This week we recorded a live Campfire at Small Town Monsters’ Monster Fest. It was a great time with some great stories! There is nothing like the energy of a live recording and I really hope to do more of these in the future!
Thanks to Seth Breedlove, the whole STM team and, of course, our great storytellers!
Be sure to check out their website at SmallTownMonsters.com for all of their great productions!
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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. I’m here at STM Monster Fest with a few of my friends! [cheers, applause] It is Campfire Live at STM Monster Fest. We are in Canton, Ohio, and we are having a fabulous time. And we have some fantastic guests and some fantastic stories here.
First of all, I just want to say a word about STM Monster Fest. How do you guys feel about STM Monster Fest? [cheers, applause] How do you feel about STM Monster Fest 2? [cheers, applause] No pressure, no pressure. Well, we’re here and we’re so glad, and we have on the panel – our first storyteller is a very important person, Mr. Seth Breedlove. He is the chief cook & bottlewasher, as I always call him, for Small Town Monsters, documentarian, and now conference organizer extraordinaire, along with Courteney and Heather and the whole team. They’ve just done a great job. And Seth, I think we owe you a round of applause. [applause]
Along the idea of a campfire – it’s campfire stories, that’s why you tuned in – we’re going to start with Seth Breedlove. Now Seth, when we first started talking about all this, I don’t know if you were a believer per se, but you were certainly interested and you were open to the subject matter. But you told me about something that happened to you that I think really puts you in the believer category. Your own sighting. Can you recount it for the folks?
SETH BREEDLOVE: Yeah, “hopeful skeptic” is the best way to put it. Anyone here who’s seen our series that we did on YouTube called The Bigfoot Project might be aware of this, but basically, there’s a town called Minerva, Ohio, that’s relatively close to here. We made a movie about it back in 2015. The Minerva monster sightings were a big deal in the ’70s. In 2021, Heather, one of our crew, moved to Minerva and moved onto this property that consisted of 400 acres – somewhere outside of Minerva is how we put it. It’s not super close to Minerva, but sort of outside of Minerva. It’s a Minerva address.
The property does have a long history of activity. I’m talking about Bigfoot, guys. Most of you are probably into the haunted stuff. I’m the boring Bigfoot guy. So most of the activity seemed to be Bigfoot-related. The property is super interesting. There’s a former native burial ground on the property. There’s a very old family cemetery there. There’s all this kind of stuff, and then there’s very patchy woods.
Heather started noticing unusual activity sometime within two weeks of moving into the house in the woods around the house. Wood knocks, yells, things like that. The house is surrounded by other farms, and a lot of these farms are owned by her own family. There’s also her husband, Cory – his mom had a Bigfoot sighting in the winter of 2018 there, too. So we knew there was this long history of sightings there.
Long story short, we went out to make a film or an episode of the series we were doing called The Bigfoot Project. It was conceived to be a live-action podcast, that we would go basically hang out in the woods and we would talk to each other and then maybe something would happen, but more than likely it wouldn’t.
Our very first weekend out there, things started happening. We had a bonfire going. We were sitting around the fire and we heard a very loud – I say wood knock, but it’s not a wood knock. It was what we’ve come to believe was actually an old rubber oil drum or some sort of large drum up in the woods above the cabin that we were staying in. We stayed in this little hunting cabin, no running water, no electricity or anything, but it sits next to a natural spring and it’s surrounded by some of the more dense forest on the property.
So we were sitting around this fire, we heard this loud knock; we ended up having rocks thrown at us that night, whoops in the woods. We had multiple wood knocks. We heard running around us while we were up the path at one point. We had our kids – I had my five-year-old son with me. She had a couple of her younger kids with us. The kids were all in the cabin, sitting on a bunkbed near one of the windows, and at one point something walked up to the window behind where the kids were. Heather’s husband had to scream to scare this thing off. He literally heard it like crunch, crunch, walk up to the window. So we knew there was something going on there.
The very next day, we took a Gator out to hang trail cams around the property to see if we could get any photos, which is probably our biggest mistake honestly. We were out driving around, hanging the trail cams, and we crossed a pipeline. As we were crossing the pipeline, I looked up this clearcut, and running across the clearcut was a creature that looked to be six foot, 6’5”, somewhere in that range. It was almost black, but it was a dark brown color. And you could see muscle movement in the arm. It was sprinting. Its arms were pumping as it was running. I saw it for maybe a tenth of a second. It was not a very long time, but it just cleared the clearing and was going into the wood line when I saw it.
I immediately yelled for the guy driving the ATV to stop, but I had already jumped out of the moving ATV by the time I did that. And then I hit the ground and I was on this embankment that runs down to the clearcut. I was at this weird fall where your arms are pumping, trying to keep yourself from falling forward. Then I hit this wall of brush, which anyone from Ohio knows is thorns that are just going to kill you. So I had to stop; I couldn’t go up the hill. We could hear this thing crashing around a little bit in the woods, but it eventually became super still, and whatever this thing was left the area.
We had other activity at the property, but nothing as eventful as the first day and a half that we were actually there. I don’t think we drove them away; the activity on the property has basically stopped at this point, and what’s happened is the neighboring property has been heavily developed, so we think they’ve been pushed out of the area.
JIM HAROLD: So how do you think that has changed you, or has it changed you, in terms of how you look at your job and documenting all this and talking to now other experiencers? Has it changed the way you view things?
SETH BREEDLOVE: It hasn’t changed the way I view the work we do, but I’ve always viewed Bigfoot a little differently from the Flatwoods Monster or the Mothman. I just have a different view on Sasquatch. I think Sasquatch is a very natural animal that exists in our woods.
JIM HAROLD: So you don’t believe it’s interdimensional.
SETH BREEDLOVE: I’m not an interdimensional guy.
JIM HAROLD: I had a guy one time who called me – he got my phone number; I don’t know how this happened.
SETH BREEDLOVE: Oh, that’s always fun.
JIM HAROLD: He said, “Bigfoot’s out there and is mining uranium!” [laughs] I have no idea who this guy was. Never heard from him again. He got my phone number.
SETH BREEDLOVE: That’s terrifying when that happens. [laughter] I’ve had that happen.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah. My kids always joke about it. “He’s out here and he’s mining uranium!”
SETH BREEDLOVE: It hasn’t impacted the way I view Sasquatch other than maybe I just am a little more serious about wanting to be involved in the research side of it. I’ve always been very much like I’m just a filmmaker documenting this stuff, and now I’m like, well, maybe I should…
JIM HAROLD: He’s crossed over, guys. He’s crossed over.
SETH BREEDLOVE: Maybe I should be helping fund research or something. We’re trying to figure out how to do that.
JIM HAROLD: Well, you’re doing great stuff, and I think everybody, again, let’s give Seth a big hand. [applause]
We have a judge. The judge is from Ohio, and if you’re listening to this, the judge is jacked. [laughs] He’s going to tell us about a child, your daughter, possibly tormented by an evil spirit. So tell us all about it. If you could get a little closer to the mic, please.
JUDGE: I tell this story as a cautionary tale to any parents out there. How many people in here have small children, raise your hand? Okay, so listen up. I had built a new house and moved my family in, and I had a three-year-old daughter at the time. I always did the bedtime ritual with her. Do your bath, brush your teeth, and then read a story, and then to bed.
