In late February of 1945, the organist of The Valentinus Church of God passed away. He had served for nearly fifty years before his passing, and it was in all respects a major blow to the community. The funeral was one of the largest ever to take place on Wellington Street, and attracted people from not only the community but the surrounding area as well. He was remembered as a great man, and it was not surprising to anyone when it was requested by the church that he be buried on the grounds. The family readily agreed, and thus he was interred under the marble tiles that make up the floor of the church. To this day, parishioners place flowers are left on his grave on the anniversary of his death.
It is a simple building, owing much to its age and the relative wealth of the people in the community. However, the building is well managed, mostly due to to the consistent contributions over the years by the more wealthy parishioners. The marble floors were installed in the early 1920's, replacing the simple hardwood floors. The glass windows were replaced with more stirring scenes in stained glass. Much of the church has been updated and refurbished, a strange behavior when one considers the efforts of many to keep many of the homes and buildings as they were long ago. However, people of the community insist that this is a sign of affection, partially fueled up to that point by the deep love the people had for the church organist.
It wasn't until a week later that the minister at the time was able to find a replacement. Up until that point it had been the ministers wife who had been playing the organ at services. She was talented, but it was clear to many that she just wasn't the same. Because of this, when it was announced that they had found a new one, it was not surprising that people were more than skeptical.
The replacement was a young boy, only sixteen at the time. He looked younger than his age would suggest, his light blonde hair, blue eyes, and light hue of skin making him look sickly much of the time. He was a soft spoken boy, and did not speak much to anyone up until the day of his first service. He was also from out of town, and although he came highly recommended, it was feared that he would not be able to fill the substantial shoes of the well respected and well loved former organist.
The fears were soon dismissed by the time the mass had reached its end. The service was a rousing success, and after a week or so the congregation managed to adjust to their newest member, and although people deeply missed the old one, many felt that they could feel confident that things would return to normal. At least at first.
The grocery on Wellington Street is known for a solid arrangement of local and regional products. From strange fruits to odd tools that many people have forgotten the use of, there is always something new to see whenever you find yourself passing through. However, it is also known for a unsettling dare that kids keep going year after year.
The first thing that you will see when you get inside is an old Indian tobacco statue. The store doesn't sell cigarettes anymore, and the wooden Indian simply acts as a reminder of times past. Though the grocery is small, the shelves are stocked with a surprising variety of foods. This is true of all the aisles expect one, the furthest aisle that is labeled simply as 1A. This aisle used to be used for world foods. Now the one next to it accommodates the foods that used to be there. The reason for this is that the aisle is always dark, being far away from other windows and set bellow a set of broken lights. It is this that has given rise to the tale, and the dare that goes along with it.
The story goes that a drifter came into the town, a homeless man who was emaciated and deeply hungry. The nationality of the man is never known for sure, but it is said that he was from somewhere in Eastern Europe. Unable to find anyone who would help him, he became desperate and broke into the grocery. The evidence for this, the kids say, is a replacement window in the place of one of the old panes of glass. Hungry in the deepest way, the man went and found the thing he wanted the most; a taste of home. So he headed to aisle 1A and began to eat, while the local police converged on the location, reporting to the scene after an anonymous call.
By the time the police arrived the man was dead, one of the packages of food still in his hand. He man was removed from the store, and the food removed as well, as the owners were unsure what had killed the man and what he had touched. When night came, the owners went to turn on the lights, only to find that the lights in that aisle would not turn on. Over the course of weeks the owners tried to find a way to get the lights to work, but were unable to find a solution. Despite a great amount of effort on the part of police, they were unable to determine the identity of the man. He was later buried in the local cemetery.
Legend has it that the mans ghost remains in the aisle, keeping the lights off out of a fear of being caught. A couple of months later a dare began to circulate among the kids of the community. The instructions for it are simple. You go into the aisle by yourself and lay in the middle for a hour. According to the dare, if you put your ear to the ground you can hear the sound of the man rummaging through the aisle. If you hear someone talking to you, the dare states that you are to respond in a whisper, identifying yourself as a friend. People have reported hearing crying, and feeling as if someone was laying next to them. The strangest rumor to be attached to this dare is that if you wait for the full hour you will find your shoes are wet, as if you had been traveling through grass damp with dew.
I was at the local laundromat a couple of weeks ago. It was at night, at around twelve. I am an insomniac, so I am usually up anyway, and going to do my laundry at night prevents me from having to deal with large crowds. Because the one on Wellington Street is open 24 hours, I can go there whenever I find myself having trouble sleeping.
