365 days of terror

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GHOST PHOTOS: The Amityville Boy

Taken during an investigation into the allegations made by the Lutz family of Amityville, NY. There were no children in the house at the time. (The Lutz family had since fled from the house, leaving behind all their belongings.)

The story behind the photo is as follows:

“Gene Campbell, who was a professional photographer, was brought into the house in 1976 when the Warrens went in with their team. He set up an automatic camera on the 2nd floor landing that shot off infrared film, black and white, throughout the night. There are literally rolls of film with nothing on them. There’s only one picture of the little boy.”

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.
—  Shirley Jackson, “The Haunting of Hill House”

FAMOUS HAUNTS: The House at 112 Ocean Avenue - Amityville, NY

The site of six gruesome murders in November of 1974, the house at 112 Ocean Avenue was later thrust into the public’s eye again when it became the subject of Jay Anson’s runaway bestseller, The Amityville Horror. This chronicle of one family’s nightmare within this house of horrors has become the quintessential haunted house story. It is still hotly debated today.

Despite this reputation, no other occupant has ever reported any paranormal activity within the house.

"Bookstore Shenanigans"

During my breaks at work I like to walk the floor of the store. I do this for two reasons:

  1. It gets the blood flowing in my legs after sitting at a desk for hours on end and…
  2. It keeps me warm.

And believe me, I need the warmth. My office is colder than a northern lake in the dead of winter. No lie.

[ For those of you that don’t know, I work an office/administrative job at a bookstore here in town. ]

Today while taking one of my walks I noticed a jumble of books strewn about the floor of one of the upstairs aisles.

This didn’t strike me as odd because it was something I’d always seen in the store. Customers frequently pick books off the shelf and leave them around the store in small stacks. However, I did find it a little odd that they were all copies of the same book and that they were thrown about instead of in their usual stacks. Messes like this are only common in the kid’s department, not the rest of the store.

I put the books back on the shelf and muttered to myself something about the poor manners of some people and walked away.

Later as I was walking around the store again I said to myself something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be weird if I found the books all over the floor again?”

Sure enough, as I came around the corner, the SAME books were thrown all over the place!

I quickly put them away and joked to a nearby bookseller that we had a ghost in the store. She laughed and we started talking about how awesome that would be when there was a loud crash behind us. We quickly turned around and all of the books were on the floor AGAIN!

We quickly picked them up and booked it out of there, laughing at ourselves the entire time.

It looks as though we may have a ghost that either hates booksellers or really hates that book.

youtube

The Evil Doll - A True Story

A television segment discussing the story of Robert, the evil doll.

Welcome to the newly updated 365 Days of Terror!

The new pages which can be accessed are:

And don’t forget to get involved:

Think you got what it takes to write for this blog?

Contact me at 365daysofterror@gmail.com or on here!

"An Encounter with La Lechuza"

A good friend relates a teenage encounter with the legendary lechuza. Here is the encounter in his own words:

“When I was in high school, one of my cousins told me that every night the lechuza flew over his house at almost the exact same time. We had heard that this meant there was a curse placed on someone in the home. We had also heard that if you threw salt over the house as the lechuza flies over it, you could break the curse.

So one night, we waited outside his house, salt in hand. Sure enough, we could see the lechuza flying over the house, so I grabbed the salt and threw it over the house. The bird went crazy and tried to come after us. We had to hit the deck because it kept swooping down on us. It was huge!

Eventually it flew away and never came back.”

Updated Table of Contents!

Welcome to the newly updated 365 Days of Terror!

The new pages which can be accessed are:

And don’t forget to get involved:

Think you got what it takes to write for this blog?

Contact me at 365daysofterror@gmail.com or on here!

"Drive-Thru Terror"

Have you ever had a strange experience in broad daylight in the middle of a public place?

A few years ago I did.

I was in the drive-thru of a local KFC during lunch time on a Saturday. I had just pulled up to the speaker window and was waiting for the drive-thru worker to ask for my order when I happened to look into my side mirror. I immediately noticed a man dressed in all black stumbling along near the entrance to the drive-thru. He appeared to be wearing a suit and was holding a bouquet of roses down to his side.