We’d been in the house for a year, and one night I do the bedtime ritual, put her to bed, walk out – and for some reason, I don’t know why, we still had a baby monitor in her room. And I hear her talking. She appears to be – [coughs] excuse me. Allergies in Ohio are just kicking my butt. But I hear her talking to someone, and it’s an argument. But I didn’t hear anybody talking back. I thought, “That’s weird.”
So I walked into her room and I said, “What’s going on?” She says, “This little boy is bothering me.” I said, “At church? At preschool? What are you talking about?” She says, “No, over there,” and she points to the corner of the room. I think this is a stall tactic; she’s not ready to go to bed, she wants an extra story or she just wants attention. But I could tell that she was distressed, which would be odd for somebody who just wanted attention. I said, “What does he look like?” She said, “He’s got blue bibs and blond hair.” So now I’m still thinking this is stall technique, and I said, “What’s his name?” And that’s where things get freaky. She says, “His name is Wind.”
JIM HAROLD: His name is Wind. What do you think that meant?
JUDGE: Well, I was expecting Billy or Bobby or Joey, and I get “Wind.” That freaked me out. And I could tell that she was distressed. And I know I don’t have a long time to tell the story, so I’ll cut some things out, and if anybody wants to hear more about it, you can find me at the vendor’s booth. But she basically said he wanted her to go outside and play. And it was 20 degrees outside and it was winter. I’m like, “Hey, you know not to go outside.” She says, “Sure, I’m not going outside.”
So this goes on for like two weeks. Every night, this thing is there, bugging or tormenting or wanting her to go outside, she’s distressed. I even went and talked to our pastor. I said, “Pastor” – I’ll leave out his name – “what do I do here?” He said, “Eh, kids have imaginary friends” and this and that. I’m like, this is not an imaginary friend. She’s not friends with this thing. She’s not playing with this thing. This thing is bugging the heck out of her.
Finally I told her mom, “Why don’t you take her to Findlay, to her grandparents,” which was about an hour away, “and just give her a break?” Well sure enough, Wind shows up in Findlay. So now I know this thing isn’t in the house. This thing –
JIM HAROLD: Has attached itself.
JUDGE: Exactly. So this goes on and on until – we talk to different people, nobody has any answers, this thing’s getting worse, and I just don’t know what to do. As a parent, you don’t know what to do in this situation. Look, if this were just a haunted house, I’d just move.
JIM HAROLD: Did you ever consider consulting – because I don’t know how you feel about this – like a paranormal team or anything like that? Or clergy? Did any of that come into your mind?
JUDGE: I talked to the pastor. Wasn’t Catholic, so…
JIM HAROLD: Doesn’t count. No, I’m just kidding. [laughter] Actually, I’m not Catholic.
JUDGE: This was around 2006, so at that time, there just wasn’t the paranormal investigators and researchers that we have today. Now if this were going on, there’d be a laundry list of people wanting to show up.
So finally one night – I’m trying to remember how long it had been. It had been weeks. It was a two-story house, and my bedroom was here, her bathroom was here, and then her bedroom. I’m getting ready to walk into my bedroom, and out of the corner of my eye I see a little boy, blue bibs, blond hair, walk into her room.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man. I’d be like, “Let me outta here!”
JUDGE: But what do you do? And I know if I ask any of you parents what you would do, you’d be like, “I would do this and I would do that.” I froze. You just freeze. I couldn’t comprehend. I just froze. I want to make sure I tell it exactly the way I remember it. I hear her talking to this thing, arguing with it, and then I hear the strange language.
Now, I don’t speak German or Russian or French or Spanish or Italian or anything like that, but if I heard someone talking like that, I would say, “Oh, that sounds like…” Well, this was a language I’d never heard. I couldn’t even imitate it. It was just weird. So I’m sitting there thinking, I can hear this thing talking to her, and then it turns out it was her.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, interesting. So it was basically almost like a little semi-possession.
JUDGE: I don’t know that that’s what it was, because I heard her then – I can’t tell you how long it lasted, but at some point she goes back and says, “Okay.”
JIM HAROLD: If it pleases the court… [laughs]
JUDGE: Yes, it does.
JIM HAROLD: I recorded a story – Reverend Gerald Hunter, who’s written some Haunted Michigan books, had a story where he was working in a prison, in the law area, when he was in college, but it was like a juvi place. And they heard voices coming out of rooms that sounded like somebody else, like an older, mean man, but they knew, because they had audio monitors, there were only those people in the rooms. They heard it on the male wing and somebody else heard it on the female wing. It sounds very similar because the voice was apparently coming from the incarcerated. There was nobody else there. So that reminds me of that story. But go ahead.
JUDGE: So it was my daughter talking in this language. I finally get in the room and I say, “What’s going on?” and she basically says – I’m not sure exactly how she said it, but she said he was gone, that he was not bothering her.
JIM HAROLD: And no explanation as to why?
JIM HAROLD: Do you think it was indigenous people who may have lived on that land or something?
JUDGE: I don’t know, but then let’s fast forward about six months. Six months later I’m at a Chinese buffet with a church group, and I’m sitting at the end of the table with all the kids because I always sit at the end of the table with the kids in case they get into some mischief. I’d straighten them out. So I’m sitting there, my daughter’s sitting across from me, and all of a sudden her head jerks, and she says, “Wind, what are you doing here?” But then she says, “He’s not going to bother me.” So then it hit me. This thing’s just creeping around. It’s just creeping around.
I can’t tell you how long after this, but I was in my office – this was before I became a judge – and I was sitting there, and an article came up on Yahoo! about a little boy who was about my daughter’s age, living in an apartment complex, and it was winter, and he leaves his room – which he would never do – goes out in the hallway, gets on the elevator, goes down, goes outside, walks to a park two or three blocks away that he’s never been to, and freezes to death.
JIM HAROLD: Oh gosh.
JUDGE: I’m just like, “Wind.” It hit me. And I’m not saying that it was Wind that did it, but something like Wind. Since then, I have every once in a while checked. You would be shocked at how often this happens.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. And you’re thankful, obviously, that didn’t happen to your daughter.
JUDGE: Yeah. Three days ago, a lady in Michigan just got charged with basically some sort of criminal neglect where she could go to prison for 15 years because her five-year-old child did the exact same thing my daughter almost did. Went outside.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, wow. We do have to move on to the next story, but you have a podcast. You’re a great storyteller, so give us about a minute on what the podcast is and where people can find it.
JUDGE: I’m part of a podcast called From The Shadows Podcast. Nita standing over here helps with our production and our social media. We started this podcast, me and a friend of mine, to give people like myself and like you, who want to come forward and tell your stories – part of the reason why I do this is this story is a cautionary tale. If you’re a parent, listen to my story. If your kids tell you that something is talking to them, believe them. So if you want to hear more stories, we do cryptids, we do ghost stories, we do ufology. Find us at From The Shadows Podcast on all the podcast platforms. Or if you have a story and want to reach out to us, you can. We’d love to have you on the show.
JIM HAROLD: Judge, it’s been an honor. [applause]
Next up we have a young lady from Kentucky, the Bluegrass State. I love this story. She came up and we were chatting over in the hall over there with the vendors, and she was telling me a little bit about it. I think you’re in store for a good one. Mallory lived in a haunted schoolhouse. Mallory, tell us about your story.
MALLORY: Okay. I’m going to preface it: my parents, in 2007, bought an abandoned schoolhouse in our small hometown. It was built in 1909. It was the first schoolhouse to ever have running water, bathrooms, fountains, the whole shebang. Now, it wasn’t massive, it wasn’t huge, but it was small enough for a small town to house all the schools. I’ll tell you about the first incident that I had at that schoolhouse, and I’ll tell you about the scariest incident.
