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ERICA: I call this story “demon in the sheets.”
JIM HAROLD: That’s Erica. Wait till you hear her story on this very special People’s Choice edition of 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 this special edition of the Campfire. I am Jim Harold and so glad to be with you once again. If you are new here, what we do is we simply share real stories from real people about really strange things that have happened to them. Ghosts, UFOs, cryptid creatures – it runs the gamut, and we’re going to touch on several of those tonight. Welcome to the program.
And it is a very special program. This happened completely organically. About a week ago, on our Virtual Campfire Group on Facebook – at virtualcampfiregroup.com, if you want to check it out – someone posted, “What are your favorite creepiest Campfire stories?” and I saw a great opportunity. I said, let’s comb through these. Let’s find maybe some of the stories that are great, but we have not featured very much over the years on our Best Of shows, and let’s compile a Listeners’ Choice, a People’s Choice show based on those.
So tonight we have several of those stories, and they are fantastic. We will get right to them. Just know that we’re going to be doing some spooky birthday shoutouts at the end of the show and have some other special invites and information for you, so please do stay tuned for that. And now let’s get on to your favorite creepy Campfire stories.
Madge is on the line, and Madge has been a longtime supporter to the Plus Club, going back for years, and we appreciate it so much. She’s calling in today from Colorado. She’s going to take us back to several years ago when she was in graduate school and some strangeness that ensued. Madge, thank you for all your support over the years, and thank you for joining us on the Campfire. Tell us what happened.
MADGE: Thank you, Jim. My experience, as you mentioned, happened several years ago. I was looking for a new place to live while I was going to the university, and I answered an ad that was on the housing board to rent a room in a large older home near the university.
I went to take a look at it, and the house seemed fine. They had two rooms available; one was in the upstairs and one was in the basement. A couple things struck me as a little odd as I toured the house. One was that the side door had this big bar across it, and there were multiple deadbolt locks on it.
JIM HAROLD: That’s a little troublesome. [laughs]
MADGE: Yeah. The front and back door were normal. They just had one lock. And then when you went down into the basement, there was a common area, and somebody had fashioned these bars on the windows out of old-fashioned milk crates, the metal ones. It just looked like somebody had put them up in a hurry and no one had ever taken them down. But I met the roommates – there were three other people living in the house – and everything seemed okay. I decided to go with the basement room because it was less expensive.
The first night that I was in the house, sleeping in my new room, I had what remains the worst nightmare of my life. It was just utterly terrifying. The dream actually was taking place in the room. There was this sense of this incredibly evil presence on the other side of the door. In the dream, I am just fighting for my life to keep that entity out of the room.
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy.
MADGE: Yeah, I woke up just terrified. The feeling of that dream really hung with me the whole next day. I went to classes, and on the way home, I was walking home and I passed a hardware store. I went in and I bought a lock for my door so I could lock myself in. I knew it was completely irrational, but I just felt like I was not going to sleep if I didn’t lock myself in the room.
Throughout that summer – I moved in right at the tail end of the spring semester; I lived there through the summer – I would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night and have this really strong feeling that someone was watching me.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh, that’s the worst.
MADGE: Yeah, but I chalked it up to that terrible dream, and I talked myself out of thinking that there was more to it than that.
And then, about a couple weeks after I had moved in, this other young woman moved in. Her name was Val, and she took the upstairs room. Val had moved to Seattle from the East Coast. She was looking to try to break into broadcasting and get a fresh start in a new place. She seemed very bubbly and positive.
Then some strange things started to happen. One night, shortly after Val had moved in, she woke me up pounding on my door. When I opened it – it was the middle of the night – she looked really distressed, and she said, “Some guy followed me into the house and he’s hiding somewhere, I think.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy.
MADGE: I don’t know if it was that we were all groggy or what. We should’ve probably called the police, but for some reason we didn’t think to do that. We got the roommates up and we all searched through the house. Looked under beds, in the closets. We couldn’t find anything. As the search was winding down, I said, “Val, where did you meet this guy?” I thought she’d say at a party or a bar or something and he had followed her from there. She said, “No, I met him out on the roof.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh, that’s strange.
MADGE: I said, “What do you mean, out on the roof?” She said, “I had my window open,” and there was this little roof that covered the porch just below her window, and she said, “He climbed up there and we talked, and then he crawled in the house. I thought he was hiding.” All of a sudden I started to think something might be wrong with Val because that seemed like such a weird story. At any rate, we never found anyone.
But then things continued to deteriorate. Val would be up in the middle of the night and she would stand at the top of the basement stairs and yell down at somebody who she thought was there, that they needed to get out of the house, that they didn’t belong there, get out, and she had this sense that it was this terrible presence. For whatever reason, I never connected what she was doing to my dream until the very end.
After a few episodes of this, I tried to have a little heart to heart with Val because I really felt that something was going on with her, of course. I asked her if she could call her parents or if she maybe would want to see a therapist. I really thought it was probably a mental health issue. But she looked at me and she said, “You just don’t understand. You don’t see the things that I see.” Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. She was so convinced that there was something in the house.
At the end of the summer, the owner of the house, whose name was Bessie – an elderly lady – decided she would sell the house. We all had to move. It was a little bit of a relief, actually. On the last day that I was in the house, it was a Sunday. I remember it very clearly. Sunday morning, I was having coffee, reading the paper, and Val came to me and she said, “You have to come quickly. There’s a terrible man out in the backyard and he’s hiding behind the tree by the alley.”
The first thought I had was, “I don’t think there’s even a tree in our backyard.” I hadn’t spent a lot of time out there, but I couldn’t remember ever seeing a tree. So I reassured her there was probably nothing wrong, but I went and looked out the window, and there was no one there and there was no tree. But for the first time, I realized there was this stump out back where a very large tree had once been, right by the alley, but it had been cut down.
I went in person to turn in my key to Bessie, the landlady, who lived a few blocks over. We were talking and Bessie said, “I’m going to be really glad to get rid of the house, given its history.” I said, “What do you mean, its history?” She said, “Well, one of the women that Ted Bundy killed lived in the house.”
Bessie told me that she actually lived in the room that I had rented, and that the police – of course they didn’t know for quite a while that it was Ted Bundy; the young woman just disappeared out of her bedroom. But the police told Bessie they believed that the person had hidden behind the big tree that was right by the alley, and they instructed her to cut it down because they didn’t know if this person would return. They believed that he came in the side door and went down the stairs and took her away, which is a horrendous tragedy.
But of course, her story just shook me to the core because I thought about not only my own dream, but Val’s very vivid conviction that there was someone in the house. And the fact that she seemed to have seen someone hiding behind a tree that had been cut down many years before was really – I don’t know, it was crazy.
I did go and confirm – I did some research, and what Bessie told me was true. It was documented in a book that I read. So yeah, it was a crazy, crazy experience that just changed my worldview.
JIM HAROLD: I guess so. That must be shocking. It’s just too wild, the “coincidence” and the tieback. I’m assuming this was after 1989, correct?
MADGE: No, actually – I was trying to remember exactly. I think it was 1983. Ted Bundy was on Death Row at the time.
JIM HAROLD: That’s interesting, though, because get this – I don’t know if you remember me referencing this on other shows, or you may have even heard the interview since you’ve been listening a long time – Loyd Auerbach was on the show. He’s been on the show quite a few times on the Paranormal Podcast. He’s one of the best researchers out there, and he’s really an expert on parapsychology.
He had done a show for the TV show Sightings – this goes back quite a way – and there had been a place where people reported seeing a reenactment of a murder, like it was repeating itself. You figure, oh, those are the dead people somehow residually maybe manifesting and there’s a replay. The victim, of course, was dead. But the murderer was still alive.
