Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dariusz Zawadzk

Dariusz Zawadzk is a really interesting artist. We at Alone at Night are fans of his work and think you should be too. Below are just a couple of samples of his stuff. Click here to go to his Deviant Art page.




Water Spouts

I was working on a shrimp boat that was out to sea. Unbeknownst to me, most of the coastal shrimpers just go out for the day. For reasons unknown to me, our captain took us way the fuck out there. I think he said something about trying out new shrimping grounds.

Anyway, we were heading into a storm (turned out to be a cat 2 hurricane) and the boat was rocking. We got our rescue hear I and waited for the inevitable. It never came, but none of slept that night. It was eerie passing through the eye. Totally calm, while everything else raged around us. We had all made our peace. The next morning we had either gone through it, or we came back the way we came. Either way we were on the edge of the storm. The captain was tired so we "took the day off." The first mate and I sat on the deck for a fair bit of the day watching the last of the hurricane and the start of a new storm.

We thought we had this smaller storm beat. We lowered the boom masts again, and braced for heavy seas. The first mate brought along a bunch of weed, and taught me how to roll a joint in your hand, and how to smoke it. By this time is was getting late in the day and the storm was getting more energetic. Lots of thunder and lightning. We could see the reflective light and hear the thunder so we knew it was at least 10 miles out. The first mate who was pretty stingy otherwise rolled me a big ole' fat joint and told me to enjoy it. Of course I was in hog heaven. It never occurred to why this skinflint was sharing all this with me. He absolutely didn't have to, hadn't before, and wouldn't afterwards. At some point it dawns on me. So I ask why now, and not last night when I was wholly terrified in a life vest and high vis ocean survival suit thing.

He points off in the distance and I see a little itty bitty funnel cloud. Looks like a tornado. In the open water they're called water spouts and they're just as dangerous. So I get kinda worried. The first mate laughed and said look around. There were at least 13 water spouts within a few miles of us. The first mate wasn't watching the storms. He was watching these water spouts pop up every so often, getting a little closer each time. By now the captain is awake, and we're booking it anywhere but where we were. By the time all was said and done we had gotten passed by three different spouts, got a rain of sand dollars, jelly fish, and a load of other ocean goodies. We had one go directly over us and touch down 10 yards from the deck. I was scared of the hurricane, but these salty dogs were totally and completely terrified of the water spouts.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Out to Sea

When I was 23, I was a dock-hand for a boat-rental club. I bought myself a 27ft Catalina sail boat and lived on it at the docks for about a year while I worked for the boat club. I would often get toasted on 101 proof peppermint schnapps and go joy-sailing late at night on the Chesapeake Bay for kicks. 

One night my main sail tears, and my atomic 4 engine breaks down. I drift out of the channel, drop anchor, plug in my back-up batteries to power for my anchor light, and bed-down in my forward berth to wait until morning for one of my co-workers to tow me back in. 

I'm about a mile offshore, well out of the channel in about 60ft of open water when I hear a rhythmic thudding on my hull beneath me. It was like someone was doing a semi-fast snare-roll with closed fists against my hull. There was nothing in my head that I could figure could make that noise happen besides someone diving under by boat and literally beating on it. 

I went topside with my flash light to investigate and couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, and the sound continued on and off for about 15 minutes then stopped. It was a calm night with nearly no wind or waves at this point, and I visually couldn't see what could have been making the noise. It came from mid-ship so it couldn't be the motor being weird or something, and I checked my bilges for any anomalies and couldn't find any. 

It left me pretty shaken up because I just couldn't figure what could make that sound as loudly, and as precisely as it was. I could FEEL the bumps hitting against the fiberglass hull. I eventually got back to sleep and made it back to the docks next morning. I dove on my boat that day to check for anything amiss and didn't find anything off. Needless to say that was the last time I went out alone at night..

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Longform.org Series of Halloween Appropriate Stories

The website Longform.org specializes in compiling long form journalism from across the web. Today, it seems, they have a list of long form articles that are Halloween appropriate. They have an interesting an new look at the Elisa Lam mystery (if you haven't heard about this, read up on the story and then watch the video), and several other interesting reads.

We at Alone at Night highly recommend checking some of the out.

Longform.org

Knock at Night

I live on a compound by myself (I know it sounds Waco-ey, but It's really my tiny home, work shop, and a couple of other buildings for food/equipment storage and a guest room).

One bad snowstorm knocked my area OOC, so I decided to hunker in for the long haul. I spent almost two weeks without leaving.

Three days in, I get woken up to a knock at the door. I get up to answer it and halfway there, I realize the only way this guy could knock on my door is if he broke the lock.

So I grab my shotgun and ask him through the door who he is and what he wants. Guy says nothing and keeps banging. I go out the back door and sneak around front and I see a man who is on the ground, covered in blood, and shouting (albeit quietly) for help.

Turns out he was driving and crashed and dragged himself 5 miles down the road until he came to my place. By then he realized that I forgot to lock the bottom part of the gate and weaseled in.

Luckily he survived.

Summer Camp Scare

Happened in High School. I was at a summer camp that separated boys from the girls. We would normally sleep in separated cabins, however this being a nice night, our councilors decided it would be nice to camp outside. Being overly testosteroned high-schoolers given new freedom of the outdoors, we decided to separate from our supervision and bee line for the girls camp site. Upon successfully reaching their site and being dumbfounded at what to do, we decided that throwing miscellaneous items into the fire, creating subsequent explosions would be a good ice breaker. Unfortunately due to our brilliance we were quickly brought back to our camp and separated from the girls.

Not being discouraged we decided to regroup and try again. As we began to leave for their site again we heard an extremely loud bang, as if from a high caliber rifle. The sound was followed by another bang. Followed by silence. We all became paralyzed unsure what to do. Was it from the girls site? We were too afraid to find out. We could see a flash light in the distance mulling around the area. I only remember lying quietly, barely able to sleep, joking with fellow campers who would get shot first if that bang was indeed from a gun.

The next morning we woke up, alive and very confused to what had happened. I actually only found out what had happened when I got home from camp. A man had shot his ex at a house right by the camp site we were staying that night. What stood out to me the most, other than aforementioned, was an interview with a neighbor who didn't call the police right away, because she figured the sound was from some stupid kids blowing up things at a camp site.

Monday, October 26, 2015

There's Evil in the World and You've Got to Watch Our for It.

Prior to me moving in with her, my little sister had her then-husband leave her with a 3 week old baby girl just as she was going through post-partum depression. Bad, right? Well, things got worse once a stalker got involved.

