a photo of my wife or texting her or something. I was just staring out the window, minding my own business.”

Thompson didn’t respond. He kept looking at the scenery speeding by, counting the seconds until he reached his stop.

“The train went for a few more stops and the whole time I was sweating, nervous and sick to my stomach,” he said. “I was so relieved when we came to my stop.”

Thompson shot up, grabbed his bag, and all but ran from the train.

“I turned around and saw that the priest was still on it when it pulled away,” he said. “I actually kept my eyes on the train until it was well past the station. As soon as I was standing outside in the fresh air, I began to feel better. I told myself it was just some creepy old man and that I was overreacting. Isn’t that what people always tell themselves?”

Thompson walked toward his car in the parking lot, relaxing more with each step. He climbed inside and pulled out of the lot, taking his eyes off the pavement for a moment to adjust his seat belt. When he turned his attention back to the road he slammed his foot onto the brake pedal.

“I saw a figure standing about 10 feet from my car, right in the center of the driveway,” he said. “It was the man from the train. Same priest robe. He waved at me.”

Thompson threw his car in reverse, spun its nose around and gunned toward the second exit.

“I have no clue how he got there,” Thompson said. “But I know for a fact that I wasn’t hallucinating. It was the same guy from the train. I would recognize him anywhere.”

Thompson hasn’t seen the “priest” again. He doesn’t talk about his experience. He hasn’t even told his wife.

“This guy left me rattled,” Thompson said. “If I think about him to this day I get a nervous creeping feeling inside of me. I haven’t the faintest idea what he is only that I don’t believe he is a human being.”

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,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Memories of a Past Life in WWII

The book on past-life regression Dave Bercaw of West Fork, Ark., read in the 1980s was, by many contemporary accounts, unconventional. To arrive in a state in which to “remember” a life you may have once lived, it didn’t advocate undergoing the widely-accepted practice of hypnosis, it recommended suffering.

“I had read a book pooh-poohing the use of regression hypnosis in past life recall,” Bercaw said. “Instead, the author had recommended concentrating on the most negative emotion one could summon.”

Doctors and detectives trained in regression hypnosis had at various times tried to hypnotize Bercaw, and failed. So Bercaw tried the suggestion of this book*, concentrating on the first things to come to mind – sweat, thirst, and exhaustion.

Images began to race.

“I recalled events taking place in North Africa and Italy wherein I was a British infantryman during World War II,” he said. “The memories were vivid and graphic, even unto today, 20 years later.”

Bercaw lie on his bed and focused on these feelings. Soon, sensory input began swimming through his head.

“The first result was the sound of a diesel engine being gunned, followed by a very vivid scene,” he said. “In that scene, the sound of the diesel engine was coming from a truck on the road in front of me which was driving past. It was an old type of truck, olive green, which was used to transport troops and supplies.”

Gunfire and artillery-damaged palm trees dotted a land of sand around the military truck, a column of black smoke rose from the horizon. From Bercaw’s perspective, he stood in a line of soldiers dressed in khaki shorts, shirts, and doughboy helmets. Looking down at his hands, he held a carbine with a wooden stock.

But his focus was on his immediate superior.

“In front of me was a guy, dressed the same way as the rest. He had a dirty face and was sweating,” Bercaw said. “He had chiseled features and was shouting at me. I don’t know exactly what he was saying because I was tuning him out, but I do recall him saying something about how worthless I was. He also had a strong British accent.”

Trucks rolled past as the officer berated the soldiers, kicking up clouds of dust and sand that Bercaw tasted.

Then the past-life event was over.

“That was all,” he said. “Afterwards, that feeling (thirst, heat, sweat) has never bothered me again.”

Thoughts, memories of a past life as a British soldier during the bloodiest conflict on our planet, haunted Bercaw to the point he had to go there again.

“Having had some success with the technique, I cast about for some other negative emotions,” he said. “Another one that I came up with was the feeling of guilt whenever I saw a third party do something wrong or embarrassing. This was a completely irrational emotion, but one I suffered with through childhood and into young adulthood. It was a very strong emotion and in a sense, disabling.”

Over a number of days, Bercaw lie on his bed and remembered being in Italy during the war.

“What it recalled, overall, was that another guy and I were running up an enclosed stone spiral staircase,” he said. “It was wet with dampness or dew, and I kept slipping and was having trouble not falling. The other guy was running in front of me, and he was dressed in the same khaki shorts and shirt and doughboy helmet. I had my carbine in front of me again running up the stairs. I was in a blind panic.”

Bercaw’s WWII British self knew he ran toward someone about to be executed – and it was because of him.

“The spiral staircase went on forever it seemed, and my panic just kept rising,” he said. “Finally, we burst out onto a plaza. My partner was on my right, and directly in front of me, another British soldier was seated on a wood chair in the center of the plaza.”

The man on the chair had been tied down – he wore a black blindfold.

“In front and to our left was a firing squad made up of British soldiers,” Bercaw said. “As we reached the plaza and I opened my mouth to scream at the squad to stop, the order was given and the squad opened fire.”

The man’s body jerked as bullets tore through his torso. The chair rocked backward from the impact and dumped the body onto the stone plaza.

“The feeling of horror and guilt was overwhelming,” Bercaw said. “To my shame, I said nothing, which compounded my guilt. That was the end of what I saw.”

Bercaw wants to know the identity of his WWII self.

“I was curious as to who this British soldier might have been, whether I could trace back to see if any of this was real, and what British military executions took place during the North Africa and Italy campaigns,” he said.

Bercaw has tried to discover who this person may have been. He thinks the man’s name was George James Miller, but has found no proof.

“To date, I haven’t been able to trace back to see if there was a George Miller in the British Army who soldiered through North Africa, Sicily and Italy,” he said. “At any rate, George didn’t seem too keen on soldiering and, as I was born nine years after the war, apparently he didn’t make it out of the situation.”

Much later, during a high school trip, Bercaw’s son traveled to Italy and came home with more than either expected.

“He brought back pictures of the monastery which I had been in,” Bercaw said. “Looking at the pictures, I could visualize the location in the monastery where he was when he took the pictures.”

*After more than 20 years, Bercaw did not remember the title of the book.

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, October 01, 2011

Encounter With a Golem

A cool, crisp breeze, the remnant of a summer storm that had blown through Hot Springs, Ark., earlier in the evening, chilled this summer night in 1970.

Roger Shuffield, now from Azle, Texas, and friends Bob and Terry, pulled into the parking lot behind the Hot Springs Boys’ Club that overlooked a complex of four baseball fields used for Little League and softball games. The fields sat lower than the lot, so when these college sophomores on summer break stepped out of the Bob’s car, the entire complex spread out before them.

