The Storage Papers podcast is excited to officially have a home on the internet. It’s been scattered here and there across various podcasting and social media platforms, but now there is a central hub where you can keep up with the latest info and follow along as Jeremy investigates the mysterious papers found in an abandoned storage unit.
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We’ve all seen the signs: no trespassing, keep out, warning. Most of us have ignored these signs at one point or another. We assume they’re erected for the purpose of ownership, as in “stay off my property”. I remember hanging out in a cemetery in high school after dark, and I recently checked out the old Questhaven property locally here by where I live. If you haven’t heard of it, you should do a quick internet search, but that’s beside the point of today’s witness statement. The point is, perhaps we shouldn’t make assumptions about the reasons for these signs. Maybe they really are placed for our own protection, as our witness today has learned for herself.
This witness statement was folded into thirds, as if it was included inside an envelope. The front page had a yellow sticky note on it, and written on that sticky note, it said “Ron, I thought of you when I read this. I’ll let you know if we find anything.”
Witness statement of Monique Rivera, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, recorded by California Highway Patrol Office, Ian Partridge.
Officer’s notes: I found Miss Rivera on highway 76 just after 7:00 a.m. this morning. She had been laying down on the shoulder of the highway, and as I was passing by, she had climbed to her knees and began waving her arms. I barely noticed her due to the amount of dirt covering her causing her to blend in with the environment. She appeared severely dehydrated, had an ankle injury, and I suspected she was in shock, so I called in paramedics and took her statement at the hospital. The following is her account, which I have forwarded to local law enforcement:
On Saturday night, my boyfriend, Miguel and I went hiking up to the observatory. There’s a moderate trail that we would take sometimes. You can drive up to the base of the trail, hike just over 3 miles with some elevation gain, and the observatory is at the top of the trail. We both love going up there to see the stars, and Saturday was our 6-month dating anniversary, so we planned a romantic hike and a picnic.
We got to the trail around 3:00 p.m. and reached the observatory by [4:30]. We knew the trail closed at sunset, so we left the observatory around [5:30] and started making our way down, stopping at a nice panoramic spot for a while to have dinner. Miguel packed a blanket, a bottle of wine, and apparently he had made some tamales with his cousins. That’s how we met, you know. I live in his neighborhood and he came knocking on my door one day, asking if he could pick some leaves from my banana tree in my front yard. When I asked him why, he said it was for one of his family recipes. That weekend, knocked on my door again and gave me a grocery bag with about 10 tamales in them. I invited him in for a conversation and the rest is history.
After we ate and had a couple glasses of wine, the sun had begun to set, we packed up our belongings and started making our way down the trail back to the car. Maybe it was the wine, but we had been extra flirty with one another, and he suggested we find somewhere off the trail to pull out the blanket and mess around. I remember noting that we were not supposed to be on the trail after sunset according to the sign at the trailhead, and that I was worried about getting towed. He was kind of making fun of me saying nobody in their right mind would drive a tow truck all the way up here to tow someone from a desolate parking area, and it completely made sense.
We were concerned that there might be other hikers on the trail behind us, so we decided to get away from the trail and find a secluded area to throw the blanket down. We found the perfect little hill where if we just walked on the other side of it, we wouldn’t be visible from the trail, and we’d be far enough away that we could make a little noise and not be noticed. So we headed in that direction, toward the top of the hill. Once we were at the top, we scoped out a nice clearing on the other side with some flat ground without trees.
As we started walking toward it, we heard a really strange sound, almost like a weird insect that I had never heard before. We just ignored it at first. After laying the blanket on the ground, the sound seemed like it was getting closer, and louder. Whatever was causing it couldn’t have been more than 10 feet beyond the treeline. We sat in silence for a moment, confused. It was definitely not something either of us were accustomed to hearing. Then we heard some branches break really close to us. As we stood up, whatever it was stopped making any sounds.
We looked at one another and talked about feeling weird about making out there unless we took a look to make sure nobody was there, so we started walking in the direction that we heard the noises. I grabbed his hand as we passed the treeline, and when we got to the approximate location where we thought we heard the noises, we looked around. We were both breathing heavily. We didn’t see anything at first. But then we heard a noise above our heads. As we looked straight up, I saw what looked like a giant tree branch that was pointed straight down at us. I continued scanning the area at first, looking for a bird or perhaps a squirrel in the tree, but then the branch moved.
As I refocused on the part that was moving, I realized it was no branch. It was a huge insect head, which looked a lot like a praying mantis. I was speechless, and too shocked to make a noise. I looked at Miguel and he was still scanning the canopy looking for something else. That’s when I grabbed his arm tightly. He looked at me in confusion, so I pointed directly at its face. I could tell the body was suspended upside down from a branch at least 20 feet above our heads, which would have made this thing at least 10-12 feet tall. It must have been holding onto the branch above with its feet.
Miguel still didn’t see it at first. It was the exact same color as the pine tree it was suspended from, and its skin, or exoskeleton, or whatever you call it. It looked just like the bark of the pine tree, as if it was painted on in the same pattern. It must have been some kind of camouflage. I could tell when Miguel finally recognized the thing in front of us as something other than a tree because he flinched. When he did, two antennae unfolded from the thing’s forehead, and small pincers where its jaw was begun quivering.
Miguel said, “fuck this, let’s go” and grabbled my wrist. We were attempting to move slowly while we backed away, watching this thing. Its head moved to follow us, and we didn’t get more than a couple of steps away before the pincers spread apart, revealing the thing’s mouth on the inside. It began spraying a foul-smelling liquid from a small canal on the bottom of its mouth. It looked like tar. I remember feeling Miguel’s hand let go of me. He had taken a majority of the spray directly, and I was getting hit with splatter that was bouncing off of him. When I turned my head to look at Miguel, he had already hit the ground. It was only a split second before my vision blurred and I became extremely dizzy myself. I too fell on the ground, and before I completely lost consciousness, I remember seeing the forest floor speeding by and Miguel and I were being dragged through the woods.
When I came to, my head felt like it was going to explode. I tried to call out to Miguel, but my voice came out muffled. There was something over my mouth and face. I started crying and quickly realized my tears were running up onto my forehead instead of down my cheeks. I was hanging upside down somehow. I tried to move my hands, but it was difficult. When I tried to move my head to look toward my hands, it was met with resistance. I couldn’t see, and remembered getting sprayed with that liquid, some of it hitting me in the eyes. I wondered if I had been blinded. Something was confining my whole body, placing pressure on my skin as I attempted to move. It felt rubbery… and viscous.
I began to panic, breathing harder and harder until the material begins going in and out of her mouth with each breath like a plastic bag would. Panic set in for a moment until I was able to grab hold of the filmy substance with my teeth and was eventually able to bite a hole into it. Like a balloon, a giant hole snapped open in the stuff, instantly allowing the cold, damp air to hit me in the face, and I realized there was nothing wrong with my vision, though it was a little blurry at first. I could see that she I was in a dimly-lit cave, underground somewhere.
I was dangling upside down in some kind of cocoon, which began slowly turning the more I wiggled my body to try to get free. All around me, there were dozens of other shapes suspended from the ceiling. They look like sleeping bags but in various shapes. I tried to wiggle my body more furiously in an attempt to get free, and as I did, my cocoon continued turning and my vision became clearer. I too, had been suspended in one of those put sleeping bag things, which made me wonder if there were other people in them too. I focused on trying to spin completely around, looking for any sign of Miguel, but all I saw were motionless cocoons in the shapes of mostly animals. There were deer, what looked like dogs, smaller ones about the size of rabbits or skunks, and even a few human-shaped ones. I knew one of them had to be Miguel.
Eventually I was able to get an arm free, which allowed me to rip the material in front of me, and ultimately fall to the ground. When I hit the ground, I heard a pop in my left ankle. I didn’t feel pain at the time, but quickly realized when I attempted to stand that both of my legs were asleep. I tried to stand, but had no feeling in my legs below my knees. I began screaming for help, and continued to look around for Miguel. I couldn’t reach the cocoons from my position on the ground, but as I looked around the cavern, I noticed a tunnel at the periphery. There was only one, so I thought that would be the way out. I looked around for the creature too, but didn’t see anything.
Then I noticed something else. Opposite the tunnel, on the other side of the cavern, there was a larger object suspended from the ceiling. I realized that the only visible light in the entire cavern was emanating from it, just a faint yellow glow. The outside of it was covered by the same rubbery material containing the other cocoons, but it was much larger in size. It was suspended by 7 or 8 rope-like attachments unlike the sleeping bag-shaped cocoons, which were suspended only by one. And it was roughly about the size of 3 or 4 adult elephants. It was pulsating, and I could hear a muffled chittering sound coming from its direction, similar to the one I heard in the woods. Only this time, it sounded like there were dozens of them.
That’s when I knew I had to leave, but I was still worried about Miguel. When I was able to stand, I began jumping up to slap a few of the human-shaped cocoons in hopes that one would start moving around. That’s when I realized my ankle was in pain. I was only able to reach a few of them, smacking what would be the peoples’ heads, but none of them moved. I probably only got half-way through the human-looking ones when I heard a popping sound, and the chittering got louder. As I turned to look at the giant cocoon, I saw a smaller version of the mantis head I had seen previously begin to poke its way through the membrane.
At that point, I knew that if I didn’t leave and try to get help, Miguel may not stand a chance, or anyone else that was in there if, in fact, there were others still alive. I didn’t know how long they had been there, but I got the hell out of there as fast as I could. I tried running, but couldn’t move more quickly than a fast walk with the pain in my ankle. The tunnel probably went more than a hundred yards before I started to see daylight. As I made my way toward the light, the wall came alive. I saw movement to my left and by the time I was able to turn my head to see what it was, the giant mantis had grabbed me by the shoulder and picked me up.
With my feet suspended off the ground, it pulled my face close to its own. The skin now had what looked like a cave rock pattern, and it had changed colors to mimic my surroundings. It opened its mouth, and extended an odd-looking appendage about the diameter of a drinking straw that was forced into my nose. It pushed and pushed, as I writhed in pain, screaming, until I heard a crunching sound from between my eardrums inside my head. Immediately following this sound and an even sharper, more intense pain, I felt an odd sensation. It first I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, but quickly realized I didn’t feel any. A rush of information and emotion came into my mind. It’s hard to explain, but in that moment, I felt like I was having someone else’s experiences. I know it sounds crazy.
After a few seconds, the appendage slipped out of my nose, being trailed by a stream of blood, and the thing gently lowered me to the ground, turned around, and started skittering down the tunnel in the direction I had come from. I made it out of the tunnel, and from the looks of it, I was guessing it had to be early afternoon. I was in the middle of the forest, somewhere on Palomar Mountain. It was a clear day and I could make out the coastal communities to the West where the sun was looming.
It took me at least a couple of days to walk, and eventually crawl, with my swollen ankle to the side of the road. I reached the shoulder of the highway in the dark morning hours and passed out, but I knew it was just a matter of time before someone would drive by and hopefully spot me. A lot of people ended up driving by once the sun came up, but you were the first person who noticed me, even though I had been trying to wave every car down that I could. I just didn’t have the energy to get up, and my ankle was so swollen and painful that I couldn’t stand. I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink in what seemed like days.
What’s most concerning to me now, though, is these thoughts I keep having. I am supposed to do something. Though I’m incredibly worried about Miguel, I am even more concerned about what that thing did to me. It wants me to bring others to it. It feeds off of people and animals, and there are more of them underneath the mountain, dwelling in the caves. They can come out to hunt, but a majority of their food source is derived from luring things to them. It’s like a conscious thought that I can’t suppress. Even I feel the need to return. On one hand, I’m worried for anyone who might go there in search of Miguel or anyone else, but on the other, I can’t just leave him there to die!
At this point in Miss Rivera’s statement, Officer Partridge notes that she became inconsolable and would make a decision with the consultation of his superior at CHP. There were no other statements recorded directly from the Highway Patrol, mainly because they believed the jurisdiction should be overseen by local PD.