MADGE: Wow. Gosh, that’s very similar.
JIM HAROLD: It is very similar. It’s like, oh my gosh. I would even be interested to ask Loyd if this was the same case. I don’t think it was; I think he would’ve mentioned Ted Bundy. But the thing is, who knows? Maybe if there’s enough emotion – and it could be very negative emotion – maybe things replay themselves even when one of the parties is still with us. That’s immediately what I thought of. Go ahead.
MADGE: I felt that, too. It’s not really a ghost story; it’s more that there was some sort of leftover energy in the house. That’s the only way that I could process the event.
JIM HAROLD: The other thing I thought about – and you may remember this, and I know some people out there will remember this – when you said, “Oh, the past and Ted Bundy lived here,” I remember Paul Harvey, and it’s like, “Now you know the rest of the story.” [laughs]
MADGE: [laughs] Yeah. I don’t think that a lot of strange events get tidied up in that way, but it was just really earth-shattering to hear Bessie’s description of the history. Things fell into place.
JIM HAROLD: What a great one indeed. I thank you so much for your support over the years, and really sharing a classically remarkable Campfire story.
MADGE: Thank you so much.
JIM HAROLD: James is back on the Campfire. So glad to have him from North Yorkshire, England. So good to talk to him again. He’s also a podcaster with his Fortean News podcast, so check that out. He told us a remarkable story last time about his grandparents in the Second World War, and today he’s going to go in the past, but not quite so far. This one’s from the 1970s. Always interested in the ’70s. Fascinating decade. So good to have James back, and please tell us that groovy story from the 1970s. Thank you for joining us again.
JAMES: Thank you, Jim. Thank you so much for having me. This is my uncle down in Coventry, which is in the Midlands. He was out one night with some friends. I think they’d been to the theater or something, or the cinema, and they were driving back at night and came in quite late. My grandparents were both in bed.
But when he came home, my granddad came out to see my uncle because he heard him kind of wailing. He was crying. Asked him what was wrong, and my uncle explained that they were just driving along, they came to this roundabout, a junction in the road, and there were no other cars coming, so they just carried straight over – but they heard and saw a little girl appear in the road, and they hit this little girl.
The entire car – there were five people in the car; every single one of them saw this girl. Every single one of them heard the bump when they hit her. They got out of the car, they looked everywhere but just couldn’t find this little girl. So that was a mystery alone. They didn’t know what to do. This was before mobile phones. So they dropped my uncle off. He was the first one on the route. He was just in a panic. He was in a real state.
JIM HAROLD: Of course.
JAMES: Yeah, absolutely. My granddad was trying to calm him down and he said, “We’ve got to call the police. We’ve got to let them know and get her help if she’s still out there.” So he rang the police. This was the time when ringing the police went to your local office rather than ringing a center. It just went straight to the local Coventry police station.
They explained what had happened, and the police officer said, “Was it by this junction, on this road? There’s a hole in the fence. Was it there?” My granddad said, “Yeah, that’s exactly right. Have you found her?”, quite pleased that he knew what area it was. The police officer responded with, “Look, don’t worry. Just try and stay calm. This happens all the time. A little girl died there a couple of years ago, and this keeps occurring. We keep getting calls. Obviously we’ll send someone out there, but try not to worry. It’s probably nothing.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
JAMES: Which of course – again, my granddad was a nonbeliever, didn’t really believe in ghosts. Still couldn’t give me an explanation for this. But it just left him absolutely dumbfounded.
JIM HAROLD: And police tend to be, I think just because of their job, they might be a little more jaded than the average person and not given to flights of fancy. The fact they say there’s a ghost child, basically, and this happens all the time – I mean, that’s pretty good validation.
JAMES: Yeah. Obviously, if they don’t investigate it seriously and someone has been hit, their job – and possibly criminal prosecution themselves. So to actually say that is insane, isn’t it?
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, that is amazing. James, thank you once again for another great story. I appreciate it. And thanks for being a part of the Campfire.
JAMES: Thank you, Jim.
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JIM HAROLD: Thomas is on the line from Motown – Detroit, Michigan – and we’re so glad to have him on the line. He has a doozy of a story. He found out about us from, of course, the great Astonishing Legends. We get a ton of referrals from those guys, Scott and Forrest, so we’ll return the favor. Be sure to check them out as well. Thomas, welcome to the show and please share this remarkable story.
THOMAS: Thank you, Jim. This story starts in the late ’50s. My mom got a doll as a child; it was a commercially made doll named Patti Playpal, about life-sized six-year-old girl sized. Her father, my Paw-paw, was in the Air Force, so they moved around a lot, and at some point in those moves, the doll was lost. They assumed gone. You know how that happens.
Fast forward to 1984. Doll’s been gone for 25-30 years at this point and we are attending my grandmother’s funeral. I’m nine years old at this point. Afterwards, we head to my grandmother’s house. My mom and her sister are going through stuff and trying to organize my grandmother’s life. My mom is in a hall closet and she suddenly screams – in delight, not fear – and pulls this package out of the closet, and it’s the doll that’s been missing for decades. It’s covered in a pillowcase, it’s got several belts buckled around it.
My mom proceeds to unbuckle it frantically. She’s talking about, “Oh my gosh, this is my childhood doll. I can’t believe it’s here. Where has it been all these years?” Even nine-year-old me, there’s red flags shooting off left and right. [laughs] As she pulls the pillowcase and the belt buckles off, the arms had been detached; they’re just loose inside the bag.
So she puts the arms in their sockets and sits the doll in the living room dead in front of me – no pun intended – and proceeds to tell me the story about losing it. Well, I’m sitting here staring at this thing, and it’s just this wash of cold and fear that for a nine-year-old brain is completely irrational. I’m like, “Please no, I don’t like this. Get it away.” She’s like, “No, no, no, it’s my childhood doll. I want you to see it. We’ll finish packing up and get going soon.”
I’m sitting there and the doll twists its head right at me, and I scream. Of course, my mom comes running, my aunt comes running, and I tell them what happened. They say, “Oh, no, she’s just settling.” They try to pacify me. I’m just not buying it as a kid.
JIM HAROLD: I don’t blame you. You said it was covered and it was belted, like somebody put it to secure it in some way?
THOMAS: Yeah, somebody had intentionally covered it up and buckled it in several leather belts for whatever reason.
JIM HAROLD: Oh gosh.
THOMAS: And of course, my mom at the time was like, “It’s to keep it from getting dusty.” I’m like, “That doesn’t explain the belts.” So we leave a few days later; we travel home to Charleston, which is where we were living at the time. My mom cleans up the doll, she puts it on display in the hall at the foot of the stairs – which at night prevents me from going down the stairs because absolutely not, I’m not going to go face this thing.
It terrified me for years. I had nightmares constantly where she would climb up the ladder at the foot of my bunkbed and I would just see her bangs and her face come up, and then she’d lower back down and go away. This thing plagued me. If there was a definition for haunted, it was this experience, haunting me.
Eventually we moved to Tennessee. My dad got out of the Navy and we moved to Tennessee to be close to our family. I’d been begging my mom for years, “Get rid of the doll. Do anything else in the world with it other than keep it.” She refused. She had this weird sentimentality for this thing that was missing for decades. But she does agree to keep it in the darkest corner of her closet so I don’t have to see it. I was like, “Fine, great. You deal with it. I don’t want to look.”
But one night, my senior year of high school, I was home alone. I was getting out of the shower. We were getting ready to go out with a bunch of friends and hang out, and I’m standing in the bathroom in my towel and I hear my mom’s bedroom door open and shut. It’s right next door to the bathroom that I’m in. First thing I think is it’s this doll. My teenage brain is swirling.
