Murder Mystery Haunting in Florida

Crystal River, Florida - location of the haunted Florida adventure

Hello again, and happy wintery spring for New York. Seriously, I don’t think winter knows how to give up the ghost here. Anyway, I wanted to tell you one of my personal stories tonight. It is probably one of the strangest experiences I have had in my life. It lasted two weeks and was witnessed by other members of my family. It also revolves around a murder mystery.


My grandfather purchased a house in Crystal River, Florida as a vacation home when I was about 10 years old. He got it for a steal, but it came with quite a history. According to what I was told the man who lived there before had a history of making his wives disappear. His first wife supposedly was a bit flighty and family members believed she just took off. But then he remarried and his second wife went missing as well. This woman, her family said, would not just have run off. A murder investigation was initiated, but they could find no body. Now enter my grandfather in all of this, buying the house and waltzing straight into an episode of C.S.I. He cooperated and even let authorities spray luminol all over the master bedroom. From what he told us, police did find microscopic traces of blood everywhere in the room.

Haunted House in Florida

My Grandfather’s Haunted Florida Home

The belief at the time was that the second wife’s body was buried somewhere on the property, but no one could make any headway. This case supposedly went on for years. This would have been in the mid to late-eighties. The case was still open as far as I know as of a few years ago. Once things quieted down, our family planned a trip down to Florida to do what all families with children do – visit Disney! I was 11. My sister was 5. We also went down with my aunt Patty and my cousin, also 5 years old.  My parents, my aunt, and the kids went down first, to be followed by my grandfather and his wife a week later. It would turn out to be the strangest two weeks of our lives.

Things started out small and innocuous at first. My mother would wash the dishes every night after we went down to bed. On the first night she thought she caught a shadow flitting past the edges of her vision, passing through the doorway from the dining room, and heading down the hall to the master bedroom. She simply rubbed her eyes and thought nothing of it. Below is a sketch I attempted to show you what it looked like. I offer my sincerest apologies for my terrible sketching skills. The other strange thing was that clocks just didn’t work well there. Grandpa had complained about it and we noticed none of the clocks kept good time.

Shadow Ghost of Florida

Shadow Ghost of Florida

On the second night, she noticed the same thing around the same time, but continued to dismiss it as tiredness or fuzz. The following night I was laying in one of the spare bedrooms. Beside my bed was a small analog (not digital) alarm clock. I do not remember if it was a wind-up or not, but it was giving off a regular ticking sound. I began to notice that the ticking was no longer regular. It would speed up, going “ticktickticktick” and then slow down to a sluggish “tick….tick…tick………tick…tick”. I immediately felt a rush of fear hit me and I turned to look at the clock, which was a mistake. The hands were swinging back and forth, spinning slowly in its face one way and then another. Terrified and alone I did what any kid would. I pulled the covers up to my eyes.

The light overhead began dimming and brightening and I remember wanting to cry out but being too afraid to make a sound. I began to notice a darkness underneath the doorway that seemed to sort of ooze underneath the crack of the door. It rolled under the door and began to climb up the door until I could see clearly a shadowy figure standing in the room. It hovered about a foot or two off of the floor and stood about five feet tall. Atop the body was a vague shape of a head, and the beginnings of arms. But the bottom of the arms, and the bottom of its torso just tapered off at the bottom, coming down almost to a rough point at the bottom. The lights were really going crazy now and I could not move at all. I was utterly frozen in fear. Just as this strange shadowy figure began to come closer, two things happened simultaneously. My mother flung open the door to my room, and the shadowy thing compressed itself and slid beneath my bed. It sounds rather unbelievable I admit but it simply was what I saw. My mother laid down on the mattress with me and I held my breath, knowing that that thing could still be under the bed with us.

I could tell something was bothering her, and she was searching for the right words, but what she said would take me back. She asked me:

“Have you been seeing anything strange in this house?”

I wanted to scream a resounding “yes!”, but was too gripped by fear of whatever it was under the bed to verbalize it. Instead I nodded, and slowly pointed to my bed. She admitted to having seen a ghost yet again passing through the dining room and now knew it for what it was. I was grateful to her for walking in when she did. We slept that night in the same bed with the lights on. It was the first time in years that I was so frightened I wanted to curl up in bed with mom. I thought I had gotten too big for that, but fear is powerful.

The next morning, I wanted to tell myself it had only been a dream and I pushed the events far from my mind. My sister and I decided to go into the master bedroom and play dress-up. There was a walk in closet full of women’s clothes. We thought they were Anne’s, my grandfather’s wife. But in retrospect, we don’t know if it may have been the missing woman’s clothes. The house had only recently been purchased so who knows.

Anyway we wanted to look for more clothes, so I pushed the hangers aside to expose the walk-in part of the closet. Deep in the recess of the closet stood that shadowy figure again. It began slowly drifting forward. My sister ran. I was completely frozen. I locked eyes with it. I know I did even though it didn’t exactly have eyes. It was just a dark, cloudy, grayish mass where a head should be. But I felt that we were looking right into each other. It kept approaching ever so slowly. My mind was screaming “Run!” but my feet simply would not move. I couldn’t even tear my eyes away from it. It was only about four feet from me when my sister came back into the doorway screaming my name and telling me to run. Somehow the noise broke the tension and I was able to bolt after her, grabbing her hand and running both of us all the way out the front door.

