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creepy-stuff-i-just-made-up:

The Pencee Scarecrows 

On April 30, 2009, Pencee McLane left with five of her closest friends on a camping trip. What occurred to Pencee and her friends that night has become a mystery for the ages.

It’s reported that the group arrived at their planned destination at 7 PM. The group made camp and spent the night drinking and having a good time. When Pencee awoke the following morning, all of the people in her group were gone.

Upon investigating the campsite, she found nothing out of the ordinary.

The SUV was still there.

The tents were still there. All of the group’s food and clothing was still in their respective tents.

Nothing had been disturbed.

She spent the next hour texting and calling her friends, but not one person responded. She even called their parents. Beginning to panic, Pencee called the police.

Authorities arrived on scene, but were just as confused as Pencee. No signs of struggle, no signs of other people.

The strangest thing to come out of the initial investigation was the discovery that the only footprints at the campsite were Pencee’s.

Bizarre, right?

It gets worse.

On May 1, 2010, the first body appeared.

Sara Paella was found in the middle of a field, right on the spot where the original group camped. As seen in the pictures above, her desiccated corpse was found tied to a rough crucifix with barbed wire. A stitched burlap sack was thrown over her head and a collar of barbed wire adorned her neck.

Police determined that the cause of death was strangulation with the barbed wire.

On May 1, 2011, the second body appeared. Kitty Sigmon was found crucified across the street from where Pencee was living at the time. The crucifix appeared in her neighbor’s backyard. Residents on the street all reported that the only thing they heard that night was a droning noise that sounded like a plane.

Pencee McLane relocated to a new city shortly after this occurred.

On May 1, 2012, the third body appeared. Melissa Green was found crucified and hung with barbed wire. Once again, the body appeared across the street from where Pencee McLane lived. This time in the front yard.

Pencee once again moved to a new city.

On May 1, 2013, the fourth body appeared. Willis Timmermen was found crucified in Pencee’s own front yard, his body in the same shape as the others.

May 1, 2014 will be here soon and the fifth member of the group still hasn’t been found.

I wonder where that scarecrow will appear…

Many say I am evil, but I am not.
Many say I am different, but I am not.

Many say I am insane, but I am not.

I am lonely. I walk alone, with no one to comfort me, no one to love me.

I used to be normal, like you.

Funny, I always hated being part of the “normal” crowd. You should appreciate what you have. You should pray that you never have to feel what I feel.

Hate. Depression. Abandonment. Betrayal.

You all have lives. You have hope. I lost these things to a madman.

He is the one who is truly evil! NOT ME!

He stole my life, my hope, my everything!

He left me to rot, after his damned experiment!

He welcomed me, with open arms. He promised me a whole new life. One better than that which I lived. He LIED!

He stole everything from me! I still remember the day…


I was a strong boy, fresh out of high school. The sun was shining, but I was loathing. I felt like everyone I saw was staring me down, judging me! And they were, oh how they were…

My walk home from the final day from school was its usual hell. Kids would ride by in their cars and yell “LOSER” and “DOUCHE!” I simply had to take it, or did I?

A thought dawned on me: these kids are slowly killing me anyway, why not make it quick and painless? I was blinded by grief. If I had known then what I know now, then I would have never taken that rope from my basement.

But where to do it? Not at my house. I hated my mom, but not enough to shatter her mentally. I picked an alley near the outskirts of town. I was halfway through wrapping it around a lightpost when he skulked into the alley.

"Young man, what are you doing?"

"Ending it!"

"Are you insane? Come, come with me. I believe I can help you."

"Help me? You’re off your rocker, old man. Leave me to die in peace!"

"Now, I can’t do that!" He grabbed my arm. "Come."

When I struggled, he pulled harder. I fell and he caught me. He quickly dragged me inside and bolted the door behind us.

"Young man, I think I can help you. I know how you’re feeling. Simply listen to me."

"Damn you! Fine, but hurry!"

"A life is a precious thing, but what would you say if I could give you a new one, for free?"

"I’d say, ‘Where the fuck do I sign?’"

"Good. I’ve been doing human anatomy research, and after a few experiments I think I have mastered manipulation of the human form. I believe I can make you into anything, or anyone, you want. Of course, there are circumstances."

"Like what?"

He pulled out a sheet of paper. “Well, first off, sign here.”

"What if I don’t want to?"

"Well, in that lies the second circumstance… you don’t have a choice."

"What!?"

"You heard me, my dear fellow." He pulled out a syringe filled with a green liquid. "Now hold still!"

I tried to run, I tried to scream, but he grabbed me. He forced the needle into my neck, and everything went black.


I awoke in a glass chamber. He had me in a suit, for whatever reason.

Seconds after I awoke he entered the room in a labcoat.

"Hello, my friend! Did you have a nice nap?"

"Where the fuck am I!?"

"That is not of your concern. All you have to do is sit back and let me do all the work."

"Let me out, you psychopath! I’ll kill you!"

"I am afraid not, my child. You are going to sit there while I make history!"

"History?"

"Yes, when I successfully perform a full body transformation on you."

"You can’t!"

"Oh, but I can." He flipped a switch, and began speaking into a microphone. "Test, test. Good. Now, let us begin with experiment 84-B."

"What the hell are you doing?!"

"Subject’s vitals seem to be normal. His heart rate has skyrocketed, though. Brainwave activity is high, and insulin levels are normal."

"Let me go!"

"Ready to begin experiment." He turned to a lever. "Activating node one." And he pulled.

A bolt of energy pierced my body, tearing my very being apart. I couldn’t even scream. My vision blurred and I was suddenly blind.

"Subject’s appearance is beginning to warp. Activating node two."

The pain increased. I felt my mouth close up, and my eyes shut.

"Subject’s face is completely morphed. Activating node-"

A siren sounded. “Error! Error! Meltdown in progress!”

He screamed, “No! His face and limbs haven’t fully developed yet! I must save the experiment!”

The last thing I heard was a loud crash.


I awoke again among the rubble. I could hardly see; it was as if a screen of some sort covered my eyes. My mouth felt as if it had been sewn shut. I couldn’t breathe, for my nose had shut too. But, somehow, I didn’t need to breathe anymore.

I got up. My arms and legs felt strange. It took me nearly a minute to regain control of them. I began to walk through the debris. A shattered computer lay near a dismembered foot. A trail of blood led me to a hallway and then a door. I could hear muffled grunts behind it.

I opened the door and saw a policeman heave some fallen concrete slabs away from another door. He turned and saw me. He then screamed and ran. I tried to yell for him to stop, but I couldn’t speak. So I chased him.

As I began to run I felt my legs shifting, as if they were growing while I moved. I soon caught up to him and when I reached to grab his shoulder, a tendril shot from my arm and impaled his chest. He cursed and fell.

What the fuck just happened? I thought.

I looked over his dying body. There was a gaping hole in his chest. I could do nothing to save him.

I continued to follow the blood trail, until I came upon the body of the man. He was crushed under a fallen rafter. I lifted him up, not realizing until later the strength that the task should have required. Angrily, I hurled his body at the wall and was splattered with a rain of blood.

I tried to escape the building, but every turn was a dead end. I continued to search until I came into a bathroom. I needed to get this blood off my hands. I walked inside the bathroom and looked in the mirror. And I realized something…

I didn’t have a face.


So now I am branded as a monster.

I live in the nightmares of teens and adults alike.

All because of that bastard.

Soon after this experience, I discovered my true powers. I could stretch my arms and legs to unnatural lengths, and even produce tendrils from my back.

After this whole experience, all I want is a friend. So I find people, children. They are the only ones who don’t view me with fear. I often play with them. But I cannot always control my body. Every now and again I slip up and someone dies. But it’s not my fault. I only seek companionship.

This is my burden. And I carry it eternally.

I do enjoy pictures. I like sneaking into them. There are always people photographing wildlife, so I reside in the forests. I do what I now understand to be “photobombing”. But whenever I track the person down because I wish to see what I look like in the photo, they run. And one thing leads to another and suddenly another person dies at my hand.

I promise I never mean any true harm, but I’ve lost my sense of… well, everything. I no longer know how to be a person. Things never seem to go well for me, someone always ends up dead.

I simply ask you this, when you see me, do not run away. In fact, run towards me, welcome me. It would mean so much to me. And it may just save your life.

But then, how will you know it is me? I’m sure you’ve heard of me. And if you haven’t, you can easily find some photos of me on the internet. Simply go on Google, and type in “Slenderman .”

Many say I am evil, but I am not.
Many say I am different, but I am not.

Many say I am insane, but I am not.

I am lonely. I walk alone, with no one to comfort me, no one to love me.

I used to be normal, like you.

Funny, I always hated being part of the “normal” crowd. You should appreciate what you have. You should pray that you never have to feel what I feel.

Hate. Depression. Abandonment. Betrayal.

You all have lives. You have hope. I lost these things to a madman.

He is the one who is truly evil! NOT ME!

He stole my life, my hope, my everything!

He left me to rot, after his damned experiment!

He welcomed me, with open arms. He promised me a whole new life. One better than that which I lived. He LIED!

He stole everything from me! I still remember the day…


I was a strong boy, fresh out of high school. The sun was shining, but I was loathing. I felt like everyone I saw was staring me down, judging me! And they were, oh how they were…

My walk home from the final day from school was its usual hell. Kids would ride by in their cars and yell “LOSER” and “DOUCHE!” I simply had to take it, or did I?

A thought dawned on me: these kids are slowly killing me anyway, why not make it quick and painless? I was blinded by grief. If I had known then what I know now, then I would have never taken that rope from my basement.

But where to do it? Not at my house. I hated my mom, but not enough to shatter her mentally. I picked an alley near the outskirts of town. I was halfway through wrapping it around a lightpost when he skulked into the alley.

"Young man, what are you doing?"

"Ending it!"

"Are you insane? Come, come with me. I believe I can help you."

"Help me? You’re off your rocker, old man. Leave me to die in peace!"

"Now, I can’t do that!" He grabbed my arm. "Come."

When I struggled, he pulled harder. I fell and he caught me. He quickly dragged me inside and bolted the door behind us.

"Young man, I think I can help you. I know how you’re feeling. Simply listen to me."

"Damn you! Fine, but hurry!"

"A life is a precious thing, but what would you say if I could give you a new one, for free?"

"I’d say, ‘Where the fuck do I sign?’"

"Good. I’ve been doing human anatomy research, and after a few experiments I think I have mastered manipulation of the human form. I believe I can make you into anything, or anyone, you want. Of course, there are circumstances."

"Like what?"

He pulled out a sheet of paper. “Well, first off, sign here.”

"What if I don’t want to?"

"Well, in that lies the second circumstance… you don’t have a choice."

"What!?"

"You heard me, my dear fellow." He pulled out a syringe filled with a green liquid. "Now hold still!"

I tried to run, I tried to scream, but he grabbed me. He forced the needle into my neck, and everything went black.


I awoke in a glass chamber. He had me in a suit, for whatever reason.

Seconds after I awoke he entered the room in a labcoat.

"Hello, my friend! Did you have a nice nap?"

"Where the fuck am I!?"

"That is not of your concern. All you have to do is sit back and let me do all the work."

"Let me out, you psychopath! I’ll kill you!"

"I am afraid not, my child. You are going to sit there while I make history!"

"History?"

"Yes, when I successfully perform a full body transformation on you."

"You can’t!"

"Oh, but I can." He flipped a switch, and began speaking into a microphone. "Test, test. Good. Now, let us begin with experiment 84-B."

"What the hell are you doing?!"

"Subject’s vitals seem to be normal. His heart rate has skyrocketed, though. Brainwave activity is high, and insulin levels are normal."

"Let me go!"

"Ready to begin experiment." He turned to a lever. "Activating node one." And he pulled.

A bolt of energy pierced my body, tearing my very being apart. I couldn’t even scream. My vision blurred and I was suddenly blind.

"Subject’s appearance is beginning to warp. Activating node two."

The pain increased. I felt my mouth close up, and my eyes shut.

"Subject’s face is completely morphed. Activating node-"

A siren sounded. “Error! Error! Meltdown in progress!”

He screamed, “No! His face and limbs haven’t fully developed yet! I must save the experiment!”

The last thing I heard was a loud crash.


I awoke again among the rubble. I could hardly see; it was as if a screen of some sort covered my eyes. My mouth felt as if it had been sewn shut. I couldn’t breathe, for my nose had shut too. But, somehow, I didn’t need to breathe anymore.