I hear very soft, faint footsteps cross from the door, in front of the bathroom, past it – this is all on a carpeted hallway – and they proceed further away, and I hear the sound of the footsteps change to footsteps on linoleum, so I know whatever or whoever is out there is now in the kitchen. I hear drawers starting to be pulled open and closed. I hear silverware rattling. I am in a state of pure terror. Either there is a possessed doll in the house that’s coming for me, like my fears I’ve had all these years, or there’s possibly somebody actually physically in our house.
I’m still standing in this bathroom, door shut, locked, with a towel on. I hear the drawers stop moving, the silverware stop making noise. I hear the footsteps on linoleum coming back towards me. The footsteps hit the carpet and pad across, and my mom’s bedroom door opens and slams shut again. Pure terror. I have never felt terror like this in my life. I’m literally thinking this doll – I rationalize it saying, “Oh my God, if it is this doll, it’s gotten out, it’s got a knife, it’s making me think that it went back in the room, but oh my God, it’s going to be right outside the door.” I’m really building this up in my head.
I try to talk myself down. The thing that actually somehow calms me down is the idea that maybe it’s just a person – which is still terrible, but not evil, or not in the ghostly sense. Finally, I have to get out of this bathroom. I have to escape. I have to go somewhere. So I grab my hairdryer and a disposable razor thinking at least I have something in my hands.
I throw the door open and there’s nothing. Nothing in either direction of the hallway. The bedroom door is still shut. I run to my left towards the dining room. There’s some laundry I was supposed to put away that I hadn’t that is sitting in the basket on the table. I grab some clothes out of that. I don’t even care what they are. I run from that room to the living room and I’m hiding under an end table, trying to pull on pants, thinking, “I’ve just got to put on pants to get out the door, in case whatever is here is still here.”
Right above me is a cordless phone, and it starts ringing. I had recently seen at some slumber party or something When a Stranger Calls.
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah, I remember that movie. Ooh.
THOMAS: Yeah, “The call is coming from inside the house.” This just keeps building. It’s layer on layer of horror. But something told me that if I didn’t answer the phone, something worse was going to happen. I answer it and I say hello, and it’s my friend Samantha. She’s like, “Oh hey, there was a change in plans. We’re going to go to this place.”
I said, “Sam, stop. There’s somebody in my house.” She takes a second. She’s obviously confused, and she asks me if I’m sure. I say yes. She tells me she’s calling the cops and tells me to get out. So I hang up the phone, I run out of the living room. I have to go back into this hallway – it’s a ranch style house, so the hallway connects to everything. I don’t even look down towards my mom’s bedroom because I don’t want to know what’s there if something’s coming out.
I turn right and go towards our kitchen. I throw open the kitchen door, run down the three steps that go into our carport and get my keys out from my car, and the lights to the carport turn on. This is 1993. Motion detecting lights are around, but we didn’t have them. The only way to turn these lights on is from a switch that’s right inside the kitchen door. I instinctively look up, and the kitchen door – it’s one of those where the top half has nine panes of glass and a little curtain. The curtain has been pushed aside, and there’s the silhouette of something about four, four and a half foot tall.
I jump in my car, I drive around the street to get to the front of the neighborhood, and I’m waiting there for the cops to show up. They do. They have me wait in my car. They go through the entire house. They come back out and they say, “There’s no forced entry.” They’re chiding me a little bit, like, “Oh, this kid, he’s home by himself and got spooked.” So they leave.
That same experience happened almost exactly just a couple weeks later, another night that I was home by myself. I told my mom about these stories; she’s like, “These are just your childhood nightmares. You’ve got an overactive imagination.” I’m like, “All right. I have expressed myself. There’s nothing else I can do. I’m not going to convince you.”
Fast forward a few years, I’m coming home from college for the weekend. I get in the house. I see my mom’s car is there, so I walk in. Normally she would say, “Hey, Tom, how are you doing?” I don’t get a greeting, so I go, “Hey Mom, are you here?” She goes, “I’m back here.” I follow the sound. She’s back in her bedroom. I walk in and she’s sitting on the floor, cross-legged. The doll is in front of her. She has two pillowcases wrapped over the top of it. Both arms have been popped out of sockets and stuffed inside, and she’s belting it, just like how we found it 15 years before.
I ask, “What are you doing?” She goes, “Oh, nothing.” She shrugs it off. That’s really weird. My mom, for all of her “don’t worry, this isn’t real, this can’t hurt you,” this was weird. This was weird for her to have this experience with this doll. She bundles it up and she tucks it back into that far corner of her closet and we don’t talk about it.
A couple weeks later, I come back home. It’s another holiday. She says, “Hey, remember when I wrapped Patti Playpal up?” I was like, “Yeah, that was weird.” She proceeds to tell me that the night leading up to that morning when I walked in and saw her bundling it, she had a dream that she was walking along when suddenly a very old woman approached her carrying a young girl. The woman said, “Can you keep her safe?”
My mom, who was the kindest, caring-est woman you can ever imagine – aside from not believing that I was being terrorized by a haunted doll – said, “Yes, of course.” She grabs the little girl, and as she looks at her, she realizes that this is Patti Playpal. The old lady takes a beat and looks at my mother in this dream and yells, “Go!” And my mom starts running, carrying this girl, and suddenly she’s crying, the girl’s crying.
They’re running and running and suddenly a phone booth pops up in the dream, and the phone is ringing. The really weird thing is that when my mom was telling me the story, she said, “I felt like if I didn’t answer the phone, something worse was going to happen,” which was exactly the feeling that I had months, weeks, long before with the phone ringing.
She says in the dream she answers the phone, and when she says, “Hello?”, she gets a growling voice saying, “We will find her.” She slams the phone down, and that’s the thing that breaks her from the dream. She wakes up and she throws her legs over the side of her bed and she’s fidgeting at her nightstand. She was a chain-smoker; she’s looking for a cigarette to calm her nerves.
She realizes something is out of place in the room, and right as she’s about to take a drag on her cigarette, she turns to her left towards her closet. The door is open. Patti is no longer in the back corner. She is at the frame of the door, leaning forward with her head turned, staring at my mom as though she was eavesdropping on her. My mom said she spent the night completely awake, in the living room. She was like, “It felt wrong. Something bad was happening.”
So that explains her bundling it. Eventually she puts it into a storage unit that she had with some other knickknacks and boxes of old things that we owned. Fast forward a few more years, and it’s 2008. My mom eventually died of pancreatic cancer.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
THOMAS: Thank you. The good news is it was as quick and painless as it could be. But it was hard on the family, and it took me and my stepdad a little time to really take care of all of her things. We’re going through the house, we get that organized, and we decide, “Let’s go to the storage unit, clean it out, get rid of stuff. It’s been in a storage unit for a couple of years now. If we haven’t touched it, we don’t need it.”
So we go and we’re getting all this stuff out to have a yard sale. My stepdad was nervous about this doll story too. He didn’t believe any of it, but he just did not like this doll because of the stories. He’s like, “I’m going to scream when we see the doll.” I was like, “I know, I know.” We go through the whole thing and the doll’s not anywhere to be found. Not a lick. No pillowcase, no belt buckles, nothing. We’re like, “Well, good. She’s gone. She’s gone to terrorize somebody else.” [laughs]
But then a couple years ago, my then-fiancé (now husband) and I were walking through Brooklyn on just a random day. We’re out adventuring, and we walk past an antique store, and I freeze in my steps and I turn to look, and in the storefront window of this antique store – and I can’t attest that it’s the exact same doll because I refused to go into the store to get a closer look, but it is an identical Patti Playpal doll. Her head is craning up, looking out the window at me, and she’s missing both of her arms.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
THOMAS: So that is my terror from a doll. I don’t know what she was. I don’t know why the bundling was a process. I don’t know. I don’t have answers to it. It’s a little bit of a spooky story, it’s a little bit of a headscratcher.
