Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Demonic Teddy Bear For Sale

When I was a young child, I had a large stuffed toy bear, and named him "Baron". Baron was the one I always blamed for stolen candy and broken dishes, dressed in a button up shirt to imitate Calvin dressing up Hobbes, that kind of best imaginary friend who I would talk out loud to. I don't remember a whole lot about what went on, but some things (which they will not discuss with me) happened to make them get rid of Baron and take me for counseling, and then to several religious figures in the local community. This didn't last long, and I turned into (according to everyone else) a healthy, well adjusted young man.

Two weeks ago, I was in Cleveland on business. There was a small antique shop on the other side of the street where I was parked, and after finishing what I was there for, I walked up to the door for a quick peek. "Merryweather Curiosities" was not only closed but in a severe state of disrepair, and very dim inside, but I could swear that back in the shadows I saw movement once or twice. As my eyes adjusted to peering through the glass into the darkness, shielded by my hands, I saw a stuffed bear that looked very much like Baron tucked away in one of the corners. Nothing of note happened and I went home, only to come back the next day to retrieve my clip-on sunglasses that I had accidentally left in the waiting room of the office.

Baron, and it was indeed my childhood friend, was on the sidewalk outside the shop, a McDonald's hamburger wrapper plastered around his leg by the wind. There was no pricetag. On closer inspection, his fur was ragged and worn in some places, mostly on the extremities of the forepaws, and most oddly, his eyes were gone.

I looked up and down the street and put him in the back of my Isuzu Trooper.

At home, I hurried in to check my email and phone messages. I forgot to bring Baron in, which I sometimes do with groceries if I don't need them right away. In the morning, I went out to the car. Opening the door, I was practically bowled over by a very powerful stench of rust, mold, and what can only be described as the scent of a filthy wet dog. A dead filthy wet dog.

The back lining of my trooper had been torn out after it started to mold from being used as a work truck (hauling firewood in the winter got it wet and dirty), so I figured that maybe the carpet up between the seats needed cleaning, and that some of the smell might be coming from Baron who if I remembered properly from the tag, was machine washable. I pulled him out, put him on the porch, stuck my bike in the back of the trooper, and drove down to the local carwash and auto detailing place to have the interior steamcleaned to see if that would help. My seat was slightly misadjusted and some of the controls were sticky for no apparent reason. The cycling ride home was uneventful. The bear was still in the same position where I left him.

Once I got home, I snapped a quick photo with my cameraphone just for fun, and stuffed Baron into my Staber washing machine, which is an expensive high quality washer, and ran him as a light cold water load. Afterwards, I spread him over a laundry rack outside to dry because it was such a nice sunny day. Right after coming inside, the phone started ringing. It was the auto detailer, and they wanted me to pick up my car (this was much earlier than expected).

On arriving, I found the Trooper to be only partly cleaned but the smell was greatly diminished. None of the college students who worked there would look me in the eye or give me more than a monosyllablic reply. The manager pulled me aside, told me that he wanted me to take my car and leave, that he wasn't willing to discuss anything about it, and that there would be no charge. This made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed, and I tried to think of what might have happened. The Trooper had the windows rolled up tightly while sitting in the sun and was very warm, so I put on the air conditioning on the drive back. There was almost no airflow, and then a few dried feathers started to spiral out of the vents, followed by a shaking rustle and a dead baby bird dropping onto the carpet from the under-dash air vent.

I immediately pulled into the Target parking lot, locked my car, and spent an hour pacing and then looking underneath the car. I decided that the source of the stench and problems with the carwash had been birds nesting in the air conditioning ducts, which then died. I finally scooped up the dead hatchling with a plastic bag, dropped it in one of the errant shopping carts and got back in my car. I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something looking at me from in back. Not malevolently, but accusingly. Like I had done something wrong.

At home, I worked outside for a while cutting down some new brush growth and dragging it down to the ditch by the road, then went inside and out into the back yard to check on Baron drying. The rack had collapsed and he was sprawled on the ground several feet away, but completely dry. It almost felt as though there were hard objects inside him, just deep enough to be difficult to feel under the padding. There was no smell. I put most of my problems outside of my mind and carried him upstairs to be stowed away in the guest bedroom, with some of my other old stuff.

For a few days, nothing happened. Then I began feeling like I wasn't alone in the house. My girlfriend came over, and started to mention seeing things out of the corner of her eye. I said they must have been my cat Harlequin, but we found her upstairs asleep on my bed. That night when we were watching The Island, we both heard a very loud banging sound coming from upstairs. Later, she swore she heard footsteps descending the basement stairs and then sounds coming from underneath us. I was still trying my best to be skeptical about the odd things happening, and made fun of her being easily spooked. Our night didn't last much longer, she went home and I stayed up listening to every single sound - and this is an old house, it DOES have some creaks from the heat making it expand and contract - with my hair slowly prickling up on the back of my neck. Some of the pieces from my chess set were missing.

I went to sleep with a small light on for the first time in years, and finally drifted off around 3 am. I can't remember much from my dreams from that night, but I woke up with most of the coverings balled up on the floor and dark bags under my eyes. The one mental image that remained was the lingering sensation of being trapped deep underground in a space too small to pass through, with the knowledge that something was coming after me.

Harlequin didn't show up for her breakfast, but I figured she was just out sleeping in the bushes or in a sunny spot. I realized that I hadn't seen any birds or squirrels around lately, and there hadn't been any birdcalls in the morning. Harley takes a bird now and then, but not enough to silence them all. Walking out the front door, I saw a massive puddle under the back of the trooper. It was something like motor oil but was dried and blackish brown. Test driving it showed no problems and there was no longer any smell at all. Also, the feathers were gone. At this point, I began questioning whether some of the events were just my overactive imagination running wild after a period of stress and extra work. I decided to take the car for a drive to make sure nothing was wrong, and ended up heading toward Cleveland again. The antique shop popped into my mind, and I made a beeline for it, thinking maybe I could ask where they found Baron. I was starting to put some of these strange occurences together.

At the corner where I had picked up Baron, there was only brick wall at the section where the shop had been. I thought I was going nuts. It was the exact same place, but nothing was there. I walked to the next door down, a local coffeehouse. The grayhaired lady behind the counter told me that there never had been any "Merryweather" shop there.

Sure that I was going mad, I came back home to see the local utilities board scooping up all the brush I had been cutting over the past week. One of the orange hard-hat wearing workers flagged me over and pointed at what the backhoe claw had unearthed pulling up branches. There was a good four or five cubic feet of small bones mixed in with the twigs and saplings, drying white and brown. Feathers, fur, and scraps of flesh still clung to most of them. Among the bones was a pink flea collar exactly the same as the one Harlequin had been wearing.

This incident caused me a great deal of difficulty with the city, fortunately some of the executives on the utilities board and city council members were close friends of my parents and didn't take to any wild flights of fancy as to why a small animal graveyard might have appeared in my discarded branches. I was beginning to be terrified about the possibilities. My house was rapidly taking on a very uncomfortable feeling, and no one came inside without commenting on feeling unease or even outright fear. At several times I heard low moans uttered from other parts and this happened once while a guest was over. The shuffling sounds increased in frequency, always happening on a floor I wasn't on until one day they started happening several rooms over on the same story. This set me on edge like nothing you would believe. It was worse than hearing the scraping sounds inside the walls at night had been. Sometimes I would wake up with a few scratches on my face, or feel something jump up onto my bed at night. I started to question my sanity more and more. The next night my girlfriend was sitting on the couch while I stepped into the kitchen for a drink of water. I heard a low thump and dragging sound, and then the wind howled around the house. Coming back into the living room, I discovered her laying limp with her eyes staring into space, monotonously repeating "there is a way out. there is a way out. there is a way out," over and over. The altered voice I could rationalize away. The chorus in the background, I couldn't. She has since refused to talk or have any contact with me.