Started with Facebook messages from some unknown accounts detailing what she was doing day to day, even online, to then threats of raping her and my niece. Then phone calls of heavy breathing. Facebook messages and emails threatening to kill them both. Went to the police and they told her to avoid the internet and phones, even at work, despite one instance of a FB message with pictures of a babysitter watching my niece.

My sister can't find a babysitter now and has to take off work. It got so bad that she was desperate enough to call upon our shitbag of a father to get involved. Now he's a guy who's been to prison twice on attempted murder charges and has a record beyond that a mile long. Probably bipolar; certainly nuts. The best father a brother and sister could grow up with. His one redeeming trait was that he would probably kill to protect what he loved, so my sister invited him to live with her. His 4th wife had just kicked him out and he was on the street, so he accepts the offer and the stalking stops immediately.

He watches our niece, he does chores, he keeps sober during the day, and he's apparently as watchful as an old bloodhound. Apparently a changed man. My sister gets no messages or phone calls, sleeping well for the first time since before she was pregnant. The mean ol' coot does his job admirably... for about a week and a half.

He gets it in his head that it's the husband doing it, so one night, shitfaced on the porch outside the apartment, he gets in an argument with one of my sister's neighbors and becomes absolutely convinced of his idea, despite the fact that the husband was in Oregon most of the time now at a new job, being there at the time the photo of the babysitter was taken. But, he'd heard from my sister that he was in town for the weekend and at 2 AM that night, the stalker text messages my sister telling her that our lovable dad had just taken a katana to her husband's kneecaps outside his friend's apartment. He followed this up with a picture message of our dad being loafed away by the cops at the scene. He's currently serving another prison sentence for that.

Two days later, she's up visiting me in Indiana, staying about a week. Back home in Tennessee, the stalker smashes a window to her apartment and dumps trash inside, stabbing a message into her fridge with a corn jigger. It's a photoshopped picture of me and her in Indiana featuring a grotesque thing with a dog on her side of the picture. She comes home after phone calls from the neighbors, and is advised by the police investigating the burglary, of all things, to move away, despite the way this stalker's following her around. They apparently can't do much with the case because there's no fingerprints, no trail this guy's leaving behind him, even online.

A week later he bursts into the apartment again and knocks my sister unconscious. He topples my niece's crib with her in it, proceeding to douse her in orange juice. The neighbor next door hears the wails of my niece and walks in on a tall white guy in a ski mask prepping to do something with my sister. She attacks him and in the ensuing fight sustains multiple wounds from a hammer, including a caved-in eye socket, but she manages to fight him off. Other neighbors call the cops during this fight. And yet, the f****r gets away.

The case hits the local news for the next couple of days and the cops get DNA of the suspect from the neighbor. For the next week, a black and white sits outside my sister's place. However, the trail goes cold because the guy's not in the system anywhere.

Up north, I now have the ammunition I need with my parole officer to move to Tennessee. They allow me to move there so long as I get employment, which I do with a Private Investigator's office thanks to (ironically enough) a bail bondsman who'd "worked" with my dad on numerous occasions. I move in with my sister and a year later we move out of the apartment into a house in a much nicer neighborhood. My sister takes karate. My niece is watched by armed family friends during weekdays. In the 3 years or so since I've been in Tennessee, there's been two phone calls and a picture message of her at her karate studio late at night, but nothing much besides that.

There's evil in the world and you gotta watch out for it.

Halloween

So this happened 3 years ago when I was living with my parents in Meeteetse, Wyoming. Super small and secluded. It was Halloween and my parents decorated the house and we expected about 3-4 kids to show up as the house is about a mile from a subdivision and parents usually drive their kids. 

At 8 I took in the chair with candy because I figured no one else would be coming around. I'm in the basement where there are no windows and very little sound can get out and it's about 11. All the lights upstairs are shut off because I'm going to bed. 

I hear a knock at the side door (which no one ever knocks at). I go upstairs and the flood light which usually turns on automatically wasn't on. So I flipped on the other light that lights up the basketball hoop area. There's a person in one of those "old man" masks that have the crazy hair just standing there. He is just looking at the house. He sprints to the back where the patio is. I hear loud banging on the back windows. Honestly the loudest kicking I've ever heard. I rush over and the person is just staring. Then he runs away and I do t hear anything for 5 minutes or so. 

Then I start hearing the knob to the main door being forcefully jiggled back and forth. I ran upstairs to the bedroom and went to the crawl space in the attic. I immediately dialed 911. This was the first time I ever dialed 911 so I don't know what I was expecting but the operator didn't seem to be very shocked or wanting to send out a car very quickly. I remember repeating my address like 12 times and the lady kept saying "calm down sir." 

She wants me to stay on the line but I'm afraid if the guy got in he would know where I was because of my voice. I hang up and I can hear the knob being slammed like he had a hammer or something. I'm having a full on panic attack and I'm wheezing trying to get air. Then I hear the side door (original door) being kicked super hard. At this point I'm shaking so bad the dust from the floor boards is flying up in the air.

 I hear a window smash and I immediately know he's going to get in. I hold my breath which makes the wheezing worse. I'm going to die. I'm listening to hear footsteps or anything. Nothing. The actual amount of time I spent up there was around 16 minutes. I swear it was an hour. An officer showed up and pounded on the door. I ran downstairs and flipped open the door. I told him everything as well as the backup Sheriffs that got there. They all kept saying a "friend" was probably just trying to scare me. I had no friends in Wyoming. None. They looked around the house and wrote down some shit but nothing really happened. They left and I drove behind them to Cody, WY and got a hotel room. I still can't sleep without all the lights on

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lost Time in the Arctic Circle

I grew up in the arctic.

In the town I lived in, as long as it was a clear night, it was an extremely normal occurrence to see all sorts of strange lights move across the sky. Keep in mind the winter is long in the arctic, which means longer amounts of time being spent under the stars. It's quite beautiful, as long as you don't mind the cold so much. Sometimes I would drive a snowmobile a few kilometers out of town, shut it down, and just lay down on the snow looking up at the majesty of it all, the only thing disturbing the silence being the occasional breeze.

The northern lights are also a common occurrence. Doesn't happen everyday, but often enough that they start getting ignored after a while, as long as they aren't too spectacular anyway.

On one particular night, without asking my parents (it was their snowmobile), I decided to go on one of my midnight drives out of town. I drove a few kilometers over the hills to find a spot devoid of light pollution from town, shut off the machine, and settled in to a good spot to look up and be introspective.

It wasn't all that interesting a scene. A few satellites passing here and there, some relatively boring activity affecting the magnetic field, etc. And then I started noticing a clicking noise...