JIM HAROLD: That’s a lot of a headscratcher. Wow, what a great story, Thomas. I’ve got to tell you, that freaked me out. The idea that you saw its head move, you saw the silhouette, you guys originally found it belted and covered, and then it went from the storage unit and ostensibly followed you to Brooklyn – I mean, oh my gosh. That’s creepy. That is really creepy.
THOMAS: Yeah, 2014 was when I saw it in Brooklyn, and I haven’t seen it since. I’m hoping I never see it again.
JIM HAROLD: I bet you don’t like that one Twilight Zone episode – you know, the “Hi, I’m Talking Tina and I want to kill you!” [laughs]
THOMAS: Oh, no, I hated that. And when my husband and I went to go see the first Annabelle movie, he’s like, “Are you sure you want to go?” I was like, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a movie.” We got home and I was like, “That was too close to home.” [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Thomas, thank you so much for sharing an unforgettable Campfire story. This is a Campfire classic. Thank you so much.
THOMAS: Thank you so much, Jim. I appreciate your time.
JIM HAROLD: Erica is on the line, and she says she’s been listening to this show and the Paranormal Podcast as long as she’s been listening to podcasts. We really appreciate it. She’s calling us today from Syracuse, New York. Erica, I won’t spoil it; tell people what you call this story.
ERICA: I call this story “demon in the sheets,” Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh. I think, folks, you will have already seen that as the show title. It’s too good not to use. Erica, go right ahead and tell us this story, and thank you for joining us today.
ERICA: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure. About 11 years ago, a good friend of mine – we were getting our master’s degree together – we loved to watch stupid comedy shows all the time, and my ex-husband, at the time, he liked to play video games. So he was on the downstairs TV, and this is important for a reason. We were alone upstairs on the other TV.
We must have fallen asleep at some point. This is the part where it gets fuzzy for me, because it was early in the evening, so it just seemed so odd that I had fallen asleep, but we both apparently had knocked out. I woke up first and looked over and started immediately screaming. I saw this figure attached to my best friend’s back, and the best way I can explain it is that it looked like a long, thin, badly burned person, and it had an ear-to-ear smile – and I loosely call it a smile.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man. Ooh.
ERICA: Yeah. It is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I think it’s important to say I deal in the spiritual world. I have a business. I work in the spiritual world, so I’m not unfamiliar with spooky things, to put it that way. But this threw me. I mean, screaming. She turns and starts screaming, but she’s not looking at me when she’s screaming. You would think if she was screaming because I was screaming, you’d think it was because she saw me screaming – she was looking at what I was looking at. And then we both bolted down the stairs. My poor ex-husband just about wet his pants because there’s two women flying down the stairs screaming. He doesn’t know what happened.
JIM HAROLD: Sure.
ERICA: At that point I didn’t know that she had seen what I had seen. I just knew that we were both in absolute terror. It’s a pretty short and sweet story. Later that evening, we were drinking some chamomile tea to calm down because we both were – we didn’t want to talk about it for hours. We just sat with my ex and literally watched him play a game while we calmed down, hung out with my cats, meditated for a bit.
Then a few hours later, I said, “Okay, what made you scream?” Because I knew what I had seen, and we hadn’t spoken about it. She described the exact being that I had seen, that made me jump and scream and run for my life. She described it to a T.
JIM HAROLD: Did she say what it felt like? I mean, did it just feel like somebody was on her? Did she have the sensation of someone or something on her back?
ERICA: She thought I had been touching her.
JIM HAROLD: Oh man.
ERICA: She thought I had hugged her, but she said that it felt strange.
JIM HAROLD: That’s really disturbing.
ERICA: I know.
JIM HAROLD: Ugh. [laughs] You’re giving me the willies, to use a technical term, Erica. Any thoughts to what caused this? You saw it, she saw it; any thoughts of what it was, what could’ve brought it on, anything?
ERICA: I have some suspicions. I have a few suspicions. I think it was from the house. The house was from 1930. It’s my old house. I don’t live in it anymore. I actually live in a 250-year-old house now, but that’s for another day. This house was from 1930, and it was known to have some mafia activity back in the day. That’s the rumor. The hardwoods were original, and there are some questionable stains in some of the areas that I always suspected were foul.
I’ve had other friends stay over there who had crazy dreams. Not normal bad dreams. Crazy dreams. I was a burgeoning psychic when I lived there, and I had quite a few experiences with spirits. That’s the only one where I suspect that I encountered a demon. But I think it was from the house and it really liked her. And I had a lot of words up, I had a lot of blocks up, so it latched onto something that felt good, essentially.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes. My goodness.
ERICA: I know, I agree. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: Was it red in color, like the movies? Or was it just skin tone? Was it a dark figure?
ERICA: This is the worst part, almost. Its skin was kind of grey, like burned skin. Not pink. It was grey.
JIM HAROLD: Yikes.
ERICA: I know. It gives me the creeps.
JIM HAROLD: That is wild. Well, thank you so much. That is really a compelling story. Obviously, it hasn’t scared you away from the supernatural; you’re involved in it. But I bet that it’s informed your thoughts. I know some people say – I’d be interested in your thoughts on this – “There’s no such thing as evil,” that it’s just a lower vibration. Do you think that this thing was evil?
ERICA: I actually think that those things can coexist. I think that there is such a thing as evil, and evil is of a lower vibration. I don’t think that it means us good. Good and evil are labels that we attribute to energy, and if you’re going to call something evil, I would call that evil because it’s going to suck the life out of you. It’s going to suck the energy out of you, and it’s going to affect the way that your life moves if you’re not careful with your energy, if you don’t practice good energy hygiene. I do believe, essentially, it was evil, yes.
JIM HAROLD: Do you think it wanted to kill her?
ERICA: Physically? I think over time it could have caused something that could have ended her life prematurely if she wasn’t aware of where her energy was going, yeah.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
ERICA: But not that night, no.
JIM HAROLD: What a story, Erica. The demon in the sheets. And you also provided us with the title of this week’s show. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
ERICA: It was my pleasure, Jim. Thank you so much.
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You’re listening to Jim Harold’s Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Bruce is on the line from the southeast United States. We’re so glad to have him with us. He has such a unique and neat story that I’m not going to put words in his mouth; I’m going to let him tell you. Bruce, thank you for joining us, and tell us this very unique headscratcher.
BRUCE: Thank you, Jim. I appreciate you letting me share my story. This was an experience I had back in 1989. It was a city in the southeast that was having an interstate bypass built, and as the right of way was being constructed, the Department of Transportation uncovered a historic burial.
I’m an archeologist and my wife is a forensic anthropologist, so at the time we were working with a firm that was contracted to come in and investigate the area. So we brought in ground penetrating radar and detected approximately 70 anomalies in the area. At that point our contract was expanded, and the scope of the work was to excavate the burials, photograph the remains, catalog the coffin hardware and burial items, rebury each, and provide a history of the area. The project was going to run about two and a half months long.
At the time, we lived about two and a half hours from the site, so on Fridays we would drive home after work. One weekend while we were there, my Saturday project was to install an extension phone in our spare bedroom. I was making it an office. I was doing reports and research at the time, so I wanted a phone in there to work. So I wired it up, set it up, and got it in place.