For some reason something about him unsettled me right away. I instinctively moved to lock my car doors when suddenly he looked up and made eye contact with me in my mirror. His gaze was enough to make me flinch but what happened next made my heart skip a beat.

He smiled.

Not a friendly smile either. It was a smile full of malice.

I immediately went to roll up the window, to put as much between me and him as I could. As I did so, I looked in my rear view mirror. It was then that I noticed that he was sprinting towards me.

(All of this happened within a span of a few seconds.)

As he made his way towards me, I made a last second attempt to put distance between us by pulling forward. While doing so I looked up and realized that he was gone.

Looking around there was no place for him to have gone and yet he was nowhere to be seen.

Where did he go? Who was he? And most important of all: what would have happened had he caught up with me?

Let’s hope I never have to find out.

"The Phone Call"

Throughout my life I have had many frightening encounters with the unknown. Some of these encounters have been so unsettling that they’d easily make good horror stories. (Stephen King, take note.) However, one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever experienced came about not because of the paranormal but because of a short phone call I received one spring afternoon. I still get chills thinking about it today…

The call came on an afternoon no different than any other. I was in high school at the time and had just made it home after a day at school. Both my mother and step-father were at work so I had the entire place to myself. I had just walked into my room to set my stuff down when the phone began to ring in the other room. I made my way into my parent’s room (in no rush, mind you) and glanced down at the caller ID. I didn’t recognize the name or number. To be honest, I didn’t think it was that important at the time. I slowly lifted the receiver to my ear and said “hello”.

The words that followed would haunt my dreams for several years to come.

“Please help me.”

It was the voice of a child. By the sounds of it, a young boy.

There was a moment of silence as my mind tried to process what I had just heard. 

“Who is this,” I replied.

There was a sob from the other end and then:

“Please help me. They’re hurting me.” 

By now my brain had processed what I myself refused to believe: There was a child on the other end. A young child. A young child in need of help.

My heart immediately began to race.

“What’s your name?”

There was a moment of silence and then, “Billy.”

[ For the record, I am including no revealing details about “Billy”. I have changed his name and his age for the sake of this post. ]

“Hi, Billy. I’m Michael. How old are you?”

“I am seven.”

“Seven, huh? You’re almost grown up.”

By now his sobs had died down to a few sniffles. I knew I was beginning to gain his trust.

“What’s wrong, Billy?”

“They’re hurting me,” he replied.

“Who is hurting you?”

The line went silent for a moment. I remember holding my breath for what seemed like hours. I was convinced that I had lost him when suddenly he said, “Please make them stop.”

“Make who stop, Billy?”

He began to sob again. It was evident that he was scared for his life.

“Hey, buddy. I need you to stay calm, okay? Have you called the police?”

“I don’t know how to,” he whispered.

“You don’t know how to?”

“No.”

There was a pause and then: “Please help me, Michael.”

At the sound of my name I began to really panic.

Here was a child who needed my help and I wasn’t sure how I could help him. I could call the police but how would they find him? All I knew from our conversation was his name and his age. How many 7 year-olds lived in town that were named Billy? Not to mention that calling the police would require me to hang up on him to make the call.

I knew I needed to do something and fast. Suddenly, I had a plan

“Billy, I need you to look at your phone. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes.”

“What do you see?”

“I see numbers.”

“That’s right! Your phone has numbers on them. Do you see the number 9 and the number 1?”

I waited a moment for a reply.

“Yes.”

“Okay, Billy, I need you to do something very important for me. I need you to hang up the phone…”

I heard immediate panic on the other end.

“No! Don’t make me hang up!”

“Billy,” I replied, trying to keep him calm. “I need you to be a big, strong boy for me. I want you to hang up the phone when I tell you. Then you pick it back up and you press 9 and then press 1 two times. 9-1-1. Can you do that for me?”

“I don’t know.”

“I know you can, Billy. It’s just like when you picked up the phone and called me. Except this time you only have to push three numbers. Just three.”

By this point I have concluded that his calling me was a completely random act. He most likely had dialed some numbers, mimicking the adults he had seen in his life, and had been fortunate enough to make a connection.

“Only three numbers?”

