Stories of hauntings, UFOs and more on this edition of Campfire!
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EMILY: My eyes moved to a cluster of stars up in the sky, and there were about four or five of them. One of these stars started to move away from the cluster of stars that I was watching. It wasn’t brighter, it wasn’t larger than any other. It looked like the star just got unstuck.
JIM HAROLD: That’s Emily from Washington state telling her UFO story – and that’s not all on this week’s Campfire. We’ve got hauntings, we’ve got a guardian angel, we’ve got so much more spookiness on this edition of Jim Harold’s Campfire.
Welcome to our gathering tonight. Here we share stories of ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary things. Sit back, relax, and warm yourself by Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Campfire. I am Jim Harold, and if you are new here, what we do is we simply share true stories from regular folks who have experienced something supernatural, something strange. Could be ghosts, could be cryptid creatures, could be UFOs, or my favorite, headscratchers. But whatever they are, they are fascinating and they are true. So glad to welcome you here, whether this is your first sitting with us or if you’ve listened to hundreds of episodes.
Here we like to get right to the content. I know we’re coming up on Thanksgiving, so I just want to say a word of thanks to each and every one of you who have tuned in. And please tell a friend today and make sure to follow on the podcast app of your choice. And with that, we will get right to these things that I’m very thankful for – these great Campfire stories.
Bethany is on the line from Vermont. She’s been listening for 10 years. My goodness. Bethany, I wish I could give you a gold star. And that kind of fits because Bethany is a teacher, and actually, that plays into her very interesting story. Bethany, welcome to the show. Thank you for listening all these years, and please tell us this story. I absolutely love it.
BETHANY: Thank you so much, Jim. This story takes place just outside of Boston in a small city, in a Catholic school. I was teaching fifth grade for the first time. At the end of every day, for dismissal, I would take my kids outside to still be on school property, but far away from any roads or streets. One day, after I dismissed all of my kids, I went inside and apparently it started to rain. Within a couple of minutes, one of my students who had been dismissed ran inside and told me that another student had been hurt. So I rushed outside to see what was going on, and sure enough, one of my students had slipped on the wet pavement and fallen down a flight of concrete steps.
I was very concerned, and my blood pressure shot up, and I was very anxious. What I noticed, however, was that my student was lying on the ground, he was having trouble breathing, but there was an older woman who was sitting with him and speaking to him in a very calm, gentle manner. I could tell just by the sound of her voice that my student was being reassured. Even though he had a lot of anxiety over what was happening and whatever physical damage was happening, he was feeling very comforted.
I called 911; I answered all the questions that people ask when you call 911, and then other students and teachers came out to see if there was something that they could do to help the student that had fallen. The ambulance came within a few minutes. It was great. When the ambulance arrived, my student, my student’s older sister, who was with him, and the admin assistant all went into the ambulance. They were going to meet my student’s mother at the hospital. The admin assistant went because she was an adult, but also because she spoke fluent Spanish, and my student’s mother mostly spoke Spanish.
As the ambulance pulled away, I thought, “I really need to thank this older woman who was with my student,” because I could tell he was in pain and he was having so much anxiety over what was happening. I looked all over, and not a lot of time had passed, so if anything, I could’ve seen her walking in the distance. But she was nowhere to be found.
JIM HAROLD: Huh.
BETHANY: I was thinking about that and I thought, “Well, I don’t know who she is, but I’m new; I don’t know anybody.” But a little bit later, I spoke to the guidance counselor, who was also there, and he had been there for eight years. He knew a lot of people in the community. I said, “Do you know who that older woman was with my student?” He said, “No, I’ve never seen her before.” I thought, “Okay.”
Later that night, I gave the admin assistant a call just to check up on my student, see if everything went okay at the hospital, just to follow up. The admin assistant said, “Everybody’s fine. There weren’t any large problems. Everybody made it and everything’s fine.” I was very relieved to hear that.
I said, “There’s something that’s not quite making sense. There was an older woman who was with my student.” The admin assistant said, “Yeah. And she just left. She just disappeared.” I said, “Yeah. Did you know who that was?” This woman had been part of the community forever; her family had been part of the community forever, so she really knew everybody. And she had no idea who this woman was. She said, “She just disappeared. I have no idea who she was.”
I said, “What do you think this was?”, and very matter-of-factly, she just said, “Oh, I think it was your student’s guardian angel.” I was thinking about it. I am a believer; I’m very open, but I always have a layer of skepticism. So I wasn’t completely thinking that way. But once the admin assistant said, “I honestly think it was his guardian angel,” I believed so too.
I’ve thought about this over the last couple of years, what could’ve happened, what was that. It was an older woman. She had very similar coloring to my student. They were from Honduras. Maybe similar features. So I do have a theory.
JIM HAROLD: Maybe it was a relative of some type?
BETHANY: Yeah, possibly it was somebody from his extended family who had passed away.
JIM HAROLD: It’s one of those things where I’ve heard this so many times, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s so funny because I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, and – I think this was when 9/11 happened. It was towards the end of his illustrious career, and they were talking about – I believe this is correct – how to tell kids about 9/11 and try to explain it to them and those kinds of things. It’s a horrible thing to explain. He said, “In times of crisis, look for the helpers.”
I believe that we have a lot of flesh and blood helpers, people who help us like the people that came on the ambulance and so forth, but I also believe from time to time, we have other, more mysterious helpers that come from somewhere, whether it’s a guardian angel, a past loved one, whatever it might be. I’ve heard it quite a few times, and I’m sure, listening for 10 years, you’ve heard those things on this show. I believe it’s a real thing and it does happen, and thank goodness it does.
BETHANY: Absolutely. I completely agree with you.
JIM HAROLD: Well, I’ve got to say, thank you so much for listening for 10 years. I appreciate it, Bethany. And thank you for being a teacher. I don’t think our teachers get enough credit, so a big shoutout to you and all of our teachers. Thanks for being a part of the Campfire and sharing this tremendous story.
BETHANY: Thank you so much, Jim. Have a great day.
JIM HAROLD: Emily is on the line from Seattle, Washington. We’re so glad to have her on the program. She’s been listening since the beginning of the pandemic, and she was informed of us by the great Astonishing Legends, Scott and Forrest. Please make sure to check out all of their fantastic podcasts. Emily is going to tell us a couple of stories, and she’s going to start with the star that moved. Emily, welcome to the show, thanks for joining us, and tell us what happened.
EMILY: Thanks, Jim. About 18 years ago, I was visiting my aunt and uncle’s house. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and they live far outside of the city, so there is very little light pollution up where they live. We were sitting around a bonfire, and me and my uncle were really the only ones hanging out around the bonfire. I was watching the stars, and my eyes moved to a cluster of stars up in the sky. There were about four or five of them.
One of these stars started to move away from the cluster of stars that I was watching. It wasn’t brighter, it wasn’t larger than any other. It looked like the star just got unstuck from the sky. And it wasn’t moving. It wasn’t like it caught my eye when it was already moving. I was looking at these stars. And there’s so many stars in the sky when you don’t have light pollution.
So I’m watching it move and I’m thinking maybe it’s a satellite or something, and then I watched it make a 90-degree turn. I was following it to the left of my vision; then it makes a 90-degree turn and it starts traveling upward on my vision. After I’m following it with my eyes, it starts to curl backwards towards the way it was just coming from, and then it made another sharp, angular turn towards the left of my vision, like a 45-degree angle, and it was continuing on the path. And then it just disappeared.