Unfortunately, the place wasn't empty this time. There was a man there, but the owner was gone. This wasn't unusual. The owner often leaves for a little bit to get something to snack on, especially late at night when there are so few people there. The air was full of the scent of lint and detergent, the overhead lights hurting my eyes as I came in from outside.
The man looked nice enough, and though I wasn't looking to talk, company would have been nice. The late nights had been becoming more and more frequent, and it was starting to become quite difficult Still, I went to the opposite side with my laundry and put it in, hoping that I wouldn't have to be there too long.
I had just gotten the laundry started when I heard the mans phone go off. It took some awkward searching, but he found it on time and picked up the call.
“Hi sweetie,” he said.
The existence of feral children raises terrible questions concerning the capacity of people to raise their young. Going seemingly against the very maternal instinct that is supposedly built into us, feral children are those kids whose upbringing was either deeply neglected, or whose raising was done by someone other than a human being. There are many reports of these, some fictitious and some true. However, despite the research that has been done, it has been considered on the whole to be a rare phenomenon. So when I discovered that such a case had occurred on Wellington Street, my natural inclination was to assume that it was merely a legend. I was wrong to assume this, just as much as I was wrong to hope that this would not end up being as disturbing as it managed to be.
The events occurred in yet another of the houses that line the street. However, the building itself no longer exists there, having been torn down years ago. The piece of land on which it sat is now vacant, a faded wooden fence being the only part of the original property that still survives. Questions still remain concerning the tearing down of the home, since by all accounts it had been in remarkable condition, and had several parties interested in purchasing the land, even after knowledge of the deaths within the home became public.
The owner of the home had been a single woman, who had confided with others a desire to one day have children. However, for one reason or another she was never able to find someone, and so, much of her time was spent alone. She had been supported by a group of wealthy relatives, which allowed her to spend much of her time gardening. Her garden was one of the prizes of the neighborhood, and it was not uncommon for people to ask her for advice concerning their own gardens.
When she was not gardening, she would on occasion hold parties in her home for her neighbors and friends. She was described as being a wonderful host, if not a little too flirtatious with the male company. Her parties would often go long into the night, and it was considered to be well worth attending. She seemed by all accounts to be caring woman, leaving many to wonder what caused her to be alone.
During one of the parties, the festivities were interrupted when one of the guests began to complain about a noise coming from upstairs. He said it sounded like scratching. The woman passed it off as some animal in the attic, and vowed that she would get it checked out.
For a long time, the only reason why outsiders visited Wellington Street was the fact that a large cemetery was located near the end of the road. However, this is not the case today, as the site of the cemetery is now more or less unused due to the majority of it being fifty feet below the ground. One day back in the late 1900's, the cemetery inexplicably collapsed into the ground, creating a hole fifty feet in diameter. Piercing the water table, the hole quickly filled up with water, trapping many graves under it. Unable to salvage them, to this day it remains full of water, the bodies of the locals buried there settled deep below where none can manage to visit.
Although the area is considered stable, officially the cemetery remains off limits to all persons, and efforts had been made to move some of the graves to other locations, with the aid of wealthy locals and families of the deceased. However, graves in this area come from wide variety of families, and it is often difficult determining the location of the relatives. This has left the graveyard as a patchwork of excavated and relocated graves, along with those poor souls who remain on the grounds.
This does not prevent people from visiting their loved ones, and although entering the grounds is discouraged it is not uncommon to pass by and see some of the older residents visiting graves and placing flowers. However, as the years pass and the older residents begin to pass away themselves, the number of visitors continues to dwindle. The only time the cemetery is likely to have visitors is at night, when local kids follow the goading of their peers, entering the grounds to visit the location of what they call “The Hole.”
“The Hole” is surrounded by a chain link fence, but this has done little to prevent the visits. Everyday you can go to the fence and find legions of ropes hanging off the edge and into the waters five feet below. During the summer months it is not uncommon for some of the kids to go swimming in the waters, while in the winter ice skating becomes the preferred activity. Most people only make it to the waters edge though, the thought of swimming above graves and the threat of being caught being enough to make them wary. However this is not always enough, and sometimes things get out of hand.
Some years ago, a local girl and her friends went to “The Hole” during the middle of winter to skate on the ice. Unknown to them was the fact that a recent heat surge had caused the ice to become brittle despite the temperature. When the girl hit the ice the ice gave way under her, plunging her into the waters underneath. She managed to pull herself out of the ice, but was unable to pull herself out of the pit. Her friends told her that they were going to go and get help. They did not return that night.
