A welcome but strange rescuer, a Ouija board foretells the future…sort of, and much more on this week’s all-new Campfire!
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JIM HAROLD: Our first story today sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone: a young woman rescued… by whom, or what? You’ll have to listen, next up on the 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 boy, do we have some great stories for you, including that first one I told you about.
But first I have to take care of a very important piece of business I overlooked with all the goings-on here at the Spooky Studio with family and everything. I forgot to do a shout-out last week. Becca had emailed back in June saying, “Hey, my husband James’s birthday is July 9th. He is an incredible husband, road trip partner, and pet dad. He is just the best,” and Becca wanted to know if I could do a Spooky Shout-out. I said yes – and then I promptly forgot.
So, James, a super Spooky Shout-out to you. Belated birthday greetings. Rest assured it was not Becca, it was me. It was my mistake. But I just wanted to say happy birthday to you, and of course, stay spooky.
Now, if you like the sound of that, just think about this: you can go even further, folks. If you want a personalized video shout-out from me, you can get that through Cameo. I’ve been doing them. I’ve had quite a few people take advantage of it, whether for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, Father’s Day/Mother’s Day, whatever. People have been going to cameo.com/thejimharold. We try to make it a very reasonable price, and folks can get personalized video shout-outs from me. I would love to do some for you. So it is cameo.com/thejimharold. That’s cameo.com/thejimharold for your own personalized video shout-out. Everybody, stay spooky.
And now we are going to stay spooky with some great Campfire stories, and we start with this one, as I said in the intro – really worthy of the Twilight Zone.
Sue is on the line from Vermont, and I’ve got to tell you, I read this story and it’s like, “Oh, I hope Sue shows up for this call” because I love these kinds of stories. It’s an ultimate headscratcher. Sue, welcome to the show and tell us what happened.
SUE: Hi. Thank you. This takes place back in the ’80s, so before cellphones. I was recently graduated from college. I was still living at home with my mother and my sister, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself, so I decided to take a college class about an hour away from us in the university town of Burlington. It was an evening class.
It’s in November, so it’s cold and it’s dark, and I’m coming home on the interstate, and my car decides to start acting funny. So I pull over to the shoulder and it completely dies on me. Now, to explain the interstate, it’s a pretty straight shot from my house to there, about an hour. Below, down an embankment, is another road that runs parallel to it. You can see it intermittently along the interstate, but you can’t really get to it because there’s a lot of boulders or trees or there’s even a river that goes along.
Where I happened to pull over is one of the only places where you can actually access the other road. So that was kind of weird. I could see lights down below there, and I thought, “I am not sitting on the interstate in the dark, waiting for a possible good Samaritan to stop. I’m going to have to explore where these lights are. Hopefully it’s a house and I can have them help me or I can use their phone.”
JIM HAROLD: You were going to take the bull by the horns and solve the problem yourself.
SUE: Yeah, I’m not a trusting person by nature. I get very suspicious of people and always look for an exit plan. So I was like, “I’m going to do this. I’m not waiting for somebody.”
JIM HAROLD: That’s pretty smart. I think you’re smart.
SUE: But it’s, like I said, cold, dark. No flashlight. I’m wearing a skirt and dress shoes. I climb over the guardrail and I hike down this hill – there’s a lot of scrub brush and rocks – thinking I’m going to get to somebody’s house. I actually end up in the parking lot of a gas station garage, and I’m like, “Wow, I’m really lucky here.”
I go in. There’s a young man – I remember it being a young man behind the counter. I’ve got my hazard lights on. I say, “You can see my car from here. I’m stalled up there. Can you help me?” There was a clock on the wall behind him. He points to the clock and says, “We close at 8:00,” and it’s like five minutes to 8:00. I’m thinking, okay, what does that mean? Then he says, “But the owner lives next door, and maybe he’ll help you.”
It’s a long time ago, so I could be fuzzy on some details, but I don’t remember him ever calling anybody. But suddenly there’s this other man there, and he was probably – if I was to describe him, he would be in his forties, early fifties. He was in a mechanic’s outfit, and he said, “What can I do?” I told him, “My car is up there.” He says, “Okay, let’s get in my tow truck and go up and see.”
Now, again, I’m a very suspicious person, but I had no problem getting in the truck with this guy. I was like, “Okay.” He takes me up through this access road back onto the thing. He takes a look at the car and he says, “I can’t fix it tonight. Do you have a garage that we can tow it to?” I said, “Yeah, but it’s like 40 miles south.” He says, “That’s okay. We can do that.” He hooks up the car and he tows me to my garage.
All the while, I’m thinking how calm I feel, and comfortable. Like, here’s a stranger that is taking me on the road, and I didn’t have any doubts or suspicions about this person at all. I was just very calm. He was very fatherly.
JIM HAROLD: A very kind person, a very kind soul.
SUE: Yeah, very kind. Very calming person. Asked me about my life and that kind of stuff, but very calming. So he droves me 40 miles to the garage. We get to the garage, and you know how they have the drop box place where you can put the keys in and stuff? They usually have papers. So he tells me – he wasn’t mansplaining or anything. [laughs] He was guiding me what to tell them. He says, “You want to write this down, and you want to tell them this is wrong with your car” and all that stuff, “and then you’re going to do this.” I did exactly what he said.
He goes, “Okay, now we’ve got to get you home.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s another 20 minutes.” He’s like, “Okay, that’s fine.” And he drives me to my door and we get there and I said, “How do I pay you? I only have a couple bucks in my purse. I have my checkbook.” He says, “Oh, okay, how about $20?” Even in the ’80s, $20 for all that was pretty cheap.
JIM HAROLD: Wasn’t much.
SUE: Yeah, wasn’t much. So I wrote out a check and gave it to him, and I remember him very clearly saying, “Now you go inside and you tell your family that everything’s okay. You tell them everything that happened. You tell them all about this and let them know that everything is fine. Everything is okay.” I remember him saying that repeatedly, and I was like, “Okay, I’ll do that.” And he left. I went in, told my family.
The next day, my mother and my sister and I were planning a shopping trip up in Burlington, so we were going the same road, and I said, “I’m going to take you by that place. This guy was so nice. You’ve got to see where this was.”
The place was boarded up. Even writing on the boards, like it had been vandalized. Boarded up like it’d been closed for years and years and years. Like abandoned. I was like, it’s less than 24 hours that I was here. This is too weird. I went, “You’ve got to be kidding me. This is the place.” My family was going, “Are you sure? Maybe you got the wrong place.” I’m like, “There is no other garage on this road unless you get into a town.” They’re like, “Uh-huh…”
It really freaked me out. To this day, I can’t explain it. It was just completely abandoned.
JIM HAROLD: Did the truck that he was driving, that you were riding in, or the station, did they look particularly out of date?
SUE: I couldn’t tell you. One, I don’t remember. It’s quite a while ago. But also, I’m not good at cars and stuff. [laughs] But they didn’t look like they were from the ’40s, that’s for sure. But it was just very strange. The three things that always got me about it was how calming he was and how comfortable I felt and then the fact that it was totally abandoned, but also that it happened to be exactly that spot. I have traveled that road many times, and between my house and Burlington, that is the only place where you can actually access the other road.
JIM HAROLD: It seems like there’s a couple of different possibilities here. One is that maybe this person and this place obviously at one time existed, and they came back just to help you. Somebody sent them back just to help you. Maybe it’s the ghost of the person. Maybe it was some kind of weird time slip, or some kind of alternate reality. Do you have a favorite amongst those?
SUE: It’s odd because I’ve had a few things that have happened in my life where I happened to be at a really weird place, and I always said my guardian angel worked overtime to save me from different things. When I would tell the story to people, I’d always say either it was my guardian angel or, because of the calming sensation that I had, it might’ve been my dad because my dad died when I was 15, and I always thought that he was around me. So I had that kind of thought, only because of that fatherly, calming way about him. But I don’t know.
