He is clothed plainly in a olive green suit, with a alabaster colored tie and shirt. His skin is a sickly pale, with deeply colored age spots dotting his sparsely haired scalp. His eyes are a very light pink color, and deep wrinkles run all across his skin. It is hard to not notice his lips. They are black, as are his gums that hold his deeply stained teeth.
It starts as a simple conversation. He refers to you by name, and asks you how you have been. Always be honest with him, and never try to hide the truth. He loves to dissect people, to work his way under their skin and find out what truly causes them pain. If you lie to him, and if you try to deny the pain you are experiencing, then there is no hope for you. Because he will find it out, and he is wrathful for those who make it difficult.
This is a reported encounter with the specter known as The Old Man.
I was waiting around my home, looking forward to a night out with my friends from work. I looked around, trying to decide what I was going to wear. I finally found something tasteful, and made my way to the kitchen. And it was at that moment that I screamed.
He was sitting there, in the dining room, a deep frown on his face. The room itself is covered by dark brown woods, causing the overhead light to make his skin seem to glow. He turned and looked at me, and with a gentle motion he offered the chair adjacent to him. I didn't know what to do. I had heard stories of him since I was little. So I did the only thing I could think of, and took the offered seat, my hands shifting nervously in my lap.
Much of the following I would attribute to the state of exhaustion reported by the narrator.
It was as dark of a night as I had ever experienced when I finally managed to stumble my way out of the hospital. It had been a full day since my grandmother had entered the emergency ward, her skin pale, hardly a breath left in her body. By now I was exhausted, and my eyes were burning even when they were closed. Wearily, I followed the sidewalk and headed towards the lamppost hanging above the bus stop nearby.
There was a chill in the air, frost gripping the ground, causing the grass to crunch under my feet. A harsh wind thrashed the branches of the trees, causing the lamppost to gently sway back and forth. In five minutes the bus would arrive and I would be on my way home. With effort maybe I would manage not to fall asleep. You never know who you would meet on these early morning buses, and I wasn't in the mood to wake up and find my pockets a bit lighter.
I felt my heart jump as a car passed by, the heavy hiss of the wind brushing past my ears as it headed down the street. Gripping the side of my nose, I realize how spent I was, my nerves completely shot. I looked up, and watched as the red tail lights flashed, passing quickly down the street until they were long out of sight.
I shivered, the thought of my grandmother entering my mind; eyes closed, lips pale. Her body had been clothed in tubes by the time I had left, her form quivering, grasping desperately to each breath. Even now was the lingering knot in my chest, long after the doctors had declared her condition as more or less stable.
It was a long walk down to the beach from my home. Even so, it didn't take long for me to find it. It was still where I last saw it, its tentacles still writhing, as it continued to gibber in a shallow tone. The sea water gently washed across its skin, its flesh shuddering with the contact, while the flesh on top continued to tighten and shrivel. I looked around to make sure that no one was watching, then settled down next to it and began to talk.
“Can you understand me?”
After a few moments I saw its eye open. And then several more, until I realized that eyes ran all along its body, appearing and disappearing between the folds of its limbs.
“We understand.” it said.
I could not tell from which part the voice was coming from, though it sounded like a high pitched whine, trapped under the water. As it spoke, I heard long draws of air moving in and out from long frills along its sides. Its blood red eyes focused on me, their pupils expanding till they nearly rendered the eyes as black as its skin.
I arrived home today and found this note stuffed in my bag. I can't remember ever letting it out of my sight.
It has been seventeen years since I discovered quite by accident that I could re imagine and at times rewrite entire memories, until I could not recall them as they were originally. I have been doing it for so long that I can never be sure what memories of mine are real, and which ones are pure fabrications.
As always, the recounting of the following is not meant as a criticism, or as a commentary on the behavior and life of the deceased. The events recounted here are for the purpose of study, and are in no way included for the mere sake of entertainment. The majority of the information provided comes from eye witness testimony.
Near the end of Wellington Street, towards a crooked four way intersection, perched on a sharp corner is a small sit down restaurant. It seems every town has one, and this one is of a far better quality than many. The staff are warm and though it seems little effort is made to learn people's name, there is a sense that everyone gets treated the same, whether you are a regular or not. That sort of treatment is usually hard to come by, and offers a welcome escape for those passing by.
