A doppleganger of death and much more spookiness on this edition of Campfire!
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KELLY: I felt kind of lightheaded, and I looked around and thought, “Am I dead right now? Am I dead? Am I a spirit who is visiting my altar?”
JIM HAROLD: That’s Kelly from California with an amazing story on this week’s Campfire.
Welcome to our gathering tonight. Here we share stories of ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary things. Sit back, relax, and warm yourself by Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Campfire. I am Jim Harold and so glad to be with you once again, and if you’re new here, what we do is simply share true stories from everyday folks who’ve experienced something very weird. Could be UFOs, could be ghosts, could be cryptid creatures, or my favorite, headscratchers – whatever they are, they are true as told by the storyteller themselves. We don’t put any words in their mouth, and you get to hear it right from the horse’s mouth, as they say. And welcome to the Campfire.
One quick favor. Please follow Jim Harold’s Campfire in the podcast app of your choice so you never miss an episode. Also, please rate and review if there’s a place to do that. We would appreciate it. And finally, tell a friend today about Jim Harold’s Campfire. And now let’s get right to it – some great spooky stories, starting with this instant Campfire classic right now.
Kelly is on the line from California, and she has been listening for probably over 10 years. I really appreciate it. We appreciate all our listeners, but the folks that have been with us a long time, it’s a special place in my heart. Kelly has a very interesting story for us. I’m not going to tell you the title of this story because it’d kind of give it away, so I’ll let her tell it. But I’m fascinated by this subject, and I think we’re in for a really good one. Kelly, welcome to the show and tell us what happened.
KELLY: Great, thanks, Jim. I just want to say, love the Campfire. I listen with my 11-year-old daughter every week, so thanks so much for what you do.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you. I’m not going to tell you the title either because then it would give it away. But it was November 1st, 2017. We’re actually recording five years later to the day today. I was having dinner at a nice restaurant in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. I live in the Bay Area. We were celebrating my friend’s birthday with a group of friends. The Mission is one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Francisco; it was built in the late 1700s by the Spanish, and there’s a strong Mexican-American community there and still is.
After a lovely dinner and birthday wishes for my friend, we all stepped outside to walk around. It’s an urban neighborhood. We hear drumming and noise off in the distance. We walk for a few blocks to see what’s going on, what’s the drumming, and then we realized, “Oh, it’s November 1st, Dia de Los Muertos,” which is Day of the Dead. There was a celebration going on in Garfield Square Park, which is an urban city park of about four acres in the heart of this Mission neighborhood.
I remember we get to the park and the park did not have the lights on. It was dark and packed with people. Some people were dressed up like the walking skeletons with the painted faces to look like skulls, and there was a drum circle with about 30 drummers and a large group where people were dancing and celebrating. We wandered around and we were looking at all of the altars that had been set up in the park.
The altars – I don’t know if you’ve probably seen them, but they’re beautiful, elaborate tributes created by family members for their loved ones who have died. They include photographs of the deceased person, there’s mementos, there’s candles or flowers, usually marigolds, sugar skulls, and other offerings, like the deceased’s favorite food or drink. The point is to entice and welcome the spirit to visit their altar. Usually you’ll see a family member standing next to a loved one’s altar. But apparently that park sets up tables for anyone to bring photos and just set up a photo of their loved one and their own altar.
We were walking around and looking at these beautiful – it was kind of eerie, everything lit by candles, and we have drums off in the distance in the other part of the park. Like I said, some areas had several tables set up where anyone could set down a photograph of a loved one. I was looking at the photos of the deceased and these mini-altars on the tables, just wondering who these people were, any clues about their lives.
I noticed a framed 8 x 10 photo of a woman with candles lit up around it. There was no mementos, but just the framed photo. It looked like a headshot of something taken by a professional. She looked about 10 to 15 years older than me and was wearing a blue button-down shirt and smiling. I leaned in to get a closer look, and Jim, she looked exactly like me.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man, oh man. Whoa.
KELLY: Exactly like me. Her face, her smile, her hair color, the texture and length of her hair, her twinkly blue eyes and freckles. I have freckles. And even the way she tilted her head a bit sideways and leaned her cheek on her hand in the photo is something that I would do. It was like I was looking at myself. My friend was next to me and she said, “Hey, that looks just like you!” I said, “Yeah, it does. Wow, that’s crazy.” I was just really flabbergasted. My friend didn’t seem too fazed by it.
JIM HAROLD: Well, it wasn’t her. [laughs] I think I’d be a little more fazed than somebody who was just a bystander. Easy for her to say “No big deal!” [laughs]
KELLY: Yeah, she’s moving on where I’m like, my jaw is dropped. So she moved on to look at other things and I stayed by the photo for a while, just stared at it. I also looked for anyone nearby who might know this woman or could tell me who she is, but no one was at the table who could tell me who she was. It was just a mystery. And there’s no labels or anything, oftentimes, around the altars.
So I looked at the photo and I was trying to figure out, “How am I looking at a photo of myself right now?” And then I felt kind of lightheaded, and I looked around and thought, “Am I dead right now? Am I dead? Am I a spirit who is visiting my altar?” [laughs] It just felt really odd for a few moments, like I was not in my own body. But then I took a breath and I shook it off and went to catch up with my friend.
The rest of the night, I felt really strange. Later that night, I got home and I journaled about it to try to process what happened, and part of me thought, was the doppelganger a premonition of my future death, like my future dead self was what I was seeing in the photo? Because she was older, maybe 10-15 years at least. Was that going to be me in the photo, maybe? Or was it that I somehow embodied the spirit of this woman just for a moment who was visiting her own altar? I had thought of that. Did I just somehow enter – was I embodying her spirit somehow?
Or was it just a strange coincidence that this woman looked exactly like me? Some people ask whether I took a photo of the photograph with my phone. It crossed my mind for a second, but it was dark; I felt also it was disrespectful to take photos of the altars. It’s like going to a cemetery and taking photos. I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right. And nobody was taking photos, by the way.
I guess, Jim, I don’t know what it means to see your doppelganger who is dead. I searched online about doppelgangers; I’ve read seeing your doppelganger can be a bad omen. That was 2017. I would say definitely we’ve all had life challenges, but there’s been nothing terrible that has happened to me since then. But I haven’t come across stories where people see their doppelganger who is dead. So I’d be interested to hear if your listeners have had experiences like that, or what that could mean. So that is my Dia de Los Muertos doppelganger story.
JIM HAROLD: That’s such a neat story. I would say it’s a Campfire classic. It falls into one of my favorite categories, as you know listening all this time – that of headscratcher. There’s so many things that – were you visiting yourself? But then you were younger when you were actually visiting, but I guess technically, if time is pliable, as it seems like it might be, you were visiting yourself before you died. If you think about things in a very linear fashion, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
And then again, the fact that nobody was there – I’m not trying to freak you out or scare you, but was that person who was there actually your future loved one? And again, this could’ve been – you could pass away when you’re 100 or something, you know what I’m saying? It doesn’t necessarily mean a young death. In fact, I was just watching television the other day and they had a really interesting presentation on Day of the Dead. They were visiting this local arts organization that was doing a Day of the Dead thing, and they had different altars, and they show people at different stages of life. They would show somebody who lived to be 80-90 years old but showed them as a young person.