The first incident after we moved in, took 200 truckloads of trash out of this building. people junked it out over the years. Haunted houses were in there, all kinds of scary stuff. As you can imagine, people breaking in. But we cleaned out a room and we were finally living in the school, and the first thing that happened is I woke up in the middle of the night and one of the classroom doors was open. Now, I know for sure my parents locked it. I mean, we were in a new building in town; you’ve got to lock your stuff. So we locked that door. It was open.
Couldn’t find my dog. My dog was missing. I’m looking everywhere, trying to find this dog. I end up finding the dog hiding in the crate. Never happened before, ever. I’m like, okay, the dog’s scared. I’m a little scared. I’m a young high school freshman, and I was like, “I’m just going back to bed.” So I go back to bed, and when I wake up in the morning, my mom’s like, “What happened?” I was like, “What do you mean, what happened?” She goes, “All our utensils are gone. Everything. They’re missing.” We never found them, by the way. They just disappeared.
And then the scariest thing that ever happened to me was as we lived in the school, we felt like there were two things going on. There was something evil and there was something that was kind of – I would say lonely. It was like a lonely boy or something that lived in the school. It loved my mom. As I got older, my mom started taking vacations away from the kids – you know, get a break. But as she left, things would start happening to me. It did not like me. It did not like when my mom paid attention to me. It did not like if anyone else had attention besides it on her.
One night I was sleeping and they were in Florida, and I wake up to my covers being ripped off of me. I’m trying to scream, I’m trying to figure out what the heck is happening, and it’s pulling and pulling and pulling, and finally I said, “Get out. Do not bug me anymore.”
JIM HAROLD: So at this point it was a full-blown poltergeist, because if it starts moving stuff, by definition.
MALLORY: Yes. After that happened, the next night I was by myself again, late at night, watching TV. The lights come on in the kitchen – which was frequent. At this point I’m like, “Oh, this is normal,” for some reason. But the lights came on and I was like, “You’re not going to scare me tonight.” So I stood and I talked to this ghost, entity, spirit, whatever you want to call it, and I basically said, “I am no longer going to be bugged by you, and you’re never going to bug me again or I’m just going to get rid of you.”
After that, things calmed down for me, but every now and again you still have stories. Unfortunately we sold the school, and there’s still stories coming out of it. If you check on Facebook, there’s still stories coming out about all the scary stuff going on, or weird stuff, if you would say. But it was definitely an interesting childhood growing up in a haunted schoolhouse. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Indeed, indeed. What do you know about the history of the schoolhouse and in terms of maybe do you have any theories based on any research on who or what it could’ve been?
MALLORY: It was everything. I don’t know. People owned it and were like, “Hey, we’re going to make it into a radio host in one section.” “Hey, haunted house.” “Hey, hospital,” for a little bit. “Hey, we’re going to do this, this, this.” We had costumes from when the kids were in school there. Still had it after almost 100 years. There’s costumes in there with real fur and all the good stuff. Handmade costumes. Beautiful.
My take on it – this is my theory – the scariest room was the principal’s office, and I don’t think – back in the day, they weren’t the nicest. It had a bad vibe. No one slept in that room. No one could stand in that room at all. So I think there was something that was really bad. But I think there was something super lonely. It just loved the mother figure that my mom was and it did not appreciate anyone else in the house besides my mom.
JIM HAROLD: So do you think it was a child?
MALLORY: To me, we always called it Harvey. I don’t know if you guys have seen the old movie Harvey with the pooka.
JIM HAROLD: James Stewart, yeah.
MALLORY: That’s why we called him Harvey. It was always like, “Hey, the little boy.” He crawled in Mom’s bed one night, and Mom was like, “He’s here now.” I was like, “Oh okay. All right, that’s cool. We’re just going to keep it real. It’s not that scary.” But it just loved the motherly thing. It never got the motherly thing. It just wanted the motherly thing. And I was a teenager. It was like, “What are you doing here? Get out of here. I love your mom.” [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: It’s like your siblings, how you argue with your siblings, but it was a ghost.
MALLORY: Exactly. It was picking on me occasionally, until I had enough.
JIM HAROLD: But no sign of it since? It hasn’t followed anybody, nothing like that?
JIM HAROLD: Uh-oh. Dun-dun-dun!
MALLORY: I will say I have a younger niece – she’s five years younger than me – and she did Ouija boards in the school. I never did that because I don’t like that bad juju. She to this day has issues. She’ll walk into a room and the light flickers, no matter where she goes. It’s like this bad energy just follows her from that place, and it has till this very day. She’ll come to my house, and I live in another state, and all of a sudden the lights will flicker and she’s like, “It’s here.” It followed her.
JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed, Mallory. Very interesting indeed. Thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire, and stay spooky.
MALLORY: I will. Thank you. [applause]
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If you love the Campfire, be sure to check out the Paranormal Podcast, where every week Jim interviews experts and authors about strange mysteries. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune in to the Paranormal Podcast today. Now, we return to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Next up is Les, and he’s stepping to the platform here. He’s from – I kind of say it’s my adopted home state because my family’s from there and I visited every summer – West Virginia. Go Mountaineers! Unless you’re playing the Buckeyes, of course. [laughs] Les is going to talk about one of my favorite topics, shadow people. So Les, just lean in a little bit there and tell us your story.
LES: Like you said, my name is Les Odell. I am actually the founder of West Virginia Cryptids and Strange Encounters. What happened to me as a kid is what led me into doing what I do now as an investigator, whether it’s strange Bigfoot sightings, ghost sightings, anything else. But this is what got me started.
It was nearly 40 years ago. I was between seven and eight years old. Actually a little over 40 years ago. We had moved into this old farmhouse. It was well over 100 some years old. It actually had an old barn. Literally, we had an outhouse. I used an outhouse, even being as old as I am. We moved into this farmhouse; it had a big sunporch on it, several rooms downstairs and upstairs. But I always had the weirdest feeling that something was strange about the home. When you’d go into the house, you’d walk through the kitchen, the living room, and then my mom and dad’s room. My and my brother’s room was off to the side of my mom and dad’s.
This story starts with what some people call the infamous bunkbed stories. People are like “bunkbeds are evil” because so many things happen around bunkbeds. But if we’re sitting in this room right here, our bunkbeds were off to the wall and into the corner. We had what they called an armoire – that’s what my mom called it. It’s some kind of cabinet we hung our clothes in. I would notice when we’d go to bed – my brother would be on the top bunk, I’m on the bottom – I would notice little shadows moving across the wall on the other side of the room. There was a corner where the doorway was. Like I said – listeners won’t see this, but like in this room here, there’s a doorway here in the corner. And I’d see these shadows that were only probably two or three feet tall go across that wall, go behind our armoire, and through the wall to the outside of the house.
I’d watch those every night for a few seconds, and I’d cover my head up and I’d try to scream for my dad. I couldn’t. I was so terrified I couldn’t even scream for my dad. I’d just hide, and I’d either fall asleep or eventually I’d look and they wouldn’t be there anymore. That happened for several days. It wasn’t consecutive days, but it was for several days that we lived there.