“I went with two friends to the parking lot for a few hours of wine and chilling out,” Roger said. “Having grown up there, and having worked there one summer, I knew it to be a perfect spot for wasting an evening with friends.”

The boys reached the parking lot around 7 p.m. and spent the next two hours drinking cheap wine and smoking cigarettes on the hood of Bob’s car.

“It was still daylight and we hardly noticed the transition from day to night as we joked and carried on, only moving from the hood of the car to answer nature’s call,” Roger said.

At 9 p.m., the boys, staring out at the Hot Springs city lights, decided it was time to leave.

“We basically spent the evening in random conversation,” Roger said. “The entire time was as mundane as any evening when friends get together.”

That changed quickly.

“When we decided to leave the place, we all got into the car and we passed the rear security light, one of those lights that seem to make everything appear a lavender color,” Roger said.

At that light, Roger and Terry talked Bob into stopping the car for a bathroom break before they left the parking lot.

“The two of us got out and walked the few feet to the south wall of the building,” Roger said, the night now complete, the boys backlit by the security light.

“We stood a few feet apart and watered the wall and pretty much finished at the same time,” Roger said. “As I turned around to face the direction of the trail, which crested the driveway from below near a 15-foot lone pine tree next to the light, suddenly a very large form rose from the lower fields coming up, not as if walking or stepping, but more like floating up from below.”

Roger froze.

“This thing looked like someone had concreted a very, very large man in a diving suit,” he said. “Bell helmet and all, and contoured the head into the shoulders as if there were no neck, no facial features, only smooth gray, but lavender tinted from the guard light.”

The creature stopped; Roger felt because it noticed he and Terry standing at the top of the hill.

“It appeared that I was only looking at the thing from the waist up,” Roger said. “It was almost a third as tall as the 15-foot tree next to the trail and at least three feet across at the shoulders. The thing appeared to be potentially some 10 feet tall.”

Roger shot a glance toward Terry. Terry looked back at him, eyes wide, and the boys knew they were seeing the same creature. This snapped them out of their shock and they ran for Bob’s car.

“He hadn’t seen a thing,” Roger said about Bob. “We drove away and never looked back; and lived to regret it.”

For the past forty years, Roger and Terry have discussed what they’d seen, and still don’t know what the hulking, concrete-like figure could have been.

“We’ll never know what that thing was,” Roger said. “The only description I’ve had for it all these years is Golem, a mud man. Because that’s exactly what it looked like, an enormous clay-like figure rising up from the dark before us. Featureless, massive and unlike anything I’ve ever seen since that night.”

From European tradition, the Golem is a giant humanoid molded from clay and animated by magic.

“Occasionally, I see drawings made by those who have been abducted (by extraterrestrials) or have had close encounters of some kind and ever so rarely I’ll see something akin to what we saw that night at the Hot Springs Boys’ Club,” he said. “If anyone can shed any light on this, feel free to comment.”

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,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Incubus Attack in the Night

Author’s note: This is the story of a woman’s terrifying sexual assault by a demonic figure. Read with caution.

Snow fell outside Tsura’s Birmingham, Ala., apartment on the cold January 2011 night terror came to visit.

“I awoke to what I thought was my husband having a bit of fun with me,” she said. “I was very, very wrong.”

Tsura, just showing her pregnancy, and Adrian had been married a month and had only recently moved into the apartment. Tsura felt something was wrong there from the start.

“I was not alone in my apartment, even though my husband was gone,” she said. “I had the company of my kitten, and something else.”

Talking with other residents in the apartment building, Tsura found that people who moved into that apartment usually moved out shortly after. Long-time residents of the building hinted at something odd there, but Tsura could never pin down from them what it was.

It was an entity.

“I could never tell what it was, though it knew me well,” Tsura said. “It was mocking me by leaving standing water in my tub and sink. I would also feel it watching me.”

But not all the time.

“The strangest thing, sometimes it was gone. Just gone,” she said. “That was the worst sign. I knew of no spirit who could leave the shackles of its past. This entity was something else.”

On that snowy night in January, it showed itself.

“Adrian was working that night, which was unusual, but we welcomed the extra money,” she said. “After all, I was, and am, a stay at home wife. It had snowed several times, and I was mostly trapped indoors. How I loathed it.”

Tsura fell to sleep cradling the kitten she’d gotten for companionship when Adrian worked nights, and woke to someone pulling open her legs.

“I thought it was Adrian, but, there was no dawn light coming in from the window,” she said. Adrian didn’t come home from this job until the sun had already risen. “It was pitch black (outside).”

Tsura opened her mouth to scream, but the sight of her attacker in the dim light of the apartment stopped the voice in her throat – she knew it wasn’t human.

“He was ugly and beautiful, a strange mix of Adrian and something else,” she said. “Suddenly, he fell on top of me, knocking the air out of my lungs.”

Then this entity sexually assaulted Tsura, laughing as she screamed.

“Eventually, I became so weak I lost consciousness,” she said.

The chirp of a car’s electric locks from outside her window dragged her awake. As she got up, hoping to find Adrian home, she saw a large, red stain on the sheets.

“My stomach clenched,” she said. “I was calling an ambulance as Adrian opened the door.”

Adrian held his crying wife, trying to comfort her as she recounted the attack, tears streaming down her face.

“I lost my child,” she said. “I explained to Adrian what happened, but he just shook his head. He said it was just sleep paralysis. That I was just trapped, trying to make sense of what was happening as my body miscarried. But I knew.”

Tsura is convinced she was attacked by something unholy.

“My research has led me to believe that I was attacked by an incubus,” she said. An incubus is a demon, present in cultures worldwide, that sexually assaults sleeping women with the intent to father a child. “But why? I was obviously pregnant, and could not bear his demon children.”

Tsura never went back to the apartment.

“When I was released from the hospital, I moved back in with my roommate,” she said. “I refused to step foot in that apartment. Eventually, Adrian was swayed, and we moved.”

She hopes the demon, or whatever attacked her, stayed behind.

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,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'From The Shadows' Is Asking, Um, A Little Help Here?

During the week of Oct. 15, I will have written this blog of original, true paranormal tales for five years. I appreciate each of you who visit “From the Shadows.” Your time spent reading my weekly offering, and your kind comments, mean a lot to me.

Unbeknownst to most of you, these stories appear in print before they make it to my blog.

I recently received notice the newspaper in which “From the Shadows” appears each week is cutting its paid columns – including mine. We all know the newspaper industry is suffering and I understand this business decision. Unfortunately, this was my main source to fund the research and time involved to produce “From the Shadows” (telephone expenses, travel, etc., ain’t cheap). I receive donations from time to time, but I can’t continue the blog on the occasional donation alone (I did receive a nice Christmas 2010 present from Australia’s amazing paranormal podcast “Mysterious Universe.” Thanks, Ben and Aaron. You guys are awesome).