The entire thing, it wasn’t like watching it go across the night sky. It was near the stars where it originally started, so it was moving and dancing around in that area. And then, after it disappeared, I looked at my uncle, because he was sitting at the fire, and he said, “Did you just see that?” I was like, “Yeah.” He just said, “Yeah.” [laughs] And that was it. We didn’t talk about it. But we both saw it.
I’ve looked online to see how satellites move, if they can do sharp turns, if they just go willy-nilly in the sky, but it doesn’t appear like that. And I’ve read a lot of things that people have seen things like that, but they don’t even know if it’s a satellite either.
JIM HAROLD: The thing is that now it would be a little harder to tell because you have things like Starlink. But you didn’t have that back then.
EMILY: Yeah, this was like 18 years ago.
JIM HAROLD: Exactly. I really appreciate when people call in with their UFO stories because everybody thinks Campfire is just ghosts – and that’s certainly a huge part of what we do, but I love to hear UFO stories, so thank you for that. And then you have another story about a light, right?
EMILY: Yes, another thing. I’ve never seen ghosts, but I’ve seen strange things in the sky. A few years before that, I was like 15 years old, so I was in high school, and I was sound asleep in my bed. And then I was awoken by a bright, bright light shining from the outside into my bedroom. This was probably 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., and I woke up to see my whole room illuminated, like someone turned on the lights.
Then after a moment, it went dark. And it wasn’t fast. It was just on for a few seconds, off for a few seconds, and then the light came back on. I was like, “Maybe my dad is leaving for work and his headlights are shining into my bedroom window.” But his truck doesn’t face my bedroom window, so I was like, “Okay, that’s not it.” And then the light came back on, and I was like, “Maybe there’s a creeper outside shining a light in my room.” When the light came back on, both of my windows, facing south and facing east, were illuminated. So I was like, “Okay, it’s not that.”
I thought maybe it was a helicopter with a spotlight because it kept coming on and off, and on and then off. I was like, “Okay, maybe it’s a helicopter, they’re looking for someone.” I decided, “I’m going to go into the other room,” which is the family room – my bedroom shares a wall with it, and there’s floor-to-ceiling windows. I was like, “I’m going to go out, take a nice look, and see what’s making this light.”
I look out the window and I see a round light in the sky. It was unmoving, just a static spotlight. It was about two blocks away. This is in the suburbs, so each house was about two or three floors. This one was like three to four stories above the houses, and like I said, it was a round light. When it went out, I strained my eyes to see what it could be, like if it was being supported by something, but I was unable to see anything at all. It would light up and I would see that big bright circle, and my whole living room and family room were illuminated by this.
I thought about waking my brother up, but I decided that it wasn’t worth waking anyone up, so I went back to my bedroom, and this thing was still going on and off. I just covered my head and I went back to sleep because I was like, “I can’t do anything about this strange thing that I’m witnessing.”
In the morning when I woke up, I expected to see some sort of scaffolding, like if they were doing roadwork or a crane, something to suspend one of those giant spotlights that they shine up into the sky to promote car sales and stuff. But there was nothing. There was nothing there. And the next day at school, I asked a lot of people, “Hey, did you see anything weird last night?” But nobody did.
I really wish that I had woken up my brother because it was such a strange feeling that I’m seeing this thing, I can’t explain it. It was a white light, and it was so bright, and like I said, it was two blocks away, and it was lighting up the whole interior of my house – which had to have been a fairly bright light. And that’s it. I don’t know what it was.
JIM HAROLD: Well, I applaud you for not just blowing it off and saying, “That must’ve been a dream or my imagination.” Actually, in both cases, you’ve taken this seriously that it’s something to hold on to and ponder. I think a lot of times we all see weird things in the sky and we’re like, “Eh, it’s just a satellite, it’s just a plane or something like that,” when maybe we should be paying a little more attention to the skies – specifically based on what’s happened in the last couple of years with all the news coming out about UFOs. I’m guessing that you pay close attention to all of that.
EMILY: Yes, I do. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: I think that’s smart. And I think for people like you who are experiencers – and I can’t speak to that because I’ve not really had a crazy UFO sighting. I mean, I’ve seen a green ball of what I think was space junk one time, but it wasn’t like something you talked about in the first story, the 90-degree – nothing like that. But I would think if you’ve had those kind of remarkable experiences like you have, it’s got to make you feel better. It’s got to vindicate you.
EMILY: Yeah, definitely the first one, when we saw the star get unstuck and move around – I was in awe. It wasn’t scary. It was amazing that I was seeing this thing. The other one made me feel a little more unnerved, like, “Why is this thing in the suburbs?”
JIM HAROLD: Right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it, and stay spooky.
EMILY: Thank you.
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Now, I’ve got a story that I’m going to be sharing. It’s kind of a cute story. When I was a little kid, my mom dressed up for some kind of – we were going out or something. I can’t remember. She dressed to the nines. She wasn’t that way; she was very salt-of-the-earth. I guess I was four or five years old and I literally blurted out, “Mom, you look like a damn movie star!” [laughs] And apparently that got a big chuckle. She said, in her words, she didn’t know whether she was going to spank me or she was just going to laugh. She ended up laughing. She thought it was so funny. Those are the kinds of stories that you forget, that get hidden, but Storyworth brings those out and allows you to save those for the ages.
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You’re listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the Campfire is a fellow Ohioan, O-H-I-O, and she’s calling in today and she’s going to take us back to her childhood. She said it might possibly be a headscratcher – and after I read it, I would say she was wrong; it’s not possibly a headscratcher, it is a headscratcher. Jessica, welcome to the show. I know you’ve been listening for about four years, so thank you, and tell us your story.
JESSICA: Absolutely, Jim. Thank you so much for having me on. This story, I’ve been thinking about calling in for a long time. After listening to other callers, I was thinking this seems to happen to a lot of people. The ghost stories, the headscratchers. I didn’t think anything had really happened to me in my life until I kept going back to this event, and then I thought to myself, “There’s actually something to this story.”
Back when I was a kid – I’d say probably between 9 and 12; I know that’s kind of a wide age range – I was sharing a room with my younger sister, and my bed was situated in one corner of the room and her bed was situated in the opposite corner of the room. So our beds were not next to each other. There was some distance between us. We had our own space in the same bedroom.
That night in particular, I was laying out a set of clothes that I was planning on wearing the next day. I believe this was some sort of picture day. I still cannot find this picture where I was wearing this set of clothes, but it could’ve been a school picture day, church, Vacation Bible School, Sunday school, something of that sort. So I was planning my outfit.
Meanwhile, I have this wicker rocking chair. Looks just like your regular Grandma’s rocking chair, but it’s child-sized. It was a gift give to me from one of my uncles, so I treasured it, I loved it. I put my dolls on it. That night, I folded my clothes, put them on the chair, and went to bed like any other night.
At one point in the night – I don’t know what time it was, but it was the late hours – I happened to wake up. I looked around, I looked at the end of my bed, and sitting at the foot of my bed, but a couple feet in the air and hovering there at the end was what looked to me like the same chair with what seemed to be a girl. I can’t say that she looked like me completely, but that was the best way I could describe her because she was wearing the same outfit that I was supposed to wear the next day.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
JESSICA: It really freaked me out. Now, when I was a kid, I was totally into the paranormal stuff. Ghost stories, haunted houses, pictures of ghosts you find online, all that stuff, and I loved it. At this point I’m thinking, “This is crazy and nobody’s going to believe me” because I know I am 100% awake. So I already had that thought in my mind.