So seeing that doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t – even if it were you, it would not necessarily mean you’re not going to live a long life. It just may’ve been you when you were a little bit younger. Because if that person was middle-aged, maybe you’re going to live to be 100, but that still could’ve been you. Does that make sense?
JIM HAROLD: Again, I don’t know. I’m just speculating. That’s the one thing on these shows I want people to know. I am not an expert. I am just a guy who asks questions, who’s curious just like all of you. You just have these thought experiments that you throw out there. But they’re so fascinating, and this is such a fascinating story.
I know we’re running a little over, but I’m the host, so I’m allowed to do that. Here’s my question: Are you convinced that was you in the picture? Do you think it was just someone who looked a lot like you, or do you think that was you?
KELLY: I think for my own sanity, I’m thinking it was a coincidence it looks exactly like me, because I don’t want to freak myself out and think if that – and you’re right, who knows when that picture was taken. But if that’s my future dead self, I don’t want to have a self-fulfilling prophecy.
JIM HAROLD: That’s understandable.
KELLY: Where I’m thinking I might die in 15 years. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Remember I said, the pictures I saw, they had people when they were very young and then they died when they were like 90 years old or something. But I can understand. It would freak me out. I totally get it.
JIM HAROLD: Well, Kelly, thank you for calling in with a Campfire classic. I love it. Can’t wait to get it up on the show, and appreciate you in terms of your support and delivering us a fantastic story.
KELLY: Thanks so much, Jim, for having me.
JIM HAROLD: Tashi is on the line. She’s from Australia, and we’re so glad to have her. Friends, this is indeed a chilling, chilling story. Tashi, welcome to the show. Please tell us what happened.
TASHI: Hi. Thank you. Just quickly, my background – I grew up in a house with a mother who was known as psychic to our local community, so I grew up a skeptic because she used to come home and tell me stories about people hiring her to speak to their past loved ones or something and photo frames falling and things like that. I didn’t believe that what she was saying was real. I worked in a fairy shop, which is in Australia a children’s birthday party place, as a storyteller in a magic forest room. So that’s my background.
I went on a camping trip with a new boyfriend. Oh yeah, my mother was also an audio engineer, so I went to study audio engineering, which might have something to do with the story. We were camping and we were trying to get to a high-up part of a mountain where we were allowed to camp, but we were having trouble getting there because we had to take a bus. The boyfriend I was with was adventurous, so he wanted to hitchhike for the rest of the way, and we weren’t getting a lift. We decided to just camp where we were because it was starting to get dark.
There was a lighthouse park near the ocean where we were. We didn’t go too far into the park; we just set up camp really quickly so that we’d have time to have a fire and cook some dinner. So we sat down at the fire after we put up the tent and I started to hear a voice. It felt very clear to me that someone was stuck behind a rock near the water. He was saying he couldn’t hear it, and I was saying, “You sure? It’s so loud and clear.”
So we went to this spot that I was hearing the voice coming from and we looked everywhere. We were looking for almost hours, trying to find this woman who I could hear, and she just kept calling for help and saying that she didn’t want to be alone. I was refusing to go back to the tent because I wanted to help this woman. I knew she was somewhere there. And this guy that I’d just started dating thought that was nuts, I guess, so he went back.
Eventually I went back to the tent because I just couldn’t find her and I had terrible anxiety attacks. It was like stabbing pains in my chest keeping me up, and he was trying to help me with that. In the morning, I woke up to the sound of bells ringing. It was a very strange sound to wake up to, but there were joggers, women jogging and ringing their bells, circling my new boyfriend. I had no idea what was going on. They were bells they would ring if a wild animal was near or something.
Then the rangers came up, and they said, “Oh, we can’t have a campfire here because the fire will catch onto the ground,” so they gave us buckets and they told us that we had to collect water from the ocean to put the fire out. So we were going up and down these rocks trying to get the water and carry it up in these buckets with the rangers of the forest there, and they were saying to us, “You’re crazy camping here because a woman was murdered right behind that rock last week.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh.
TASHI: Yeah. Not only that, but when I looked it up, I saw there were actually two murders in the exact same spot within two weeks.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh.
TASHI: Yeah, it’s so scary. At the time, we both looked at each other and I knew – I was like, “Okay, wow, my mom was right.” It proved it to me. I never really believed her, but then I thought about her skills as an audio engineer and how I’d gone on to do that and just the sensitivity of sound with memory and that sort of thing.
But the relationship went on for a little while, and it wasn’t a good relationship. When I looked up to see what the murder was about and I saw that it was this unhealthy relationship – I don’t want to say too much about the actual murder that happened that I found out about, but apparently she said again and again that she didn’t want to be alone, which made me so sad and made me think that was definitely some kind of spirit communicating to me. And then she was also stabbed to death, which I think maybe explains the chest pains I was having.
Now I’m looking back on it and I’m thinking, was this some kind of warning that someone was trying to pass on to me about being in a relationship that wasn’t healthy? It gives me chills just thinking about it.
JIM HAROLD: That’s frightening on a couple different levels.
TASHI: It’s true, yeah.
JIM HAROLD: It’s frightening on the level that somebody was murdered, a woman was murdered, and you heard her screaming for help days after she was killed, so ostensibly you were hearing her ghost or some kind of – whether it was a residual haunting of that area or if it was actively her ghost calling out. Then secondly, it’s frightening from just an everyday, regular life standpoint that you were camping in a place that people had been murdered, and there but for the grace of God you could have been subject to the same thing.
TASHI: It’s so true.
JIM HAROLD: So it’s like multifaceted scary, if you know what I’m saying.
TASHI: It really is. The more I think about it, the more depth there is to all of that. Are you really safe with the person you’re going camping with? Or are you safe going camping, even?
JIM HAROLD: I have thought about it. You hear about these people who set off – I particularly think of older people who set off to travel the country in an RV and then they’ll meet up with someone and someone, because they think they have money or something, will murder them. It’s a frightening scenario. It makes you not want to travel. [laughs] If you’re traveling and listening to this, I’m sorry to scare you. But these things run through your mind. I just think of an Unsolved Mysteries episode. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old Unsolved Mysteries that we have here in the States, but that show, I think of those kind of scenarios.
Tashi, first of all, I’m glad you’re okay.
TASHI: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: And wow. That’s just very striking. That’s an extremely striking story.
TASHI: Yeah, it is. I’m happy to share it. Thanks for listening.
JIM HAROLD: And as I always say – and we’re starting up our crime show again that we did for many years – be careful out there. Thank you, Tashi.
TASHI: Thank you so much. Be careful out there, everyone.