“Yes, only three. 9-1-1. Can you do that?”

“I think so.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Okay, Billy. I need you to hang up right now. Call the police. Tell them you need help. They will find you, Billy. They will come right away. Okay?”

I took a deep breath.

“Hang up and call them…now.”

There was a light gasp on the other end and then silence. I waited for the dial tone to sound, signaling that Billy had hung up. No dial tone came.

Could something have happened?

I began to panic, assuming the worse. The next words I heard sent me over the edge.

“You know who’s doing this to me.”

There was a click as the line went dead. I then heard the dial tone I had been waiting for moments ago.

I felt the floor drop out from under me as my world came crashing down. What did he mean? Did I really know who was responsible for the pain he was going through? Was his calling me not a random act?

It was at this point that I remembered the caller ID.

All this time I knew where he was and had never realized it. I quickly dialed 911.  

As the line rang, I quickly searched through the phonebook, looking for the name and number that had appeared on the caller ID. It took only a few seconds for me to find the information I needed. I now knew where he was.

The dispatcher answered.

I quickly explained the situation to her, going so far as to provide the name and number that had appeared on the caller ID and the address I had found in the phone book.

“Please help him,” I begged.

She urged me to remain calm, took some further information from me, and hung up.

And thus Billy disappeared from my life as swiftly as he entered it.

To this day I do not know the outcome of Billy’s cry for help. I never heard back from the police department nor did I ever hear anything in the news about a young boy named Billy. Over time I even began to question whether or not Billy existed at all and if the call was nothing more than a prank call made by some child looking to scare someone on the other end.

Then I remember the sound of his voice and those last final words:

You know who’s doing this to me.

Billy, if you’re still out there, I hope you found your salvation.

Haunted Grounds: Haunted Railroad Crossing, San Antonio, TX

PLACE: Haunted Railroad Crossing

LOCATION: San Antonio, TX

Located just south of San Antonio, TX lies a railroad crossing that has become the go-to  destination for those in search of a good scare.

The stories behind the haunted railroad crossing vary from person to person but the general story seems to go like this:

Sometime long ago (many date the tragic accident back to the early 30’s/40’s) a bus full of school children stalled while traveling over the train tracks. The bus was immediately hit by an oncoming train, killing the children and their driver instantly.

According to legend, any car stopped on the train tracks will be pushed to safety by the ghostly spirits of the dead children and their chaperone. Some even claim that if you sprinkle your car in powder, you will see the ghostly handprints of the children.

Many claim that the haunted railroad crossing is nothing more than a gravity hill illusion caused by the surrounding environment yet this hasn’t stopped hundreds of thrill seekers from lining up for their own encounter with the unknown.

Whether or not the stories are true, a trip to the haunted railroad crossing always guarantees a spooky time.

The haunted railroad crossing is located near the corner of Shane & Villamain Road in San Antonio, TX. Just look for all the other thrill seekers!

"The Night That Evil Came"

“Something really scary happened tonight…”

- From a journal entry posted on LiveJournal at 3:30am on July 3rd, 2005

I stumbled upon the journal entry above a few days ago while going through some old LJ posts. The memory of that night had almost been lost to time but now, thanks to this entry, I can remember it as though it had just happened. Looking back, I don’t believe I’ve ever been as scared as I was that night.

The night that led up to the events of July 3rd was no different than any other. My boyfriend, Brandon, had picked me up earlier that night and we had spent most of the night driving around and killing time before we had to meet up with some friends of his at the local IHOP. We arrived at IHOP just before midnight and waited for them to arrive. They pulled up after midnight and we quickly ordered and began chatting.

Nothing was out of the ordinary.

 We had been talking for about thirty minutes when suddenly, out of nowhere, I was hit by a strong sense of absolute dread. My heart began to pound and I began to feel physically ill. This “attack” on my body was accompanied by the distinct feeling of being watched. Several times I attempted to turn around but each time I was stopped by some inner warning system. The sensation of being watched became so strong that I knew I had to turn around at some point or risk going mad. I turned. My gaze fell on a booth situated on the other side of the room, slightly behind us on my right. The booth was occupied by a girl and a guy, both in their late twenties. As I stared at them the girl turned, her gaze meeting mine. A cold chill ran down my spine as our eyes met. Something was not “right” about this girl. I quickly turned around and told Brandon that I needed to go home. He was confused by my quick change in behavior and completely sympathetic. However, he was in no rush to leave as he hadn’t seen his friends in some time. He assured me we would leave soon.