There is a short film that has until recently been only found on the most obscure sites on the internet. Independently made, it is only four minutes long, but has grown a large following. Strangely, no original film stock is known to exist, though it has been in circulation for nearly thirty years. The entire piece is shot in first person, as if to recreate the feel of seeing it from someone's perspective, much as Orson Welles had planned on doing in his rendition of “Heart of Darkness.”
It is rumored that the filmmaker managed to actually record a real murder, and that what we see is seen from the eyes of the actual victim. How such a thing could be accomplished is unknown, and despite many people offering ideas, none have proven conclusive. This has proven more difficult due to the absence of the original film stock, which makes testing all but impossible.
Strangely, it is hard to find a full version of the film, as most contain missing scenes, something especially puzzling with a film of this length. The filmmaker has never been found, nor any of the cast and crew. Most disturbing though is the impact that the film has had on people, with symptoms ranging from the minor to the severe.
People claim it has scared them for weeks, the lifelike quality of the film adding to its popularity. Many people claim to see the film in their dreams, some even claiming to have it play fully from start to finish, even if the version they saw originally was missing those scenes. A select group of more sensitive people have been known to need psychological treatment, though the specifics of their experiences are usually not revealed. Most of their symptoms stem from a inability to sleep, as well as a deep set depression that seems to set in just before and just after going to bed. Most of these more serious reports come from therapists who treated these persons, and they have proven to be hesitant to talk about the specifics. This is strange, as patient confidentiality would certainly prevent them from revealing the names of their patients, but wouldn't necessarily bar them from sharing selective details.
I managed to view a working copy of the film, held onto by a woman who had managed to transfer the information over to a CD a number of years ago. The film follows a person waking up on a couch in what we assume to be a parlor. The perspective is an angled view of a large archway. Slowly, a light in the adjoining room turns on, showing that the room in question is the man's kitchen. Standing in the archway is a figure wearing a lumpy mask with a large grin. The nose on the mask is extended, and the eyes are comical in their size, with white yarn for hair. In their hand is a strange knife of significant length, the blade the color of rust. They are wearing a black suit, with white gloves and a white bowtie.
My health has not improved over the following weeks. However, I still have made an effort to keep up my visits to Wellington Street. One of the places I tried to visit regularly is a local bar, which so happens to be one of the first place I visited when I began my studies here. However, the thought of going back has become very difficult to rationalize, as a recent death has caused the thought of going back to fill me with dread.
It has been over a month since I had been there, after hearing that one of my first interviews, and oddly enough a friend of sorts, had died. Though the mans mental state has always been in question, the things I have discovered since I started my research have led me to wonder just how much of his condition was caused by his own mental health, and how much of it was a product of the place in which he resided. This street seems to perpetuate these sort of stories, and despite the schedule I have been keeping, there are still no shortage of tales to tell.
The man...Harry...had insisted to me that some monster had taken his eyes, and had replaced them with teeth. He...didn't die well. He got in an argument with one of the other patrons, who had grown tired of his story. When the other person tried to claim he was making it up, Harry took a fork and shoved into one of his eyes. I think he meant to demonstrate his ability to eat.
The fork went in too far, and ended up lodging itself into the flesh behind the retina. He stood up, and in his inebriated state his feet got tangled in the legs of the chair. Then he fell forward, his full weight...
I have heard of some terrible things occurring on Wellington Street, but somehow this has been the hardest one. The man was obviously disturbed, and needed help. But to be killed like that. It just seems so empty of a death. It was simply an accident. I mean, the other patron was tired of hearing his madness, and I can't blame him for that. And Harry...he was just as tired of hearing people call him crazy. Though I did not know him well, he was one of the reasons I started all this in the first place. In my mind at least, that makes him terribly important.
A couple of days ago, and I was waiting for the train at the local station. It had been a long day, and I was looking forward to heading home. As I was waiting, I took note of the other people waiting with me. It is a habit I have picked up over the years. “People watching” is what my mom called it. It was during this process that I began to notice a increasing number of police officers converging on either side of the tracks. They were clearly wearing their vests, and were clearly waiting for the train to arrive.
One of them said hello to me, and I responded in turn. They asked me where I was from, and I admitted that I wasn't from around the area but still lived rather close by. They said I had an accent, and then continued on their way down the platform.