I got up. My arms and legs felt strange. It took me nearly a minute to regain control of them. I began to walk through the debris. A shattered computer lay near a dismembered foot. A trail of blood led me to a hallway and then a door. I could hear muffled grunts behind it.

I opened the door and saw a policeman heave some fallen concrete slabs away from another door. He turned and saw me. He then screamed and ran. I tried to yell for him to stop, but I couldn’t speak. So I chased him.

As I began to run I felt my legs shifting, as if they were growing while I moved. I soon caught up to him and when I reached to grab his shoulder, a tendril shot from my arm and impaled his chest. He cursed and fell.

What the fuck just happened? I thought.

I looked over his dying body. There was a gaping hole in his chest. I could do nothing to save him.

I continued to follow the blood trail, until I came upon the body of the man. He was crushed under a fallen rafter. I lifted him up, not realizing until later the strength that the task should have required. Angrily, I hurled his body at the wall and was splattered with a rain of blood.

I tried to escape the building, but every turn was a dead end. I continued to search until I came into a bathroom. I needed to get this blood off my hands. I walked inside the bathroom and looked in the mirror. And I realized something…

I didn’t have a face.


So now I am branded as a monster.

I live in the nightmares of teens and adults alike.

All because of that bastard.

Soon after this experience, I discovered my true powers. I could stretch my arms and legs to unnatural lengths, and even produce tendrils from my back.

After this whole experience, all I want is a friend. So I find people, children. They are the only ones who don’t view me with fear. I often play with them. But I cannot always control my body. Every now and again I slip up and someone dies. But it’s not my fault. I only seek companionship.

This is my burden. And I carry it eternally.

I do enjoy pictures. I like sneaking into them. There are always people photographing wildlife, so I reside in the forests. I do what I now understand to be “photobombing”. But whenever I track the person down because I wish to see what I look like in the photo, they run. And one thing leads to another and suddenly another person dies at my hand.

I promise I never mean any true harm, but I’ve lost my sense of… well, everything. I no longer know how to be a person. Things never seem to go well for me, someone always ends up dead.

I simply ask you this, when you see me, do not run away. In fact, run towards me, welcome me. It would mean so much to me. And it may just save your life.

But then, how will you know it is me? I’m sure you’ve heard of me. And if you haven’t, you can easily find some photos of me on the internet. Simply go on Google, and type in “Slenderman .”

I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated business, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me. For half an hour I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife.

The things Mary said made little sense but fit with the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams — her nightmares. Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.

Mary E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead.

In 2005, when I was only in tenth grade, smile.jpg was first brought to my attention by my burgeoning interest in web-based phenomena; Mary was the most often cited victim of what is sometimes referred to as “Smile.dog”, the being smile.jpg is reputed to display. What caught my interest (other than the obvious macabre elements of the cyber-legend and my proclivity toward such things) was the sheer lack of information, usually to the point that people don’t believe it even exists other than as a rumor or hoax.

It is unique because, though the entire phenomenon centers on a picture file, that file is nowhere to be found on the internet; certainly many photomanipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the imageboard 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal subboard. It is suspected these are fakes because they do not have the effect the true smile.jpg is believed to have, namely sudden onset temporal lobe epilepsy and acute anxiety.

This purported reaction in the viewer is one of the reasons the phantom-like smile.jpg is regarded with such disdain, since it is patently absurd, though depending on whom you ask the reluctance to acknowledge smile.jpg’s existence might be just as much out of fear as it is out of disbelief.

Neither smile.jpg nor Smile.dog is mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia, though the website features articles on such other, perhaps more scandalous shocksites as ****** (hello.jpg) or 2girls1cup; any attempt to create a page pertaining to smile.jpg is summarily deleted by any of the encyclopedia’s many admins.

Encounters with smile.jpg are the stuff of internet legend. Mary E.’s story is not unique; there are unverified rumors of smile.jpg showing up in the early days of Usenet and even one persistent tale that in 2002 a hacker flooded the forums of humor and satire website Something Awful with a deluge of Smile.dog pictures, rendering almost half the forum’s users at the time epileptic.

It is also said that in the mid-to-late 90s that smile.jpg circulated on usenet and as an attachment of a chain email with the subject line “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!” Yet despite the huge exposure these stunts would generate, there are very few people who admit to having experienced any of them and no trace of the file or any link has ever been discovered.

Those who claim to have seen smile.jpg often weakly joke that they were far too busy to save a copy of the picture to their hard drive. However, all alleged victims offer the same description of the photo: A dog-like creature (usually described as appearing similar to a Siberian husky), illuminated by the flash of the camera, sits in a dim room, the only background detail that is visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame. The hand is empty, but is usually described as “beckoning”. Of course, most attention is given to the dog (or dog-creature, as some victims are more certain than others about what they claim to have seen). The muzzle of the beast is reputedly split in a wide grin, revealing two rows of very white, very straight, very sharp, very human-looking teeth.

This is, of course, not a description given immediately after viewing the picture, but rather a recollection of the victims, who claim to have seen the picture endlessly repeated in their mind’s eye during the time they are, in reality, having epileptic fits. These fits are reported to continue indeterminably, often while the victims sleep, resulting in very vivid and disturbing nightmares. These may be treated with medication, though in someses it is more effective than others.

Mary E., I assumed, was not on effective medication. That was why after my visit to her apartment in 2007 I sent out feelers to several folklore- and urban legend-oriented newsgroups, websites, and mailing lists, hoping to find the name of a supposed victim of smile.jpg who felt more interested in talking about his experiences. For a time nothing happened and at length I forgot completely about my pursuits, since I had begun my freshman year of college and was quite busy. Mary contacted me via email, however, near 
____________________________________
the beginning of March 2008.
To: jml@****.com
From: marye@****.net
Subj: Last summer’s interview
Dear Mr. L.,

I am incredibly sorry about my behavior last summer when you came to interview me. I hope you understand that it was no fault of yours, but rather my own problems that led me to act out as I did. I realized that I could have handled the situation more decorously; however, I hope you will forgive me. At the time, I was afraid.

You see, for fifteen years I have been haunted by smile.jpg. Smile.dog comes to me in my sleep every night. I know that sounds silly, but it is true. There is an ineffable quality about my dreams, my nightmares, that makes them completely unlike any real dreams I have ever had. I do not move and do not speak. I simply look ahead, and the only thing ahead of me is the scene from that horrible picture. I see the beckoning hand, and I see Smile.dog. It talks to me.

It is not a dog, of course, though I am not quite sure what it really is. It tells me it will leave me alone if only I do as it asks. All I must do, it says, is “spread the word”. That is how it phrases its demands. And I know exactly what it means: it wants me to show it to someone else.

And I could. The week after my incident I received in the mail a manila envelope with no return address. Inside was only a 3 ½ -inch floppy diskette. Without having to check, I knew precisely what was on it.

I thought for a long time about my options. I could show it to a stranger, a coworker… I could even show it to Terence, as much as the idea disgusted me. And what would happen then? Well, if Smile.dog kept its word I could sleep. Yet if it lied, what would I do? And who was to say something worse would not come for me if I did as the creature asked?

So I did nothing for fifteen years, though I kept the diskette hidden amongst my things. Every night for fifteen years Smile.dog has come to me in my sleep and demanded that I spread the word. For fifteen years I have stood strong, though there have been hard times. Many of my fellow victims on the BBS board where I first encountered smile.jpg stopped posting; I heard some of them committed suicide. Others remained completely silent, simply disappearing off the face of the web. They are the ones I worry about the most.

I sincerely hope you will forgive me, Mr. L., but last summer when you contacted me and my husband about an interview I was near the breaking point. I decided I was going to give you the floppy diskette. I did not care if Smile.dog was lying or not, I wanted it to end. You were a stranger, someone I had no connection with, and I thought I would not feel sorrow when you took the diskette as part of your research and sealed your fate.

Before you arrived I realized what I was doing: was plotting to ruin your life. I could not stand the thought, and in fact I still cannot. I am ashamed, Mr. L., and I hope that this warning will dissuade you from further investigation of smile.jpg. You may in time encounter someone who is, if not weaker than I, then wholly more depraved, someone who will not hesitate to follow Smile.dog’s orders.

Stop while you are still whole.

Sincerely,
Mary E.
____________________________________

Terence contacted me later that month with the news that his wife had killed herself. While cleaning up the various things she’d left behind, closing email accounts and the like, he happened upon the above message. He was a man in shambles; he wept as he told me to listen to his wife’s advice. He’d found the diskette, he revealed, and burned it until it was nothing but a stinking pile of blackened plastic. The part that most disturbed him, however, was how the diskette had hissed as it melted. Like some sort of animal, he said.

I will admit that I was a little uncertain about how to respond to this. At first I thought perhaps it was a joke, with the couple belatedly playing with the situation in order to get a rise out of me. A quick check of several Chicago newspapers’ online obituaries, however, proved that Mary E. was indeed dead. There was, of course, no mention of suicide in the article. I decided that, for a time at least, I would not further pursue the subject of smile.jpg, especially since I had finals coming up at the end of May.

But the world has odd ways of testing us. Almost a full year after I’d returned from my disastrous interview with Mary E., I received another email:

___________________________________
To: jml@****.com
From: elzahir82@****.com
Subj: smile
Hello

I found your e-mail adress thru a mailing list your profile said you are interested in smiledog. I have saw it it is not as bad as every one says I have sent it to you here. Just spreading the word.

:)
____________________________________

The final line chilled me to the bone.

According to my email client there was one file attachment called, naturally, smile.jpg. I considered downloading it for some time. It was mostly likely a fake, I imagined, and even if it weren’t I was never wholly convinced of smile.jpg’s peculiar powers. Mary E.’s account had shaken me, yes, but she was probably mentally unbalanced anyway. After all, how could a simple image do what smile.jpg was said to accomplish? What sort of creature was it that could break one’s mind with only the power of the eye?

And if such things were patently absurd, then why did the legend exist at all?

If I downloaded the image, if I looked at it, and if Mary turned out to be correct, if Smile.dog came to me in my dreams demanding I spread the word, what would I do? Would I live my life as Mary had, fighting against the urge to give in until I died? Or would I simply spread the word, eager to be put to rest? And if I chose the latter route, how could I do it? Whom would I burden in turn?

If I went through with my earlier intention to write a short article about smile.jpg, I decided, I could attach it as evidence. And anyone who read the article, anyone who took interest, would be affected. And even assuming the smile.jpg attached to the email was genuine, would I be capricious enough to save myself in that manner?

Could I spread the word?





Yes. Yes I could. :)

I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated business, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me. For half an hour I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife.

The things Mary said made little sense but fit with the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams — her nightmares. Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.

Mary E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead.

In 2005, when I was only in tenth grade, smile.jpg was first brought to my attention by my burgeoning interest in web-based phenomena; Mary was the most often cited victim of what is sometimes referred to as “Smile.dog”, the being smile.jpg is reputed to display. What caught my interest (other than the obvious macabre elements of the cyber-legend and my proclivity toward such things) was the sheer lack of information, usually to the point that people don’t believe it even exists other than as a rumor or hoax.

It is unique because, though the entire phenomenon centers on a picture file, that file is nowhere to be found on the internet; certainly many photomanipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the imageboard 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal subboard. It is suspected these are fakes because they do not have the effect the true smile.jpg is believed to have, namely sudden onset temporal lobe epilepsy and acute anxiety.

This purported reaction in the viewer is one of the reasons the phantom-like smile.jpg is regarded with such disdain, since it is patently absurd, though depending on whom you ask the reluctance to acknowledge smile.jpg’s existence might be just as much out of fear as it is out of disbelief.

Neither smile.jpg nor Smile.dog is mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia, though the website features articles on such other, perhaps more scandalous shocksites as ****** (hello.jpg) or 2girls1cup; any attempt to create a page pertaining to smile.jpg is summarily deleted by any of the encyclopedia’s many admins.

Encounters with smile.jpg are the stuff of internet legend. Mary E.’s story is not unique; there are unverified rumors of smile.jpg showing up in the early days of Usenet and even one persistent tale that in 2002 a hacker flooded the forums of humor and satire website Something Awful with a deluge of Smile.dog pictures, rendering almost half the forum’s users at the time epileptic.

It is also said that in the mid-to-late 90s that smile.jpg circulated on usenet and as an attachment of a chain email with the subject line “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!” Yet despite the huge exposure these stunts would generate, there are very few people who admit to having experienced any of them and no trace of the file or any link has ever been discovered.