Then one night I’m lying there and I see these small shadows moving, and I looked in the corner and I could see this much larger one, well above the six-foot mark. This was a house that had 10-foot ceilings. It was tall, very tall. It’s standing in the corner, and I could tell – the littler ones more looked like little blob-type things moving across, but this one had a human shape. You could see the head, you could see shoulders. You couldn’t see definition like fingers. It just looked like it had arms, and from the torso down it was kind of straight. Again, I’d see it, try to scream for my dad, couldn’t do it, cover up and hide, and eventually I’d look and it was gone or I’d fall asleep. This only happened three times, but like I said, this wasn’t consecutive days either.
On the third time it happened, instead of just covering up, I actually sat up, and I scooted back into the corner where the headboard met the two walls. I scooted up against the corner, and when I did, this thing noticed that I moved. It actually turned toward me. I could see it turn its head, and within an instant, it was 8 to 10 inches from my face. It came underneath the bed and was right here in my face. When I tell people I could see the head and I could see shoulders and I could see this part – it was just black. But most people think of a shadow person, you think just solid black, like if you see a shadow on the wall. No, this was more – it pretty much had a 3D shape.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, because most of the time it’s like a hole cut out of the universe kind of thing, right? But not this time.
LES: Not this time. This had a 3D shape, and inside that shape was almost like a real dark, black smoke rolling around, moving inside the shape. I was terrified. I thought I was staring at this thing forever. It eventually backed off, turned, and – I hesitate to say floated or glided, but that’s the only way I can describe it – just out through the doorway. It didn’t go through the wall. It went through the doorway and it turned into my mom and dad’s room and went to the left out of their room toward our living room.
JIM HAROLD: At the time – obviously, this is a terrifying thing. Did you feel it had evil intent?
LES: I have no idea. I just know I was terrified. Like I said, I was between seven and eight. I know it was during summer, so I had to have been closer to seven than eight. I can’t recall evil intent. I just know I was terrified. It was completely foreign to me, what I was looking at. I had no idea what I was looking at. Then I later learned what shadow people were and went on to investigate those sightings.
JIM HAROLD: That’s what I was going to say. Like you said at the beginning, it’s really informed what you’ve ended up doing, inspiring basically your work, right?
LES: Yeah. My brother and I went different paths. He wants nothing to do with what we say. He actually saw it too.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, some people run away from it, some people run toward it. [laughs]
LES: Yeah, he finally admitted he saw the same thing, but he’s completely different. He wants nothing to do with what I do, like investigating. Then years later, I actually told my dad what I saw. Actually, I sent it to a podcast and it was read on the podcast, and I let him listen to it. Dave Schrader.
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah, Dave. I know him well.
LES: He read it on his podcast, and I let my dad listen to it, and I said, “Do you know where that was at?” He told me exactly where it was at. He told me what house we were in. I was like, “How do you know? I’ve never told you.” But he never did tell me. But then later on, we finally talked before he passed away – but through our child life, me and my brothers – there were three of us – he always talked about the curse. We always had an “Odell curse,” is what he called it. He talked about what he experienced as a child. There was a little boy that had something to do with it, a little child.
Then my mom later told me about before that time, I had an experience with a small child. She called it my imaginary friend. My oldest son has had experiences with shadow people, and the childlike that I was just talking about, kind of like that. He called it Kevin or Kevy. I asked him what it looked like; he said, “Dad, it looks like me and you except he has yellow eyes and sharp teeth.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh. Oh, okay, I’m outta there. That’s it. That’s enough. I’m one of those ones that run away from it. Go ahead, I’m sorry.
LES: We talked about that for years, and he always called it the Odell curse, and then my dad passed away four years ago.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
LES: Two years before he passed away, my youngest son – I was on the road, driving, and my wife calls me and she goes, “Hey, Mason came to me and told me something.” I’m like, “What’d he tell you?” She goes, “We were sitting in the living room” – because he already told me what he saw one time. She goes, “We were sitting in the living room and he goes over and shuts the bedroom door.” I was like, “What’d he do that for?” She goes, “He said there was a man in the bedroom and he shut the door to protect me.”
I talked to him and said, “What did you see?” He said, “I saw a man.” I said, “What’d it look like? What kind of clothes?” He said, “No, it’s all black, Daddy. Just completely black, and it looks like the same shape as you and I. It was coming from the living room. I had to protect my mama.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow. What a story. Quickly, give us about a minute – is there a website or something for your operation, so people can check it out?
LES: Yeah, you can find me on Facebook. It’s West Virginia Cryptids and Strange Encounters. I go around West Virginia looking for different things, Bigfoot. I helped establish the Bigfoot Museum in West Virginia. Most of my work is there. Yeah, just basically on Facebook.
JIM HAROLD: Very good. Thank you so much, sir. Appreciate you being a part of the show, Les.
LES: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you. [applause]
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JIM HAROLD: Roddy from Kentucky, ghosts in the cemetery. Sounds spooky to me. Tell us about these ghosts in the cemetery.
RODDY: Well, my story’s kind of short and sweet. I was going out to Clifty Falls in Indiana. Not sure if you’ve been there, but we didn’t make it there because the road was all torn up because they were putting a new road in. Couldn’t make it through. Road was closed. I was like, all right. At that point it was probably 5:00, 5:30 in the afternoon, because I decided to go after I got off work. I was just driving around, and I saw an old cemetery sign. In Kentucky we have little signs saying “historic site two miles down the road.” So we went over there.
It was almost nighttime, about 6:00, and we got out of the car and read the sign. Basically the newest grave there was probably from the early 1900s. So we got out, walked around. Then all of a sudden we notice kids playing around. There were no houses around, no tent, no trailer. It’s like, “Wow, this is kind of strange. Those kids running around with a dog.” There were four kids and a dog, some sticks. “That’s weird.” I looked at them and noticed they’re wearing sacks for shirts. That’s not normal. Not nowadays. Maybe in the ’20s it was or the 1800s it was.
So I walked around, and my girlfriend was with me and she tried to talk to them because she was worried. There’s no house, no nothing, random kids in this old cemetery. She was talking to them and they looked at her, giggled, and continued running around. I was like, “We’re going to get out of here because this is odd, it’s dark, random kids with sticks and sacks.” So we turn around and start walking. Then all of a sudden these kids run into the woods, and poof, they’re gone.
I was like, “This is kind of crazy.” So we left and that’s basically it. It’s not a crazy story, but that’s the only real paranormal thing that’s happened to me that I know of. Brought me to where I am now, reading and researching cryptids and paranormal stuff, because I didn’t expect to see kids, dogs, and sticks and all that.
JIM HAROLD: Do you think it was maybe some kind of time slip since they were wearing burlap sacks or whatever it was?
RODDY: That’s what I’m thinking. I don’t know; I haven’t done much research into it. I don’t know if maybe years ago, some tragedy happened over there.
JIM HAROLD: We’ve had that before on the show. Some of you who listen might remember we had a young lady who was on, I think from the Atlanta, Georgia area, and she and a bunch of friends got together – they lived, it sounded like, in a development – and they went back in the woods and they saw in this clearing this really old Victorian-style house. They’d never noticed it before. And they saw a kid and his mom. The kid was in knee pants like they would’ve worn from 1900 to 1930 or something. The mom was dressed in older clothes. The boy was looking at them, and the mom pulled them away.
A few days later, they said, “Let’s go back. Let’s check this place out, let’s see what’s going on” – and they went there, and there was the foundation of a house, but not a house. So did they gaze into the past? Maybe like you did.
JIM HAROLD: Roddy, thank you for being on the show, and stay spooky. [applause]
Next up is Lexie from Florida. Lexie, I understand you’re a veteran, right?