I first arrived at the restaurant shortly after arriving at the strange crossroads, looking for directions. Even after getting instructions, I still ended up making a complete circle, before I arrived back at the intersection, and finally sorted it out. The exterior is rather unassuming, just your standard fare that one would expect of such a place. The interior is similarly uninspired, save for a long line of photos, recognizing some of the lesser talents that came from the theater nearby. Wellington Street has had its share of success stories, but most end up never seeing their desires fulfilled, the older waitresses more than willing to indulge in your curiosity if you ask about them.
If you look among the photos on the wall you will see one of a young woman. It is a black and white photo. The young woman has thick, curly hair, a perky nose, and a well formed neck and jaw. Her most surprising feature are her eyes. They are surprisingly unassuming, without any characteristic that ends up setting them apart from the rest of the people on the wall. Despite the lack of unique features, she was by all accounts a actress of significant talent.
Most assumed that she would go on to find great success. But as I said before, very few ever end up getting to that point.
It is not uncommon for a theater to claim that it is haunted. What is strange is the intensity in which people refuse to discuss the supposed haunting of the theater on Wellington Street. The old theater is one of slight renown, and it would seem that the sharing of information of a haunting would only draw people in. However, during my research into the place, some people were strangely resistant in sharing information about their experiences there.
The people in question are not just locals. They are also visitors who passed through, or who came from adjoining communities to see a play. No matter where they came from, the thing that unites them is a oddly pervasive need to keep such experiences to themselves. If I had not in fact met with the owner of the place, and had I not made it clear that the information would be treated with anonymity, I may never had found out at all that there was anything going on.
According to the owner, the theater has been around for quite some time. Almost as long as the area itself. However a series of fires, as well as a need to update to certain city codes caused the place to go through several renovations. According to him, the issues with the haunting started around 1923, when the theater was truly becoming a big thing in the area. Like many places at the time, the 1920's had proven to be good for everyone, and business was as good as anyone could remember.
In around April of that year, some people began to complain to the owner. They claimed that they wanted a refund, because they never went to see the show reported on the ticket. At first, the owner at the time simply wrote it off as people wanting to get a free show, but as time went on he began to notice that not only were the people sincere in their accusations, but they actually thought that they were telling the truth. Not wanting to hurt his business, he investigated further, only to find that several of the patrons in question could be positively identified as having been at the productions.
The problem with this was that they could not remember seeing the show at all, not matter how much people would disclose details or reminisce. It was as if all memory of the experience had left them. When asked to recount what they saw, their memories would be hazy, as if trying to recall a dream.
There is an old home, more decrepit than any of the others on Wellington Street. I have talked to the current owner, who is living with a local relative, about the condition of the home and their plans for it. When it was in its prime, the house must have been quite beautiful. So to see it in its current state was puzzling to me, especially considering the well maintained manner of the other homes around it. It was a Thursday when I talked to him, and the owners face tightened when I mentioned the home. The following story is what he shared with me, though he would not give me permission to enter the home to investigate.
I purchased the home ten years ago with the hope of renovating it. If you look outside the building you may notice some of the abandoned 2x4's I had bought for the project. I had first come upon the building quite by accident. I was driving through, heading towards a local restaurant. Somehow I became lost, and ended up along side the building. I pulled over, trying to sort out where I was. I looked around, trying to find my bearings, when I noticed the house. At the time it was still in relatively good condition, the paint fresh and the garden well managed. Something about the home drew me in, and even after I managed to find my way I couldn't help but think about it.
After about a week I contacted the local residential listings, and was thrilled to find that the home was being put up for purchase at a steal of a price. I checked out the place quickly, and found that everything was in good condition. At the time, the explanation I got was that the previous owner had moved away, and that payments on the home had inexplicably stopped, causing it to come into the possession of the community.
It wasn't until a couple days after purchasing the place that I managed to move in. The place was a dream, and though there was some things that needed repairing I was surprised at the condition it was in. It was during late fall, leading into winter that I moved in, so the first thing I did was check the radiator and make sure it was working properly. It was a old Victorian one, and though everything seemed in order it wouldn't turn on. And so I went to the basement to check the fuses.
After going downstairs I went to work finding the fuse box. It didn't take long, and after a little time I found the one of the fuses was burnt out and replaced it. I was just about to go upstairs when I noticed something in the corner. It was a tall mirror, oval in shape with a patterning of leaves along its edges. It looked like it was very old, and the mirrored surface showed some level of deterioration.