Those who claim to have seen smile.jpg often weakly joke that they were far too busy to save a copy of the picture to their hard drive. However, all alleged victims offer the same description of the photo: A dog-like creature (usually described as appearing similar to a Siberian husky), illuminated by the flash of the camera, sits in a dim room, the only background detail that is visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame. The hand is empty, but is usually described as “beckoning”. Of course, most attention is given to the dog (or dog-creature, as some victims are more certain than others about what they claim to have seen). The muzzle of the beast is reputedly split in a wide grin, revealing two rows of very white, very straight, very sharp, very human-looking teeth.

This is, of course, not a description given immediately after viewing the picture, but rather a recollection of the victims, who claim to have seen the picture endlessly repeated in their mind’s eye during the time they are, in reality, having epileptic fits. These fits are reported to continue indeterminably, often while the victims sleep, resulting in very vivid and disturbing nightmares. These may be treated with medication, though in someses it is more effective than others.

Mary E., I assumed, was not on effective medication. That was why after my visit to her apartment in 2007 I sent out feelers to several folklore- and urban legend-oriented newsgroups, websites, and mailing lists, hoping to find the name of a supposed victim of smile.jpg who felt more interested in talking about his experiences. For a time nothing happened and at length I forgot completely about my pursuits, since I had begun my freshman year of college and was quite busy. Mary contacted me via email, however, near
____________________________________
the beginning of March 2008.
To: jml@****.com
From: marye@****.net
Subj: Last summer’s interview
Dear Mr. L.,

I am incredibly sorry about my behavior last summer when you came to interview me. I hope you understand that it was no fault of yours, but rather my own problems that led me to act out as I did. I realized that I could have handled the situation more decorously; however, I hope you will forgive me. At the time, I was afraid.

You see, for fifteen years I have been haunted by smile.jpg. Smile.dog comes to me in my sleep every night. I know that sounds silly, but it is true. There is an ineffable quality about my dreams, my nightmares, that makes them completely unlike any real dreams I have ever had. I do not move and do not speak. I simply look ahead, and the only thing ahead of me is the scene from that horrible picture. I see the beckoning hand, and I see Smile.dog. It talks to me.

It is not a dog, of course, though I am not quite sure what it really is. It tells me it will leave me alone if only I do as it asks. All I must do, it says, is “spread the word”. That is how it phrases its demands. And I know exactly what it means: it wants me to show it to someone else.

And I could. The week after my incident I received in the mail a manila envelope with no return address. Inside was only a 3 ½ -inch floppy diskette. Without having to check, I knew precisely what was on it.

I thought for a long time about my options. I could show it to a stranger, a coworker… I could even show it to Terence, as much as the idea disgusted me. And what would happen then? Well, if Smile.dog kept its word I could sleep. Yet if it lied, what would I do? And who was to say something worse would not come for me if I did as the creature asked?

So I did nothing for fifteen years, though I kept the diskette hidden amongst my things. Every night for fifteen years Smile.dog has come to me in my sleep and demanded that I spread the word. For fifteen years I have stood strong, though there have been hard times. Many of my fellow victims on the BBS board where I first encountered smile.jpg stopped posting; I heard some of them committed suicide. Others remained completely silent, simply disappearing off the face of the web. They are the ones I worry about the most.

I sincerely hope you will forgive me, Mr. L., but last summer when you contacted me and my husband about an interview I was near the breaking point. I decided I was going to give you the floppy diskette. I did not care if Smile.dog was lying or not, I wanted it to end. You were a stranger, someone I had no connection with, and I thought I would not feel sorrow when you took the diskette as part of your research and sealed your fate.

Before you arrived I realized what I was doing: was plotting to ruin your life. I could not stand the thought, and in fact I still cannot. I am ashamed, Mr. L., and I hope that this warning will dissuade you from further investigation of smile.jpg. You may in time encounter someone who is, if not weaker than I, then wholly more depraved, someone who will not hesitate to follow Smile.dog’s orders.

Stop while you are still whole.

Sincerely,
Mary E.
____________________________________

Terence contacted me later that month with the news that his wife had killed herself. While cleaning up the various things she’d left behind, closing email accounts and the like, he happened upon the above message. He was a man in shambles; he wept as he told me to listen to his wife’s advice. He’d found the diskette, he revealed, and burned it until it was nothing but a stinking pile of blackened plastic. The part that most disturbed him, however, was how the diskette had hissed as it melted. Like some sort of animal, he said.

I will admit that I was a little uncertain about how to respond to this. At first I thought perhaps it was a joke, with the couple belatedly playing with the situation in order to get a rise out of me. A quick check of several Chicago newspapers’ online obituaries, however, proved that Mary E. was indeed dead. There was, of course, no mention of suicide in the article. I decided that, for a time at least, I would not further pursue the subject of smile.jpg, especially since I had finals coming up at the end of May.

But the world has odd ways of testing us. Almost a full year after I’d returned from my disastrous interview with Mary E., I received another email:

___________________________________
To: jml@****.com
From: elzahir82@****.com
Subj: smile
Hello

I found your e-mail adress thru a mailing list your profile said you are interested in smiledog. I have saw it it is not as bad as every one says I have sent it to you here. Just spreading the word.

:)
____________________________________

The final line chilled me to the bone.

According to my email client there was one file attachment called, naturally, smile.jpg. I considered downloading it for some time. It was mostly likely a fake, I imagined, and even if it weren’t I was never wholly convinced of smile.jpg’s peculiar powers. Mary E.’s account had shaken me, yes, but she was probably mentally unbalanced anyway. After all, how could a simple image do what smile.jpg was said to accomplish? What sort of creature was it that could break one’s mind with only the power of the eye?

And if such things were patently absurd, then why did the legend exist at all?

If I downloaded the image, if I looked at it, and if Mary turned out to be correct, if Smile.dog came to me in my dreams demanding I spread the word, what would I do? Would I live my life as Mary had, fighting against the urge to give in until I died? Or would I simply spread the word, eager to be put to rest? And if I chose the latter route, how could I do it? Whom would I burden in turn?

If I went through with my earlier intention to write a short article about smile.jpg, I decided, I could attach it as evidence. And anyone who read the article, anyone who took interest, would be affected. And even assuming the smile.jpg attached to the email was genuine, would I be capricious enough to save myself in that manner?

Could I spread the word?

Yes. Yes I could. :)

We’ve all encountered the static screen before. Usually when your T.V. set isn’t working properly, and most of the time you don’t pay much attention to it. You just get the television fixed and move on. But if you’ve ever stopped to watch the static for a longer amount of time, you may have noticed something.

Maybe you noticed how you started to see an actual shape or image form, instead of the usual bunches of dots dancing around the screen. Some people are lucky enough to continue only seeing the static, and the static only. But others are not so lucky.

Once a good friend of mine was visiting. She asked if we could watch T.V., but I told her our television set didn’t work. Yet, she continued to press the power button. She was of course greeted by the static because the television set was broken. But she continued to watch the static, never ceasing its dance around the screen.

After about five minutes, she got a terrified look on her face that after another minute went blank. She then clicked off the T.V. and simply left. I didn’t understand, and when I tried going out after her she didn’t respond. I shrugged it off and decided she was trying to freak me out or play a prank, something that she often did.

At about 1:00 in the morning, I received a call from the same friend. She was talking in a whisper.

"P-Please, please help. I’m hiding from that… that thing. Oh god, I think it sees me! H-Help!"

There was immense sobbing now and unnatural, almost sounding like shrill blood curdling screams, noises coming from whatever was attacking her. Then my friend, oh my good friend, her high pitched screams almost started to match that of the creature. This was followed by the sound of bones being slowly ripped from their sockets and tearing flesh. After that, complete silence. The next day it was announced that she had been killed.

Today I went and observed the static screen for myself. After about 5 minutes I saw a terrifying creature with it’s mouth open and it’s head thrown back, as if it were letting out a long howling-like scream. I would highly recommend not ever looking deep into a static screen. Ever since those 5 minutes of watching those black and white dots just moving about the screen, I’ve been feeling quite out of it. I even think I might be able to see the shadow of the howling creature.

Just watching, and waiting for 1 o’ clock…

We’ve all encountered the static screen before. Usually when your T.V. set isn’t working properly, and most of the time you don’t pay much attention to it. You just get the television fixed and move on. But if you’ve ever stopped to watch the static for a longer amount of time, you may have noticed something.

Maybe you noticed how you started to see an actual shape or image form, instead of the usual bunches of dots dancing around the screen. Some people are lucky enough to continue only seeing the static, and the static only. But others are not so lucky.

Once a good friend of mine was visiting. She asked if we could watch T.V., but I told her our television set didn’t work. Yet, she continued to press the power button. She was of course greeted by the static because the television set was broken. But she continued to watch the static, never ceasing its dance around the screen.

After about five minutes, she got a terrified look on her face that after another minute went blank. She then clicked off the T.V. and simply left. I didn’t understand, and when I tried going out after her she didn’t respond. I shrugged it off and decided she was trying to freak me out or play a prank, something that she often did.

At about 1:00 in the morning, I received a call from the same friend. She was talking in a whisper.

"P-Please, please help. I’m hiding from that… that thing. Oh god, I think it sees me! H-Help!"

There was immense sobbing now and unnatural, almost sounding like shrill blood curdling screams, noises coming from whatever was attacking her. Then my friend, oh my good friend, her high pitched screams almost started to match that of the creature. This was followed by the sound of bones being slowly ripped from their sockets and tearing flesh. After that, complete silence. The next day it was announced that she had been killed.

Today I went and observed the static screen for myself. After about 5 minutes I saw a terrifying creature with it’s mouth open and it’s head thrown back, as if it were letting out a long howling-like scream. I would highly recommend not ever looking deep into a static screen. Ever since those 5 minutes of watching those black and white dots just moving about the screen, I’ve been feeling quite out of it. I even think I might be able to see the shadow of the howling creature.

Just watching, and waiting for 1 o’ clock…

I have been here as long as I can remember.

I have no memory of my past life.

All I know is slipping away.

From the words of the newly added, I can piece together what happened to me. All his victims had been taken at night, woken from their sleep to see him. His face. The last thing I remember from my past life. His face staring down on me. That terrible face. Then I remember waking in this place, this pit of eternal darkness, his lair. It seems fun, with all the games and entertainment. But there is no escape. All of us here are a separate crowd. There are those who stay in the shadows sobbing for their past lives. That is what I was. There are those who play the games, ride the rides, trying to forget where they are. I was that too. Now I am with the final group, the ones whose souls were taken long ago, empty and forlorn. He comes. Many are picked. This time it with me. He comes occasionally, choosing those who are the worst off. They never return. I never return. He takes us away, and shows us the truth. The glorious truth. Corruption they said, cleansing is true. Our memories return. We remember praising him, us nameless, and him named. He Who Must Be Exalted. We are slipping away, happy to know to add him essence.

