The Phoenix

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spooky Story Four: Boy Haunting

For this final spooky story of 2008, I'm retelling a story an ex-coworker shared with a small group while on a business trip. We were sharing firsthand tales of the unexplained and paranormal, and this lady's story was simple yet gripped all of our attention. This is her story as best as I can remember it...

I was in college when I went back to my hometown to visit family and friends. My older sister had just moved with her eight year-old son into a modest brick home near a great big park. The neighborhood was pretty old but clean, and many families were out at the park a mere two days before Thanksgiving. It was unseasonably warm, so we decided to take advantage of the warm weather.

My sister was pushing my nephew on the swing when I remembered that I had left my cell phone in my sister's car. I got her keys and hurried over the hill back to the car. Before I got to the parking lot, something made me stop. I saw this little boy sitting on an old park bench. He was alone, and these days you don't see kids by themselves too often.

When I looked closer, the boy's appearance startled me a little. He was probably the same age of my nephew. He had brown hair, thin brows, and hollow sunken eyes. Dark rings outlined his eyes. His skin was unhealthy shade of white. He looked sickly and just so sad. When he looked up at me, I immediately turned away. I didn't want to scare him so I walked quickly to the car to retrieve my phone. When I locked the door and turned around, the boy was gone.

It was such a strange occurrence, I didn't tell my sister about it when I got back to the swings. The memory of the boy's pale skin and creepy look haunted me all day. That evening, we watched some funny movies and I had forgotten about that freaky little boy.

The next morning, I was at the table pouring myself some cereal. My eight year-old nephew was still asleep, and my sister entered the kitchen. She looked terrible. It was obvious that she had not gotten much sleep. She's normally the deep sleeper and I'm the one with insomnia. I had slept pretty well.

My sister sat down for some coffee. "What a horrible night. I kept having nightmares. As soon as I'd fall asleep, I'd dream about a strange little boy messing with me."

I stopped eating. "Boy? What boy? What did he look like?"

She described the same exact boy that I had seen at the park yesterday. Brown hair, pale white skin, and empty dark-circled eyes. In her nightmares, the pale skin boy would pull her hair, kick her knees, all the little vicious things a naught little boy would do to torture someone. This sickly boy attacked her in her dreams all night long.

My sister could tell that I was bothered. I then explained that I had seen that same little boy at the park. The kid was alone, and he had disappeared after I had retrieved my phone. We looked at each other in disbelief.

Did we each have our own encounter with this pale-skinned boy?

I don't know, but just thinking about it gives me the chills.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spooky Story Three: Prophetic Fiction

* This is a spooky story I received last year, but didn't get the chance to use. It's sure to give you the heebie-jeebies. My source wishes to remain anonymous, but he swears the following story is true.

In 1991, I was still in high school. I was a pretty good writer and loved reading Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. That year I took a creative writing class that sophomore year. It was an elective that was filled with mostly seniors wanting a blow-off class, but there were a couple of us underclassmen that wanted to actually become storytellers.

One of our assignments was to write a gruesome story. We had been studying how to be more descriptive, and since it was Halloween time - what a great way to celebrate by writing the grossest, goriest story we could write.

Of course we had guidelines so Mr. Bowen wouldn't get fired, but we had the freedom to be as grotesque as we wanted. I had been a fan of B-movie horror flicks, so I decided to write a short story depicting a couple of police detectives making a terrible discovery at some insane and crazed homicidal maniac.

I started my story with an innocent victim I named Edward Tracy. He had been kidnapped by a lunatic, but was lucky to escape. He ran into the streets flagging down a police car. The police followed him to the home where he had been taken in order to investigate.

The crazy man opened the door, very calmly. Earlier in the year, I had read Edgar Allen Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, so I used that as my inspiration for my story. In fact, the bulk of my story was sort of an homage to Poe's tale. The seemingly tranquil homeowner welcomed the two cops inside and allowed them to look around.

Immediately, the police officers knew something was wrong. There was this putrid stench invading the entire house. As soon as he realized there was no fooling the cops, the maniac tried to run, but they handcuffed him.

They called for more police, and when they searched the house, they made one gruesome discovery after another. Scattered throughout the house were pickled body parts in jars, all kinds of knives and surgical instruments too. Silence of the Lambs had been a box office hit earlier that year, so I put some of that movie's elements in my story. Police found human body parts in a refrigerator and more in a freezer. I had the cops also discovering bones and skeletons under the floorboards and in closets.

My story was so disgusting, and when I got to read my story out loud to the class, they were all pretty grossed out. Because of all the descriptive detail I had used to write my gory tale, I received an A.

Several months later, I received a phone call from my best friend Jeffery. He had asked if I had been watching the news. It was summertime, and I spent most of my days at the pool or playing basketball at the YMCA. I never watched the news. He told me about a recent investigation and arrest, and the circumstances surrounding it all sounded eerily similar to that story I had written nine months prior.