I’m not begging for money (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge), I’m asking for a print forum for “From the Shadows.” I work for a living, you know. If any kind reader would recommend this column (print gets first-run) to their local newspaper or magazine, that might mean I could still bring you these weekly strange, and sometimes down-right creepy, stories about the world around us – a world that is much more mysterious than it seems.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 05, 2011

There's Something In Our House

The house in Metropolis, Ill., felt heavy. Rod Morgan and his wife moved into the house in 2007 and soon realized they’d made a mistake.

But it was a good deal.

“We rented from a friend so we cleaned it up and painted for the deposit and a break on the rent,” Rod said.

Shortly after moving into the house, the Morgans found they were going to have a baby. Joyous news, to be sure, but not in that house.

“The house had a very close feeling,” Rod said. “It was kind of depressing no matter what we did for decor.”

The Morgans lived in the house about three weeks when Rod began to hear and see things he at first tried to ignore.

“Little noises and knocks around the rooms and see darker shadows move and hear what I thought to be footsteps,” he said. “Especially late at night – I sit up late.”

Not wanting to alarm is pregnant wife, he kept quiet about the sounds and the shadows, but the tension between him and the house grew.

“I started to feel things around the house, especially in the basement where the washer and dryer were,” he said. “I would do laundry late at night, and after putting clothes into the washer and dryer I swear I could feel something trying to overtake me as I walked up the stairs.”

Rod would stop and look over his shoulder, but nothing was there. Nothing visible.

“Later, it got to where I would race up the stairs jumping two or three at a time and gain the top and shut and lock the door behind me,” he said. “There was a very heavy presence in that basement. I am getting goose bumps rethinking it again, no joke.”

He knew his wife felt it, too. The heaviness. Especially down the stairs.

“My wife would not go into the basement at night and didn’t go by herself anytime,” Rod said.

The Morgans lived there three months when the oppression became physical.

“My wife worked days and I worked nights so I slept late,” Rod said. “Sometimes my wife would come home for lunch and bring me food. One particular morning really got my attention.”

Rod had woken up and lay in bed, stretching his arms and legs before relaxing onto his side, facing the wall. Then he heard the door to the living room close.

“I know this because it had an old plate glass window in the door and it made a distinct sound,” he said. “Then I felt my wife sit down on the side of the bed.”

“Home for lunch?” he asked into the room. “What did you bring me?”

She didn’t answer.

“I turned over and no one was there,” Rod said. “No one.”

He sat up, looking around the room for his wife that he knew – he knew – sat on the bed next to him, but she hadn’t.

“I was not asleep, nor was I in between sleep,” Rod said. “I had been laying there stretching out.”

Rod didn’t tell his wife about the incident. He didn’t want to alarm her.

“The coup de grace happened one night when I was in the backyard, late,” Rod said. “I am a kung fu practitioner and did a lot of my training outside at night.”

Rod’s wife, now five months pregnant and often sick, had gone to bed early with a stomachache.

“It was about 11 p.m.,” Rod said. “I had finished and I saw a person I thought was my wife walk by the kitchen window and go into the bathroom.”

He stood in the yard, looking toward the house, but his wife never walked out of the bathroom.

“I went into the house to check on her,” he said. “She wasn’t in the bathroom so I went into the bedroom and she was laying on the bed facing the wall.”

Rod sat on the bed.

“Sick again?” he asked.

She didn’t answer. She didn’t move.

“Sick again?” he asked again.

Nothing. He poked her.

“What?” she mumbled groggily. “I’m sleeping.”

“I saw you go into the bathroom and wanted to check on you,” Rod said.

“I haven’t been to the bathroom,” she told him. “I’ve been asleep.”

Rod got up and searched the house. No one else was there.

“That was the last straw for me,” he said. “The next day I told my wife everything. She then told me she had been hearing things since the first week but didn’t want to tell me because she thought I wouldn’t believe her.”

The shadows, footsteps, knocking. She’d experienced everything, too.

They soon found a place to rent in Kentucky and they left. But the house wasn’t finished with them.

“My last experience with that house happened after getting everything out,” Rod said. “I was going back into the basement one night to make sure we didn’t leave anything.”

His wife stayed in the car. She was finished with that place.

“I opened the door to the utility room just above the basement and I heard a deep raspy breath, audible and kind of loud breathing out,” Rod said. “It actually startled me and I expected to be confronting someone in an instant.”

No one was there.

“I slammed the freaking door, ran out and never looked back,” he said. “My wife asked what was up and I told her, ‘we don’t own anything that is worth another trip to that basement.’”

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, August 27, 2011

Black-Eyed Kid Encounter in Ireland

It was warm the night Carris Holdsworth walked to her apartment from a friend’s house in Lisburn, a city of 71,465 in Northern Ireland near Belfast.

Then 18-year-old Holdsworth didn’t know terror waited for her at home.

“It was about 10:45,” she said of that night in 2009. “I was only 18 and had a small flat in a very rough part of the neighborhood. That’s why it unsettled me when I saw two boys standing in my small patch of grass which I called my yard.”

The boys one about 16 years old the other 13 or 14, stood with their backs to Holdsworth.

“I edged around the corner, and as if they knew I was there, both turned around to face me at the same time,” she said. “They were just merely boys.”

As the teenagers turned to face her, she felt more than just unsettled.

“I felt raw fear when I laid eyes on them,” she said.

Holdsworth stopped a few yards from them, a fist in her handbag wrapped around a tin of pepper spray.

“I was ready to defend myself if one of them made any sudden movements,” she said.

But they didn’t. They seemed to know what she was thinking.

“No need for that,” the older one spoke, calmly and maturely. “We just want to borrow your phone, miss.”

Her knuckles began to turn white as her grip tightened on the pepper spray.

“They looked like any other teenager around these parts,” she said. “Hoody, jeans and grubby trainers (running shoes). But while the older one spoke I zeroed down on his eyes – they were pitch black. No trace of white or pupil at all.”

Further depths of terror rushed through her.

“I made a silent gasp,” she said. “It was as if I was in terrible danger; that I had to get away. My heart rate went off.”

All she knew at that moment is that she had to get inside her apartment.

“I didn’t know exactly what to do, so I marched towards my flat door, ignoring the two boys,” she said. “I fiddled around quickly in my bag trying to find my keys.”

“Please miss,” the younger boy said from behind her. “My mother won’t be happy if she doesn’t know where we are.”

Something pulled at her mind, to let them in, to help them.