At first I thought it was the sound of the snow machine cooling down, as engine expands and contracts a lot in the cold. But the source of the sound definitely wasn't coming from that direction. My next thought was there must be an animal nearby in which case I need to get out of there fast (you don't really want to mess with a wild animal). But, the clicking is far too regular for an animal to produce it. It was fairly mechanical sounding. And again, the source of the sound isn't coming from anywhere around me laterally. It was coming from up. So naturally I look up determined to ascertain the origin of this strange noise.

I see what I always see: stars, northern lights, a lazy satellite crossing the sky...all normal stuff. But before I dismiss it altogether and begin heading home, I notice something strange in the Aurora Borealis. There were three rather strong points of light. I ignored them at first thinking they were oddly symmetrical stars, but this proved false. They were definitely getting brighter. I kept staring in morbid fascination as they grew stronger and stronger, yet still only remaining single points in the sky. All the while the clicking noise is getting louder and louder and more pronounced, almost like someone started with tapping a pen on a desk to clacking billiard balls together inside my head.

Then it stops. The lights are gone, the clicking is not heard, and aside from being a little stiff, cold, and rather petrified, I'm fine.

So I jump back on the snowmobile thinking maybe I'm going crazy. The machine takes a little longer than usual to start up, and I'm beginning to worry, but soon it's running and I'm heading back to town. As I'm driving back several plausible scenarios as to what occurred are running through my head. I'm thinking it could've been a helicopter from the mine, or some strange northern lights behavior etc. Probably not that big a deal.

I pull up to my house. Lights are all dark. Strange. It wasn't that late when I left. Open outer door as quietly as possible, remove winter gear, enter inner door. House is quiet. Really quiet. My parents are teachers and are usually up late marking or watching T.V. All I'm thinking is I have to get to bed without anyone noticing. Proves to be easy as I'm soon under my covers. I go to set my alarm for the next day. All of the sudden everything makes sense.

Engine hard to start, stiff, rather chilly, nobody up when I was gone what felt like relatively short period of time...

It was almost 11:00pm when I left, and now it was creeping up on 6:00am. I stood, staring at clicking lights for almost 7 hours.

I never ended up sleeping that night, and I don't go on late night snow machine rides anymore.



The Terrible Hormigas

I spent an entire year in my cousin's finca in Colombia. It's very deep into the mountains and 90% of his land is covered in forest. That whole year was basically one massive nope. I can say that at least every other day something completely crazy would happen. One of the things i remember the most was "la ronda". 

One day I was picking some tomatoes when suddenly the whole mountain goes silent. Not a single animal made a sound. Note that this is Colombia and there are many birds there. Anyway, I stop what I'm doing and listen closely because what the fuck. That's when every fucking critter imaginable starts coming out of every hole and every crack and starts hauling ass uphill. Massive tarantulas, huge cockroaches, beetles, mice, rats, etc. Anything that crawled on land, basically. Then the dogs started barking and whimpering. That's when my cousin yelled "la ronda, la ronda!" Which basically means "The round, the round!"

 He tells me to get inside the house . He gets this bag out with some sort of poison and starts pouring it outside the house. I then hear what sounds like running water coming uphill from the trees. I looked outside and saw what was probably millions of ants crawling up the mountain and eating every living thing in their path. It was absolutely terrifying. i couldn't see the ground because there were so. Many. Fucking. Ants. Luckily, the poison worked and they crawled around the house. My cousin was happy, however, because the ants killed whatever pests were around.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Special Ops

Lived in Germany for many years while my father was stationed there ( U. S. Army). We lived off base in private housing and I LOVED it!! That country is amazing, the vast forests, the mountains, the countryside, the farmlands, the little towns..everything.

I quickly became really good friends with some local boys whose parents owned the towns dairy farm. We were Always in the forests running around and exploring. Fishing, playing army, etc.. I was around 8 or 9 yrs old around that time (37 now)..

One night, stayed late at the farm hanging with the guys. Left about 9 or 10ish, it was dark, but then moonlight gave pretty good vision that night I remember.. I lived just across the soccer field and a small corn field from the farm. As I'm walking through the soccer field I see a bit of movement, just real quick, from the corner of my eye along the tree line at the edge of the field. I quickly step up my pace. As I turn to take my usual path through the corn field to my house, I see at least half a dozen silhouette figures emerge from each side of the rows of corn on the sides of the path. I froze so hard! They just stand there.. Then there's one behind me. Before I can snap around and haul ass, He asked, in German, where I was going..

I turn around now and what I see surprises, but relieves me also.. I answered in English and told him I was heading home.. He was then curious about my English.. Turns out it was a team of special forces operators (I mean, these guys were decked out in so much tactical gear I couldn't comprehend how they were able to move so stealthily. Night vision goggles, packs, bags, weapons, there was even a dog. They looked like total fucking bad asses) who were using these small towns off base to do some training.. I just happened upon them this particular night. I'll never understand why they chose to break cover and show themselves. They could have easily just stayed put and I would've walked right by them non then wiser.. They walked me home as it was on their way back they said.




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Peekers

Screaming in the Woods

I spent about six months last year WWOOFing, which is essentially volunteering on organic farms in exchange for room and board. One of the farms I stayed at was actually an off-the-grid homestead near Mt. Hood, Oregon, populated by shamanic hippies (who had some wild stories, themselves!) and while not remote, was deep enough in the mountains that we had no neighbors for at least ten miles in every direction. Beautiful, forested land with an amazing view of Mt. Hood from the garden. I was camping every night for about two weeks before weird things started happening.

The first bizarre occurrence happened not to me, but to a fellow WWOOFer, who I'll call J. Now, I am not particularly outdoorsy-- I grew up in the woods in north Florida and spent my formative years getting lost in places I shouldn't be, but I don't have a great deal of camping experience and only the most basic survival skills. I am comfortable in the woods, but only until sunset. J, a true outdoorsman, had been a forest ranger in the Alaskan bush for two years prior and frequently went on weeks-long solo-backpacking trips. He had shown up at the farm a few days after me and had set up camp over a mile further down the mountain than I had, which I initially thought was a dickish move but later came to appreciate because he played his harmonica at all hours and nobody needs to hear that shit. He was a slow-talking Minnesotan that favored all things logical.

One morning, we met up for breakfast and he asked me if I had heard "all that screaming" the night before. I hadn't. He told me that he had been laying in his tent with his headlamp on, reading a book when he heard a deep, rumbling scream just outside his tent. He turned his lamp off to listen more closely, and realized that his entire tent was illuminated from the outside, as if someone was aiming a floodlight at it. In the few seconds after he turned his headlamp off, two things happened in rapid succession-- the screaming cut off as if someone had flipped a switch, and the light from outside clicked off. He listened for footsteps, but heard nothing. After a few moments of silence, he turned his headlamp back on and left his tent to investigate, because I guess he had never seen a horror movie in his whole goddamn life. He said that there was nothing in the clearing and no movement from the surrounding forest, even though he hadn't heard anything leave and the scream had been very close to, if not within, his camp. Then he apparently shrugged to himself and went to sleep, or maybe he passed out in fear and was too much of a man to admit it.