Included with this witness statement, with the same folded pattern of the statement itself, were a few other items. There were three missing persons reports from the same area, around the Palomar Mountain trail and the observatory, and there were two written medical reports with Monique Rivera’s patient identification on them. It appears they were reports from both CT and MRI examinations of her head, dated the day following Officer Partridge’s statement, and presumably from that very hospital stay. There were highlighted sections on each of these reports.
The CT scan found a small subdural bleed in the brain, as well as inflammation overlying the sphenoid bone at the base of the brain. An MRI was recommended. The MRI report confirms a small bleed, but not new. It mentions it being old in one area and clotted in another. Also highlighted were the words “moderate enlargement of the pineal gland with no evidence of trauma in the surrounding tissue. Enlargement noted is typical of post-surgical procedure but without the typical, identifiable scarring pattern as seen with most post-op neurosurgery. Origin of enlargement unknown. Follow up with patient’s physician to inquire about previous history of surgery and/or international travel.”
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Welcome back to the Storage Papers. I’m pleased to report I’m still alive and was not murdered in a dark alley behind a seedy bar. And while I definitely have some more interesting documents I’ve found in the storage papers, I’ve also been able to make some progress in connecting some dots, so to speak. I’m starting Season 2 off not by sharing any documents I’ve found within the Storage Papers, but with an opportunity to tell you about this meeting I finally had with Ron Hammond.
It went mostly how I expected it to, and still in some ways, there were a couple of unexpected turns…in a great way though, and I know you will be interested to hear about them.
We met on a Sunday afternoon at a local coffee shop. I told him what I looked like beforehand and that I’d be wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt, without the hood off of course, and I’d have a digital recorder on the table in front of me at the agreed-upon time. He was punctual, and approached me directly without ordering anything. When he got close, I extended my hand to shake his, and he paused for a moment to look at the digital recorder before shaking my hand and asked if I was already recording.
When I told him I wasn’t, he started to negotiate some terms. He didn’t shake my hand… this wasn’t the start I had hoped for, but he eventually said it would be fine if I record our conversation, though only if I didn’t use the recording for the podcast. I was extremely disappointed by this… I mean, that was the whole point of my recording. But when I began protesting, he turned around and began to walk out. I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice, so I must apologize as I won’t actually be able to share any of that audio with you today.
The first few minutes of our conversation were extremely awkward. I got the feeling he was sizing me up in some ways. It was obvious he didn’t necessarily trust me too much, and he made the strangest request. He asked me to roll up my sleeves so he could look at my forearms, just up to my elbows. He was quick to squeeze my arms, beginning at the elbow joint, and palpated methodically down to my fingertips, first on my left side, then my right. Once this strange ritual had been carried out, he seemed to loosen up a bit. I asked him if he cared to explain what that was about, and he said “not right now”.
As I was about to begin asking him some questions, Ron began with a barrage of his own. He asked me a lot of questions about my religious beliefs and my knowledge of scripture. He also asked if I’d ever used a Ouija board, if I had any experiences obtaining psychic readings, and since I had previously mentioned being involved in paranormal investigations, if I had ever invited anyone or anything to use my body as a medium, or to channel themselves through me.
Just so you, the listeners are aware, I was raised with Christian principles and went to private schools through 7th grade. My knowledge of scripture, I would say, is better than average, however, I don’t attend church for personal reasons that are beyond the scope of this podcast. I refuse to dabble with Ouija boards, and no, I have never attempted to allow a spiritual entity to use my body as a vessel for communication. The only time I received a so-called psychic reading was for a previous podcast I produced where I was interviewing someone who claimed to be psychic, and she read for me on the show.
Eventually, I asked if he was going to answer any of my questions, and he replied “sure… though this is the first one you’ve asked.” Before I could even reply though, he laid into me with more questions, wanting to know what experiences I’ve had with demonic entities. Now that question took some time for me to answer because ultimately I wasn’t sure if some of the experiences I referenced during our conversation were actual demonic entities or something entirely different, not excluding the possibility that some could have even been hallucinations on my part. He said it was best to assume they were demonic entities and to always treat those interactions with great caution.
I told him about some of the shadow figures seen in my home recently, as well as throughout my childhood. I also told him about a few encounters that you’d consider typical poltergeist activity, but with some atypical details like the smell of sulfur and a couple of objects – a book and a doorknob of all things, spontaneously catching fire during a couple of investigations. While he had an interest in these things, he spent most time asking me about the winged creature I had been seeing repeatedly in my dreams. Ron seemed absolutely certain that the creature should be speaking to me in my dreams more than I could recall, and he encouraged me to keep a journal by my bed so that I could jot down notes about my dreams or any speech happening during them immediately when I wake up so that I don’t forget.
The conversation wasn’t entirely one-sided. I asked him about the instructions he previously gave to avoid naming any demonic entity that I encountered, and he replied more or less as I expected with a somewhat biblical-based answer. He said that naming it could have varying effects. Power is held within a name, so if you’re going to go about using it, you’d better be aware of what the holder of that name is capable of. A name used to have more significance culturally speaking. Historically, when a parent would name a child, it would be after an attribute that the parent wished to bestow upon the child. A modern version of this concept would be in the name, Hope or Grace. In addition though, if you’ve ever done any research on exorcisms, a majority of the time involved spent by the clergy is in finding out who is possessing the victim, and acquiring a name.
They need to know the name of the demon in order to exert authority over it, and ultimately remove it from the vessel which it inhabits. But in order to have authority, you must also have faith in God. The greater one’s faith is, the greater the authority over the entity. This is why the rite of exorcism is only approved, at least in the Catholic church, to be carried out by someone, in their perspective, with great faith. If you think about priesthood, a priest has sacrificed oneself and his personal luxuries to live a life of service. And only those priests who have demonstrated the highest of faith, and have had formal training for exorcism from the Vatican, are approved by the church to perform the rite.
Ron went on to ask “what do you think the point, or the motivation would be of a demonic entity, to possess a human?” I couldn’t provide him a clear answer, though I had a couple of theories I shared. He basically told me I was incorrect, and explained that biblically speaking, it can be contrived that we humans are capable of having equal authority that Jesus himself would have, but we are flawed. Demons know this, and they are jealous of the potential we possess. You have to ask yourself, “do demons have faith? Of course they do”, he said. They search for power and authority in any way they can acquire it. They don’t wish to rule in heaven. They wish to spoil God’s “greatest creation”, human beings, out of cruelty, jealousy, revenge, hatred, and spite for the creator. If you can’t hurt someone directly, you hurt what they love. These are the motives of the purely evil.
I continued asking questions. One of the questions I asked was about the video that he claimed to obtain of that cloudy dark entity from his pocket video camera he told me about in his letter. He not only confirmed he had the video still, but he showed it to me on his phone. The audio was sub-par for sure, but the video quality was exceptionally good for having been converted from its original magnetic tape form to digital. I was shocked. The video shows him walking out a door into an alleyway, and then it turns to face a dumpster on his left. You can see a woman’s calves and feet in high heels laying on the ground on the other side of the dumpster. Then as the camera slowly pans wide, it’s just as Ron described, a shadowy figure hovering above a woman’s body. You can see it morph into a man and turn upright to walk toward Ron, and then an up-close shot of the man’s tie before he goes out of frame and Ron runs over to the woman.
I asked him to rewind the video to try to get a still shot of the man’s face. To my astonishment, he was bald, and I couldn’t make out any eyebrows. He was smiling that wide-toothed grin I’d become so familiar with. Yes, the facial features were somewhat different than the images I’d seen of Malcolm Foye, but the other features were shockingly similar. Ron confirmed my suspicion that this had been that very demonic entity that now possesses Malcolm.
At this point in the conversation, I couldn’t help but ask why he had any interest in meeting me and allowing me to continue the podcast based on his collection of documents. I don’t know what it was about this part of our conversation, but I felt like he was lying. He claimed that listening to these events was refreshing his memory regarding some of the details of these cases, and that it was a huge help to him in reviewing details that maybe he originally dismissed.
I tried asking him about what happened in his law enforcement career. He refused to answer any questions about that, and politely asked me to move on. So I brought up his trip to Tijuana. He seemed enthusiastic to inform me about his trip. I finally began to feel like he was getting comfortable around me. Ron said there were actually several reasons he was there. First he had been researching Preston Nicholson – you remember, the Magician’s Apprentice from Episode 6, and learned that he had been adding to his skillset some psychic mediumship and communication with the dead, along with some other rumored abilities. All of this was according to some subreddit where he claimed to have made a connection with Nicholson himself, and they apparently had some dialogue for a little while under a throwaway account. And then he heard local rumors that an amazing mentalist was performing shows in Tijuana in English only, similar to the documented account by the FBI back in 1997. Ron said he sent a message to his contact on Reddit informing him that he would like to meet with him, if he’s actually who he claimed to be online, and took a chance by traveling down there.
But then Ron shared another reason for traveling there, one which he didn’t even truly grasp the entire significance of until he was able to meet with Nicholson. Ron was convinced that he could recruit some help for Brianne Scanlon, whom he felt was undergoing the preliminary stages of oppression and quite possibly possession herself. You see, he is a devout Catholic. He doesn’t miss Mass, and he had attended a local church during his stay in Tijuana during his trip to meet with Nicholson. Prior to this trip, he had tracked down a priest who was originally an American, and had been transferred to the church in Tijuana. He had also been trained by the Vatican in the rite of exorcism, and one particular priest, he learned, had an excellent reputation, and was scheduled to travel throughout California in the next few months to speak to other diocese about his experiences with exorcism.
So even though Ron had previously planned on soliciting this priest’s help, he figured he was killing two birds with one stone with this trip. But he got side-tracked by a week or so when he met with Nicholson. He said, in fact that they had several meetups, and had developed a rapport. He even said they had been listening to the podcast episode about him, and had a good laugh over it. And then, most recently, they had agreed to meet one last time for another discussion – the specific topic, Ron wouldn’t say, but he did mention it was related to Project Hydra. They had become rather casual with one another and agreed to have a beer over their discussion when Nicholson noticed another episode of the Storage Papers had come out. So they sat and listened to Episode 10, Original Beast. When I got to the end of the episode and spoke of the postcard from Catalina Island with three signatures, Ron said he was dumbfounded.
If you recall, the signatures were supposedly those of people whose bodies had been inhabited by the beast, the cursed ones. There were two first-names, Ivanov and Maxwell, referring to Ivanov Vassiliev, the originally-cursed Russian soldier, and Maxwell Stannard, the U.S. Intelligence Officer and Spy who claimed to have knowledge of Project Hydra, and that the curse was passed onto. But the third name, Lucas Stone, was what caused Ron to really lose his mind. He had the man’s name in the papers the whole time, but didn’t recall it, or simply failed to make the connection. Lucas Stone was the name of the American priest he had been researching, the exorcist. This was the priest that he had hoped to connect with to help Brianne Scanlon.
Ron spoke a lot with me about fate and the concept of divine intervention. I mean, what are the chances that Ron had this single mention of Lucas Stone’s name from a post card dated 1986 that seemed so insignificant back then. And now, the same man, who according to the Storage Papers may actually be a werewolf AND a priest who trained at the Vatican that Ron needs help from. He had a tie-in to his identity so many years before it became relevant, and it was easily overlooked. I couldn’t help but to feel like I contributed to something here, even though it may be a small part.
Ron acknowledged the unlikely probability of this, and as we wrapped up our conversation, he asked me to relay a message to Detective Anderson, who had helped him find Preston Nicholson. I’m not at liberty to discuss that message at the moment, but it was clear I had to find him soon. Ron gave me a couple leads that should allow me to reach him quickly. Ron did encourage me to keep the podcast going, and said it was “doing some good”. I got the distinct impression that he had ulterior motives for encouraging the podcast to continue, but so long as it aligns with my plans to keep more episodes coming, I’m game. We left with plans to reconnect soon, and he urged me to continue strengthening my faith so that I (quote) “don’t become compromised”. And he reminded me that I have authority over any of these demonic entities should they pay me a visit.