Up to this time, I had only looked in the spare bedroom a few times, and Baron was always in his place, eyeless sockets staring into space. I looked at him that day I heard the shuffling, and caught myself starting to talk to him. This time it wasn't a pair of child friends, it was me threatening him with the evisceration of his stuffing and the fate of being stuffed into my woodchipper if he didn't stop whatever was going on, if it was related to him and I was sure it was. As I spoke, I felt chills trace up and down my spine and tears jumped into my eyes for no reason. The room felt twenty degrees colder and visibly darkened. My heart was in my throat and I felt an incredibly palpable sensation of hostility spreading through the air like waves.

Shakily I backed out of the room, slammed the door, and ran downstairs to fix myself some tequila. I noticed in the kitchen that most if not nearly all of my knives were missing, and that there were chunks of wood missing out of the locked cupboard under the sink, a holdover from when the previous owners had had small children to keep away from drain cleaner, almost as if a very short person had been gleefully chipping away to try to break past the latch.

After drinking for a good twenty minutes, I started to rationalize everything that had happened. The feeling that washed over me had been a natural reaction, all part of my mind spooking itself and reacting on cue to my subconscious desires to find strange and scary things. Emboldened by liquor, I strode back upstairs and decided for no apparent reason to repair Barons eyes. I remembered that once, long after Baron disappeared but still in my childhood, that I had found a small box with a pair of stuffed animal type eyes in it, nestled in strips of paper with scrawled writing, and then was scolded heavily for snooping. As if my hands found it unbidden, it only took a few minutes of searching in one of the upstairs closets. The box was wooden with inlaid crucifixes and a carving of the Virgin Mary, which struck me very oddly as my parents had most definitely not been Catholic. Inside were many little strips of parchment, almost as if it had been put through a shredder. Written on each one was a latin phrase, repeated over and over from one strip to another. Underneath a wrapping of these were a pair of simple button eyes that I recognized as definitely having belonged to Baron in the past. They felt very, very cold.

I took a needle and thread left over from my last shirt repair and took Baron downstairs. Slamming him onto the dining room table, I roughly stabbed the needle into the sockets, laced in the eyes, and sewed them both tight. Again, I felt as if there almost might be an actual skeletal structure under his padding, but after prodding quite hardly, found nothing. After taking a few pictures of my handiwork, tired of the whole thing and wondering why I had done what I did, I opened the basement door, threw him down the stairs, and locked it.

Nothing happened all day and all night. Maybe I had solved the problem. Loading my week's laundry into the machine, I noticed that it was already full of liquid. Looking closer with a flashlight revealed a layer of scum floating on oily water, glinting red under the beam from my mini mag. My reflection swirled and distorted in the water, and I heard whispering, not just one voice but one main tone with a whole chorus of others in the background. I slammed the lid down and put a cinderblock on top of it, and ran the machine empty. Five minutes later all of the power to that side of my house went out and I have still not been able to find the circuit fault. I called up an electrician the next morning, after a tormented night of sounds and bumps, and then tried looking up an exorcist. Exorcists unfortunately aren't in the yellow pages. The workman came around noon and went down to the basement (where I had not gone) to check the breakers. He left shortly after going down and told me that he was never coming back and that he had a good mind to hit me with his wrench for calling him here. The shadows in the corners of the house seemed bigger than before, and I don't like shadows that shift and adjust when you aren't looking. There was a puddle slowly forming under the washer.

I went outside to pace under the sun, and started to notice odd scraps of ragged fabric stuck to some of the trees and brambles edging my property. One of them was recognizeable as part of one of my much older stuffed animals, from when I was a toddler. There must have still been a box of them tucked away somewhere. I went upstairs to look, and found only a decapitated Pooh in an otherwise empty cardboard box. Pooh's eyeless, mouthless head was on the seat of my car. The rest of the never-alive animals slowly came to view as I dug through some of the uncleared thickets, some of them with their heads seperated, some of them much worse. I saw the entrance to the crawlspace under the sideporch was open. This crawlspace leads directly to another crawlspace that goes to the basement. I saw some scraps of fur and stuffing laying in the entrance and was sure that I heard heavy, animal breathing deeper inside.

Inside, as the sun faded, the noises started again. I looked at some other pictures I had taken before and found one I hadn't noticed where Baron's eyes glowed a faint eerie red. Staying in the house for another night was a terrifying prospect. I was being forced to accept that some sort of evil supernatural entity was making a residence and destroying my life and my wellbeing. Looking in the downstairs bathroom mirror, my skin was almost china-pale, with dark veins showing through. The corruption that was overtaking the house was starting to get me as well. As I looked at my face in the mirror in the dim fluorescent light (I needed to change one of the pair and hadn't) the reflection slowly faded to grayish dark, and swirled into ornate patterns that gave way to a pure blackness that looked back at me through a pair of bright red eyes, the only thing I could see. I heard a horrible scream that might have been my own, as the lights went off through the entire house. The bathroom door is opposite the basement door, only a few feet to the other side and back a bit. I could hear slow shuffling sounds coming up them. My maglite was in my hand and my adrenaline was on full fight or flight mode. I chose fight.

I shone the light into the door and pulled it open. I swear to god I'm not crazy, and this is what I saw. There below me on the steps was Baron slowly walking up on two legs, one of my kitchen knives in his paws, scraps of other animals hanging off him. I yelled at the top of my lungs and shut the door, but it bounced back open. I was already several yards away, running upstairs for my guns. In my bedroom, the moonlight filtered through my curtains and I quickly grabbed my 870 and prepared to charge back down. I felt prickles on my neck and turned to see the eyes outside my window. They winked out into nothing with an unearthly moan and I left the house as fast as I could. I did not see 'Baron' on the way out.

The rest is too difficult for me to write down just now, from the ordeal under the cellar to what we found in the crawlspaces. With the help of a Wiccan aquaintance, my house is partially cleansed (thank God!) and the bear is now locked up in a box. I need to sell it, for someone to willfully accept it. Please help me.

There is a large rip on the back, a small one on the belly that is sealed up with red thread. The eyes are firmly attached and for reasons I am not willing to discuss should not be removed under any circumstances. I am not a professional ebayer or anything like that. I just want some peace in my life again.


(The original eBay auction was here.)

The Hands Resist Him

Taken from Wikipedia....
"The Hands Resist Him, also known as the eBay Haunted Painting, is a painting created by Oakland, California artist Bill Stoneham in 1972. It depicts a young boy and female doll standing in front of a glass paneled door against which many hands are pressed. According to the artist, the boy is based on a photograph of himself aged 5, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the waking world and the world of dreams and possibilities, and the doll is a guide who will escort the boy through it. The hands themselves represent alternate lives or possibilities. It became the subject of an urban legend and a viral internet meme in February 2000, when it was posted for sale on eBay along with an elaborate back-story implying that it was haunted."

 

Original eBay Description....
WHEN WE RECEIVED THIS PAINTING, WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY GOOD ART. A " PICKER " HAD FOUND IT ABANDONNED BEHIND AN OLD BREWERY. AT HTE TIME WE WONDERED A LITLLE WHY A SEEMINGLY PERFECTLY FINE PAINTING WOULD BE DISCARDED LIKE THAT. ( TODAY WE DON'T !!! ) ONE MORNING OUR 4 AND 1/2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED, THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING, AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT. NOW, I DON'T BELIEVE IN UFOS OR ELVIS BEING ALIVE, BUT MY HUSBAND WAS ALARMED. TO MY AMUSEMENT HE SET UP A MOTION TRIGGERED CAMREA FOR THE NIGHTS. AFTER THREE NIGHTS THERE WERE PICTURES.THE LAST TWO PICTURES SHOWN ARE FROM THAT 'STAKEOUT'. AFTER SEEING THE BOY SEEMINGLY EXITING THE PAINTING UNDER THREAT, WE DECIDED, THE PAINTING HAS TO GO.PLEASE JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. --- BEFORE YOU DO, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWIND WARNING AND DISCLAIMER. ----WARNING: DO NOT BID ON THIS PAINTING IF YOU ARE SUCCEPTIBLE TO STRESS RELATED DISEASE, FAINT OF HEART OR ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH SUPERNATURAL EVENTS. BY BIDDING ON THIS PAINTING, YOU AGREE TO RELEASE THE OWNERS OF ALL LIABILITY IN RELATION TO THE SALE OR ANY EVENTS HAPPENING AFTER THE SALE, THAT MIGHT BE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS PAINTING. THIS PAINTING MAY OR MAY NOT POSESS SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THAT COULD IMPACT OR CHANGE YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER, BY BIDDING YOU AGREE TO EXCLUSIVELY BID ON THE VALUE OF THE ARTWORK, WITH DISREGARD TO THE LAST TWO PHOTOS FEATURED IN THIS AUCTION, AND HOLD THE OWNERS HARMLESS IN REGARD TO THEM AND THEIR IMPACT, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.------------ NOW THAT WE GOT THIS OUT OF THE WAY, ONE QUESTION TO YOU EBAYERS. WE WANT OUR HOUSE TO BE BLESSED AFTER THE PAINTING IS GONE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO DO THAT?