That night, when we went to bed – that was Saturday night – after about five minutes we were in bed, the office phone started ringing. I’ve got a phone beside the bed, but it wasn’t ringing. It just kept ringing, and I thought, “I’m just going to let the answering machine pick it up.” And it just kept ringing. We had an answering machine in the kitchen, and it just kept ringing and ringing. When I got up and went down the hallway, I noticed the kitchen phone wasn’t ringing either. It was only the office phone.
So I went in and picked it up and slowly put it to my ear, because it was a little bit unnerving to hear just one phone ringing out of three, and when I picked it up, it sounded like such a distant sound. It was like [makes wind blowing sound]. Like swirling winds or something in space or something. So I hung it up and I picked it back up and there was a dial tone.
I went back to bed, and about five minutes later, it started ringing again. I went back in there and picked it up, and it was making the same sound. This time I said, “Hello?” Nothing was said. So I hung it back up, picked it up again, there was a ring tone, and I came on back to bed. It didn’t ring anymore after that.
The next morning, on Sunday morning, I got up. I was having my coffee, and my wife joined me and we were just sitting there chatting about the day. She said, “I’ve got to tell you about my dream I had last night.” She dreamt a man came out of the bathroom and said, “Answer the phone.” She said she went in and answered the phone, and the voice said, “Stop digging up the graves.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my lord. Oh my goodness. Oh, you just gave me chills. Ooh, ooh!
BRUCE: She said, “We can’t do that because the graves are going to be destroyed. We’re removing them from harm and we’re reburying them in a safe place.” The voice said, “Be careful.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. “Stop digging up the graves,” that gave me chills.” Ooh!
BRUCE: The other part is she finished her coffee and she went on back to get ready, and in about a minute she called me back and said, “Bruce, come back here.” I walked into the office and she says, “Did you put that there?” Beside the telephone was a photograph of one of the burials that I had excavated.
JIM HAROLD: Oh jeez. [laughs]
BRUCE: I have no idea how it got there. Certainly I didn’t put it there, she didn’t. It was just, like you say, a headscratcher.
JIM HAROLD: Wow, that’s a great story. I love that. Maybe you mentioned it and I missed it, but what was the provenance or what was the background of the burials? How long did those burials go back? Did you have any feel for that?
BRUCE: They were about 1860s to about 1910. You had various styles. You had the rectangular type with a viewing glass, and then you had the Dracula, the hexagonal “pinch-toe” is what they call it. You had those. They ran from children – I think about 30% of the 70+ burials were children, on up to adult.
A little backstory, the historian for the firm was doing research on the land itself and interviewing the senior citizens in the area, and the farm itself was sold in 1925, and when the Depression hit, the story was the gentleman that owned the land wanted to increase his crops to grow more corn or soybeans, and the story was that he pulled all the headstones up and threw them down a well.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my lord.
BRUCE: It was just sort of a random thing. They were going through fields in this bypass and just hit a grave out of the blue. It was kind of weird. So that’s the reason for that. But 1860 to 1910 was the range, and there were about 70, 73 odd.
JIM HAROLD: And you completed the job and had no further problems? There was no weirdness on the jobsite? Everything went okay?
BRUCE: Yeah. After that, everything was fine. It was just a very odd thing that happened. But yeah, we didn’t experience anything else.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. And it said, “Be careful.” Ooh, what a story. The other thing I love about your story, Bruce, is this. People tend to think that people have strange or supernatural experiences or just plain headscratchers like this – they think you’re uneducated or you’re not a professional person or whatever. I mean, between you and your wife, how much more professional and educated can you get? That proves to me – and I say it time and time again – that people in every walk of life have these kinds of experiences, and I thank you so much, so much, for sharing yours. Has it changed your thoughts or attitudes about the supernatural?
BRUCE: Well, I really wasn’t that much into it at the time. The unknown stuff drives scientists crazy. They like to understand and want to know what’s going on. It really sparked an interest that has gradually increased, and I really enjoy it today.
JIM HAROLD: I’m not a scientist, but I’ll say this. I have the greatest admiration in the world for scientists. We couldn’t do what we do right here with this simple little podcast without science, and we’re very appreciative. But I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I think you can have a very scientific mind, but yet realize there’s some things we just, at this point in time, cannot understand – and those two things, to me, can coexist.
BRUCE: Absolutely. And did. [laughs]
JIM HAROLD: That’s the best point right there. Bruce, thank you for joining us around the Campfire tonight.
BRUCE: Thank you, Jim. Take care.
JIM HAROLD: Norm is on the line, and he is in law enforcement. Hats off to our good folks in law enforcement. We appreciate everything they do. Norm, I’m sure, in the process of his work interacts with many people every day. This may’ve been one of the strangest. Norm, welcome to the show. Tell us what happened.
NORM: Sure, Jim. I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story. I think like most people who’ve had an encounter, they typically don’t tell people just because they don’t want to sound crazy.
This situation never quite sat well with me because I didn’t want to sound crazy as well. I spent a lot of time over the years thinking about it, trying to figure out what exactly happened that night, and after going over it, trying to unpack it and make it make sense a million times, I just gave up until I discovered podcasts. I know you’re a big fan of Astonishing Legends, and it wasn’t till I listened to them and their three-part series on Black-Eyed Kids that this all came full circle and clicked and made sense for me.
A little bit about me. I am a state trooper in one of the states over here in New England. I’ve been a trooper for almost 15 years. I got on in 2007. The incident I’m looking to share today happened back in 2009. It was summertime. As a new trooper, I was out there, trying to be proactive, stop cars. I was up on a highway, doing some motor vehicle enforcement, and it was the third car of the evening that I had stopped.
I’ve never been big for getting people for speeding just a couple miles over. You had to be doing at least 15 miles an hour over the speed limit for me to even consider stopping you. This car was coming; it was doing 87 miles an hour, and I remember thinking to myself, “I got a good one.” I waited for the car to pass me, I pulled out behind it, hit my lights. I didn’t even get to 30 miles an hour on the highway to try to catch up to it, or even turn on my sirens, and the vehicle immediately pulled over. No big deal. I thought to myself, “That was easy.” Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not.
One of the things that hasn’t sat well with me over the years that I’ve thought about over and over again is what I didn’t do next. As a police officer, I guess you could say it’s Cop 101. It’s drilled into you from Day 1: when you pull over a car, you call dispatch. You tell them where you are, what you’re doing, you call in the plate you’re out with, quick vehicle description. In case something bad happens, help knows where to come. For some reason, I didn’t do any of that. That’s never sat well with me. I’m not sure what the reason is behind it. Maybe it was just – well, let me get on with the story. We’ll see if we can figure it out.
Like I said, I go to pull over this vehicle. It pulls over immediately. I pull up behind it about 20 feet, like I always do, and the second I put my car into park, all the hair on my arms and neck stood up on end. It was like an immediate flight or fight response. I didn’t take that physiological response lightly. I’m kind of a book nerd, so I literally had just got done reading the book called Gift of Fear by Gavin Becker. The premise of the book is trusting your gut. It was recommended to me by my field training officer when I first got on. Told me it was an important read and it was something that can save your life. The premise of the book is just trusting your gut, and it makes a difference.
So when all the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up just from stopping a car with no apparent reason, I paid attention. I started scanning the car, watching for traffic, trying to figure out, “What is my body trying to tell me? What can I not see that’s here?” Nothing really stuck out to me.
The car is in park; I’m getting ready. I’ve got to make my approach. There might’ve been a little bit of cockiness, a little bit of new cop arrogance about me at that point. To put it further in perspective, at this point I’m 27 years old. I’m in the best shape of my life. I could do pushups forever. I’m pretty fresh out of the academy, like a year and a half. Six foot tall, 210 pounds, wearing a bulletproof vest, armed with a sidearm, 32 rounds of ammunition, a taser, pepper spray, a baton. There’s no reason for me to have been freaked out or nervous for any reason whatsoever.