Before we parted, Ron gave me a discerning look, as if still trying to weigh my intentions. He asked me how involved I wanted to be with his work… if I preferred to be behind the scenes reorganizing the storage papers and looking for relevant information on his current tasks of both helping Brianne Scanlon and looking further into Project Hydra. I asked for some clarification since I didn’t really believe my podcast was a “behind the scenes” role. Then he handed me a folded piece of paper and said, “if you’re truly interested in helping, and finding some valuable information, take your voice recorder here and start asking some questions.” I unfolded the piece of paper, which had an address in La Mesa on it. Then he said, “just make sure to ask permission to use anything you discuss on your podcast before putting it out there.”
Then he got up, shook my hand, and walked out. Ron texted me some photos a few hours after our meeting with a series of symbols, saying “look for these in search for Hydra documents.”
After I got home, I did a quick internet search of the address from the piece of paper he gave me. I didn’t find anything unusual about the location. It looked like a small residential home near a shopping center and across the street from a church. Perhaps I’ll take a drive out there within the next week or two.
Two days after my meeting with Ron, I received a small, book-sized package in the mail. I was surprised to see a couple of pages of paper with handwriting on it, and directly underneath it, wrapped in bubble-wrap and enclosed inside a Ziploc bag, was a flash drive.
The letter read:
Ron tells me you have checked out okay, and are interested in assisting us with some research. After he shared Episode 2 of your podcast with me (this was the one referencing a flash drive with the video of a man spontaneously appearing in a hotel parking lot), I wanted to make sure you were trustworthy before asking for your involvement. If Ron trusts you, and I trust Ron, then you must be okay.
The fact is, the homicide that occurred at that hotel is a cold case. I mentioned the contents of the flash drive to my chief at the time, and the only evidence documented in the official report was a still-shot of the person’s face from the video. He made sure the paranormal stuff wasn’t included. We’ve also never been able to make a connection to the case with any of the medical files contained on the flash drive.
I’d like to ask for your assistance, since you are now in possession of what you refer to as “The Storage Papers”, in searching for any documents linking to this homicide and/or any of the medical documents on the USB drive itself. There’s a couple things I’d like to point out… I’ve placed the medical documents in their own folder on the drive, but I’ve also added a folder named “evidence”. Within that folder, you’ll find a copy of the official police report, as well as results from forensic testing, photographs of the crime scene, and a longer version of the video you previously mentioned on your show. I had the security footage downloaded for one hour prior to the appearance of the man, and one hour following his exit from the screen.
You should also be aware that Brianne Scanlon and her brother, Ben have medical documents on that flash drive. You’ll also see some lab results for Malcolm Foye, along with many other patient files. I have exhausted my resources at the Police Department in an attempt to find references to anyone else’s medical files and known homicides, kidnappings, or any other crimes. In fact, it is my hope that since I’ve come to a dead-end, perhaps you might be able to cross reference some of the names within those medical documents with any potential connections to The Storage Papers.
Ideally, you’d be able to pay special attention to any names relating to your search for Project Hydra documents to reference these medical files. My hunch is there may be a connection there somehow.
If you find anything, please make sure to reach out. Below I’ve listed my personal cell phone and email address. Good luck, and let me know if I can be of any assistance.
I don’t know why, but when I held this flash drive in my hands for the first time, it seemed surreal. This podcast was supposed to be interesting, or even entertaining. Now, it feels like something more. Almost like an obligation… not a reluctant one per se, but it’s not just some story that I’m reading about. It just got real for me, and I feel a sense of moral obligation, or duty, to see if I can help.
While I dig further into these medical files, I began creating a basic Excel spreadsheet over the break with names and patient demographics. Of course, ethically speaking, I can’t share some specific things in association with actual names of people who, when I think about it, may very well be still alive and living near me. I’m not even sure if I can get into trouble for sharing information contained within, but I will also be continuing my search for any documents related to Project Hydra in real-time, and checking this spreadsheet for correlating names or other information. I’ll also continue sharing some of the other accounts that may or may not be related, with the promise that I’ll keep you posted as I learn more and as events unfold.
Before I end this episode, I should share some patterns that I’ve found simply by placing a few filters and sorting a few items on the spreadsheet I created. All of the records appear to have had lab work done, and more specifically, some kind of genetic testing not covered by insurance. This stuck out to me for two reasons. First, because the lab is not local and second, there were positive markers relating to a very specific gene mutation. I’ve tried to research these specific results online, as well as in some medical journals for research, and have come up with nothing explaining the significance of these results. Maybe it’s coincidence, but aside from all records coming from the same hospital, and the patients’ residences being located in San Diego county, this is the only pattern I can see at the moment.
I should also mention that some of the medical files contained photographs of the patients. Brianne Scanlon’s was one of them. When I first looked at it, I thought she was pretty, but there was something familiar about her photo that I didn’t see at first. It began bothering me, but the more I looked at it, the more I was frustrated until I gave up. It was like watching a TV show knowing you’ve seen an actor’s face on something else, but you can’t quite figure it out, and then later it will just come to you when you aren’t even thinking about it. That was the case here… I was on my way to work on Friday, and if you listened to the trailer for this season, you’ll recall an elderly woman in a purple dress in my dream that spoke to me in Latin, not in a woman’s voice. Brianne Scanlon is the elderly woman in my dream, only her medical record picture shows her looking younger than me. My dream depicted her as a woman who appears to be at least in her 70’s. How is that possible?
I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this. You can always reach me by social media or email. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Or you can leave me a voice message at anchor.fm/thestoragepapers. Make sure to reference episode 12, Consensus Ad Idem. And if you do reach out, please let me know if I have your permission to share what you’ve said. I’ll be back soon with more documents to share from The Storage Papers.
Huge developments have occurred over the show’s hiatus. In this week’s episode, I will fill you in on my meeting with Ron Hammond as promised. Things have gotten real, and this is becoming much more than just a podcast! Some pieces begin to fall into place as our ad hoc team, if you want to call it that, comes together. Due to the nature of information shared on this episode, listeners may want to listen to the following episodes prior to listening to this week’s:
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Letter from Brianne Scanlon to Ron Hammond, Post-dated Thursday, March 19, 2019
Detective Anderson gave me your contact information and said you could help. I think my brother, Ben and I may be in danger, and it might be my fault. He just told me about this guy who came to his house last week with a really big grin. Well, I know who he is and why he’s coming after Ben. At least, I know who he used to be.
His name is Malcolm Foye, and I was actually dating him for about 4 months. I met him at a friend’s Halloween party last year. I actually asked Ben for a ride there and he may have even met him since he stayed for a drink or two, but I’m not certain. I remember Malcolm was the only person at the party who wasn’t wearing a costume. He looked so different then.
I went dressed as Harley Quinn, and I remember giving him a hard time about not dressing up for the party. The first thing he said to me was “You sweet talkin’ me? All that chit chat’s gonna get you hurt,” which threw me off guard at first, and also turned some heads because not everyone there understood the reference. Then I remembered it was one of the Joker’s lines from the movie Suicide Squad and I had to explain that to a couple of guy friends of mine who looked like they were ready to tear him apart. I’m not like a super-fan of the comic books or anything, I just liked the character’s style in the movie.
Once I saved him from being pummeled, we actually had a chance to talk for quite a while. I’d never been interested in an older man before, and I thought he was probably 10 or 15 years older than me around his mid to late 40’s, though he looks much older now. At that point, he had a full head of hair and nice teeth, and I didn’t see a wedding ring on his finger. I have to admit, he was rather charming. He had a great sense of humor and even though I thought he needed some styling help with his choice of clothing, he seemed like a catch.
We were out on the back porch talking for a couple hours at least. When we decided to go back inside, most of the party had left except for my friend who lived there are a few of my close friends. They were gathered in the living room playing some kind of game. As we approached them, we saw a Ouija board laying out on the coffee table, and all 5 of my friends had their hands on the planchette.
Malcolm and I just stood and watched for a few minutes. I never really bought into the whole afterlife thing until recently, but everyone there seemed to believe they had made some kind of spirit communication. They were asking questions and believed the planchette was being moved by some disembodied spirit. I was intrigued. When they invited us to join them, I thought “why not”. I looked at Malcolm and said, “are you up for it?” His reply was odd. He had a smirk on his face and said “I already know what they’re going to say” and then leaned against the wall to watch us.
We took turns asking questions, and when it was my turn, I made sure to take the skeptic’s approach and asked, “if you’re real, can you make the lights flicker?” The planchette moved to the word “yes” and we all waited in anticipation. After 10 seconds or so, the next person began to ask a question, but just as they started speaking, the lights flickered on and off for about 4 or 5 seconds. This freaked everyone out, and people started letting go of the planchette. I was the last person touching it, and I felt it turning under my fingertips. It didn’t appear to be pointing at a specific letter on the board, but I realized amidst the lights going on and off that it had turned to point toward Malcolm.
It happened in what seemed like a split-second, but as the lights continued to flicker, I would see Malcolm clear as day in the light, but when they turned off, his silhouette looked like… something else. His outline was significantly taller than he was, I’d estimate between 7 and 8 feet tall, and he almost looked like a giant bird, except he had horns growing out of the sides of his head curving and pointing down at the floor. I could have sworn I saw long wings folded by his sides, and what looked like talons for arms.
At the sight of this, I took my hands off the planchette and the lights immediately stopped flickering. Of course, I thought I might have possibly had too much to drink because when the lights stayed on, I looked at Malcolm and he seemed confused at the way I was looking at him. He just said, “wow, that was interesting” very nonchalant and everyone else just laughed it off as coincidence. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable, but I half-heartedly tried to laugh it off like everyone else, and then I retreated to my friend’s spare room.
Malcolm actually followed me and asked if I was okay, and he kind of put me at ease by convincing me that what happened was just a coincidence. We set up a dinner date for the following weekend, and began to see each other.
About 3 or 4 weeks after that, he invited me to his church for a 10:00 a.m. service. I arrived about 10 minutes til, and sat in one of the pews in the far back, thinking it would be easier to find him when he walked in. I also hated that part of the service where everyone was supposed to stand and greet one another, so I was hoping I wouldn’t be next to anyone else. You see, I was raised in a very religious home, and kind of walked away during my rebellious teen years, and never really turned back.
The service started a few minutes late, and I was surprised to hear Malcolm’s voice behind me when I was turned around toward the entrance looking for him. He was actually the person giving the sermon. I could tell he was scanning the congregation as he spoke, and when his eyes met mine, he smirked just a little, but continued on. He spoke of the end of days, and legions of demons scouring the earth. It was the typical fire and brimstone fear tactic that I had experienced growing up, but it was different in a way. He never spoke of repentance. He just focused on the message of preparing one’s self for the apocalypse, but without the “getting saved” portion that I had grown so accustomed to. Aside from that, it seemed like stuff I’d heard before.
I began attending more and more services as we dated, and eventually I began serving the church throughout the week. Once people knew I was romantically involved with Malcolm, they treated me like royalty. It was a welcoming feeling at first, but over time, as I learned more about what they were about, it became increasingly uncomfortable. They called themselves the Order of the Divine Acolytes. I thought this name was a little old-testament, but it wasn’t until I really got involved that I started to see some warning signs.
We would hold smaller, more intimate worship sessions throughout the week, usually at night. Over the course of the next couple of months, Malcolm would begin experiencing… changes. One Friday night, we were all gathered in the church when he said we were going to do something different that night. He said it was time to recommit ourselves to the cause. He invited a small group of us up to the pulpit, and it was then that he removed his head piece. It was like a tall hat that he would wear when he gave his formal sermons on Sundays. When he took it off, his head was completely bald. This was shocking to me because I had just seen him a couple of days prior and he had a full head of hair.