THE SIZE OF THE PAINTING IS 24 BY 36 INCHES, SO IT IS RATHER LARGE. AS I HAVE HAD SEVERAL QUESTIONS, HERE THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS. THERE WAS NO ODOR LEFT BEHIND IN THE ROOM. THERE WERE NO VOICES, OR THE SMELL OF GUNPOWDER, NO FOODPRINTS OR STRANGE FLUIDS ON THE WALL. TO DETER QUESTIONS IN THIS DIRECTION, THERE ARE NO GHOSTS IN THIS WORLD , NO SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THIS IS JUST A PAINTING, AND MOST THESE THINGS HAVE AN EXPLANATION, IN THIS CASE PROBABLY A FLUKE LIGHT EFFECT. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BID ON THE ARTWORK, AND CONSIDER THE LAST TWO PHOTOGRAPHS AS PURE ENTERTAINMENT, AND PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION, WHEN BIDDING. AS WE THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO BLESS ANY HOUSE, WE STILL WELCOME INPUT INTO THAT PROCEDURE.

This auction is nearing the end. I want to thank the more than 13000 people that took the time to look at this image on ebay. I appreciate the more than 30 suggestions, that I received regarding blessing the house, exorcising and cleansing. 7 emails reported strange or irregular events taking place, when viewing this image. And I will relay two suggestions made by the senders. First not to use this image as the background on the screen, and second not to display this image around juveniles or children. Last not least, thanks for apreciating the art as well.





Close up on the doll's face. Hmm... No eyes?
Sweet Jesus! That's an exposed wire!

Supposedly taken like the others and not edited?

This is Satanic. Definitely.


(The pictures shown are the ones included in the original eBay article, which was here. View the Wikipedia article for "The Hands Resist Him" here. There's also an alternate version of this painting, titled "The Hands Resist Her," that was seen as a bonus picture in the Bleach chapter 342. You may view it here.)

persevero

My birthday was a few weeks ago and I have to say it was a great one. I got a ridiculous amount of presents from my family and my friends didn't skimp on the gifts either. I wound up netting around $400 total in cash and a good $150 in gift cards. I found this especially nice as I'm not one to have a lot of excess money, but when I do have it I'm usually at a loss for how to spend it. After consulting with my friends as to what would be the best course of action, I decided to purchase a Nintendo Wii. I've never really been terribly interested in video games, but after playing a few rounds of Wii Sports at my friend's house I was hooked. I spent a good four hours scouring the internet for the best deal (not that I didn't have money to spare at that point) when I found an eBay listing for a lightly used Nintendo Wii for only $100. The seller didn't list too many details as to the condition of the console, but he uploaded pictures and they looked well enough. I was slightly hesitant to buy the Wii, as the seller was a new user and I didn't have any feedback to go off of as far as his reliability, but I figured I'd give it as hot anyway. When the Wii arrived, I noticed something peculiar about the box. It seemed to have mold growing from the corners of it, causing it to wreak to no end. I disregarded this, as I was excited to play my new console, so I hurriedly opened the box and hooked up the Wii. At first, I was unsure of what to do; when I turned on the Wii, there was a whole bunch of stuff left behind from the previous owner.

Boy, was I lucky. It turns out he had purchased a ton of games from the virtual marketplace. At my disposal was Yoshi's Story, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario World, and a bunch of other classics. I was in heaven. I played the games for a good six hours straight (I know, no life) until I eventually got tired and went to bed. When I awoke the next morning, I decided I would look trough all of the channels on the Wii to see what kind of fun I could have. Most of the channels were Virtual Console games up until the last page where there was just one icon. It looked as if there was some sort of problem with the image for the channel, as it was just a static-like box. Not to miss out on a potentially fun experience, I decided I would check it out to see what game it was. When I clicked the icon, I was brought to a gray screen with the phrase "persevero" (which I later learned meant 'continue' in Latin) in red text. Not knowing what it meant, I decided I would select it anyway. Upon selecting it, I was taken to a menu with four symbols on it. Each symbol had a sort of menacing look to it; I don't really know why, but they were just...unsettling. Once again, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to click on some of them. The first symbol I clicked was a vertical line with a circle running through it underneath an X. When I clicked the symbol I was taken to a virtual world very similar to my own. It was as if the general layout of the city was a carbon copy of mine, but I digress. The game was unlike any I had seen before; it was a first person game, but there was really no objective. You started out in a house (one bearing a remarkable resemblance to my own) and you were free to roam about. I spent a good three hours walking around the virtual world when I decided I would see exactly how close this game world paralleled mine. It was truly remarkable. Everything seemed exactly the same.

After another two hours of wandering around, I was booted back to the menu with the symbols, though there were only three. I checked my clock and saw it was getting late, so I decided I would call it a night and head off to bed. The next morning, I was eager to play out the next three symbols of the mysterious game I had found, so I quickly turned on my Wii and launched the channel. I was once again brought to the menu with three symbols. The second symbol was an upside-down cross with a triangle going from the arms to the bottom of it. I selected this symbol. The game I was taken to was essentially the same as yesterday's, though there were now people around. They didn't really have any discernible features, so it looked like there were a bunch of mannequins walking around the town. I explored some more before being booted again to the symbol menu. I continued, clicking the next symbol, which was a square inside of a circle. The game I was taken to this time was slightly off-putting. The world I was in seemed to be drearier and the characters moved more sluggishly. Upon further exploration of the town, I noticed there were random objects lying around that you could interact with - most of which seemed to be knives. I decided I would interact with one of the knives to see what I could do, and, of course, one of the options was to kill a few mannequinesque citizens of what seemed to be my town. As sadistic as it sounds, it was actually pretty entertaining. When you killed a person, they would drop to the ground and writhe in pain until they finally vanished.

It was strangely...satisfying. After around 20 minutes of killing random civilians I was booted back to the symbol menu again. By this time it was getting late and I decided to get some sleep. I'd get around to the last symbol in the morning. The night went by relatively quickly and I awoke to a strange odor in my house. I assumed I had forgotten to take out to take out the trash and continued on with my morning. I turned on my Wii and I once again loaded the channel; when I did, I was brought again to the symbol menu. The last remaining symbol was a simple X. I clicked it. I was taken back to the same game world I was in before, only now everything was tinted a dark red, and I started with the knife in my hand. I assumed I knew what had to be done. I ran around stabbing  countless citizens of this virtual town for what seemed for a good five hours when I was booted to the menu. It was blank I was relatively disappointed at such a dull ending to what seemed to be such an interesting game. I decided I would head off to bed for a nap, though, as five hours straight of gameplay was rather tiring after having to flail my arms as if stabbing for so long. While asleep, I had a very weird dream. I was alone in a black room, holding nothing but a knife, and another man came in. he had a distinct gunshot wound on his forehead and he reached his hand out to me. I stood, staring back at him and not knowing what was happening. In a very distorted - almost demon like - voice, he said, "Congratulations, you are done now," for the remainder of the dream. Upon waking, I noticed the stench from earlier in the morning had gotten much stronger so I decided to spray some Febreeze and get some lunch. While eating, I checked my email, and noticed a message from the eBay seller who had sold me the Wii.