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JIM HAROLD: Patty is on the line from the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. She has for us a creepy headscratcher. I love that. I love that, Patty. Please tell us this creepy headscratcher.
PATTY: Thank you, Jim, for having me. I’ve been a longtime Campfire fan, so I’m excited to get to tell this story. Basically, when I was seven, my family lived in Northern California. At the time, this house that we were staying in was built on a hillside, and that’s significant.
The layout of this house had a kitchen and a dining room, and right against the dining room, at the end of it was a window that looked into the backyard. In this backyard, it wasn’t really much of a yard; it had a cement patio that was semi-circular, almost bean-shaped. It was in between the window and the hill itself. And the hill was a little odd. You couldn’t really climb it because the way the hill was, there were these almost – they looked like bricks. They were about the size of a brick, but they were tombstone-shaped on the end, so they were kind of circular and they stuck out of the hillside. They were perpendicular to it. Those are significant too.
One morning, I got up – I was seven – and I got dressed for school and I sat down at the kitchen table. At the time, we had a nanny. She’s significant too, to this story. So I sat down and she put down a bowl of oatmeal. Like a typical kid, I was like, “Ooh, yuck.” I’m playing with it, and as I’m sitting there playing with my food, I got – you know that feeling, Jim, where you feel like you’re being watched?
JIM HAROLD: Yes.
PATTY: And it’s really creepy, and it’s like not a good feeling. It’s a really spine-chilling – like something is watching you, almost. I got that feeling, and I froze. I look out the window and I’m looking desperately for where it’s coming from, and then my eyes meet its eyes.
Standing on one of these little kind of tombstone bricks, staring at me, not blinking, wide-eyed, was what looked like a gnome, an elf. I’m not sure what it was. It was about the size of my Barbie dolls, and it was standing on one of these pedestals, staring at me. Its eyes were wide open and it was these huge eyes and it was not blinking. I looked at it and it looked at me, and I froze.
I’m sitting there at seven thinking, “I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I’m dreaming.” I remember thinking, “Oh no, oh no,” and I started rubbing my eyes, pinching myself – anything and everything I could do to try to wake myself up. When that didn’t work, then I started going, “Maybe my parents got a garden gnome and forgot to tell me overnight.” I’m looking at it, and I remember to this day what it looked like, only because I had the foresight to write it down in a diary I had at the time.
Like I said, it was about the height of a Barbie doll. Brown hair, little pointy hat, and it had these big blue eyes and almost – I think it was a blue shirt and a red skirt, and this yellow beaded necklace. It was just standing there staring at me, and I could feel like this, whatever it was, was alive. It was some kind of lifeforce. It was not a garden gnome where sometimes you look at those and you can tell they’re plastic; they’re creepy sometimes, but they’re not alive. This felt very much alive.
So I’m looking at it and it’s looking at me, and while all of these panicked thoughts are running through my little seven-year-old brain, while I’m looking at it, I got this very strange feeling, like almost a compulsion to want to get up and go outside towards whatever this thing was.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
PATTY: I looked at it and I remember standing up from the table, and then this voice, out of nowhere, came into my head and said, “Whatever you do, sit back down now. Don’t you dare go out there.” I don’t know where it came from, and I remember sitting back down. Then I’m thinking while I’m watching this and it’s watching me – it’s not blinking the whole time – and I’m going, “What do I do, what do I do? Get a grownup.”
I thought, “Let me go get my parents.” And I thought, “If I do that, watch when I come back, it won’t be there, and they won’t want to come listen to me anyway.” Then that’s when I remembered the nanny. She was in the kitchen. I started screaming for her. She comes running over and she’s like “What, what?” I’m pointing directly where I see this elf/gnome creature standing on one of those stones, those bricks. I said, “There’s something out there. It’s watching us. There, do you see it?” I pointed directly at it.
This is the part where my blood ran cold. She looks at that direction where I’m pointing with my finger and goes, “I don’t see anything. There’s nothing there.” She looked back at me and I froze. I absolutely froze, Jim, and I said, “Oh my God, what do I do? She doesn’t believe me.” I just panicked and I screamed, “Shut the curtain, shut the curtain!” She runs over, she’s like, “Okay, okay!” and she shuts it and she says, “Calm down, calm down, why are you so upset?” I said, “There’s something out there.” She said, “There’s nothing there.” I kept going, “That’s not it.”
She could tell I was genuinely afraid. Mind you, I was not the type of child that had imaginary friends. I didn’t make this stuff up. I was kind of a logical kid. I didn’t want to tell my parents, and thank God, they came downstairs and took me to school, and I sat there all day a little freaked out.
And here’s the kicker. When I came home from school that day, first thing I did was run to that window, throw open the curtain, and guess what? It’s gone. There was nothing there. I went, “Okay, I definitively know I saw this. What do I do now?” I remember I decided to try to tell my parents. So I sat down at dinnertime and worked up the courage timidly and said, “Did you guys get a garden gnome?”
They kind of laughed and looked at me and said, “Why would you ask us that?” I said, “Well, there was something out there this morning and it was watching me.” My mom, I remember, laughed and shrugged it off, like most parents do. Even if they believe you, they don’t want to freak you out. She said she didn’t believe me, of course. I said, “Oh, okay.” They said, “You just imagine things. You just thought you saw something and you didn’t.” They laughed and shrugged it off, and I said okay.
Thankfully – after that, of course, I never wanted to go out in the backyard by myself. I refused to go.
JIM HAROLD: That’s understandable.
PATTY: They thought it was odd, but I just did not want to go out. My parents indulged me, but then we ended up moving shortly after. I was never more grateful to leave that house. Ever, ever, ever, ever.
After that point, years later, my mom actually confessed to me that she did believe me at the time; she just didn’t want to scare me. And she said furthermore, the ability and the sensitivity to the paranormal runs in her family. I guess for me it started at seven because that was the first time I’d ever had an experience like that. My mom said, “I just didn’t want to scare you.” I have a younger brother and younger sister, and that’s the kicker. Out of the three of us, it’s just me that has inherited some of what apparently runs in my mom’s side o the family.
I never got answers as to what that thing was. And I have talked to mediums since then, and nobody can tell me what it was, what it wanted, but I had a feeling at the time that it for whatever reason wanted me to come to it and go to it. That’s where I think that compulsion to get up from the table and go outside by myself, and no one was there, came from.
JIM HAROLD: Do you think that it’s possible that this thing was portraying itself, whatever it was, in a way that maybe as a small child you could relate to, like an elf? In other words, it was presenting itself as something it wasn’t to entice you in.
PATTY: Yes. My mom’s from the Philippines, and there are stories, even just in folklore, that sometimes these spirits – there’s the concept of the changeling and kids go with a spirit or you eat something from their realm and you don’t come back. That’s where I had that feeling that whatever it was, this spirit – it’s connected to that hillside. Years later, I could feel that it was. I don’t know why. But it wanted me, specifically because I could see it, to come out there.