“I wanted to obey them at first considering that they were young,” she said. “But seeing their eyes took me away. I just had to get away from them both and I knew if I obeyed them I was going to seriously regret it.”

“No. I, I, I …” she stammered.

“I couldn’t get my words out,” she said. “My hands hit my keys and I swiftly opened my door and slid in. My heart was banging against my chest.”

Shaking, Holdsworth fixed a cup of coffee, sat on the sofa in her living room, turned on the television and tried to calm down.

“I didn’t bother to check if they were still there in case I stared into those soulless eyes,” she said.

A knock sounded on her front door.

“I ignored it. It knocked again,” Holdsworth said. “I felt in real danger.”

She stood and padded to the front door. Everything was silent for one second, two, three, then knuckles on the other side of the door rapped out three loud knocks.

“It scared me, making me jump back a few steps,” she said “I was grateful that my door was completely made of wood. I looked through the peep hole and almost died.”

The boys’ faces filled the peep hole.

“Both of them staring at me with those pitch-black eyes,” she said. “The horrid feeling of dread completely overwhelmed me.”

“Miss, we won’t hurt you. We promise,” one of the boys said.

Anger momentarily overwhelmed Holdsworth’s fear and she threw open the door. The boys stood in the doorway, grinning at her.

“What do you want?” she demanded.

“We want to use your phone,” the older one said.

“No,” she yelled.

“Just let us in to use the phone,” he said. “We won’t hurt you. We have no weapons to hurt you with.”

“Get away from my flat,” she shouted, then slammed the door in their faces.

Safely behind her solid wooden door, Holdsworth looked back through the peep hole. The boys still stood there, but they were no longer smiling.

“That feeling of utter terror and danger ran through me,” she said.

She went through her apartment, made sure every door, every window, was locked, then picked up the telephone.

“I called my friend to come around that it was an emergency and I needed her help,” she said, calling a friend other than police because she didn’t want to draw attention to her apartment.

Holdsworth’s friend arrived 10 minutes later.

“When I opened the door I couldn’t help but hug her,” Holdsworth said. “She told me two boys were standing in my yard but they left once she arrived. She said they made her feel in danger.”

Holdsworth has since moved to a different neighborhood, but the terror of the night of the Black-Eyed Kids stays with her.

“I always check through that peep hole before I go to sleep,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what those boys were, but I do know they meant me harm and that they weren’t human in any way. I still get scared thinking about it.”

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, August 20, 2011

Terror of the Evil Little Man -- Part Three

Author’s note: Last week I gave you the second of a two-part story of a California family terrorized by an evil, gnome-like creature. It was the same story I had reported two years before – with a different family. Last week I asked the question, did they live in the same house? This week I have the answer.

The evil, little man only came at night, and although its origin wasn’t clear, its intention toward Charlie Thomas’ family was – it meant them harm.

Thomas, her husband and their two-year-old twin girls moved out of the two-story country house in Porterville, Calif., by the Tule River in 2010 to escape the cackling imp. Thomas’ story seemed familiar, because it was. I had heard the story before, in 2009 from a woman named Tammy who moved to Porterville, Calif., into a two-story home nestled amongst a few other houses by the Tule River. A gnome-like creature terrorized her and her family as well.

I asked both women if they had lived in the same house; Thomas wasn’t sure.

“It does sound like the house we lived in, only there were no other houses close to us,” she said. “But the description of that barn and everything else sounds just like it, and the Tule River runs behind the house. I don’t know what to think about it all.”

But she wanted to know. Her experience was too terrifying for her be at peace.

“It’s too creepy to think that there are more of those creatures,” she said. “I would like to speak to those other people and find out if we were in the same house or close to it. Thanks for not telling me that I lost my mind.”

I put Thomas in contact with Tammy. Tammy didn’t think it was the same house, either.

“Charlie sent me an email and she described the house that she lived in but it didn’t sound like the same place because the place where I lived had other houses on the property,” Tammy said. “But then she started naming some of the side streets and then I knew it was the same house or really close to it.”

Overwhelmed with curiosity, the women met and drove to the property.

“We decided to go over there to make sure that we were talking about the same place,” Tammy said. “It definitely was the same place. I guess whoever bought it from my landlord had had all the other homes moved off of it.”

As Tammy stood, looking at the house where a three-foot tall man with pointed teeth and an evil cackle stalked them in the night, something seemed wrong – the barn was gone.

“We thought that we might get the nerve up to go and take pictures of the barn to send to you but it was gone,” she said.

Someone had torn down the shed – a place of refuge for the gnome-like creature. Thomas was happy of that.

“We had talked about the possibility of looking inside the shack,” Thomas said. “I really don’t think I would have been able to get close to it; forget about going into it. Even with that shack gone the whole place still had an eerie feel to it and I don’t know if that is because of what we dealt with while living there or just the place itself. I don’t think I’ll be going back there again.”

Before they left, the women approached their old house and knocked on the door. The current resident was not happy to see them.

“I’m not trying to be nasty or anything but the lady that owns it now could very well be an old troll,” Tammy said. “She was just hateful and when we tried to ask her about the barn she pretty much told us to get lost and not in those nice words.”

Thomas was equally taken aback.

“We tried to ask the woman who lives now there about the shack and if she had ever experienced anything while it was there but she didn’t want to talk to us,” Thomas said. “In fact, she told us to leave the property. She didn’t have to tell me twice. I was happy to get away from there.”

The visit brought back other memories to Tammy – memories that rang of the gnome.

“One of the old houses that were on the property when I lived there; the people that lived in the smallest of the houses had some paranormal things going on,” she said. “They would get up in the morning to find huge piles of feces on their kitchen and living room floors and they didn’t have dogs in their house.”

They would also hear their names called when no one else was home, and televisions and radios would come on in the night.

“When they turned them off they would go right back on only louder and when they tried to turn them off again they would hear a really nasty creepy voice yell at them to ‘leave it the F word alone,’” Tammy said. “Could it be that creepy gnome thing in the house? It was just too weird.”

Thomas just hopes the evil little man is gone.

“Hopefully that creepy little creature didn’t move to another barn or shed or shack and is not terrorizing someone else,” she said. “One thing I would like to know is where did it come from and why was it there other than to terrorize everyone who lived near that old shack?”

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, August 12, 2011

Terror of the Evil Little Man -- Part Two

Author’s note: Charlie Thomas contacted me in July 2011 with a story of a gnome-like creature that terrorized her family in their two-story Porterville, Calif., home by the Tule River. I had heard the story – at least a similar story – before, in 2009 from a woman named Tammy who moved to Porterville, Calif., into a two-story home by the Tule River. A gnome-like creature terrorized her and her family. I’m investigating to see if they lived in the same house. My guess is they did. This is the second of two parts.