It read, "Congratulations, you are done now. Sincerely, Arnold Vonmarshall." This creeped me out a huge amount, as those were the exact words said to me in my dream. I shook it off as a coincidence and continued with my day. The stench I had smelled earlier was now overbearing, so I decided I would take a look around to see what was causing it. I looked just about all over  my house before I realized it was coming from the basement. I opened the door and walked down the stairs to find a pile. It was a pile of dead bodies. I was horrified. I looked in absolute terror before running upstairs and trying to make sense of everything. After a good hour or two of staring, terrified, at the wall, I decided to go back down and try to see things through. I slowly opened the door and walked down towards the pile when I noticed something pinned to the stairs. It was a printout of a shipping label for some address in Houston. The return address was to an Arnold Vonmarshall. I immediately ran upstairs and searched his name on Google. It turned out that Arnold Vonmarshall had killed 23 people in a small German town before killing himself. His obituary said he died four months ago. Just after having read this, I heard a bang at the door. It was the police.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tulpa

Last year, I spent six months participating in what I was told was a psychological experiment. I found an ad in my local paper looking for imaginative people looking to make good money, and since it was the only ad that week that I was remotely qualified for, I gave them a call and we arranged an interview.

They told me that all I would have to do is stay in a room, alone, with sensors attached to my head to read my brain activity, and while I was there I would visualize a double of myself. They called it my "tulpa."

It seemed easy enough, and I agreed to do it as soon as they told me how much I would be paid. The next day, I began. They brought me to a simple room and gave me a bed, then attached sensors to my head and hooked them into a little black box on the table beside me. They talked me through the process of visualizing my double again, and explained that if I got bored or restless, instead of moving around, I should visualize my double moving around, or try to interact with him, and so on. The idea was to keep him with me the entire time I was in the room.

I had trouble with it for the first few days. It was more controlled than any sort of daydreaming I'd done before. I'd imagine my double for a few minutes, then grow distracted. By the fourth day, however, I could manage to keep him "present" for the entire six hours. They told me I was doing very well.

The second week, they gave me a different room with wall-mounted speakers. They told me they wanted to see if I could still keep the tulpa with me in spite of distracting stimuli. The music was discordant, ugly, unsettling, and it made the process a little more difficult, but I managed nonetheless. The next week, they played even more unsettling music, punctuated with shrieks, feedback loops, what sounded like an old school modem dialing up and guttural voices speaking some foreign language. I just laughed it off; I was a pro by then.

After about a month, I started to get bored. To liven things up, I started interacting with my doppelganger. we'd have conversations, play rock-paper-scissors, I'd imagine him juggling or break dancing, or whatever caught my fancy. I asked the researchers if my foolishness would adversely affect their study, but they encouraged me.

So, we played and communicated, and that was fun for a while...and then it got a little strange. I was telling him about my first date one day and he corrected me. I'd said my date was wearing a yellow top, and he told me it was a green one. I thought about it for a second and realized he was right. It creeped me out, and after my shift that day I talked to the researchers about it. "You're using the thought-form to access your subconscious," they explained. "You knew on some level that you were wrong, and you subconscious corrected yourself."

What had been creepy was suddenly cool. I was talking to my subconscious! It took some practice, but I found that I could question my tulpa and access all sorts of memories. I could make it quote whole pages of books I'd read once, years before, or things I was taught and immediately forgot in high school. It was awesome.

That was around the time I started "calling up" my double outside of the research center. Not often, at first, but I was so used to imagining him by now that it almost seemed odd not to see him. So, whenever I was bored, I'd visualize my double. Eventually, I started doing it almost all the time. It was amusing to take him along like an invisible friend. I imagined him when I was hanging out with friends, or visiting my mom; I even brought him along on a date once. I didn't need to speak aloud to him, so I was able to carry out conversations with him and no one was the wiser.

I know that sounds strange, but it was fun. Not only was he a walking repository of everything I knew and everything I had forgotten, he also seemed more in touch with me than I did at times. He had an uncanny grasp of the minutiae of body language that I didn't even realize I was picking up on. For example, I thought the date I brought him along on was going badly, but he pointed out how she was laughing a little too hard at my jokes and leaning towards me as I spoke, and a bunch of other subtle clues I wasn't consciously picking up on. I listened and let's just say that the date went very well.

By the time I'd been at the research center for four months he was with me constantly. The researchers approached me one day after my shift and asked me if I'd stopped visualizing him. I denied it and they seemed pleased. I silently asked my double if he knew what prompted that, but he just shrugged it off. So did I.

I withdrew a little from the world at that point. I was having trouble relating to people. It seemed to me that they were so confused and unsure of themselves, while I had a manifestation of myself to confer with. It made socializing awkward. Nobody else seemed aware of the reasons behind their actions, why some things made them mad and others made them laugh. They didn't know what moved them...but I did, or at least I could ask myself and get an answer

A friend confronted me one evening. He pounded at the door until I answered it and came in fuming and swearing up a storm. "You haven't answered when I called you in fucking weeks, you dick!" he yelled. "What's your fucking problem?"

I was about to apologize to him and probably would have offered to hit the bars with him that night, but my tulpa grew suddenly furious. "Hit him," it said, and before I knew what I was doing, I had. I heard his nose break. He fell to the floor and came up swinging, and we beat each other up and down my apartment. I was more furious than I have ever been, and I was not merciful. I knocked him to the ground and gave him two savage kicks to the ribs, and that was when he fled, hunched over and sobbing.

The police were by a few minutes later, but I told them that he had been the instigator and since he wasn't around to refute me, they let me off with a warning. My tulpa was grinning the entire time. We spent the night crowing about my victory and sneering over how badly I'd beaten my friend.

It wasn't until the next morning, when I was checking out my black eye and cut lip in the mirror, that I remembered what had set me o ff. My double was the one who'd grown furious, not me. I'd been feeling guilty and a little ashamed, but he'd goaded me into a vicious fight with a concerned friend. He was present, of course, and knew my thoughts. "You don't need him any more. You don't need anyone else," he told me; I felt my skin crawl.

I explained all this to the researchers who employed me, but they just laughed it off. "You can't be scared of something that you're imagining," one told me. My double stood beside him and nodded his head, then smirked at me.

I tried to take their words to heart, but over the next few days I found myself growing more and more anxious around my tulpa, and it seemed that he was changing. He looked taller and more menacing. His eyes twinkled with mischief, and I saw malice in his constant smile. No job was worth losing my mind over, I decided. If he was out of control, I'd put him down. I was so used to him at that point that visualizing him was an automatic process, so I started trying my damnedest to not visualize him. It took a few days, but it started to work somewhat. I could get rid of him for hours at a time, but every time he came back, he seemed worse. His skin seemed ashen, his teeth more pointed. He hissed and gibbered and threatened and swore. The discordant music I'd been listening to for months seemed to accompany him everywhere. Even when I was at home; I'd relax and slip up, no longer concentrating on no seeing him, and there he'd be, and that howling noise with him.

I was still visiting the research center and spending my next six hours there. I needed the money, and I thought they weren't away that I was now not actively visualizing my tulpa. I was wrong. After my shift one day, about five and a half months in, two impressive men grabbed me and restrained me, and someone in a lab coat jabbed a hypodermic needle into me.

I woke up from my stupor back in the room, strapped into the bed, music blaring, with my doppelganger standing over me, cackling. He hardly looked human any more. His features were twisted. His eyes were sunken in their sockets and filmed over like a corpse's. He was much taller than me, but hunched over. His hands were twisted, and his fingernails were like talons. He was, in short, fucking terrifying. I tried to will him away, but I couldn't seem to concentrate. He giggled and tapped the IV in my arm. I thrashed in my restraints as best I could, but could hardly move at all.

"They're pumping you full of the good shit, I think. How's the mind? All fuzzy?" He leaned closer and closer as he spoke. I gagged; his breath smelled like spoiled meat. I tried to focus, but I couldn't banish him.