In my story, I had named the crazed killer after my best friend. And I gave the fictional maniac my mom's maiden name: Daimler.

Jeffery Daimler.

The name of the real life killer: Jeffery Dahmer

I did some quick research on the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer. He was arrested on July 22nd, 1991 - and that matches up with the timeline from the above story. Also, the character in the short story that survives the killer's abduction and brings the police to the killer's home is named Edward Tracy.

In real life, the name of the guy that actually did escape Jeffery Dahmer and led police to his house was Tracy Edwards!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Spooky Stories Two: A Strange Case of Old Hag Syndrome

The following story is backed up by many sources, including testimony from the victim himself. This has to be one of the freakiest cases of Old Hag Syndrome I've ever heard. For various legal reasons, the names of many people and places in the original story have been changed.

In the early 1990s, in a certain area of Louisiana, a group of property developers got permission to buy a parcel of land that was mostly a desolate eyesore. One narrow crumbling house stood at the end of the strip of land, and the landlord who owned this old dwelling, which was built in the 1870s, keenly accepted an substantial sum from the developers. It was what is known as a compulsory purchase deal. There was an elderly and sickly couple in the house, and they refused to move. The landlord warned them that the city inspector had condemned the house, and he alerted social services.

Days later, the old man was taken into care by two social workers and put into sheltered accommodation. The old lady was to gather their belongings and follow the next day. Before leaving, the old lady approached the landlord as he was talking to the one of the property developers - a 42-year-old man named David. The old white haired lady shouted: "Where's Agatha going to live now?"

"She's crazy," the landlord whispered to the property developer.

David asked the elderly eccentric woman who Agatha was. The old woman said, "Aggie! The very old woman who's lived with us for years. We asked her to move with us but she doesn't like the area where we're going to because there's a church one floor above the nursing home."

David didn't want to make a scene, and felt sorry for the old and apparently confused woman. He knew there was no such woman named Agatha at the condemned house, but he said: "Ah, don't you worry lady. Agatha can stay with me if she wants."

Laughter suddenly burst from the condemned and empty house. David looked at the landlord with a puzzled expression and asked, "Did you hear that?" The landlord nodded then said he had to be going.

David still felt uneasy as he arrived at his home. His wife Emma had left to visit a friend, so he found himself alone for at least three hours that evening. He put on a few classical CDs and opened a bottle of wine. He inhaled the aroma of the perfumed candles Emma had lit, then relaxed on his chesterfield, lost in Mozart.

Half an hour later he'd fallen into a light sleep. Suddenly, something was pressing down on his chest. At first he thought that Emma had returned and was teasing him, but when David opened his eyes he saw something that filled his entire being with terror.

A hideous old woman with a long hooked nose was pinning him down. David couldn't move. He was paralyzed. He tried to speak, but could only touch the roof of his mouth with his tongue. He couldn't cry out. The old hag smiled and revealed three decaying yellowed teeth. Saliva dripped from both ends of the woman's sickly sagging pink lips. Her face was a mass of wrinkles and her cheeks drooped down to her flabby jowls. Her watery eyes were yellow, and a mass of red veins encircled her faded bluish-grey irises. The old woman looked as if she was centuries old. Her claw-like hands undid the bun of greasy white hair and her locks fell down past her shoulder. In a horrible raspy voice she said: "You are a fine young man." She cackled as thick mucus dripped from her flaring nostrils.

David's heart felt as if it was going to explode. He kept trying to wake up from the nightmare, but he immediately realized that this was no bad dream - that he was wide awake. The old crone bent over and licked his lips with her nasty tongue which was mottled with white warts.

She said, "Ooh, I'll stay with you as your wife if you desire."

David finally managed to summon up the strength to move. He screamed out and the old woman screamed back in protest. David managed to lift his arm and he took a swipe at the gruesome figure, but the old witch was no longer on his chest.

He sprang up and saw to his horror that the shadowy figure of the old woman was now at the other end of the lounge. She wet her fingers and began pinching the wicks of the perfumed candles, extinguishing them, one by one. David turned up the light dimmer and saw the weird-looking old woman in the full light. She was crooked and bent over, and she grinned at him before disappearing.

David ran to his car and drove non-stop to his friend Alec, who lived three miles away. When he told Alec about being terrorised by the old hag, his friend assumed the wine had gone to his head. But David said he was sober and deadly serious. Alec asked him why the ghost of an old woman would choose to pester him, and David recounted his little run-in with the elderly lady at the condemned house asking about her imaginary housemate "Agatha."

He and the landlord dismissed the crazy woman, but was this ghastly Agatha taking him up on his joking offer to live with him?