The noise outside the Thomas’ window may have been singing, or chanting, but whatever the noise was, it was terrifying.
“It was 3 a.m. and we were woken up by a sound that I can only describe as a raspy gurgling sound,” Charlie Thomas said. “It was without a doubt the most hideous sound I have ever heard. It freaked us out.”
Thomas and her husband looked out their bedroom window and saw something that froze their blood.
“Standing by my pond holding one of my garden gnomes was what I can only describe as something out of a Grimm’s fairy tale,” she said. “The thing that was standing in our yard was hideous and grotesque.”
The “thing” stood illumined under the motion detector light. It was less than three feet tall, had a long gray beard, wore maroon pants, a baggy yellow shirt, brown vest and a dark waistcoat.
“I couldn’t tell if it was wearing shoes or not but it was wearing a reddish brown pointed hat,” she said.
Thomas stared at a gnome.
“The thing that made this creature really hideous was its eyes and teeth,” she said. “It looked like it was grinning and its teeth were jagged and pointed. The eyes were little beady and dark and mean.”
And it knew they saw it.
“That thing, gnome, troll, whatever it was, knew we were looking at it and it reached into the pond and grabbed a coy,” she said. “Right there in front of us it dropped it in its mouth and swallowed it. We had noticed that every time we put fish in the pond they disappeared and we thought it was cats or raccoons eating them. After seeing that I think that creepy little creature was the guilty party.”
Her husband pushed the window open a few inches and screamed at the creature, telling it to leave their yard or he’d call the police. The gnome simply grinned, laughed and shot them the bird.
They called 911.
“We just said that we had an intruder in our yard but we honestly didn’t think he was going to be there when they arrived,” she said. They didn’t tell the police what they’d actually seen.
When lights from the police car shown down their lane, the gnome simply disappeared.
“We told the officers that the person ran off when it saw the lights coming up the drive but they looked around anyway,” she said. “When they were satisfied that it was gone they came to tell us they had only found some small shoeprints like a kid’s. We knew it was no kid.”
The gnome came back night after night, holding a yard ornament and eating their fish.
They eventually moved the ornaments and put the fish into a tank in the house, then realized they’d made a mistake.
“One night after we had removed the fairies and gnomes and fish from the yard the creature showed up at the usual time, 3 a.m.,” she said. “When it showed up and found that the yard ornaments were gone and the fish were gone it went crazy. It was yelling and screaming something that we couldn’t understand – but we did understand that this thing was pissed and wanted us to know it.”
The gnome ran around the house again and again, screaming and gurgling, its feet hardly touching the ground. Then Thomas realized something terrifying.
“We had put a doggy door in the back door and it was big enough for our dogs to go through and it would be big enough for that creature to go through as well,” she said. “I took off running down to the kitchen and as I got there the dogs had started barking like crazy at the doggy door.”
She shut and secured the dog door, then realized the upstairs windows were open.
“If that creature can half run/half fly around the house it was probably capable of flying up to the windows,” she said. “A fear hit me than like nothing I had ever felt and I ran back up to the twins’ bedroom where they were both sound asleep in their cribs.”
Neither parent slept that night. They soon realized their days in Porterville were short.
“The last we heard of that creature was a very loud screeching cackling sound,” she said. “It was under one of the living room windows and when my husband went to check it out he saw the top of that creature’s hat under the window. Right then we decided that we were out of there. We couldn’t stay there with that creature.”
They soon moved.

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, August 06, 2011

Terror of the Evil Little Man -- Part One

Author’s note: Charlie Thomas contacted me in July 2011 with a story of a gnome-like creature that terrorized her family in their two-story Porterville, Calif., home by the Tule River. I had heard the story – at least a similar story – before, in 2009 from a woman named Tammy who moved to Porterville, Calif., into a two-story home by the Tule River. A gnome-like creature terrorized her and her family. I’m investigating to see if they lived in the same house. My guess is they did. This is the first of two parts.

The house seemed perfect. Charlie Thomas, her husband, their two-year-old twin girls and two golden labs moved into the two-story country house in Porterville, Calif., in March 2010.

“The house was perfect for us,” Thomas said. “Exactly what we were looking for, and we couldn’t wait to move in. There are three bedrooms, a huge kitchen, dining room and living room and lots of windows all around it.”

The deck that poured from the back door opened to woods and the nearby Tule River. A deck in the front overlooked a pond. Thomas placed fairy, gnome, and toadstool yard ornaments around the pond, and stocked it with Japanese koi fish to make it more like their home.

But they would soon find it wasn’t their home.

Thomas began taking her daughters and the dogs to the river in the afternoon. The dogs loved the water, and the girls enjoyed throwing in sticks for them to fetch. One day at the river, Thomas heard her husband shouting for her.

“I heard my husband calling my name from the house,” she said. “He sounded kind of frantic and it worried me so I hurried the girls as much as two-year-olds can be hurried and started for the house.”

As they approached a rickety structure on the property Thomas calls “the shack,” the dogs grew defensive.

“As we got even with that shack the dogs went crazy,” she said. “They were barking and snarling and the hair on their backs was standing up and something told me to run so I grabbed a twin under each arm and ran for home.”

In the house, she slammed shut the door, locking it. But her husband wasn’t there.

“He was nowhere in the house,” she said. “I called his phone but he said that he hadn’t been home.”

Thomas’ thoughts went to the shack.

“There are two sheds on either end of the house,” Thomas said. “The shed on the west end is newer and we use it for storage and the one on the east end is just an old shack that looks like a strong breeze would blow it down. Something about that shack gave me the creeps, especially at night but I don’t know why.”

Thomas served in the Army, her husband in the Marines. They were both engaged in firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn’t frighten easily, but something about the shed terrified them.

“After we had been here for a week or so I started noticing that none of the animals would go near that shack,” she said. “Our dogs, the stray cats and the wildlife gave that shack a wide berth when walking past it.”

Doing yard work one day, Thomas and her husband heard a fight coming from inside the shack.

“It sounded like a cat was in a fight with something way bigger than it was,” she said.

Her husband went into the house, grabbed a flashlight and ran to the shed.

“Just as he got to the door the noise stopped,” she said. “He went in and looked around with the flashlight. Just as he turned to go back out of the shed something in a corner caught his eye. There was something moving and sounded like it was struggling to breathe.”

He shone the light in that corner. It was a cat.

“He ran out of the shack and thought he was going to be sick but after a few deep breaths he was OK and told me what he had seen,” she said. “There was a cat and it looked like it had been in a fight with a meat grinder. It was totally skinned on one side and its neck looked as though some thing had taken a huge chunk out of it.”