I was on my way to interview a local resident when I noticed a man leaving his home. The fences in the area are rather short, so it wasn't hard to notice the pool in the back yard. The pool had been partially uncovered, and the edge of the tarp had dipped under the water, the chord around the edge slightly coiled on the deck. Trying to be friendly, I asked the man if he was excited to open up the pool after such a long winter, and without warning he told me to leave. I complied, but was curious what had caused such a reaction. After talking with some of his neighbors this was what I was able to determine.
About a month ago the man had begun preparing to open his pool, which he had told his friends he was quite excited to do. He had only recently come into possession of the home, having been long time friends with the previous owner. The previous owner had to move away in order to accept a new job, and so it was natural to transfer the home to his friend instead of going through the hassle of trying to sell it.
It was a weekend, and at around noon the man had begun to remove the chord that secured the edge of the tarp. He then moved to the deck and began to remove the cover. But as he went to pull it in, he found that it was snagged on the floatation device in the middle. Classically a floatation device is put in the middle to keep the tarp from dipping into the water during winter. Not wanting to enter the water to retrieve it, he instead cut the chords that held it in the middle, and after grabbing a nearby stick began to nudge it towards the edge.
After a few pokes, he felt the object resist his efforts, and a couple of seconds later it began to move on its own. Slowly, the thing in the middle began to issue forth towards the edge of the pool, eventually escaping from under the tarp. The man watched as a large mass of black tissue crawled its way towards the lip of the pool. It was oval in shape, with a short pair of legs and arms, and a stunted head, much like a tadpole. It let out a strange, thick grunt, then grabbed hold of the edge and dragged itself over, disappearing under the deck. The man immediately called animal control, but no evidence of the creatures was ever found, and since then the pool has remained as it was a month ago.
I made efforts to contact the previous owner, but was not available to comment. One of the neighbors, who reported that the mans pool water was unusually clean this year, didn't understand why he didn't just “put the nonsense behind him and go for a swim.”
I found the young man, sitting low below the small bulb of the street lamp. He was homeless, his clothes disheveled, his eyes bloodshot, and his hair and beard caught and twisted in knots. I had seen him a couple of times before then, though never in such a state. He was...sadder than usual. I went up to him, and asked if there was something bothering him, more than the usual I mean. I made sure that I made that clear. He looked at me, his jaw slack, and his cheeks sunken.
“What...What time is it?”
I looked down at my phone and told him it was eight at night.
Upon hearing this, he put his head in his hands and began to sob.
I stood there, upset at myself for coming over to talk to him. What had I been thinking? What did I expect was going to happen? He stopped suddenly, his cries silenced, his breathing shallow. What he said next distresses me to this very day.
The following case has been been deemed unsolved and officially closed. However, there are still several pieces of the mystery that continue to intrigue and confound those who have invested their time and effort into helping find a resolution to the deaths. There are really two questions that have refused any sort of explanation: how did an entire family manage to die without any of them waking, and who was the family that was killed? This is of particular interest as the owners of the home were out to see relatives at the time, and could not identify any of the victims.
The majority of the events are assumed to have taken place in the owners white house on Wellington Street, constructed in the Georgian colonial style. It is a two-story home, with ten windows on the top floor and eight on the bottom. The home is rather nondescript, and very little of it seems to stand out from the other properties.
The bodies were found after a neighbor had noticed a person in the window, and realized that they had not moved for over a half hour. Concerned since they did not recognize the person, they contacted the police who managed to find a total of four bodies, two children around the ages of ten and twelve, and two adults whose ages were approximated to have been in their thirties. It was originally assumed that it may have been some sort of squatters, but nothing had been taken including food.
The mystery begins with the bodies. All of the bodies showed bruising, but they were on strange places like the ribs, back, and lower thighs. The bruising ran deep, and surely would have resulted in a great amount of pain, though none of the bruises were on places that would suggest something that would kill, like on the neck. The bodies themselves seemed to have been killed without struggle, as none of the bruising seems to be the result of a fight. There were no stab or bullet wounds, and other than the bruising no exterior evidence of damage. The cause of their deaths remain a mystery though several theories have been considered.
The main theory, and the one that predominated throughout the case, was that the family was somehow poisoned. However, toxicology revealed no foreign substances in their bodies, and investigation of the organs and other tissues suggested no reason for death. The house was checked for elevated carbon monoxide levels and other gases both in the home and in the bodies. No evidence was found to confirm that the people's deaths were caused by exposure to elevated levels of gases of any kind, or asphyxiation.