h̍ͣ҉̥̤e͖̱̦̱̺̳̖̻͊ͭ͛ͪ̔ͩ̄ḽ̪̥̩ͬͥͦ͟͞͠pͫ̋ͯ̚͏̡̠̪̫ ̷͍͚̝̻̖̖ͨ́ͥ̂͌̈́̄ͦṃ̷̤͈͚̏̃̐ͧ͌̄ͦ͘͢e͔̹͗̾ͣ́̌̀͜͝.̱̖̎ͮ͋ͤ͡ ̤̖̪̣̙̻̙ͤ̇̓ͥ̕i̖̥͓͛ ̧̞̺̪̬̈̾̒̈́͊̐̋̚d͎̆̆͒̍ͥͤ̕͜ͅiͦ͗ͯ͑͘͏̞̦̣̩̀d̸̛̳ͥͣ ̺̘̦ͦ̊̀ͥͧ̚n̨̤͔̤̫̘̤͓ͪ̋̀̈́͝o̅ͬ͑ͫͨ̊͏̫̼̟̼̠̯͍͔t̥͙͚̟͚͉̍ͪ́ ͙̦͙͊ͧ̌́̎͂̆͞w̵̟̤͎͙͈̤̍͝a͉̣͎ͫ̂͒͞͡n̞̤̗̟̞͓ͨ̀ͨͧͣ͠ͅṱ̨̹̥͗̈́ͨ͒͂̑́ ̸̗̖ͨ̑͋̓ͥ͑ͯͧ͡t̸̗̥́̐̓͡h̞̩͓̘̖̤̏̋ị̷̗̝̣̣̝̦͙́͞s̴̞̎̓͛͝.̵̔̆͋̐ͧͮͯ͏̞ ̨͇̱͇̼̲̭̤͔̟̈́ͤ͗̅̅͟͠i̡̗͉͖ͭ͡ͅ ̪̗̺̗̘̬̆̇̅́͘͢d̶ͦ̃͛ͤ͞͏̞̩̜͕ͅi̸̧̙ͩ̆ͩͭ͒̇d̦̙̲͚̹͈̣͂̍̈̊̒̎ͩ͢͡ ̡̦̭̞̲̰͎̏ͮͫͫ̏̃͟͝n͆͆͑̈͒͏̲̻͟o̼̊̇̇̍̓̅̉͘t̖̟̦̥͈͉͇͕̐ͧͥ̿̒͊́ ͇̦̍̄̓̎̈̊ͤ̆ṅ̤̫͈͖̯̺͚͠ͅe̗ͬ̓̑̎ͪͥ̂̂͐́e̱̰̣͈̖̥̅͒̾͊͋ͥͦ̀ͅd̴͉ͫ͂ͪ̊̈́́͡ ̥̋͘͠t̼̫̳̩̳̩̱ͨ̽̐ͅh̝̲͖́̄ͩͭ̈ͨ̀͟i̫̰͕̥̥̱̙͖ͣͮ̐̇̄͊s̠̲͙ͨͧ͘.͉̩̹̗͆̿̈ ̡ͩ͆̄ͨ҉̟̟̘̹̭̼͙͠i̡̳̪͋̔̒̉̊͒̓͠ţ̻̝̞̯̐̋ͤ̍ͨ̈́ͦ ̛͚͔̮̪̠̰̰̒̎ͦ͂́ͬ̌́̀b̳̊̔͋̽ů͓̠̺̩̝̣̲͚͈̎̆̊̔͌͑̏͊̀ŗ͓̣̰̙̣̦̖ͤn̤̫̩̲̱͎̝͔ͪ̿̄ͮ͟s̶̥̐̔̓̿͊ͅ.̧̳̝̤̯̥͇̱̱̻̑͛̄͆̓̏ͦ ͎̥ͦ̆̉ͦͬ͞c̴͎̰̮͇̃ͪ̾̌ͯͥô̷̲̱͛ͣ̀r̴͕̹̣̳͖̬̭̿̂͟r̷̩̣͕͖̜̒ͥ͠u̽҉̷̷̥̗̰̲̞̲̺͇ṕ̜ͫ́̈̌ͩ̇̏t̷̫̗̻͍͇͕̀́ͧ̀̑̚i͕͎͉̼̽͑ͨ͒ͩ̿̆͢ő̳͜͝ń̜̣̳̝̣̉̊.̢̹̳̭͛͒͛̇̓̓͐ͥ ̩͔̻̯̫̗͒̇͒̍͘ ͓̇̈̇ͪ́ ̴̞̜̺̪͎̗̦͎̈͋͝P̴ͨ͗̍̅͡͏̗̞̭͉̤͔̗͔R͇͂͐̈A̷̘̤͇̺͋ͦͮ̌̑͛ͮI̥̩̱̽ͬ̀S̡̥ͭ̈́ͯ͌͡E̢̓̏̄͛́̊҉͉̪̖͉͚͕ ͉̯̱͍͎͉̠̿͌ͩͬ̃̀͜͟ ͖̠͛ͥͪ̓͘͞ỉ̃ͩ͌͏̼̪͇̠̲͎ ̶̖͚ͧ̀̆ͯ̍a̮̘̓ͬ͛͢m͉̻̟̞͈̺̟̓̇́̓͆ ̻̺̙̭ͤ̿̓ͪ̀͡ͅs̜͉͕͈̺ͩ̐͂͂̎̂̀lͫ̈̈́͂͐́̓҉̮̘̰i̴̪͙͙̪̬̘͗̌ͯ̀̀ͦ̑̈͝p̷̭̯̪͓̰͔̩ͩͪ̉̀̄ͦ́͛p̧̥͓̜̮̍͐͆̚į̫̭̂͒͆ṇ̡͔̥̼̣́̅̐̊ͯ͌͊͝g̪̳̭͇̝ͥ̏̊ͩͬͤ.̴̸̩͖͆͌͑ͪ̐̐͢ ̵͕̖̼̺̝ͤͪͩͅf̫̹͎̞͔̓ͦ̊͑̀a̝ͥͣ̅̊̓̽l̡̳̣͓̪̘̗͐̅͞l̻͓͔̲̫͕͔̙̲͊̍͊iͯ̇́ͥͭͦ͏̶̨̤̬͖̹͇͈̟̥ṇ̷̢̙̄́ͮͭ̉̍ͥͣ̕g̴͍̼ͧ̌̈̍̀͜ ͉͙̟̲̱̫̤̦̃͗́̀̾͋ͨ͐̀͝ã͚̫̌ͬ̽ͥ͢͝w̛̺̦̘͓̲͒̌ͭ͆ͦ͞ą̧̗̼ͪ̇ͤ́̌̄͊̎ͅy̡̟̖ͫ͑͡.̛̓ͬ̃̚҉̘͉̘ ̶̊̿̍͟͏̘̤̻͔͍

m̸͕ͤͦͫ͑ͯ͝ẙ̛̹̳̲̓̈́̍̑̈͝ ̱̮̼̘̞̬̳̊ͮ̎ͫ̈́ͭ̍̂͠s͇͓̀͂͒̅ͯ̕͢͜k̸̨͉͚̲͈̞̦͎ͪ͐̐ͩ̏͆̍i̳̳͚͇͖̥̍̑ͫ̀͌̾ͥͫ̇́ň̶͖͔̑̃͐̈́͝ ̲̝̗̥̺͍͍̐̍ͦ͋̈́ͨͅr̮̗̻̮͚̩̮̋ͩ̂͊͠ͅǫ̸̜̗̟̳̲̳̠̇͂͒͊ͫ̉t͇̠̦͈̥̤̣ͤ͢͢͝ͅs̢̧̲̬̰̻̟͈̯̓͆̒,̃ͤ̓̏ͪ́̊͆͏̡̲̰͖̞̼̖͓̣ ͙̝̺͉͑̋̅̉m̸͉͕̣͚̻͆́y͉̻̯͉͓̯̝ͣͨ ͫ̄͗̉͒҉̭i̻̱ͦ̃͊̽͘n͉̠̲̝ͩ̉̀̚n̉͏̸͖͕̟̹ą̨̤̩̍͋ͫ́r͌̈҉̙̤͉̗̗d͙̻̭̜̭̬̱͖̭ͪ̅̐̆͐ͯͩͥ̽͜͝͞s̡̖͕̟̲̝̼͗̔ͬ̚͟ ̷̜̯̣͇̼͚̃̂͊ͫ̾͢͠b̅̇̋ͨ̍̀͊͌҉͉͕̙͉̮͢o̷̲͋̀͝ỉ̛̠̺̒ͤ̓̄ͥ́ļ̘̮̳ͫ̆͋́̽̂̿̈.̘̮ͮ̽̄́ ͔́ͤ́ͤ̃̏̇͘ḧ̻̘̼̘̤́̈̈́ͧ͑̿͋̓͝i̶̳̝̻̘ͧ̂ͥ͡ͅs̴̛͎̫͈̫̮̈̋̌́̄̃́ ̡̥̫̣͓̖̣͉̉́̑͋w͉͈͖̮̟͉ͥ̈̆͢i̢̘̬̩̓̄̓̒͗̇l̑ͤ͛̒̂̍҉̧̖̫͖̞͙́l̸͈̹̃ͪ͌̑͛̊͜ ̿́ͣ͏̸̨̘͇ͅi̓ͣ̍̔ͭ́̅̆ͅṡ̤̱̠͎̱̼̼̤̈́̀̔ͫ́͢ ̨̡̦̻̞͓͙̬̳̂ͮͭ̈́s͉͉͕͓̞̼ͭ͗̓͑̎̋̈́̚ţ̷͖͔̥̠̮͔̘͖̐̂͗ͫͅr̬̪̞̞̽̆ͧ͒̏̒ͮͫo̰͕̞͖͐̅n̵̤͙ͯ̓̌̂̆ͭ͜͡ǧ̢͔͉̜ͦ̚͜͝e̵̜̰̻̙ͩͦͫͮ̑̒̄̅r̻̫̱ͪ͌̓̓̈́.̟̥̟̙̮̥ͫͤͩ̈́ͣͭ͗̐̾́ ̷͙̗̗̥̳̙͑̊ͪ ̴͍̤͓͙̬͈̳ͬͬ̅̍̽͞ͅH̢̺̳̘̩̬̲̜̄͌̅͡I̹̹̼͒̆̈͊ͨͨͅM̴͖̤̣̹̮̖̱̯̋ͭ́̽̍̐͟ ̵͔ͯͫ͂̍̑ ̬̥͔̗̙̹̳̣̿̉̆͊͘ḯ̜͎̪̞̱̟̣̂̓̏̐ͯ́ ̨̲̞̮ͮ̚a̶̸͍̱̝̻̹ͬ̈͠m̳̑͒̈́̔ͤ͠ ̗̬̗͗͛̄ḥ̟̝̏̾̇ͣ̋̓̓͠i̳̝̼̫̍͒̈̿́̍̓͌͡ͅs͖͑͋͛̓ͦ͛͐̆ ̡̳̲͚͆̔ͮ͗͋̍͊̾̀͡ͅş̙̲͉̳͋ͪ̋̓ļ̴̔̊̍̔̾ͩ҉͎̟̝̹͖̝̺͖a̺͖̻͍̠͔̻̥ͫ̒ͤ̔̐̀͞ͅv̷̯̹͚͉͚͍͚̭̰̄é̴̵̠̼͖̲̎̋͌,̡̙͚̠͈̞̠ͨ̾ͮ̄ͣ͝ ͙̺̖̩͉͍͈̳̳ͨ̂d̵̥̞͇̿̈́ͣ͊͛͐͡͞o͒͊ͦ͏̵͇̫͖̖̰̻̭͈͡i̛̗̓͆́̓̇ͨ̀͒͋ṅ͉̟̹̝̯̻͔ͪg̸͖̱̮̮͉ͩ̑̔̏̄̓͋ ̬͙̣̯̺̥ͭ̎̅͑ͨͬ̃͘͟͝ͅͅͅh͂̊ͭ̊̆̍͆̾҉̦̺͎ǐ͊͛͟͏̭͕̱̹̪̲͇͓͞s͂ͨ̍͗͐҉̸̝̭͙͖̥̥̻͖ ͣ̾̊̀̐ͣ̾ͫ͢͏̢̩b̷̭̞̻̜̙̠͍̤̈ͯͩͪͅi̛͕̲̓͌ͫď̞͙̱͕͓̠̱͊̔̀̏̍͢͝d̛͖̣̩͎͙̓͌̆ͩ̈̅̽̎̀͠iͤ͝͏̲̦n̵̨͕̪͚̜͙̜̜̙ͣͥ̓͌̐ͪg̝͔̺̙̱͙̒̃ͪ̂́ͅ ̶̷̘̞̠̻͕͕̣̿ ͔̰̆͋̉̏̀͐̈́͞Z̨͓̊ͨ͜A̠̭̻͐̋̏̀͜͞L͌ͦ̃̅̆҉̦̮̣͘G͓͕̺ͯͨ́̚O̳͎͚͕̰ͫ͒̕ ̖̲͇̲͉͓̗̋̒ͯ͆́͟ ͎͎̹̪̖̋ͤͬͣ̄̾̒̓͢h͚͙͈͉͍͒͋ͯ͊̃̔̋e̴ͭ͛͛̒̇͌ͨ͠҉̰̼̦̹̺̰l̬͓̝̜̗̖̠̑̌̑̈ͣ̀̃̕͞ͅp̷̳̦͉̱͚̈́́ ͇̩̩̺͎̦͓̣̌͐ͧ̈́̑̆m̋ͪ͏̩͉͙̘̪̫͎͎͉́ě̦̫͇̄̋̓̌ͮͩ

.̨̟͎͚͎̣ͪ̐̌͌̋̍̈́ͨ.̷̱̫̳̫̦̱̯͚͋ͯ̌͟͟.̢̪̬͖̀̎ͭ̓̈́̎͋̈͞.̴̧͚͉̣̥̇͑̆͗͑͛̾̄͡

I have been here as long as I can remember.

I have no memory of my past life.