Once he caught his breath, he ventured back into the shed – the cat was gone.

“There was no way that cat moved by itself,” she said. “We were standing right there. Where did the cat go?”

Next week: The evil little man.

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,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Tales of the Ouija Board

Author’s note: After last week’s story of a Ouija board encounter gone wrong, a “From the Shadows” reader contacted me with a story of his own.

Kindred walked into his older sister’s house one weekend night in January 1979, his senior year in high school, to find his sister, her boyfriend, and a few cousins around the kitchen table, some sitting, others standing.

He had no idea what the night would bring.

“All (cousins) were female, all in their early and late teens,” he said. “No real significance, although I now wonder if an overwhelming female presence influenced events that followed.”

Kindred’s cousin Dianne waved him toward the table.

“Check this out,” she said.

As Kindred stepped to the table, he saw something that sent fear through him.

“I was taken a little aback,” he said. “Coming from a Christian background we were all told not to mess with Ouija boards.”

But they were, and Kindred joined the game.

“Are you dead or alive,” someone asked, the plastic, triangular planchette skittering across the board. The group asked the question again and again as the planchette indicated a different spirit had joined the conversation.

“It would go to each letter, stop at each letter, and spell out ‘dead’ or ‘alive,’” Kindred said.

Cousin accused cousin of moving the planchette, but everyone denied it. The group would soon find no one in the room – no one living – had moved the triangle.

“A whimsical remark angered whatever was there and one leg of the widget caught on the end of the board,” Kindred said. “Everyone lifted their fingers off the widget and (it) quickly moved across the table top.”

Although frightened, no one wanted to stop the session.

“Curiosity had gotten the best of us all that night,” Kindred said.

Simple yes or no questions made way for more complex queries, like “what are you?”

“We would get answers back such as rabbits, cows, snakes and people we knew that said they were asleep but communicating with us,” he said.

Then whatever communicated with them began to get too close.

“One upsetting moment when going through the list of questions, it said it was by the cliff,” a landmark on the property, Kindred said. “Then by our corrals, then crossing the creek. The procession was towards us – and fast. Finally it said it was outside in the yard, wanting to come in.”

As the group hovered over the board wondering what to do, someone stood, peeled back the kitchen curtain and looked outside. A dog stood in the yard, staring at the house. It was Kindred’s parent’s dog Choco, who would have had to cross those landmarks to reach the house.

“That was pretty freaky,” Kindred said.

Fueled by tension, imagination and adrenaline, the group continued to work the board – then something happened.

“These routine sessions of questions and answers were suddenly broken,” Kindred said.

The board randomly spelled out “purple,” which confused everyone in the room. But when the board spelled “Newtown ND” and “Samantha,” Kindred realized the board targeted him. An ex-girlfriend named Samantha he’d always associated with the color purple lived in Newtown, N.D.

“It was all very startling to me,” Kindred said. “It was as if this universal conscience or entity somehow focused on me and brought up knowledge only I knew, and these were things that were not on my mind at all, at the time.”

The most disturbing event while the group sat in that kitchen, watching the plastic planchette skitter from letter to letter by its own power, didn’t occur in that house.

“While we used the board, my cousin’s mother kept getting phone calls from a little boy claiming he was her abandoned son,” Kindred said.

The voice told her he was calling from a pay phone from nearby Lander, Wyo., and wanted her to pick him up at the 7-11 there.

“Of course, she was clueless and took it as prank calls,” Kindred said. “She would know if she had a baby and had abandoned it anywhere.”

As soon as she hung up the telephone, the little boy would call back – then the “prank” turned into horror.

“The most terrifying thing for her was on the last of these several calls when the little boy’s voice morphed into a man’s voice as he was talking to her,” Kindred said. “Very, very, creepy.”

Although the telephone calls stopped after that, and the group put up the board and everyone went home for the night, the Ouija board experience has stayed with Kindred for 32 years.

“I do not encourage any one to experiment with a Ouija board,” Kindred said. “That night was the only and last night any of us ever engaged in (one).”

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, July 23, 2011

The Ouija Board Spelled 'Join Me in Hell'

The night of terror began with a few drinks.

“It was just another night out with our group of friends,” Toni said. “We had all been drinking so we decided to go to our friend Brittny’s house.”

The idea of using a Ouija board had picked at Toni’s mind for the past three days so, as the group of friends sat at Brittny’s house, she brought it up.

“I had been wanting to play around with a Ouija board just for the hell of it,” she said. “Since we were all drunk and my older brother knew how to make a pretty nifty homemade Ouija board, we all thought it was a great idea.”

The friends soon discovered it was not.

After an opening prayer, the friends began their Ouija session.

“We started off with me and my brother’s hands on the triangle (planchette) we had cut out,” Toni said. “We warmed it up by spinning it in a circle for about 40 seconds.”

Once they stopped spinning the planchette, Toni’s brother asked the first question.

“Is there any spirit with us now?”

Tense moments past and nothing happened. Toni’s friend Taylor shouted something sarcastic and the planchette shot to the word “yes” on the top corner of the board.

“At first, I truly believed it was my older brother,” Toni said. “I was wrong.”

Very wrong.

Toni and her brother took turns with others in the room, and eventually the messages grew dark.

“We switched people maybe about eight times before it really started getting frightening,” she said. “All together, we had let nine spirits into the room.”

Messages from the board claimed the spirits of six women and three men were in the room. Then the questions began to flow, like, “Did any of you kill yourselves?”

They did.

“It answered with a ‘three,’” Toni said. “We then asked them how. G for gunshot, H for hanging.”

For the first answer, the planchette moved to X, but the next rested on H. Then something happened that pulled a blanket of fear over the group.

“We heard soft banging as if someone had just hung themselves and their feet were gently hitting the wall,” Toni said. “We asked the spirit who had made the banging noise to speak. We asked him why he killed himself and he spelled out ‘wife.’”

Had his wife been murdered?


How did she die?


“We asked if the devil made him do it and the triangle moved to ‘Yes,’” Toni said. “We asked if he hated women and he spelt out ‘all of them.’”

The room grew silently tense as the planchette skittered across the homemade board, broken only by heavy breaths and the occasional brave question.

“We asked if he wanted to harm any of the girls in the room and the triangle moved to ‘yes,’” Toni said. “We asked how and he spelt out ‘fire.’”

Then the planchette quickly moved from letter to letter, repeatedly spelling “maim.”

“Then one of the candles we had fell to the floor and hot wax got on my leg,” Toni said. “Or at least I thought it was hot wax. It turned out to be a pretty deep cut. I don’t know where it came from.”

Despite the injury, the friends kept playing.