He told me this over breakfast and I was horrified. He said he'd never heard an animal that sounded like that and could not explain the light, except that maybe a hunter had found their way onto our land. But then where did they go? He listened for footsteps and heard nothing. He didn't seem worried, just a bit perturbed. It was very Minnesota of him.

Everything was quiet for a few weeks after that incident. J left for another farm, and I remained in my old campsite, only about 3/4 of a mile down from the main cabin. I was comfortable in my tent and no longer jerked awake at broken twigs or animals moving through the brush. I was very proud of myself-- look at me, an outdoorswoman!-- which was, of course, when the screaming started.

I was laying in my tent, just on the edge of sleep when it started. It was a deep, low roaring-- unlike any animal I knew to live in the mountains in that region. I consoled myself by saying it was an injured black bear, a fucked up wolf, some kind of Lovecraftian mutant elk. Then, from farther down the mountain, something else began screaming, answering. The two whatevers shrieked at each other for the better part of an hour. I laid in my tent, trying to psych myself up to hike back up to the main cabin, but couldn't quite commit. I laced up my boots and put on my headlamp in case I had to make a run for it. Eventually, the screaming stopped and I somehow managed to sleep.

I woke up somewhere around 4am to something very large shuffling in the bush directly behind my tent. I laid in the dark and listened, absolutely terrified. Elk, bear? It was too large. I could hear it ruffling branches of trees at least six feet off the ground. I heard it take a step, and then another. Bipedal. Human? Hunter? A hunter would never be as loud as this thing was, and I seriously doubt they would disturb an obvious camp site. Besides, in the month I'd been on the homestead at that point, I'd never heard a gunshot. I'd never seen anyone other than the people I was working with this far up the mountain, for that matter. I laid there, considering my options. It moved slowly, like it was picking through the bushes behind me-- which, in retrospect, of course it was, I'd camped right next to wild blackberry. I laid and listened and waited for a long time, almost until sunrise. It was moving slowly down the mountain. I laid in my tent long after the noise died out.

When I finally managed to rally my nerves and leave my tent, the brush behind my tent was obviously disturbed. I thought about investigating, looking for prints, droppings, but decided I'd rather just repress the whole thing and deal with it when I was far, far away from these woods. At breakfast, I asked my host, A, about the screaming. She was delighted that I'd had a run in with the "forest people." She said that years ago when they'd moved onto the land, the forest people would get into their garden and make a mess of things, so she'd started leaving baskets of produce for them as a sign of goodwill. They'd left the garden alone since then.

I camped out for another week before it got too cold and I moved into the main cabin, and never heard anything weird again. Pretty anticlimactic, but I guess real life usually is. Still very bizarre and interesting-- as a lifelong student of all things esoteric, it verified a lot of suspicions I had... mostly that weird shit happens in the woods. It's also pretty telling that everyone I met in the Cascades-- granted most of them were of the shamanic, metaphysical persuasion-- had a Sasquatch story.

There were a few other strange things about that place, but this story is by far the most interesting. Oregon is a weird, wonderful place.

I Work Alone

I was a field engineer doing software installation and commissioning on telecom equipment controllers. I work alone. These units are located at cell sites/tower bases which your phone connects to in order to provide you service and connectivity from your cell service provider. A lot of these towers are in very very remote places. In this particular project I would go in the day after the construction crews completed their tower and electrical work, I would be by myself with just my work truck, air card and laptop.

This particular site was in rural Virgina. I probably still have the email from when I was on that project with the site's coordinates so I will try and post those later if i find them. (If its not against policy of course) The site was about 2-3 miles into the deep woods of VA, it was near a now abandoned mine of some sort, not sure exactly what they were mining for but there was very old mining carts and drilling equipment scattered about as I was driving to the site. It was starting to get dark but this was supposed to be a quick in and out type deal, LTE commissioning usually takes 1 hour or less and since I saw a civil war era cemetery connected to the gravel road which leads to the site, I was in more of a rush than usual. See the thing is, when you try and rush things, specially because of fear, you WILL fuck up... And boy did I fuck up.

Something that should have taken one hour took over four. When I finally completed my work and closed my laptop screen I realized how dark it was outside, and that I was all alone at the base of a tower in the middle of nowhere. I quickly gathered my belongings and headed towards my car which was probably 60 yards away at the gate of the compound where the tower was located. When I tried to close the gate behind me it was so dark that I couldnt see the chain and lock, so I put my car in reverse, put the e-brake up and shut off the ignition. This way my reverse lights were lighting up the gate for me so I could close it. Just trying to give you an idea of the utter darkness I was in.


After all that I headed down the trail to the secondary gate which leads to the site, about 1/2 mile from the actual compound. Same situation as before, too dark so had the car in reverse. Well when trying to close this gate I heard in the distance what I can only describe as the most menacing and evil female laughter. It sounded like it was pretty far away but I got shook to the bone. I left that secondary gate wide open and noped the hell out of there. On the drive out I remembered the cemetery I had to drive by. Needless to say I didn't look at it when drove past it on the way out.

After speaking with the construction crew that built the site, they also said they heard people whispering in the woods at night but could never spot anyone. They also heard what sounded like people picking at rock with tools but they were certain no other construction or anything was taking place anywhere for miles on end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween

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Accidental Creeper

I work in IT and a couple days a month I have to work late after everyone else has left the office because I am running jobs that cannot take place while users are in the system. The important thing to take away from this is that most nights the entire office is completely empty but, twice a month, one person is in there working late.

Most of the time on these late nights I just stay in the server room because there is security door with a door code and I hate going in and out as it requires me to punch in the code every time. It's just easier to stay in there and run everything from in there.

So . . . somewhere during this time period the cleaning crew that had been performing janitorial services in my building lost the contract and a new company stepped in. The old cleaning crew knew me, had bumped into me numerous times, and had a rough idea of when to expect me. Not generally a problem. I didn't realize there was a new cleaning crew and, apparently, no one thought to warn them about my weird shift.

So, anyway, this woman is cleaning what she thinks is an empty office. Little does she know that I'm actually in the server room at the same time. Late in the night, around midnight, I have to wait for one job to finish before I can star the next. So, I decided to do some cleaning up.

A former coworker recently retired. Nice guy. Really friendly. But he was also a pack rat. He worked there for over 20 years and never threw anything away. Empty boxes, obsolete calenders, and AOL CDs littered the place. Now that he was gone, we were trying to get rid of a couple decades of useless debris.