Most kids see things that grownups can’t see. That was what freaked me out the most, was the nanny – it’s right there while we’re watching it and she can’t see anything. I think that’s what it was. My mom has told me from her culture, she’s heard of those stories, and I remember growing up with things like Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and I was terrified of strangers. But whatever that was, it was something. That’s what scared me.
My brother was too little to see it and my sister couldn’t have seen it. I was the only one at the table that morning. So that’s probably what it was. It was the first experience I’d ever had like that.
JIM HAROLD: We’ve had people who have said they’ve seen various strange things when they were children, including a leprechaun. I’ve told this many times – the one gentleman saw it, didn’t confess to his brother until decades later, and his brother said, “Oh, you saw him too?”
PATTY: Oh no. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: So I believe that strange things – we see strange things, and I think sometimes as children we’re more open to things. I don’t have any answers for you, but I can say –
PATTY: Yeah, no one does.
JIM HAROLD: Join the club, join the club. Patty, thank you for joining our club and being a part of the Campfire today. I certainly appreciate this great headscratcher.
PATTY: Thank you so much, Jim, and stay spooky. I’ll continue to listen.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the Campfire is Danny from Nebraska. He’s been listening since 2014, so we appreciate that very much. He worked on the railroad and strangeness ensued, as he put in his email to me. Can’t wait to hear this story. Love railroads and I love spooky stuff, so this kind of works together well. Danny, welcome to the show. Tell us what happened.
DANNY: Hey. The backstory for this is actually kind of long, but I hired out on the railroad at 18. I left for the military for four years and came back. When I came back, the St. Joe flooded and they made me go work down in Denver. I’m a small-town Nebraska boy, so I was working in Denver, it was kind of wild. We’d take this train up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and that took about 12 hours to get there. I stayed at this particular hotel in Cheyenne for quite a while.
I consider myself a sensitive type guy, but I never really experienced anything, and I didn’t like the vibes that I got in that hotel. The lobby was kind of creepy, second floor was creepy. Third floor seemed all right, but fourth and fifth, there was always a feeling of distress in there. I’d never had anything happen, so I didn’t put much thought into it.
But one day I left Denver at 7 a.m. on my train and got up there in Cheyenne at 7 p.m. I got all my bags, went to the front desk and got my room, and it was on the fifth floor of this hotel. Really old place. It was in the shape of a spiral, which I thought was odd. One elevator, you had to spiral around till you got to your room. I was in Room 549 out of 550, the end of the spiral. I got up there, put all my bags in my room, and I immediately felt that feeling that was just creepy.
I decided, “I’m not ready to stay here right now,” so I went down across the street and ate dinner at this – it was an old Union Pacific depot that they changed into a restaurant. I ate some food there and went back across the street, back to the hotel. But as I was crossing that street, I looked left and then I looked right for traffic, and when I looked right I saw this establishment, I saw this sign that said “The Green Door.” I’m like, “Hmm, what is this?” It reminded me of something I’d seen before. I went in there and it was a half gas station, half gentlemen’s club.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my. Yes. [laughs]
DANNY: Yes. So I go in there. I was like, “Man, I really don’t want to go back to the hotel.” So I go in there, and it’s just as terrible as I’d been told. [laughs] I end up having a conversation with this middle-aged Native American dancer. She ended up giving me a leather bracelet. I love handmade gifts, so I put it in my back pocket and I split back to the hotel room. I figured, “I’d better go to bed because I’m going to be working in the morning.”
When I get back up to the hotel room – and all of this has relevance, by the way – it’s dark, and I get ready for bed. I’m lying there watching TV in my own respective space; the television is illuminating the room, and to my right there’s a closet that is wide open, and it’s pitch black in there. To my left, there is a bathroom door, wide open, and it’s pitch black in there. I can’t help but feel like I’m getting watched. I get up and I shut both those doors to try and – I guess secure my own area.
I lie back down in bed and I eventually drift off to sleep. I wake up about an hour later, approximately, from the last time I looked at my phone with this terrible stomachache. I’m like, “Man, I’d better use the restroom or something. Weird.” Soon as I get out of bed and my feet touch the floor, I feel fine. I’m like, “Okay, weird.” I get back in bed and lie down and drift off to sleep again, and this time I have a bunch of terrible nightmares about the Middle East, and I had nightmares about car wrecks and family members dying and all kinds of weird stuff.
JIM HAROLD: Oh gosh.
DANNY: I wake up to my phone call from the railroad telling me to go to work at 6 a.m. Now, all the scary stuff’s supposed to be over at 6 a.m., but those rooms are pitch black. They’ve got those blackout curtains. So I wake up and I realize I haven’t slept too well, and I set another alarm for 7 a.m. You have two hours to get to work once you get that call, so I set my alarm for 7 a.m. I go back to sleep on my left side, and I wake up to my alarm at 7 a.m. I reach over, an arm length away in bed, and I grab my phone and I turn the alarm off.
As I do a stretch and relax in bed and roll back over on my back – pitch black in the room – to my right there’s a woman standing right next to my bed. I can see her plain as day, kind of an off-white. Not glowing, but I can just see her in this pitch black. And I am immediately frozen in bed. She’s just standing over me. She was wearing a nightgown and a bonnet. Her hair was braided over her left shoulder, and she had black eyes and really no mouth.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh.
DANNY: I was terrified. [laughs] Oh my God. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream. I tried to, and just a little bit of air escaped my mouth. Then she reached down and touched my right leg with her right hand and my right shoulder with her left hand. I got this shock through my body, and I started to get scared, which kind of evolved into mad – because behind anger is always fear. I was like, “I’m not going to take this from you.”
I had to channel practically everything I had in my body just to move, and I remember wiggling my right toe, and she just vanished. From there I got up, threw everything in my bag, ran out that door, and I looked back in the room and I saw that the closet door was wide open. I was like, man. I ran downstairs with all my stuff. I was out of that room in seconds. It was the fastest I’ve ever been ready for work.
I went outside and I smoked three cigarettes and I called my mom. I was like, “Mom, oh my God!” [laughs] I told her the same story I’m telling all you fine people. She said, “Do you have to stay there again?” I was like, “Yeah, for three more months!”
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
DANNY: So every time I went back to that hotel, I had my Bible open, my deployment cross, I had SpongeBob on TV, all of the lights on. I was ready to go. And I never ran into an issue. But I did some research on it and it turns out this particular hotel had a couple that stayed there in the late 1800s, early 1900s for a honeymoon, and while the couple had gone off to bed, I guess the husband snuck down to the bar that is still there and grabbed a lady of the evening. Why, I don’t know, but they went up to a room.
Meanwhile, the wife, who was in bed, saw that he was gone, came out of her room, saw him go into a different room with that lady of the evening, and she went and grabbed a .38 and shot them both and killed herself in one of the rooms. And ever since, there’s been a lady in white in there.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
DANNY: I guess because I was a single dude, reeked of strippers, I was a prime candidate for getting harassed that night. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
JIM HAROLD: The thing that got me was – some people may say you were having a bad dream. Well, the bad dream didn’t open the door.