The feeling grew stronger as the minutes dragged. The girl’s gaze continued to burn into my back with no mercy. I had reached the limits of my sanity when Brandon decided it was time to go. Within minutes we were out the door and on our way.

The ride home was thankfully peaceful and after a few minutes I had almost forgotten the events of earlier that night. Unfortunately the peace was short lived. I was once again hit by the feeling again, only this time it was stronger and more hostile. It felt as though all the evil in the world was headed towards me. I began to panic. All I wanted was to get home and hide within the confines of my room. The journey could not end soon enough. We arrived and I just about leapt out of the van. The moment my foot touched the sidewalk, however, the “cloud” of pure evil closed in on me.

In that moment, I was completely vulnerable.

I sprinted towards the front door, reciting the Lord’s prayer the entire way as I fumbled for the keys in my pocket. I could hear howls of terror from the other side of the door. It was the family dogs. They could feel its approach as well. The evil continued to close in on as me as I found my key and fumbled with the lock. A second later I was inside.

Once inside, the dogs wasted no time. They began to growl at “something” behind me. Something beyond the door.  Something beyond the rational world that I was used to.

A minute passed.

The attack stopped as suddenly as it began. The barks died away. My parents, woken up by the chaos, came into the room. I was at a loss for words to describe what I had just endured. A few hours would go by before sleep eventually claimed me. My dreams were haunted by the memories of that night and would continue to be for several nights.

To this day, I have no idea what came for me that night. But something did come for me. Of that I am certain. What it would have done to me had it succeeded, I don’t know.

I did learn a few days later that other friends had felt a similar presence that night around the same time.

What exactly was prowling the lonely streets of my town that night? 

I hope I never find out.

"The Nighttime Visitor"

The following incident occurred during my high school years which would place the events sometime during the period of 1997-2001.

I present the encounter as is and leave it up to you to come to your own conclusions.

Looking back now, it seems as though my teen years were full of random, unexplained encounters.

The following is one of them:

There was nothing remotely memorable about the night in question. I remember that clearly.

I ate dinner as I always did and followed it up with a few pages of homework. After a quick shower and an hour or two on the computer, I settled down for the night and fell immediately asleep. All in all it was your standard, uneventful school night.

And then IT happened.

Now to understand the full sequence of events you have to have a general understanding of the layout of my room at the time:

  • The northern wall of the room, which faces the front of the house and is primarily made up of a series of built-in book shelves, runs the full length of the room and climbs up to within a foot from the ceiling. This gap between the top of the shelves and the ceiling forms a sort of decorative shelf that looks out onto the kitchen on the other side.
  • The eastern wall, which makes up a third of the eastern side of the house, runs parallel to the side walkway leading into the backyard. If you looked out the two windows you would see the neighbor’s fence as well as the little area set aside for our dogs.
  • The southern wall faces the rear of the house and contains a closet and a door which opens up into the back hallway. The bedroom light switch is also on this wall, right next to the door.
  • The western wall faces the living room and the main hallway. A pair of double doors built into this wall lead out into the living room and the house beyond. (The room, as originally built, had been intended to be used as a study.)

At any given time one of the two entrances into the room is blocked by a bed or a desk as there are only so many ways the room can be arranged. At the time of this incident, my bed was set parallel to the western wall, blocking the double doors. If someone were to try opening these doors, they would find that they would only open a few inches before being stopped by the frame of the bed. It was an odd set up but one that I would resort to quite often when I ran out of arrangement options.

I must have been asleep for a few hours when I was suddenly awaken by the unmistakable sound of one of the double doors opening. From where I was in the bed I could clearly see through the small crack and out into the dark living room. I was about to pass it off as the result of the house being old when I suddenly saw something that chilled me to the bone.

A small head had appeared in the opening.

All it took was one glance to know that what I was looking at wasn’t human.