I get out of my vehicle. I begin the approach, and from the second I make my first step, it feels like I’m wading through water. It feels like there’s 50-pound block weights on my feet. Every fiber of my being was just screaming at me, “Don’t go to this vehicle! Don’t do it!” But again, it’s my job. I stopped the vehicle; I’ve got to follow through.
I’m still not completely ignoring all these physiological responses. I’m scanning, I’m watching for traffic, I’m looking for anything on the side of the road. I’m looking for furtive movements by the operator, something being thrown out the window. Is he trying to hide something? These are all things we can normally do, but because of my reaction, I’m really looking now.
So I approach this vehicle. I get to the back window of the driver’s side and I’m looking in. The whole back of the car is packed full of stuff. Bags. There’s nothing that I can see. I get a good visual of the backside of the operator; he’s motionless. The driver’s side window is down. His hands are at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. He’s just sitting there, and he’s, I can only assume, waiting for me to interact with him.
I take another step closer. I’m now at what we call the B-pillar of the vehicle, which is the pillar between the front door and the rear door. That’s where we stop. It’s like a tactical thing we do because it gives us an advantage. The operator can’t see us, doesn’t have a direct line of sight of us. So if they decide they want to try to hurt us or do something, it’s more work for them.
As I step to that B-pillar, I see the operator slightly lean forward, look down, and just cock his head slightly in my direction. So he knows I’m there. He doesn’t turn to look at me. He doesn’t acknowledge me. He says nothing. He just slightly cocks his head to acknowledge that I’m there. Also, while I’m at this window, I’m looking for anything, still. I’m smelling the air to see if he’s a drunk driver, if there’s any narcotics smell in the air. The only thing that I picked up on was this horrific smell coming from within the car. It just smelled horrible.
I hope the audience forgives me; I’m probably going to sound a little stereotypical and maybe a little off, and that’s not my intent. I’m just doing my best to describe what I was relating it to. Where I worked, there’s a lot of farm communities. I know a lot of farmers, and for some reason, I start to size him up, obviously, and I’m thinking, “This guy’s a farmer. That’s what this smell is.”
JIM HAROLD: Like he’s been stomping around in the barnyard.
NORM: Right. That’s my thought. Then I start sizing him up, like I say. I take notice of his clothes. I’m looking at him like, all right, white male, probably thirties. This guy is maybe 5’7, 5’8”, 150-160 pounds at best. There’s no reason why physically I should be scared of him that I can see so far. There’s nothing crazy going on.
I’ve got this bad smell. I notice his clothing. Again, never really picked up on this before until having listened to stuff after – it looked like he dressed himself from the Salvation Army. He looked like he did all his shopping at a thrift store. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but again, that also reinforced my idea that this guy might be a farmer. I knew farmers. They work outside, they destroy their clothes. They really don’t care what they’re wearing if they’re just around animals and doing what they need to do. So that was my sizing him up. I feel like, all right, he knows I’m there. And all this happened in a couple seconds. This isn’t like five minutes of me standing there in silence.
I finally decide it’s time to interact with this guy, so I introduce myself. I’m just going to throw out a fake name. “My name is Trooper Mann with the state police. Do you know why I stopped you this evening?” Again, he’s sitting in his car, hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel still. His head is just slightly cocked in my direction. He just turns a little bit more so he can catch me out of his peripherals, but he’s not looking at me, and he gets this giant, creepy, Cheshire cat grin on his face. He doesn’t say a word.
I repeat myself. “Sir, Trooper Mann with the state police. Do you know why I stopped you this evening?” Silence. Not a word. Not a move, no motion. Just a big creepy grin. “Sir, I noticed you were doing 87 miles an hour tonight. The speed limit’s 65. Is there a reason for your speed? Is everything okay?” Silence. No response. Just a creepy grin. “Sir, I can tell you’re in a hurry. I just need your license, registration, insurance. We’ll get you on your way as soon as we can.” Silence. No response. Big creepy grin.
This guy doesn’t move a muscle, doesn’t make to reach into his glovebox to get any paperwork, doesn’t motion for a wallet to pull out an ID. Nothing. He is a statue. He just is looking down, slightly out the car, and grinning. I can’t see his whole face because of the way he’s positioned himself.
Now I’m thinking to myself, all right, is this guy being passive-aggressive? Is he just trying to give me a hard time? Is he a sovereign citizen and doesn’t believe I have the authority to stop him, so he’s just going through the motions? I didn’t know what was going on. At this point, I’m trying to determine what my next best course of action is.
I’m thinking if this guy’s not going to help me identify him or even work with me, I’m going to ask him to step out of the vehicle, to the back of the vehicle. I’m going to take him into investigative detention and then figure out who he is and why I’ve got this horrific feeling in my stomach and all the hair standing up on the side of my arms and back of my neck.
So I tell him, “Sir, I understand you’re upset. It’s never fun getting stopped by the police. If you’re not going to give me any identifying information, I’m going to ask you to step out to the back of the vehicle with me.” When I said this, this is the first time he gave any indication that he was hearing what I was saying, almost. His hands were still at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. He pulled himself forward by using the steering wheel, two or three inches, and then he turned and he looked directly at me, and when he looked at me, his eyes were completely black. They were just voids.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh. Oh boy.
NORM: I literally put my hand on my gun. I didn’t draw it. I took two or three steps back without even realizing it. Next thing I know, I’m standing in the middle of a traffic lane on a highway.
JIM HAROLD: Oh gosh.
NORM: It’s 10:30 at night. Thankfully, like I said, it’s a rural area; it wasn’t that busy. He’s just staring at me with these black eyes and this giant Cheshire cat grin on his face, not moving, not doing anything, and I continue to back up. I got all the way back to my car. I corrected myself to get back to my car. I got in my car, I put it in drive – and I’ll throw myself under the bus – I probably did 90 to 100 miles an hour all the way back to the police station.
I was so freaked out by what I saw, I didn’t even realize my emergency lights were still on, red and blues flashing all the way down the highway for 11 miles. I pulled into the back parking lot of the police station, still didn’t realize my lights were on, and I sat in my car like, “What just happened?”
A coworker of mine came out, knocked on the window, scared the crap out of me, and was like, “Hey, your lights are on. Everything okay?” Sure enough. I shut my lights off, I said everything was okay, and that was my experience.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. Something people might ask – I think I know the answer, but it wasn’t like somebody – you know people who may be on drugs or something, the pupils of their eyes may get large and dilate or whatever. It wasn’t anything like that, it was the whole eyeball, right?
NORM: It was almost like there was no eye. The best way I can describe it is black voids. It was the most unsettling thing I’ve ever seen. Like I said, I thought about it after because I made some what could’ve been fatal errors as a young trooper. You always call in the play. You always tell the troop what you’re doing and where you are. I didn’t do any of these. I don’t know if it was because of that flight or fight response that kicked in when my car went in park or if it was something else, or if it was just pure stupidity. I honestly don’t know. But it was creepy. It was the most terrifying thing that has happened to me on this job, ever, and I’ve done some pretty involved things.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, being a cop that long, a trooper, I’m sure you’ve come into some dangerous and scary situations with very “normal” people, let alone some kind of – whatever a Black-Eyed Kid is. Whew, man. What a story. Well, Norm, thank you so much for your service to your state and your community, and thank you for sharing a Campfire instant classic.
NORM: Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the opportunity.