All I know is slipping away.

From the words of the newly added, I can piece together what happened to me. All his victims had been taken at night, woken from their sleep to see him. His face. The last thing I remember from my past life. His face staring down on me. That terrible face. Then I remember waking in this place, this pit of eternal darkness, his lair. It seems fun, with all the games and entertainment. But there is no escape. All of us here are a separate crowd. There are those who stay in the shadows sobbing for their past lives. That is what I was. There are those who play the games, ride the rides, trying to forget where they are. I was that too. Now I am with the final group, the ones whose souls were taken long ago, empty and forlorn. He comes. Many are picked. This time it with me. He comes occasionally, choosing those who are the worst off. They never return. I never return. He takes us away, and shows us the truth. The glorious truth. Corruption they said, cleansing is true. Our memories return. We remember praising him, us nameless, and him named. He Who Must Be Exalted. We are slipping away, happy to know to add him essence.

h̍ͣ҉̥̤e͖̱̦̱̺̳̖̻͊ͭ͛ͪ̔ͩ̄ḽ̪̥̩ͬͥͦ͟͞͠pͫ̋ͯ̚͏̡̠̪̫ ̷͍͚̝̻̖̖ͨ́ͥ̂͌̈́̄ͦṃ̷̤͈͚̏̃̐ͧ͌̄ͦ͘͢e͔̹͗̾ͣ́̌̀͜͝.̱̖̎ͮ͋ͤ͡ ̤̖̪̣̙̻̙ͤ̇̓ͥ̕i̖̥͓͛ ̧̞̺̪̬̈̾̒̈́͊̐̋̚d͎̆̆͒̍ͥͤ̕͜ͅiͦ͗ͯ͑͘͏̞̦̣̩̀d̸̛̳ͥͣ ̺̘̦ͦ̊̀ͥͧ̚n̨̤͔̤̫̘̤͓ͪ̋̀̈́͝o̅ͬ͑ͫͨ̊͏̫̼̟̼̠̯͍͔t̥͙͚̟͚͉̍ͪ́ ͙̦͙͊ͧ̌́̎͂̆͞w̵̟̤͎͙͈̤̍͝a͉̣͎ͫ̂͒͞͡n̞̤̗̟̞͓ͨ̀ͨͧͣ͠ͅṱ̨̹̥͗̈́ͨ͒͂̑́ ̸̗̖ͨ̑͋̓ͥ͑ͯͧ͡t̸̗̥́̐̓͡h̞̩͓̘̖̤̏̋ị̷̗̝̣̣̝̦͙́͞s̴̞̎̓͛͝.̵̔̆͋̐ͧͮͯ͏̞ ̨͇̱͇̼̲̭̤͔̟̈́ͤ͗̅̅͟͠i̡̗͉͖ͭ͡ͅ ̪̗̺̗̘̬̆̇̅́͘͢d̶ͦ̃͛ͤ͞͏̞̩̜͕ͅi̸̧̙ͩ̆ͩͭ͒̇d̦̙̲͚̹͈̣͂̍̈̊̒̎ͩ͢͡ ̡̦̭̞̲̰͎̏ͮͫͫ̏̃͟͝n͆͆͑̈͒͏̲̻͟o̼̊̇̇̍̓̅̉͘t̖̟̦̥͈͉͇͕̐ͧͥ̿̒͊́ ͇̦̍̄̓̎̈̊ͤ̆ṅ̤̫͈͖̯̺͚͠ͅe̗ͬ̓̑̎ͪͥ̂̂͐́e̱̰̣͈̖̥̅͒̾͊͋ͥͦ̀ͅd̴͉ͫ͂ͪ̊̈́́͡ ̥̋͘͠t̼̫̳̩̳̩̱ͨ̽̐ͅh̝̲͖́̄ͩͭ̈ͨ̀͟i̫̰͕̥̥̱̙͖ͣͮ̐̇̄͊s̠̲͙ͨͧ͘.͉̩̹̗͆̿̈ ̡ͩ͆̄ͨ҉̟̟̘̹̭̼͙͠i̡̳̪͋̔̒̉̊͒̓͠ţ̻̝̞̯̐̋ͤ̍ͨ̈́ͦ ̛͚͔̮̪̠̰̰̒̎ͦ͂́ͬ̌́̀b̳̊̔͋̽ů͓̠̺̩̝̣̲͚͈̎̆̊̔͌͑̏͊̀ŗ͓̣̰̙̣̦̖ͤn̤̫̩̲̱͎̝͔ͪ̿̄ͮ͟s̶̥̐̔̓̿͊ͅ.̧̳̝̤̯̥͇̱̱̻̑͛̄͆̓̏ͦ ͎̥ͦ̆̉ͦͬ͞c̴͎̰̮͇̃ͪ̾̌ͯͥô̷̲̱͛ͣ̀r̴͕̹̣̳͖̬̭̿̂͟r̷̩̣͕͖̜̒ͥ͠u̽҉̷̷̥̗̰̲̞̲̺͇ṕ̜ͫ́̈̌ͩ̇̏t̷̫̗̻͍͇͕̀́ͧ̀̑̚i͕͎͉̼̽͑ͨ͒ͩ̿̆͢ő̳͜͝ń̜̣̳̝̣̉̊.̢̹̳̭͛͒͛̇̓̓͐ͥ ̩͔̻̯̫̗͒̇͒̍͘ ͓̇̈̇ͪ́ ̴̞̜̺̪͎̗̦͎̈͋͝P̴ͨ͗̍̅͡͏̗̞̭͉̤͔̗͔R͇͂͐̈A̷̘̤͇̺͋ͦͮ̌̑͛ͮI̥̩̱̽ͬ̀S̡̥ͭ̈́ͯ͌͡E̢̓̏̄͛́̊҉͉̪̖͉͚͕ ͉̯̱͍͎͉̠̿͌ͩͬ̃̀͜͟ ͖̠͛ͥͪ̓͘͞ỉ̃ͩ͌͏̼̪͇̠̲͎ ̶̖͚ͧ̀̆ͯ̍a̮̘̓ͬ͛͢m͉̻̟̞͈̺̟̓̇́̓͆ ̻̺̙̭ͤ̿̓ͪ̀͡ͅs̜͉͕͈̺ͩ̐͂͂̎̂̀lͫ̈̈́͂͐́̓҉̮̘̰i̴̪͙͙̪̬̘͗̌ͯ̀̀ͦ̑̈͝p̷̭̯̪͓̰͔̩ͩͪ̉̀̄ͦ́͛p̧̥͓̜̮̍͐͆̚į̫̭̂͒͆ṇ̡͔̥̼̣́̅̐̊ͯ͌͊͝g̪̳̭͇̝ͥ̏̊ͩͬͤ.̴̸̩͖͆͌͑ͪ̐̐͢ ̵͕̖̼̺̝ͤͪͩͅf̫̹͎̞͔̓ͦ̊͑̀a̝ͥͣ̅̊̓̽l̡̳̣͓̪̘̗͐̅͞l̻͓͔̲̫͕͔̙̲͊̍͊iͯ̇́ͥͭͦ͏̶̨̤̬͖̹͇͈̟̥ṇ̷̢̙̄́ͮͭ̉̍ͥͣ̕g̴͍̼ͧ̌̈̍̀͜ ͉͙̟̲̱̫̤̦̃͗́̀̾͋ͨ͐̀͝ã͚̫̌ͬ̽ͥ͢͝w̛̺̦̘͓̲͒̌ͭ͆ͦ͞ą̧̗̼ͪ̇ͤ́̌̄͊̎ͅy̡̟̖ͫ͑͡.̛̓ͬ̃̚҉̘͉̘ ̶̊̿̍͟͏̘̤̻͔͍

m̸͕ͤͦͫ͑ͯ͝ẙ̛̹̳̲̓̈́̍̑̈͝ ̱̮̼̘̞̬̳̊ͮ̎ͫ̈́ͭ̍̂͠s͇͓̀͂͒̅ͯ̕͢͜k̸̨͉͚̲͈̞̦͎ͪ͐̐ͩ̏͆̍i̳̳͚͇͖̥̍̑ͫ̀͌̾ͥͫ̇́ň̶͖͔̑̃͐̈́͝ ̲̝̗̥̺͍͍̐̍ͦ͋̈́ͨͅr̮̗̻̮͚̩̮̋ͩ̂͊͠ͅǫ̸̜̗̟̳̲̳̠̇͂͒͊ͫ̉t͇̠̦͈̥̤̣ͤ͢͢͝ͅs̢̧̲̬̰̻̟͈̯̓͆̒,̃ͤ̓̏ͪ́̊͆͏̡̲̰͖̞̼̖͓̣ ͙̝̺͉͑̋̅̉m̸͉͕̣͚̻͆́y͉̻̯͉͓̯̝ͣͨ ͫ̄͗̉͒҉̭i̻̱ͦ̃͊̽͘n͉̠̲̝ͩ̉̀̚n̉͏̸͖͕̟̹ą̨̤̩̍͋ͫ́r͌̈҉̙̤͉̗̗d͙̻̭̜̭̬̱͖̭ͪ̅̐̆͐ͯͩͥ̽͜͝͞s̡̖͕̟̲̝̼͗̔ͬ̚͟ ̷̜̯̣͇̼͚̃̂͊ͫ̾͢͠b̅̇̋ͨ̍̀͊͌҉͉͕̙͉̮͢o̷̲͋̀͝ỉ̛̠̺̒ͤ̓̄ͥ́ļ̘̮̳ͫ̆͋́̽̂̿̈.̘̮ͮ̽̄́ ͔́ͤ́ͤ̃̏̇͘ḧ̻̘̼̘̤́̈̈́ͧ͑̿͋̓͝i̶̳̝̻̘ͧ̂ͥ͡ͅs̴̛͎̫͈̫̮̈̋̌́̄̃́ ̡̥̫̣͓̖̣͉̉́̑͋w͉͈͖̮̟͉ͥ̈̆͢i̢̘̬̩̓̄̓̒͗̇l̑ͤ͛̒̂̍҉̧̖̫͖̞͙́l̸͈̹̃ͪ͌̑͛̊͜ ̿́ͣ͏̸̨̘͇ͅi̓ͣ̍̔ͭ́̅̆ͅṡ̤̱̠͎̱̼̼̤̈́̀̔ͫ́͢ ̨̡̦̻̞͓͙̬̳̂ͮͭ̈́s͉͉͕͓̞̼ͭ͗̓͑̎̋̈́̚ţ̷͖͔̥̠̮͔̘͖̐̂͗ͫͅr̬̪̞̞̽̆ͧ͒̏̒ͮͫo̰͕̞͖͐̅n̵̤͙ͯ̓̌̂̆ͭ͜͡ǧ̢͔͉̜ͦ̚͜͝e̵̜̰̻̙ͩͦͫͮ̑̒̄̅r̻̫̱ͪ͌̓̓̈́.̟̥̟̙̮̥ͫͤͩ̈́ͣͭ͗̐̾́ ̷͙̗̗̥̳̙͑̊ͪ ̴͍̤͓͙̬͈̳ͬͬ̅̍̽͞ͅH̢̺̳̘̩̬̲̜̄͌̅͡I̹̹̼͒̆̈͊ͨͨͅM̴͖̤̣̹̮̖̱̯̋ͭ́̽̍̐͟ ̵͔ͯͫ͂̍̑ ̬̥͔̗̙̹̳̣̿̉̆͊͘ḯ̜͎̪̞̱̟̣̂̓̏̐ͯ́ ̨̲̞̮ͮ̚a̶̸͍̱̝̻̹ͬ̈͠m̳̑͒̈́̔ͤ͠ ̗̬̗͗͛̄ḥ̟̝̏̾̇ͣ̋̓̓͠i̳̝̼̫̍͒̈̿́̍̓͌͡ͅs͖͑͋͛̓ͦ͛͐̆ ̡̳̲͚͆̔ͮ͗͋̍͊̾̀͡ͅş̙̲͉̳͋ͪ̋̓ļ̴̔̊̍̔̾ͩ҉͎̟̝̹͖̝̺͖a̺͖̻͍̠͔̻̥ͫ̒ͤ̔̐̀͞ͅv̷̯̹͚͉͚͍͚̭̰̄é̴̵̠̼͖̲̎̋͌,̡̙͚̠͈̞̠ͨ̾ͮ̄ͣ͝ ͙̺̖̩͉͍͈̳̳ͨ̂d̵̥̞͇̿̈́ͣ͊͛͐͡͞o͒͊ͦ͏̵͇̫͖̖̰̻̭͈͡i̛̗̓͆́̓̇ͨ̀͒͋ṅ͉̟̹̝̯̻͔ͪg̸͖̱̮̮͉ͩ̑̔̏̄̓͋ ̬͙̣̯̺̥ͭ̎̅͑ͨͬ̃͘͟͝ͅͅͅh͂̊ͭ̊̆̍͆̾҉̦̺͎ǐ͊͛͟͏̭͕̱̹̪̲͇͓͞s͂ͨ̍͗͐҉̸̝̭͙͖̥̥̻͖ ͣ̾̊̀̐ͣ̾ͫ͢͏̢̩b̷̭̞̻̜̙̠͍̤̈ͯͩͪͅi̛͕̲̓͌ͫď̞͙̱͕͓̠̱͊̔̀̏̍͢͝d̛͖̣̩͎͙̓͌̆ͩ̈̅̽̎̀͠iͤ͝͏̲̦n̵̨͕̪͚̜͙̜̜̙ͣͥ̓͌̐ͪg̝͔̺̙̱͙̒̃ͪ̂́ͅ ̶̷̘̞̠̻͕͕̣̿ ͔̰̆͋̉̏̀͐̈́͞Z̨͓̊ͨ͜A̠̭̻͐̋̏̀͜͞L͌ͦ̃̅̆҉̦̮̣͘G͓͕̺ͯͨ́̚O̳͎͚͕̰ͫ͒̕ ̖̲͇̲͉͓̗̋̒ͯ͆́͟ ͎͎̹̪̖̋ͤͬͣ̄̾̒̓͢h͚͙͈͉͍͒͋ͯ͊̃̔̋e̴ͭ͛͛̒̇͌ͨ͠҉̰̼̦̹̺̰l̬͓̝̜̗̖̠̑̌̑̈ͣ̀̃̕͞ͅp̷̳̦͉̱͚̈́́ ͇̩̩̺͎̦͓̣̌͐ͧ̈́̑̆m̋ͪ͏̩͉͙̘̪̫͎͎͉́ě̦̫͇̄̋̓̌ͮͩ