Something seemed different about him. Normally he would sneak a little wink at me when he was speaking in kind of a flirty way. He was all-seriousness that night. There was an altar there, which had been draped with a white cloth that he uncovered. On top of it, there was a chalice. It was beautifully shimmering, all silver, with gold lining the rim of the cup and the base. Everyone’s eyes grew wide, as if they were admiring the beauty of this cup like I was. I don’t know why, but when I was looking around at everyone’s facial expressions, it occurred to me that the crosses which had been hanging on the wall were all gone. I looked around the room, remembering the giant cross at the back of the stage, the crosses on either side of the pews, and the one that hung above the rear balcony. All were missing except the one over the rear balcony. That cross had been hung upside down that night.
As I turned around to look at Malcolm again, he held a large ornate dagger in his hand. It was sheathed, but the craftsmanship looked similar to the chalice, and there were rubies on the hilt. He laid it to rest on both of his hands with his palms up. And he went around the circle we had formed. There must have been 10 of us, and he addressed us one by one, stating our name, and asking if we were prepared to declare our allegiance. When he came around to me, he stared at me coldly, and I almost felt threatened. He said, “Bri, will you declare your allegiance?”
I considered how to answer for a moment, but looking around the room, the eyes looking back at me seemed prepared to harm me if I said no. I looked at Malcolm once more before answering, and I swear he grew taller and some of his features seemed different. Perhaps it was the lighting, but he was truly… intimidating. Yeah, intimidating is the perfect term to describe him in that moment. I was compelled to say yes.
After everyone had confirmed, he unsheathed the dagger, and I watched as he gently took the tip of it to prick the index finger of the first person. He held the dagger horizontally over the cup with his right hand, and with his left, he pinched the bleeding finger, placing three drops of blood into the chalice. He didn’t even clean the knife before moving to the next person. Every instinct I had told me to run, but I couldn’t. He went around the room until it was my turn. I felt light-headed as he squeezed the drops of blood from my finger, but I was able to remain upright.
Once everyone had their turn, he performed this ritual on himself, then he sheathed the dagger. He then grabbed the chalice, and walked a second time around to each of us. He placed his still-bleeding finger in the chalice and dipped it into the blood, then wiped it on our foreheads in the symbol of an upside down cross, chanting something in Latin which he repeated with each of us. And then he marked himself, saying something a bit different. At that moment, his face became shrouded in shadow, and his eyes… his eyes turned black for just a moment, then returned to normal. I had never witnessed anything like it before, and I wondered if I was the only person to see it. As I looked around, everyone seemed giddy almost. They were all looking at him rather emphatically.
And then we were done. Everyone acted like they had just finished a normal Sunday service. I heard one person invite another to a barbecue the next day, and someone started talking about their kid’s performance in the school play. The more people just acted normally, the more uncomfortable I felt. Malcolm approached me and asked if I wanted to go out for coffee. At that point it was after 9:00 p.m., so I turned him down saying I had to be at work the next morning, and I wanted to be able to sleep that night.
I went home and had the worst nightmares of my life that night. I must have woken up every 10 or 15 minutes the whole night, thinking someone was in my home. I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming or not, but I kept seeing myself lying in bed surrounded by shadowy figures of people. They were all just standing there, staring at me. And at the very foot of my bed, I saw one shadow that stood out among the others. It was taller, and had wings, which would flare open when I tried to look at its face. I just thought if I could see details, I might see… well, I thought I might see Malcolm’s face. The problem was, every time the wings would open up, I’d wake right up, and then doze off a few minutes later to repeat the same process.
I also noticed that I had begun missing time. There were periods of hours that I couldn’t remember throughout my days, but apparently I had continued showing up where I needed to be and nobody mentioned me being missing or anything. I was still getting paid for my scheduled shifts at work. What time wasn’t missing was blurry. Life began to feel like a dream state where I would be going through the motions and doing my job, for example, at the hospital, but I wasn’t in control of my actions. You know when you multitask like having a phone conversation while you’re driving? Well you don’t really think about the driving part, you just do it, only there were times where I would be preoccupied with my thoughts and visions of the shadow people, but at the same time I was aware that I was stealing medications regularly from the hospital. I’ve never done that, and I could lose my nursing license if I got caught! I could also recall an occasion where I searched for, and download specific medical records onto a flash drive. I had no motivation to do this, but it was like I was willfully letting someone else drive my body, and I just sat by and watched without objection, barely aware of what I was doing. And then I remember giving those things to Malcolm. Those were the times that, upon delivery, I remembered that grin getting incredibly wide, and his face just stopped looking like it belonged to him. I hope that makes sense… sometimes it doesn’t even to me.
I began avoiding Malcolm for a little while after that until he called me out on it. He knew something was off, and wouldn’t leave me alone until I agreed to meet with him. And of course when we met up, he was charming as usual. I don’t know why I fell for it, but he still had that mix of flirtatiousness and wit that was impossible to push away. I found myself questioning my thoughts connecting him to that winged creature from my dreams… I was beginning to think I needed a shrink! We started hanging out again nearly every day, but since that night when we did the blood-letting ritual thing, he was always talking to people and inviting them to his church. He was a master of segues. He actually bought this couple coffee once. They had been behind us in line, and said it was his good deed for the day. Of course, that struck up a conversation where the couple thanked him, and he used that as an opportunity to plug his church. He was like a politician, crafting his words with great care, like one of those “choose your own adventure” books only there was a single ending that all paths led toward. He could read when people became uncomfortable, and knew exactly when to back off. I didn’t know whether to admire him or be afraid of him. He was so persuasive.
He continued to take every opportunity to do this, even when we were out on dates, which frustrated me to no end. He began attending church events without inviting me, which I was fine with. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it anyways, and I’m sure he was keen to that. I still went on Sundays, and started noticing a theme every couple of weeks. People in the congregation that I had once met were going missing. I’m not sure how many others may have noticed this since new people kept arriving. Core members who knew them would hold group gatherings to pray for the missing, and then a couple of weeks ago, I saw some news coverage that showed not only the name of the latest missing person in the congregation, but their picture as well. It was someone I remembered from the blood-letting ceremony. When I brought this up with Malcolm, he thought I knew, but in reality, I didn’t know anyone’s name from that night. It wasn’t until the photo was shown that I made the connection.
We continued on, and eventually he started asking about my family and friends, and why they were never around. When I told him I don’t just introduce all of my boyfriends to them, we had the whole talk about commitment and decided we were more than just casual as a couple. That was when I agreed to introduce him to Ben, with only one condition. He agreed not to talk about church when we met.
So I called Ben and arranged a dinner over at his place. Malcolm seemed excited when I told him, and not the least bit nervous when I mentioned that Ben had a tendency to be a little overprotective of his little sister. He asked me to pick him up at the church before heading over to Ben’s place, so I did. I pulled up right outside the door and honked a couple of times. When Malcolm didn’t come out right away, I decided to head inside the to see if I could find him. The lobby had a TV that had the local news on. Right before I reached the door to the chapel, coverage of a homicide caught my attention. I stepped closer to the TV and watched as they identified the victim as Gerald Hubert. The photograph of the man they showed was another one of the men that had been at the blood-letting ceremony with me. In a flashback in my mind, I realized he had been standing right next to me that night. They found him dead in a local hotel room with initial reports that he took a shotgun to his own head.
As I watched, the TV suddenly turned off. I turned around to see Malcolm with a remote in his hand. Three other members of the congregation stood behind them. All of them were standing perfectly still, just staring at me. Malcom said “are you ready to go”? I didn’t want to let him know that I recognized the man on the news, so I tried to act casual when I said “yeah” and conjured up a smile. Then he suggested we take his car. I got the impression that disagreeing would be unwise.
The drive over to Ben’s was quiet and I hadn’t even really looked at him since I got in the car. When we pulled up in front of his house, Malcolm finally asked what was wrong. When I turned to look at him, I was surprised to see his appearance had changed even more. He looked pale and sickly, like he had aged 10 years since the last time I saw him. He also didn’t seem to have any eyebrows. It reminded me of someone who was undergoing chemotherapy, but that couldn’t be right. He would have told me, and with the amount of time we spent together, I would have known.
I told him that I’d been having second thoughts about our relationship. I wasn’t about to let him know I recognized the guy on TV. I just knew I needed to distance myself from him. He didn’t say much at first. He just asked if we were taking a break or if we were done for good. I told him I wasn’t sure yet, and that I’d have to think about it. That’s when he really flipped out. He started lashing out at me in the car, saying things in a tone of voice that I didn’t recognize. Things like “if you think you can do better, then you’re not worthy of my presence” and “I would live to regret the day I turned him down”. He even said he’d be waiting for me to come crawling back. When I said “that will never happen”, he became enraged. He wasn’t just angry, he was furious.
That’s when he began yelling at me in Latin, spit running off his chin and spraying in my face. I didn’t realize how far down in the corner of my seat I was cowering until Ben opened my car door and I nearly fell out on the ground. He must have heard the yelling and came out to investigate. I’m glad he did too. I’d never seen that side of Malcolm before. Ben pulled me out of the car and stood me up, and Malcolm got out of the driver’s side and stood there on his side of the car. Ben said “I think it’s time for you to leave.” Malcolm just smiled. He was calm again, and you’d never guess he had just finished yelling in my face two seconds ago. Then he said the strangest thing. He said, “These are strange times marked by unexplainable things happening all around us. Look around you. He who has eyes, let him see.”
Ben told him one more time to leave, and said that if he ever showed his face around me again, he would personally deal with him. Malcolm’s face changed again. It was as if his pupils dilated to the full size of his eyes, and he smiled a larger smile than I’d ever seen on him before. He said in an extremely calm voice, “You’ve already earned my protection, but you haven’t paid the price. I’ll be collecting soon, and if it can’t be from you, then it will be from someone dear to you.” He looked at Ben when he said this.
At this, Ben started walking around the car to get physical with Malcolm, but he quickly got in the car and slammed the door. He drove away slowly, and as he did, I could have sworn I saw something… irregular. It was dark outside, but I thought I saw Malcolm’s head turn completely around to look at us while he drove away. He was still grinning. Once he was out of sight, I started crying. When we went inside, I asked Ben what he thought about that smile he gave. Ben acted like he hadn’t seen it, and said it was pretty dark out and really didn’t even get a good look at his face. I ended up staying the night at Ben’s on his pull-out couch. He agreed to drive me to my car the next morning, which was still at the church. Thankfully, we were able to pick it up without having to interact with anyone there.
There’s one more thing. I’ve been watching the news and I saw another man from the church. He was killed in a hotel nearby. I’m worried that either Ben or I might be next, and we either need protection or we need to get away from here. I know I don’t have what you’d call hard evidence that these are related, but you have to agree this isn’t merely a coincidence. I could really use your help.
It’s abundantly clear that at least some of these documents are related to one another, and I think I’m going to need to take some time to conduct some research going forward before I produce any additional episodes of the show… or at least to get these more organized and find out which ones might be related. There’s also a few people I’m going to need to get in contact with. I have many questions. These accounts make me wonder if any of this stuff is still occurring, and I’m wondering why I’m being both encouraged by a disembodied voice and discouraged by some anonymous person sending me voice messages.
So in review, all of these documents pertain to events pretty local to the Southern California area from what I can tell, and some of the documents go back as far as the 80’s up until as recent as last year. I still need to find Detective Mark Anderson. I’m also going to try to do some research on this Order of the Divine Acolytes as well.
And you should know that I have recently received communication from someone claiming to be the previous owner of the documents I’m calling The Storage Papers. And last week, I actually met with this man. I want to do some research before I share our discussion in order to validate his identity. I just want to make sure he’s not some internet troll who’s been listening to the show, claiming to be someone he’s not. But IF this person checks out, you’ll know very soon. I may be away for a few weeks, but I will be updating my social media accounts with news and information in the meantime.
I’ve said it before, and I just want to say it again. Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. This concludes Season 1, and oh man, do I have some big plans for Season 2!
I would love to hear from you if you are able to corroborate information from any of these episodes. You can reach me on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Today’s episode is Episode 10, the Divine Acolytes. You can also leave me a voice message at anchor.fm/thestoragepapers. Please let me know if I have your permission to share any information you provide.