I grab an armful of empty boxes, step out of the server room, go around the corner where we keep a card for recycling and dump the boxes in. The cart was empty so I knew the cleaning crew had already been through. Not a problem, just an observation. I go back into the server room.

Apparently the cleaning woman came back about that time and saw that the cart she had just unloaded was now overflowing with boxes again. She apparently called out to see if anyone was around but - well - server rooms are loud. I never heard her.

She turns off the lights in the office and starts doing a runner for the door. She goes down the hall and into the break room to head out the exit that way. The lights come back on behind her. She goes back into the hallway and the office is empty again. Even more boxes are in the cart (yes, I had gone back into the server room by the time she got back). She turns off the lights again and bolts for the exit. She's now outside the office and heading for the elevators. The reception area has glass doors and she sees lights turn back on again.

Now the entire time this is happening she is never there when I come out of the server room. I know that the cleaning person must have turned out the lights but I don't see anyone and I'm turning them back on because it is almost pitch black in the office and I don't want to trip over anything. I'm not playing mind games. Just each time I think I just missed them and they've already left.

The cleaning woman by now is creeping back in the office trying to figure out what is going on. She's tip toeing down the hallway when, finally, we are both in the hallway at the same time.

She . . . apparently didn't realize what the server room was or something. She certainly didn't realize there was room in there for someone to be working. She's looking down this dark hallway and I round the corner. Apparently, from where she was, it was like seeing a silhouette of a man just appear. One moment the hallway is empty and the next there is someone standing there facing her.

I don't realize she's there as, once more, I'm carrying out trash.

I hear a panicked shout and look up to see this stranger in the office retreating in terror.

Fortunately she calmed down enough to ask me who I was. I think seeing a guy wearing a polo shirt and carrying loose garbage must have been more reassuring than, say, a prison jumpsuit while carrying a machete.

"You scared me!" she said.

Her scared? I was the one who just got screamed at.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Camp Invasion

This happened to myself and a close friend (both 23 y.o. males) just last month.

We decided to go on a two night backpacking/camping trip in the Adirondack mountains of New York. We are both very comfortable with nature, and spend a lot of time camping, hunting, fishing, etc.

We hiked about 5 miles into a small lake and set up camp on a small beach. This was not a heavily trafficked area, and we did not expect to run into anyone. Our first night there as we were sitting around the fire, we saw a flashlight moving on the other side of the lake around 10:30. This was fairly unusual, however we did not think too much of it.

But, as time went on, this flashlight kept moving around the lake getting closer to our campsite. We kept discussing who could possibly be wandering around the woods in the middle of the night, and we did not particularly want an unwelcomed guest.

Once it was clear that the person (or people) were heading for our campsite, we moved off into the woods nearby to see who wandered up. I took a small axe with me, and he had a .22 rifle. Now we weren't expecting trouble, and we certainly didn't want to make any, but we figured we might as well cover our bases.

Now, the moment of truth, the flashlight comes near the light of our fire and it is one man. He has a beard and is probably in his mid 40s. The scary part was he was carrying what turned out to be a pump action shotgun. He walked around the campsite a few times, and then proceeded to enter our tent. After rummaging around for a minute or so, he came out and started yelling "I know you're out there, why don't you come and say hello?".

My friend and I remained motionless under a hemlock tree about 50 yards away. That is when the man proceeded to fire his shotgun into the woods (not too far from where we were). He also swung his flashlight around several times. After what felt like hours, he grabbed my friends backpack and a few articles of clothing we had drying off near the fire and threw them in to burn.

My friend, who had trained the .22 at the man, asked me if he should shoot. I told him absolutely not, unless he spots us and starts to point the gun in our direction. Thankfully the man moved off from where he had come after a little while. We waited until his flashlight was on the other side of the lake, ran out, grabbed everything we could fit in my pack and took off (it was now around 2 or 3 A.M.).

We RAN out the trail with flashlights, and made it back to my car as the sun was coming up. We immediately went to the police department and reported it, where we also spoke with some forest rangers. That was it, I haven't heard anything back from the police.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Strange Muttering, Getting Closer

I live in a small wood cabin on a farm in the countryside of Catalonia, Spain. Usually shared with one other person, I had a few weeks alone. Never lock the door, hot weather means bedroom window is open although wooden shutters are closed (with thin gaps to outside). Pitch black surroundings.

I had one of those nights where it's hard to sleep. Around 4am, I hear screaming in the distance. There are around 5 typically sized fields between cabin and the village. Alhough this is far, I assume it's someone in the village messing around.

Goes quiet. Starts again, this time it's clear that the person is screaming something. Although not a native to the area I know this isn't language, it's jibberish. He is screaming words that completely don't make sense, and that I've found it impossible to imitate since, and he's screaming them angrily. I'm on edge now but I tell myself it's a drunk person on their way home in the night. Half an hour later I've calmed down and it's been quiet for quite a while.

Then I hear the voice again. This time, there is no screaming. I can hear them speaking the jibberish at a normal level. This means that they are within the property. I freeze, too frightened to go lock my front door (the front door area has a lot of windows and I'm afraid to see them/them to see me), and instead stare at my bedroom door, with a plan to barricade should I hear someone entering the cabin. The muttering fades away just as the sun begins to rise. I lock my door now.

Eyes in the NIght

I used to live in rural Panama in a community with no electricity. The whole town is inside by sundown, around 7pm, and asleep by 9pm. One night, I'm outside at around 11pm photographing stars and I have to turn my headlamp off while the camera is taking the picture, usually about 30 to 150 seconds at a time. 30 to 150 seconds of almost complete darkness. When I finish a photo, I'll turn my headlamp back on and look at my camera to adjust settings and take another shot. One time when I turned my head lamp on, I saw a pair of eyes just about fifteen feet away in the bushes staring at me. I've got friends who have worked setting camera traps throughout the country and I've seen picture evidence that there are still several types of big cats alive and well in the area. I lean down to pick up some rocks, look back up, and the eyes are gone. My house is about 100 feet away. I do my best to turn my handful of rocks and dinky tripod into weapons and run as manly-like as I can back to my house. I never went back out to take pictures at night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Terrors in the Morning


My fiancé and I rent a house together, and we live alone.

About two years ago, my fiancé and I were lying in bed. It was actually pretty late in the morning-- 10:30 or 11:00 AM., or so. I'd been awake for about ten or fifteen minutes, and my fiancé was just waking up.

We lied there, talking softly about whether or not we should get up yet, or try to go back to sleep for a bit, since he had the first half of the day off of work, and it might be nice to catch up on sleep since we'd had a busy couple of days. He was lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, and I was on my right side, facing him, with my hand on his chest while we talked. In that position, I had my back to our bedroom door, which was maybe 8 or 9 ft. away from the bed behind me.