.̨̟͎͚͎̣ͪ̐̌͌̋̍̈́ͨ.̷̱̫̳̫̦̱̯͚͋ͯ̌͟͟.̢̪̬͖̀̎ͭ̓̈́̎͋̈͞.̴̧͚͉̣̥̇͑̆͗͑͛̾̄͡

Sometime during the night of August 16, 1952, the small town of Ashley, Kansas ceased to exist. At 3:28am on August 17, 1952, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake itself was felt throughout the state and most of the midwest. The epicenter was determined to be directly under Ashley, Kansas.

When state law enforcement arrived at what should have been the outskirts of the farming community, they found a smoldering, burning fissure in the earth measuring 1,000 yards in length and approximately 500 yards in width. The depth of the fissure was never determined.

After twelve days, the state-wide and local search for the missing 679 residents of Ashley, Kansas, was called off by the Kansas State Government at 9:15pm on the night of August 29, 1952. All 679 residents were assumed to be dead. At 2:27am on August 30, 1952, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter was situated under what used to be the location of Ashley, Kansas. When law enforcement investigated at 5:32am, they reported that the fissure in the Earth had closed.

In the eight days leading up to the disappearance of the town and its 679 residents, bizarre and unexplainable events were reported by dozens of residents in Ashley, Kansas and law enforcement from the surrounding area.

On the evening of August 8, 1952, at 7:13pm, a resident by the name of Gabriel Johnathan reported a strange sight in the sky above Ashley. The town itself, having no official branch of law enforcement, called into the police station of the neighboring town of Hays. Gabriel reported what appeared to be a “small, black opening in the sky.” Within the next fifteen minutes, the Hays police station became overwhelmed with dozens of phone calls all reporting the same phenomenon. The phenomenon was never reported by any neighboring communities. A decision was made to send of a trooper to Ashley to investigate the matter the following morning.

At 7:54 am on the morning of August 9, 1952, Hays Police Officer Allan Mace radioed the Hays Police Station. He reported that, despite following the one way road leading into Ashley, he had become lost. According to his report, the road “continued along its normal path, but somehow ended up back in Hays.” Officer Mace went on to add that the road never curved, or bent in any direction. At 9:15am, seven of the town’s 10 police cars were sent to investigate the situation, and all members of the team came to the same conclusion. The only road leading into Ashley stopped leading into Ashley, but instead led back to Hays. Phone calls continued to pour into the Hays Police Station, all reporting that the black opening in the sky continued to grow in size. All callers were advised to remain inside, and to not travel outside unless absolutely necessary. At 8:17pm, Mrs. Elaine Kantor reported her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Milton, and their two children, Jeffery and Brooke, missing. According to Mrs. Kantor’s phone call, the Miltons attempted to leave town in their family car earlier in the evening. They never returned. Law enforcement officals from Hays never reported the car, or individuals, coming up the one way road.

At 7:38am on the morning of August 10, 1952, phone calls from Ashley into the Hays Police Station reported that the town was in total darkness. The sun had never risen. At 10:15am, at the request of Hays Law Enforcement, a helicopter from Topeka, Kansas flew over the region in which Ashley, Kansas stood. The town was never observed from air.

At 12:43pm on the afternoon of August 11, 1952, Ms. Phoebe Danielewski called into the Hays Police Station. She reported that her daugter Erica had begun to have conversations with her father, who died three years prior in a drunk driving accident. To add to her concern, Ms. Danielewski reported that Erica was attempting to go outside into the dark, to “join them.” Over the course of the next twelve hours, a reported 329 phone calls were placed into the Hays Police Station all describing similar phenomenon with the children of the town.

The following morning of August 12, 1952, the situation became dire. During the middle of the night, all 217 children in the town of Ashley, Kansas disappeared. A reported 421 phone calls were placed into the Hays Police Department. Unable to be of any useful assistance, Hays Law Enforcement instructed all callers to remain inside and to avoid any and all attempts at finding the missing children.

At 5:19pm on the evening August 13, 1952, Ashley elderly man Scott Luntz reported a growing, distant fire to the south. According to his description, the fire seemed to turn the distant black into “bright red and orange [that] seemed to extend high into the sky.” Throughout the rest of the day, calls continued in, stating that the fire, in addition to moving north, now seemed to “come out of the black sky.” No fire was ever witnessed by any of the neighboring communities or law enforcement officials.

The reports continued until 12:09am on the morning of August 14, 1952. The last phone call, placed by a Mr. Benjamin Endicott, reported that the fire in the sky had grown so intense that it began to appear as daytime over the town. The phone call ended abruptly:

(FROM THE PHONECALL PLACED BY BENJAMIN SHERMAN ENDICOOT)

Benjamin:
“Just hold on….wait…”
(continued silence)

Benjamin (cont.):
“Yeah, yeah I see something. It’s to the south. It looks like-“
[END PHONECALL]

The next phone call wouldn’t be placed until the following evening.

The following is the entire transcript of the final phonecall to be received by the Hays Police Department out of the town of Ashley, Kansas. It was placed at 9:46pm on the evening of August 15, 1952. In this recorded phonecall, the officer on duty is Officer Peter Welsch. The caller has been identified as Ms. April Foster.

[BEGIN PHONECALL]

Officer Welsch:
“Hays Police Department.”
(muffled static)

Officer Welsch:
“Hello?”

Foster:
“YES…yes, hello?”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, who am I speaking with.”

Foster:
“My name is April, April Foster. (coughs) Please, sir. Please help me.”

Officer Welsch:
“What is happening, ma’am?”

Foster:
“Last night….last night they came back.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to -“

Foster:
“LAST NIGHT THEY CAME BACK!” (cries)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to calm down, and speak clearly. What happened? Who came back?”

Foster:
(sobbing) “Everyone.”

Officer Welsch:
“Everyone?”

Foster:
“They all came in the fire.”

Officer Welsch:
“What do you mean everyone?”

Foster:
“My son…..I saw my son last night. He was walking… he was walking down the street. He was burned. Jesus Christ HE WAS BURNED.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am I -“

Foster:
“He died last year. I raised him since he was a baby….it was just me and him. I told him to watch for cars when he rode his bike. But he never wanted to listen.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, what you’re saying isn’t making any sense. You said everyone came back?”

Foster:
“ARE YOU FUCKING LISTENING TO ME? EVERYONE. Everyone came back. Everyone who died, or went missing, they’re back. And they’re looking for US! (cries)
He…he said”: “Mommy, I’m okay now! See, I can walk again! Where are you, Mommy? I want to see you!” (sobs)

Officer Welsch:
…”Ma’am, where are you now? Are you safe?”

Foster:
“I’m hiding. Just like everyone else. We saw them coming through the fields….and….some people opened their doors for them. God, the SCREAMING. (pause) I don’t know what happened to them. But their houses caught fire and they….caved in. I have my curtains drawn. I’m hiding in the closet right now and-” (silence)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, is everything alright, are you okay?”

Foster:
(silence)

Officer Welsh:
“Ma’am?”

Foster:
(glass breaking)
“Oh…Oh my God.”

Officer Welsh:
“Ma’am?”

Foster:
“Something just came in.”(muffled cries)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, stay as quiet as you can. Don’t make a sound.”

Foster:
(Muffled: “Mommy…..mommy?”)
(sobbing) “He came inside.”

Officer Welsch: “Stay absolutely still. Don’t leave.” 

Foster:
(Sound of muffled footsteps)
(Muffled: “Mommy? Mommy, where are you hiding?”)

Officer Welsch: “Stay quiet.”

Foster: 
(Sound of heavy footsteps. Laughter. Muffled: “I found you, MOMMY!”)
(Indiscernable screaming and noise)

Officer Welsch: “Ma’am? MA’AM??”

[END PHONECALL]

The following morning, at 6:55am, the law enforcement officals of the Hays Police Department arrived at the location of Ashley, Kansas. A smoldering, burning fissure in the Earth was all that remained.

Sometime during the night of August 16, 1952, the small town of Ashley, Kansas ceased to exist. At 3:28am on August 17, 1952, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The earthquake itself was felt throughout the state and most of the midwest. The epicenter was determined to be directly under Ashley, Kansas.

When state law enforcement arrived at what should have been the outskirts of the farming community, they found a smoldering, burning fissure in the earth measuring 1,000 yards in length and approximately 500 yards in width. The depth of the fissure was never determined.

After twelve days, the state-wide and local search for the missing 679 residents of Ashley, Kansas, was called off by the Kansas State Government at 9:15pm on the night of August 29, 1952. All 679 residents were assumed to be dead. At 2:27am on August 30, 1952, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake was measured by the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter was situated under what used to be the location of Ashley, Kansas. When law enforcement investigated at 5:32am, they reported that the fissure in the Earth had closed.

In the eight days leading up to the disappearance of the town and its 679 residents, bizarre and unexplainable events were reported by dozens of residents in Ashley, Kansas and law enforcement from the surrounding area.

On the evening of August 8, 1952, at 7:13pm, a resident by the name of Gabriel Johnathan reported a strange sight in the sky above Ashley. The town itself, having no official branch of law enforcement, called into the police station of the neighboring town of Hays. Gabriel reported what appeared to be a “small, black opening in the sky.” Within the next fifteen minutes, the Hays police station became overwhelmed with dozens of phone calls all reporting the same phenomenon. The phenomenon was never reported by any neighboring communities. A decision was made to send of a trooper to Ashley to investigate the matter the following morning.

At 7:54 am on the morning of August 9, 1952, Hays Police Officer Allan Mace radioed the Hays Police Station. He reported that, despite following the one way road leading into Ashley, he had become lost. According to his report, the road “continued along its normal path, but somehow ended up back in Hays.” Officer Mace went on to add that the road never curved, or bent in any direction. At 9:15am, seven of the town’s 10 police cars were sent to investigate the situation, and all members of the team came to the same conclusion. The only road leading into Ashley stopped leading into Ashley, but instead led back to Hays. Phone calls continued to pour into the Hays Police Station, all reporting that the black opening in the sky continued to grow in size. All callers were advised to remain inside, and to not travel outside unless absolutely necessary. At 8:17pm, Mrs. Elaine Kantor reported her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Milton, and their two children, Jeffery and Brooke, missing. According to Mrs. Kantor’s phone call, the Miltons attempted to leave town in their family car earlier in the evening. They never returned. Law enforcement officals from Hays never reported the car, or individuals, coming up the one way road.