The next few weeks were terrible. Every so often, someone in a doctor's coat would come in and inject me with something or force-feed me a pill. They kept me dizzy and unfocused, and sometimes left me hallucinating or delusional. My thought-form was still present, constantly mocking. He interacted with, or perhaps caused, my delusions. I hallucinated that my mother was there, scolding me, and then he cut her throat and her blood showered me. It was so real that I could taste it.

The doctors never spoke to me. I begged at times, screamed, hurled invectives, demanded answers. They never spoke to me. They may have talked to my tulpa, my personal monster. I'm not sure. I was so doped and confused that it may have just been more delusion, but I remember them talking with him. I grew convinced that he was the real one and that I was the thought-form. He encouraged that line of thought at times, but mocked me at others.
'
Another thing that I pray was a delusion: he could touch me. More than that, he could hurt me. He'd poke and prod at me if he felt I wasn't paying enough attention to him. Once, he grabbed my testicles and squeezed until I told him I loved him. Another time, he slashed my forearm with one of his talons. I still have a scar; most days I can convince myself that I injured myself, and just hallucinated that he was responsible. Most days.

Then, one day, while he was telling me a story about how he was going to gut everyone I loved, starting with my sister, he paused. A querulous look crossed his face, and he reached out and touched my head. Like mother used to when I was feverish. He stayed still for a long moment and then smiled. "All thoughts are creative," he told me, then he walked out the door.

Three hours later, I was given an injection and passed out. I awoke unrestrained. Shaking, I made my way to the door and found it unlocked I walked out into the empty hallway and then ran. I stumbled more than once, but I made it down the stairs and out into the lot behind the building. There, I collapsed, weeping like a child. I knew I had to keep moving, but I couldn't manage it.

I got home eventually; I don't remember how. I locked the door and shoved a dresser against it, took a long shower, and slept for a day and a half. Nobody came for me in the night, and nobody came the next day or the one after that. I twas over. I'd spent a week locked in that room, but it had felt like a century. I'd withdrawn so much from my life beforehand that nobody had even known I was missing.

The police didn't find anything. The research center was empty when they searched it. The paper trail fell apart. The names I'd given them were aliases. Even the money I'd received was apparently untraceable.

I recovered as much as one can. I don't leave the house much, and I have panic attacks when I do. I cry a lot. I don't sleep much, and my nightmares are terrible. It's over, I tell myself. I survived. I used the concentration those bastards taught me to convince myself. It works, sometimes.

Not today, though. Three days ago, I got a phone call from my mother. There's been a tragedy. My sister's the latest victim in a spree of killings, the police say. The perpetrator mugs his victims, then guts them.

The funeral was this afternoon. It was as lovely a service as a funeral can be, I suppose. I was a little distracted, though. All I could hear was music coming from somewhere distant. It was discordant, unsettling stuff that sounds like feedback, shrieking, and a modem dialing up. I hear it still - a little louder now.

Sonic the Hedgehog

As a child, I really loved playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games on the SEGA MegaDrive. Sadly, when nostalgia hit me one evening, I found out our console broke when we moved, meaning my mom threw out all of the old games.

I decided to search eBay for a pre-owned MegaDrive. I stumbled across one that was at the rather cheap price of six pounds, including delivery. The description claimed it also came with Sonic 1, but on closer inspection, the cartridge's paper seemed to have been torn off, with a label crudely placed on the front, written on in a scrawled script.

I thought nothing of it and decided to bid on it. Oddly, despite it having a day to go, I immediately won the item. I proceeded to payment, left my feedback, and it arrived within three days. The MegaDrive was in surprisingly good condition, considering the price; it was almost brand new, other than having smudged fingerprints. I blew into the labeled cartridge (old habits die hard, you see) and inserted it int the cartridge slot.

The TV screen flickered on. The familiar image of the SEGA logo faded in left to right, but instead of the joyus chorus, there was a cacophonous blast of static which lasted for longer than it should have.

This is where things got weirder. the title screen was polluted; black sludge poured into the sea and there were dark skies and lightning. The music was slower and in a dissonant minor key, and when Sonic popped out of marquee, he looked genuinely terrified and afraid. I thought this must have been some sort of hack until I hit start.

I saw Robotnik, in graphics far more realistic than possible for the time, holding a lifelike rabbit by the ears. He looked full of malice and hatred, his pince-nez glasses glinting as he revealed the machete in his other hand. He held it up to the defenseless animal's throat and slit it, blood pouring out like a fountain. Robotnik began to laugh, but it was almost like he was in the room with me; it was so realistic.

The game went to Green Hill Zone, where the music was replaced with a low buzzing drone. The background looked just like it did on the title screen and, again, Sonic looked visibly shaken. His skin was paler and he appeared to shake with fear. On running, he began to cry.

Nevertheless, I decided to play through as normal, just to see if this was some sort of cruel joke. I ended up losing rings against a Buzz Bomber, eventually. The noise on losing my rings was a harsh ringing, and I heard Robotnik chortle once more, his face flashing in the stormy background. Sonic hit the floor; I was unable to control him at this point as the Buzz Bomber began to descend on Sonic's helpless body.

The Buzz Bomber literally stabbed Sonic, and all I could hear were tortured screams. I couldn't take my eyes off of the crudely animated sprites of Sonic writhing in pain as the Buzz Bomber rammed into him. This went on for a good 30 seconds before the Buzz Bomber flew off, leaving a bloodied Sonic corpse behind. The screams subsided as the screen faded to black.

I heard incredibly deep murmurings in some sort of weird language that was possibly Japanese or Korean. Again, the hyper-realistic Dr. Robotnik faded into view, but this time he was holding an even more realistic Sonic by the head. Sonic was crying, begging for mercy, sheer terror in his cries, but this time Robotnik didn't have a knife.

He literally broke Sonic's neck, the sound reverberating, and I was 'treated' to the sight of Robotnik kicking the defenseless corpse of the hedgehog around, blood flying everywhere. Sonic's spikes were breaking off, while all the time, the distorted sounds of Robotnik's laughter and Sonic's screaming played.

A messages appeared in Japanese with a selection: Yes or No. I chose Yes, somehow driven to continue. I appeared back in Green Hill Zone, but this time there were graves where the totem poles were. Sonic was even more afraid, looking directly at the screen as if begging me not to continue, but I felt I had to.

When Robotnik appeared, there was a blast of loud cacophonous synth sound. Robotnik's face was contorted with sheer disgust for the hedgehog and before I even had a chance to attack, Robotnik's wrecking ball slammed into Sonic and crushed him against the side of the screen. Once more, the screams played, but the screen began to glitch terribly and turn gray, almost into television static.

Before I had a chance to hit the power button and take out the cartridge, I heard, very clearly, in a deep voice, "This was your fault, and your fault alone." I looked at the television and the hyper-realistic Robotnik's face from before occupied the entire screen.

The words 'Game Over' flashed over his face as I saw Sonic's hyper-realistic carcass fall and land on top of the letters, sliding off and hitting the 'floor.' All you could hear was Sonic whimpering, crying, and asking, "Why did you do this? Why?"

I promptly ripped the game out of the console and threw them both straight into the garbage. To this day, I have never seen that eBay seller online again. My computer returned 404s when searching in the history, and anyone I asked on the eBay forums claimed the user had never existed in the first place.

CAN'T COME DOWN

Well the reason I ask is that I had this really weird experience with those numbers before, as well as a similar phrase: "I CAN'T COME DOWN." I warn you now, though, it's pretty fucking strange, and if you don't believe me, that's cool. Hell, I wouldn't believe me either. I'd rather have someone who can help me find out what the message and numbers mean than someone who believes what must come across as lunatic ravings. Anyway, I'll tell you the full story.