Both my little sister and I did our best to put that event out of our mind and enjoy the vacation day but it loomed over us like a giant pink elephant that no one wanted to discuss. However just a couple of hours later in the afternoon, our cousin Diane came flying down the long driveway toward the house screaming that the shadow was chasing her up the driveway. I didn’t see it that time, but after what we had seen I could not doubt it. We decided to go and tell mom. It was too much for us kids to handle. I believe she didn’t want to frighten us, so she and my aunt downplayed the incidents and tried to allay our fears. One or the other of us saw the figure at least once daily for the remainder of the time we were there.

The scariest moment I think was on our return from Disneyland. It was late at night and we were driving back in the rented van. There were three rows of seats so I got the middle row all to myself. My sister and cousin were in car seats in the back row. I suddenly got the strangest and most urgent urge to open the window in the car. This was one of those complicated windows where you had to push in and then push out a latch. The urge was so strong that without really thinking about it, I reached over to grasp the window latch. My hand passed through something that felt both damp and tingly, like a fog cloud laced with static electricity. And it was freezing cold. I yanked my hand back immediately in shock, which is when I realized that there was a deep, dark, shadowy area there that seemed darker than the rest of the night time car shadows. As soon as it was noticed, it began to edge towards me. I remember asking my mother if I could come and sit up front, to which she said no, so I positioned myself as far away from the spreading shadow as I could.

At the time we were there, there were two cows on the property, most likely from the prior owners. so my mother had to get out to feed them on our way up the driveway. She stepped out, picked up the bucket of feed, and began to approach the cows. Both came eagerly toward the fence, happy to see food. But both suddenly stopped in their tracks a few feet from the fence and began to back up. When I saw what had made the cows so unsettled, I nearly screamed. The shadow-lady was standing right behind my mother’s shoulders with one roughly formed appendage actually draped over her shoulder, its gray shadowy form contrasting with my mother’s blazing white Disney sweatshirt. My mother slowly turned, following the cows’ gazes and let out a shriek like I have never heard her make before. She dropped the feed and ran into the car.

Ghost over my mother's shoulder

Ghost over my mother’s shoulder

As my aunt and my mother discussed the merits and possibilities of finding a hotel at 2 AM in the middle of nowhere, the shadow took up its spot on the middle seats again and then apparently thought better of it and crept back to be with the younger kids. My aunt saw it there in her rear view mirror but was too shaken to say anything. It was finally decided that my aunt would check and clear the house. If she saw the ghost, we would go in search of a hotel. We waited an anxious 15 minutes. She came out, giving the OK sign. But the specter was standing behind her in the doorway almost as if to tease us.

It became a bit insistent that night. I walked into the house and tried to make a beeline for the bathroom only to see the shadowy form in the doorway. So I decided to run all the way to the other side of the house o the other bathroom. But she was waiting for me there as well. I ended up huddled on the couch shaking for more reasons that one. It took me forever to finally fall asleep. It was the last night that we would be in the house as we flew back the next morning. I was sleeping on the pull out couch (because there was no way anyone was getting me back into either bedroom again) when something awoke me. There was a thump from the kitchen.

I walked in to find a paperback book in the middle of the kitchen floor, laying on its spine and somehow forced open to a page. I knew where this book had come from. It had been laying on the bar counter. There was an open window from the living room to the kitchen with a bar counter. Somehow this book had sailed off of the bar counter, had passed over the large kitchen counter below it, and had landed in the middle of the floor. It was clear this book could not have naturally fallen there. I knelt down and began to read the page that was open. I remember it was one of the Agatha Christie books and what I was reading was about someone hiding their wife’s body. A noise from the bathroom startled me and I abandoned the book, burying myself fully underneath the covers, not really wanting to know, hear, or see anything more. That night, both me and my mother had the same dream, that there was a body under the windmill in the back yard.

In retrospect I believe this spirit may have been that of the missing woman who was trying to lead someone to where her body was buried. I believe she tried the adults first but since they ignored her, she came to us kids looking for someone who would pay her a little attention. It is one of my biggest regrets that I could not overcome my fear to help her but I was simply too young and too scared to handle that.

We went back years later for another vacation. I was about 16 at this time. We found the house oddly infested by fleas so badly that we had to bomb the place before we could sleep in it. We were up all night bombing, cleaning, and spraying just after getting off the flight, so we were all exhausted when we were finally able to fall into bed. My mother and I slept in the master bedroom. I do not remember this and apparently slept through it, but something kept shaking the bed we were on as if to try to wake us. When my mother would sit up it would stop. Just as she began to fall asleep again it would start up. The only other thing that happened was to my cousin Jenny. She was in the bathroom brushing her teeth when the light suddenly not only dimmed but went red as it the tungsten inside the bulbs was barely lot. The lights flickered and she ran out of there.

As far as I know, the mystery surrounding the missing woman was never solved. I did manage to locate the house finally but have not been able to find record of the investigation with the scant amount of information I remember from back then. None of us ever forgot our trip there, though my grandfather still insists adamantly that there is no such thing as ghosts and that the house is not haunted. He did agree once that clocks don’t work there which is about as close to an admission I think I am ever going to get from him. He sold the house a number of years ago. It was also sold in 2010 by the next owners. Perhaps I may try to contact the current residents and ask them if they have had any experiences. It certainly left an impression on me and to this day I wish I had followed her wherever she was trying to lead us. Maybe we could have helped solve that mystery.