At 7:38am on the morning of August 10, 1952, phone calls from Ashley into the Hays Police Station reported that the town was in total darkness. The sun had never risen. At 10:15am, at the request of Hays Law Enforcement, a helicopter from Topeka, Kansas flew over the region in which Ashley, Kansas stood. The town was never observed from air.

At 12:43pm on the afternoon of August 11, 1952, Ms. Phoebe Danielewski called into the Hays Police Station. She reported that her daugter Erica had begun to have conversations with her father, who died three years prior in a drunk driving accident. To add to her concern, Ms. Danielewski reported that Erica was attempting to go outside into the dark, to “join them.” Over the course of the next twelve hours, a reported 329 phone calls were placed into the Hays Police Station all describing similar phenomenon with the children of the town.

The following morning of August 12, 1952, the situation became dire. During the middle of the night, all 217 children in the town of Ashley, Kansas disappeared. A reported 421 phone calls were placed into the Hays Police Department. Unable to be of any useful assistance, Hays Law Enforcement instructed all callers to remain inside and to avoid any and all attempts at finding the missing children.

At 5:19pm on the evening August 13, 1952, Ashley elderly man Scott Luntz reported a growing, distant fire to the south. According to his description, the fire seemed to turn the distant black into “bright red and orange [that] seemed to extend high into the sky.” Throughout the rest of the day, calls continued in, stating that the fire, in addition to moving north, now seemed to “come out of the black sky.” No fire was ever witnessed by any of the neighboring communities or law enforcement officials.

The reports continued until 12:09am on the morning of August 14, 1952. The last phone call, placed by a Mr. Benjamin Endicott, reported that the fire in the sky had grown so intense that it began to appear as daytime over the town. The phone call ended abruptly:

(FROM THE PHONECALL PLACED BY BENJAMIN SHERMAN ENDICOOT)

Benjamin:
“Just hold on….wait…”
(continued silence)

Benjamin (cont.):
“Yeah, yeah I see something. It’s to the south. It looks like-“
[END PHONECALL]

The next phone call wouldn’t be placed until the following evening.

The following is the entire transcript of the final phonecall to be received by the Hays Police Department out of the town of Ashley, Kansas. It was placed at 9:46pm on the evening of August 15, 1952. In this recorded phonecall, the officer on duty is Officer Peter Welsch. The caller has been identified as Ms. April Foster.

[BEGIN PHONECALL]

Officer Welsch:
“Hays Police Department.”
(muffled static)

Officer Welsch:
“Hello?”

Foster:
“YES…yes, hello?”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, who am I speaking with.”

Foster:
“My name is April, April Foster. (coughs) Please, sir. Please help me.”

Officer Welsch:
“What is happening, ma’am?”

Foster:
“Last night….last night they came back.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to -“

Foster:
“LAST NIGHT THEY CAME BACK!” (cries)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to calm down, and speak clearly. What happened? Who came back?”

Foster:
(sobbing) “Everyone.”

Officer Welsch:
“Everyone?”

Foster:
“They all came in the fire.”

Officer Welsch:
“What do you mean everyone?”

Foster:
“My son…..I saw my son last night. He was walking… he was walking down the street. He was burned. Jesus Christ HE WAS BURNED.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am I -“

Foster:
“He died last year. I raised him since he was a baby….it was just me and him. I told him to watch for cars when he rode his bike. But he never wanted to listen.”

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, what you’re saying isn’t making any sense. You said everyone came back?”

Foster:
“ARE YOU FUCKING LISTENING TO ME? EVERYONE. Everyone came back. Everyone who died, or went missing, they’re back. And they’re looking for US! (cries)
He…he said”: “Mommy, I’m okay now! See, I can walk again! Where are you, Mommy? I want to see you!” (sobs)

Officer Welsch:
…”Ma’am, where are you now? Are you safe?”

Foster:
“I’m hiding. Just like everyone else. We saw them coming through the fields….and….some people opened their doors for them. God, the SCREAMING. (pause) I don’t know what happened to them. But their houses caught fire and they….caved in. I have my curtains drawn. I’m hiding in the closet right now and-” (silence)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, is everything alright, are you okay?”

Foster:
(silence)

Officer Welsh:
“Ma’am?”

Foster:
(glass breaking)
“Oh…Oh my God.”

Officer Welsh:
“Ma’am?”

Foster:
“Something just came in.”(muffled cries)

Officer Welsch:
“Ma’am, stay as quiet as you can. Don’t make a sound.”

Foster:
(Muffled: “Mommy…..mommy?”)
(sobbing) “He came inside.”

Officer Welsch: “Stay absolutely still. Don’t leave.”

Foster:
(Sound of muffled footsteps)
(Muffled: “Mommy? Mommy, where are you hiding?”)

Officer Welsch: “Stay quiet.”

Foster:
(Sound of heavy footsteps. Laughter. Muffled: “I found you, MOMMY!”)
(Indiscernable screaming and noise)

Officer Welsch: “Ma’am? MA’AM??”

[END PHONECALL]

The following morning, at 6:55am, the law enforcement officals of the Hays Police Department arrived at the location of Ashley, Kansas. A smoldering, burning fissure in the Earth was all that remained.

I don’t know what’s real. I’m standing behind myself, watching me type this. That anxiety when another person is within a hair’s width of you? Its all I sense. My head is pounding, but my heart has slowed down. Every time I breathe, I become wearier. I can’t do this anymore. I should just turn around. Maybe it will be the last time.

I don’t know how long it’s been. May have been barely half an hour ago, or maybe it’s been days, or weeks. I don’t know. I can’t remember, I can’t think, the blood is shooting through my veins, drowning out thoughts. I can’t concentrate, but someone needs to know. Maybe I’m just crazy, maybe I’ve finally cracked. Maybe this isn’t real. Maybe it is.

Someone help me. Please.

I woke up in the middle of the night. My cat was perched on my chest, seeming irritated as cats usually are. I shooed her away, and after a few minutes of tossing, turning and creaking mattress springs, I decided to roll out of bed and visit the toilet. It wasn’t a lengthy walk through my studio apartment, but being half asleep, every stride seemed to take longer than it should. I heard the covers shift once I entered the bathroom. My groggy thoughts passed it off as my cat wrestling with imaginary mice.

The cheap laminate was cold beneath my feet, and my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness as I relieved myself. I heard the mattress creak again, and began contemplating locking my over-active feline in the bathroom for the night. I left the bathroom, stumbling against the doorframe, and saw my apartment through the low glow from my computer. At least the carpet was comforting. Careful to avoid the mess on the floor that was my wardrobe, I sauntered over to my small twin-sized bed.

There was someone there.

That couldn’t be right. The covers must have been rolled oddly. I took a step back; the floor was warm… and wet. Damn cat missed the litter box. I swung around and flipped a light switch, then wandered over to my pathetic kitchen to grab the paper towels, cursing as I went. When I finally looked down at my feet, I noticed the wetness was not piss from a misbehaving cat, but a sickening red color. I had trailed blood across my apartment. I distinctly remember the feel of the stuff between my toes. The entire situation had my stomach turning, but I finally began to actually wake up.

I called out to my cat as I went back to the main puddle to clean, but received no answer. I looked towards my bed, which I could see clearly thanks to the invention of the light bulb, which was empty. I had no clue where the blood had come from, and really didn’t give a fuck. White carpet stained with blood? I had my security deposit to worry about. Inevitably, I wound up spreading the mess. Blood was everywhere.

I went back to the kitchen to wet the towels, reached the sink, and screamed. Lying in the basin, twisted, contorted and fur matted with blood, was my tabby. Two minutes ago, she was sleeping on my chest, and now she was there.

I backed up, hands covering my mouth, and bumped into something. I fell to the ground, landed in a pool of blood that hadn’t been there before, and yelped. I looked up, and saw myself… but it wasn’t me. Her hair was messy, filthy, sopping in blood and riddled with leaves and sticks. Her eyes were wide and empty, and she was smiling. Her smile was wider than possible, unmoving, unwavering, and purely psychopathic. She was staring down at me, silent. Blood coated the over-sized shirt she was wearing, the same shirt I wore. She had a knife in her right hand, saturated with red. I screamed and scrambled backwards, but not soon enough.

Her hand rose, and lowered. The blade came down, and pierced above my collar bone. She pulled it out, and lowered it again, shoving the blade deep into my shoulder. She continued to grin, and stared motionless into my eyes as she continued to rhythmically stab at me, her reflection. Not once did she blink. I remember thinking that, between the pain and the screaming, I remember the unblinking eyes.

Then I woke up.

Covered in a cold sweat, I shoved the cat off my chest and sat up. She meowed angrily, and dashed into the kitchen. I put my head on my hands, and sat for a moment. I just wanted to get over the nightmare. I hoped it would be like any other dream and disappear into nothingness. It didn’t. I stood up, turned on a light, and looked at myself in the mirror. It was me. Just me. No twigs in my hair, no blood, just me. I laughed. It was empty, and did little to put me at ease, but I laughed. I reached for the light switch, and the room was dark.

I turned to my bed, and froze. She was sitting there, exactly where I was, seconds before. She was still smiling, still staring, still covered in blood. I ran towards the door, and she leapt from the bed with inhuman speed, overtaking my tired limbs with ease. She grabbed my hair and spun me around. I tugged at her wrist, ripped at her flesh with my nails, but she just stared and smiled. Her arm raised, the knife dripped with my own blood, and I watched it come down. I felt it enter my chest: numbness, then deafening pain. It was as if the world was silent, the pain filled every nerve in my brain. It was enough to knock one unconscious.

Then I woke up.

This time, I stayed still in my bed. I let the cat continue to rest on my stomach, and just listened. I waited for a creak, for a rustle, for any noise at all. I don’t know how long I laid there, staring at the ceiling. I don’t know why morning never came. When I couldn’t bare the position any longer, I rolled over onto my side.

Her face was an inch from mine. If I didn’t know better, I would have said someone had simply placed a mirror next to me while I slept. She was still grinning, still unblinking, and staring. I shoved myself backwards and fell off the bed, but she matched every motion with her own, she was never less than a foot from me. I backed into a wall, squeezed my eyes shut, and waited for the blade to pierce my body. For the numbness, for the pain, to wake up again. But it didn’t happen. I sat there, again, for an unknown amount of time, terrified to open my eyes.

When I was sure I could no longer hear her breathing, I slowly opened an eye. Like a child peaking at the movie scene her parents told her not to watch. My eyes quickly adjusted, and I saw nothing. The room was mine, empty, but messy. I kept my head still and slowly moved my eyes to the kitchen, where I found her standing, back to me. I heard the familiar, sickening squish of the knife, and a yowl. My cat. She was murdering my cat for the second time.

There was nothing I could do, so I decided that was my chance to escape. I wasted no time, sprang up, and raced towards the door. I saw her move from the corner of my eye, but refused to flinch. I made it to the door only to find it locked, and the bolt removed. I was trapped. She knew I was trapped. I could hear her breathing, and I swore I heard her laugh… an empty laugh, just like I had done before.

I turned, saw her brilliantly mad smile, and braced myself. We made eye contact. Her empty eyes, the twisted version of my own self, began to shake with vacant laughter. The entire time, she remained unblinking, forever staring. I sank down to the floor, and she stopped laughing only to raise her hand again to strike. It came, the blade came, and I accepted it.

Then I woke up.

I’ve decided if I ignore her, if I don’t look at her, if her insane eyes don’t meet my own, she won’t kill me. She has already murdered my poor tabby. I can hear the dripping of her blood from the kitchen. It echoes in my head. I have to ignore it.

I’m going crazy, if I wasn’t already. I can hear her breathing, growing impatient. I can see my reflection in the screen. I’m smiling. Why am I smiling?

Why am I smiling?

Someone help.


Story by: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/User:Jadeziaa

I don’t know what’s real. I’m standing behind myself, watching me type this. That anxiety when another person is within a hair’s width of you? Its all I sense. My head is pounding, but my heart has slowed down. Every time I breathe, I become wearier. I can’t do this anymore. I should just turn around. Maybe it will be the last time.

I don’t know how long it’s been. May have been barely half an hour ago, or maybe it’s been days, or weeks. I don’t know. I can’t remember, I can’t think, the blood is shooting through my veins, drowning out thoughts. I can’t concentrate, but someone needs to know. Maybe I’m just crazy, maybe I’ve finally cracked. Maybe this isn’t real. Maybe it is.

Someone help me. Please.