Suddenly, an odd feeling came over the room. Seriously, it felt like the air in the room was suddenly either sucked out, or made very, VERY heavy, and it almost felt like I was under water, or gravity changed... and the room seemed to almost feel like it was tilting to the side. It felt like the air in the room was pressing down on top of my body, while at the same time slowing down time and making me dizzy and loopy. My ears were popping.

Well, I thought it was just me feeling this, and for a moment, I wondered if I was having a blood pressure drop (I get those sometimes, though it still wasn't quite what it felt like), but my fiancé said in a very frightened voice that sounded like he couldn't breathe very well, and like he couldn't get out the words without struggling, "Do you feel that, too? What's happening?!..." And that was when I knew something odd and scary was going on, because he was feeling the exact same thing.

I tried to speak, but my speech actually came out kind of slurred and I had to force the words out of my mouth to say "I don't know...I can't move..."

He said "I can't...either..." and I saw him trying to turn over onto his side, and trying to raise his arm up. He just kept saying "what's happening? What's happening?"

I tried to raise my arm up, too, and found that I couldn't. Again, it was like being under water, and in an intensely pressurized room. I started trying to push myself up, to see if I could sit up... I couldn't do it. It was just too heavy.

Then, we both heard the doorknob of our bedroom door turning.

It was turning over and over again... almost like someone was trying to come in, but they weren't jiggling it, or trying to open the door... it was actually turning in a rhythm. It was turning back and forth, back and forth, in a rhythm at about the same tempo as a metronome. Like a beat to a song. It was very deliberate.

We were both terrified and we froze-- the first thought in my mind was that someone had broken in, though I couldn't figure out why they would turn the doorknob back and forth, back and forth in a deliberate rhythm, especially because our bedroom door has no lock on it. They could just open it and walk right in.

We couldn't move, that weird heavy-gravity feeling that was holding us down still would not allow us to move, but I was trying to, and I could feel my fiancé trying to, as well. All I was able to do was turn my head very slowly and look over my shoulder at the doorknob, and watch it turning. I could see it.

Then, we both heard it... singing. Two children's voices, what sounded like a pair of young girls, started singing a song that I could not make out most of the lyrics to, and the only clear lyrics that I could make out was the very last word at the end of the sentence: "dancing".

So let me clarify what I'm trying to describe: These two young girl's voices were singing an almost nursery rhyme type song outside our bedroom door, while turning our bedroom doorknob back and forth, to match the tempo of what they're singing: the doorknob is going chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, chhck-chhck, as these little girls' voices are singing:

"Something, something, something something! Something, something, daaaaancing! Something, something, something, something, something, something, daaaaaancing!"

...and the doorknob would turn with each word they sang, keeping perfect rhythm.

I couldn't make out nearly any of the other words of this song they were singing, except for the word "dancing" at the very end of each stanza.

And they were singing it in a way that was kind of playful and taunting... maybe, for instance, kind of like two little girls would do if they were teasing an older sibling, or their mom or dad, by coming up to a room they're in, shaking the doorknob and singing at them, just to tease-- the song almost sounded made up, the way kids sometimes sing little made-up songs to be silly or playful.... Just trying to give you a feel as to how this sounded. It also sounded like they were laughing, or trying not to giggle while doing it.

So, as this is all going on, and I'm watching the doorknob turn as these voices sing at us, and near the end of the song, I turn my head-- in slow motion-- back to my fiancé to see if he's seeing and hearing the same thing I am, and I can now see has finally managed to be able to turn his head and he was watching the doorknob, too, and the look on his face... was just... I'll never forget it. His eyes were as big as dinner plates, I've never see him that shocked or that scared...his face was just white.

And then the song ended. It was short, just two stanzas, then just as soon as it started, the doorknob just stopped turning on the very last word of the song, "daaaaanciiiing", and all at once, that heavy, dizzy weight that had been holding us down and making it so hard to move and breathe just lifted. Just went away. Just like that. Suddenly we could move again, and the air and gravity felt normal.

It seriously was all over, from start to finish, in about 10 seconds.

My fiancé sat up and goes "What the hell just happened?", and he jumped over me and out of bed, raced to the door and yanked it open. Nothing was there. We don't have a hallway, it's a small house and our bedroom door opens right up into the living room, and he just looked out into it and goes "Nobody's out there!"

I got up and ran over to him, and looked for myself. No one there. House empty, and our two cats were both backed up against the far wall of the living room, hissing and growling. They'd either heard it, too, or even seen what did it... and from the spot right in front of our bedroom door, all the way through the living room, through the dining room, and out to the kitchen door, there was this trail of heat. I don't know how else to describe it, it was just a trail of heat. The air just felt hot and oily, and you could almost see a haze, like fog, trailing from our bedroom door, through the house, to the kitchen door.

We checked both the front door and the kitchen door. Locked. Both locked.

We both sat back down on the bed, and we were just shaking. We kept asking each-other "Did that really just happen? We both heard the same thing right?" and yeah... we both felt the air pressure holding us down in bed and making us move in slow motion, and we both heard and saw the bedroom doorknob moving back and forth in rhythm, and then both heard the two little girls singing that song. So, I know it wasn't a hallucination or anything.

The only difference was that my fiancé understood a couple more of the lyrics of what they were singing, though not many-- he said it sounded something like "and we come in a'dancing!" or "and we go a'dancing!"

It was just so unsettling and spooky. And to be honest, the way the girls' voices sounded, they didn't sound mean or creepy-- they seriously sounded like two, real little girls who were just having fun and teasing us. It didn't feel or sound malevolent, or anything... it still creeped us out, just that it happened.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Downstairs by the Boxleitner Brothers

Threser by Mike Diva

Slot Canyon Screams



After I graduated high school, I went on a 10-day long backpacking trip with some friends of mine through the terrain of Utah and Arizona. One leg of this journey involved trekking for a couple days through the Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch system of slot canyons in southern Utah.

The hike initially began without a hitch; it was really, really hot so getting deep into the canyons was a welcome respite from the heat. This particular season had been extremely dry. Normally, when you're trekking through this system of canyons you can expect to go through sections that have water. Some of these flooded section of canyons are so prevalent that they are named features, like the 'Cesspool'. When we went through, it was bone dry. We didn't even need to get our water shoes out.