“There were a few people in the room who were scared,” Toni said. When asked, the Ouija board identified each one.

The last people to use the board were Toni’s brother and Brittny. Facing each other, the two spun the planchette and began asking questions.

“I wasn’t scared until the last session with the board,” Toni said. “This time, we were dealing with a demonic spirit; an angry demonic spirit.”

Toni’s brother asked, “are you evil or good?”

The board signified evil.

“We all laughed and my brother began asking more questions,” Toni said.

Taylor screamed, “We needed to put it away and stop (messing) around with it.”

The group, focused on the spinning planchette, ignored him.

“We asked the demonic spirit if it wanted to hurt anyone in the room,” Toni said, and the planchette spelled “HAT.” Taylor was the only one wearing a hat.

“My brother asked him to point the triangle at who he wanted to hurt and it went straight to Taylor,” Toni said.

Taylor shot from his seat and screamed an expletive; then he moved to another part of the room. The point of the planchette followed him. The board spelled that Taylor was cursed.

“We asked more questions but the answers were too confusing for us to understand,” Toni said.

The next few answers weren’t.

“The Ouija board spelt out my father’s name,” Toni said. “This part made my heart stop because my dad truly is a (messed) up being.”

Toni’s brother asked why the board was interested in their father.

“It slowly spelt out ‘deal with devil,’” Toni said. “My brother asked to be more specific and it spelt out ‘no work.’”

Their father is technically disabled and “gets free meds and money from the government.”

Then the planchette started spinning, resting briefly on the board’s roughly written letters.

J. O. I. N. M. E. I. N. H. E. L. L. P. A. D. …

“My brother flipped the board before it could finish spelling our last name,” Toni said.

Toni’s brother and Brittny released the board, and destroyed it, along with the paper they used to write the messages. Then they burned the remains.

“After that night, I will not touch a Ouija board,” Toni said. “I now know how serious the Ouija board is.”

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, July 16, 2011

Eyes of the 'Wolf Boy'

A small orange flame sparked in the night as Travis White lit a cigarette. White stood outside the Maryville, Mo., house on that night in August 2010, the air fresh from rain, nearby streetlights casting a yellow glow over the neighborhood.

“It was 3 a.m.,” White said. “I’d just gotten off shift.”

Smoke rolled from his mouth and he noticed something move in the yard near a copse of trees.

“Out of my periphery I thought it was a dog,” White said. “A really big dog; but when I looked at it straight on I was scared. Not one of those immovable scareds, just a little freaked out. I just didn’t want to be there right now.”

The dog, “about as long as a horse,” loped across the lawn as a dog would. Its tail long, tan and bushy “with a white tip. Like a fox.”

However, it was the eyes that frightened White.

“I don’t remember much about its facial features, but I remember the eyes,” he said. “It had glowing green eyes.”

The “dog” stopped next to a neighbor’s fence and watched White; its eyes glowed the entire encounter.

“It stared at me until I finished my cigarette and went inside,” White said. “About three to five minutes; just long enough to smoke a cigarette. I was little freaked out. I didn’t want to move. I just maintained eye contact.”

The “dog” disappeared between two houses and White went inside. White, who lives with his father and step-mother, took his father outside to look for tracks the next day, but they found nothing.

But, when White saw how tall the fence was, he knew something was wrong.

“I didn’t realize how tall it was,” he said. “I just thought it was a big dog or a wolf. The next day Dad went out there and stood where it was.”

The “dog” would have come up to the middle of White’s chest – he’s 6’2”.

That wasn’t the last time White saw the “dog.” He saw it twice more, and always at night.

“I saw it a couple of weeks later. Very briefly,” he said.

White parked his car on the street behind the house after work around 3 a.m. He sat inside the car smoking cigarettes when he saw eyes staring at him through the darkness.

“The street light back there flickers,” he said. “I was sitting in the car smoking a cigarette. I saw those green eyes.”

When the streetlight flicked on he saw the “dog.”

“I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me because of the green glow,” White said. “But it was the dog. It was lying down, just staring at me,”

In the intermittent flickering the “dog” inched closer.

“It was freaky as close as the dog was when the light flickered back on,” he said. “I wanted to go inside. It was one of these, ‘in need to go inside,’ but I was frozen. I’ve seen big animals that freaked me out back when I lived on the farm and I just ran.”

But that night he couldn’t. Eventually, the “dog” stood and loped away. There were no footprints the next day.

“Dad calls it ‘Wolf Boy,’” White said. “We joke around about it being a werewolf.”

The third and last time White saw the creature was in April 2011, “It had been months since I thought about the ‘Wolf Boy’.”

White had fallen asleep in a chair watching television when something strange pulled him from sleep.

“I woke up to my name whispered in my ear,” he said. “As I started looking toward the door, the lights came on and I heard this scratching from Dad’s speakers. Nails on a chalkboard.”

White yelled at whoever had turned on the lights and stereo, but no one was in the room.

“Then I saw a figure standing just outside the door,” he said. “In my just woken-up mind someone had broken into the house and I caught them so I, of course, got my gun.”

When he stepped outside with the gun, the dark figure he’d seen looming outside the door was gone – but he wasn’t alone.

“I searched outside and I see the green eyes,” he said. White stood outside the door, armed, and watched Wolf Boy back off into the shadows between two houses. “That’s the last time I saw it.”

Through those three encounters, White’s still not sure what the beast could be, something normal, or something paranormal.

“My first impression was it was a big dog,” White said. “But the eyes. These eyes glow in the shadows. That’s the only inkling I got it was supernatural. The eyes and the first time I saw it, it was wet and there were no tracks in the mud.”

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, July 08, 2011

The Shadow They Called 'The Cowboy'

The Cowboy has followed Cody Lilly for years, a black, human-shaped figure, featureless except for a hat – a fedora with a wide brim.

“We called him the Cowboy because he kind of looked like the Marlboro man,” Lilly said.

The Cowboy stepped into Lilly’s life his sophomore year of high school in Clarinda, Iowa, and visited almost nightly for two years, pacing about his room, waiting for something. What, Lilly didn’t know. Then the visits stopped.

Until 2011.

“My girlfriend that is now my fiancĂ©e is in Kansas City and I’m in Omaha. I was crashing with friends here,” he said. “My car started acting up, I’m in the process of looking for a job, finding an apartment, buying an engagement ring. I had a lot of stuff on my plate, which might have brought on what happened.”

What happened was the Cowboy.

“I’m sitting in my car on the phone with my mom,” Lilly said. “I’m a horrible man because I don’t know much about cars, but my mom does.”

As Lilly described the car’s behavior to his mother, he noticed a movement in the corner of his right eye. Lilly turned toward the passenger side window and saw it – the shadow man that once tormented him in the night. The Cowboy.