I woke up in the middle of the night. My cat was perched on my chest, seeming irritated as cats usually are. I shooed her away, and after a few minutes of tossing, turning and creaking mattress springs, I decided to roll out of bed and visit the toilet. It wasn’t a lengthy walk through my studio apartment, but being half asleep, every stride seemed to take longer than it should. I heard the covers shift once I entered the bathroom. My groggy thoughts passed it off as my cat wrestling with imaginary mice.

The cheap laminate was cold beneath my feet, and my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness as I relieved myself. I heard the mattress creak again, and began contemplating locking my over-active feline in the bathroom for the night. I left the bathroom, stumbling against the doorframe, and saw my apartment through the low glow from my computer. At least the carpet was comforting. Careful to avoid the mess on the floor that was my wardrobe, I sauntered over to my small twin-sized bed.

There was someone there.

That couldn’t be right. The covers must have been rolled oddly. I took a step back; the floor was warm… and wet. Damn cat missed the litter box. I swung around and flipped a light switch, then wandered over to my pathetic kitchen to grab the paper towels, cursing as I went. When I finally looked down at my feet, I noticed the wetness was not piss from a misbehaving cat, but a sickening red color. I had trailed blood across my apartment. I distinctly remember the feel of the stuff between my toes. The entire situation had my stomach turning, but I finally began to actually wake up.

I called out to my cat as I went back to the main puddle to clean, but received no answer. I looked towards my bed, which I could see clearly thanks to the invention of the light bulb, which was empty. I had no clue where the blood had come from, and really didn’t give a fuck. White carpet stained with blood? I had my security deposit to worry about. Inevitably, I wound up spreading the mess. Blood was everywhere.

I went back to the kitchen to wet the towels, reached the sink, and screamed. Lying in the basin, twisted, contorted and fur matted with blood, was my tabby. Two minutes ago, she was sleeping on my chest, and now she was there.

I backed up, hands covering my mouth, and bumped into something. I fell to the ground, landed in a pool of blood that hadn’t been there before, and yelped. I looked up, and saw myself… but it wasn’t me. Her hair was messy, filthy, sopping in blood and riddled with leaves and sticks. Her eyes were wide and empty, and she was smiling. Her smile was wider than possible, unmoving, unwavering, and purely psychopathic. She was staring down at me, silent. Blood coated the over-sized shirt she was wearing, the same shirt I wore. She had a knife in her right hand, saturated with red. I screamed and scrambled backwards, but not soon enough.

Her hand rose, and lowered. The blade came down, and pierced above my collar bone. She pulled it out, and lowered it again, shoving the blade deep into my shoulder. She continued to grin, and stared motionless into my eyes as she continued to rhythmically stab at me, her reflection. Not once did she blink. I remember thinking that, between the pain and the screaming, I remember the unblinking eyes.

Then I woke up.

Covered in a cold sweat, I shoved the cat off my chest and sat up. She meowed angrily, and dashed into the kitchen. I put my head on my hands, and sat for a moment. I just wanted to get over the nightmare. I hoped it would be like any other dream and disappear into nothingness. It didn’t. I stood up, turned on a light, and looked at myself in the mirror. It was me. Just me. No twigs in my hair, no blood, just me. I laughed. It was empty, and did little to put me at ease, but I laughed. I reached for the light switch, and the room was dark.

I turned to my bed, and froze. She was sitting there, exactly where I was, seconds before. She was still smiling, still staring, still covered in blood. I ran towards the door, and she leapt from the bed with inhuman speed, overtaking my tired limbs with ease. She grabbed my hair and spun me around. I tugged at her wrist, ripped at her flesh with my nails, but she just stared and smiled. Her arm raised, the knife dripped with my own blood, and I watched it come down. I felt it enter my chest: numbness, then deafening pain. It was as if the world was silent, the pain filled every nerve in my brain. It was enough to knock one unconscious.

Then I woke up.

This time, I stayed still in my bed. I let the cat continue to rest on my stomach, and just listened. I waited for a creak, for a rustle, for any noise at all. I don’t know how long I laid there, staring at the ceiling. I don’t know why morning never came. When I couldn’t bare the position any longer, I rolled over onto my side.

Her face was an inch from mine. If I didn’t know better, I would have said someone had simply placed a mirror next to me while I slept. She was still grinning, still unblinking, and staring. I shoved myself backwards and fell off the bed, but she matched every motion with her own, she was never less than a foot from me. I backed into a wall, squeezed my eyes shut, and waited for the blade to pierce my body. For the numbness, for the pain, to wake up again. But it didn’t happen. I sat there, again, for an unknown amount of time, terrified to open my eyes.

When I was sure I could no longer hear her breathing, I slowly opened an eye. Like a child peaking at the movie scene her parents told her not to watch. My eyes quickly adjusted, and I saw nothing. The room was mine, empty, but messy. I kept my head still and slowly moved my eyes to the kitchen, where I found her standing, back to me. I heard the familiar, sickening squish of the knife, and a yowl. My cat. She was murdering my cat for the second time.

There was nothing I could do, so I decided that was my chance to escape. I wasted no time, sprang up, and raced towards the door. I saw her move from the corner of my eye, but refused to flinch. I made it to the door only to find it locked, and the bolt removed. I was trapped. She knew I was trapped. I could hear her breathing, and I swore I heard her laugh… an empty laugh, just like I had done before.

I turned, saw her brilliantly mad smile, and braced myself. We made eye contact. Her empty eyes, the twisted version of my own self, began to shake with vacant laughter. The entire time, she remained unblinking, forever staring. I sank down to the floor, and she stopped laughing only to raise her hand again to strike. It came, the blade came, and I accepted it.

Then I woke up.

I’ve decided if I ignore her, if I don’t look at her, if her insane eyes don’t meet my own, she won’t kill me. She has already murdered my poor tabby. I can hear the dripping of her blood from the kitchen. It echoes in my head. I have to ignore it.

I’m going crazy, if I wasn’t already. I can hear her breathing, growing impatient. I can see my reflection in the screen. I’m smiling. Why am I smiling?

Why am I smiling?

Someone help.


Story by: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/User:Jadeziaa

sixpenceee:

hornetpresident:

sixpenceee:

I don’t even live in Japan but I’m a little freaked out right now.

I didn’t compile this list, I got it from here

Here’s the Tomino’s Hell poem for those of you brave enough to read it out loud.

Also the original Cow’s Head story, which supposedly makes you die from fright is said to have no known copies around. 

Teke teke will sometimes be sitting in a window, but once she catches you staring, she will jump out and chase you. Run as fast as you can.

Kuchisake Onna is a dead-end if you keep saying yes. When she asks you if she is pretty, you can say “You’re average,” “You’re so-so,” or “Am I pretty?” And escape when she is confused.

Teke teke makes my heart race. I dunno, just imagine it slowly crawling towards you in the middle of the night. Yikes. 

A first hand report of the story originally reported in The Montréal Mirror in 1964:

A mother and father decided they needed a break, not having much alone time in the almost a year since their young son, Toby, was born. They wanted to have a night out, dinner, maybe a movie, and the honeymoon suite at a local hotel to possibly give Toby a little brother or sister. They called their most trusted babysitter, who unfortunately was already engaged for the evening. But she did refer a good friend of hers, Opal, who she swore could be trusted. They spoke with the new babysitter and agreed to have her arrive no later than 6:30 so the parents could get an early start.

As the parents got ready to paint the town red, Toby lay on the floor, gnawing on his teething ring in the den off to the back of the house. At shortly after 6:20 the father walked past the open doorway and saw an elderly woman sitting in the rocking chair facing the child, her back to the doorway. The father was slightly startled as his wife hadn’t mentioned the sitter had arrived. He spoke to her as he straightened his tie in the mirror on wall opposite the doorway.

“Oh my, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you come in. We appreciate you coming on such short notice. My wife put some a chicken in the oven for you. The numbers for the restaurant and hotel are on the counter if you need to reach us. We will be home around 9 tomorrow morning. Goodbye Toby, I love you.”

He hurried down the hallway as his wife was coming down the stairs, meeting her at the bottom his wife asked “What were you saying dear”

“Oh nothing, I was just giving the sitter instructions, now we should hurry so we can make our reservation on time.” he replied grabbing his coat as he unlocked the front door.

They went to the car and were in such a rush they didn’t notice the car pull into the drive way not 15 seconds after they pulled out. They proceeded to have the best night out they could remember. The wife become somewhat concerned shortly after arriving at the hotel when she called home and no one answered. The husband calmed her as he pulled her into bed, kissing her neck.

“Don’t worry dear, she’s an older lady and it’s almost 10, she must have gone to bed after putting Toby down.”

**************

The next morning after a nice breakfast they arrived home to find a note on the door. It read:
“I arrived at 6:30 as agreed but no one was home.
If you had made other plans I would have appreciated
if someone had called me.
Opal”

The husband gave his wife a confused look as she put a hand to her mouth and her face turned white. She threw open the front door calling out for her son. There was no reply, in fact there was no sound at all in the house, just the smell or some burned meat. She ran up the stairs as her husband raced to the back of the house the find the kitchen filled with smoke. He turned off the stove and used pot holders to grab the smoldering pan or charred meat and drop it in the sink. His wife came into the kitchen crying into her hands

“He’s not here! Toby’s gone! She took him!”

The husband then took her in his arms as she cried. It was then that he noticed blood on the lid of the trash can. A pit formed in his stomach as he left his wife and opened the trash can. He exhaled as he realized that it was only the chicken his wife had made. It was then that his eyes shot wide open as his wife let out a fresh scream of horror. As he turned toward her, he caught sight of the melted remains of the teething ring on the bottom of the open oven.

A first hand report of the story originally reported in The Montréal Mirror in 1964:

A mother and father decided they needed a break, not having much alone time in the almost a year since their young son, Toby, was born. They wanted to have a night out, dinner, maybe a movie, and the honeymoon suite at a local hotel to possibly give Toby a little brother or sister. They called their most trusted babysitter, who unfortunately was already engaged for the evening. But she did refer a good friend of hers, Opal, who she swore could be trusted. They spoke with the new babysitter and agreed to have her arrive no later than 6:30 so the parents could get an early start.

As the parents got ready to paint the town red, Toby lay on the floor, gnawing on his teething ring in the den off to the back of the house. At shortly after 6:20 the father walked past the open doorway and saw an elderly woman sitting in the rocking chair facing the child, her back to the doorway. The father was slightly startled as his wife hadn’t mentioned the sitter had arrived. He spoke to her as he straightened his tie in the mirror on wall opposite the doorway.

“Oh my, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you come in. We appreciate you coming on such short notice. My wife put some a chicken in the oven for you. The numbers for the restaurant and hotel are on the counter if you need to reach us. We will be home around 9 tomorrow morning. Goodbye Toby, I love you.”

He hurried down the hallway as his wife was coming down the stairs, meeting her at the bottom his wife asked “What were you saying dear”

“Oh nothing, I was just giving the sitter instructions, now we should hurry so we can make our reservation on time.” he replied grabbing his coat as he unlocked the front door.

They went to the car and were in such a rush they didn’t notice the car pull into the drive way not 15 seconds after they pulled out. They proceeded to have the best night out they could remember. The wife become somewhat concerned shortly after arriving at the hotel when she called home and no one answered. The husband calmed her as he pulled her into bed, kissing her neck.

“Don’t worry dear, she’s an older lady and it’s almost 10, she must have gone to bed after putting Toby down.”

**************

The next morning after a nice breakfast they arrived home to find a note on the door. It read:
“I arrived at 6:30 as agreed but no one was home.
If you had made other plans I would have appreciated
if someone had called me.
Opal”

The husband gave his wife a confused look as she put a hand to her mouth and her face turned white. She threw open the front door calling out for her son. There was no reply, in fact there was no sound at all in the house, just the smell or some burned meat. She ran up the stairs as her husband raced to the back of the house the find the kitchen filled with smoke. He turned off the stove and used pot holders to grab the smoldering pan or charred meat and drop it in the sink. His wife came into the kitchen crying into her hands

“He’s not here! Toby’s gone! She took him!”

The husband then took her in his arms as she cried. It was then that he noticed blood on the lid of the trash can. A pit formed in his stomach as he left his wife and opened the trash can. He exhaled as he realized that it was only the chicken his wife had made. It was then that his eyes shot wide open as his wife let out a fresh scream of horror. As he turned toward her, he caught sight of the melted remains of the teething ring on the bottom of the open oven.

Bloody Knife