Now, what you need to know about slot canyons is that they are extremely prone to flash flooding, and thus can be extremely dangerous. Storms well over 50 miles away can send water cascading down these narrow, 2-foot-wide-in-places canyons in giant walls over 100 feet high. Not a lot of wiggle room for torrents of water, or for a hiker trying to feebly run away from the wall of death behind them. A morbid reminder is the presence of these giant logs wedged between the canyon walls, dozens of feet above you, indicating the height to which flood levels rise. This also means you can't set up camp just anywhere. It is vital you find a sand bar elevated above the floor of the canyon in the sparse sections where the canyon widens out, just in case you're unlucky and a transient flood just so happens to pass through. You can tell it to be safe by the presence of vegetation growing on the tops, unable to be washed away by floods. But as I said, it had been really dry up to that point, so we weren't really worried about that.

When we stopped for lunch about halfway through the trek, I looked up and noticed little cute cumulus clouds floating by. Fuck. The deserts are known for their random thunderstorms. As we continued walking, the sky began becoming less and less blue percentage wise, instead filling up with more and more grey. As it became overcast, there was a true sense of despair rising up within me. Total helplessness. In this sort of situation you have no control; there is nowhere to go, nowhere to run. I felt this vividly sad sense of acceptance, like as if a judge had sentenced me to death to be carried out that day, with no chance to tie up any loose ends in my life. This whole time my friends were oblivious to the dangers, and were joking, which made me feel worse due to the extreme juxtaposition of the situation, but I didn't really want to ruin their fun. And then it started drizzling. You know when people jokingly say they were so scared they shit their pants? As soon as I felt the drops on my cheeks, my bowels were seriously coming loose. That feeling of first-date nervousness x1000. I actually had to stop walking to regain composure and control of the muscles responsible for that function. At this point I pointed it out to my friends and the march down the canyon became a lot more serious. The drizzle continued for 20 minutes and this whole time I was listening intently to either ends of the canyon for the inevitable roar signaling our doom, fervently looking for little, green islands of safety. Thankfully, the drizzle abated, and the task at hand was to find a place to rest our poor bodies.


But finally, after a physically exhausting trek of 22 miles in the sand, made mentally exhausting by failed pack winching up rock falls (resulting in major loss of water), and most of all the surreal drizzle scare, we finally reached a section of land that could accommodate all of us (about 10ish). Too happy to put the trials of the day behind us, we wasted no time in getting dinner prepared and getting ready to turn in for the night. Little did we know. This was the start of the most bone-chilling experience I have ever had. To this day just the memory of it evokes a goosebump reaction similar to that which you get in horror movies.


As we lay in our tents one of my friends told us all to shutup and listen to something he heard coming from one end of the canyon. He said that it sounded like a rape whistle. Sure enough, there was some shrill noise faintly coming from where we had just trekked. We kind of wonder what the noise could be, and we thought maybe someone needed help. Maybe they broke an ankle or were cornered by an animal. I jokingly threw out the possibility that maybe it was the ghosts of the native americans angry at us for disturbing some sacred ground of theirs, and the sounds were of them tracking us through the canyon. Then a friend suggested maybe due to the shrill nature of the noise it was a banshee stalking us. As we were discussing the possibilities I heard something coming from the other end of the canyon. I pointed it out to the other guys and as we fell silent I could immediately tell it wasn't an echo due to the noise being in a completely different register, yet still very shrill. However, it was still rather faint. But then a third noise popped up, and a fourth! And all the while the noises were getting louder, and louder, and louder, and louder. As it got louder, it became far more human like, but extremely angry. We were all scared shitless at this point, completely seriously referring to these noises as banshees. These sounds got so loud that eventually we couldn't hear ourselves talk, and the sound penetrated through our skulls into our thoughts. An endless barrage of extremely high pitched screaming, yet with it all seemingly completely in harmony and slowly undulating, like the breath of the ocean. It took up all sensation and all feeling. The moonlit night flooded this canyon with light, revealing the patterns created by dark streaks on the sandstone walls. After a while the fear subsided, and the noise, with its extremely pervasive quality, along with the scenery, completely freed me from my mind's stream of conscious thought that was the source of all worry.


It was hauntingly beautiful the way I remember it and this otherwordly sound we experienced in nature is what brings back the chills everytime I think of it. As weird as it sounds I am so thankful to have had experienced them. I will remember them as long as I live. If anyone is able to find sources of this sound I will be forever grateful. My friend recorded it but lost his phone a couple months after the trip, and everyone I have asked since can't identify what may have caused this sound. I want to hear them again and relive that experience.

Number Station



In 2008 I was in the Navy, we were 100+ miles from any land, it was about 3-4am, off the coast of Peru. I was an Electronics Technician so I worked in radio with one other guy (a radioman) and we just sat up scanning on HF, UHF and VHF radios listening for drug runners. We intercepted a UHF signal that played a short piano preamble, followed by a haunting, computerized sounding woman's voice reading numbers. "Eleven, Nine, Four, Six" etc etc. This went on for about a minute, then the preamble repeated followed by the same number sequence, then it was gone.


We recorded the transmission, wrote the numbers down, informed the captain and shortly a message was sent off to the area commander about the strange message. The reply we received was to "disregard". Creeped me right the fuck out.


I came to find out that this is a "numbers station" and while the phenomenon is not entirely understood, it's likely a method for getting a secure message or code to an intelligence agent in the field, over an insecure method of communication. Since the numbers could be attached to a one time code, it's basically indecipherable.

Screaming Creature


In 2007 I was working on a trail crew in the Trinity Alps of Northern California. We had 13 people on the crew and a few support staff.
At this point we'd been in the woods for about 2 and a half months. We had all seen and heard bears, mountain lions, pretty much anything you can think of that would make terrifying noises.
After dinner one evening, most of us are sitting around the fire doing whatever and all of a sudden there's a LOUD agonized screaming sound. It was unlike anything any of us had heard. If I had to describe it, I'd call it a mountain lion's shriek combined with the horror of a banshee. Everyone was understandably freaked the hell out.
It sounded reasonably close so a few of us, myself included, decided to investigate. About three miles from our base camp there was a creature tied to a tree, absolutely losing it's mind. It was a fucking llama. At this point, it's 10pm or so, 25+ miles from the nearest trailhead and we find this llama tied to a tree just off the trail. We tried to calm it down without much success and went back to camp.
The next morning, the llama was gone. It looked like it had broken it's restraint and run off. We kept hearing the horrible llama noises from time to time for a few weeks.
Towards the end of the season a group of hunters passed us on the trail and after chatting for a bit we found out they tied the llama there because it decided to be stubborn and refused to walk anymore. Apparently it laid down in the trail and WOULD not move. So they left it and decided to come back for it.
We figured at that point, the llama was probably dead. We hadn't heard any hellacious llama screams for a few months and didn't really think about it. However, at the end of the season when we all finally got back in the crew van and were driving out, that damn llama jumped across the road about 30 yards in front of us.
I still think about the demon llama from time to time, I hope he had a fulfilling life in the trinities