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JIM HAMILTON: Ideas come from obviously listening to you and to other podcasts, as well as from back in the ’80s when I was a paranormal junkie as a kid. I was fascinated by Unsolved Mysteries, In Search Of…, and That’s Incredible.
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JIM HAMILTON: The tees we print on are extremely soft and comfy, and they’re a cotton/poly blend so they won’t shrink when you wash them. And they’re durable, too. Actually, right now I’m wearing one of the tees that we printed back in 2017, and it still looks and feels great.
JIM HAROLD: They’re not just great shirts, but there’s also a gamification aspect to it, right?
JIM HAMILTON: Yes, there is. It was designed to be more than just a shirt. Both our paranormal and our National Park tees come with a content card. The card further explains the theme and it has a web address printed on it for you to visit. The web address is secured with a password which can only be found hidden in the design of the shirt. If you can successfully unlock the website, you’ll find our monthly challenge. And if you can correctly solve our challenge, you’ll be entered into a drawing for free ParaBox merchandise.
JIM HAROLD: So Jim, where can people get ParaBox?
JIM HAMILTON: Jim, if your listeners want to head on over to our website, paraboxmonthly.com/jim, they can receive a promo code for 25% off, and that discount code is good for either our paranormal tees or our National Park tees.
JIM HAROLD: So now it’s time to get ParaBox. Just go to paraboxmonthly.com/jim. That’s paraboxmonthly.com/jim, and get that deal for 25% off a ParaBox monthly subscription. I highly recommend it. Thanks, ParaBox! (No purchase necessary to be entered into their monthly drawing. Details at paraboxmonthly.com.)
Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram @TheJimHarold and join our virtual Campfire Facebook group at VirtualCampfireGroup.com. Now, back to the Campfire.
JIM HAROLD: Now on the Campfire we have a special storyteller, Reverend Gerald Hunter. He’s been on the show before, and he’s also an author. He’s going to tell us about that. But he has a story going back from his college days. He’s calling us today from Michigan, and we’re so glad to have him. Reverend Hunter, welcome back to the program. I know you always have such great stories, so I can’t wait to hear this one.
GERRY: Thank you for having me. The story does go back to my days when I was at Albian College. I was preparing for seminary, but first I had to finish my bachelor’s degree. I had a family to support as well, so I took employment on a midnight shift at the Calhoun County Juvenile Detention Facility. Locked up in there were an average of about 50 teenagers, about 95% of them male. There were four wings for the residents there. Every child, every teenager had their own individual room to sleep in at night.
I worked with two others on the midnight shift. My immediate supervisor was about my age; his name was Ron. He was a big guy who was still in the military reserve. And a woman named Laura, who took care of the female wing, and Ron and I took care of the three male wings. When we would arrive for work, all of the teens would be locked down in their individual rooms already for the night. So what we would do is Ron and I would do the janitorial work, which only took about an hour and a half, and then the female staff member took care of the things that she needed to take care of.
Then we would sit in the office area and monitor the individual rooms by means of an audio piece of equipment that would scan every 10 seconds from one room to the next. Just so that we make sure we could hear in there that the kids were sleeping all right, no one’s wrestling around or coughing or getting sick or having a bad night, whatever the case might be.
On this one particular night, everything was calm and quiet as usual. We’d finished our chores; we were sitting in the office area, listening to the monitor and just talking and chilling out, waiting for our shift to end. It must’ve been about 1:30 in the morning or so. The monitor was going every 10 seconds to a different room, and then suddenly it went to one room, and we could hear the male resident – he was about 15 years old – talking.
He was talking as though he was speaking to someone else in there with him, which was totally impossible. The place was completely locked down. We’d do room checks every 30 minutes with flashlights to make sure all was well. But we knew he wasn’t talking in his sleep because you can almost tell when somebody’s doing that and the difference in the tone of voice they have.
So we flipped the switch so we could stay tuned in to just his room, and sure enough, he was talking – and at one point he asked a question, and he got an answer. The answer he got was in the form of the voice of a very old man. This place was locked up tighter than a drum, tighter than a wine bottle at a Protestant funeral service. [laughs] There’s no way anybody could get in and out. We had that kind of security.
So we sat there listening, and he would say something and this old man would answer him and ask him questions, and they’d go back and forth. After about 30-40 seconds of that, Ron looked at me and said, “We’d better check that out.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Okay, let me know what you see.” I said, “You want me to go there by myself?” He said, “Well, yeah.” Now, Ron was not afraid of anything, but he was afraid to go down there.
Finally I said, “Let’s both go.” He said okay, we grabbed our flashlights and walked down there. Each door had a small window in it. We stood next to the window where nobody in that room could see us and listened, and sure enough, the conversation was going on. It was the young man talking about things that he had done, and the old man’s voice reassuring him that it was all right, he was justified to do it, “don’t worry about it, you’ll get out of here and then you can be back” – these kinds of things.
Eventually, that was enough. We got the courage and shined our light in there, and the young man was all alone. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, oblivious to our lights, and staring toward the wall across from him. He would speak again, and then he would answer himself – you could see his mouth move and everything; it was coming from him – in the old, old man’s crackling voice. Right away I’m thinking, okay, we’ve got some psychological thing going on.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, it would seem to be a multiple personality disorder. I’ve heard of that sort of thing.
GERRY: Something was going on there. It gets a little better. We watched him, and he would say something in his voice and then it would come out as the answer in an old man’s voice, and then both voices at the same time started coming out of him.
JIM HAROLD: Oh boy.
GERRY: We were just absolutely dumbfounded. We were staring through the window and looking at this and thinking, what in the world is going on? We looked at each other and I whispered to Ron, “Are we going in there? Is this kid all right?” Ron says, “I don’t know. Should we unlock the door or just watch him for a while?”
The conversation continued between the young voice and the old voice, but again there were times when both voices – it’s like if I were speaking to you right now and you started speaking to me, only I didn’t shut up and I kept talking over you. It’s like both voices at once would come in.
JIM HAROLD: Oh my gosh.
GERRY: It was the strangest feeling you got. It just made you feel you fill with dread, standing there in this pitch-dark hallway. You don’t want to disturb the other kids in their rooms nearby, but you’re witnessing something that you think nobody is going to believe you.
We finally unlocked the door. The kid stopped talking. It came to a complete stop. Ron gently shook him, and he just simply looked up and he said something like, “What are you guys doing in here?” Then we told him he was talking in his sleep, did he remember any of it, and he said no. He lay back down in bed. We locked the door, watched him for a while, and he fell back asleep.
The problem that created was every time we entered one of the young people’s rooms, we had to document why we did it in a logbook that the supervisors would look at every morning. We didn’t know what to write. How do you write something like that and still expect to keep your job? People would think we were crazy or whatever. So we were really back and forth about, “Do we write this or don’t we?” We knew we had to write something about it because if one of the other kids did hear anything, he would talk about it and we’d have to answer for that.
Ron finally looked at me and said, “Well, you’re the college kid. You figure out something to write.” All I did was I wrote in the logbook something like, “So-and-so,” and I gave the kid’s name, “had a sleepless night last night, and perhaps one of the morning counselors should ask him how he’s feeling.” That was the best I was going to do. I wasn’t about to tell the supervisor. I needed the job, and I wasn’t about to tell the supervisor, “We had a paranormal experience, this kid was talking in two different voices at the same time and carrying on.” Nobody would believe you. Ron and I really didn’t want anybody else to know because we didn’t want to be made fun of. We thought that would probably happen.
JIM HAROLD: There’s a coda to this, though, isn’t there?
GERRY: Well, yeah. There is a coda. There’s probably a couple of codas. What was the one I told you?
JIM HAROLD: About the young lady who came in.