Basically, about two week sago, I found out about Number Stations - it was on an /x/ board called Datachan - I've tried Googling it, but it doesn't seem to exist. I know that makes it sound like i made it up, but I swear that's where I saw it. Anyway, it was a thread about unsolved mysteries, and some anon linked to a Wikipedia page about numbers stations (basically, they're radio station that transmit long series of numbers). So, I checked it out, and I thought it was pretty cool. I found out about this thing called the Conet Project, which is basically samplings of number stations being recorded, so I downloaded that and listed to it a bit, and thought it was pretty freaky. I did a bit more digging and found out that, low and behold, there's even a numbers station in my state. I was pretty hyped, and it wasn't too far from where I live, so, I thought, fuck it, I'll swing around there and see if I can pick up anything.

I drove out along the interstate and turned on the radio in my car to the frequency that the site suggested (I don't remember what it was, though). After a while, I started getting weird blips, and then as I drove further east, I got a voice. At first, it was slow and steady just like the people reading out the lists of numbers in the Conet Project, but after a long string of numbers, the voice seemed to be shouting something. The numbers began to get clearer, but the voice couldn't ever be made out; it was something like "CAN'T COME DOWN, I CAN'T COME DOWN." Obviously, I was a bit freaked, because that sounds like a distress signal, and I have no idea where the station is, or even if some guy's transmitting it; it might just be part of the recorded broadcast that I misheard.

After a couple minutes of listening to it, I decide to head back home. I turn off the radio and, suddenly, foom; my engine cuts out. I freak out and turn the ignition key as well as slam the breaks and hit god knows what on the wheel, and the engine revs back up again; because I'd hit the breaks, I slammed into the wheel and got a huge fuckoff bruise to show for it. At this point, I'm really freaked out, so I just take a deep breath, get back in control of the car, turn around, and head home. Nothing else happens on the way back.

By the time I get home, it's pretty late (probably about 11 PM). I pull into the driveway, stop the car, and cut the engine. I didn't get out of the car immediately. I don't know why. I sit there, staring at the garage door for a while,and I can feel the hair on my arms and the back of my neck beginning to tingle. I leap out of my seat as the radio blasts on.

It's a burst of white noise to begin with, then the voice comes through, slightly distorted while it says the numbers "715520, 715520" a couple of times in that calm, stable voice. The screaming starts again, "CAN'T COME DOWN, I CAN'T COME DOWN," before dying out completely.

At this point, I don't want any more weird shit to happen, so I get the fuck out of the car and into my house.

I get into my house and I'm really freaked out, like you might imagine. Honestly, the thought crosses my mind that I should get online and tell /x/ about it, but for some reason I get this weird sense; like, the longer I stay away, the more danger I'm in. I can't explain it. It's, like, I had all that weird shit happen to me and if I'm asleep, nothing else will happen. Fuck, even writing this out makes me feel terrified, in case it happens again. Fucking Christ, I don't want to keep going on in case talking about it makes it happen again. I really can't stand any more of it, and if this makes it worse, I don't know what I'm going to do.

Okay...right. So, I got out of my car and back into my house. I'm terrified and I keep telling myself, "Look...you're scared and you're going to freak out at the tiniest creak in the floorboards and think it's someone coming for you. Just calm down. It's over." I make a point of turning on all the lights in the house as I go along. I make my way to the bathroom and get a packet of Sonata. I'm not taking any chances tonight, and I take the sleep meds and get into bed. I keep all the lights on, including the one in my bedroom. I fall asleep eventually.

I wake up during the night and, instantly, I panic. I don't know why I'm panicking. I just know there's something really wrong with my surrounds. I can't tell exactly what, because I have to wait for my eyes to adjust to the dark. I sit up in bed and it fucking hits me. I'm sitting in the dark. I went to sleep with all of the lights on.

I sit there in the dark, staring at god-knows-what; I can't see anything because my eyes haven't adjusted to the darkness yet. Helpless and night-blind, I sit there in my bed, feeling the cold air tickling my skin, staring out to all corners of the room I can't see, analyzing and assessing every shadowy patch in case it might be the silhouette of somebody in my room. I notice one set of shadows don't seem to get lighter, with a large, dark patch in the center...my eyes begin to adjust. I notice the set of shadows are words. I notice the large dark patch in the center is that of a face staring back at me in the dark. It's inches away.

I pull back in shock and hit the back of my head on the wall, making me wince. When I look back, the face is gone. I assume I've been given some divine opportunity and run to the bedroom door, slam it shut, and turn on the light. I make a full investigation of the room just to make sure no one's there, including under the bed. I know it's really fucking childish, but after seeing a face staring back at me in the middle of the night, I'm not going to risk anything. I sit back down on my bed and go over everything in my head.

First of all, I realize that there was something wrong with the face, but the shock of seeing it didn't allow me to figure out what it was until I'd calmed down. It was upside down, and if I remember the way the shadows looked it must have been part of a man hanging suspended from the ceiling. I look up, obviously; there's no marks on the ceiling, and there's no way that my lamp would hold the weight of a full-grown man. Secondly, I remember something else; there was something on the walls behind the face that dre my attention that look like writing. It couldn't make it out, but I'm almost certain one word was "DOWN," so I think it was the "I CAN'T COME DOWN" message again...but there's no trace of paint or anything on the wall.

I can't sleep for the rest of the night. Over the next few days, I only sleep in snatches during sunlight after work and I stay up the whole night, paranoid that if I fall asleep when it's dark, I'll see it all again. Because I'm so on edge, I start to notice something...I'm seeing those fucking numbers over and over. 715520. I'm so scared of seeing them that I start taking precautions just in case they make everything happen again. I won't go into that just now.

I go digging about trying to find out more about the station. After awhile, I come across another website about it. As it turns out, the station I tuned into wasn't even a real numbers station in the first place; apparently it's something to do with the frequency of the transmission, and numbers stations all use short-wave broadcasts, which you can hear from anywhere in the world, but the one I went to needed you to be near it in order to pick it up - plus, you can't tune into the channel using your car radio...so I have no fucking clue about what that place is, or the broadcast they sent out.

So, in summary, I have no idea about anything that went on. I can't sleep at night anymore; the site I learned this from doesn't exist, I'm seeing repeated numbers over and over, and I'm terrified that by telling you guys all this that it might happen the next time I fall asleep at night. Hell, I don't even know if it was just a one-time occurrence, but I don't want to take that chance. Movie logic suggests that if I just find out the mystery, I can make sure it doesn't happen again, and this only ever happens in movies, so that's what I'm trying to do.

That's my experience with the numbers and the message. If you can help in any way, I'd appreciate it so much.

Actually, I thought of a little bit more info to add:
The next day, still on edge, I conclude that leaving the house for a while might cure me a little, as I spend most of my time inside. A man dressed in all black approached me after I left, though. There's something ominous about this guy; he tells me, "Call me if you need any help." I was confused, so I could only reply with, "What?" He handed me a card with what I assume to be his number on it. I read the card, and it said...

Name: The King
Number: 715520

The Scariest Video Game Ever

I just got done playing one of the SCARIEST video games ever. Now, hear me out before saying, "Oh, he's probably just a fag that gets scared of everything." I don't get scared of video games or movies. I've played many survival horror games and have seen many horror movies in my day. The only thing that made me just a tiny bit scared were some parts of Penumbra and Condemned. Everything else was just boring. This game was different. VERY different.

You aren't given any sort of back story the game at all. As soon as you press play, it throws you right into the game. However, I was able to piece together what the story basically is through finally beating this little brick shitter. Apparently, you're a madman. We're never given the name, but you can guess what it is if you pay attention to the title screen. For some reason, you escaped from whatever mental hospital room you were hiding in. Now, the very horrid state of your mind has transformed the halls of the hospital into nothing but a pitch black maze with the only light being the walls, which glow a deathly blue.

Your character is apparently some type of mad cannibal that you can barely control. You can force him to turn corners in the creepy hallway, but not much else can be done. Your character seems to grab anything and try to eat it; whatever is in front of him is thrown into his mouth and he munches it down.

While playing the game, you're being chased by four hideous and fucking scary ghost monsters. You cannot hurt them at all, and to come even close to one is instant death, in which the ghost latches onto you and rips you inside all, all while you hear the horrible noise of your body being torn.