Mystery

In college, I spent one month house sitting a large hunting estate in the middle of nowhere Idaho. The nearest town was 22 miles away. Woke up on the middle of the night to the sound of someone knocking loud and hard on the front door and the dogs were going nuts. No way I was going to answer it, I just grabbed the gun and kept quiet upstairs. Next morning, there was a car in the driveway. The guy who owned the car was found dead several months later. I have no idea what happened. He was found 30 miles away from the house I was at and he had been dead for only a couple of days when they found him. He committed suicide. What he did from the time he knocked, if it was him, to the time he killed himself is a mystery.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Children Who Went Up in Smoke

For nearly four decades, anyone driving down Route 16 near Fayetteville, West Virginia, could see a billboard bearing the grainy images of five children, all dark-haired and solemn-eyed, their names and ages—Maurice, 14; Martha 12; Louis, 9; Jennie, 8; Betty, 5—stenciled beneath, along with speculation about what happened to them. Fayetteville was and is a small town, with a main street that doesn’t run longer than a hundred yards, and rumors always played a larger role in the case than evidence; no one even agreed on whether the children were dead or alive. What everyone knew for certain was this: On the night before Christmas 1945, George and Jennie Sodder and nine of their 10 children went to sleep (one son was away in the Army). Around 1 a.m., a fire broke out. George and Jennie and four of their children escaped, but the other five were never seen again.
George had tried to save them, breaking a window to re-enter the house, slicing a swath of skin from his arm. He could see nothing through the smoke and fire, which had swept through all of the downstairs rooms: living and dining room, kitchen, office, and his and Jennie’s bedroom. He took frantic stock of what he knew: 2-year-old Sylvia, whose crib was in their bedroom, was safe outside, as was 17-year-old Marion and two sons, 23-year-old John and 16-year-old George Jr., who had fled the upstairs bedroom they shared, singeing their hair on the way out. He figured Maurice, Martha, Louis, Jennie and Betty still had to be up there, cowering in two bedrooms on either end of the hallway, separated by a staircase that was now engulfed in flames.
He raced back outside, hoping to reach them through the upstairs windows, but the ladder he always kept propped against the house was strangely missing. An idea struck: He would drive one of his two coal trucks up to the house and climb atop it to reach the windows. But even though they’d functioned perfectly the day before, neither would start now. He ransacked his mind for another option. He tried to scoop water from a rain barrel but found it frozen solid. Five of his children were stuck somewhere inside those great, whipping ropes of smoke. He didn’t notice that his arm was slick with blood, that his voice hurt from screaming their names.
His daughter Marion sprinted to a neighbor’s home to call the Fayetteville Fire Department but couldn’t get any operator response. A neighbor who saw the blaze made a call from a nearby tavern, but again no operator responded. Exasperated, the neighbor drove into town and tracked down Fire Chief F.J. Morris, who initiated Fayetteville’s version of a fire alarm: a “phone tree” system whereby one firefighter phoned another, who phoned another. The fire department was only two and a half miles away but the crew didn’t arrive until 8 a.m., by which point the Sodders’ home had been reduced to a smoking pile of ash.
But the Sodders had begun to wonder if their children were still alive.

Read the rest here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Stephen King's Night Shift


Hello, fright fans. It is October and that means Halloween! If you're like me, October is a month spent searching for the best works of fear. Be it movies, art, or stories, I love embracing the dark side of Halloween. An excellent source is, of course, Stephen King.

Stephen King is a well known name who has written many works of horror and suspense. His major novels are appreciated even by those who aren't fans of horror. Who hasn't heard of The Shining, or Carrie, or It? They are well worn tomes of American literature, and hold a special place in the American zeitgeist. Lesser known, though just as terrific, are King's collections of short stories.

Night Shift is a collection of short stories by King, written in the late 1970s. In this collection are some classic tales that many readers will recognize even if they have never read them before. For example, you probably were aware that the film Children of the Corn was based on a story by King, but did you know that it wasn't based off a full length novel? It is one of the collected works found in Night Shift. While my college Film Adaptation course instructor pounded into my brain that movies and the books on which they're based are two different art forms and should never be compared, I'm going to break that rule by telling you that the King's stories are almost always better than the films made from them, with the exception, possibly, of Misery and The Shining.

Even more interesting is that a shortened version of King's classic novel, Salem's Lot, first found light in the dark pages of Night Shift. If you've read Salem's Lot, you need to read the short story "Jerusalem's Lot".

There are a couple of other short stories in Night Shift that also eventually made their way to theaters, for better or for worse. The short story Lawnmower Man was made into a film by the same name and the story "Trucks" was made into the movie Maximum Overdrive.

Not all of the stories in Night Shift are home runs, but most of the stories are worth the time spent reading them, and some of them are classics. I especially love the story Graveyard Shift. It's an atmospheric masterwork by King and will have you keeping your feet off the ground no matter where you are while reading it.


The Chesapeake Bay Hermit



In the Chesapeake Bay, there are a couple of islands with houses owned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and they let students and tourists and whoever come and stay in the houses with CBF educators. This woman was a CBF educator who was hosting my high school group. The house we were staying in was about probably a bit over 100 years old and had originally been used as a hunting lodge. But since that time, the island has been almost completely submerged, and the house stands partly on a dock, partly on land, partly on these long wooden legs. The only way to get to the front door of the house is by boat, and it is the only house on this tiny little island.


So this woman tells us that when she was a new employee working at the house, the other CBF employees tell her that she should try sleeping out on the front porch for her first night there, claiming it will be the best night of sleep she's ever had. The porch is closed in with netting, so you can sleep out in the cool weather without worrying about bugs.


So it's the middle of the night, and she wakes up to the sound of cabinet doors banging open and closed and someone walking around in the kitchen (which is towards the front of the house where she is sleeping). Thinking it's one of the other CBF employees, she gets up to tell him to be quiet, but when she walks into the kitchen, all of the cabinets and the fridge are wide open, there's food thrown everywhere, but there's no one there. She's pretty freaked out, but thinks it must be rats or a raccoon or something, and starts to clean up the mess, when she hears the side door of the kitchen open behind her, and when she turns around, there is an old man with a long beard standing right behind her with his face right next to hers. Before she can say anything, he puts his finger to his lips and says, "Shhhh...Shhhh...." and then walks out the side door.


When she told the other CBF employees about what she had seen in the morning, they made fun of her for a little while, trying to make her think it was a ghost, before they finally told her that the man was a hermit who lived alone on another tiny island nearby. There was basically a standing agreement that he could take food as he needed it from the CBF as he wasn't well but didn't do anyone any harm.

Saturday, October 3, 2015