LEXIE: I am, yes, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you for your service.
JIM HAROLD: Yes, yes, yes. [applause] And appropriately enough, apparently you saw something very strange at boot camp.
LEXIE: I did. The story happened in Chicago in the Great Lakes, which is where the U.S. Navy Boot Camp is. Boot camp is eight weeks, and this was about six weeks in. You have to learn how to march in line and as formation and whatnot. So we’re in this gym, like arena, and it’s about seven o’clock at night and I’m tired, and there’s probably maybe like 90 other sailors, recruits with me. The people in the front were getting yelled at because they couldn’t march in line, so I’m just standing there. At this point, before you marched as part of the formation, all the sailors would say the Sailors’ Creed, for lack of a better term. It’s a poem the sailors abide by, and we all say it loud and proud and then we continue on with our formation.
I was just thinking, because I’ve always been into supernatural and creepy things, this is where a retired sailor who died would be thinking, “These recruits aren’t like my recruits,” and just totally judging us about messing up and not getting things right. I was looking around and there were some offices above that essentially drill sergeants would look down and watch us form, kind of like if you were a marching band instructor. You want to see high to make sure the squares and lines are aligned right.
So I looked up and the offices were dark because it was a Sunday, so nobody was up there. But then I noticed a light go on, and then it went off again. I was like, “Oh, that’s cool. Great.” Then I felt a tap on the back of my shoulder. I turned around thinking I messed up, that I wasn’t standing where I was supposed to, and I asked the girl behind me, “Aw man, what did I mess up?” She goes, “What are you talking about?” I go, “You tapped me on the shoulder to put me back in line.” She goes, “No, I didn’t.” I was like, “Oh great.” I looked back up and I saw a white figure turning a corner. All I can think of is I was that sailor that messed up, that these sailors that I was thinking would be mad at was me. Kind of “Hey, get back in line and pay attention.”
JIM HAROLD: We’ve heard quite a bit of stories about haunted barracks across the world, people stationed in Germany. We had one, I don’t know if this was in officer housing or something – this woman, her husband went for a run every morning, but one morning she felt her husband in bed but realized it wasn’t her husband, but it was this weird doppelganger that was slightly off. Yeah, eugh. But that’s the thing. They always say the doppelgangers don’t look quite right.
LEXIE: There’s something a little off.
JIM HAROLD: A little bit off, yeah.
LEXIE: All those bases are super creepy. When I was in A school, which is actually when I started listening to you, my husband and I would run to the lighthouse that was on base, and there was definitely some spooky activity that neither of us wanted to admit because we didn’t want to scare the other person. We got up there and I go, “It’s time to go,” and we ran back and he goes, “Hey, is everything okay?” I go, “Yeah, I just saw something.” He goes, “You saw that too?” So there’s definitely a lot of activity that you can find on military bases.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, and I think it fits the motif. We think about prisons or, for lack of a better term, insane asylums, sanitariums, theaters, places that have a lot of emotion, a lot of energy. Military barracks, you have young men, young women, life/death.
LEXIE: Too much time. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Too much time, but also wartime, especially the older facilities and so forth. It seems like a perfect place for it. And thank you for sharing your story, and once again, thank you for your service.
LEXIE: Absolutely. Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Stay spooky. [applause]
All right, Victoria, if you could please move over to that next chair right there. Coming up next is Victoria, and she is from Ohio. The description of the story is “messing with a ghost,” ooh. So Victoria, tell us about messing with a ghost.
VICTORIA: Basically what happened is – are you familiar with Akron Civic Theatre?
JIM HAROLD: Yes.
VICTORIA: I used to be a concession manager there.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, cool.
VICTORIA: It was very common before shows, just walking around, filling my coolers, maybe a light on here, light on there. Everyone knows the stories of all the hauntings. Well, I physically experienced my own when I was working there.
What happened is I was upstairs, and the story is one of the employees passed away. It used to be the women’s lounge, and then the restroom. But then when they did the construction, they turned it into a concession stand. So I was up there with just one spotlight on and I was filling my coolers, and next thing I know, out of the corner of my eye – I had up underneath a big stack of cups and a little stack, and I literally watched the big stack slide. I’m like, okay. I’m checking my coolers, “Did I move out?” So I moved it back. The rest of the night, between myself and my volunteers, we kept moving that big stack back to the little stack, and we would watch it move, for the entire evening. It would move the same distance.
JIM HAROLD: Whoa. Aside from just in general, being haunted, were there any specific known ghosts? Because sometimes they’ll say –
VICTORIA: There was supposed to be one up there in the lounge. There was supposed to be one on the stage. There was supposed to be the bride in the basement. I didn’t experience any of those. It was just up where the lounge used to be.
JIM HAROLD: Isn’t that a very historic, like ’20s-’30s kind of building?
VICTORIA: Yeah, it’s probably 100 years old by now.
JIM HAROLD: Probably very similar to the Canton Palace that folks were in last night. Those were the great old theaters.
VICTORIA: Yes, very old. But that was what we did the rest of that night. We kept moving it.
JIM HAROLD: When you were in those theaters – I mean, I’m assuming most people, if you work at a place like that, you have occasion, on occasion, to be the only person there, especially since you’re a manager. Did you ever feel spooked out or have the willies by being by yourself? Or did it not bother you?
VICTORIA: It didn’t bother me. The most that I had is on my back up there, I had a coffeemaker, and for some reason I would go up there and the back coffeepot – you would think if it would fall off, it would knock the front one. And it didn’t. It would be on the ground shattered. I lost so many pots for no reason. I would go up there – and there’s hardly anybody there. Most of them were in the offices. So it would be basically me going and walking around, and it would be on the floor shattered. I have no idea. I lost so many coffeepots when I was there. And it was from the back. Not the front one. It was always the back pot.
JIM HAROLD: Someone did not like coffee. [laughs]
VICTORIA: No. That was the same place as the lounge was up there on the second floor, where my cups would move and things would move.
JIM HAROLD: Well, great story. Did you guys adhere to that tradition of – do they call it a spook light or a ghost light that you keep on the stage? Did you guys do that? I always think that’s such a neat tradition.
VICTORIA: Yeah, they always had the light on down there.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah. I think that’s such a neat tradition. Well, thank you so much for telling us about this haunted theater, and thank you for being a part of the Campfire. Stay spooky, Victoria.
VICTORIA: Thank you. [applause]
JIM HAROLD: Happy spring, everybody! Spring is springing, believe it or not, and it can’t come soon enough. As I’m sure you’re going to be out and about, you’re going to get out in the great outdoors again and start doing things, I’m sure you’re going to be in need of some audio entertainment. Now, of course, we have our free shows, but we also have our Paranormal Plus Club, and I would highly recommend that you check it out.
Basically, the Paranormal Plus Club is where you can go and get all of the archives going back to 2005. That includes a few hundred Campfires no longer on the free feeds. That includes several hundred editions of the Paranormal Podcast not on the free feeds. That includes hundreds of Plus shows that people don’t realize that we do each and every month. We do eight exclusive episodes for our Plus members. There are shows like UFO Encounters, Ghost Insight, The Cryptid Report, the list goes on. The Other Side. The thing is, people don’t know that we do all these extra shows. Even the members, I have to remind them from time to time. If you’re listening to this and you’re a member, make sure that you’re checking out those shows because those are part of your membership.