But before I made the decision to go back to bed, I crawled out of my covers, crawled towards the end of the bed, waved my hand through it at the end of the bed – because I thought maybe this was like a vacuum cleaner at the end of the bed, maybe there was a jacket on top of it and I was having one of those weird hallucinations at night sometimes.
JIM HAROLD: Right.
JESSICA: There was nothing there, and I was so terrified I crawled back to the top of my bed, turned on my lamp next to me on my bedside table. I even said my sister’s name, looked around. She was sound asleep. I want was terrified, and I knew if I ran upstairs to my parents – because our room was in the basement – I’d most likely get in trouble or told “Go back to bed, it’s nothing.” I ended up just crawling back into bed, turning off the light, pulling the covers over my head, and I tried to fall back asleep. I ended up falling back asleep, and I remember telling myself that morning, “This was real. You were not sleeping. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”
I toyed with the idea of mentioning it, not mentioning it. I brought it up at breakfast, and of course, my parents laughed. “It was probably just a dream.” But my dad actually had a very interesting thought that I didn’t really think more about until I got older. He brought up that it could’ve been a parallel universe type of thing, a time slip. I thought that was crazy when I was a kid. I thought ghosts were more believable than that. But the older I get, the more I hear stories, I hear your callers’ stories, and it just makes me think this universe is so vast and unknown to us, we really can’t exclude anything in these situations.
I’ve never had that happen again to me. I have very vivid dreams. I have since I was a kid; I still do. And I’ve never had a dream where it made me feel like I was completely awake, where I questioned whether or not I was awake. I still know the difference.
JIM HAROLD: Did you experience anything supernatural in the house? Or was that it?
JESSICA: Nothing solid. I have a bunch of siblings, but I am the third of nine, so back when I was younger, there weren’t as many of my siblings born yet. But I still have two older sisters that are ahead of me in age, and there were times we would be at home, our parents went to the grocery store, we were watching each other – we were old enough to do that – but one of my sisters would say, “I just heard a voice in our parents’ bedroom” or “I just saw a shadow.” I think some of it she was joking around, but then my other sister said that she saw stuff. And I have a younger sister that said that she saw stuff and heard things.
And actually, there was an instance where I did hear what I thought was the humming of a child. We did have a bathroom in the basement as well, and I just got out of the shower and was getting dressed, and I thought maybe one of my sisters was down there. By the time I got up the stairs – because I got my clothes and got dressed and ran up the stairs – I realized I was the only one down there at the time.
So we had little things here and there, but nothing that anybody is like, “Oh yeah, for sure that happened, that was a ghost, I’m sticking to it.” But I talk to my parents about it now – I think I told them I was going to be on your podcast. I think I told my mom. I told her, “I’m almost 31 years old now, and I still stand by my conviction that that was something that did happen while I was awake, and I knew it wasn’t of this world.”
JIM HAROLD: Well, it certainly seems that way. That would be pretty terrifying to a small child. Or at least, it would’ve been to me, I know. It’d be terrifying to me now, and I’m most decidedly not a child. Jessica, thank you so much for sharing this story on the Campfire.
JESSICA: Absolutely. It was my pleasure, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Irene is back. She is a return caller from Washington state, and this time she’s going to tell us about sleep paralysis, but specifically a terrifying aspect of that for her: being held down by something. That’s definitely scary, and there’s more to the story, and she’s going to tell us. Irene, welcome to the show and thank you for joining us.
IRENE: Thank you for having me back. This happened in the beginning of August. I was sleeping, and I sleep in the superman pose with one arm out, one tucked under. The same thing with my legs. I feel this brush on the bottom of my foot, which wakes me up, and then I feel a body that is crawling into my bed. It partially is lying on me, and I cannot move. I am frozen.
I am trying to formulate the word “No,” and I’m trying really hard to see if I can actually move my outstretched hand to see if I can grab onto something, because it was pitch-black. It seemed like it took forever. It was a struggle. When I finally got the word “No” out, I felt like I was saying it in slow motion when I said it. But once I got that word out, I was released. I was able to get up, and I was looking around.
I live alone. I have a cat that’s only nine pounds, and he’s asleep on the bench near my bed – not even next to my bed, but near my bed. I’m looking around to see if there’s anybody in there. I have security cameras, and I was making sure – because they would’ve gone off. Nobody is in there. The recording’s going on for my security cameras. So there’s nobody there. I decide to take a minute to calm myself down and try to go back to sleep. It was very fitful sleep.
The thing that got me this time is that it had happened probably about a month ago, but I chalked it up to being a bad dream or something, but it was exactly the same experience: something crawling from the foot of my bed onto the bed and holding me down, and I was frozen.
The next night, I decide, “This can’t happen ever again.” I said that when I was going into my bed. That night, I ended up hearing like fingernails scraping on this knobby fabric. I’m sleeping on my back at this time, and then I feel fingers with some longish nails on my forearm. And again, I’m paralyzed. But I’m very adamant about making sure that I’m saying “No,” so it was very energetic. When I was trying to formulate the word “No” – and again, it came out slow motion – but once I got that word out, I was released.
I’m getting up and I’m looking. I’m like, “God, this is kind of crazy.” My heart’s racing. I’m just terrified of what’s going on. It was close to when I was going to be waking up, so I just went ahead and got up and made some coffee, and I decided to try to recreate the sound that I heard. My box spring has some knobby fabric, so it was going lengthwise of that that I was able to recreate that sound.
Next I decide, “This cannot happen again. Nothing can happen again.” Thankfully it didn’t, but I knew I couldn’t just rely on that, so I decided – I listen to another podcast called Insider’s Guide to the Other Side, and among many things they talk about, they also talk about protective crystals and gemstones. So I ended up buying some black tourmaline and I bought a bunch of it. I put it in places in my house. I also put it under the foot of my bed as well as next to my bedside table.
I think it was maybe a week or two after I got the tourmaline – again, I was sleeping and I felt this pressure on the bed next to my head. It was behind my head this time, though. I noticed that and I woke up, and then all of a sudden – you know when you hold a bird and it’s trying to escape and it’s flapping its wings really fast? That’s the feeling I got right next to my head. And it just so happened that was the side where the bedside table was with the tourmaline there.
I couldn’t help but think maybe that tourmaline caught that whatever it was and said, “Don’t be here. Leave,” and that’s why there was this frantic “I gotta go” energy I felt. And nothing has happened since, so I think that black tourmaline definitely helped. But I have never experienced anything like that before. I’ve only had sleep paralysis once, and it was very uneventful other than just being paralyzed and seeing a dark figure that I knew was not welcome. But that was back in I think 2013, and I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep, to try to ignore it.
But yeah, this scared me and I wanted to reach out because I wanted to know if anybody else had this type of experience before. And like I said, I live alone; my cat is tiny, does not get on top of me. He’s a former feral. It was just terrifying.
JIM HAROLD: I can see why. Absolutely, there’s no question. I know that people have experienced similar things. They’ve come on the show. If you’ve had something similar, go over to jimharold.com/campfire and sign up. If for some reason we’re not accepting submissions when you hear this – because you could hear this in 2022; you might hear it in 2024 – come back and check again, because we bring it up and we allow submissions till we get booked up, then we pause for a month or two, and then we come back with them.