You can, however, eat some odd objects hidden in the maze, after which your character goes into an even more unstable state. You can literally EAT the ghost monsters. Your character runs right up to them and devours them, only leaving their eyes.

There aren't any words to describe how horrific and terrifying this game is, and I don't want to spoil the surprises for you. Just go ahead and try it for yourself. Google the word Pac-Man. You'll find it on the first search.

The Parrot



The above image (colloquially "The Parrot," as it bears the resemblance even when viewed safely) is a reconstruction of Berriman and Turner's original "Logical Imaging Technique" image produced by Cambridge Computing Lab IV (now, obviously, defunct) at some point in 1983. This image, along with several others inadvertently produced - most infamously 'Langford's Basilisk' and the imagery produced by a typographical error in Your Sinclair #23's "Fun with Fractals" feature - generates patterns the human visual system cannot easily deal with. This so-called 'Godelian shock input' can, to put it crudely, crash the human brain. The image above does not usually produce any immediate effect (due to delayed neurochemical encoding of 'Godelian spoilers'), but is usually triggered several days later upon viewing any repetitive image that triggers the memory into recalling the original.

Is Portal Purgatory?

So, has anyone thought about how Portal is a giant allusion to Purgatory?

There is (seemingly) no reason to be putting Chell through these horrible experiments other than for GLaDOS' sadistic pleasure.

But what if it's REALLY a test?

Not a scientific test, but a test of character and determination as to redeem oneself? Perhaps GLaDOS' taunts of "All your other friends couldn't come either, because you don't have any other friends because of how unlikable you are. It says so right here in your personnel file; 'Unlikable. Liked by no one. A bitter, unlikable loner whose passing shall not be mourned.'.... It also says you were adopted. So that's funny too." isn't just pointless mocking, but a reminder of Chell's former life?

It's also heavily implied that GLaDOS could possibly be much more knowing, being as some kind of tester for Purgatory, with quotes like "Speaking of curiosity, you're curious about what happens after you die, right? Guess what? I know."

Quotes like this have a much more significant meaning when thought of in this context.

"I feel sorry for you, really, because you're not even in the right place."
"This is your fault. It didn't have to be like this."
"You're not a good person, you know that, right? Good people don't end up here."

The Picture

A couple of months ago, my friend's cousin (a single mother) had gotten a new cell phone. After a long day of work, she placed her phone down on the counter and started to watch TV. Her son came to her and asked if he could play with her new phone. She told him not to call anyone or mess with her text messages, which he agreed to do so.

At around 11:20 P.M., when she was getting tired, she decided to tuck her son in and go to bed herself. She proceeded to his room to see he wasn't there. She went to her room to find him sleeping on her bed with her phone in his hand. Browsing through her phone, she noticed only minor changes such as a new background, banner, etc. and headed toward the pictures section. She began deleting the pictures he took when she came across the last one...

When she saw it, she couldn't believe it. It was her son, sleeping on her bed, but it was as if the picture was taken by someone else above him. It shows the left half of what seems to be an elderly woman's face.

The Diary

The following is a transcription from several pages of a burnt personal diary that was found next to the remains of Angela S. Yorke. Police officers entered Ms. Yorke's apartment at 113 Cherry Lane on Jule 28th after she had been reported missing for several days. The interior of the apartment had apparently been completely destroyed in a fire, although none of the neighbors reported seeing flames. In the corner of the bedroom, the officers found a large pile of ash that was later identified, through dental records, to be the body of Ms. Yorke. From the charred hand of the corpse, the officers recovered a badly damaged diary which she had apparently been writing in throughout the period of her disappearance. Experts have been unable to determine the cause of the fire, nor the reason why it damaged only the inside of one apartment, leaving the exterior and all surrounding rooms unharmed. In an effort to solve the mystery, the diary underwent an extensive restoration to repair and copy the charred pages.

The Diary of Ms. Angela Yorke:

Interior front cover,
[Angela penned a small note to herself in the corner.]
Hooray! I've finally moved into the new apartment! I'm so excited, my new job starts on Monday! I bought this diary to prove to myself, when I'm old and senile, that I really did it. I really made it on my own in the world. So, congratulations girl! You made it!
Sincerely Yours(elf),
Angela S

June 30th,
[Every entry up to this date was mostly irrecoverable. The few sentences that were restored pertained to Ms. Yorke's feelings about work and making new friends.]
...and she says that we'll have to plan something for this weekend.

July 1st,
[Majority of this page was destroyed]
...what a good idea. I told her I would call Susan and Andre to see if they would want to come along. I can't believe that in the months I've lived here, I never bothered to explore the national park that sits almost literally outside my door! I suppose my job has kept me so busy I feel I don't have time for hiking with friends. Well, that changes tomorrow. Here's a reminder to myself to buy some new boots so I have even less of an excuse to stay indo...

July 2nd,
Too exhausted to write much. me, Susan, Hillary, and Andre spent all day in the woods. We got lost at one point, which is why we got back so late. However, I feel that it was a lucky break; we ran across this really old looking cabin right beside a creek. It kind of freaked us out at first, but Susan said that there wasn't any record of a cabin in the area and that we must've run across some ancient hunter's woodhouse. Tomorrow we're all returning to explore it more fully. Maybe if we collect enough information about it, we can get mentioned in the locals. Meanwhile, I'll be treating the blisters all over my heel. I really do need new boots.

July 3rd,
What a strange day. It took us forever to find the path we had accidentally stumbled across the day before. When we finally got to where the cabin had stood, it was gone. In its place there was a big mound of ash spread all over the grass. We stomped all over it trying to find clues, but all I could find was scorched wood and melted nails. Susan found a burnt doll, with only its blue glass eyes still untouched. That freaked us out. Then, Andre kicked apart a small pile of charcoal and found a tooth inside. Well, we booked it back to the main trail pretty fast after that. In the darkness beneath the trees, I think our imaginations must have run a little wild; of course, once we were in the sunlight again we realized we must have taken the wrong trail and run across the ruins of another cabin, which must have burned down a long time ago. Still, sitting in my bedroom at night, thinking about that patch of burnt wood, makes me shiver.

July 4th,
What a shitty 4th of July. Work was a pain in the ass. I came home all angry at my boss, ready to collapse on my couch and watch bad TV, when I noticed a trail of black footprints all over my carpet. It spooked me until I realized that the prints were from my own shoes. Somehow, I managed to track ash all over my floor and not notice it until tonight. I thought the hike would've been enough to get that crap off of my shoes. Damn Damn Damn Damn. Also, when I was relaxing in the bath, I found black stains between my toes. I couldn't get them out completely, but I'm not as worried about that as much as the carpet. I pulled out all of the bottles under the sink, but none of my cleaners could get the stuff out. I'll have to go rent a carpet cleaner tomorrow and get the stain out before the landlady sees it. Curse you, white carpet!

July 5th,
What a fucking mess. I picked up a carpet cleaner before I got home and prepared to exact vengeance against those dark marks on the floor. Now, as a monument to all my efforts, I have a huge black smear across my living room. Fucking carpet cleaner. Maybe I'll call Susan and Hillary tomorrow and ask if they have the same problem. I'm too upset to write anymore.

July 6th,
Something weird is going on with that stain. I can't be sure, but it looks like it spread a little further. I noticed small bumps of some black substance in the middle of the spot; when I touched one, it crumbled under my finger. I think the ash is melting the carpet somehow. I spent the rest of the evening on the internet looking up things like "powderized acids" and "burnt carbon deposit hydroxide reactions." Ugh. Unfortunately, Atilla the boss is making me finish a huge project for him by Friday, so I won't have time to clean up the place until next weekend. Even worse, that stain is still on the bottom of my feet and my girlfriends, for once, weren't home.
Addendum: I just noticed that I had some of that black stuff on my hands and now there're sooty handprints all over the walls. Goddamn.