“It was full on. A shadow person in an old fedora,” Lilly said. “It was standing there. It leaned over like it’s bending to look at me.”

As Lilly stared in horror, the Cowboy reached out it’s arm and knocked on the car window.

“It knocked two times,” Lilly said. “After it knocked it dissolved in my vision. It just showed up, knocked on my window and was gone.”

Lilly wonders if the Cowboy wanted to let him know it was still around.

“It’s been quite some time that I saw him,” he said. “I’m just kind of thinking he just showed up. I was feeling stressed out and I think he showed up just to feed on that.”

The first time Lilly saw the Cowboy was almost eight years ago when he moved into his older brother’s basement bedroom.

“The room we stayed in was kind of long and there was a lot of room between the dresser and the bed,” he said. “When it showed up it just appeared by the dresser. It had red eyes. It was darker than the darkness around it and it would just pace back and forth. Those red eyes were on me all the time. Then it would just dissipate.”

He later discovered his brother had seen the red-eyed shadow entity as well, but the thing never approached him either.

“Our Cowboy, he never really came any closer than that,” Lilly said. “He just paced and watched.”

Lilly said he believes the shadow man was there for another reason – it hungered.

“It was feeding,” Lilly said, convinced the Cowboy was absorbing energy from his emotions. “The first time I saw it I was completely incapacitated by how scared I was of it.”

At first the nighttime visitations paralyzed Lilly with fear, but something eventually changed.

“The first times I saw it I stayed awake all night scared to the point I would not move,” he said. “When I realized it didn’t do anything I didn’t get scared, I got interested in it.”

Lilly got relaxed enough around the Cowboy, one night he spoke to it.

“I said, ‘hey, I don’t care if you’re here, but if you’re going to do something to me, do it to me in my sleep because I don’t want to lose any more sleep over this,’” Lilly said. “He stopped coming so often after that.”

Lilly and his brother aren’t the only people to see the Cowboy. During a New Year’s party at the house, they used Lilly’s bedroom as the coatroom.

“One of my brother’s friends was over. He went in to put his coat in the room and he came back out with it, pallid white,” Lilly said. “He said, ‘there is someone in your room.’ He wouldn’t say anything else. He just left. We think he saw it, too.”

Other odd things happened to Lilly in that house over the years, but he only places one at the feet of the Cowboy.

“Mom sleeps with a box fan. Every once in a while she’d hear the music of Glenn Miller through her box fan,” Lilly said. “Oddly enough, Clarinda is home to Glenn Miller.”

A few years later, as Lilly attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo., about 45 miles south of Clarinda, he heard the music, too.

“The one time I saw the Cowboy in Maryville, I heard Glenn Miller coming from my box fan,” he said. “I looked up and there he was.”

Although Lilly grew comfortable with the Cowboy, the daylight sighting in Omaha brought the terror back.

“I got scared again,” Lilly said. “I had never heard one make noise. I was pretty shaken up about the thing. It had this feeling of anxiety and tiredness, like it was feeding off my emotions. Maybe it was letting me know it found me again. Maybe it’s been looking for me, which is kind of creepy.”

Even though the thought of a phantom lurking in the shadows of his life is a disturbing one, it has also piqued Lilly’s curiosity.

“(Shadow beings) have never tried to hurt me,” he said. “I kind of want to see more of them so I can maybe figure something out about them. So I can figure out what they want and why they’re here. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.”

Regardless, Lilly is leaving Omaha. He wonders if the Cowboy will follow him.

“I’m moving to Kansas City,” he said. “I’ve kind of had weird stuff happen to me no matter where I’ve been. I’ll see what happens to me once I get down there.”

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, July 02, 2011

Encounter with a Mara

Mikk of Estonia knew something was wrong when he looked down and discovered he was floating around his house.

“I knew my body was asleep,” he said. “It was night time but I could see in the dark.”

Mikk often slipped into a lucid dream state, but this time he traveled outside his body – and encountered something terrifying.

“Some bad entity was around my house and my spirit fled,” Mikk said. “I was hovering along the main road from my house, away from the entity who was unpleasant.”

Turning back to see if the dark entity was following him, Mikk looked into the face of horror.

“I passed a house where a neighbor had died of cancer several months ago and with it I passed a shadow of a person,” he said. “It was standing in front of the neighbor’s house and as I sensed it, it was the most awful feeling. It was an unholy terror.”

Mikk stared in horror at the entity that simply stood at the neighbor’s house, seeming not to notice Mikk at all. However, Mikk got close enough to feel it.

“I past by its field, I think, and it was horrible,” Mikk said. “It wasn't evil; it was just inhuman, incompatible with the human mind.”

Mikk, an atheist, isn’t sure why he did this, but he recited the Lord’s Prayer and made the sign of the cross. Then he was back in his room.

“I heard a loud bang, like a car had hit our house or a piano had been dropped into our living room,” he said. “I was awake in a split second and stared into darkness listening. No one in the house had heard it. The sound came from my head.”

The event had ended, but Mikk wanted to know what he had seen.

“I asked a woman I know about it,” he said. “Her grandmother was a healer or seer in the older community here in Estonia. She said, ‘oh yeah, my grandmother told me about those things, they're called the maras.’”

A mara, the woman said, is a negative energy a person who hates or envies someone sends to that person either intentionally, or subconsciously. The mara then slowly drains the person’s happiness because the one who conjured it wants the target to be miserable.

“When I asked how to get rid of the thing she said it doesn't matter if you are religious, just say the Lord's Prayer,” Mikk said. “You have to mean it when you say it.”

That’s the key – conviction. When confronted by a dark spiritual being, she said you have to banish it with authority.

“When the shadow attacks or is menacing you are likely to be afraid and you can't get that much conviction or will power behind what you say so the Lord's Prayer is a healthy alternative,” Mikk said. “It almost doesn't have religious connotations in that context.”

Mikk only recited the first few lines of the Lord’s Prayer, but it seemed to work for him.

“I don't know the rest from heart but I’m planning to print it out and hang it next to my bed,” he said. “Also making the sign of the cross was that way. It was some sort of survivalist reflex. It felt like the right thing to do.”

Although this experience hasn’t changed Mikk’s spiritual beliefs, he thinks negative entities exist.

“To be honest, I’ve done lots of mushrooms and met with various entities there and I never made up my mind if they were hallucinations or something that the drug enables you to interact with,” he said. “If you are afraid, ignorant, negative, etc., the entities can get to you like rats can get into a shabby household and nest there. The evil ones are so bad they don't resemble humanity in any form except shape. They invoke such primal terror you can only scream like a caveman would.”

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 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,