If you haven’t written a review on your podcasting platform of choice, I would really appreciate it if you would now after hearing the entire first season. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and opinions. Or if you want to reach out and share your favorite episode with me, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks again for listening! I’ll be back soon with more detailed accounts from The Storage Papers.
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You’re listening to The Storage Papers. Episode 10, Original Beast:
Today’s statement comes in the form of a Psychiatrist’s notes from several sessions with one of his patients. The notes speak for themselves, so let’s not delay in getting right to it.
Summary of clinical notes of Dr. William Talbert regarding Maxwell Stannard, Thursday, October 16, 1986:
Mr. Stannard informed me that today’s session, his 5th with me, would be his last. It is apparent that he possesses an overwhelming guilt which serves motivate his actions. I am of the opinion after these sessions that he truly believes what he is saying, and am inclined to diagnose him as delusional, but more specifically, with Clinical Lycanthrope. He… believes he is a werewolf, and has maintained this claim since his first session.
Five sessions is not nearly enough time to thoroughly evaluate the origins of his delusion, and treatment never really began. I would recommend further assessment to rule out schizophrenia. I simply listened, and passively took what he said as hypothetical in order to encourage the discussion to continue, and so that I might find out more about when or how this delusion started. Still, his knowledge of some historical events is remarkable, and his conviction to his story was extremely convincing. If I wasn’t bound to a confidentiality agreement, I would say his story would make for a very interesting book of fiction.
I first met with Mr. Stannard five weeks ago on Friday, September 12. He had concerns that he was about to harm someone the following week during the full moon. He presented a fairly classic werewolf story at first, but as he laid out more detail about his past, there were some unique aspects of lore that I was previously unfamiliar with. Of course, I simply recommended he seclude himself during the full moon. He claimed his parents were deceased, and he had no family or friends, so I had no justification to report this to the authorities because he stated he could refrain from leaving his home.
I was pleased to see him the following Friday, the day after the full moon. He appeared a bit disheveled, but content to report that he managed to avoid hurting anyone. That’s the day we began to really dive into his previous experiences. I asked how he believed he became a werewolf, or if he was born that way. He said his biological body assumed the form just two years ago, but when he was changed, his manifestation also included a sort of merging of the souls with another individual. With his transformation, he inherited someone’s memories. He said he (referring to his inherited memories) had been originally turned in the year 1228.
I asked him to walk me through some of these memories he inherited, and he did so convincingly. I didn’t detect any hesitation, and throughout the weeks I have interacted with him, I’ve requested clarifying statements and have asked for additional details, intentionally looking for inconsistencies. I’m reluctant to admit I have not yet found any.
I decided to focus on his most recent transformation from two years ago. He wouldn’t provide an exact date for his most recent “turn” because he claimed he wasn’t sure about the day, but said he’d been employed by the United States government to spy on Russia to relay information relating to cold war intelligence. He was tasked to report information on weapons technology, locations of strategic missile silos, and to identify and report on any perceived threats against the United States. He said he was caught planting a recording device in a military outpost, and was detained.
They interrogated him for weeks under drastic conditions where they starved him, stripped him of his clothing, and locked him in a concrete cell with no facilities. After the first two weeks and his refusal to identify himself or provide information, his care was suddenly overseen by a man named Ivanov Vasiliev, who he simply referred to as “Ivan”. No explanation was given to him for the change in personnel, but Ivan didn’t seem like the others, and Stannard suspected he wasn’t even interested in information. He said Ivan was kind to him, and gave him blankets, water, and what food he could spare – mostly bread. Though he only spoke to Ivan later during his imprisonment, Ivan spoke to him often and told him the story of how he came to be a werewolf himself. Mr. Stannard said he just listened for a few weeks before entering any dialogue.
Ivan wasted no time claiming that he was a beast, and not just any beast, but the original werewolf. He claimed to be the first human to be burdened with the curse, and that he was turned in the 12th century during the war between the Mongolian Empire and Russia. He said he, too, had been captured, and beaten badly. His tormentor, whose name he would not speak, held him for 2 years. He would be beaten and allowed to heal, then he would be beaten again. This torture was endured the entire time he was held, and Ivan developed a deep-seeded hatred for this man, which would later be revealed as his weakness.
Ivan spent time with Mr. Stannard several times a day during his imprisonment, telling him about his past, and the other guards never returned. Stannard never saw other prisoners and Ivan hadn’t asked him any questions at all, but every day, sometimes for periods of hours, Ivan would tell him stories of the past wars and educate him on all things related to werewolves. He felt sorry for Ivan because he seemed lonely, and thought if he could win Ivan’s favor, he might find an opportunity to break free or possibly even convince Ivan to let him go. So he listened and began asking questions.
According to Ivan, there were many werewolves throughout the world, but they were spread out over the continents. They all originated from being bitten by the original beast though. Ivan claimed to have turned over 300 people personally, which didn’t seem like a large number given that he claimed to have been a werewolf for several hundred years. He said he felt guilty every time he did it because he knew they wouldn’t have control over their actions, but would have to witness acts of pure evil. He evidently had trouble controlling the beast when it appeared, though he did have conscious thoughts, almost as if he were witnessing someone else’s actions as he murdered innocent people.
Apparently, as Ivan explained, there were stark differences between the animal that Ivan was and those he turned. For example, the ones he turned lived up to traditional lore in that they could be killed only by being beheaded or with silver to the heart, which could be a sword, a knife, or a bullet. The others could also be hurt by iron, which could weaken them, but not necessarily kill them. Physical injuries sustained would otherwise heal quickly, or heal completely in conjunction with a change back into human form, rendering them undetectable. Those he turned aged as a normal human would as well.
Ivan claimed none of these things applied to him. He said he knew because he tried them all in multiple attempts to end his own life. His hatred grew for the animal he had become, killing unarmed men, women and children mercilessly. Different methods were tested to kill some he had turned, which he documented in a diary. When he would learn of a new method to kill one, he would then try the method on himself. Ivan became despondent as he spoke of these attempts. He admitted that his only goal for turning anyone was to learn of a way that he may exit the world himself. He didn’t want to go on living anymore. His life had become his hell.
Mr. Stannard’s first time speaking with Ivan since his capture was when he asked how he became the werewolf. He said Ivan lit up with an enthusiasm he hadn’t witnessed yet, unsure if it was because he was simply speaking with him, or if it was because his story was being perceived as true. Either way, Stannard didn’t have anything else to do, and so far, Ivan had been kind compared to his previous captors.
Ivan explained that he was defending Russia during the Ottoman invasion in the 13th century, and his company had been overrun, so he retreated into a mine. He wasn’t aware of it at the time, but he had been followed, and they soon captured him and took him into their custody. He had already spoken of the treatment he received there, but explained that it was why he decided to show kindness to Mr. Stannard. He didn’t believe it was humane to treat anyone like that, regardless of whether or not it was during war time.
Ivan stated that after two years of torture and beatings, he had gone through various stages of begging to be freed, attempting to negotiate, and even tried fighting back a few times in which case the beatings would be worse. They broke his jaw after he bit the hand of the man who primarily carried out his punishments. By the end of the two years, he was a broken man. He stopped speaking, became emotionless, and actually cooperated when it was time for his abuse in hopes it would reduce the severity of his punishment.
At some point, he began talking to himself when he was alone, and that’s when he heard the voice. Ivan had been repeating things to himself, and he had moved onto saying “I’d give anything to be free. I’d give anything to be free” when he heard someone speak back to him in Russian dialect from the dark. The voice whispered to him “chto-nibut?” which meant “anything?” Ivan tried to listen closely to see if he could hear someone else there, considering he may have imagined it. After some time passed, Ivan said “Yes, anything. How can I break free from this place?” The whispering voice in the dark replied “you must simply kill your captor.”
Ivan hated this man so much that he quickly agreed, and asked how he could possibly accomplish this with failed attempts in the past. The voice simply said, “when the moon is full, you will be granted the strength.” Ivan asked what that meant, but there was no answer. He made multiple attempts to gain some clarity or to get any sort of additional response, but voice never spoke to him again.
Ivan hadn’t seen the sky at all in the last two years, and didn’t know when the next full moon would be, but two days later, it was time for another beating. His captor unlocked the doorway to his cell and Ivan rose to his feet, smiling, sensing a change in himself. This obviously bothered his captor, and Ivan took a blunt punch to his face, knocking him down. He was drug by his ankle to the adjacent room where his hands would be tied with rope above his head, and he would begin enduring punches to his ribs and kidneys. Ivan began wondering if the voice he heard was somehow a manifestation of his own mind, a sign that he was losing his sanity. He found that occupying his mind with various thoughts dulled his pain during these sessions.
He endured his blows for about 10 minutes, when he was nearly unconscious and in terrible pain. His captor untied his wrists and he plopped down on the concrete, smacking his head. And as he was being dragged back to his cell, Ivan’s hatred toward the man swelled beyond previous boundaries. That’s when an incredible surge of adrenaline overwhelmed him. His muscles tensed up and began cramping all over his body. He screamed in agony as his captor left him on the floor and backed away. Ivan felt like he was going to explode. He looked at his hands and arms, which were growing in size and length until he watched his skin split open. He could actually feel hair sprouting through his skin all over his body as he stretched both arms out to his sides, looking up at the stone ceiling. He felt his neck and back pop multiple times over, as his arms and legs felt like they were breaking to form new joints. The pain didn’t suppress him. It only enraged him.
He remembered feeling pure strength in that moment after feeling so weak for so long. The man who had imprisoned him cowered in fear in the corner of the room as Ivan’s upper lip twitched, revealing four-inch fangs that snapped at the air. He growled and salivated at the thought of tasting the man’s flesh. He lunged toward the man, swiping at his captor’s abdomen with his left hand causing his intestines spill on the floor while he watched. Then he swiped at his neck with his right hand, causing his head to fly across the room like a toy, bouncing against the wall, then rolling across the floor.
Mr. Stannard admitted he felt remorse for Ivan at this point. As Ivan told this story, he appeared solemn and regretful. Then Stannard did something he would later regret. He offered words of encouragement to Ivan, saying “I would do the same thing given the opportunity”. It was at this point, Ivan’s physical appearance began to change. He glared at Mr. Stannard, his eyes now glowing yellow and voice deeper, and said “Would you… do anything?” Stannard was quick to clarify, “if he had treated me like that, of course.” At that point, Ivan asked a simple question in the form of a whisper. He said “What would you give to be free of this place right now?” Stannard knew the answer, and began weeping as he replied, “anything”.
Ivan began staggering back and forth outside Stannard’s cell, appearing dizzy before falling on his knees next to Mr. Stannard’s cell. He shared a grateful smile, and with tears streaming down his face, he said “thank you.” Then he fell over as Stannard watched his body whither into a mound of ash-like soot within a matter of seconds, leaving nothing but a small, hand-written diary amongst the dust.
Mr. Stannard was able to reach the diary through the bars. He sat in his cell unsure what to think of the events that had just unfolded. He quickly realized it had been a full moon that night, and he also underwent the transformation, which allowed him to free himself from his cell. It wasn’t until he eventually returned to the United States that he understood he’d been in captivity for nearly 6 months.
He said he learned something the night of the transformation. With his change also came every memory of Ivan’s over the past several hundred years. It was how he knew that Ivan had planned to deceitfully coerce him into accepting the curse which would free him. This was confirmed with an entry of Ivan’s on the last page of the diary that contained writing. It said, “I suspect since I cannot be killed, the unholy inhabitant of my body may be passed onto another. Because I willfully accepted this curse, I will attempt this method on the American.”
Ivan simply didn’t know how to die, and subsequently, Mr. Stannard did not know how to either. He learned from the diary that he would not age, unlike anyone he turned by the bite, and Stannard, too admitted he attempted to kill himself multiple times to get rid of the curse in the beginning. But now that he also knew it was possible to pass this curse onto someone else, he was left with the ethical quandary of whether or not he should.