JIM HAROLD: That’s such a great story.
SUE: Somebody was sent to help me.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, I think so. Well, Sue, just a tremendous story. A Campfire classic indeed, and I thank you for sharing it today.
SUE: Thank you so much.
JIM HAROLD: Cheri from Cleveland, my hometown, is on the line. You might remember a while back, she had a tremendous story that made our “Best Of” show. Just a great story. She has a couple of other stories to share with us tonight, and one of them is about her husband’s grandmother. Cheri, welcome back to the show. You’ve got your work cut out for you to try to match that story you gave us before, but please tell us these stories.
CHERI: Thanks for having me again, Jim. I just love this podcast so much. It’s so much fun. But here’s my story.
It was about 7:00 in the morning and it was Labor Day weekend in 2005, I think. It was just before the alarm was going to go off, and I was having a really vivid dream. It was probably the most vivid dream I’ve ever had. In it, there was a faceless woman, and she was talking to me. I could hear her voice, but it was a blur, her face. I couldn’t see her face. But I could feel her touch. That was the oddest part. It was like someone was rubbing my arms. I could feel her. I just don’t think I’ve ever had a dream, even since, that was that real.
In the dream, I was crying and she was comforting me, and her arms were around me. She was saying, over and over, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. It’s all right. Everything’s all right. I’m fine, I’m fine. Tell them I’m fine. Please don’t cry. I’m all right.” I woke up and I wasn’t just crying in my dream; I was crying in real life; my pillow was actually wet from crying so hard. And my husband was saying, “What is wrong with you?” I told him, “I had the weirdest dream, and it really freaked me out.”
All through that morning, we were getting ready for our Labor Day plans, and this sense of sorrow was just hanging over me and I couldn’t shake it. Anyway, that afternoon we drove to my husband’s grandmother’s house. You’re probably way ahead of me by now, but we found her dead on her bathroom floor.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my goodness.
CHERI: She’d been brushing her teeth, and her bed was unmade, so we guessed that she must’ve gotten up and died about the time I was having that weird dream. She was 80 years old, but she was healthy as a horse. She lived alone. She’d lived alone for a long time. Her mother had died many years before, and she took care of everything by herself. She painted. She had just cut the grass, we could tell. It was a shock. We had no reason to believe that she was sick or she might die.
The biggest mystery to me is why she came to me, because – I don’t mean this to sound bad in any way, but I wasn’t her favorite. [laughs] Brian was her favorite, my husband. Why she didn’t go to him and why she came to me, I’m not sure. But I believe she came to me when she died.
JIM HAROLD: Here’s the thing I’ll say. I think sometimes – as you know, relationships can be complicated, and I believe people can have different feelings about you on different levels. I’m just throwing this out, and I don’t mean to play amateur analyst here, but people can at times maybe be jealous, but on the other hand think extremely highly of you. You see what I’m saying? So maybe she valued you a lot more than you thought she did, but she put on this tough exterior. Maybe it started out where she had negative feelings towards you, but over time you kind of proved yourself.
CHERI: I’m not sure I’m going to call them negative feelings. If there was a choice, if Brian and I were in an argument, she would side with Brian, not me. Things like that. But she actually did – now that you mention it, she used to confide in me a lot. She would tell me things that she didn’t tell anybody else, and she would also gossip to me. [laughs] So we did have a relationship, you’re right.
JIM HAROLD: That says a lot to me that she came to you. Again, one of my favorite phrases, and I think it’s true – my kids actually joke with me about it – it’s too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.
CHERI: Yeah, you’re right.
JIM HAROLD: What I will say to people – there’s two choices here. Either the person who’s telling the story is making it up, which I don’t believe for an absolute minute you are. I believe you 100%. You’re a very credible person.
CHERI: Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Or there’s something paranormal – by paranormal, I mean we don’t understand. There’s something going on. Those are the two possibilities in my mind. And one’s not a possibility because you’re telling the truth, so there you have it. [laughs] That’s proof. To me, that’s proof. Some people will say, “That’s not scientific proof. I didn’t put that in a test tube or weigh it on a scale.” But to me that’s proof right there.
CHERI: Thank you. I appreciate that.
JIM HAROLD: Cheri, you have another story for us, a short one, you said?
CHERI: Yeah, this is really quick. When I was in fifth grade, I went to a small rural school. It was in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. A lot of people have heard of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. But anyway, it was a small rural school, and in our cafeteria, we had big long lunch tables and they were seated by grade. There were first graders, second graders, third graders. I was in fifth grade, and the sixth grade lunch table was next to ours.
One Monday morning, the sixth grade girls had had a sleepover, and they called over to me, giggling, “Cheri, we asked the Ouija board who you were going to marry, and it said” – and I’m not going to say this guy’s name because I don’t want to embarrass him, but let’s just say he wasn’t so popular in fifth grade. Anyway, they said his name. I said, “Eww!” Sorry. [laughs] I mean, I was like 10. I said, “I don’t believe you. It did not spell out his big long name.” They said, “No, it said you were going to marry B.P.” There wasn’t any other B.P. in our school.
JIM HAROLD: Right, so it had to be him. There’s no other B.Ps in the world.
CHERI: Exactly. Anyway, years later, when I was on Facebook, this guy – we had a class group, and I said, “Hey, do you remember that?” He said, “Yeah, but think about it, Cheri. Who did you end up marrying?” I ended up marrying Brian Paselle. B.P. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: I thought you were going to tell me you married the oil company.
CHERI: [laughs] Yeah. Isn’t that weird? I’m not a big fan of Ouija boards; I’m of the camp that they are a little evil. But anyway, it was right. They were right.
JIM HAROLD: It’s a great story. Cheri, you always have such great stories. Thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire once again.
CHERI: Thanks, Jim.
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JIM HAROLD: Next up we have Alessandro from Maine, and he and his wife Isabelle listen to the show, and we appreciate it very much. So a spooky shout-out to Isabelle, and we thank you both for listening. We’re here to hear Alessandro’s story. And by the way, you’re going to be very impressed with his dulcet tones because he’s a creative professional and you can tell it. Alessandro, welcome to the show.
ALESSANDRO: Thanks so much, Jim. My story takes place on September 12th, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center happened. At the time I was living in Connecticut, about 45 minutes outside of New York City.
To give you some context, from our beach we could see the Twin Towers. So after the attacks, the smoke was literally coming across the water. It was very close. I was in fourth grade at the time, and I remember the day it happened, my school shut down. The following day we were back at school; however, all airspace over the country, you might remember, was shut down in both Canada and –
JIM HAROLD: Yes, I remember. It was a weird feeling to look in the sky and never see a plane. It was a very bizarre time.
ALESSANDRO: No planes and also not really any clouds. It was very, very clear skies. What happened after we went back to school was very strange. I was out on the field playing with some friends after school. It was probably around 2:30, 2:45 in the afternoon. We see above us, probably about a mile up, a silverish cylinder. It’s not moving. It looks basically like take the middle of an airplane, chop off the wings, and it’s just hanging in the sky above us to the west.
We thought this was weird. We were trying to figure out what it was. A lot of our parents were there at the field and the playground because they were so spooked about what had been happening, and we were like, “Hey, there’s something weird going on.” We went back to playing because it wasn’t really doing anything, and a short while later we look back up and the cylinder’s gone. In its place, there is now this white cube.
The best I can describe it is it was drifting, almost like a piece of paper or a parachute would fall. It was doing these long, swooping arcs, about 10 to 15 seconds each way, just left and right, slowly drifting. And then it stopped. It froze dead still in the sky and wasn’t moving. This was weird. This was really weird.
My mom saw the white cylinder as well. I spoke to some friends a few years later; they remember what happened. It was so bizarre at the time that my dad was freaking out. He was like, “You have to file a police report.” We ended up talking to the cops. A cop came by the house, and he was saying, “I haven’t heard any reports of any missile launches or anything of the sort.”