Ghosts of the Emerald Isle

Erin Go Bragh and Slainte everyone! A Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. I love this holiday. It is one of my very favorites, a day to show my Irish pride and revel in Irish culture. And what better day to engross yourself in some supernatural tales from across the pond. The Irish always have a flair for the dramatic and of course we all know some very famous poets and writers that have come from old Eirinn. It is no surprise that sometimes their otherworldly tales can have you at the edge of your seat. I’ve scoured the web and some of my personal collection of ghost books to find you a few neat little yarns. So pull up a chair, a nice tall pint, and maybe a good friend or two and read on.


The legend of Lord Tyrome and Lady Beresford – This one I found at and have paraphrased here in my own words. Lord Tyrone was born John Le Poer and Lady Beresford Nichola Sophia Hamilton.


From a young age these two orphaned children were raised by a stern, strongly atheist guardian but it only served to cement their faith further. The pair promised each other that whoever should die first, that person would visit the other and prove that there was in fact a life beyond this one. When the children grew up they grew apart and Nichola married into a wealthier family. One night, she awoke with terror to find her foster brother standing by the bedside. She managed to stifle a scream at his pleading to be quiet, and he revealed to her that he had died and held to their long-kept promise. He also passed along to her certain pieces of information about future events that would come to pass. Confused and fearful that this was all a terrible dream, Lady Beresford asked for proof, at which point Lord Tyrone suddenly seized her wrist in his hand. The flesh on her wrist withered and left a deformity that she would carry with her for the rest of her life tied up under a silk kerchief. It was proof enough certainly, and definitely more than she had wanted. After his disappearance she mulled over the foreboding predictions he had made to her.

Her husband would soon die and she would remarry to have four children. But after the last was born, she would die on the day of her forty seventh birthday. Through the years her foster brother’s predictions all came to pass one by one and left her in trepidation of her final birthday. But on her forty-eighth birthday she decided to throw a party and celebrate having finally escaped from fate’s harsh pronouncement. At the party was a priest who had been an old family friend and had known her since they were young. When she triumphantly cheered for living to forty-eight he gently reminded her, “No my dear, you are only 47.” Having looked at her birthday in the church register only a few days before, he was absolutely certain of the fact. Shrieking in shock and horror she exclaimed “You have signed my death warrant!”, subsequently shut herself in her room and began to write out a will. She died later that night as predicted those many years ago.

Notes: Tales of predictions and omens from beyond the grave are rampant in Irish folklore. And I am sure some of you older readers may know, after about 35 it does get rather difficult to keep track of how old you are. I’ve been known to slip by a year myself. :)


Visits from people at the moment they died is a common staple in Irish ghost stories. Here is another chilling example. As someone who has been in a building in which a doorknob turned by itself, this story strikes home perhaps a bit too much. I found this one in a book by John D. Seymour called “True Irish Ghost Stories”:

“On Wednesday, October 17, 1879, I had a very jubilant letter from my friend, announcing that the expected event had successfully happened on the previous day, and that all was progressing satisfactorily. On the night of the following Wednesday, October 22, I retired to bed at about ten o’clock. My wife, the children, and two maid-servants were all sleeping upstairs, and I had a small bed in my study, which was on the ground floor. The house was shrouded in darkness, and the only sound that broke the silence was the ticking of the hall-clock.
“I was quietly preparing to go to sleep, when I was much surprised at hearing, with the most unquestionable distinctness, the sound of light, hurried footsteps, exactly suggestive of those of an active, restless young female, coming in from the hall door and traversing the hall. They then, apparently with some hesitation, followed the passage leading to the study door, on arriving at which they stopped. I then heard the sound of a light, agitated hand apparently searching for the handle of the door. By this time, being quite sure that my wife had come
down and wanted to speak to me, I sat up in bed, and called to her by name, asking what was the matter. As there was no reply, and the sounds had ceased, I struck a match, lighted a candle, and opened the door. No one was visible or audible. I went upstairs, found all the doors shut and everyone asleep. Greatly puzzled, I returned to the study and went to bed, leaving the candle alight. Immediately the whole performance was circumstantially repeated, but this time the handle of the door was grasped by the invisible hand, and partly turned, then relinquished. I started out of bed and renewed my previous search, with equally futile results. The clock struck eleven, and from that time all disturbances ceased.
“On Friday morning I received a letter stating that Mrs. — had died at about midnight on the previous Wednesday. I hastened off to Adare and had an interview with my bereaved friend. With one item of our conversation I will close. He told me that his wife sank rapidly on Wednesday, until when night came on she became delirious. She spoke incoherently, as if revisiting scenes and places once familiar. ‘She thought
she was in your house,’ he said, ‘and was apparently holding a conversation with you, as she used to keep silence at intervals as if listening to your replies.’ I asked him if he could possibly remember the hour at which the imaginary conversation took place. He replied that, curiously enough, he could tell it accurately, as he had looked at his watch, and found the time between half-past ten and eleven o’clock—the exact time of the mysterious manifestations heard by me.”