Irene, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it, and thank you for being part of the Campfire.
IRENE: Thank you very much, Jim.
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Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram @TheJimHarold and join our virtual Campfire Facebook group at VirtualCampfireGroup.com. Now, back to the Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Oh, I love to hear from our international callers, and particularly from the UK, where we get such great support. Sam is on the line; he is a university student and he has experienced some definite spookiness, and he’s going to share it with us now. Sam, welcome to the show, thank you for joining us, and please tell us what happened.
SAM: Great to be here. Nice being a part of the Campfire. This happened in 2019. It was more or less the one experience and a few more things after it. I moved out to my first apartment, the first time living by myself. It was a building full of students, and I’d never seen anything supernatural before this. I wasn’t really sure what I believed. I hadn’t really given it much thought, to be quite honest.
I was maybe in a bit of – I wasn’t sleeping very well, and at first I thought it could’ve been that. It was quite a stressful experience living by myself for the first time. But I started getting this feeling like somebody was watching me. I could feel it in the back of my head. It was almost like a headache. You could just sense it. This had never happened to me before, and this happened a few times, maybe three or four times within the first week. It was actually quite often.
From there I started seeing – I would get the feeling and I would turn around, and I would see this – I can only describe it as like a smudge, like a black blur, kind of a smokiness. I thought it was probably just a trick of the eye. I thought, “There must be some explanation for it; it’s just my eyes. I haven’t been sleeping,” whatever.
The thing about my apartment is – this will sound kind of irrelevant, but it was a studio apartment, but it was a U-shape and then there was the bathroom in the middle of it. What that meant is I was turning the corner most of the time. Whatever room I went in, I had to turn a corner to get there. I started to hate these corners because whenever I would turn, I would see in the room that I was entering, it was like a black figure stood in the corner, just like the blur, the smudge that I saw when I turned around. Except this time, it was distinctly the figure of a person. I couldn’t make out age or gender or who it might be or anything like that, but it was unmistakably the figure of a person.
It was hard to judge, but the feeling I got is that they were facing away from me. It felt like they were facing the corner. But I had these interactions, I guess, not as often as the feeling of being watched. That was once a week, something like that, I would get the feeling that I was being watched. I got used to it. But then I started seeing this person every now and then. It happened maybe a handful of times over the month that I lived there.
I kind of got used to it, but it still made me feel very uneasy, being alone for the first time and nothing spooky has happened through my entire life, and then as soon as I’m by myself all the time, there’s this. It was quite creepy.
I moved to that apartment for university, but I had to move out because my application fell through. That meant I would have to move back in with my parents and I wouldn’t start university until the year after, basically, and because it was a student building, it was only students that could live there. So I had to move out. I was super bummed out about that. I didn’t really want to move.
The night before the day that I was moving – that’s another thing, actually. It was always during the day. I would typically expect this sort of thing at night, when my vision isn’t as good. I was trying to explain it rationally. I couldn’t. [laughs] But I got kind of defensive and I was like, “There’s probably a rational explanation for it.” But the fact that it was always during the day was weird to me. There was no dim lighting or anything. But anyway.
So I had to move out, and on the day I moved out, I saw this figure in the corner again. I was quite happy to leave it and close it off like, “Thank God I never have to see this thing again.” It didn’t freak me out exactly; it definitely made me feel very uneasy because I felt a sort of presence in the room, which wasn’t great because I knew I was supposed to be alone. But the crazy thing is that almost exactly two weeks after I moved out, the building caught fire. It didn’t completely burn down, but it was a six-story building, and the top three floors completely caught fire, and my room that I lived in – I was on the top floor – was completely destroyed. That room was irredeemable.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh. Wow. So do you think it was like a harbinger of doom, so to speak?
SAM: I didn’t really know what to make of it. I don’t want to make assumptions, I suppose, but I’ve got ideas. It felt more of like a warning sign to me. It was very conveniently timed that this has never happened to me before, and then all of a sudden it happens at this moment when I’m living by myself for the first time and there was clearly some danger coming. And the university thing really didn’t make sense. It didn’t make much sense for my application to fall through at that time. I thought I was good. So that was a big shock.
But then after that happened, it made so much sense that these circumstances all lined up. My application falls through, I have to move out, and then only two weeks later, the room I was living in is completely burned.
JIM HAROLD: That’s amazing. That is amazing. So you didn’t see this figure subsequently ever again?
SAM: There have been – I don’t know if it’s maybe just because I feel more sensitive to it now. There’s been similar circumstances, but never this figure, never this blackness. But I sometimes get that feeling of being watched. But I’ve never seen this black smoky figure again.
JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed, Sam. Very interesting indeed. That reminds me – I don’t know if you’re familiar with the American story of the Silver Bridge collapse in the 1970s in our state of West Virginia and Mothman, and people reported seeing Mothman before that happened. Many people took it as a harbinger of doom.
SAM: It could’ve very well been something similar to that. It’s one end of the coin, right? It was either a harbinger of doom or it was a kind of protective spirit. I don’t feel like I know enough about the situation to say for sure. I wish I did.
JIM HAROLD: I do hope no one was seriously hurt in that fire.
SAM: Oh yeah, I should preface that. It turned out to be okay. Everyone made it out. There was nobody seriously harmed by it. The response team, the fire department were really good in that aspect.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent, very good. Well, Sam, thank you so much for sharing your story on the Campfire, and thank you for listening all the way from the UK.
SAM: Yeah, pleasure to be here.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the Campfire is Tara from Georgia. She’s been on the program before, and we’re glad to have her back. I don’t want to spoil her story; I’ll just say this: when I hear about these kinds of stories, it freaks me out. And Tara has a story like that. Welcome back to the show, Tara, thank you for joining us, and tell us what happened.
TARA: Thank you for having me, Jim. To start, this story happened a good 10-ish years ago. There are a few things you need to know before I get into it. Number one is that my husband and I were young, we were poor, and we had three children all under five. It was boy, girl, boy. This is mostly about the girl, the middle child.
JIM HAROLD: A handful.
TARA: Yes, a very lovely handful. At the time, we were living in a house that was not the best structurally, and that was too expensive. I was going part-time to college. My oldest had just started kindergarten, and my husband was working third shift. It was a really weird third shift; it was like 6:00 at night until 3:00 in the morning. And then with overtime, he’d usually get home at 6:00.
Anyway, as you do when you have young ones, sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night and there would be a creepy little toddler standing at the end of my bed. That was pretty normal. It was usually my daughter, and she had this lovely ability to be extremely loud in her footfalls, but also, she could walk around like she was walking on air. I guess it was just whatever she felt like doing that day. So it wasn’t strange to me when I woke up and she was at the end of the bed. I was just like, “Come on, get in the bed.”
I think I lay back down to move the covers for her, and I looked up because I didn’t feel her climb in, and she wasn’t there. I was like, “That’s strange.” The hallway was set up so unless she went running – which I would’ve heard because those were her heavy footfalls – I should’ve seen her going back to her room. So I walk to her room and she’s asleep on her top bunk. It’s like, okay, fine. It’s the middle of the night. No emergency? Going back to sleep.
That happened I want to say two or three times, and each time it was kind of random, but something you forgot about in the big span of things because there’s potty training and then there’s kindergarten homework and just silliness happening.
Another thing about my daughter is that she was the only one of my children to have night terrors. Thankfully, she only had two, and we realized it seemed like M&Ms was a thing that set her off, which, sorry, M&Ms. So we cut that out.
