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,


Gather and Watch said...

Now this is a good story! Very intriguing questions remain...who is the blond man? What was under the bathroom floorboards that attracted or housed the flies?

Concutio said...

I just don't get it! I read so many of these stories. Why don't people just move? If my kid wakes up bleeding from ghostly scratches, we're leaving...period! I would live in a motel or something.

Caitie said...

this is my story, and i dont know who the blonde man was. a girl i went to elementary school with moved into the house a few years after we left and i asked her if she ever saw the man, and she didn't. nothing that i know of was under the house. the flies would randomly swarm the bathroom every couple of weeks; it wasn't like a couple flies daily. it was a black swarm that covered absolutely everything. we did eventually move, but not because of the ghosts. i guess we just learned to live with them.

graeylin13 said...

I can explain the flies... simpe all it took was one fly getting into the old houses after time you get a lot of build up in darins, especially if not cleaned, as in scrubbed with a pipecleaner... what was happening is they were swarming, mating, laying eggs, wash rinse and repeat...for big flies it takes lots of build up, smaller filth flies not so much.
You may think running stuff down a drain would stop it, it doesn't, even i bathrooms where "food" doesn't go... you have a build up of oils and dead skin they feed off of and in many old places, wastewater lines are all inteconnected, so when you flush that water sits in the pipes also and helps. (Modern codes have means of stopping this). To prevent this one should open drains and using a pipe cleaner and cleansers scrub at least a foot down...enough can build up that maggots are safe from the water rushing down.
In better ran restaraunts and all food producton facilities, this is done regularly. My first job outside of high school was sanitation at a meat plant and we did it nightly, at restraunts we did it weekly, and the seafood plant I worked as a QA tech it was also done nightly. In homes, I'd say if you have a mystery flie problem and no other obvious answer do this at least weekly... the when you notice no more flies or etc...(the swarm is they all mature, mate, lay eggs, and etc at once..wo it's regular)... it can actually be a seasonal thing because home do not see the same amounts as busineses do..even onlydoing it during spring cleaning... but you have to make sure you get a foot in..that's as far as they will gousually (plants was two feet just to be safe).
The scratches..coud have just been caused by a stray animal that came into the house...and in your sleep you kickedit or etc...a note here. Feet have a lot of dead skin and some animals may assume this was a free meal, they took a nip, you moved and they attacked, maybe getting entangled in the blankets and disappearing before being seen.
The ghosts could have just been your cousins who originally lived there playing tricks on you because they had the keys or copies still...along with their friends... and they probablyknew the ins and outs of thehouse to do where to stand unnoticed so their reflections were seen in a mirror...or etc. My guess is friends, who may og also had keys and didn't realise when it started their parties were no longer happening...especially since it ended when ya'll moved out and you said you got used to the ghosts or maybe rather it was ended.
My dad thoughtit'd be cool to play like our house was haunted in high school and trick my step brother and me.. until he decided one night when we were in our room watching a movie he'd put some shimmer powder onhis arm after painting it with white and put it through the door and wave it around..My bed was closest to the door and when I saw the arm..I kicked the door closed hard..breaking his arm. End of the great haunting at our house.