DANNY: Yeah, oh my God, that was crazy, man. So I avoid that hotel, although it was fun. I’m sure anybody in that area would know exactly which one I’m talking about.
JIM HAROLD: Once is enough, right?
DANNY: Yeah. I got in touch with some other railroaders who stayed there with me, and man, every single one of those guys had a weird experience in that hotel.
JIM HAROLD: Well, it’s a freaky story. Ooh, spooky, spooky.
JIM HAROLD: Danny, thank you so much for your support and for being a part of the Campfire tonight.
DANNY: Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Jim Harold’s Campfire is brought to you by Calm. When you think of self-care, what comes to mind? Well, for me, self-care can be taking a walk in nature or it can be listening to a favorite piece of music or it can be reading a book. And another way that I practice self-care is taking time out of my busy schedule to use the Calm app. That’s why I’m so glad to say we continue to partner with Calm, the number one mental wellness app, to give you the tools that improve the way you feel.
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JIM HAROLD: Sarah is on the line from South Carolina. She’s been on the program before a few years back, and we’re glad to have her with us once again. She has a story that she feels relates to a recent episode that we had in September of this year, and she wanted to share it. Sarah, welcome back to the show and please tell us about this story.
SARAH: Thank you so much, Jim. It’s a pleasure to be back. Growing up, my dad had always told me that he had these death dreams. Thankfully, they did not involve any family, but in his dreams, he would dream of a close friend passing away, and within three days that friend would actually pass away.
There was one very interesting one he had when I was about 12 or 13. He came to us the next day and he goes, “My friend Reeves is going to pass away.” We got a phone call a few days later that he was hit and killed while he was out riding his bike.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
SARAH: That happened quite a few times with him. Me growing up, I had a couple of paranormal experiences, but I actually had my first death dream in 2012. The weird thing about my death dreams is in both instances, it was my dad coming to me to tell me that my grandmother had passed away, in my dreams.
My first one happened in 2012. He came to me to tell me that Grandma had fallen and hit her head, and unfortunately she didn’t make it. Two weeks later, we had a coworker who didn’t show up to work; my boss went to his house, and it turned out that the gentleman had a stroke and ended up passing away.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
SARAH: My second one happened in 2016, and unfortunately this was a family member. In my dream, I was in my grandmother’s house, in her bathroom off the hallway, and my dad called me up to tell me that Grandma had passed away. As he’s on the phone with me, her soul walks down the hallway to the bedroom, and I just go, “I know.” Two weeks later, we get a phone call that my cousin had had a heart attack in his bedroom and had passed away. So that was kind of freaky to have happen.
Unfortunately, my dad passed away June of this year.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
SARAH: Thank you, Jim. It was a long-term illness. Thankfully he’s in a better place now. But he’s come to me in three or four different dreams, and the funny thing is, in the first few dreams I knew it wasn’t him. It was his body, but the actions that were happening in the dream, I was like, “This is not my dad at all.”
But the last one was the stereotypical one I heard you talk about where when you have a dream of a loved one who passed away and they’re in your dream, they’re healthy. So the last one I had, I walked in the front door of our house and he was standing there on the other side of the living room. When my dad passed, he was very weak; he couldn’t stand up straight. In my dream, he was standing there right by his bedroom doorway, smiling at me. So that was a nice little confirmation.
JIM HAROLD: Right, that’s a nice affirmation that he’s lived on, but he’s not suffering anymore.
JIM HAROLD: I do think that’s really interesting when you talk about people who have had dreams of loved ones who have passed. Really a lot of times, or visions or whatever it is, it is when they’re in the prime of life and they’re very, very healthy.
JIM HAROLD: You mentioned to me offline that you had another little story that you’d like to share, possibly.
SARAH: I did. This just happened a few days ago. I was listening to a true crime podcast, and it’s two male hosts on the podcast. I pull up to a drive-through, pause the podcast, go through the drive-through. Everything is still paused, I’m sitting at the drive-through window waiting for my food, and I hear a little girl’s voice in the seat next to me say, “Thank you for listening.”
JIM HAROLD: Huh.
SARAH: It was so realistic, Jim. I whipped my head around so fast to be like, “Who are you?” [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: That’s weird.
SARAH: I had about 20 minutes left in the podcast, so I was like, “This is very odd that this is happening.” Get my food, drive through the parking lot, hit play, and the podcast starts on the next episode. I was telling a coworker about this, and he said, “Maybe you only hear it in your vehicle.” I was like, “Maybe it’s a new outro for their podcast.” I get back to my desk and I start 20-30 minutes into the episode I was listening to; there’s no outro for it. It’s just their regular outro. Listen to it again in the truck and I don’t hear it in the truck. So I don’t know who it was telling me “Thank you for listening.”
JIM HAROLD: There you go. Very interesting indeed. Thank you so much for joining us again. I know you have another story you want to share. I look forward to hearing that on the Campfire, and appreciate you being a part of the program today.
SARAH: Absolutely, Jim. Thank you for all you do.
JIM HAROLD: Up next on the Spooky Studio line here at the Campfire is Danielle from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She’s going to tell us a little bit about the house she grew up in. Danielle, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us and tell us about this house.
DANIELLE: Yes, thank you for having me. The house I grew up in, my maternal grandfather built in the early ’60s. My mom also grew up in the house. They moved in when my mom was about four years old. My mom, like I said, grew up there. She moved away for college, got married. We moved back when I was about one year old, so about 1987. We lived there with my grandmother. She had a lot of health issues, and my mom was the one that took care of her. My mom grew up there with her three siblings, and my grandfather and my grandmother divorced when she was about 13, and that was the last time he was in the house. My grandmother died when I was 12, and me and her were very close. I was very devastated by that.
The first thing that happened to me in the house was I came home from school by myself; my mom and dad worked, so my mom would always make me call her, walk through the house, make sure no one was there – because I’m only 13. So one day I do my little walk around, nothing’s going on, and I go back into my grandmother’s end of the house, where she lived. It was a hallway, and there was always a mirror at the end, and her room was to the right of the mirror.
I see a light shining from in her room onto the mirror. I go in there and I’m like, “What is going on?” She had – you remember the touch lamps you would have to touch to turn on? She had one on her dresser. It was old and it didn’t work very well. You would literally have to slap it to turn it on, and it was on full brightness. At 13, I’m like, “What is happening?” I go in there and I touch it and it doesn’t go off. I slap it and it finally goes off. That really freaked me out. I ran out of the room and I wouldn’t go back down there.
As I got older, my mom started getting rid of her things. She gave all that stuff to my cousin. My cousin tells me later, “Man, that lamp used to come on all the time by itself. I swear, one time it was even unplugged.” It was very odd.