JIM HAROLD: [laughs] Melts in your mouth, not in your hand. Go ahead.
TARA: [laughs] Yeah, but gives terror to your brain, I guess. So we were good. She had two, and it was a horrible experience. Then one night, again, wake up, middle of the night, and she is screaming, just terrified screaming.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh.
TARA: And I’m terrified because I can tell that she’s not in her room, screaming. Thankfully the house was very small, so it didn’t take me very long to run down the stairs and through the whole living room, kitchen, everything. I find her, and she’s at the front door, screaming for her mommy. It’s funny now because it was so long ago. It was like, “I’m your mommy! I’m right here!” She’s just terrified, screaming for her mommy, doesn’t know who I am. And I am terrified because she could’ve walked out the front door in the middle of the night. Yes, it’s a safe small town, but still, of course that’s terrifying.
JIM HAROLD: Sure.
TARA: So that happened. Eventually back to sleep, all of those things. I was talking to my husband one day and I told him about the night terror. He was like, “Why did you give her an M&M?” I was like, “Please, come on now,” and then told him about all of the times I had woken up and she’d be there and then she was gone.
Right now he’s in the Army. He’s always been a very logical, skeptical, salt-of-the-earth person. But he looked at me and he said, “Oh yeah, that’s happened to me, too. That’s not her.”
JIM HAROLD: What? What?! What!?!
TARA: Yeah, “Excuse me? Has third shift ruined your mental – what?” He said, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely not her.” He just said it so casually, like “Oh, it’s fine.” I was like, “I’m sorry, are you suggesting we have a small Baby Sister ghost?” Because my oldest son called her – I’m pretty sure he was convinced her name was Baby Sister for the first year of her life.
And then the ending of it all is one night we were both home, me and my husband, and again, wake up, middle of the night, because we heard a big ka-thump. We’re like, “Huh, that’s weird.” We check the kids’ rooms, and my oldest son is on the floor, and it looks like he’s been pulled out of bed.
My oldest son generally is the type that lies down and does not move until morning. Another thing about him is that we called him our Southern Linebacker because he came out and he was tall and he was stocky and he was thick. And he is now; he’s over six foot and just annoyingly large and great. [laughs]
So we woke him up and I’m like, “Buddy, what happened? Did you have a bad dream?” He said, “No, Baby Sister pulled me out of bed.” And his baby sister was in her room, in her top bunk, sleeping. He would not – I was like, “Are you sure you didn’t have a bad dream? Why would your baby sister pull you out of bed? She was in her room sleeping.” He said, “No, it was Baby Sister.” So yeah, that was our Baby Sister ghost.
The next day, I put up a stained glass cross that a family friend had given us, and then we ended up moving out a little bit later. So we don’t have any resolution, but yeah.
JIM HAROLD: It was Baby Sister. I like it. Baby Sister, but it was Baby Ghost. Ooh, scary.
TARA: Yep, Baby Ghost, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo (referencing “Baby Shark”).
JIM HAROLD: Well, Tara, thank you so much for sharing it. What an interesting Campfire story. Thanks again.
TARA: Thank you, Jim.
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JIM HAROLD: Silvia is on the line from Houston, Texas, and we’re so glad to have her on the line. She’s going to take us back to her childhood years to start out and tell us about some strange events. Silvia, welcome to the show; thank you for joining us, and please tell us your story.
SILVIA: Thank you, Jim. This story took place in California, actually, even though I live in Houston now, because I’m an Air Force brat. I believe this happened when I was six or seven. And some of these details I remember very vividly. I mean, I guess I remember the whole thing vividly. My parents had just put me to bed, but I was still sitting up, propped up on my pillow, and I was reading a Richard Scarry book. I don’t know if you remember those little kid books.
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah.
SILVIA: I have a very vivid image of exactly what page in this little book I was on. And then, all of a sudden – I had probably been in bed maybe 10 minutes. I’m not sure. Not very long. My parents were still up, getting ready to go to bed. All of a sudden I started hearing – to me, it felt like it was coming from inside my head or from the room – this extremely sharp, high-pitched noise of what I would imagine a dog whistle is if you could hear those things.
Then the area in front of my bed – I had a little twin canopy little girl’s bed – like six feet beyond the foot of my bed, the air started to move. You know how it looks like the air’s moving when it’s really hot and you’re stuck in traffic? Like that. But this sound I could hear got louder and louder. It was getting painful. And as this thing got louder, the air in front of my bed that I said was moving started moving faster and faster.
This is going to sound crazy; I don’t know how else to explain it, but it was almost as if I could see little fast-forwarded stick figure images in this area that was moving. And I was freaking out. I couldn’t move. I don’t think I was experiencing sleep paralysis just because I am pretty certain I had not fallen asleep yet, and my nightlight was still on, so I could see everything pretty well. I was propped up on my pillow. My parents used to come in and turn off the light when they saw me sleeping if I’d – anyways.
Then, all of a sudden, everything stopped. The sound went away, thankfully, and that weird movement stopped. Five feet away, in the middle of the room, from the foot of my bed, was this six- or seven-foot-tall figure that was completely black, but it had a form. It wasn’t like a shadow person per se. It was a physical form. Its head was very skeletal and very muscular, and it looked like it had a cap on, but I don’t know if it was actually a cape when I thought about it later or if it was actually part of its body.
Its eyes were super scary ,and at the time it seemed like it was staring through me. Later, when I was an adult and I saw Nosferatu for the first time, I freaked out. Not that it looked like the vampire from Nosferatu, but just the eyes. You know how it’s staring? And later, when I thought about it when I was a little older, it’s like the skin was – everything was black. This cape, or if it was part of its body, everything. It kind of seemed like what manta rays feel like. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one at an aquarium, like a black manta ray. That’s what the texture of this thing looked like.
It just stared at me, or I think it was staring at me. Maybe it stared past me. I’ve thought about this a lot as an adult. I was just frozen in panic. I couldn’t move. I don’t know how long this lasted. It could’ve been a minute, it could’ve been 10 minutes. And then it just disappeared out of the room. I got up, I ran out of my bedroom, and I ran into my parents’ bedroom. My mom was getting ready for bed, and I was crying and telling her, “There’s a monster or something,” and she’s like, “Oh, you probably just had a bad dream.”
But later on, when I brought this up again to her as an adult, she was like, “Yeah, I remember.” She didn’t know what to make of it because they hadn’t come in to turn off the light or anything, and as far as she knew, I was still reading my little book. She really didn’t know what to say. So that’s what happened. And I’ve had a lot of other experiences. We don’t know what’s really going on, but I think may be related or not. But not quite the same form.
JIM HAROLD: I do believe these strange things happen, and I believe the world is a far, far more strange place. Now, we’ve got a few more minutes; you were telling me before we hit record that there were later experiences that you think may somehow have some relation to these events?
SILVIA: Yeah. The main one is pretty long, but if you want to hear it some other time –
JIM HAROLD: Go ahead.
SILVIA: To just summarize, there were various events while I was at university. I went to university in Rome. I grew up in Italy; I’m still a citizen, Air Force brat, lived all over the place. There were these either shadowy – not shadowy, like a black fog that I could feel was sentient and malicious that would show up. Sometimes they’d show up in my room and stay for a long time. I have figured out ways to get them to leave by praying, or – at the time I was agnostic. I would just try different things, even Buddhist chants. Anything that was positive.