All told, it’s well over 2,000 episodes that you can’t get if you’re on the free feeds, so what are you waiting for? Go over to jimharoldplus.com and click on the banner with my face. It’ll take you to a page where it explains the Plus Club. There’s two different versions; there’s our classic Libsyn version where you have an app that you install on your device and you can listen on Apple devices, you can listen via Android devices, you can listen via Amazon device, you can listen via your computer. That’s for people who are like, “Hey, I want to be able to change from device to device, ecosystem to ecosystem. I want to be able to operate in any environment and listen to my Plus Club content.” And that’s great. They’ve been with us for years. They do a great job, and people love that Spooky Studio app.
This last year, we added another version, and it’s just as great. It’s like chocolate and vanilla, which one do you prefer. It’s the Apple Podcast version. If you tell me, “Jim, I’m not interested in a lot of different devices. I am an Apple device person and that’s all I want to listen on, and I listen in Apple Podcasts,” then I say the Apple Podcast version is for you. Now, with both systems you get a great deal. There are great discounts for the Libsyn version where you can get great discounts on monthly and yearly membership, and on Apple, they do something a little different. You can get a free trial, which is something Libsyn doesn’t do.
So each system has its own pluses. It’s just up to you to figure out which one you prefer. But the good news is, you get all those Campfires, you get all those Paranormal Podcasts on both versions, you get shows like UFO Encounters, Ghost Insight, The Other Side, The Cryptid Report – that Plus content, you get it on both systems. Get it today. Don’t delay. Go to jimharoldplus.com. That’s jimharoldplus.com. Make sure to click on the banner with my face on it at jimharoldplus.com. And thanks!
You’re listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Fun stories from the floor of the Monster Fest we have had so far. But seeing that we had an hour slot, we didn’t have quite enough stories to fill out this week’s show. Since the topic of Monster Fest is largely cryptids, we thought, you know what? Let’s just delve back into the archives from the Plus Club that we just talked about – and certainly check that out if you want more, more, more stories from the past going all the way back to 2009. But speaking of 2009, our first story is from 2009, October of 2009, Episode 11. And here it is.
Next up on the Campfire we have Tim from Nevada, who had actually a kind of disturbing, traumatic experience. Tim, thanks for joining us around the Campfire tonight.
TIM: You’re welcome.
JIM HAROLD: So tell us what happened.
TIM: It was probably ’92 or ’93 because I was 16 going on 17. Me and one of my friends were walking home, and we decided to take a shortcut through this trail that we’d always go through. It was probably about between 8:30 and 9:00 at night. We were walking through the trail, and I was leading the way. It was really dark, so I couldn’t see and I ended up getting us off of the trail. We went off into the woods probably about 20 yards or so before my friend noticed that we were off of the trail.
He started leading us back, and we finally got back on the trail. As soon as we got back on the trail, I felt a gust of wind go behind us. There was no wind blowing at all, so I thought it was kind of strange, but we didn’t really think much about it. As soon as that happened, we were still walking and we heard tiptoes in the bushes.
JIM HAROLD: Somebody was out there or something was out there.
TIM: Yeah, something. [laughs] It was tiptoeing in the bushes, and we’d take probably about four or five steps and it’d catch back up to us. That’s when we started thinking something was going on, but still not really taking it serious. It sounded like a little rabbit or a cat, so we thought maybe it was following us, like a little animal or whatever.
Then my friend joked about it might’ve been a wolf or whatever, and he was saying he was going to take off running. And as soon as he did that, that’s when it started happening. It was like a little ball of light rolling on the ground, probably about an inch around. At first it was just a little ball, and it was spinning. It was sort of like – you know those fireworks? They call them jumping jacks. They bounce around.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, I think I know what you’re talking about.
TIM: Yeah, but it was moving straight, going alongside of us. It wasn’t going all crazy. Then you could see the form of the thing start to form inside of the ball. It looked sort of like a little rat, but it was standing up on its hind legs, walking. And then all of a sudden – I mean, this all happened in a few seconds – it started to get bigger, in an instant. It got probably from anywhere between 10 feet to 15 feet tall. It was made out of – it didn’t have skin like me and you. The only thing I can describe it probably would be ether.
JIM HAROLD: Huh. So you and your friend saw this, but you said in your email that you all weren’t the only people to experience something weird out there.
TIM: Yeah, I had heard stories before, pretty much similar. This guy I went to school with, it happened to him probably about two years after that. He said he tried to run from it, and when he tried to run from it, it broke down into like five shadows and it attacked him. He ended up going to the hospital.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. So this wasn’t anything to be messing with.
TIM: No, not at all. I mean, when you looked at it, it looked a lot like the Predator. It had like dreadlocks in the head. It had spikes all the way down its back. And it was hot. It was like standing next to a stove with the door open.
JIM HAROLD: So do you think it was some kind of shapeshifter or something from another world? Do you have any theories or did any research? Do you have any feeling for what it really was?
TIM: No, I don’t. I’ve been trying to find something, like maybe somebody had drawn something that was similar to it. I really haven’t found anything that was really that close to it.
JIM HAROLD: Well, did you ever go back into those woods? I’ve got to ask.
TIM: Yeah, I did. But I went in the daytime. [laughs] I did go in there one night, but that was after – me and my sister and this boyfriend, we had got into it and I was kind of mad – yeah, it really didn’t matter at that time.
JIM HAROLD: Well, Tim, thank you so much for listening to the show, and thanks for being on Campfire tonight.
I sounded like I was twelve! Well, I wasn’t. [laughs] But it’s been a while. So next up is a story a little more recent, February of 2014, Episode 177.
I have Jordan on the line from Virginia, and boy, does he have a story for you. He’s a new listener. He was told by a friend. I want you to listen to that. Everybody’s homework this week, if you enjoy this free show, if you want to help us out: tell one friend in person about the show – somebody who likes this kind of stuff. That’s how Jordan found out about us, so thank you so much, Jordan. Now, this is something strange that you encountered in the wilderness of Florida, and I can’t wait to hear about it. Tell us what happened, Jordan, and welcome aboard.
JORDAN: Thank you, Jim. Essentially, I was 19 years old. I grew up in Pensacola, Florida, which is a beach city. It’s also close to Alabama. 10 minutes to the beach, 30 minutes from Alabama, so it’s a great place to go to the beach and go camping. Myself and a friend were going to go camping in the woods on the property of a family friend. They had maybe 10-15 acres. We parked on the street. We were going to walk onto the property. So you go through woods, and in the middle of the property they had it cleared out, they plowed it down and everything, so it was nice flat grass. Great place to go camping.
We went there, myself and my friend, David. I was climbing over a fence. It was one of these wooden fences. Been on the property for, I don’t know, 50-60 years. It was just two 2x4s, if you will, and a post every 10-15 feet. So I climbed over the fence. I was walking through the woods, and you had to go through about 150 feet of woods to get to the cleared-out part of the property. My friend David was coming over the fence after me.
I walked through. I saw something. I felt it before I saw anything. It was pitch black. It was springtime in Florida, so the temperature was nice out. And I saw something, and at first I thought it was a dog or a coyote that had gotten on the property. Like I said, this is an area that you’re just leaving the city and getting towards a more rural area, if you will. Growing up where I was, I didn’t see much rural activity, so I’m thinking this is a coyote or something. That’s the first thing I thought.