I buried that story for a long time. It was just something that stayed with me until 2017 rolls around and we start getting these UFO stories back in the news. It really got me thinking about it and awakened a new chapter of fascination in my life.
JIM HAROLD: Let me ask you this. Have you thought about what it was? I’m sure you have. Do you have any theories? Because I have a couple of different thoughts, but I want to hear what you have to say.
ALESSANDRO: I’ve bounced around a bit over the years. There are so many different hypotheses even around UFOs, UAPs. I do believe it was not ours. It didn’t have any flight surfaces. It wasn’t moving in the way that any plane or anything I was aware of at the time would move. This was before commercial drones.
Under the time travel hypothesis that some people like to explore, maybe it was us looking back, like a historical visit. Or if it was an ET or something else like that, at the very least they were close enough to be observing everything that would’ve happened in the aftermath of 9/11.
And one last out-there thought – I don’t know about this, but we had some kids at the school who actually lost parents in 9/11, and there’s so many stories through the Bible that describe angelic visitations almost similar to how some UFOs are described nowadays. Part of me has to wonder if there’s something there.
JIM HAROLD: I was also going to throw out one other possibility – and I’m not saying that’s what it was. I really like that time traveler theory. That’s really interesting. Another theory is if the government did have something super-duper extra exotic and secret, really there would be no better time to bring it out, whether it had enhanced reconnaissance capabilities or whatever – in other words, that was kind of like our Pearl Harbor. It was a time of great national insecurity. You didn’t know what was going to happen next, and there’s also the possibility of maybe the adversaries see the U.S. is weak at that particular time. Maybe there’s follow-on attacks that had nothing to do with the original attack. There was a lot of reason to be on edge. So if there were super-secret aircraft, that would be the time. “Break glass in case of emergency” kind of thing.
ALESSANDRO: For sure.
JIM HAROLD: But I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I really like that time traveler theory. I’ve always been fascinated by the Kennedy assassination because I think if you can pinpoint a period or a time when a lot of the things in the country took a bad turn, I think you can say November 22nd, 1963. And I’ve always thought it would be so interesting, not to change it – because you know, the butterfly effect, you change one thing and it might change something else – but just to know what really happened. Be able to be like a historical tourist, just to see what really happened that day. Or you could say that for one of a million different historical happenings.
So yeah, that would be a time – “let’s go back and see what it was like, let’s see how people reacted” and so forth and so on. So that one makes a lot of sense to me too.
ALESSANDRO: I love that theory, yeah. It’s fascinating, and I would think it’s a great thing for people to want to see if they had time travel. Not great in the good sense, but great in the fascinating, historical, important…
JIM HAROLD: Right, exactly. It’s like going back to Pearl Harbor. What was it like? How were people dealing with this national tragedy and those kinds of things? Alessandro, thank you so much for joining us today on the Campfire. I certainly appreciate it. What a fascinating, fascinating story. And we thank Isabelle, too, for listening. A spooky shout-out, thank you, Isabelle. And thank you both for being a part of the Campfire.
ALESSANDRO: Thanks, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Kirsten is on the line from Washington state. She’s been listening since the ’00s, so we really, really appreciate that. She’s going to tell us a story about the house she grew up in. Kirsten, welcome to the show. Thank you for your longtime loyal listenership, and tell us what happened.
KIRSTEN: I grew up in a very tiny little house. It was after my parents got divorced. My mom and sister and I moved in with my grandma. I think you’d probably call it a cottage style house. Two bedrooms, that’s it. 800 square feet. Cozy. I mean, I never was afraid of it. But we had a couple of weird things happen over the years, and some of my mom’s friends wouldn’t come over. But oddly enough, there’s a lot I can’t remember. But this story in particular happened to me, and then I’ll tell you a quick incident that happened to my mother.
If you can imagine, if you split the house, on the right side of the house as you’re facing it is two bedrooms. Then the left side of the house is like a square living area, and in the middle – the front of it was the living room and there’s a fireplace, and then it’s basically a loop. You can walk around all the way. So if you come in the front door, there’s the living room, and then you walk straight ahead and to the left there’s a kitchen, but then you can walk through the kitchen to the dining room and back into the living room.
JIM HAROLD: Gotcha.
KIRSTEN: So really simple. And then the one other detail that’s important to the story is also a second door in the kitchen goes into a laundry room and out the back door, way in the back corner. That’s just a separate room.
I think this was after my grandmother had passed away, and Mom and my sister, Megan, left me at home. I was in the kitchen and I was painting. I think I was painting cupboards or something like that. It was time-consuming. And this was in probably the ’80s, and I had my rock station on. I was enjoying myself. It was a number of hours I was back there.
About, I don’t know, later in the afternoon, the back door in the laundry room, I heard it open and I heard my mom. She was really irritated at me, and I heard her say, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m painting the kitchen.” She said, “We can’t get in.”
Let me back up. I missed a detail here. When you walk in the front door, immediately to your right, against the wall, was a console TV. The TV was about 5 feet wide, maybe 2 deep and 3 high. So it’s big.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, I remember those.
KIRSTEN: Yeah, and it was big ’80s rounded oak with a tube television in it. Heavy. Anyway, Mom comes in and she says, “We can’t get in! You moved the TV in front of the door.” She’s very annoyed with me. I said, “I did not.” I’d been sitting there painting, and the front door is maybe 15 feet away from me. I can’t see it because of the fireplace wall. So I walked out and sure enough, that humongous TV had been moved in front of the door. They had been able to open the door about an inch and that was it, just enough to say –
JIM HAROLD: Whoa.
KIRSTEN: Yeah. And like I said, we’re talking 800 square feet. There’s nowhere in that house where you’re any more than 25 feet from anything.
JIM HAROLD: I’m going to use my old man voice now. “Now, kiddies, remember, we’re not talking about your OLED TVs.” These things – I mean, they weighed hundreds of pounds.
KIRSTEN: Yeah, I’m guessing a couple hundred pounds.
JIM HAROLD: And even a really musclebound person, to move it yourself, it’s not something – you know how even if something’s a little heavy, you can push it with your foot or kind of nudge it? These TVs were seriously – for those of you who have not ever had the pleasure to move a cathode-ray tube (CRT) TV, believe me, I’m glad that we have the flatscreens now. I remember when we got rid of our last one, I’m like, “Thank God I never have to lift another one of these in my life.”
KIRSTEN: They’re massive. They’re like couch weight. I mean, they were huge.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, that is not something that just – you know people say, “I had a ring and it moved” or “I had a watch and it moved.” Yeah, but things can happen. A huge console TV, I can’t stress that enough – you weren’t the only person there, and it moved.
KIRSTEN: Yeah. The other thing was the only way out of the house – it was close enough to the door that if somebody moved it there, they couldn’t have gotten out that way. I would’ve seen anybody go in the bedrooms. I had a straight view to the bedroom doors. And why would you go in a house, move a TV in front of a odor and then jump out the window into a massive laurel bush right outside. Then the only other door, they would’ve had to pass by me to go out.
And then I was going to tell you the other quick story, the one that I can remember. It’s weird because we would have things disappear in the house, but like you said, they were small things. But my mom had a pearl ring, I think, disappear, or a necklace that she really cared about. We never found it, and there was nothing around that was gone or disturbed.
But the other thing that I strongly remember was my mom passed in 2009, and not too long before then – I used to talk to her a few times a week, and she called me and she said, “Last night I was in the bedroom” – and this was on the other side of the wall from the console TV, so in that bedroom it was just around the corner from where the TV and the living room were – she said, “I woke up and the sewing machine was running.” She used to sew in the living room because it was a little house. She was like, “It was just going gangbusters.” Those sewing machines use a pedal. You put your foot on the pedal and it runs the wheel. So it’s pretty loud. It’s like [imitates machine sound].