And then there were a couple of instances where, I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but in my mind it just seemed like a stronger version of it. And I heard one person one time on one of your episodes bring this up. It was almost the same story. It was very weird. It was like a slick of oil. To me it seemed like total, pure black, like a slick of oil, and it was up near the wall, but it felt sentient. After a while it swooped up into the ceiling and disappeared.
There were multiple of these events, and in one case, one of my friends was with me and we both freaked out. He saw it as well. Yeah, I don’t know, but they’ve gone away. I always thought that they were – later on, I associated it with maybe something that’s sucking my energy or something that was feeding off maybe when I was more vulnerable or in a negative space. I think I might be sensitive. I’ve had a lot of other strange things that I’ve seen throughout my life. But those are the ones tied to – the ones I group together.
JIM HAROLD: I do believe that’s some people have a sensitivity, that they are more tuned in than other people, and it sounds like you’re one of those people. Silvia, thank you so much for joining us. I know you’re new to the show; you’ve been listening for about a month. I hope you’ll stick with us, and I thank you so much for calling in today on the Campfire.
SILVIA: Thank you, Jim. Thank you for listening to my story. Have a good one.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the Campfire is Tanner from Texas, and we’re so glad to have him on. He’s also a podcaster; he’s going to tell us about that at the end. But he’s going to take us back, and this story begins when he was a mere 12 years old. Tanner, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us, and please tell us what happened.
TANNER: Hi, Jim. Thank you so much for having me. This is a real thrill. My story began I’d say in about 1994, as you mentioned, at the age of 12. I was the son of a pastor, and I was raised in the D.C. suburbs. At the age of 12, we moved to the Midwest. My dad had taken a church there. I’d spent all my formative years in the same church and in the same community, so the move was kind of hard on me, but I was excited just because I was an adventurous kid and we were off on a new life adventure.
When we arrived to our new community, we moved into a parsonage. The parsonage was pretty typical for the Midwest, I would say, at that time. It was a split-level red brick home, had the wraparound driveway and the garage underneath. But there was something – obviously, it was unfamiliar to me, but there was something kind of creepy about the home. I was immediately taken by this ambiance.
Growing up as I did, as the son of a pastor, I was not unfamiliar with the idea that there’s the material world and then there’s also the immaterial, spiritual world, but I hadn’t ever experienced any of that. It just lived in my imagination, or in my faith system. Never had any ghostly encounters or anything like that prior to moving.
So, quickly I began to make friends and adjust to the area, and I carved out my little area in the home, my room. In the evenings, I started becoming uncomfortable in a way that I hadn’t really experienced before. My parents would stay after church on Sunday and Wednesday to mingle with the congregation, and sometimes they’d go out to dinner. We lived in walking distance from the church, so I would either ride my bike home – often I would ride my bike to church – or I would wake home. I would spend those evening hours alone in the house, which at 12 – and I think by this time I was probably 13 – you want some time to yourself.
So I’m calling friends and maybe girlfriends and watching movies that otherwise I would have a hard time watching, and I just start feeling this presence. It’s like an ominous presence, and it feels like you’re being stared at. It’s a concept that we’re all familiar with, but it was happening to me, and it was really, really heavy. Being an adventurous kid, I was drawn to the spookier side of adventure. I loved horror films, and Halloween was generally my favorite time of year.
This kind of fear that I began to experience was new to me. I felt the object of some invisible force’s contempt. It was alien to me. Like the song says, you feel like somebody’s watching you. And then I began to see things in my periphery. I can remember sitting in the den, watching TV, and just seeing a shadow move out of the corner of my eye. I would hop up and rush to go and prove to myself that it was not anything crazy, but in the wake of that, I would find reflections in the photographs on the hallway, the reflections swaying back and forth, as if something had just traveled through there. That was the only evidence they left for me.
That became a pretty constant theme, where I felt uncomfortable in my own house. It got to the point where I was sleeping on my floor. [laughs] I’m not sure why I became afraid to sleep in my bed, but I did. I was just more comfortable on the floor. I would sleep facing the hallway, and across the hall was my parents’ room. I would wake up in the middle of the night, always after 2:00 a.m., maybe sometimes in the three o’clock hour, and this presence would just be so thick and heavy, and the fear would be on me, inexplicably.
I would go outside into the night to get away from it. I would open the window in my bedroom – it opened into the front yard – and I would walk around to the backyard. It had this rope swing that I spent a lot of time on. I would decompress and let the fear subside as I swung in the backyard. Then I would eventually go back inside and try it again, try to go back to sleep.
Sometimes I would take walks. In my neighborhood, a few rows behind my house, there was a neighborhood cemetery, and at that age of 13, I would wake up afraid in the night and I would, with intention, walk to that cemetery – I think to prove to myself that I wasn’t a chicken. I was trying to wrap my head around what I was experiencing. I’ve never actually said this out loud. I don’t know if I accomplished anything by doing that, but I would walk to the cemetery occasionally in the middle of the night and, like I said, say, “Okay, I’m here and I’m not afraid, so why am I afraid in my own bedroom?” That kind of thing, I guess.
This finally culminated one night – again, I’m there, asleep on my floor. I’d gone to sleep listening to my cassette tape, my headphones on. I wake up and for the first time, I experience what we’ve all heard referred to now as sleep paralysis. This was the first time where I woke up and I couldn’t move at all. I open my eyes, and you know when you first wake up in the night, there’s that fuzz? You look up and it’s like your eyes haven’t come into focus yet. What it reminded me of was the static screen on the old TVs if they weren’t tuned in to a particular station. You have that white-and-black static screen. Well, it was something like that, like a cloud of that. And it did have a sound to it. It was right over my head, but it was all I could see, basically. It could’ve been filling the whole room. It was like a swarm of particles and static.
I was sitting there contemplating, “What’s happening with my senses? When are my eyes going to clear up?”, and then that fear hit me that I was so familiar with. Then I was like, “Okay, this is happening.” Then I began to try to move, and that’s when I realized, “Okay, I’m in some sleep state.” That didn’t really alarm me, that I couldn’t move my body – even though I wasn’t really aware of sleep paralysis as a condition. I just rationalized, “I’m half-asleep, so my body will come around in a minute.”
But then I guess I was able to move my eyeballs, because I gazed to the doorway and that’s when I saw basically the embodiment – what I think was the embodiment – of this fear that had been plaguing me since we moved into the house. What it was, Jim – it was about four feet tall, and the shape of it was really bizarre. It was undefined, rounded, rudimentary, like a child had drawn it.
But the first thing I saw was a head, a roundish head, popping in and out of the doorway, almost childishly, in and out, in and out, like it was peeking in at me. The fear was amplified, so I’m like, “Okay, I have to make my body move.” It wouldn’t do it. Then, as I’m struggling to figure out how to snap myself into a conscious state, it swung around so that its full form was right in the center of the doorway. It looked like a four-foot-tall gingerbread man.
JIM HAROLD: Oh wow. Wow, that’s something else. Tanner, we’re short on time, so give us the most frightening thing that happened. Was that the most frightening thing? Briefly give us the most frightening thing that happened.
TANNER: That was the most frightening, when it stepped into the doorway.
JIM HAROLD: I mean, a gingerbread man walking into your room – that could be frightening, absolutely.