This – I’ll say creature – was about 15 feet in front of me. The fence was about 5 feet in front of that. This creature’s in front of me, and I see it and I stopped in my tracks and I thought, “Whatever this is, this animal, I don’t want to antagonize it. I don’t want to cause any issues” or whatever, so I stood there for a second and I said to my friend David, who was behind me on the fence coming over, “Do you see that?” He said, “Yeah, what is that?” I said, “I don’t know.” I took one step forward – and I can only show you, Jim – as I took a step forward, this thing mimicked my step, backwards, if that makes any sense. Almost like it was mirroring my action. As I took a step forward, it took that step back – I’m freaking out right now just talking about this.
JIM HAROLD: What did it look like?
JORDAN: I couldn’t see much other than the shape. I thought it was about waist-high, like a dog or a coyote or something, when I first saw it. And I have to say, before I even saw it, it was more that I felt it looking at me. There was something directly in front of me, and that’s what really creeped me. I took this step and it took a step backwards, and then I froze in my stance and it froze. It literally mirrored my actions until two seconds after I stopped, and then it raised up on two legs.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh. [laughs] I’d be like, “Let me out of here!”
JORDAN: Yeah, then I stopped and I turned and I said, “David?” He said, “Run.” And he hopped off that fence faster than I could imagine, and I turned and ran. Like I said, I’ve been a listener, a subscriber for the last couple weeks because of my brother-in-law, and I told him these things. He’s been a huge supporter. A lot of times people call and they say “I saw this” or “I saw that,” and I listen to you and I subscribe to your Plus Club.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you for that.
JORDAN: Yeah, absolutely. I listened to so many things and I don’t know what this was. I joke sometimes that it was a chupacabra because we were in Florida. But it’s something that I don’t know – I have no idea what this being was, but it was more than encountering an animal in nature. When it raised up and stood on its legs, and I saw white patch on the chest, glowing eyes, and this thing raised up on hind legs to about my height – I’d say about five feet, a few inches shorter than me – and ever since then, I don’t know, I don’t like going to the woods. I don’t like fooling around with things. I was kind of a skeptic, and ever since this happened – like I was telling you earlier, I could go on and on. Ever since this happened, I’ve encountered hundreds of things.
JIM HAROLD: So do you think maybe this opened some kind of portal, whether it’s just made you more open to this kind of phenomena, seeing whatever this was?
JORDAN: That’s the thing. Even after this incident happened – I’m 26 now, I was 19, so seven years ago – I was a skeptic for a while. In the last two years is when I really started noticing all this stuff. So I saw it and it freaked me out and I told my friends, and they wrote me off as just “Whatever, you just saw a wolf or a coyote or a dog.” I explained, “No, it wasn’t like that. This was not an animal that I had seen before or experienced in my life.” And people would joke “Oh, was it Bigfoot or something?” I don’t know what it was. I have no idea.
But I have an ex-girlfriend – and I won’t go on too long. Short story. She was Hispanic, and she had played with a Ouija board when she was young. She claims she opened a portal to something, and she had had demons and things haunting her for her whole entire life, to the point where we’d be having a conversation and she would drop cold, hair standing up on the back of her neck, and she would just stare at the corner and freak out. This would happen when we were doing FaceTime when I was on deployment in the military. The first thing I thought was maybe something attached to me from her.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting.
JORDAN: Something happened when she left. She claims that she opened this portal when she was playing with a Ouija board. Not a Milton Bradley Ouija board – a legitimate Peruvian board that she had played with when she was young. I always wrote her off. Well, the day that she left and went back to the United States and I was in the Middle East, this stuff happened to me.
JIM HAROLD: So maybe you don’t write her off so much now in terms of that occult stuff and the supernatural stuff being real. Well, I’ve got to tell you, a great story. And I know you said you had a lot more, so we’d love to hear from you in the future. Thank you for joining us. I think you said it was your brother-in-law – thank him for turning you on to the podcast, and everybody out there, please follow his example and tell one friend personally this week. Say, “Hey, you’re into the supernatural stuff, you’re into ghosts, you’re into UFOs, you’re into cryptids. Check out the Campfire and the Paranormal Podcast.” And Jordan, thank you so much for checking the shows out and for telling your story on the Campfire.
JORDAN: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Here’s a much more recent story, this one from April of last year, Episode 549. Enjoy!
We’ve done shows on the Paranormal Podcast about Mothman sightings in the Chicagoland area. Lon Strickler particularly has been keeping a close eye on those. And we have a caller tonight, Harley, who may very well have come face to face with the Chicago Mothman. Harley, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us again, and tell us this story about the Chicago Mothman.
HARLEY: It’s a really interesting experience. This took place probably 2016 or so, and there were a lot of sightings at the time of this supposed “Chicago Mothman,” mostly around O’Hare Airport. There were people that had some sighting’s on a couple of the beaches in the city. I was aware of them because I tend to keep abreast of the weird happenings in the city because I find it fascinating. It was something that was definitely talked about. It was definitely at the front of my consciousness.
For a while, I kind of even doubted my own experience because of how cognizant I was of the situation. I tried to rationalize my way out of it. But the longer I thought about it, the more people I talked to about it, and the more corroborating stories I heard from other people, from the work that Lon Strickler was doing with Phantoms & Monsters, it was like, okay, I think this is legitimate.
Basically, at the time, I was working very late nights. I was working in a couple of the queer night life spots in Chicago. It was a bit of a hassle because I worked in the city, I worked late, but I lived in the West suburbs, so three to four nights a week, I would have this 45-minute to 1-hour drive home. It was kind of cool; it was actually always very peaceful. It’s kind of nice to drive home at two o’clock in the morning, nice and quiet, when the weather’s nice, windows down.
I was leaving an event that we had, and it was around early October, a lot of Halloween type activities were happening. We did the show. It was at a club called Berlin Nightclub. Very, very cool spot. They’ve been open since the ’80s. Kind of a dank environment. Very appropriate for preceding this particular event. I left the club, I walked to my car, and I started taking the trip home. I had my windows down; I had my stereo on. I was really enjoying the bit of “me time” I had.
I pulled up to an intersection, and it was this really quaint area of the city. It was a family area where there was an elementary school on one side, a bunch of parks. It wasn’t any place you would expect to see an alleged cryptid. I pulled up at the stoplight and I was just taking note of all of the Halloween decorations that were in some of the storefronts and on people’s porches, that sort of thing.
At the top of a streetlamp, there was what I thought was a gargoyle. I remember saying out loud to myself, “That is the stupidest place to put a Halloween decoration because you can barely see it.” It was almost as if as soon as those words left my mouth, the “gargoyle” stood up.
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy.
HARLEY: It opened its arms and exposed these very traditionally batlike wings, and it just glided off the streetlamp, down the adjacent street, and by the time the light changed and I pulled through, it was gone. I couldn’t see anything. It’s funny because I had heard about Lon Strickler, I’d heard about Phantoms & Monsters; like I said, I was keeping up with the sightings. I emailed him. I reached out to him like the day after, after talking to a bunch of my friends. They were like, “You have to say something. You’ve got to talk to this guy.”
I spoke with Lon over the phone about it, and I think if you look at the map of Chicago Mothman sightings, I think I was like Sighting #24, if I remember correctly. Again, this was 2016, so several years ago now. But yeah, I was like the 24th reported sighting in Chicago. It’s a story that I tell often. It’s a story that I genuinely hold near and dear to my heart at this point because it’s such a cool experience. It was very strange. I don’t even know if spooky is the right word, because I wasn’t scared. But it was just very, very – high strangeness is a good way to put it.