Mom was a cat lady, and I said, “Probably one of the cats lay on the pedal or something.” She said, “It wasn’t plugged in.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh, I was just telling somebody about a story where somebody worked in a funeral home and a light came on that was not plugged in. But ooh, that’s eerie.
KIRSTEN: Yeah. So those are the two weird things that I remember. And one quick thing, too, is one of the oddest thing about it is at the time it barely affected me. Just recently I started thinking about it and thinking, good grief. You would think if that happened you’d be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m never going in the house again.” But I hardly thought about it for years. Lately I’ve been thinking about it.
JIM HAROLD: It is something to think about. What did you know about the history of the house? Or did you know?
KIRSTEN: Not very much. It was built in ’52 and my grandma bought it in the ’70s.
JIM HAROLD: So not incredibly old.
KIRSTEN: Not very old. I tried to look around online last night. Of course, before the internet, it’s hard to find history of homes past that time. So yeah, I don’t know. It’s weird.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. Kirsten, thank you so much for joining us today and for listening for all these years.
KIRSTEN: Oh yeah, no problem. Thank you.
JIM HAROLD: Hey, you’re a podcast listener. I can tell because you’re listening right now, and I wanted to tell you about a great new free podcast. It’s called You Won’t Believe What Happened To Me, and basically it’s Campfire without the ghosts.
Now, before you skip ahead, let me explain. Myself and my bride, Dar, do an every-other-week show, and that show basically collects true stories from real people about strange things that have happened to them. Not supernatural, but very strange things. For example, someone who bumped into a serial killer. Someone else who was chased by the police. Someone who, for example, had a college roommate who ended up joining a murderous cult. Those are some of the stories that you hear.
Now, they’re not all scary and sad; there’s some happy ones. We just had one this last week about a landscaper who played Cupid against all odds and brought a couple together, and they’ve been married for years now. And we have some funny stories, too, where someone went into a story and – thank goodness they weren’t hurt, but ended up getting a whole bucket of paint poured over their nice business suit. Those are the kinds of stories you hear on You Won’t Believe What Happened To Me.
I love it, the listeners seem to love it, and I’d like you to give it a try. All you have to do is go over to jimharold.com and listen, or on your favorite podcast app. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the usual suspects. Wherever you listen to the Campfire. The show is You Won’t Believe What Happened To Me with Dar and Jim Harold. Please do check it out.
Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram @TheJimHarold and join our virtual Campfire Facebook group at VirtualCampfireGroup.com. Now, back to the Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Amy is on the line from the great state of Virginia. We’re so glad to speak with her today. She grew up in a house that was built I guess in the ’30s. Living in an old house, it might just be haunted – and perhaps Amy’s house was haunted. She’s going to tell us all about it. Amy, welcome to the show and please tell us what happened.
AMY: Hi, Jim. I’m going to preface by saying the house I grew up in is New Jersey, so that is where I grew up. Love my state. Everything that’s happened has happened in New Jersey. This was my childhood home. My mom recently moved out of that house a little over a year ago. We moved in when I was six; I am now 35, so we spent a long time in that house.
The first instance of possibly haunted was when we first moved in. We had put all of our stuff up in the attic. My mom had put me and my sister to bed, and her and my stepdad at the time were downstairs, just watching TV and trying to settle in. They heard what sounded like boxes being thrown, so they waited a few minutes, made sure it wasn’t me and my sister, called up like, “Hey, girls. Go to bed. It’s late, I know you guys are excited it’s a new house, but you’ve got to settle down.”
About 10 minutes later, heard the sound again. Now she was starting to get aggravated. She was like, “What is going on? You guys need to stop.” So she marches upstairs to yell at us. We’re asleep. Not a fake asleep. There’s no way we were faking that at all. We were very much asleep. So she was like, “All right, that’s a little strange.” She goes to walk downstairs and she hears the boxes being thrown again. So she runs upstairs and nothing is out of place. Nothing. So that was the first instance in that house.
Then I want to say a few months later, I’d just started kindergarten. My sister was like three. She had put us to bed again, she was downstairs watching TV. Maybe a half hour passes, and she hears what she thinks is my sister and I running up and down the hall. In my mom’s house, there’s three rooms all next to each other and there’s one long hallway and a bathroom at the end on the left side. You could hear everything. You could hear someone breathing in the rooms upstairs.
So she hears us running around, again getting aggravated, like “What’s going on?” Yells up, “Hey, go to bed. You’re not supposed to be playing.” It stops for a few minutes, starts up again. My mom is Italian and has a little bit of a temper sometimes, so she was starting to get – not happy with this. So she comes upstairs to yell at us because she’s like, “What are you guys doing out of bed?” Again, very much asleep, and not faking the sleep either.
It quieted down for a long time, until about 13 years ago. I have three siblings. There’s four of us. I have two brothers and a sister. The youngest is 15 now. When he was about three, my mom was giving him a bath. It was in the afternoon; he had come home from daycare and he was sweaty. My mom was like, “We’ll just give you a bath.”
Probably like 3:30, 4:00 in the afternoon, my mom hears the alarm from the downstairs front door go off. It makes a noise and tells you “front door.” Then she hears someone walk up the stairs, and she thought it was my brother coming home from work. So she called out to my brother, “Hey, there’s chocolate in my room if you want a snack. Go ahead and grab some. Just don’t take all of it because you know I like that candy.” He didn’t respond, but she was like, “Maybe he has his headphones on or something.”
She sees what she thinks is his legs walk past the door into her room, but she didn’t see him leave. Like 20 minutes go by, she finishes up giving my brother his bath, and she hears the front door open again. She’s like, “That’s weird. Everyone else should be home.” Then my brother calls out, “Hey Ma, where are you?”, and she’s like, “What? I’m upstairs. Weren’t you just here? Didn’t I just see you walk into my room?” He was like, “No. I just got home. I haven’t been home all day.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh, kind of doppelganger thing going on.
AMY: Yeah. And where my room was, around the same time, I would hear a man and I could see a man, and I don’t know who this man was, walk across my door and stop. I could hear heavy boots and I could feel the walls shaking. Then I’d open the door and there wouldn’t be anyone there. And there was nowhere for someone to go that I wouldn’t see them because I was literally at my door when it happened.
JIM HAROLD: Did you know anything about the history of the house?
AMY: My house was built on an old baseball diamond from the early 1900s, and that’s all we know. It was built in the early 1900s. The person that lived before there, I don’t know very much about. They were a younger couple too. My mom was younger at the time, in her early thirties. All we know is it was a baseball diamond. Mom’s tried to figure out why there would be all this activity, because she also was dating a man who came back from the bathroom one night and was like, “There’s a man in your house.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh. [laughs]
AMY: She was like, “Yeah, I hear that.”
JIM HAROLD: “That happens.”
AMY: Yeah, she’s like, “You’re not the first person to tell me that.” [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: But was there a second date? [laughs]
AMY: Honestly, I don’t know about that. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: You were talking about how you love your home state of New Jersey. It seems like you have an appreciation for this home. It’s not like you hate this house or anything like that.
AMY: I love that house. My mom moved to a beautiful house. I love her house now. She moved into a Victorian. It’s beautiful. Maybe also haunted. But this house is my favorite house. I spent my entire childhood there, and I got some good experiences out of it too. It was a win-win.
JIM HAROLD: Very cool. We’ve talked to a lot of people who have grown up in haunted houses. I think it’s a really interesting because I do think – although it seems like your whole family experienced all this, I do think children and the energy of children, things tend to manifest, and kids maybe see some things that the adults don’t pick up on. But it’s always interesting. Amy, thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire.
AMY: Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Kristina is on the line from Southern California, and she’s going to take us on a trip to Europe and the strangeness that ensued. We’re so glad to have her on the show. Kristina, welcome and tell us what happened.