TANNER: Yeah, it was solid black. It was blacker than the black of the night. And then as it took a step towards me, I’m trying to pray at that point; I can’t form any words. I’m just thinking about God and Jesus and “Help!” And just then, my mom reaches the doorway, and that shape disappeared. All the heaviness went away. I remember she knelt beside me, put a little hand on my forehead, and then I was out cold.
The next memory I have was waking up in the morning, sun filled my room. I go to the breakfast table, I’m having breakfast, my mom’s at the sink, and I say, “Mom, did you come into my room last night?” She said, “Yeah. God woke me up to pray for you.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow. That’s remarkable. And I’ve got to tell you, the gingerbread man, that’s frightening. Now, I know there’s more to the story; we just don’t have time for it. But I also wanted to mention – and I’ll do this part for you – you have a new podcast out. It’s called The Outskirts Podcast with Tanner and Friends, and you’d like everybody to tune in to your Halloween special that you did recently. And I think your dad is the first guest. Is that all correct?
TANNER: That’s mostly correct, yeah. On the Halloween episode, my dad’s not featured in that one, but there is an actual ghost photo, and I encourage everyone to have a look at that. It’s linked to the Instagram page. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen aside from the gingerbread man.
JIM HAROLD: Give me the name of it one more time, because I want to make sure I got it right.
TANNER: It’s The Outskirts Podcast with Tanner and Friends.
JIM HAROLD: Very good. Check it out wherever you find your podcasts. Tanner, thank you for being on the show today.
TANNER: Thank you so much, Jim. Have a good one.
JIM HAROLD: Next up on the line is Doyle from Georgia. He is an Air Force veteran, and we thank him for his service. Also, he found out about us from Coast to Coast AM, so we thank Coast to Coast, Richard Syrett, George Noory, everybody over there. Doyle has a couple of great stories for us today – one that has to do with his service in the Air Force, and another one about his sister. Doyle, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us, and tell us what happened.
DOYLE: Thank you, Jim. My sister passed away Labor Day 2020.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
DOYLE: It was a COVID situation to which nobody could go to funerals or anything. Six weeks later, her son committed suicide, and so it was really tragic. We lost a 24-year-old nephew and my sister. It was just really tragic. We had the bodies cremated, and they were in a mortuary about less than a mile from my home. It just happened that’s where the mortuary was at.
To make a long story short, I was executor of the will, so I had to go clean out her apartment and do all that work. We sold the place, so I was at the lawyer’s office to get the check from people who wanted to buy the house. They gave me a cut check and I went home, and I was in an Uber. I had a broken leg at the time, in a wheelchair. I got home, and like any other day with a guy with a broken leg, I just got me a cup of coffee and sat down and started watching TV.
I have outside cameras because I live on a four-lane road, and it can get a little testy at night or whatever. So I had a camera at the front of my home and I had one in the back. The front of my home it’s right above my TV, so when I’m watching TV, I can just glance up and see what’s going on in my whole front yard. Well, I’d been home about two hours, and all of a sudden – I have pine trees in my front yard, and these two objects – the best way I can describe them, Jim, is a ruler with wings. When the objects would stop, the body would go straight down, but when it flew around, the back end would come up and fly around, much like a hummingbird or a bird.
I thought they were hovering like a hummingbird, and I said to myself, “Boy, those are really big hummingbirds. Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever seen” – and they were flying in between the trees, two of them were. They were flying around, flying around, and I said, “I’ve got to see this for myself, because this is really weird.”
Jim, I went to my door and I looked out my front door, and there was nothing out there. But if I looked back at my camera, they were flying all over the place, two of them, in between the trees and around. I looked back outside and there was nothing there. I quickly shut the door and my heart was like, “This is really weird.” So I shut the door and I came in the house and I grabbed the controller to try to take my mind – I was going to change the channel – and all of a sudden, my controller goes flying across the room.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
DOYLE: I’m like, what in the fire is going on? Nothing else happened, Jim. Nothing else happened. I was really freaked out a little bit. It’s hard to explain that to somebody, something that’s floating in your front yard but you can’t see it, but you can see it on a camera. I was thinking, “This is really the strangest thing that ever happened to me.” I don’t believe in paranormal and I don’t believe in UFOs. I flew in airplanes for the Air Force and we saw all kinds of weird stuff, but it’s light refracted off of other airplanes. It’s really weird. It’s hard to explain.
But anyway, make a long story short, I went to bed that night. Just my usual sleep pattern, whatever. In the middle of the night – I never sleep on my stomach, and I did that night for some reason. I don’t know why. But all of a sudden, something or somebody grabbed me by my shoulders while I was in bed and started shaking – it shook me out of sleep and started shaking me violently for over five minutes. This entity was so strong – and I’m 6’5”, 250 pounds, and I could not look up over my shoulder because this thing had me pinned deep into my bed and was shaking me uncontrollably.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
DOYLE: Well, let me tell you something, after it was over with, I think every light in my house was on. I was shaking like a leaf. I tell you what, Jim, it was something else. And that’s the only incident that ever happened with my sister.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. So you think all this weirdness with the figures flying around on the camera, the controller flying across the room, and this intense shaking – you think that was connected to your sister and her passing?
DOYLE: I think so. I don’t know, but I really do think so because I’m single; I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. All my friends semi-like me. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: [laughs] That’s pretty good.
DOYLE: Yeah, I do not have any true enemies. And whatever it was, once it was done – of course I looked back quickly once it let go, and there was nothing in my room. I have quite a big master bedroom, but the door off from it is an office, and I have it locked. It couldn’t have run in there. There was nothing there. It was just really freaky and really wild.
JIM HAROLD: Wow, that is quite a story. Now, I know you also have a story about a transport plane in your time in the military.
DOYLE: Yes. I was an aircraft mechanic on the West Coast at Travis Air Force Base, and I worked in a shop called Rail Shop, and we were in charge of the rail system, the delivery system, and most important of all, the potable water including the coffee pot. I was like the second most important guy on the plane other than the pilot. What we would do is we would get a list of all the airplanes that were going out that night, and we would do our thing, make sure everything is great so that we wouldn’t hold up the flight or cause any problems with our shop. We would make sure ahead of time everything was great.
I was in charge of 47 C-5s, and we had always one C-5 that we took parts off of. It was called a can-bird. The can-birds are all stripped of pieces, and then in six months it goes into what we call an ISO dock, where they completely refurbish the airplane and put it back in service, and we have another can-bird.
JIM HAROLD: So it’s for spare parts.
JIM HAROLD: And by the way, folks, if you’re not familiar, the C-5 Galaxy – isn’t that like 275 feet long? I mean, it’s a huge plane, right?
DOYLE: It’s huge. It’s really big. I’m not joking you, and in the story I’ll demonstrate that. I’d like to also quickly say that these can-birds, not only do we pull parts on, but we practice things like when people get hurt on airplanes, they practice egress, taking them out. They practice all kinds of things, like the security police practice security matters, like somebody taking over a plane. They use that plane. There’s all kinds of shenanigans going on. There’s no power on the airplane, so when you have to pull anything, you have to use it by flashlight. It’s quite dark inside, and huge, in a C-5.
That night, we had a plane that was about to take off, and it needed a water pump for the back galley. There’s a galley, believe it or not, in the front. There’s beds and sinks and everything in the front of the airplane where the crew is at. And then there’s a back galley that has bathrooms and a sink. We could cook food or have coffee or whatever. It’s really a nice little area.