Stannard said something that stuck with me. He found himself constantly wavering between righteous refusal to burden anyone else with the curse and allowing the creature to live on to murder and maim, and frequently, but selfishly, wishing he could just be rid of it at any cost. He believed it to be simply a matter of time before his anguish overcame his sense of morality.
Stannard also learned through the diary that Ivan believed the curse was manifested from the devil himself out of extreme hatred for his captor. In addition, that hatred, when the form of the wolf was assumed, would exponentially increase the beast’s appetite for flesh. Simply having the knowledge of possessing an uncontrollable evil that you could not stop only fueled his hatred.
In Stannard’s last counseling session, he believed the best course would be complete isolation from other living people. He believed the curse of the werewolf, of the original beast, could only be passed onto someone else who requested it. He only hoped his sense of morality could continue to conquer his growing hatred, and he worried about how long he could hold out.
As an additional note, during the last session with Mr. Stannard, after he informed me that he was not going to be attending any additional sessions. I encouraged him toward one of two actions. Either commit himself to a psychiatric hospital I referred him to voluntarily or continue his sessions. At my suggestions, he was outraged at the implication that I did not truly believe what he was saying. I saw in him a rage that I hadn’t witnessed previously.
He took great effort to calm himself and said tomorrow there would be a full lunar eclipse. He didn’t seem certain that he may have either heightened or weakened abilities during an eclipse. Ivan’s diary hadn’t mentioned it, but to be cautious, he said he was going to go far away from the city and doubted he would return.
Follow-up note inserted by Dr. Talbert, Wednesday, November 19, 1986: I received a postcard today from Catalina Island off the coast of San Diego. It briefly said “Mr. Stannard sends his regards. I may be in need of your services very soon.” It’s signed with three names. Ivanov, Maxwell, and there’s a third name I haven’t run across before, Lucas Stone.
Next week’s episode will conclude Season 1 of The Storage Papers. I would love to hear your thoughts on the cases I’ve brought forward so far. You can always reach me by social media or email. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Or you can leave me a voice message at anchor.fm/thestoragepapers. Make sure to reference episode 10, Original Beast. And if you do reach out, please let me know if I have your permission to share what you’ve said.
Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. I’ll be back in two weeks with the Season 1 finale. Stay safe, and be mindful of the moon.
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You’re listening to The Storage Papers. Episode 9: The Grinner
If you listened to the previous episode, The Lady in the Window, and made it to the very end, you would have heard a brief voice message that I’ll replay here now.[voice message]
I can’t help but to proceed with caution, as I believe I am not somehow personally wrapped up in something larger at play here. If you don’t already know, I work two jobs in my personal life, and this podcast is something I do in my limited spare time. In light of this voice message, I searched through a few boxes in the time I had available over the Thanksgiving break, and found a few references to someone referred to as “the Grinner.”
This week, I ran across some notes with some additional familiar names on it. I believe it to be the very first interaction between Benjamin Scanlon and Detective Mark Anderson. You may remember them from Episode 2, A Conspicuous Suspect. These notes pre-date the letter from episode 2 by just over a week, and it’s unclear if they’re related, however the timing of the events may indicate they are.
These notes look more official, and are likely part of a submitted police report because they contain an actual address and contact information for Ben Scanlon, as l well as locations where the described interactions occurred, which of course I can’t divulge on the podcast.
Notes regarding statement given by Benjamin Scanlon, Friday, March 5, 2015:
Benjamin Scanlon arrived at approximately 11:00 a.m. this morning claiming he was being followed by a “strange-looking character” who had actually interacted with him the previous day. He said he experienced someone of a confrontation with the man, though nothing physical happened, and thought the whole experience had been rather bizarre.
This was Mr. Scanlon’s initial statement:
I had just been visiting with an old friend who kind of showed up unexpectedly, and we had a brief chat and agreed to meet up later. After my friend left, there was a knock at the door no more than 30 seconds later. I opened the door expecting to see my friend again, thinking maybe he forgot something. Instead, a tall, slender white man who looked similar to a guy that I ran off recently. He was dating my sister, but I thought he was a bit younger. Still the resemblance was uncanny. The man at my door looked like he was in his late 50’s or early 60’s stood uncomfortably close to me, to the extent that I felt the need to take a step backward.
He didn’t say anything at first, but he was grinning. He looked like death warmed over, and I avoided eye contact for some reason. His presence felt somewhat intimidating, like he could overpower me if he wanted to, regardless of his age and stature. I took a moment to check out his clothing, which looked rather dapper. He donned black slacks and a white button-up shirt with polished black shoes, a black belt, and a black trench coat. He also carried a wide-brimmed black hat in his hand, and his head was bald. But it wasn’t until I gained the courage to focus on his face that I began to get even more uncomfortable. He didn’t have eyebrows or eyelashes. I couldn’t see any whiskers or any body hair at all in fact. And that grin. It was wide and unproportionally large. It looked like a genuine smile, but the way it lingered without a change in expression was off-putting. He had jagged, coffee-stained teeth that he was not hesitant to display.
He didn’t speak until I after I did. I think I was so put off by him that it took me a while to say anything at first. As my eyes moved back and forth taking in the details about his odd features, he seemed to look right past me. I decided to tilt my head to the right, and his eyes didn’t follow me at all. They just looked straight ahead as if he were blind or something. Considering that might be a possibility, I felt a little guilty for judging his dental hygiene and asked, “Can I help you?”
“Invite me in,” he demanded in a silky voice. I had been looking at his attire when he said this, but I’m not certain his mouth moved at all when he spoke these words. I glanced back at his face and his grin grew even wider, as if a wider grin would convince me to let him inside. Every hair on my body stood on end. For some reason, I was unable to verbally respond to him, and I was petrified. His eyes narrowed a bit, still looking straight ahead and not directly at my face, but his grin didn’t move.
“Invite me in,” he said again in the exact same tone. “Who are you?” I asked. His gaze shifted directly toward me for a moment before he said the strangest thing. I hope I’m remembering it correctly. He said, “the answer to your question is somewhat subjective, however, completely dependent on the choices you make during this interaction we’re having, Mr. Scanlon.” I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, but he knew my name. He went on. “Much like the relationship of light and time, for example. Some believe the concept of time occurs in a linear fashion, with past, present, and future tense.” His grin was still present while he was speaking, but returned to its full width when he paused. “But when one realizes that an event occurring here couldn’t possibly be witnessed at the same… ‘time’ in another solar system, no matter how powerful the telescope, hypothetically… well, then it all becomes relative, doesn’t it?”
He resumed his grin and squinted his eyes at me, as if he’s awaiting my response. I began to ask him what he meant, but he interrupted me, saying “It’s relative, don’t you see! You get to decide if I’m a friend or… something else. Invite me in.” He maintained his grin while glancing over my shoulder, which is easy for him because he’s at least three inches taller than me, and I’m 6 feet even. I turned around to see what he’s looking at. My laptop was open on the couch, which seemed to be what he was interested in. I turned to face him again, and his face was even closer, still with the wide grin, but his teeth were separated like he was about to take a bite of something. I could smell his breath, which didn’t smell like food. Whatever this guy was eating was putrid. “What will it be, Mr. Scanlon?” he whispered. He leaned closer and stared into my eyes. I felt his nose touch mine, and it was cold and damp.
Normally I would have backed up, but in this moment, I felt frozen and strangely enough, I actually began to relax. It was almost like I was being hypnotized, though I’ve never actually been hypnotized. It just reminded me of what you see in the movies when the hypnotist makes their subject go into a relaxed state of mind and free from any stress or anxiety before beginning a session.
I knew in my mind there was no way this guy was coming in my house, and he seemed to perceive my restraint. After a moment of silence and enduring his intimidating eye contact, his grin quickly dissolved into a frown as if he was offended. In an almost robotic manner, he turned his head to the right, paused, then turned his body to follow and simply walked away without speaking another word. He walked off the porch and stopped for a moment when he reached the sidewalk by the street and stood still for a moment. Then placed his hat on his head. I wasn’t sure if he was going to move again, but eventually, without looking back, he proceeded to walk into the middle of my residential street where he made a 90 degree right turn, and proceeded to walk down the middle of the road. I watched as a car slowed down and swerved to avoid running him over, then honked at him as it drove by. He didn’t react much, but he maintained his casual stride. And he just kept walking down the street until I couldn’t see him anymore.
Everything about the way he appeared, his manner of speech, the way he moved, it all seemed unnatural. It was as if he was something else, but wearing a person costume. I didn’t know what to think. At first, I thought he might have been part of some cult, going door to door trying to recruit people, but he hadn’t stopped at any other doors. And then on Tuesday that week, I saw him again. This time, it was in public.
During my lunch break, I sometimes walk down to a coffee shop nearby. When the weather starts to heat up, I like to grab those blended iced drinks. The walk is only about 3 blocks downtown, but as I was walking, I felt the urge to look behind me. I turned around, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary at first. But as soon as a group of people who had been crossing the street spread out in different directions, I saw the same guy. He was standing still on the other side of the street. Just staring. And grinning.
I walked quickly to the coffee shop, which was very crowded, thinking that being in a public place would be the safest thing I could do. I kept my eye on the window looking out front, and eventually I saw him walk by. He was in the middle of a crowd of people, each walking various paces, but he was going slower than everyone around him. I watched as he walked from right to left and eventually out of view. He never looked in the window, and I thought I had gotten rid of him.
I told myself if I saw him one more time, I was going to the authorities, and then I saw him again this morning. Every Friday, someone in our office picks up some kind of breakfast food for the office, and we rotate duties. Well, this week it was my turn and I decided to pick up doughnuts. The doughnut shop near my house opens at 6:00 a.m. and if you get there right when they open, you’re guaranteed to get a fresh batch.
So when I got to the doughnut shop this morning, it was about 5 minutes till 6, and there were already about 10 people in line waiting for the shop to open. So I waited in line, went in and selected my doughnuts and paid, and when I was coming out of the doughnut shop, I saw him again. He was across the street this time, just standing there, still. He was looking at me, and I could see his disgusting toothy grin from where I was. I walked quickly to my car, got in and drove off to work. The driveway exiting the doughnut parking lot pointed me directly at him, and he just stood there watching me as I turned to drive away.
At this point, I’m not sure what to do. I’m concerned for my safety, and I’ve started carrying a baseball bat in my trunk in case this guy threatens me, but I wanted it on record that this guy has been following me. I won’t hesitate to defend myself.
I sent Mr. Scanlon out to the front desk to wait while I attempted to make him an appointment with the sketch artist. Luckily, he had been in the building already, and could fit him in after lunch today. I set it up for 1:00 p.m. and I have attached a copy of the sketch to these notes.
As a side note, the appearance and behavior of the Grinner sounds very much like another statement I took several years ago. I will need to dig into my archives to see if I can find that, but for now, I’ll take the sketch over to the coffee shop and the donut shop to see if anyone recognizes him. I’m sure there’s got to be a security camera somewhere that might have an image of the man.
I’ll wait a few days and follow up with Mr. Scanlon to see if he has any additional interactions. In the meantime, I’ve given him my card and instructed him to call me immediately if he sees him again. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to do much with his statement since he didn’t physically threaten him, or even verbally state he was going to do anything to him. There’s just not much I can do with “an intimidating look and a smile”.
What’s interesting is now that I’ve found these notes, as well as a letter addressed to “Ron”, I’m fairly certain at this point that Ron may be the original owner of the storage shed that I won at auction. Since I don’t have a last name for Ron, I’m wondering if I can’t find a Detective Mark Anderson working locally. I can also try finding Ben Scanlon, assuming he lives at the same location, since his contact information is here. I wonder if Ron was the person who left that voice message for me. Ron, if you’re out there listening to this, I would definitely like to meet you.