KRISTINA: Hi, Jim. Thanks for having me. In 2017, my family and I did this whirlwind trip of Europe. We started in England. I really wanted to go to Dover Castle because I’d heard that it was quite haunted and I’m a fan of all things spooky. So we started in the underground tunnels in the fortress area. If you picture them, they’re arranged in the shape of a capital ‘H.’ There’s two long corridors and then, like the crossbar across the ‘H,’ there’s shorter tunnels connecting the two long corridors.
So we go underground and we’re at one end of one of the long corridors. I look down to the other end and I see this woman. She’s dressed in World War II period – like a nurse’s uniform. The underground tunnels were used as a fortress during World War II. Similar to a lot of museums in England, I thought that maybe they had actors to help immerse you in the experience. As we went through the tunnels, we went to the mess hall. There were sound effects of plates clanging. You go to the bunkroom and there’s hushed voices. Just to make it seem more realistic. So I assumed it was an actress.
By the time we got to the far end of the hall, to be honest with you I had completely forgotten that I had seen her because it was such an interesting tour. But we got to that last little corridor where I had seen the nurse and we walked in, and there was no nurse. It was the medical wing, but there was no one down there. I told my dad, “Oh man, when we walked in I thought I saw someone down here. I was fully expecting there to be this actress to be part of the experience.” My dad said that he hadn’t seen her.
The tour guide was behind us – we were almost the last ones in the group. There was just one couple behind us. The tour guide said, “Yeah, we don’t have any actors, but we’ve heard other people say that they’ve seen things down here. But no actors.” I was just so confused because I saw her plain as day. And it was quite a long tunnel, but I know what I saw.
So I’m confused, and after we’re leaving that last little medical wing, we went into this holding area, and there was a big heavy door. It was the last little area before you started to go back up this ramp to surface level. My dad and I and the tour guide get past the big heavy door, and the door just slowly closes behind us. Like I said, we were almost the last ones; there was one couple behind us, so when the door closed, it closed them in the fortress, in the tunnel. I was so shocked. It wasn’t just a little rinky-dink door. This was to prevent people from getting into the fortress, so it was big and heavy. None of us touched it.
We looked at each other. The couple knocked behind us like, “Um, hello? Let us in!” The tour guide opened up the door. My dad pushed it all the way back open. My dad is 6’3”; he’s a big guy, and I could see that it was a heavy door for him to push. And then down at the bottom there was this magnetic doorstopper that held it in place. It’s a public tour; you don’t want people getting trapped in there. So this magnet was really strong. I don’t know how the door closed behind us. No one bumped it. No one was even near it.
I’m not sure how and why it closed, but we were pretty freaked out, and the couple behind us was probably even more freaked out. We had some goosebumps. Kind of spooky. I was still tripping out about the nurse that I saw.
But the other part of the Cliffs of Dover experience was actually Dover Castle. I really wanted to go to that. It’s hundreds of years old. The fortress was cool, but I was there for the castle. So we go walking up, and it was so imposing. It gave off weird vibes. My sister and my mom don’t believe in anything paranormal, but even they were like, “Oh, I don’t know, this place is kind of spooky.”
We’re going through the castle and we get to one part where there’s a very narrow spiral staircase. My mom and sister go up the spiral staircase first. My dad and I waited at the bottom. Since the staircase was so small, we thought maybe there wasn’t going to be much room up top, so we waited at the bottom. My mom and sister weren’t up there very long – maybe 15 seconds, not long at all – and they come running down the spiral staircase. My sister is nearly in tears, freaking out, saying that they got up to the top and there was one big room, and when they got up there, they could hear a church choir singing.
And my mom nodded. She agreed. They both don’t believe in anything spooky, but they were freaking out. My dad is a believer like I am, so they were scared, but we were like, “Yes, we’re going up.” So we go up the staircase. Now, what was weird is they said that they only saw one room. When I got to the top, there were three rooms. There was one room straight ahead, but then two off to the side.
I got up there and this woman came walking by me. She was dressed in modern – I think it was a blue sweatshirt and jeans. She gave me a half-smile and she went walking down the stairs. I told my dad it must’ve been something with her that they heard and they just panicked and ran. So my dad and I explored the rooms. We went to the one on the left and it was the area of the castle where they would – it was by the main entrance gate. There was a hole in the floor where they would dump things if there was invaders. It was just so awesome and amazing to see.
They had these floodlights mounted on the castle walls, so as we’re walking back to go back downstairs, I told my dad, “Man, this place is so cool, but we’re here in the daytime. Without these floodlights, this castle would be so dark. Imagine living here when it was first built without these floodlights and just going through by candlelight.” And as soon as I said, “Imagine living here without these lights,” the power went out. It was pitch black. It was daytime, but the way it was constructed, it was just so dark.
We just stopped where we were. I was okay because my dad was there. [laughs] It was just maybe three to five seconds and then the lights came back on. Nothing happened. Could’ve been a power surge, but it was just very weird timing. So we go back downstairs, and I told my mom and sister, “We didn’t hear any church choir, but there was a woman up there. Maybe her cellphone rang or something and that’s what you heard.”
They said, “There wasn’t a woman up there.” I said, “Yeah, there were three rooms, so maybe she was in one of the rooms that you didn’t go in because you said you only saw one.” They were adamant there was only one room and that no one had come down the stairs. The stairs, like I said, were so narrow, and they were waiting for us right at the base of the stairs, so I don’t think they could’ve missed her. But I saw a woman that they didn’t see, and we saw three rooms when they saw one. They heard some spooky things.
Overall, I thought the place was amazing, but everyone was pretty creeped out by all of our experiences. So that was our day at Dover.
The next day we went on to Oslo, Norway. As I said, we were doing this whirlwind trip. My sister and I are sharing a room. My parents have a separate room. The next morning we go into my parents’ room, ready to start the day full of sightseeing, and we ask how they slept. They said, “Not well. We woke up in the middle of the night because our shower turned on.” I said, “What do you mean, your shower turned on?”
It was a twist knob. I’m always trying to explain things, even though I’m a believer. I’m trying to find a rationale explanation. I thought maybe they meant it was a little drip and there was a pressure buildup or something. But it was a full twist knob, and my mom, the nonbeliever, said, it wasn’t just a little drip, steady stream. It was a full blast, like someone was taking a shower. I don’t know if someone followed us from Dover, but it continued into Norway and the goosebumps continued the next day as well.
JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed. I know you have another story; we’ll get that on a future call. But I had a chance – I didn’t get to go anywhere other than England, but in 2019 I went to England, and that history in those old castles and things, it’s just amazing. If you can do it – and I know times are tough now, and also with the ongoing pandemic, I know that makes it tough. If you ever get the chance, take advantage of it. It’s really quite a time. Kristina, thank you for joining us on the Campfire. I look forward to talking again with you soon.
KRISTINA: Thanks, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Hey again, podcast listener! You’re still a podcast listener. You’re still listening. I wanted to tell you about yet another great free podcast from Jim Harold Media that you might not know about, and it is called Unpleasant Dreams.
That is a show that is hosted by my daughter Cassandra Harold. I’ve got to tell you, I’m a very proud Papa. Let me tell you, I’m the kind of person who is very proud of their kids, but if they’re good at something, I’ll say, “You’re doing great! You’re doing fantastic.” If they’re trying really hard, I’ll encourage them. But if they’re not good at something, I’ll say it too. [laughs] Now, my daughter Cassandra was not a very good athlete. I’ve got to admit that. And we were very supportive, but we always said, “You’re not a great athlete.”
But I’ll tell you what she is: a great podcast host. We’ve got a new show, Unpleasant Dreams, that I think you’ll love if you love Campfire and the Paranormal Podcast. This is a show I’ve thought about doing for a long time, but I thought it was time for a different voice, a young voice, a female voice. And I had one right in my house here. Cassandra recently graduated college, has a theater background, and I said, why not? Let’s give it a try.