July 7th,
[The page was mostly destroyed.]
.......................................................tain is definitely spreading bigger, but............................................so my boss is expecting me to do i..........................................like I care, but it doesn't make my job any easier, specially considering all of the reports I have to do at the same time. And Susan's absence doesn't help at all, you'd think that she could at least call me since I'm pulling her slack. To top off this shitty week, sime...............with the cable. I turn it on and all I can see is static, with some weird crackling in the background. I'd call the landl.........he carpet s.............bly throw my ass out. Finally, I think whatever weird chemical is in that soot is damaging my feet, the skin on the bottom is white and starting to peel off and they feel all tingly, but I just can't afford to take time to see a d................no time to wr.....................

July 8th,
[A large hole had been scorched in the middle of the page.]
Oh god, I opened my door and screamed out loud. Whatever was in that soot is eating through the floor and walls. Huge scorch marks are spreading across my floor. There's charcoal everywhere. The place smelled like a fire pit so I opened a window; a draft blew in and stirred up a huge cloud of dust that coated everything, including me. I shut myself into my bedroom, which so far is free of burns, and sat down with the phone book. I tried to call Susan again, but on the other end all i could hear was a strange crackling sound. Next I c..................................haz-ma................................cords are burn..........................................nough of this shit, tomorrow I'm skipping work and driving to the police station, after I get someone sent to my place to clean up what is CLEARLY a chemical hazard. I'm going to the doctor's to get me feet checked out, they hurt constantly now, and a white-fringed black burn is creeping around my toes. I'm pretty scared.
Addendum: I can't sleep; I could almost swear I can hear a popping, crackling sound coming from the living room.

July 9th,
I'm so fucking scared. I don't know what the hell is going on. I woke up this morning and it was dark outside. I thought the pain creeping up my legs had roused me early in the morning, but when I glanced at the clock it said 9 PM. How the fuck had I managed to sleep through the entire day? I decided I would go to the police anyway. When I left my bedroom I nearly fainted, the entire living room was scorched black and white. Huge patches of charcoal were lumped on the ground and dripping off the walls. As I walked towards the door, pieces of ash rained down on my head. The horrible smell of burnt flesh and hair permeated everything. I got in my car and drove to the police station, but a few minutes later I realized I was lost. It was my own neighborhood; how the fuck did I manage to get lost? I drove and drove in the dark, trying to find anything recognizable. I had just given up hope and started to cry when I noticed I was back home. The row of apartments stood directly in front of me. I sped away down a random road, stomping the gas pedal, but no matter where I went, how fast I went, I kept passing the apartment again and again. After driving for hours, the car finally ran out of gas and coasted to a stop. Right outside my won front door. I don't even remember turning into the parking lot. When I walked inside the clock said 10 PM. What the hell is happening to me? My fingers are itchy, the tips look stained black. I can't call anyone, the ash burnt through the cords. I'm trying to sleep, but that crackling sound is coming from the walls. It sounds like a fire.

July 10th,
[Burned away.]

July 11th,
[The corner of the page was burnt away.]
.......................................e last two days, I just sat in my bedroom and stared at the door, beyond I could................the sounds of a fire, but whenever I looked into the living room, there was just the ash, swirling through the air. Everything's burned; the couch is nothing but a pile of dust, and the TV is slowly melting into a puddle of plastic. I had to go to the fridge to bring back food. I kicked my way through the pile of ash heaped into the corners. Oh god, I swear I saw a gray hand rise up and grab at me before a gust of wind blew it apart. The scorch marks are spreading into my bedroom; the door is almost completely burnt through, but there's no fire, no heat. I lost feeling in my feet, but when I touch them flakes of dried, white skin peel off. My hands are so painful; they crinkle when I move them. That crackling in the walls is growing louder, and I swear I can hear the sound of someone screaming.

July 12th,
[Burnt away.]

July 13th,
[Several holes are burnt into the page.]
I can't escape it. The bedroom is almost as burnt away as the rest of the apartment. I woke up this morning as a pile of ash.................................e foot of my bed. As I looked at it, a face began to form. It grinned at me and......................an out into the living room and crouched in the corner. I sat hunched there until I fell asleep again. When I woke up, there was a gray hand lying on my shoulder. In the corner of my vision, something was staring at me. I screamed and it disappeared in a swirling cloud, but the shape of a hand was burnt...................y shoulder. I ran out of the apartment into the night, not caring where I ended up..........................hen I fell..................om exhaustion. I realized I was back in the forest. The cabin...............................e. Orange light poured out of its grimy windows and smoke drifted from the chimney. I crawled towards it; inside I could hear that awful crackling sound. An..............................eone screaming. Suddenly, I was standing at the door. As it opened, a blast of wind knock...................nside. The door shut behind me. The inside of the cabin was................................n flame. I stood in the middle of the wooden floor as flames spread around me, consuming everthing. Something gra..........me from behind. Turning, I saw a burning bo..................rawling its way up my legs. Its skin was burnt black, red liquid oozing out along lines that....................est and arms. It looked at me and screamed as flames danced around its head, its eyes withering away, its tongue burning........................stump. I kicked it away, it fell onto the floor and broke into smoldering pieces. The cabin burned away around me, flaming timbers falling to the floor. The entire building colla...............a cloud of sparks. As the dust cleared I looked arou................................. I was back in my own burnt apartment. I pile of ash shape.....................body lay by my feet. I have barricaded myself in the bedroom, but the dust creeps und...................

July 14th,
I can hear something stalking across the living room.

July 15th,
[Burnt away.]

July 16th,
[Burnt away.]

July 17th,
[Burnt away.]

July 18th,
[Damaged]
I tried to run away again. As I left the house, I saw something gray walking across the living room towards me. I ran..................................night. The cabin was there again. I didn't want to go in, but somethi..................out of the woods at me. The place was on fire and the screaming thing attacked me. I closed my eyes until the place burnt down. The burns on my bo......................ve spread everywhere but my face. It hurts so muc.......................................b.....................ou..................... ..............ead.

July 20th,
[Badly damaged]
Wh...........................e god..........................ve? ..........................WHY.........................P A........................O! .................................................eath.......................

July 21st,
[The entry consists entirely of a drawing of the nature preserve behind Ms. Yorke's house. Several trails are traced and a red circle is labeled "The cabin." Despite an extensive search of the park, no cabin or area of burnt ash has been found.]

July 22nd,
I can only lie in the piles of mounting ash. Sometimes I see a gray form creep by, but I can't do anything about it. My legs are falling off. I want to die.

July 23rd,
[No entry]

July 24th,
[No entry. A rough sketch of a grinning face was drawn in the corner of the page. Above it was the caption, "it's in the ashes."]

July 25th,
[The entry was nearly illegible due to the nature of the writing. Experts have suggested this section was written with the pen in her mouth.]
One of my arms snapped off like burnt charcoal. I'm breaking apart. My mind feels cloudy. At least the pain is fading. I can see something gray and black looking at me from the corner. I thought it was smiling, but now I can see its lips are burnt off. I can't move. I lie on the floor as pieces of the ceiling flake off and drift down. Covering everything. Small things of ash and bone skitter along the walls.

July 26th,
[This entry is also nearly illegible.]
I, Angely Sylvia Yorke, do swear, as my last will and testament, the following:
That all of my pos.....................................................ove...........................a............................................................
[Unfortunately, a large burn in the shape of a hand print is scorched into the page, destroying the contents of what is apparently Ms. Yorke's will. Interestingly, the size of the print is much larger than Ms. Yorke's hands. Of course, due to the deteriorating condition of the corpse, this claim could not be verified.]

[The remaining pages of the diary are either blank or burned away.]

Two days after the last entry, officers found the badly burned body of Angela Yorke. At the request of the owner, a cleanup team was sent to repair the damaged apartment after the investigation was closed due to lack of evidence. A good deal of time and effort was spent trying to find "Susan" and the other people Ms. Yorke mentions in her document, but to no avail. No cause of the fire has been determined.

:::UPDATE::: The badly damaged diary has apparently disintegrated in the evidence locker, leaving a small burn mark on the shelf. Sanitation personnel claim that they are unable to remove the blemish.