I also have the sketch artist’s rendering of the Grinner. I suppose I could get really carried away and go out to this coffee shop and the doughnut shop to ask around about him, but I don’t want to look like I’m becoming obsessed with these papers. Instead, I’ll post the sketch to my social media accounts to see if anyone else recognizes the man. If you do, I would love to hear what kinds of interactions you’ve had with him, or where you might have seen him, and when.
As a general reminder, please consider reaching out to me if you have any pertinent information regarding any episode of The Storage Papers either by social media or email. You can reach me on Twitter and Instagram @storagepapers. Make sure to reference Episode 9, The Grinner. I’ll make sure to compile any additional information received in with the records I already have, and will commit to providing updates on the show if I actually receive anything pertinent.
Oh and one more thing… if you do end up leaving me a message, as some of you already have, please… by all means… let me know if I have your permission to share your messages on this podcast. There have been a couple that have piqued my interest, and I just wouldn’t feel right about sharing them without knowing I have your permission.
My goal with this podcast continues to be making this information known, so please share this via social media so these accounts can be spread. Hopefully, the more people that hear these accounts, the greater the chances are that we may be able to unravel some of the mystery here. I’m also under the impression, based on what a lot of podcasters say that writing a review on iTunes or any podcast streaming platform can increase the visibility of the show, allowing for a greater chance for other podcast listeners to find it. For the sake of making this information public, I highly encourage you to do so. I’m always here to help if you need assistance.
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Did you know that some people don’t feel frightened of ghosts or spirits? Some claim to have only had positive experiences, believe it or not. There’s a theory indicating that any time a person experiences extremely strong emotions, that some kind of energy from that person is deposited in a physical space. Quite often that emotion turns out to be something negative like fear, sadness, or remorse. Usually it’s due to some kind of trauma, and may explain why some people claim they feel something “negative” or “oppressed” when they walk into an unfamiliar room. But if this is true, why couldn’t it be possible for positive emotions like love or joy to produce the same effect?
Today’s statement comes to us in the form of a letter, and though I haven’t quite linked it to a specific investigation or any other similar reports, I thought it was worthy of sharing for the simple reminder that things may not always be what you think. The letter doesn’t have a formal introduction, but it was included in a “thank you” card addressed to Ron, and unfortunately there’s no date listed. It reads:
I can’t thank you enough for your help finding my daughter. I wasn’t sure you would actually consider taking a case from an 80 year-old man who everyone believes is insane. The truth is, I’ve been locked in this facility without the freedom to make my own choices about much of anything for so long, I am quite certain I am crazy now as a result. Whether that’s true or not, I am truly grateful I was able to connect with my daughter and I have you to thank for that. Until now, you’ve only known part of my story, and I’m pretty sure you’d be interested in hearing the whole thing.
I know you are steering away from taking on cases like mine, and are focusing more lately on what you might call “bizarre” or “unexplained” types of situations. I am confident the universe is telling you to do this because that’s what my case has turned out to be, even though I didn’t realize that when I solicited your services. You see, now that I have been reconnected with my daughter, I may have an explanation for something that has been going on since my childhood back in the 1930s that I’ve never been able to understand.
When I was 5 years old, I had my first experience of many that changed how I viewed the world. I grew up in the height of the depression. Luckily we didn’t lose our house, but we couldn’t afford much. I didn’t have a swing set in my backyard like the kids do these days, and I used to play around on a stack of old tractor tires in our yard. I was just as entertained as anyone doing with what we had.
In April, 1935, I was playing on a stack of those tires. I only remember the date because it was right after the great dust storm passed through. Well, I hadn’t seen a snake that had been coiled up inside one of the tires toward the top of the pile, and I got bitten. Ma must have seen it happen through our kitchen window because she was out there in no time to check on me. She grabbed a shovel from the shed and killed that snake because she didn’t know if it was venomous. Then she went back in the house and brought out my stuffed bunny.
The last time I was sick, she had made it for me, and it always brought me great comfort. I knew that she made it because the fabric had the same pattern that our curtains had. She even made eyes out of buttons. She told me to sit still, and then ran over to the neighbors to see if they could fetch the doctor.
When she went to the neighbors, I was sitting on the ground next to that dead snake when I looked up and saw a woman looking out at me from our kitchen window. I didn’t recognize her, and she was dressed strangely. All of our clothes were ragged and faded, but hers had bright colors, and she had a lot of makeup on her face. She had long, brown, wavy hair and she wore spectacles. She appeared to be about as old as ma was, and she also seemed just as startled as me, but she smiled and I believe her eyes were welling up. As soon as I saw her reaction, an overwhelming sensation of comfort came over me, and I knew everything was going to be okay. Then she completely vanished.
Pa got home at about the same time as the doctor that day, and I was in bed already developing a fever. The doc gave me something to swallow and told me to stay in bed until my fever broke. I can’t remember how long I was laid up in bed, but it seemed like weeks, though I’m sure it was only a day or two.
I used to see her all the time. She wouldn’t always show up as clearly visible as she did that first time. Sometimes she’d be kind of see-through, and others, she would just look like a gray or black cloud without any distinguishing features. I just knew it was her because of that comforted feeling I experienced in her presence. It took me until I was an adult away from home to identify that feeling as nostalgia, the same feeling when I would return home for the holidays and visit with my folks. I never hid the fact that I was seeing her, but my parents grew worried about me as I got older and continued to see her, even as an adult.
Being an only-child, I inherited that house when they passed, and I eventually started a family of my own. Unfortunately, that marriage was not meant to last, and as you know, I wouldn’t see my daughter after age 3 until you found her for me. But life went on, and I never stopped seeing the woman in the window as an adult. I even saw here in different rooms throughout the house. The beauty of that was I could enjoy the experience now without anyone thinking I was crazy. That is, until I broke my hip.
Apparently after my hip surgery, when I was in the hospital on some very good pain medication, I was rambling on and on about the lady in the window. Of course, I didn’t realize I was going on about her until my nurse started asking me questions. I thought she was curious about her, so I told her about seeing her over the years, and I had even seen her right before I broke my hip.
What I didn’t realize was she was cunningly doing some kind of psychiatric evaluation on me, which landed me here in this house full of crazies. There comes a moment in your life where you can almost see the finish line, and you begin thinking about your legacy, and what you’ll leave behind. That’s when I contacted you. I wanted to get in touch with my daughter. I didn’t know if she hated me, or even remembered me. Who knows what my ex-wife had told her about me, but I needed to know she was okay.
When you got in touch with her, and I learned she was eager to meet with me, that was the best news I think I’ve ever had. Just knowing that makes me feel like I can leave this world feeling like I made some kind of difference. Instead of looking forward to going back home to see the lady in the window, which I’m not sure will ever happen at this point, I had my visit with my daughter to look forward to.
Then one day, my nurse opened the door and said I had a visitor. I couldn’t see her face at first through the bouquet of flowers she was carrying. When she lowered them onto the table, I saw her face. She had long, brown wavy hair, and she wore spectacles. She looked like she had put on her Sunday best for our visit, and was wearing bright pastel colors.
I immediately broke down in tears because I recognized her. She was the lady in the window I had been seeing since childhood. I didn’t know if I was crying tears of joy because I had figured that out, or if I was just really happy to see her finally. I think it was probably both. That familiar nostalgia set in fast. As it turns out, she is married and has two kids of her own. And she lives in town, just 5 or 6 miles over! I chose not to tell her about all of those times I’d seen her in the window. The last thing I wanted her to think was that I might be crazy.
Since then, she has visited me every weekend, and I have been introduced to my son in law and my grandchildren. I can’t remember a time I’ve been this happy. Last weekend, I let her know that I put her in my will to get my house and gave her my keys in case she wanted to go walk through the place. I wasn’t sure if she would remember it or not having been so young the last time she was there. I apologized for its current state since I hadn’t been there in so long. I wasn’t quite sure what it looked like with no one around to take care of it, but it has been paid off a long time.
Today, she returned and said she had gone over to the house this morning before heading here. I asked her how the place was, and if it needed any repairs. She said everything looked fine, though the electricity hadn’t been hooked up, and it was getting dusty. She did remember the house just a little bit, but not a whole lot.
Then she asked me if she could tell me something crazy. I just smiled and said, “Have you seen the people staying in this place? Please do, so I don’t feel like a crazy person.” She asked if I believed in ghosts. Of course, I told her I do, and that I also believed that not all ghosts are bad. Then she said that when she was in the house, she had gone into the kitchen to look at the cabinets and countertops, and when she passed by the window, she saw movement in the yard out of the corner of her eye. So she looked through the window and saw a little boy dressed in gray pants and a button up shirt just sitting in the yard, staring at her holding a stuffed animal. At first she thought it might have been one of the neighbor’s kids, but the clothing looked old. But then she handed me that old stuffed bunny that Ma made so long ago, and said, “then I found this in one of the bedrooms.”
I smiled and told her not to be afraid of the boy. She said she wasn’t scared at all, but she felt more of a peaceful feeling in that moment. So I encouraged her to look for him often because he might just feel the same way, and I was sure that there was a purpose for her experience. She kind of looked at me sideways as if she thought I was pulling her leg, but then she said she would. I think we had an understanding in that moment.
My doctor has since given me the option of returning home, as long as I have someone to check in on me from time to time. I decided to go home this week so I could get the house ready for company on Thanksgiving Day. My daughter has a few days off work and said she can drive me. I’m told they’ve got the gas and electric hooked back up, and they’re going to be cooking a turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, yams, and pumpkin pie for dessert. You are more than welcome to join us, so be there for food around 3:00 p.m. if you can. If you can’t make it, then feel free to drop in anytime. You’re always welcome in my home. I can’t thank you enough!
We know so little about ghosts, spirits, and other paranormal phenomena. Anyone who claims they are an “expert” is probably looking to make a quick buck. Theories come and go, but for this man, the haunting of his home was a welcomed experience which gave him a sense of fulfillment that he will continue to have for the rest of his life, and quite possibly, his daughter’s too.
Of course, if you’re experiencing a haunting yourself, I’m not suggesting you throw caution to the wind, but take note of what’s going on, look around you, and ask yourself “who could it be, and why are they here?” You may just end up being thankful for the experience at some point in the future.
This week is a time to give thanks. So I would like to take a moment to thank you, the listeners, who keep coming back to listen to these accounts. I’m still not exactly sure I have identified the person who originally owned the storage unit, or if he or she is still alive. But I’m thankful to have found myself in my current situation, sharing these stories with you, and making new connections every day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the podcast and I hope you’ll consider letting me know in the form of a review in iTunes or your favorite platform for listening. You can get all the latest updates by following me on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving, and please, stay safe in your travels.
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As a child growing up in the 80’s, urban legends, ghost stories, and tales of folklore were a popular way to pass the time by the campfire. I remember various versions of the story of Bloody Mary, and how to summon her. We would dare each other to stand in front of a mirror with the lights out and chant her name, Bloody Mary, three times. This was supposed to conjure the spirit of a girl named Mary who had been murdered in the local area, allowing you to see her manifest behind you in the mirror’s reflection. Only the bravest would attempt this, and those who claimed to be brave may have bragged about doing it, sharing their versions of what they saw.
Of course, these stories weren’t really true, and it was generally understood that it was all make-believe. Stories fabricated to keep children in their beds at night… control through fear. For this very reason, I’m finding it very difficult to entertain the possibility of this week’s witness statement to be true. They say the best fiction is based in some element of truth, but where does the line blur when very real repercussions occur?
Witness statement from Todd Smalley, Monday, August 8, 2006 concerning the disappearance of Shane Masterson. Recorded by Detective Roger Trainor:
We had been camping in the Angeles National Forest every summer since we were in grade school with our families. After we graduated from high school this year, we decided to keep the tradition going since we were all staying in town. Our parents had a barbecue planned on Saturday, and they all agreed they were comfortable letting us go on our own… so long as we stuck together. The group consisted of myself, Shane, Lucas, Lucas’s girlfriend, Cheyenne, and Liz. Some of us had to take time off work last week, but we all agreed to meet at Lucas’s house before heading up to the campsite on Thursday. My dad let us use his Suburban, which had more than enough room for the five of us and all of our gear.