Alec said, "I see, and you unwittingly invited the ghost into your place. It is a bit of a coincidence I suppose."

David said, "Please believe me, Alec. That thing is demonic. How do I get rid of her?"

"I don't know. Tell her to pack her bags," Alec replied.

"I'm desperate. " The image of the old hag's face was still burned in his mind, and he wanted to wash his mouth out again.

His mind went back to his encounter with the elderly lady and how she had said that Agatha refused to follow her to her new home since the facility had a church on-site. He turned to Alec. "Have you got a Bible?"

Later that night, David returned to his home. He sat in his lounge, enjoying the cozy fireplace and watching TV. He started to doze off when he saw something moving out the corner of his eye. He turned and saw the old hag, cowering in the corner of the room. Emma was due back any minute, so he had to act now.

"Are you Agatha?" David asked, picking up the bible.

"Yes. " The awful apparition hesitated. "Please be rid of that book, dear. Go on, throw it on the fire."

David stood up. "You're not wanted in here any more. Get out of my house. In the name of God, I order you to leave my home."

He hurled the leather-bound Bible at the grotesque vision and it vanished before the book passed through it. The old hag was gone, and he hoped for good.

David never told Emma about his supernatural ordeal, but she was perplexed when David came home the next day with five copies of the Bible. He placed the holy books in different rooms of the house.

Several days later, David tracked down the old couple that his development company had recently displaced. The home wasn't much better than the delapidated home they had just abondoned, and they looked just as sickly as ever.

David asked them who Agatha was, but the old people refused to comment. The old woman just smiled and said, "So you met her then?" That was all the old lady would say, and wouldn't answer any of his questions.

Thanksfully, David hasn't set eyes on the old hag since, but he was tormented with graphic nightmares about her for over a year.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Spooky Stories One: Demonic Possession - A Contemporary Case

Dr. Richard E. Gallagher documented a real case of demonic possession, and his work was published this spring in the New Oxford Review. Dr. Gallagher, M.D. is not only a board certified psychiatrist in private practice in Hawthorne, NY but the man is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College and on the faculty of Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute.

A middle-aged American woman he calls "Julia" had gone to her local clergy in desperation. The Church then turned to Dr. Gallagher not only as a scientific witness, but to also diagnose this woman and help differentiate between legitimate psychosis and supernatural manifestations.

Julia had long ago rejected religion and actually had a long association with a Satanic group. Because of her recent experiences, she turned to the church for help. Julia was convinced that she was being attacked by a demon.

The church referred her to their official priest-exorcist. And after that, they turned to Dr. Gallagher for a thorough psychological evaluation. “Julia was not the typical type of individual who frequently importunes the Church for help but who is really in need of psychiatric or other medical intervention,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “She was in no way psychotic; in fact, she was consistently logical, highly intelligent, and even quite engaging at times, despite her obvious turmoil.”

Dr. Gallagher assembled a team of experts including mental-health professional, four Catholic priests, two nuns (both nurses) and several lay volunteers.

What convinced Dr. Gallagher that this was truly demonic possession was the supernatural or paranormal phenomena he witnessed first hand. He watched objects literally fly off shelves in whatever room Julia was in. She also exhibited psychic ability - often relaying personal information about those around that she couldn't have known.

For example, she knew how one of the treatment team member's relative had died - from a very specific type of cancer that no one could have even guessed.

While in her possessed trances, she would speak in "other voices." Dr. Gallagher writes: “Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts, and obscene language, phrases like ‘Leave her alone, you idiot,’ ‘She’s ours,’ ‘Leave, you imbecile priest.’ “The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia’s own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these comments during these ‘trances,’ or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.”

Julia would have no recollection of what had occured while in such a trance (thank God).

At Julia's request, they performed two rites of exorcism. The team witnessed her speaking in foreign languages (Spanish and Latin - which Julia later confirmed she could not speak), levitating a foot off the ground, the room becoming extremely cold, and super-like strength. She would emit animal-like growls, the kind that a human couldn't make. But it was the multiple voices that scared them the most.

“The voices were noticeably attacking in nature, and often insolent, blasphemous, and highly
scatalogical [obscenities about excrement],” Dr. Gallagher said. “They cursed and insulted
the participants in the crudest way. They were frequently threatening - trying, it appeared, to fight back - ‘Leave her alone,’ ‘Stop, you whores’ (to the nuns), ‘You’ll be sorry,” and the like."

When splashed with regular tap water, the demon exhibited no reaction whatsoever. But if they secretly replaced it with holy water, “She would scream in pain when the blessed water was sprinkled upon her."

Sadly, although the exorcisms were helpful, they have not yet resolved the matter of the woman’s possession, Dr. Gallagher says, and may or may not be repeated in the future.

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