Unpleasant Dreams is written by my intrepid assistant, Maddy Hilker. She does a fantastic job with the research and delving deep into some of these themes that we explore on the shows. Cassandra does a great job with the narration, and I chip in a little bit with the editing and all that fun stuff.
Now, here’s what’s important to you. All that stuff’s great, but that doesn’t count for you. What counts is that it’s a great show. We cover topics like number stations. We just released a show on that, those strange stations where people are just reading off numbers. What are they? Where do they come from? Well, you’ll learn more if you listen to Unpleasant Dreams.
Before the situation with the Georgia Guidestones, before all of that craziness happened, we did a show on it. We explained the history of the Georgia Guidestones. We did one on the Enfield Poltergeist in June, and another one about the curse of Little Bastard, and that is James Dean’s death car. Or maybe human cannibalism and the Donner Party back in May. Those are the kinds of topics that we cover. Unpleasant Dreams. You can find it at jimharold.com. You can also find it on your favorite podcast app – Apple Podcasts, Spotify, all the usual suspects.
So please do check it out. Unpleasant Dreams with Cassandra Harold. It’s good. Thanks.
You’re listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Nicole is on the line from Georgia. She found out about us from – who else? – Astonishing Legends. So thank you to Scott and Forrest, and be sure to check out their show if you haven’t had the chance. It’s a good one. Nicole is going to tell us about this experience that involved – well, I’ll let her tell you, but very, very eerie indeed. Nicole, welcome to the show and tell us what happened.
NICOLE: Hi, thanks for having me. At the time this happened, it was right around 2000. We were living in a little bungalow out in California, in Glendale. The house was an older house, but nothing spectacular other than that.
The master bedroom, to understand what the layout is, had this closet. It was a small closet, but it always had that weird feeling. You run into spaces in life that are just like “This feels a little strange.” The closet was one of those. About five feet from the closet was our bed in our master bedroom. At the time, my daughter was about 18 months old and I was pregnant with her sister. We were home and she was playing on the floor in the space between the bed and the closet, that five feet of space.
She was just sitting up, happy playing, and I was lying on the bed on my side, just watching her play and enjoying this parenting moment with my firstborn daughter. All of a sudden, my daughter froze. She was playing happily and then she froze, and very, very quietly and trying to stay as small as possible, she crawled up onto the bed and got right up next to me. The only way I can explain it is like an animal trying to hide, hunkering down and climbing up, trying to stay as small as she could be.
That alone was enough for me. I thought, “That’s really weird, because that’s definitely not her normal behavior.” I just had this feeling that we should probably go in the other room. I guess I’m a chicken by nature. It’s like, nope, we’re going to go in the other room.
JIM HAROLD: That makes two of us, Nicole, that makes two of us.
NICOLE: [laughs] Well, I picked her up and I put her on my hip, like you do when you carry a toddler, and we got to the door of the bedroom to walk into the hall. The way she was on my hip, her head was facing over my shoulder and she was looking back at the place where she was playing. As we walked out of the room, she waved her hand and said, “Bye-bye.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
NICOLE: And to this day, 20 years later, I still get goosebumps when I tell that story.
JIM HAROLD: “Bye-bye.”
NICOLE: It was creepy. And not long after that, I was standing in the kitchen and it was nighttime, and I was doing dishes at the sink, and there was a window in front of the sink. Because it was nighttime, I couldn’t see out the window because the light made it so that what was behind me was reflecting back like a mirror. While I was doing dishes, I caught in the reflection of the window – it looked like a shadow person walked right up behind me and walked right into me. That’s all I can explain. From behind me, just walked into me.
I just thought, “That was strange.” I wasn’t scared, and it didn’t really creep me out. It was just a very “That was weird” kind of moment. And that’s the only thing that happened in that house. I don’t know if this is related, but a couple of years later, with my then-three-year-old, who was the child I was carrying at the time all of this other stuff happened, I was putting her in bed one night and she says, “You know, Mommy, I died in the ’80s. My family died in a car accident.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my God.
NICOLE: I thought, “Okay…” I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask more questions about it and see what she said. But instead, I said, “Really? Is that true? Is that a memory or is that a story that you’re making up?” She looked at me and she had this moment in her eyes like, “Uh-oh, I’m not supposed to say this, and she says, “It’s a story.” But the look on her face was just like “I’ve been busted. I’m not supposed to say this.” I don’t know if that’s related or what that’s about.
JIM HAROLD: That’s an odd thing for a small child to say.
NICOLE: Yeah. It’s funny because as a toddler, before this, in her car seat, if we’d be driving down the road, she always wanted to listen to classic music. She would get excited if she saw a classic car go by. I just always thought she’s got an old soul or she just likes that stuff, but then when she said she died in the ’80s, I’m thinking maybe she was into ’70s music. I don’t know.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. Well, it’s a mystery. The more I delve into this, the less convinced I am of any one theory, but I’m more convinced that there’s something going on. This is not our collective imagination. There’s definitely something going on. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey on the Campfire tonight.
NICOLE: Thanks so much for having me.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the program is Erin from my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. Don’t sleep on Cleveland. It’s a lot nicer than you think. Anyway, Erin is on the line, and we appreciate it. She’s going to take us back to her earlier years and tell us about a place she spent the night. I’m gathering it may not have been the most pleasant experience. Erin, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
ERIN: Hi, Jim. Thanks for having me. I work in the music business, and I was on one of my very first road trips to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had a band playing at an incredible venue called The Rave, Eagles Ballroom. If you have any interest, you should check into that. It’s crazy haunted, and the pool is totally scary. But we had a really great show with one of our bands for this radio station WLUM.
After the show, myself and the program director – her name is Michelle – went back to where I was staying, the Ambassador Inn. I don’t know if you know about the history of the Ambassador Inn, but there is a strong Jeffrey Dahmer connection. That’s a story for another time. But I didn’t have much time when I checked in to actually get a feel for the room or lay of the land. I threw my stuff into my room and hauled it across the street to the venue.
So we come back around 12:30 in the morning and she’s checking out the room, because I don’t think she’s ever been there at this point. This is back in 2011. The room layout is important. First, you enter this hotel and you get into these really creepy elevators where you open the door and you have to get in and there’s a series of doors, and automatically I was claustrophobic. It totally weirded me out.
We headed up – I think I was on the third floor, if my memory serves. We entered my room, and you walk in the room, there’s immediately a bathroom on your right, and you’re staring at what would be the couch and the table in the middle. To the right of the room is my bed, and to the left is a desk. So it’s quite long, and if you’re sitting on the bed, you can’t see the entryway to the room. That comes into play in a little bit.
So it’s about 12:30 in the morning, and like any might’ve-had-a-couple-drinks, two ladies on the town do, we order some pizza. We order some snacks. We talk for about two hours. We eat all of our food. It totally sobers us up, and she leaves and I get ready for bed. It’s about 2:30 in the morning. I had to be up at 6 a.m. to head to Chicago with that same band. Someone was picking me up
So I get ready for bed, I’m at the far right of the room, I lie down, and I’m like, “Okay, convince yourself. You can get a good three hours before you head out onto the next day.” I close my eyes and I realize that there is just so much light coming in the room from this little parking lot that they have off the entrance. So I get up and I’m like, okay, let’s close the curtains. I have a set of curtains right next to me and a set of curtains at the far end of the room.
Now, if you remember the metal rings on curtains – sometimes you see them on shower curtains, but these were on actual room curtains – you know the sound they make when they slide. It’s approaching 3 a.m. I look at the clock and I’m like, “I have to be up in three hours. This is insane. Okay, I’m going to convince myself to go to bed.” So I shut the curtains at the far end, I come back, I shut the curtains right next to me, and I’m like, “All right, it’s about time that I close my eyes.”
I’m drifting off to sleep and I hear that very distinct metal sound of metal rings on a metal pole, moving. I open my eyes and I turn my head, and the curtain is, again, right next to me. Half the curtain has been closed and half the curtain has been opened. I said out loud, “Okay, we like them open. You got it.” I then got up, turned on every light in the room, sat back on the bed, and just stared straight ahead till about 5:45 in the morning until my counterpart was coming to get me at 6 a.m.