My first instinct was to shut the door.

I remembering reaching over to force the door shut on my uninvited visitor when I suddenly lost all control of my body. I could look around and open and shut my eyes but as far as the rest of my body was concerned, I was paralyzed. 

I was helpless to watch as my uninvited guest attempted to enter the room. I knew that at any moment it would discover the second entrance and enter the room at last. Sure enough, I soon heard the sound of small feet scurrying around the corner and towards the other door. By this point I knew I was screwed so I shut my eyes and resigned myself to the inevitable.

There was a creak as the door opened. Suddenly the room was filled with an intense, burning light. It was a light so bright, I could see it through my eyelids. I struggled to fight the paralysis again, meanwhile attempting to scream in the hopes of waking someone else up. It seemed as though even my ability to vocalize had been suppressed as the most I could conjure was a pathetic whimper.

The light became brighter and I blacked out.

The next thing I can recall is struggling against the paralysis yet again. There is still bright light everywhere. Slowly this light begins to dim and in time completely fades away. I open my eyes and find myself in bed. I continue to struggle against the paralysis with no luck for a few agonizing seconds when suddenly I regain full control of my body. I instantly leap out of bed and run to flick on the lights.

The room is silent and most importantly of all, empty.

I rush out the door and into my parents room and soon my parents are trying to make sense of my incoherent rambling. 

I won’t be getting any more sleep that night.

“EPILOGUE”

I spent the following afternoon researching my experience online and attempting to find similar accounts from sane, credible people. While doing so I came across numerous pages describing the phenomena known as sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis, according to  Wikipedia is:

a phenomenon in which people, either when falling asleep or wakening, temporarily experience an inability to move. More formally, it is a transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It can occur at sleep onset or upon awakening, and it is often associated with terrifying visions (e.g. an intruder in the room), to which one is unable to react due to paralysis. It is believed a result of disrupted REM sleep, which is normally characterized by complete muscle atonia that prevents individuals from acting out their dreams.

Mystery solved?

Perhaps.

However, consider this:

For a week following my experience, I was plagued each night by the sound of small footsteps above me. These footsteps were always accompanied by a series of three quick knocks on the ceiling. I always knew when to expect these as they always seemed to come right as I climbed into bed and were always preceded by the sound of the family dogs going crazy at something I could not see.

Eventually these faded away and the incident of the nighttime visitor became nothing more than a memory.

However, every so often, just as I’m going to bed, I hear the soft patter of feet running across the carpeted flooring of my current apartment and begin to wonder…

"An Incident on Creek Road"

The following incident occurred a few years ago in the small community of Ojai, CA. Ojai can be found nestled in the Ojai Valley of southern California, just north of Ventura.

Ask anyone in Ojai, CA what is the most haunted place within the valley and chances are that they will immediately answer “Creek Road”. Branching off Highway 33 just north of Ventura and south of Oak View, Creek Road is a lonely stretch of road twisting through the Ojai valley below and finally coming to an end within the city limits of Ojai. 

During the day, it is a very beautiful drive.

At night, it is a very frightening place.

Having been involved in the theatre community of Ojai for several years now, I have grown quite familiar with the twists and turns of Creek Road. In fact, Creek Road used to be my route of choice while driving to and from Ojai. I was comforted by its beauty during the day and by it’s silence during the night. 

That would all change one dark, summer night.

That night began the same as any other night. I left the theatre and made my way down Montgomery St. to S Ventura St. which eventually becomes Creek Road. After driving down a small section of the road I like to call “The Tunnel”, due to the large trees growing over either side of the road, I made the curve that eventually took me to the Creek Road Bridge, one of the most haunted stretches of Creek Road. I made it over the bridge with no incident, drove by Camp Comfort, and began my way home.

All in all, it was your typical drive home.

It was a few minutes into my drive when my night took a turn for the worse.

At the time, I was driving a minivan - the vehicle of choice for suburban house moms and poor college students who have no choice but to settle for the old family car. Now, as anyone knows, minivans can be quite sturdy. It takes a lot to move one just a fraction of an inch. Yet that night, I would get quite the jolt.