JIM HAROLD: Okay, I was going to say, do you think maybe something was wrong with it, but the fact that it came on – and I’ve heard that before. People have had lamps that have come on when they’re unplugged. When that happens, it’s like, “Time for me to get out.” [laughs]
DANIELLE: Right. [laughs] It was very odd. As I got older, I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, so I was always wanting to see and hear stuff, but nothing else ever really happened until about 2007-2008. My parents were both working overseas as contractors, and they were having a lot of renovations done to the home, to the kitchen. And I mean like taking out walls and redoing stuff.
I had gone up there, because I lived about an hour away at that point. I went up there to spend the night to meet with the contractor and make sure everything was good. I’m in my old room, which used to be two bedrooms and they had turned it into one big room for me in the original part of the house. Because my parents had added on. So I’m lying in the bed, and all of a sudden I heard a man say my name, clear as day. No one knew I was there except for my parents, and they were gone.
I jump out of bed, I’m looking out the windows. Nobody’s running off. I don’t see anybody. And it’s sitting in the middle of two acres, so I would’ve seen somebody running away. I get up and I’m checking the house – nothing. I was like, “Okay.” Eventually I go to sleep. I tell my mom about it later and she’s like, “You were probably dreaming and just heard it in your dream.” I was like, “I really wasn’t, but okay.”
Fast forward a couple years down the road. I’m moving back in with my parents temporarily. I’m in the house, unpacking some stuff, and I’m in the kitchen and I can see down that hallway. I see my bedroom door and I look up, and there is a shadow figure in the door. It’s the middle of the day, and it’s very tall and shaped like a man. I was like, “I gotta go.” I call my mom. I’m like, “I just saw a shadow in the hallway by my room. I’m coming to your work” – because she worked with my uncle down the road. So I left.
It wasn’t long before I got married. My friend was staying with me at my parents’ house, and we were in the bathroom, just talking, and she’s like, “Danielle, I just heard your dad call for you. He said your name.” I was like, “Are you sure? I didn’t hear it.” She’s like, “Yeah, I heard him.” I was like, “Okay, let me go see what he wants.”
The way the house was set up, the bathroom was right off the kitchen, and then off the kitchen was a door to the laundry room, and then there was another door off the laundry room into my parents’ living room. They always kept those doors shut at night. I go in the kitchen, pitch black; the door’s shut to the laundry room. I’m like, “Maybe he went back. Let me go see what he wanted.” I open the laundry room door, I open the other door to the living room, and I step into the living room – and my dad snored really loud, and I hear my dad snoring. I’m like, “There’s no way he made it back that quick and is already back asleep.” And I didn’t hear any doors open and shut. Nothing.
I’m like, “Okay, that’s the second time a man has said my name, and there’s really no reasonable explanation for it.” And I had never told her about the other time. So I tell my mom about it later, and she’s like, “It’s really weird. Since we had all these renovations done, I’ll be here by myself and I’ll hear people talking and I’ll go and there’s nobody around, and the TV’s not on. I’m not really sure. It’s really, really weird.” So it was happening to my mom, too. My dad made fun of us because he said we were just being silly. Nothing ever happened to him there.
My parents sold the house a few years ago and have moved on. But I know the new owners and they haven’t had anything happen. So I don’t know if it was my grandfather because he never really came back after they divorced. I know his happiest times were in that house. So I don’t know if it was him – and I didn’t know him. I only met him like twice, so I don’t know if it was him or my great-grandfather whose land the house was built on. I don’t know. It was just very, very odd.
JIM HAROLD: And it’s interesting. So many times you hear this comment about the renovations. When you do a renovation, stuff seems to happen. Obviously, it sounds like that really ramped up activity. Well, Danielle, thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire. I appreciate it.
DANIELLE: Thank you so much for having me.
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JIM HAROLD: Ryan is on the line from East Hollywood, Los Angeles, and we are so glad to speak with him. He was telling me that the area he lives in – well, there’s some spookiness that goes on, and specifically in his apartment. He is going to tell us more on the Campfire. Ryan, welcome to the show. Thank you for listening all these years, and tell us what happened.
RYAN: Thank you again, Jim. I’ve been living here for almost 11 years at this point. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for about 11 years, from New England. Throughout my whole life, like many people, I’ve always had various experiences or things that you chalk up to being unexplainable or unusual. I’ve always been open to that. My whole family is.
But things really started to ramp up a few years ago here at this particular apartment. It’s an old building, like a lot of the ones around here. 1920s, Art Deco style. Over time, I’ve heard various odd noises, lights flickering – which perhaps maybe is just due to the age of the building, but there’s always been some kind of weird vibe, I guess you would say, in the place.
I always remember once, about five years ago, the city inspector came, as they do to check out all the old buildings. I’m on the first floor towards the back of the building, and I remember letting them in. The inspector, who was an older gentleman – I’d say probably in his sixties or seventies, so I’m sure he’d been around for a while, seen a lot of old stuff and old creepy buildings – walked into my unit. I’m fine with saying that my unit number is 108, which is a very auspicious number in Eastern mythology, in Hinduism and Buddhism, which I came to find out later. But as he walked in, I remember him saying, “Ah yes, the famous 108.” [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy. [laughs] Oh, that doesn’t sound good. Oh, Ryan – okay, you’re not gonna believe what I’m about to tell you. I looked up at my clock, Eastern Time – 1:08. I kid you not.
RYAN: Whoa. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: I just got chills. I am not joking.
RYAN: The chills are going to keep coming, Jim. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: 1:08 p.m., Thursday, October 25th when we’re recording this. Go on.
RYAN: Wow. All right. Anyway, over time, maybe about four years ago, I heard voices in my apartment. I have an ex of mine who we still are very close, and friends. We can still talk about it to this day – we woke up on a Wednesday and she said that she heard voices coming from the wall near where I had my TV stand and my bookshelf and all kinds of things. I think at the time, maybe I didn’t have that way of looking at things in my mind, so I did the thing where I woke up and it’s late in the night / early in the morning, so I dismissed it.
The following week, on a Wednesday as well, right around the same time – of course, around almost three in the morning – we both woke up at the same time and we heard a voice emanating from where she said that she heard it the week prior say, “Hey.” It said “hey” three times, progressively louder. So it was almost – if I can attempt to even mimic it, it sounded like a male voice, very deep and rough, and it said, “Hey. Hey. HEY!” It got louder.
We both looked at each other in that moment and had kind of the Scooby Doo, like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what was that? What was that?” Then after about five minutes of sitting there in awe, we just started laughing and then we went back to bed and everything was fine. Nothing else occurred after that.
So things leveled out for a while. I think for a lot of people, the past couple years have been pretty tough with the pandemic and with everything going on. Myself, my father passed away about three years ago, almost to the day.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
RYAN: Thank you, Jim. And then around this time last year, my dog – I had him since he was a puppy, for about nine years – was diagnosed with lymphoma and we went through the whole treatment. That was a very hard and vulnerable time for me. He unfortunately passed away back this past March. He passed away on March 3rd. Third month of the year, March 3rd. Beautiful, sent him off the right way, etc.