The Banshee

The wailing banshee

The wailing banshee

What Irish ghost story collection would be complete without the famous banshee? The name in Gaelic translates roughly to “woman of the barrows” and it is sometimes spelled “beansidhe” which seems to point to close ties with the “sidhe” or faerie folk of Irish lore. Of all the many folktales and legends, she is probably the most chilling, especially because of our own fear of mortality. For the banshee brings the warning of certain death. She can appear in many guises and go from beautiful woman to old crone. Legends say that she is seen by the water washing human limbs, heads, and clothes until the water runs red with their blood, all the while weeping and wailing, a sound that is said to chill you right to the bone if heard. Banshees are often said to be attached to great historical Irish families and multiple banshee sightings foretell the death of a very holy person. On top of her weeping, she is also seen as a mournful young woman brushing her hair and has been known to directly give warnings to someone of their imminent death. Even in modern days there are supposed sightings of the banshee. Here is one of the oldest and best known banshee stories. I found it here: The story was sent in from a Mr. T. J. Westropp, but I have heard a few similar ones from my own family and acquaintances. I think this sums up a banshee experience nicely so I will simply paste this story as is here for you.

“My maternal grandmother heard the following tradition from her mother, one of the Miss Ross-Lewins, who witnessed the occurrence. Their father, Mr. Harrison Ross-Lewin, was away in Dublin on law business, and in his absence the young people went off to spend the evening with a friend who lived some miles away. The night was fine and lightsome as they were returning, save at one point where the road ran between trees or high hedges not far to the west of the old church of Kilchrist. The latter, like many similar ruins, was a simple oblong building, with long side-walls and high gables, and at that time it and its graveyard were unenclosed, and lay in the open fields. As the party passed down the long dark lane they suddenly heard in the distance loud keening and clapping of hands, as the country-people were accustomed to do when lamenting the dead. The Ross-Lewins hurried on, and came in sight of the church, on the side wall of which a little gray-haired old woman, clad in a dark cloak, was running to and fro, chanting and wailing, and throwing up her arms. The girls were very frightened, but the young men ran forward and surrounded the ruin, and two of them went into the church, the apparition vanishing from the wall as they did so. They searched every nook, and found no one, nor did anyone pass out. All were now well scared, and got home as fast as possible. On reaching their home their mother opened the door, and at once told them that she was in terror about their father, for, as she sat looking out the window in the moonlight, a huge raven with fiery eyes lit on the sill, and tapped three times on the glass. They told her their story, which only added to their anxiety, and as they stood talking, taps came to the nearest window, and they saw the bird again. A few days later news reached them that Mr. Ross-Lewin had died suddenly in Dublin. This occurred about 1776.”

This idea of three knocks and birds bringing bad omens has also held strongly in my family. Three knocks is said to be a warning of a death. The belief that things often happen in threes is also strong in Irish culture. Ravens are generally bad news, and one banging at your window is no better. But in a way I think the legend of the banshee is a sad one. For all the poor woman is trying to do, in her terrifying way, is to warn of an impending death that she has no control over and to share in the mourning for the loss of one of Ireland’s own.

I actually wrote this little poem about the banshee for a contest and I’d like to share it with you because there is no more appropriate day than this!

Dark are the shadows of grief-cloaked night.
My hands, they are calloused
Torn by bloodied clothes
My tears fall upon them
As I wash them clean
Grief and pain flow away
In my tear filled waters.
And into my heart

My back is bent
With the weight of grief
I bear to lessen your load
I sing death’s song
Notes of loss and notes of pain
Sorrow’s song of nevermore
Keened in the crisp night air

You fear me,
My weeping, my grief
Makes your hearts grow cold
The warning foretold
Despite your will
The day has come
Of eternal sleep
Alone, feared, I grieve
For a soul lost to Ireland
One less star in her crown

I am the banshee, the wailing woman
My cries fill the night
As I absorb your sorrow
It is all that is left
For me to feel.
Do not fear me
You, beloved of Eirinn
For it is at your deathbed
That I cry my tears
Pray that your soul
Goes ever onward
And forgive an old woman
That washes and wails.

~ by Laura


The Dullahan – “Ireland’s scariest headless coachman”

The last haunting figure of Irish lore I would like to share with you (though there are so many!), is the headless coachman of the death coach. Believe it or not, I actually came across this little legend in the movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”, a classic that I used to watch every year as a kid. But it turns out that there is a rich heritage of ghost stories concerning the “death coach”. Also called the “Dullahan”, it is Ireland’s version of the headless horseman.

Ireland's terrifying headless coachman

Ireland’s terrifying headless coachman

The Dullahan is actually the most gory and possibly the most chilling of them all, which is why I have left him for last. Unlike the banshee the Dullahan can foretell anyone’s death and can even determine who will be next to die after his intended target. He is a headless horseman riding a headless horse.

Dullahans are headless. Although the dullahan has no head upon its shoulders, he carries it with him, either on the saddle-brow of his horse or upraised in his right hand. The head is the colour and texture of stale dough or mouldy cheese, and quite smooth. A hideous, idiotic grin splits the face from ear to ear, and the eyes, which are small and black, dart about like malignant flies. The entire head glows with the phosphoresence of decaying matter and the creature may use it as a lantern to guide its way along the darkened laneways of the Irish countryside. Wherever the dullahan stops, a mortal dies.

Legend has it that even if you are not the intended target of a dullahan, you are still in a heap of trouble. If you are a witness to one of its crazy midnight rides and see too much, it may throw blood on you which is a sure indication that you will now be next in line. It may also opt to take your eyes out with its whip. Its head is equipped with supernatural sight, enabling it to be able to see for miles. In some areas he is said to be the driver of a coach before which all gates and latches open no matter how well they were fastened, so there is no keeping him at bey. It is allowed to speak just once on each ride and so it calls out the name of the intended deceased, sucking out his or her soul in the process. During certain Irish festivals lore has it that it is ill advised to go out at night, and to keep your shutters drawn lest you see something you are not intended to.