I was making my way around one of the road’s many twists and turns when suddenly something ‘rammed" into the passenger’s side of the van, forcing the van into the other lane. The jolt that resulted was so strong that my head came within an inch or two of smashing into the window. The sound that accompanied the impact was no less intense, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere.

I was stunned to say the least.

I immediately swerved back into the proper lane and began to panic. Now you must understand that I know every stretch of that road and knew there was nothing in that general area to explain what had just happened. I was thousands of feet from the nearest intersection. The nearest house was still a ways away. Looking into the rearview mirror I could see the usual, silhouetted outlines of trees and hillside. Nothing was out of the ordinary.

I immediately began to think of alternate explanations for what had just happened (a falling rock from the hillside, a deer, etc.) and yet none of them made any sense. I was about to pull over to the side of the road to see if I could assess the damage when the warning bells in my head began to go off at full force. Something was telling me to get out of there and fast. The feeling of hostility continued to grow as I looked out the window. I knew then and there that I needed to get out of there or risk facing something straight out of my nightmares. I immediately put my foot to the gas pedal and sped away. Once safely away from Creek Road I pulled over and climbed out to look at the damage that had resulted from the impact.

There was none.

I immediately sped home and and ran up the stairs to my second floor apartment. After locking the door and convincing myself that everything was okay, I climbed under the covers and waited for sleep.

Sleep would never come.

I returned to the scene of my encounter the following day after a quick nap. Even in the bright glow of the afternoon sun, I could feel a cold chill go up my spine as soon as I stepped out onto the pavement. The more I looked around the more I was convinced that there was nothing that could explain away what happened the previous night.

It was at that moment that I came to the conclusion that the stories about Creek Road were very, very true.

"Ethel"

The following story was told to a friend by one of his co-workers.

This is their story:

Growing up, Damian and his best friend would always play basketball in the old, abandoned lot next to his house. The lot, which had once been the site of a large mansion, was now nothing more than a concrete foundation and an old basketball hoop that the neighborhood kids would use during their free time.

Those who grew up in the area used to tell stories about the house that had stood there. According to these stories, it had belonged to a wealthy family and had once been the largest house on the street. The house had burned down several years prior and there had been rumors that someone had actually perished in the fire.

As with other stories that kid’s tell, Damian and his friend had passed the stories off as nothing more than local urban legends.

One day, Damian’s friend came over to his house with a Ouija board in hand. The two began to play with it and after awhile started a conversation with the board.

They asked the board if it could identify who they were speaking to. The board spelled out “Ethel”.

Naturally they wanted to know to know more about Ethel but all they could get was that she had died in a fire.

Damian later did some investigating of his own at the local library. While going through old newspaper articles, he found something that caught his eye. It was an article about the mansion that had burned to the ground on the lot next to his house. Apparently the fire had happened while the family was away on vacation. Sadly, the family’s maid had stayed behind and had thus perished in the fire.

The maid’s name was Ethel.

From that day forward, they would speak to Ethel through the board daily and she would tell them details about her life. Eventually, as kids are wont to do, they grew tired of the board and stopped playing.

One day, sometime after, Damian’s mom came to pick him up from school. On the ride home, she asked him if he happened to know a woman by the name of Ethel.

Curious, Damian replied, “No, why do you ask?”

His mom explained that a woman by the name of Ethel had called the house several times asking for Damian. He was a bit shocked and told his mom about the board and the maid. They both dismissed it as nothing more than a coincidence and forgot all about it.

Later one evening, Damian was home alone when the phone rang. He went to pick it up and noticed something strange about the caller id. The number on the caller id was listed as unknown but the name Ethel appeared on the screen.

A chill went down his spine.

Rather than answer it, he let the phone continue to ring.

From that day forward the phone would ring daily.  Each time the caller id would list Ethel as the caller. Eventually it became a running joke amongst the family. The phone would ring and someone would immediately say, “Ethel’s calling again!”.

The family never answered any of Ethel’s calls and eventually they stopped.

To this day Damian wonders what Ethel might have said had he ever answered.

Then again, maybe it’s best he’ll never know.

Who was behind the strange calls? Was it a prank? A coincidence? Or was it really Ethel calling from beyond the grave? We will never know.