GERRY: Oh, yes. The young woman that was in charge of the women’s hallway had been down there during all of this because that’s where the washing and drying machines were. It was up to her to take care of all the laundry for all of the kids on her shift. When we were done with our little experience and back in the office, looking at each other and talking about this, we saw her coming towards the office area. About that time of night she always took a break anyway, so we decided we weren’t going to say anything to her.
She came in and she sat down next to us and made a little small talk and she said, “I just had the strangest thing happen.” I’m thinking to myself, lady, you don’t know what strange is. [laughs] But we said, “What happened? What’s strange?” She said, “I was folding clothes. The washer and dryer weren’t running because I’d dried a batch, I was folding them and putting them away, and I could hear one of the girls down the hallway, locked up in her own room, and she was talking to somebody. I stood there and listened and I could hear her say something, and then I could hear an older woman say something.”
She said, “It went back and forth, and I just figured this is not possible. Who got in here? Did one of the employees stay over and they’re counseling a kid in there and they didn’t tell us? What’s happening?” So she went down to the room to look, and she said that child, that girl was sitting on the edge of the bed doing the same thing, essentially – carrying on a conversation with somebody that wasn’t there. She said the two voices were coming from that girl, but she never saw the girl speak in two voices at the same time.
She said, “That’s when I decided to come here and sit down with you guys, ask you if you ever experienced anything like this, and if you would go back down into the ladies’ wing with me to help me check out all of the rooms and make sure the girls are okay.” We told her, “Number one, yeah, we experienced it. Here’s what just happened to us. Number two, we’d love to go down there and help you out, but we’re not permitted on that wing unless there’s a fight. So you’re on your own. Next time you do a room check, if you have a problem, you can yell and we can come. But just to come down to do a bed check, we’re not allowed to do that.”
JIM HAROLD: Right, understandable.
GERRY: Then the three of us agreed that she would basically write in her logbook pretty much the same thing I wrote in ours, and that we would keep this to ourselves unless it happened again in the future, and then we would share it with the administration.
That was enough to make every one-half-hour walkthrough with my flashlight down those three hallways a really scary event for the rest of the time I ever worked there, because I was just hoping nothing like that would ever happen again.
JIM HAROLD: I would be interested in your perspective as a reverend, now that you have decades of hindsight and all of your studies and so forth. First of all, I want to make the point – and I’m sure you would agree – that there are mental illnesses that can cause people to talk to themselves in other voices. Multiple personality disorder and so forth. We don’t want to discount those.
But in a case where someone is talking in both voices at the same time, I don’t even know if that’s physically possible under normal circumstances. So my question to you, as a man of the cloth: do you think this was some kind of maybe evil entity or something that was visiting the different cells, trying to find maybe kids who were more susceptible to their discussions and maybe manifesting itself?
GERRY: I think there was something that was trying to lead this young man into believing that his behavior before he got locked up was justified and he could keep on doing it when he got out.
There have only been two times in my over 40 years of investigating paranormal events where I have to admit to myself that the possibility of some kind of possession is there, and this was one of those times. Why it would have shown up on the boys’ wing and the girls’ wing pretty much at the same time, once in an old man’s voice, once in an old woman’s voice, makes me think even more that there was some spiritual kind of thing going on in there that wasn’t positive in the spiritual sense. I’m being very careful not to say demonic or anything, even though I know that I don’t have a basis to deny that.
JIM HAROLD: Very, very interesting indeed. Now, Reverend Hunter has a lot of spooky stories and a lot of haunted information on Michigan, for example, and I know you have multiple books. So Reverend Hunter, can you briefly tell people where they can find your books?
GERRY: They can find my books – Haunted Michigan is the first one. The second one is More Haunted Michigan. The third one is Haunted Michigan: The Haunting Continues, and I’m working on the fourth one right now. I’m finished with everything but the editing. So Book #4 will be coming out soon, including a lot of interesting places in Ohio that really shook my psychic tree in the past couple of months. You can get those on Amazon, you can get those at any bookstore that can order them for you, or you can contact Thunder Bay Press in Michigan.
And if you’d like to contact me, you can email them and they can forward an email back to me, and I’ll be glad to chitchat with you, or if you have suggestions of haunted places, that’d be great too. I could follow up on those.
JIM HAROLD: Well, Reverend, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you for sharing this amazing story on the Campfire.
GERRY: I’ll be back for more if you let me.
JIM HAROLD: Absolutely. Open invitation.
GERRY: Thank you, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Wow, what a show. And a big thank you to everybody over on our Virtual Campfire Group – at virtualcampfiregroup.com, if you want to check it out – who suggested these stories. We really tried to focus on ones that we had not spot-lit before, and a great group they were. We couldn’t get to everybody’s favorites, but we did the best we could.
Now, if you want to hear all of those creepy stories and many, many more, you ought to become a member of our Plus Club. Easy way to find it is to go over to jimharoldplus.com. That’s jimharoldplus.com, and click on my smiling face at the top of the page on the banner. That will take you to a page where you can choose from our Classic version for Android users or people who like to work on different platforms through Libsyn, or our new Apple Podcasts version for people who love to listen to their shows on Apple Podcasts, on Apple devices only. So there you have it. Jimharoldplus.com, click on that banner.
Next up, we want to give out some birthday shoutouts. The first one comes from Natalie, and Natalie says, “Hey Jim, my brother Alex in London is a huge fan and a Plus Club member.” (Thank you, Alex!) “He introduced me to your show. It’s his birthday this week, and if you can give him a spooky shoutout on the show, that will be so amazing.” Well Natalie, it is my honor and my privilege. Thank you for listening from the UK, and thank you to Alex. Alex, I hope you have a great birthday, and I also hope that you will stay spooky. Thanks so much for all your support.
This week we are doing a lot of international spooky shoutouts. I believe, based on his email address, he may be from Australia – Dave wanted me to say happy birthday to Ryan. So Ryan, happy belated birthday. I know your birthday was on the 19th of October, and a big old stay spooky, and thank you both for listening, Ryan and Dave. And again, Ryan, happy birthday.
If you want to get your own personalized video of me saying happy birthday, happy anniversary, hang in there, whatever it might be, you can do that over at Cameo on my Cameo page, and that is cameo.com/thejimharold. Cameo.com/thejimharold.
Then finally, speaking of video, we want to invite you – this is absolutely free; it is going to be our Virtual Halloween Party, and we do this every year. This will be on October 29th, and this will be starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. We have some great special guests lined up. I’m not going to mention them all, but they’re absolutely fantastic. You’re really going to enjoy them, and names that you know. We’re going to have a really good time. I’m going to dress up in costume, Dar’s going to dress up in costume, Cassandra’s going to dress up in costume. We’re going to play trivia. Maddy will be along. My youngest daughter, Natalie, is going to pop in for a bit.
I’ve dressed up as various people over the years for this; I’ve been David S. Pumpkins, I’ve been a gangster, I’ve been a Goth person, I’ve been Dracula. Let’s see, what else have I been? I’ve been Pennywise the Clown, the Joker. The last couple of years, thanks to Dar, I’ve really boosted my costume game. And we’ve got a really fun one this year, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ve got to be a part of it on October 29th. You’ll have the opportunity, if you want to, to come on video and actually share your maybe couple spooky stories here and there, also some trivia, special guests, ton of fun.
The place to find it is on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/jimharold. That’s youtube.com/jimharold. I hope you’ll find us there.
Thank you all so much. I appreciate it, and I hope that you will tune in to all of these various and sundry things. We’re doing a lot these days at the Spooky Studio, and guess what? Even more is on its way. Thank you so much. Happy Halloween! Stay safe, stay spooky, and we’ll talk to you next time. 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.