This little short tale comes from storyteller W. J. Fitzpatrick from County Down, and it tells of a chilling sight indeed.

“I seen the dullahan myself, stopping on the brow of the hill between Bryansford and Moneyscalp late one evening, just as the sun was setting. It was completely headless but it held up its own head in its hand and I heard it call out a name. I put my hand across my ears in case the name was my own, so I couldn’t hear what it said. When I looked again, it was gone. But shortly afterwards, there was a bad car accident on that very hill and a young man was killed. It had been his name that the dullahan was calling.”

It seems there is only one small thing that can save you from a run in with a dullahan. Like most creatures of fairy lore that are sensitive to certain metals, the dullahan has an irrational fear of gold as told in this story from

“A man was on his way home one night between Roundstone and Ballyconneely. It was just getting dark and, all of a sudden, he heard the sound of horse’s hooves pounding along the road behind him. Looking around, he saw the dullahan on his charger, hurtling towards him at a fair speed. With a loud shout, he made to run but the thing came on after him, gaining on him all the time. In truth, it would have overtaken him and carried him away had he not dropped a gold-headed pin from the folds of his shirt on the road behind him. There was a roar in the air above him and, when he looked again, the dullahan was gone.”


Ireland is so rich with these legends that it has been so difficult to choose but a few. But there is always next year! I hope you have enjoyed these little snippets. May you all have a wonderful and fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day. Slainte!



Slender Man – Can an Urban Legend Come To Life?

I wonder how many of you out there are already familiar with this creepypasta internet meme. It seems to be very popular with the teen crowd which is where I first heard of it. The night my husband’s half-brother told me this creepy legend I ran straight to my computer to do further research and let me say, I did not sleep well at all that night. There is something to it that triggers all the creepy centers of your mind and once in your head it is hard to ignore. It’s almost psychologically designed to scare you and keep scaring you. I’ll tell you the stories first just as I heard them so you can enjoy the creeptasticness to its fullest, but stay tuned because there is a shocking surprise at the end!

The Slenderman is an unnerving supernatural creature that is inhumanly tall with the ability to seemingly alter his height. He has long spindly arms, sometimes only two but sometimes more. They often look like tentacles with which he can raise his body into the air, or climb walls. At the top, a featureless blurry face with no mouth, no nose, and no eyes. German folklore speaks of a similar being called “Der Großmann”, translated as “The Tall Man” in the Black Forest. He has a disfigured face with only white orbs for eyes and is described as being incredibly tall and thin.

He is often sighted in the woods and seems to be attracted to children as shown by several photographs showing his gangly figure stalking the edges of playgrounds. His presence interferes with electronic devices, cameras, lights, and cellphones. They often begin going haywire as his proximity increases. People who reported seeing Slenderman cannot bring themselves to stare at his face due to an overpowering feeling of nausea and dizziness. He is also said to be responsible for mass disappearances of children.

If you see him, he has also seen you, and once he finds prey he stalks it with the full use of psychological terror only Slenderman can bring. He lurks in the periphery of your vision, always there in the shadows. Eventually witnesses see him in the shadowy corners of their very own bedrooms and are often driven to violence or madness, whichever comes first. He is rumored to cause insomnia, paranoia, and bouts of illness termed “slender sickness”.

This is the video I found on Youtube that very night which sent chills up my spine. The fact that one of the kids at my half-brother’s school reported seeing him did not make me feel any better. I don’t know what it is about the appearances here, but it gave me the shivers.

Now that you are probably going to be up all night staring into the dark corners of your room, I can tell you the surprising news. Slenderman is not real. There is no German legend of “Der Großmann”. You’ll find references online, but only after 2009 which is the date “Slender” was created by a genius imagination. On a forum called “Something Awful” they held a Photoshop contest. The creation is described here on

"The contest required participants to turn ordinary photographs into creepy-looking images through digital manipulation and then pass them on as authentic photographs on a number of paranormal forums. Something Awful users soon began sharing their faux-paranormal creations with layered images of ghosts and other anomalies, usually accompanied by a fabricated witness account to make them more convincing. On June 10th, SA user Victor Surge (real name Eric Knudsen) posted two black and white photographs of unnamed children with a short description of “Slender Man” as a mysterious creature who stalked children."

It seems it was at least partially inspired by a combination of many things including an old cheesy video game, but I have to give him credit for putting it together in such a way. This creation was so masterfully put together with the storyline to trigger people’s psychological fears that it went viral. Soon more and more sites were portraying the legend as if it were real and people began reporting more and more sightings. In my opinion it hit a popularity peak around 2012 – 2014. And this is where things got really interesting.

Just five years after the creation of this creepy urban legend, things got terrifyingly real. In the spring of 2014 there were not one but two documented attempted murders by stabbing done by pre-teens under the guise of “pleasing Slenderman”. It’s frightening enough to even think of a 12 or 13 year old girl wielding a knife and attempting to kill. But what is also striking is that these two cases occurred less than a month apart in both Wisconsin and Ohio. The Waukesha Wisconsin event is particularly chilling for many reasons.

Twelve year old stab best friend for Slenderman

Twelve year old stabs best friend for Slenderman

In May 2014 two young 12 year old girls took a friend out into the woods and stabbed her viciously multiple times leaving her for dead. Luckily she had the strength to crawl to the road for help and was rescued by a bicyclist, but while their intended victim lived, it does not take away from the horror of this tale. The idea came to friends Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier around February. They believed that Slenderman was very real indeed, living in the Wisconsin woods, and decided that they wanted to become his “proxies” and enter his world. The key, and the only way to do so,was to kill. This plan was so premeditated that the two girls whispered about it on the bus, giving the plan the nickname “camping trip” and even decided on a date, Geyser’s 12th birthday, May 30th.