JIM HAROLD: Absolutely. Let me ask you, can you describe the Mothman or gargoyle or whatever it was in a little more detail? Tell us what it looked like as best you recall.
HARLEY: The descriptor I’ve been using this entire time is – fans of DC Comics will know who Man-Bat is. He’s just this anthropomorphic bat/human hybrid creature. That’s about as accurate as I can be. Granted, Man-Bat wears blue jeans and this thing was not wearing blue jeans. [laughs] So yeah, it’s this weird humanoid bat thing. It definitely had what looked to be some kind of maybe a fur or feather texture. But the face was very bat-ish. That’s where I got the gargoyle thing from.
Very tall. Even crouched – one of the other things that I was trying to figure out is, when I thought it was decoration, I was like, “How did they balance this thing on top of a light post?” It just seemed very precariously placed because it was very large. I would say, if I had to guess the height, maybe 6-½ to 7 feet. The wingspan was much larger also than I ever anticipated. At first it put its – arms, we’ll call them – out, and it was like this thing – it was almost like it inflated in size. It was very compact when it was stationary and then as soon as it started moving, it tripled in size. So yeah, I don’t know if that helps you at all.
JIM HAROLD: And it was aware of you.
HARLEY: I don’t know. It seemed to be because it was a very odd coincidence that it would move after I verbally acknowledged noticing it. It didn’t make eye contact or anything. It just got up and glided away.
JIM HAROLD: Well, I’ve got to say, it’s a remarkable story. I fully believe that reality is much stranger than we’re taught in school, and I think sometimes these whatever they are show themselves. There’ve been a lot of reports. And yeah, I know there can be hoaxing and things like that, but it seems like there’s been too many reports for this just to be people having fun. There’s really no benefit to making up these stories. I believe that it’s very, very possible indeed, and Lon has done a lot of work on this. Surely, everybody look up Lon Strickler and look up his information if you want to know more about the Chicagoland Mothman sightings. Harley, thank you so much for sharing your story tonight on the Campfire.
HARLEY: Yeah, thanks so much. And actually, there was a sighting as recently as last week at O’Hare Airport, so it’s still happening.
JIM HAROLD: Yep, it sure is. Let’s stay tuned. Thanks again, Harley.
HARLEY: Of course. Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Always great to hear some of those classic stories. And before we get back to one last story live from the Monster Fest and final thoughts, we have a special shoutout from Tommy. Tommy says, “Hi Jim! I was hoping you could please provide a spooky shoutout: happy birthday to my best friend, Katie. She got me hooked onto the Campfire a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve not missed a single episode.” He says that each week they discuss the most recent show and share their favorite stories. He’s grateful that the show not only provides an avenue for people to relate their experiences, but it has also served as a way for friends to bond and share their experiences. Now, Katie’s birthday is on June 11th, so I want to give her a happy birthday and a big stay spooky!
And now we return to the floor of the Monster Fest for the final thoughts on this episode.
[applause] And last but not least, we have Steve from the Buckeye State, OH!
JIM HAROLD: That’s the way you do it. Steve lived in an apartment haunted by a mischievous child. Do tell, do tell!
STEVE: Oh my God, I have so many stories from that apartment, but one of my favorites and the one that people always ask me the most about is one night, I had gone to bed early; my wife worked second shift, so she came home after I was already in bed, generally. She’d come out, she was in the living room watching TV or whatever, and I was lying in bed, and all of a sudden I hear something on her side of the bed over by her nightstand. It sounded like the handles were rattling or whatever. I didn’t think anything about it because the other side of the room, she could come into the bedroom. She got her little Media Magazine or whatever out of there every once in a while so she could read it in the living room before she went to bed. I didn’t think anything about it.
Then all of a sudden I heard something fall down to the floor. I’m like, “Oh, she must’ve dropped something, knocked something off.” I didn’t think anything about it. But then all of a sudden I hear something scooting across the floor. [laughs] It stopped for a second when I noticed. I moved in the bed and it stopped. I’m like, all right, something is definitely weird. Then I heard it crawl very quickly. You’ve heard toddlers crawl on all fours. It’s the bum-bum-bum-bum-bum! It crawled down to the end of the bed, across the end of the bed, and back up my side of the bed and stopped right beside me.
I’m freaking out at this point. I’m 25 years old and I’ve got the blanket up around my chin. I call out to my wife. I said, “Hon, what is going on?” And I hear her in the living room. She says, “What are you talking about?” I’m like, “Can you come in here and see what’s beside the bed?” She’s like, “There’s no way I’m coming in the bedroom.” Both of us had experienced a lot of things in that apartment. [laughs] And I just lay there the rest of the night. I couldn’t look anywhere. I fell asleep with the blanket up around my chin because there was no way I was looking over the side of the bed.
But yeah, that child – we assume it was a child because we’d seen bite marks in stolen brownies. That’s another story. It was a very small profile, so we assumed it was a child that was just this little mischievous thing that lived in that apartment.
JIM HAROLD: First of all, you don’t feel it was residual per se? You think it was active.
STEVE: I think it was active, yeah.
JIM HAROLD: Do you think it was, just as you said, mischievous – in other words, it didn’t have any evil intent, it just wanted to mess with you?
STEVE: Yeah, it just wanted to mess with us. We didn’t mind it there. I think we gave it even a name at one point. We were sitting there one evening. One of our end tables in the living room, we had board games and stuff under it, and there was this one little electronic board game called “You Don’t Know Jack.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah, love that. Jack Attack!
STEVE: Right. We were sitting there and we were talking about this entity that was in the apartment. We were sitting there one night, TV was off, everything was off, we were just sitting there talking about it. And all of a sudden the game turned on by itself and started in the middle of the game, and it popped up with the voice from the game and it said, “Do you think you know the answer?” and then clicked back off. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
STEVE: Yeah. I’ve got a ton of stories from that apartment.
JIM HAROLD: It was definitely messing with you. Well, that’s a great story, Steve. Thank you so much. I know you’re a listener, and I appreciate it. Thank you for being on the show, and stay spooky.
STEVE: Thank you. [applause]
JIM HAROLD: I just want to take a moment to thank, first of all, our storytellers that were predetermined, and the brave souls who came up here afterwards. They did a great job. We really appreciate it. Let’s give all of our storytellers a big hand. [applause]
I want to thank Seth, I want to thank Courteney, I want to thank Heather, and the rest of the Small Town Monsters team. They have been awesome. I think they put together a fantastic event. I kind of sprang that on Seth when he was up here, but I sure hope there’s going to be a #2, because I thought this was just great.
And finally, just want to say a final word of thanks. I want to say thank you to you, to old friends and new – the new folks that came around and said, “Oh, you’ve got a podcast too?” [laughs] Yeah, I’ve been doing it a while. But nice to meet you. And to those of you who have been so kind today and have said, “I’ve been listening for a year, two years, 10 years,” and you all told me the different things you do when you listen – some of you drive, some of you do your laundry, take your kids to school – I think they left, but there was a little six-year-old girl who listened with her dad. They came just here for the Campfire.
It just means so much because when you’re a podcaster, it’s a pretty solitary thing. You’re sitting in a room talking into one of these things. It’s just great to get out and meet great people like you. You make it possible for me to have a pretty damned cool job, so thank you very much. So an applause to you. [applause]
And with that, we come to the close of the Campfire. Stay safe, and…
AUDIENCE: Stay spooky!
JIM HAROLD: We’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye, everybody. [applause]
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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