To get on the airplane, you’ve got a first set of steps at the front of the airplane. Then you’ve got to walk all the way back – it’s about 250 feet, 300 feet – to the back set of stairs to get to the back galley. Most people in the service carried a gun. Well, Doyle carried a 70-pound toolbox everywhere he went. So I had to take this toolbox up the sets of steps. I’m used to it, young kid. I got it up there and everything, and I took out my flashlight and I started removing this pump.
Jim, all of a sudden, 200 decibels of John Philip Sousa, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” just starts blaring. And the speakers on a C-5 – I mean, let me tell you, you could have a rock band, they’re so loud. I thought the Air Force band was practicing because, like I said, everything’s done in these can-birds when they’re sitting there. I just figured that somebody was doing something else in the plane, and I kept on working. Jim, it was so loud that I couldn’t even think. I couldn’t turn a bolt. I grabbed my flashlight, left my toolbox, went down the catwalk, went to the front door to the catwalk, looked outside, and there was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
JIM HAROLD: That’s weird.
DOYLE: So I walked upstairs to see if somebody had turned on the intercom system. There was nobody there, Jim. Nobody. I was going, “What in the fire?” And it’s still blaring, blaring loud. I’m going, “Wow, this is crazy.”
My first responsibility was to get that pump, no matter what. So I went back there, I took the pump out and everything, and I made it to the airplane and swapped it out and everything. I went back to my shop, and my master sergeant said, “Doyle, did you change out that pump and get that plane off?” I said, “Yes sir, I certainly did.” He said, “Did anything strange happen?” I said, “Oh, no sir, not at all. It was just a routine thing there.”
I didn’t tell anybody because the Air Force, if you come up with something like that, they kind of frowned on it. So I just kept it to myself. But I had a top secret clearance, so what I did was I tried to go look up the paperwork on this airplane to see what was going on. When you have a top secret clearance, you think that’s great, but it’s not because it’s a need-to-know kind of thing. So I was shuffled off. They said, “No, you can’t look at that information, I’m sorry.” I said, “That’s okay, no big deal.”
To make a long story short, I was about 40, maybe 50 years old, and it was on a Saturday, and on the History Channel they had this show called Vietnam in Color. I’m sitting there with a cold beer and I’m watching this show, and all of a sudden I see that same airplane, and guess what they’re loading on?
JIM HAROLD: What?
DOYLE: Vietnamese women and children from Saigon during the fall of Saigon. And there was the Air Force band, playing Philip Sousa, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” blasting as these people were coming on the airplane. Well, Jim, guess what happened to that aircraft? It took off, and as soon as it hit 30,000 feet, the back door of the airplane swung open and sucked out about maybe 300 people out the back door.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my lord.
DOYLE: It was because somebody left an adjustable wrench in the aft ramp, and the locks didn’t fully lock on that side. To this day, the Air Force does not have an adjustable wrench in their toolbox, to this day, because of that incident. So I surmise that this is concreted into that airplane for the rest of that airplane’s life.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah. Wow.
DOYLE: That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
JIM HAROLD: Roughly what year was this you were working on the plane?
DOYLE: It was about 1978.
JIM HAROLD: So it would’ve been after, obviously, that had happened. My gosh, my gosh.
DOYLE: Yeah, all these airplanes have done some bad duties, such as picking up Reverend Jim Jones’ bodies.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my lord, Jonestown, yeah.
DOYLE: So a lot of these airplanes – I haven’t encountered anything else but that situation, but I’m sure there’s some scary stuff that went on in some of these airplanes.
JIM HAROLD: It’s interesting you mention that. I know we’re running a little long, but it’s my show, so I’m allowed to do that. There’s a book called The Ghost of Flight 401, I believe. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.
DOYLE: I’m not.
JIM HAROLD: It came out in the ’70s, and the idea was there was this plane that crashed down in the Florida Everglades in the early ’70s.
DOYLE: Oh yeah, I remember that.
JIM HAROLD: It was the old Eastern Airlines. I know we’re both old enough to remember that.
DOYLE: Yeah, it disappeared, right?
JIM HAROLD: Well, it didn’t disappear. It crashed in the Everglades and quite a few people were killed in it. And they brought that back, they salvaged parts of it, and they actually used parts of it in other planes, much like what you’re describing. They salvaged it, which surprised me. They salvaged the crash and actually used it in other planes. And when they would use parts in other planes, people would report seeing some of the flight crew that passed. I think the pilot, for example, they would see him on other planes that they had lifted pieces.
DOYLE: Oh my God.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, it’s very interesting. There was a movie on it, a TV movie. It’s The Ghost of Flight 401 by John G. Fuller. I am looking at it right here on my shelf.
DOYLE: I’ll have to check that out.
JIM HAROLD: So for you, Doyle, you might be interested in that, and folks out there. It is an older book, but fascinating, this idea that these kind of things can follow planes. And it very much fits with what you’re describing with your story. Doyle, thank you so much for both of your stories.
DOYLE: Thank you for your show, Jim. I really enjoy it.
JIM HAROLD: Yes, and thank you for your service to the country. Hope to hear from you again.
DOYLE: All right, thank you. Bye-bye.
JIM HAROLD: Well, we did it. We got through another fun edition of the Campfire. I thank you so much for joining us today.
As we close in on the Thanksgiving season, I just want to say how thankful I am again for each and every one of you, and all of our storytellers, our sponsors, our Plus Club members. We really appreciate it. Certainly very thankful for my family, thankful for our assistant producer, Maddy, and everybody we work with – editors, a whole host of folks. We’re just very, very thankful for everyone we work with and everyone I work with. I’m thankful, I should say, because this has just been a great journey, and there’s a lot of people responsible for it other than me. So I appreciate each and every one of you.
Now, I wanted to mention this. As we come up on the holidays, perhaps you’re going to have some time off, and perhaps you’re going to want to delve back into the archives of the Campfire and my other shows. A great way to do that is to sign up to my Paranormal Plus Club. You can find that at jimharoldplus.com. That’s jimharoldplus.com. Just go there and click on the banner with my smiling face, and we’ve got two great versions for you.
We’ve got the good old classic version, the Libsyn version that will work on pretty much any platform out there; it will work on Android, it will work on Apple, it will work on Chromebook. Pretty much anything, you can access the content, whether it’s through the app or the website or whatever it might be. That’s great because regardless of your platform, you can access that. You can get that information again, jimharoldplus.com, click on the banner.
And then we’ve got our great new Apple Podcasts only version. If you are a fan of Apple Podcasts and you say, “Jim, I love your shows, but I don’t use anything other than Apple Podcasts” – we’ve got you covered. And the best way to get to that version is just type into your browser apple.co/spooky. That’s apple.co/spooky. You can get to it the other way through the banner and so forth, but if you want to get directly to that version, it’s apple.co/spooky.
Regardless of which version you choose, you’re going to get all the Campfire back catalog, all the Paranormal Podcast back catalog, and a ton of great Plus shows we’ve done over the years that you will never hear unless you’ve been a member of the Plus Club.
We thank you so much. We will talk to you next time. Actually, we will be releasing a show on Thanksgiving, but in case you don’t hear that, happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans, and for everyone else out there, international listeners, we’re certainly thankful for you as well. And I hope you have a great day, even if you’re not a turkey-eating American. [laughs] Everybody is equal in our eyes.
I thank you so much for tuning in. We will talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Happy Thanksgiving, and stay spooky. Bye-bye.
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