They lured their best friend out to go skating and then to a sleepover. The girls initially planned to kill her at night in her bed but decided to give her “one more day”. So instead they ended up taking her into the woods where one girl held her down and the other, in her own chilling words, “stabby stab stab”. They then told their friend to lay still while the pair went for help, but instead they ran, leaving their friend for dead. What truly strikes me about this case is the almost sociopathically cold things the girls, especially Geyser, are reported to have said. It seems almost inhuman.

For instance, when police found the girls on a highway hours later, and discovered a five inch bloodied blade in their backpack, Geyser had this to say to explain herself: “I believe it’s ending a life, and I regret it,” Weier then responded. “The bad part of me wanted her to die; the good part of me wanted her to live.” (quoted from Newsweek) Later Geyser commented that the killing “seemed necessary” and that “It was weird that I didn’t feel remorse.” Courts are attempting to charge the girls as adults, though there is some question about competency to stand trial.

The second event took place less than a week later in Ohio. A 13 year old teen attacked her mother in their kitchen. According to an article in the New York Post:

"I came home one night from work, and she was in the kitchen waiting for me, and she was wearing a mask, a white mask. She was someone else during the attack."

She was treated with multiple minor stab wounds at the hospital and the 13 year old has been charged as a juvenile. The Cincinatti mom started to wonder about the connection when she heard about the Wisconsin attack. She admitted her daughter had mental issues but nothing to suggest this violent act. To her horror, she found the connection she was looking for:

“We found things that she had written and she made reference to Slender Man,” the mother said. “She also made references to killing. She even created a world for Slender Man in the game Minecraft.”

To believe in a myth so strongly you would kill your best friend or mother for it, and to be able to speak of murder so nonchalantly makes me wonder just what lies in the minds of these girls. Is it mental illness, or did normal girls somehow get sucked so deep into the dark corners of fantasy and the internet that they lost a part of their humanity? And what about Slenderman? Is it just a reflection of a darker side of the human imagination, or could we all be bringing our own mythos into actual real life? Many New Age teachings talk about thoughts being linked to our reality. Even popular movies like “The Secret” speak about  manifesting your thoughts. But can we actually make something real just by thinking about it? Would you believe that there is actually a case study in the field of paranormal research that indicates this answer may be a resounding YES.

In the 70’s, a group of Canadian parapsychologists put together an experiment that would be later termed, the “Phillip Experiment”. The goal was to see if they could actually “create” a ghost through expectation, imagination, and visualization. The actual experiment took place in Toronto, Canada, in 1972, under the direction of the world-renown expert on poltergeists, Dr A. R. G. Owen. There were a lot of very interesting experiments and forays into para-science in those days, but this is one of the most striking ones.

He gathered people that had no claim to any supernatural abilities of their own. No mediums, no one with ESP, and no channelers of any sort were allowed. Then they went through an intense and painstaking process to create an identity for their ghost. They gave him a name, a time of origin, complete life story in intricate detail, and even threw in a love affair and a death by his own hand. Then they journeyed to England and visited the place where “Phillip” was to have died. All along this process they meditated and concentrated intensely for long hours on the existence of “Phillip”. Once he was clearly established, at least in their own minds, they would try to “contact” him.

Simulating an 1800’s style spiritualist séance, they made attempt after attempt to contact him. Initially nothing happened, but after about a year of persistence, “Phillip” finally cam through. Starting with raps, the phenomenon moved quickly to answering questions, and eventually to “Phillip” being able to move and shake a table, manifesting change in the real physical world. This experiment was repeated by Dr. Owen several times with different groups and were able to create several interesting personalities including a French Canadian spy named Lillith and even a man from the future. All manifested quickly in similar ways. This torch was then picked up by an Australian group who did their own experiment with similar results.

Now there are several ways in which we can interpret this. Either through their meditations they contacted an evil deceptive spirit, or they could have been a victim of internal fraud from a trickster in their group. But because of the number of separate versions of this experiment, I lean toward the third option, that intense mental concentration, especially in a group, can actually bring about thought-forms that can interact with reality. This opens up a whole can of worms which I may come back to at a later point because it is just so fascinating.

But let’s get back to Slenderman and see how many parallels there are. In 2009 his “backstory” was created, and continues to be fleshed out into all sorts of detail. Then as he grows in popularity children become fascinated with seeing and contacting him and people begin reporting supposed “sightings” more and more. And from what we’ve just seen recently, three young girls have actually tried to kill to reach out to him. This sounds an awful lot like the progression of events in the “Phillip” experiment though of course with a much more deadly and sinister tone. In this case, there is also a much larger group of creepy meme-loving fans out there to lend their collective concentration power. If such as the Phillip Experiment shows us a hint of what our minds might be capable of, then following the logic, perhaps Slenderman is not quite as “fake” as we think. Who knows for sure. But be careful, because your thoughts may in fact be betraying you and bringing your worst fears to life.


Strange Scents in the Air

Sweet smell of roses

Musty and cloying

Drifts along the walls

And over my bed


Darkness surrounds me

An uncomfortable stillness

Though I cannot see

I know something is there.