Right after that happened, after he passed, all of a sudden things really started ramping up here at the house. I would say maybe around the end of March, I remember being on a Facetime with my girlfriend, and I was sitting on my couch, where I’m sitting right now. It’s facing the window out to the alley and the side yard. She said she thought she saw a shape in the window, so I immediately turned around; I didn’t see anything, and I didn’t really think too much of it.
The next day, fast forward, went to work, went about my normal day. We had an unusually rainy and stormy night here in Los Angeles. As you know, we don’t get rain, unfortunately, that often. Again, otherwise a normal day. The next day, I went home and it was about 2:30 in the morning. I work late. I went back home and I was on the phone with a friend of mine who just needed to chat and catch up. We were talking, and I already had a uneasy feeling in my apartment given what had been transpiring.
So I went in my backyard – this is around 2:30 in the morning – and I was sitting outside, and I had my headphones in, talking to him, just catching up and offering advice. We got on the conversation about philosophy and all kinds of things, and I was talking about the significance of threes. All of a sudden, over the headphones, I started hearing a shuffling and a scratching noise. Mind you, I’m outside. I’m not inside in my apartment. I’m in my backyard, sitting at a picnic table.
I tell my friend, “Hey, listen. I think someone is in my backyard. I’m going to go investigate, because who knows? I didn’t see anyone come outside, so hopefully there’s no one up to no good or a stranger maybe wandered in.” The whole area is fenced in. So I went to my side, right to essentially the little alley area outside my own unit – on my side of the fence, mind you.
Jim, I will never forget it. I’ve been through some harrowing experiences in my life; I have never felt fear the way that I felt this level of fear. I was absolutely paralyzed. I was on the phone with my friend, investigating the shuffling and scraping noise, and across the fence, I saw what I can only describe as a man with his back to me, against the corner of the neighboring building, rhythmically dancing and grinding. But it looked as if he was being pulled by strings, like a marionette.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man. Ooh.
RYAN: Yeah. Jim, he was huge. I would say he looked to be about at least six feet and pretty well-built. And the creepiest thing about it was he was shirtless, and the moon wasn’t out that night; it was an overcast night, given the weather that we had the previous day, and he was almost glowing white.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
RYAN: He looked as if someone had maybe spraypainted him white or silver. I did not know what – I’m getting chills right now even thinking about it. I didn’t even know how to comprehend it. So I ran back inside and stayed on the phone with my friend, and I think my gut reaction was just to close the blinds.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh. Ryan, it’s funny something you said there, because I always look at stories and try to figure out ways that there’s patterns or things that I recognize time after time. This marionette thing – that that’s come up multiple times. You described it as a marionette. I don’t know if it was kind of a herky-jerky movement.
RYAN: Exactly. That’s exactly it, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: We have had multiple people report seeing weird things that had this herky-jerky movement. One was an animal of some type that someone said – maybe it was a bird. This is not too long ago. A woman reported seeing a bird, but almost like the bird was walking like a human in a herky-jerky movement, and then almost like it got caught and it said, “Oh, I need to start walking like a bird.” I think that’s what it was.
The most well-known one is one that we play a lot on the “Best Of” shows that we do from time to time as a Christmas story. You may or may not remember it. It’s called “My Love, What a Mirror Image We Are.” It was these two apparitions on a staircase in tuxedos walking down that this guy saw when he was a teenager, that he interpreted as some kind of spirit or apparition when his family was visiting this house for Christmas. They walked together down the stairway in a herky-jerky motion, like they were being controlled by a marionette.
So at least two that I can think of off the top of my head, and I think there are more. It’s a weird thing, but it seems to be a thing.
RYAN: It’s very odd. I think it plays into the notion of when something seems familiar, whether it’s an animal or a human, but there’s just one thing that is slightly off that maybe primally is upsetting and disturbing to us. But Jim, the story does go on. I’ll try to keep it going pretty quickly.
JIM HAROLD: Go ahead.
RYAN: So anyway, I noticed this happen, and then I heard my back gate. I live at the back of my building, so I heard the deadbolt click when I was inside. At that point, I went into full-on “Well, I’m just going to have to confront whatever is going on right now.” So I walked outside, and it was actually a neighbor of mine who was taking out their dog. I saw the neighbor and I told them, and they could see the fear and panic in my face and hear it in my voice.
I told them, “Hey, just so you know, there’s some very odd person next door across the fence. I don’t think it’s really safe to be out right now.” They believed me and they immediately went back inside. As we were outside of my unit in the hallway, we heard a scratching sound that sounded like it was coming from inside the house. It sounded like it was someone walking along the ceiling.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes.
RYAN: And they immediately looked at me and essentially were like, “Well, have a good night. Good luck,” and went back up to their unit.
JIM HAROLD: [laughs] It’s like that meme where the little kid walks in the hallway and then he walks back.
RYAN: Exactly. So I went back in my unit, and I was off the phone with my friend by that point. My cat was yowling and howling, and usually he only does that for food. He’s not going to do that normally when I’m just around. He seemed very panicky and skittish. He kept going towards the window, essentially trying to look into the window to see what was going on. I told him, “Hey, buddy, please stay away from the window.” I picked him up to move him from the window, and as I looked out the window, I thought that the person, or the figure, was gone. I thought they left. But they weren’t.
What they were doing is – I looked down, and they were on their knees, looking into my window, waving their arms as if they were chanting.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes. Oh my goodness.
RYAN: At that point I just shut the blinds and I called another friend and I was like, “Hey listen, you know me, I’m not one to randomly call you at this time of the morning and in this kind of fashion, but I don’t know what to do right now.” They told me, “Hey, don’t go look at the window. Maybe put on something uplifting, put on a movie, and wait till the morning comes.” So I did that.
Then when I was checking everything out, I realized that every single door and gate and entry to my building and my residence was unlocked. We have a side gate that leads to an alley. That was unlocked. The back gate was unlocked. I went down and checked the basement, and there’s a little side door that leads to the basement; that was unlocked. The front door wasn’t closed either. It was very odd that all these doors were just left open. Thankfully, this person, whether they were real or – who knows where they came from – if they had only chosen to go perhaps 100 feet to the north, they could’ve ended up in my yard, in my building. Everything was unlocked.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. Amazing. Ryan, we’re running a little short on time here, but give us your best thought on what you think it was.
RYAN: I think that it was something that was drawn to the energy of the area. There’s a building immediately to the north of mine that was initially the first American headquarters of the Ordo Templi Orientis, which – you may be more familiar with Aleister Crowley. That was his order, and there were a lot of rituals and parties that happened in the ’30s and ’40s, the golden age of Hollywood. Jack Parsons from NASA famously would always be there.