It was unbelievable because I can still hear it. I have goosebumps. I can still feel it. There was something that just decided that window needed to be open. It wanted to look into the small parking lot, and it was their decision and I was just to oblige. To me, it felt – I don’t even know why it’s still imprinted on me – it felt like a small child, and I just said, “Okay, you got it. No problem.” To this day, I will not stay at that hotel again. But they have a bar and restaurant, and there is a public bathroom on that first floor I will not go into alone. There is some crazy energy in that hotel. It’s a fascinating property. It’s super cool, but to me it’s got a lot going on, and after that night, I don’t have the stones to do it again.
JIM HAROLD: For you, a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to stay there.
ERIN: Yes, exactly. It was crazy.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. I mean, the first thought I would’ve had was, is there – not a ghost or not a spirit, but is there a person in this room?
ERIN: The way the room was laid out, it was super long. You had the bed and then you get to the couch and then you get to the desk. I was like, “Hello?” And then I realized I was by myself, and I realized I had just shut it and it had opened. It wasn’t a dream. I was like, immediately, “Okay, great. Whatever you want, you get. I’m just a guest in whatever this is.” It’s one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had, and after listening to the Campfire I was like “I’ve got to tell this story,” because there’s other people that have had experiences at the Ambassador Inn that I know. But yeah, I can’t stay again.
JIM HAROLD: That’s an awesome story. I know you found us from And That’s Why We Drink, Christine and Me. They’re always so nice to mention the show, and it’s interesting – you’re in Cleveland, but you heard about us from another podcast clear across the country, and we appreciate them and every time they mention the show. And certainly if there’s one person out there who has not checked out And That’s Why We Drink, make sure you do that. By the way, they also – I don’t know if they are now, but they were just recently on the New York Times Best Seller List for their book, A Haunted Road Atlas, I think it is. That may not be the exact title, but look them up. You’ll find it.
Erin, I love the story, and thank you so much for joining us today on the Campfire.
ERIN: Thanks, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Mallorie is on the line from Seattle, Washington. So glad to have her on the show. She’s going to take us back to her childhood years. She lived in Japan for a time, and well, she certainly has a story to tell. Mallorie, thank you for joining us and please tell us what happened.
MALLORIE: Thank you. I lived in Japan. We moved there when I was 13 and my brother was 10. My dad worked for the Department of Defense, so we moved over there for a few years. We weren’t military. This was not common to our family to move around.
The base housing wasn’t ready for us. We had to wait for a little bit, so we had to live off base for a while. So we found this house off base. I’m not really familiar with Japanese architecture, so I would say it was probably a fairly newish house. It was nice. The first day we were moving in, my parents had to go back to the base to pick up the rest of our stuff. So they tell me and my brother to stay in the house, just lock the doors, “We’ll be back. It’s really safe.” Me and my brother are like, “Okay.”
And this is 2003, so we didn’t have smartphones to keep us entertained. We didn’t really have anything to keep us entertained except each other, and we decided to just argue. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: That’s something siblings do.
MALLORIE: Yeah. So we were just bickering, and we were sitting downstairs in the living room. The A/C was on, and my mom had said, “Open up all the doors upstairs to the bedrooms and stuff, air it out.” It was still hot and humid at this time outside. So we’re sitting downstairs, bickering, we’re bored, poking at each other, and we hear this wham! upstairs. Both of us stop and look at each other and we’re like, “Oh, okay, that was just a door. The wind just blew the doors closed. That’s okay, that’s okay.” We go back to whatever we’re doing, our conversation or whatever.
Then again, a few seconds later, we hear wham! again. Then me and my brother really look at each other and we’re like, “The windows aren’t open. There’s no wind. We just have the A/C on.” Then we start arguing about who needs to go up and check. He’s like, “You need to go up because you’re oldest,” and I’m like, “You need to go up because” – and I had no good reason, so I was like ,”Okay, I’ll go up first and then you have to follow me, Sky.” His name is Skylar. He’s like, “Okay.”
We go up the stairs and we’re shaking in our boots. We’re so afraid. We crest the top of the stairs and I’m expecting to see the doors closed because that’s what I had heard. We get to the top of the stairs and all the doors are wide open. My brother and I just high-tail it out of that house and we sit outside for like 45 minutes until my parents come home. They’re like, “What’s going on?” We’re like, “Dad, there’s somebody in the house!” He checks it and there’s no one there.
So we move in, and I just have the weirdest experiences in this house. I would wake up in the middle of the night smelling sulfur. And at that time I had no idea what sulfur was. It was really creepy.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, that doesn’t have a good association. That’s associated with hell and the devil.
MALLORIE: Yeah, and I had no idea what it was. It wasn’t until I think like 11th grade, I was in a chemistry class and I smelled sulfur and I was like “Oh my God, that’s what that was when I was in” – junior high, I guess at this time. So I’d wake up and smell sulfur, and there was this overpowering sense in me that said “Do not open your eyes.” Just over and over, “Do not open your eyes. Do not open your eyes.” So I would hide under my blankets and try to go back to sleep.
Then there were times where I’d wake up in the middle of the night and there’d be all these spiders crawling out, all over my ceiling. I hate spiders. They’re the thing that I’m most terrified of. So I’d wake up and there’s all these spiders everywhere, and I would scream and run into my parents’ room.
Then there were times when I would wake up – one of the walls in my room was a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe type thing. It was built into the house, so it came with the house. But the front of the doors were all mirrored, so it was like a wall of mirrors. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and I would get this overwhelming sense of like “Do not look in the mirrors. Don’t look in the mirrors. Don’t look anywhere. Just keep your eyes closed.”
Then one night I woke up and I heard this chanting. It was like 2 a.m. and I was like, “This is really weird.” We lived near – I think it was a Shinto temple. Maybe it was a Buddhist temple. I think it was a Japanese Shinto temple. I thought, “Oh, that’s probably them doing whatever it is that they’re doing.” I told my friend the next day at school – she’s half-Japanese, half-American -and she looked me dead in the eye and she was like, “That wasn’t them. They don’t do chants at 2 a.m., and you wouldn’t hear it if they were.” I was like, okay.
Fast forward like 20 years. Me and my brother Sky, he’s over at my house, and I said, “Hey Sky, do you remember anything from that house? Did you ever have any weird experiences there?” Because we grew up pretty religious, so we didn’t have narratives around spirits or ghosts or hauntings or anything like that. So I never told anyone about this. I just kept it to myself and we moved out of that house and it was fun.
So I asked Sky, “Hey Sky, did you ever have any weird experiences?” And he said, “You know what? I didn’t, but my friend who stayed the night did.” He told me this story of he had this friend over and they were playing in his room, and then they went to sleep, and my brother was sleeping on his bed and his friend was sleeping on a rollout mat and a sleeping bag on the floor, like you did in the early 2000s. The next morning, Skylar wakes up and his friend is really mad at him. Sky is like, “What is going on?”
His friend was like, “Why were you touching my feet last night?” Skylar was like, “I wasn’t touching your feet. I didn’t wake up.” The kid was like, “No, you were touching my feet, you were tugging on my feet, you were playing with my feet all night long.” And we didn’t have pets or anything. Sky was like, “No, I didn’t,” and that kid never came back to our house to spend the night. He never came back around again.
JIM HAROLD: I don’t blame him.
MALLORIE: Me neither. And then the final thing I’ll say on this house – when I was talking to Sky about this in current day, recent day, like last year, Skylar goes, “Do you remember that time that we raced into the hallway in the middle of the night at the same time and we ran into each other and we were so scared?” I was like, “Whoa, I forgot about that.”