Breath caught in my chest

Icy fingers touch my arm

And I suddenly realize

I don’t wear perfume!

Perfume Bottle

The sense of smells peaks to us of mom’s homemade cookies, of lovers’ perfumes, and of things gone sour. It is both comfort and warning, sometimes welcome, and sometimes unwanted. But have you ever experienced a paranormal smell? Along with our four other senses, people also tell stories of experiencing phantom smells.

Some go as far as to say the smell of sulphur means you are in the presence of something demonic or unpleasant, and that the smell of roses is a good omen. Some report smelling a scent familiar to a lost loved one. Opinions differ and I will be the first to admit nothing about this is an exact science, at least not yet. But I’ll tell you a few places where I have encountered odd smells that I do not believe were naturally made.

There is an old estate called Sagtikos Manor that used to belong to the Gardiner family here on Long Island. Now it is run as a historical museum but I have made lots of trips out there at night to walk the grounds, use some equipment, and see if I could catch anything. Me and two friends were in the gazebo area outside what was once a garden but is now a field of grass with a fountain. Out of nowhere this odd strong scent of roses came up. Everyone smelled it but the odd thing was the cent seemed to move around, being stronger in one place and then moving to another nearby. Following the scent we worked our way back to the enclosed field where we found it covered in a thick mist that had not been there before. This is where the scent led us and then mysteriously vanished. We never smelled it again. Below are pictures of the gazebo and of the main building.

Sagtikos Gazebo Sagtokis sized

My grandmother passed away when I was five. It was a loss I still feel to this day. When I was just a year or two old my grandmother said to my mother, “She will be the only grandchild to remember me.” And it was true. She died of pancreatic cancer just a few years later. One of the scents she used to love was roses. My mother tells me she used to have rose scented perfume and the odd thing is, I love it too. In fact I share a lot of mannerisms and loves with my grandma, whose name, coincidentally, was Rose.

The reason that I bring this up is that I feel she came to visit me one day. I was in my dorm room at college feeling stressed and overwhelmed by assignments, loneliness, homesickness, and general college nerves. I was still a freshman and was a bit overwhelmed by it all as it was such a drastic life change for me. I remember feeling really worried this one morning over an exam coming later that day. I was lying in bed, watching the sun stream through the blinds, when all of a sudden the room was bathed in this light scent of roses. It seemed to immediately lighten the room and I almost felt as it were surrounding me like an embrace.

I remember saying out loud, “Grandma”? I felt strangely comforted as if she were really there telling me everything would be alright and was filled with a sense of peace and even happiness. The smell dissipated a moment later but the feeling didn’t leave me for the entire day. Though I cannot say for sure, and I know there are other explanations, I sincerely feel that on some level I knew that was her way of getting a message to me.

There is one more story I can share with you. One of the things me and my husband love to do is to explore abandoned buildings that have a connection to history. And we happened to have been blessed by having not one but three psychiatric hospitals in various states of abandonment here in Suffolk County. We spent many, many countless hours exploring every corridor. I do not recall which building we were in anymore, though I know it was Kings Park State Hospital.

One of the things I love to do is wander off a bit by myself and just listen to my surroundings. When no one is around me making a racket I feel like I can really hear the whole building, all the creaks, groans, and aging history. The general feeling of the building descends on me like a cloak and I can almost feel the history.

This is exactly what I did on this one day. I went into another hallway and wandered farther and farther away from my husband just letting my feet take me where they will. All of a sudden I thought I heard a footstep which was followed by some sort of a clinking sound. Frightened that someone else might be in the building I ducked into a doorway and crouched down behind the door, listening intently. There were a few other subtle noises as of someone were wandering around at the end of the hallway but I determined that they weren’t likely to be police or vandals based on their quietness.

Suddenly the strongest scent of cigarettes wafted by me, which to me confirmed that there really was a person there. At the same time, my husband caught up with me from the other end of the hall. I mentioned to him about the smoke and we decided to just come out and approach the other person, since they were in a dead end and neither party seemed to mean each other any harm, so might as well get it over with so we could both stop hiding from each other. It’s sort of the way with fellow explorers once we recognize our own kind, if you know what I mean.

But as we got to the end of the hall which let out into a day room, there was no one there. The smell of cigarettes was still there, thick and cloying in the air, however there was no smoke. Now it is possible, were they a crafty explorer, that they could have found a way to slip past into a stairwell but these doors creak loudly and I believe I would have heard them. So I am left to wonder, could that smoke have come to us through time? I suppose we will never know.

Having done a bit of reading online about this, it looks like the consensus is rosewater scents indicate female hosts, cigar or smoke smells indicates a male spirit, and sulphur and rotten eggs indicates something unsavory. These seem to be the most popular consensus. However, here’s a funny little story that will put some doubt back into your minds.

In Oyster Bay there is an old house that goes back to Revolutionary War days and is run now as a museum. It is also rumored to be quite haunted. One of the main stories comes from the museum interpreters who report smelling apple pie being baked in the kitchen. They even go so far as to feel it is a rite of passage. Every new docent is only officially a part of the museum family once they smell the phantom apple pie being baked for them. Well this was many years ago when I was a wet-behind-the-ears brand new paranormal researcher and was on an outing with one of the Long Island groups. We split up with radios, and being the newbie, all I carried was my own camera. I remember being so excited and so eager to actually have an experience.