And then to the north of my house is another old house which allegedly, Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was murdered in that house.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
RYAN: There’s a lot of very odd things in this neighborhood, and I think that whether it’s something paranormal or maybe just people are somehow drawn to the energy of this area, there’s a lot going on. It seems to happen every day, but I’ve grown to get used to it. At the end of the day, it provides an interesting story at least.
JIM HAROLD: Well, it is an interesting story. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us on the Campfire. I appreciate it.
RYAN: Thank you so much, Jim. Have a great day. Bye.
JIM HAROLD: Kim is on the line from Oregon. She is a new listener, and we’re so glad to have her here. She’s going to tell us a story about one of her daughters – a couple of stories, actually. Kim, welcome to the program. Thank you for joining us.
KIM: Thank you, Jim. I’ll just get into it. I was a newly divorced mom. This was many years ago. I had three children and things were stressful at the time, so I needed a break. I decided to take my kids, all girls, on a long weekend trip on the Oregon Coast. I got a motel room for us, and the motel we stayed at was pretty small, but it had a pool and that was the important part because we knew you can’t really swim in the Oregon water. It’s cold.
We got situated in the motel and the first thing the kids wanted to do was go swim, so I took them to the pool. The pool wasn’t very big. I’m going to say it was probably about 20 feet by 20 feet, maybe. The girls and I were the only people in the pool at the time. We were in the water, playing, and my youngest daughter, Angel, was three at the time. She asked if she could sit on the stairs of the pool because she didn’t want me to hold her anymore. I said okay.
I set her on the stairs and I told her if she wanted to get up off the stairs, she had to let me know and I’d pick her up, because if she stood up it was over her head. Her older sisters were used to helping me keep an eye on Angel because, like I said, I was a single mom. Between all of us, we should be fine.
At this point, I turned my attention to the older girls, who were 8 and 12 at the time, and I was standing on the pool, the same side as Angelina was on the stairs, but about 10 feet or so away from her. Her sisters were on the opposite side of the pool. We’re talking and laughing, and they’re goofing off, and we’re glancing at Angel every now and then to be sure she’s okay. All of a sudden, I got up and walked over to her and pulled her out of the water. She had been floating facedown.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my lord.
KIM: Yeah. It was then that I realized that I had even picked her up, and I instantly noticed she was mottled and blueish, but she started sputtering, thankfully. Water came out of her mouth, and she started crying. So I knew I didn’t have to do CPR. All I could do at that point, though, was hold her and wonder what on earth had happened. My other daughters hadn’t noticed her walk off the stairs, and I didn’t notice. There was no splashing, no struggling when it happened.
After she’d calmed down a bit, I said, “Why did you get off the stairs? Why didn’t you let me know?” She didn’t have an answer. She didn’t know. And I still don’t know what prompted me to just walk over to her except there must’ve been something that made me do it.
JIM HAROLD: In other words, you think someone or something was watching over you, and even if you weren’t aware of it, said, “Hey, go check her out.”
KIM: Yeah. Maybe. My mom was still alive at the time, so it wasn’t my mom, so I can’t put a figure on who might’ve done that, but yeah. And I don’t know if maybe – you always talk about the golden thread kind of thing. It’s something like that.
Flash forward nine years and my eldest daughter is home from college, and one of her friends had come to stay with us. I’m in my home office. My eldest daughter and her friend are both watching TV in the common room, which is right outside my office. I’m working away, and suddenly I stand up and walk out to the common area, and I see Angel, who’s now 12 – she had just come out of her room – and her hands were at her throat, like she’s choking. I’m a nurse, so I immediately recognized what was happening.
I grabbed her, I turned her around, and I performed what used to be called the Heimlich maneuver. It’s now called abdominal thrusts.
JIM HAROLD: I did not know that.
KIM: Yeah, it’s a new thing now. And out popped this blob of wax that had been lodged in her throat. You know the old Halloween fangs or lips that they had?
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah.
KIM: She’d been chewing those and it got stuck in her throat, apparently. I haven’t seen them around, so maybe they got rid of them. But the thing was, it was so seamless. I just walked out, no words were used, I saw her, and I acted. My eldest daughter’s friend, who’d been in the room, was watching TV and didn’t even notice the whole scene. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
KIM: My eldest daughter did notice and she witnessed it, and she was like, “What just happened?” Yeah, I don’t know. Does she have a guardian angel? I don’t know. We have a lot of things in common, Angelina and I, so maybe I’m just on the same wavelength and happened to – just a mother’s intuition. I really don’t know.
JIM HAROLD: I think there’s few things that are as powerful as mother love. I think that even at times can extend to the supernatural realm, where you kind of know things just by intuition. I know one story told many times on the show – I won’t make it too long, but my grandmother, when my mom was relatively young, living at home – and this is before the internet. They didn’t have telephones. In fact, they didn’t have electricity when this happened. It was probably the early ’50s, I’m guessing.
My grandma said, “Either Adrian’s gonna come back home real bad hurt or dead” when he was at work. She was from West Virginia, so she had that accent. And guess what happened? He broke his pelvis. And she just knew. She didn’t know how she knew; nobody told her. But she just knew that her son had been badly hurt. Later that day it was borne out. Thankfully, he was okay. I mean, he broke his pelvis; he wasn’t okay for a while. But he made a full recovery and everything was fine eventually.
But the point is, mother love takes on a whole different dimension. Really, I think there is something supernatural there. Thank you so much for sharing this story today on the Campfire.
KIM: You’re welcome. Thank you, Jim, for having me, and stay spooky.
JIM HAROLD: Well, thank you for joining us on another edition of Campfire today. I appreciate it. Thank you to all of our storytellers. We appreciate it. Now, let’s say you say, “Jim, I need more spooky stories. I need ’em stat. I can’t wait another week.” Easy way to get them.
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Now, we have a fun part of the show: spooky shoutout time. This message comes from Amy. She writes, “Hello! My 10-year-old son and I started listening to Campfire about a year and a half ago and love listening together. It’s our favorite podcast. He’s hooked and loves the spooky stories and can’t get enough. I would like to request a happy birthday shoutout to Daxton, turning 11 on November 16th. Thank you, and stay spooky.” Well Amy, stay spooky yourself. Happy birthday, Daxton! Thank you for listening, and make sure to stay spooky and have a spooktacular birthday. And thank you so much for sharing that shoutout.
If you have a shoutout, go to jimharold.com/contact and put it in, and we will get to it. We love to do birthday shoutouts. And if you want an extra special personalized video shoutout, go to my Cameo page at cameo.com/thejimharold. That’s cameo.com/thejimharold, and I will do a personal video for a person of your choice. We love doing them; they’re a lot of fun, and we’ve got 5-star reviews over there. We’ve had quite a few people take advantage of that last year. It’s a great way to connect with our listeners, and I love it. So cameo.com/thejimharold.
Thank you so much for tuning in today. I appreciate it. We will talk to you next time, and until then, stay safe and stay spooky. Bye-bye, everybody.
You’ve been listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire. Tune in again next time for more stories of ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary things.
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