We can’t figure out what woke us up, but something woke me and my brother up at the exact same time, and we were so frightened, we ran into the hallway and we collided with each other because we were so scared of whatever had woken us up at the exact same moment. And then we went and found our parents and stuff.
I asked my mom – because she was a stay-at-home mom. I was like ,”Did you ever have any experiences in this house?” She was like, “No. I was there all day, every day, and I didn’t have anything happen to me.” So I don’t know. That’s my story.
JIM HAROLD: That is a great one, though. We’ve had stories from people, particularly Americans, who lived maybe near family, were military, and we’ve had some stories like that. We’ve had some stories emanating from Japan. I think we’ve actually had a caller or two from Japan itself, native Japanese. Very, very interesting indeed.
I know that you have a second story, a headscratcher. We’ll have to catch that one next time. But Mallorie, thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire.
MALLORIE: Thanks so much, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Becky is on the line from Toledo, Ohio – a fellow Buckeye. This is her third time of being on the show. A special mention and thank you: she told her friend Kerry about the show, and Kerry and her daughter Anna have become big fans of it and enjoy the Campfire every week. So we want to say hey to them. Becky is going to tell us about a very spooky place in Toledo. Becky, welcome to the show and please tell us about this spooky Ohio haunt.
BECKY: Thank you, Jim. I have a few stories. This takes place at our very – well, mine and my family’s beloved Oliver House that’s also a part of Maumee Bay Brewery, and they have an upscale restaurant part of that that I can’t remember the name of, and they also have apartment complexes above that as well. So it’s multi-versed, along with a bar in the basement. It’s actually a very wonderful place to visit just to go and enjoy the architecture.
I’m going to tell my stories a little bit out of order. My first two were very recent. I went with Kerry, Anna, and Kerry’s husband, Jimmy, and my family. We met; we were getting reacquainted after a little bit together. We were very excited. This is just mine and Kerry’s thing. We talked about ghost hunting, “we want to go here, we want to go there.” This was our very first experience together.
We decided to, at the end of our meal, leave the table and we would say we were going to the restroom, but in actuality we were going to go explore. [laughs] We were just peeking around, looking in rooms and stuff. One of the servers kind of startled us; he was like, “Hey, what are you doing?” We were like, “We are kind of looking around.”
He was super friendly, went through a little bit of this, a little bit of that and said, “You know, downstairs used to be Mutz. They have a jazz band playing down there. If you want to go down there, go check it out. You just go through the ballroom and head around down the circular stairs.” That’s all we needed to hear because we were ready to go in the ballroom. We went through the ballroom, kind of looked around. It was super dark but we managed to get down, and we listened to the jazz band for a few minutes, and then we were like “Okay, time to go back up to the ballroom.”
We were just standing there, taking everything in. He had mentioned there was this big safe behind the bar that was no longer used, and we were really interested in that, even though we couldn’t really see too much. And I don’t care how old you are; if it’s something you’re interested in, you’re going to get a little giddy. We were like, “Oh my God, this is so cool.” Kerry says, “If there’s somebody here that would like to speak to us, we’re listening.” Nothing happened.
We just stood there for a minute and we decided, “All right, we’re done.” We went to walk away. Anna was just a little bit ahead of me, and Kerry was behind me, and from behind her we heard the closing, very hard, of a cover for a piano right over the keys. And you could hear the residual – even of the strings of the keys of the piano. Of course, we did what anybody might do that’s not brave and we screamed and ran back to the table.
JIM HAROLD: Perfectly logical reaction, I’ve got to say.
BECKY: I was not expecting that. I don’t think any of us were. Harry, Jimmy, and Anna left, and my husband and I decided to stay and have another drink. Our server came around and I said, “Hey, this is what just happened.” He looked at me and said, “You heard a piano?” I said, “Yeah.” He goes, “Well, there is no piano in the ballroom.” Needless to say, I’m very intrigued by the fact that there’s no piano in the ballroom but we heard one.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’ve always been fascinated by this idea of phantom music from instruments that aren’t there. That’s always really interesting to me.
BECKY: Right. I almost felt like somebody was mad at us, like we interrupted them or something. I don’t know. It was a little spooky. And of course, that just made me want to go back again. On Mother’s Day, my husband and I and our kids went with another family, Ken and Michelle and their son, Dylan. Everything was very normal for that meal, and we decided once everything was done – we went downstairs and decided to have another drink at the bar off the lobby. Everything was all said and done, we were leaving.
Oh, and when we were eating – I guess I did leave out one important thing – there was a baby that was very quite when we first arrived, but eventually started crying, kind of like an angry cry. No big deal. I’m a mom of three; didn’t bother me at all. They left at the same time we went downstairs to have a drink. So we all decide, “We’re going to go to the restroom, we’re going to leave.”
Ken, who actually introduced me to your show, asked the host as we’re hearing a baby cry upstairs, “Wow, I thought they left.” She goes, “Oh, no, that’s another family with another baby. Very interesting, because babies are calm, they’re quiet, they’re happy or they’re sleeping, and they mostly leave screaming and crying.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy, that’s kind of spooky.
BECKY: I thought so too. My very first experience, actually – and it’s my favorite, even though it’s not mine, it’s my husband’s – we went with a group of friends, must’ve been about 2015-2016, and everything seemed normal except for my husband was driving me crazy because he’s not normally a wiggle worm kind of person in his seat, but he could not sit still. Finally I just whispered to him, like, “What the heck are you doing? You’re driving me crazy.” He’s like, “I am getting pulled away from the table.” I’m like, “Excuse me?” He says, “Watch.” He lifted his feet and his hands, and it took a second, but then he and the chair went backwards, away from the table.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
BECKY: Yes. I have tried to debunk that. He tried to debunk that while we were there. He was looking at the water level in the glasses, looking at the table, looking at the floor. We can’t quite figure that one out.
JIM HAROLD: Very interesting. It does seem like it’s a really haunted place.
BECKY: We did get the manager when Kerry and Anna and Jimmy were with us. The manager did come sit down with us and he did tell us some stories. If there’s anybody who’s working there who’s very interested in the paranormal and what they do in that building, generally if they’re not busy, they will sit down and tell you some of their experiences.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. So they don’t try to hide it.
BECKY: No, they do not.
JIM HAROLD: It’s interesting. Some places embrace it and they use it as even marketing to get people to come, and then – I was at one hotel one time, and I was asking around. I thought, “Hey, I’m here. This place has to be haunted.” I looked up and, lo and behold, I found some stories. I asked somebody and they said, “Eh, we don’t talk about that.” [laughs] Out of respect to them, I won’t mention the hotel. I just think some people don’t like to be associated with it, and others embrace it and realize it kind of puts butts in seats. People will come see haunted places to have that experience, or even the potential of having that experience.
BECKY: Absolutely. On a side note, I definitely will be back for that reason, but it’s such a fun atmosphere. The staff is usually very energetic when it comes to if you are there for that reason, along with having a couple drinks. They absolutely love it and eat it up.
JIM HAROLD: That’s cool. Becky, thank you so much for being a part of the Campfire.
BECKY: Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you so much for joining us today on the Campfire. I appreciate it. Some really great stories. We thank all of our storytellers. Of course, we thank you for listening. We appreciate it very much.
Also, a word to our sponsors: when you’re listening to my shows, please do support those sponsors because they are so important. What they do is essentially make these shows possible. Without the sponsors and, of course, our great Plus Club members, we could not continue at the pace that we do. I might be able to put out one show a month, not 20 episodes a month, between our sponsor sand our Plus Club members. Plus Club is over at jimharoldplus.com. That’s what makes these shows possible. So we thank both of those constituencies, and we would like you to support our sponsors.
I want you to know, I turn a lot of advertisers down. I only talk about things that I feel are worthy of you. I want you to know that. We don’t take every sponsor that comes down the pike. So if we take someone, we feel that it’s something we should bring forth to you.
We thank you so much for listening today. We appreciate it. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody, and stay spooky. Bye-bye.
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.