Several minutes later the train arrived, and it did not take long for me to realize what they were waiting for. As the cars were passing to a stop, I noted that one of them had only two passengers. This was strange, as the other cars were full of people. One was an extremely tall, dour looking woman with long features and stringy hair. Her eyes were a pale blue and on her lips was poorly applied lipstick.
The other was a extremely short male devoid of all hair, with a deep blank stare. His eyes were small for his head, and his ears were surprisingly large. The were simply sitting next next to each other, and as the train slowed to a stop they remained still, moving very little.
I could not determine how the man and the woman were related to one another, and it wasn't until I noticed the matching wedding bands that I made the connection. It would seem that is shouldn't have been possible for me to see it, but every couple of seconds they would reached up towards one another and gently caress each others cheeks. Then they would simply return to the position in which they were before, blank stares looking out the windows of the car.
"When the Chernobyl nuclear reactor began to melt down, a lot of people were brought in to help to clean up the mess. At the time I was working with the local fire department, under Lieutenant Volodymyr Pravik. I had only been on for a couple of weeks, and at the time it had seemed this would be a nice station. Nuclear energy was supposed to be safe. It was supposed to be easy work. But when the call came in, we were spared many of the full details. Had we been told the truth, I think some of us would have hesitated. We were not informed of what had happened, that the reactor had been compromised. It all seemed normal at first, and we managed to put out the fire in a little under three and a half hours, a small amount of time considering how big it got. But our celebrating, even reserved, was short. By the time we had realized what had happened, many of us were already dead.
The Lieutenant died ten days later, and was declared a hero, though his death from radiation burns felt empty to me. By that point we had discovered what had happened, how we had been exposed to high levels of radiation. At first it seemed the Lieutenant and a select few others would be the only ones to die. But they weren't. Most of the rest died too, some with dignity, and some in a way closer to the way I imagine a normal person dies.
Many of them said that exposure to radiation made you taste metal, and that there was a sensation of pins and needles on their skin. It was only later that I understood that these were signs of fatal levels of exposure to radiation. We didn't know just what we had done, the amount of people we had saved. It wasn't until later that we discovered how bad things were. By then, I didn't care much.
We were eventually relieved of our duties, though some of us stayed on. We were dead anyway. Most figured they had nothing left. I didn't though. I wanted to go away, as far as I could from the disaster. Back to my wife. Back to my family. They used those fucking gieger counters to measure the level of radiation we had been exposed to. They told this information to my family. To my wife. My wife left me. Said I was “dirty.” When she died months later I could not bring myself to go to her funeral.
Time passed. The disaster became news. I continued to be sick, but I didn't not die. In my head, I heard that gieger counter clicking away. Sometimes it would get so bad that it was all I could hear. Everything tasted like metal, and that strange sensation on my skin required me to take medicine to keep it from driving me crazy. The doctors told me it was survivor's guilt, but they didn't really get it. Me being alive wasn't something that I regretted. It was something I couldn't understand.
There is a series of small apartment complexes situated near the factories that run along parts of Wellington Street. These formally housed many of the factory workers, most of which migrated to the area after the factories were put up. Now the complexes serves as low income housing for a growing population of the areas poor, though this has not always been the case. For a period of time, one of the apartment complexes was temporarily shut down after a series of residents reported waking up to a figure in their room.
The first sighting was in early 1977. The encounter reportedly occurred in the person's bedroom, which had tall walls, one window at the far corner of the room, and was sparsely decorated. The resident awoke suddenly to a sound like someone wheezing, seeming to come from one area of the room and then another. They looked around the room, but saw nothing at first.
The area was darkened by the drawn shades, but as their eyes adjusted to the light filtering through the bottom of the window, they could distinctly make out a form. The figure was reported as being of medium height, but outside of that the person could not add in any definable features. They were facing the window, though with the shades drawn it couldn't have seen anything. The resident reached for their phone while its back was still turned to them. When they turned back the figure was gone, no trace of its presence to be found. A personal investigation further found all the windows and the front door still locked and undisturbed.
At first the reports were dismissed by both the local police and many of the people involved, as no real evidence of this being could be found. Many people continued to report this strange occurrences, and over the course of a couple of weeks there were no less than seven reports of this strange being in the apartments.
One of the worst of these sightings occurred approximately two weeks after the initial report. This occurred in one of the apartments on the second floor. The residence housed a father and their young daughter, who moved shortly after a recently resolved divorce. The man reported waking up to the sound of his daughter screaming. He came into the room, finding his daughter in her bed, her arms pinned, with the strange thing hunched over her. The moment he entered the darkened room, the thing turned and looked at him. Thus far his description of the thing is the most complete.