I wandered into the hallway outside the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks. I could smell it, the famed apple pie baking smell. And it was strong. I could almost imagine the ghost of the African American servant that they say is the phantom baker standing over the old oven. I thought to myself, if she was truly in there, I didn’t want to ruin the moment until someone with better equipment could get down here and take some readings. So I turned the corner, and in the whispering voice Peter Venkman uses in the Slimer scene in Ghostbusters, I said:

“Hey guys?”

“Yeah what’s up?”

“I smell it. The apple pie…it’s here…in the kitchen. Could someone come down with equipment please?” It was all I could do to keep the excitement out of my voice.

But all of a sudden, despite my best attempts at sounding calm, five sets of footsteps pounded all the way from the second floor, down the stairs, and everyone ran into me in the hallway leading to the kitchen. Apparently I was not the only one who was excited. We all poured into the kitchen like eager ghost-hunters. But what we found was not a ghost. On the counter sat a large dish of apple-cinnamon potpourri. We had a good laugh at that one, and it was certainly a lesson to me not to jump to conclusions and not to take things at face value.

So how about you all. Have you ever experienced something supernatural through smell alone?

Welcome to Shadow Watch – An Introduction

Hello and welcome to Shadow Watch. You are probably here because like myself, you find the unknown so irresistible. Whether you simply love hearing or reading stories or have had an experience with something supernatural yourself, I hope that we can share this love of the unknown together.

I’ll be honest right up front and tell you I fall into the latter category. Although I love a good ghost story any time, it Is my own personal experiences that have drawn me in and have asked of me the question, why? But I’ll tell you more about that later.

I’ve always been fascinated with the world. It is such a place of wonder. Even today when it seems science has everything well under wraps, there are still strange and mysterious things like the dual slit experiment, where light actually behaves differently when it is being watched. When I was a small child I loved fairies. Science has only very recently discovered why the rocks mysteriously move on their own at the Racetrack Playa of Death Valley.

My uncle, who was reared in Ireland, used to fill my head with stories of Leprechauns. And on every St. Patrick’s Day morning I used to rush out into the woods behind my elementary school at dawn in hopes of catching a glimpse of one, because he told me St. Patrick’s Day was when they came out to check on their pots of gold. I didn’t want to catch one, and I didn’t want their gold, but my child’s heart just wanted to see one for real, to know that there was such an interesting thing in the world. And of course who didn’t grow up on Peter Pan and joined their voices with hundreds or thousands of other kids in yelling “I DO believe in fairies!” so that Tinkerbell would not die. To this day, there is just a slight bit of superstition in me, and I will never say “I don’t believe in fairies” out loud, as unlikely as they may be.

So even though a lot of our early beliefs, superstitions, and ideas about the world have faded in the light of science and discovery, I still truly believe this world to be a place of wonder. And this sense of awe and wonder of course extends to the amazing stories of the supernatural, a topic that is so very widespread that I can’t help but believe at least to an extent. How could so many people, including myself, be wrong?

My interest in the paranormal began at around age five with a very strange experience, an experience which lit a flame within me to find out more. I was sleeping in a bunk bed, the top of which was used for toy storage as I was an only child at that time. Something woke me in the middle of the night and I opened my eyes to see a woman coming into my room. She wore an old fashioned looking calico print dress that ballooned around her legs as if draped over one of those old fashioned hoops. On her shoulders was a deep navy blue shawl with tassels. I could not see her face because it was obstructed by the bunk bed. The oddest thing about her though was that her entire body was glowing in a bluish hue.

Contrary to what you would think, for some reason, I was not fearful, and I am still unsure why to this day. An image like that at my bedside these days would scare the slippers right off of me! She made a move as if to tuck me in to bed, bending down over my covers. I don’t actually remember if she pulled the covers up, or just made the motions. The only thought that went through my head was “That’s not mommy.” It was a mantra that kept repeating as I watched her straighten up and leave the room. As soon as she was no longer in the doorway, I leapt from my bed, determined to find out who the strange glowing lady was, but she was gone. When I told her, I don’t remember my mother being very phased by my story but it stuck with me for a very long time.

Since then I began to have other experiences, some frightening, and some not. When I reached the first grade and was allowed to visit the school library, ghosts was the first thing I asked to look up. I had learned to read at the age of two, so once the librarian was convinced I could handle it, she allowed me to go into the book sections for older grades and gave me free run of the library. For this I am still thankful because it also deepened my love of books. I found a book on ghosts and poltergeists there which scared but also thrilled me with the stories. From then on I was hooked. I read everything I could get my hands on. Not only did I find it enlightening but it also told me I was not alone.

This was also the era of shows like “Unsolved Mysteries”, “In Search of”, and books on the unexplained by Time Life. There was so much fascination with the unknown on TV, in books, and even on the radio with Coast to Coast. But it was “GhostBusters”, my all-time favorite movie that first breeched the topic of studying, trapping, and even ridding a place of ghosts. In my opinion it inspired ghost hunters all over way before TAPS was even a twinkle in a producer’s eye. Many years later I even joined a few paranormal research and ghost hunting groups and eventually started my own. It is still a pipe dream of mine that paranormal research will someday reach a level even close to the technology depicted in that hilarious but intriguing 80’s movie.

And that is all what has brought me to Shadow Watch. It was an old username of mine on a ghost forum once but to me it symbolizes my hunt and thirst for understanding of the unknown. I chase the shadows of things only glimpsed, in hopes that someday we can bring them out into the light. I hope you will continue to read, comment, and join me on this amazing journey. Until then, Happy Haunting!