Once we met at Lucas’s house, we packed everything into the truck and headed out around 10:00 a.m. Liz and I were always really close, and she sat up front with me while I was driving. Shane had to pull a late-night shift on Wednesday, so he took the middle row of seats and sprawled out to sleep most of the way. Lucas and Cheyenne sat in the back and spent most of the trip making out and giggling, as they typically do any chance they get. I don’t think they even spoke to us the entire trip except when we first got on the freeway when Lucas said “try to get us there in one piece, Todd-O,” in his usual cocky tone. It was a nice drive spent catching up with Liz, who I hadn’t seen much the last few months. Nothing really happened between us, but I knew her parents were pressuring her about college and picking a major, as well as the SATs. We were both glad to have the time to get reconnected.
We arrived at our campsite shortly after 2:00 p.m. and began unloading the truck. We had just started to set up camp when Liz said she had forgotten her tent. I kind of had a thing for her for a while, so I quickly volunteered to let her stay with me in mine. She seemed almost giddy at the suggestion, which made me think she might have similar feelings. So we finished making camp, and got a fire going to start dinner. We wanted something that didn’t take a lot of effort for the first night because we expected to be exhausted from the trip, but surprisingly we weren’t. Of course, Shane felt great after getting a solid 3 or 4 hours of sleep on the road. We all ate and sat around the campfire as the light turned to darkness and the stars came out. I always loved how many stars you could see from the mountains.
Friday and Saturday were typical days. We spent the day hiking some of the usual trails we would go on every year, looking for local wildlife and stopping for group photos from time to time. But Saturday afternoon, after we had stopped for lunch, we tried something new. Lucas suggested we venture a little bit off of the trail and explore some areas of the woods we never had before. Cheyenne was worried that we would get lost, but Lucas explained that he would mark some trees with a small hatchet he was carrying so we would be able to find our way back to the trail. It didn’t seem unreasonable, and we were all up for a bit of adventure. So we began veering off the trail and gaining elevation.
We probably hiked for a couple of hours when I suggested we turn around if we wanted to get back to camp by dark. That’s when Lucas started calling me a pussy and said “then why the hell are you carrying that flashlight around with you, Todd?” I was used to his style of humor by now, as we all were, and I looked at Shane who just shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t really have an opinion. When I looked at Liz, she said “we are here to have an adventure, aren’t we?” I didn’t bother looking at Cheyenne since she always did whatever Lucas suggested. I only wanted to get back to camp to spend more one-on-one time with Liz, but if she was having a good time, I wanted to be a part of it. So I said “I guess we’re trekking on”. Lucas nodded and said, “That’s the spirit”.
We hiked until about 7:00 p.m., well after dark before Shane suggested we turn around. Of course, Lucas taunted him, but Shane said he had run out of water and we still had a long way to go to get back. We all agreed to take a break and found a log to sit on while we discussed it. I have to admit, it was really kind of cool being that far out without any idea how far away from civilization we were. The forest was much thicker than were we set up camp, and it was so dark. We all agreed to turn off our flashlights and just enjoy the moment for a few minutes. Nobody spoke, and aside from each others’ breathing, the only sounds we could hear were insects and an occasional owl hooting. The canopy was too thick to see stars where we were at, but still, it was quite peaceful.
Liz leaned up against me in the dark and I put my arm around her. We just sat silently for a while, and I was in a world of my own when Lucas finally spoke. To be honest, I had forgotten he was even there. I didn’t think he had it in him to sit quietly at all, let alone without making some kind of joke or throwing an insult at someone in an attempt to be funny. Lucas said in a more serious tone than usual, “Have you ever heard of Shaelynn?”
Each of us said no, including Cheyenne. I could tell from his voice that he was no more than 5 or 6 feet away from me, despite not being able to see him at all. I remember placing my hand in front of my face to see if I could visualize it, but it was too dark. Lucas continued, “Shaelynn is rumored to haunt these woods. I’m surprised you guys haven’t heard of her in all the years we’ve been coming here.” Cheyenne accused him of making this up on the spot, but assured her he hadn’t. He sounded genuine.
He claimed that he overheard his parents talking about the legend of Shaelynn, and how the real reason the parents didn’t want to go camping this year was because there were rumors that she would appear every 20 years, and that they had seen her kill someone in the summer of 1986 when they had all been there. Apparently, there was a girl in her early 20’s that had gone missing in the area in the 1940’s after some psychopath escaped from a local prison and had been living off of the land out here in these woods. The rumors were that the girl was lured into the woods by some unseen force.
One of her friends that was hiking with her was the last person to see her. They had been hiking in a large group, and Shaelynn, who was near the rear of the group with her friend, had crouched down to tie her shoelace. Nobody stopped hiking, and eventually the few people behind her had passed. Her friend turned around a few moments later before going around a bend in the trail with the group, and witnessed her walking off of the trail on her own. When she called out, she said it was like Shaelynn didn’t even hear her. She just kept walking slowly through the trees, getting scratched up by the branches. By the time her friend was able to tell their group leader, she was out of sight. They spent hours looking for her, but she was never seen again.
Lucas said his great grandfather was a part of that same camping group, and that’s how the story was handed down in his family. But Lucas also said his dad wasn’t aware of a part of the story that his grandfather had told him. It was said there was a way to summon her spirit and communicate with her. By this time, Shane called Lucas out and said “No way, man. I don’t believe any of this bullshit.” Lucas sounded sincere when we was claiming it was the truth… at least how his grandfather had told him the story. It was Shane who suggested we test that theory.
I don’t think any of us believed Lucas’s story had an ounce of truth to it, so we kind of egged him on to tell us how to summon her. With all of Lucas’s typical over-confident behavior, he was pretty easy to manipulate into doing something he didn’t want to do if you called him a chicken.
After we broke him down, he explained that to summon the spirit of Shaelynn, you needed to first make yourself vulnerable. You had to stand somewhere in the woods alone, facing away from anyone else there, and you had to be far enough away that if you needed help, it would take someone a little bit of time to reach you. Shane seemed eager to try this, and said “okay, what’s next?” Lucas said there was a chant that you had to repeat with your eyes closed, and that it was important that whoever vocalized the chant do NOT open their eyes. Shaelynn would appear and communicate with you, but if you opened your eyes, your very soul was vulnerable. Shane thought this was a big joke, so he said “okay.”
Lucas was offended by Shane’s disbelief and suggested that we just head back to camp if we weren’t going to take this seriously, but Shane apologized and said “is there anything else I should know before summoning Shaelynn?” Lucas said, “Yes. Just don’t run.” He said his grandfather never explained why, but reiterated that no matter what you see or hear, you shouldn’t run. The theory was that by running after you’ve summoned her, and before she leaves your presence on her own, you are inviting her to go with you as you leave. “So whatever you do, regardless of what you might see,” Lucas said, “don’t run.”
By then, Shane was excited to try it out, and said, “Okay let’s do this. How does the chant go?” Lucas said once you get away from the group, close your eyes and recite:
Shaelynn, Shaelynn, where have you been?
Was your name not heard when t’was called?
What reason had you, and what fate befell you?
Come forth and commune with us all.
Shane rehearsed it a couple of times and laughed, making some reference to Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Lucas turned his flashlight on and pointed it straight up toward the canopy. By this time, our eyes had adjusted to the darkness so that small amount of light hitting the bottom of the trees above our heads was plenty to allow us to see Shane walking through a small clearing away from us. He couldn’t have been more than 30 yards or so away when he stepped up on a rock that was about knee-high. He waved, and asked if we were ready.
Lucas reminded him to turn around, and he did. As Shane faced away from us, we all sat in silence as we listened to him chant:
Shaelynn, Shaelynn, where have you been?
Was your name not heard when t’was called?
What reason had you, and what fate befell you?
Come forth and commune with us all.
We sat and waited. Lucas told him to say it again and reminded him once more to keep his eyes closed. About halfway through the chant the second time, I noticed the insects stopped making noises. An eerie silence washed over the area, and I could barely hear a breeze above the sound of Shane’s chanting. I looked over at Liz, and she had been looking right back at me, affirming that she also noticed a change in the atmosphere. I reached for her hand, and I felt a stinging sensation as a small flash of light emanated from my hand. It was a static electricity. Shane continued chanting, and I noticed Lucas and Cheyenne embracing one another in the dim light. Then a few feet behind us, in the opposite direction that Shane had gone, a twig snapped in the dark.
We all turned to look, and it was at that moment I saw a figure. I couldn’t tell what it was at first, but it seemed to be about the height of a person, a little taller than myself. I saw it glide from right to left beyond some trees, as if floating in the air. It was so faint in the shadows that I had questioned what I was seeing. “Oh fuck” Lucas said, then yelled at Shane to stop. He didn’t. Lucas repeated himself, followed by Cheyenne, practically yelling at Shane while we were all still looking in the direction of the apparition I saw, and where the twig snapped. Shane kept chanting, as though he hadn’t even heard them.
That’s when Liz turned around to look back at Shane. Liz’s scream made us all jump to our feet. It took me a moment to realize why she was screaming. Shane was no longer on the rock. In his place, there was a tall figure facing away from us, but Shane was nowhere to be found. We could still hear Shane’s voice, chanting, but it was coming from whoever, or whatever, had taken his place there.
As I focused, I could see long, greasy-looking dark hair flowing down to the figure’s waist line. She was wearing a gray, tattered gown, and I could see her pale forearms and hands down by her sides. Lucas whispered, “don’t run”. I don’t know if I could at that point, even if I wanted to. I was frozen with fear as I noticed more details about this apparition. As I looked down toward the rock she was standing on, I noticed I couldn’t see any legs or feet. The bottom of her gown was about 3 feet above the rock, and she was suspended in the air above it.
We all just stood there and watched. Shane’s voice eventually stopped chanting, and she was still on the rock for a moment. Then we heard a ghastly noise. A loud shriek emitted from the figure, and her arms slowly raised up by her sides as she began gliding backward toward us. As she got closer, the shriek grew louder. Lucas grabbed Cheyenne’s forearm and again said, “Don’t run”. The closer she got to us, the faster she glided, until eventually, she turned around. Once she was about 10 feet from us, she hovered there for a moment. Her face was… pretty. She had a sadness in her eyes, and we all just stared at her as she slowly descended into the ground, inch by inch, until she disappeared. Then there was a slight gust of wind, and the atmosphere changed back to normal. We could hear the insects again.
We were all dumbfounded for a minute. Liz and Cheyenne were crying, and I looked at Lucas. We both said “Shane” at the same time. We walked over to the stone he had been standing on and called his name, but there was no sign of him. We were too scared to break up and look for him individually in different directions, so we stayed together as a group and looked for any sign of him until the sun came up. By around 6:00 a.m., none of us had any water, and we were tired and hungry. We made our way back to camp and I drove to the Ranger’s station to report Shane missing while the others packed our gear.
The Ranger I spoke with called the police, and he accompanied me back to our campground to gather our belongings and the rest of the group, and then you arrived shortly after.
Detective’s notes: Todd Smalley and Lucas Neilson volunteered to lead me, some deputies and the Ranger out to the location where Shane Masterson was last seen. In the daylight, it took us about two hours to hike there, and it was too remote to have been reached by vehicle. We followed the fresh notches hacked into the trees from the Neilson boy’s hatchet. Once we reached the rock the kids said Shane had been standing on, we didn’t see any sign of tracks or indications that anyone had traveled through the area.
Small teams were dispersed in a circular pattern to search for the boy, and within about 30 minutes, one team radioed in saying they had found something. It was a makeshift grave, and it was shallow. Protruding from the small mound were some bones. Old bones. We taped off the area and called a forensics team out there as we continued to search for the Masterson boy.
Search efforts were conducted for over two weeks covering over 100 square miles. Nothing was found outside of the initial grave we found. The Medical Examiner concluded the remains were of a female in her early 20’s with dark hair. No cause of death could be determined, and positive ID could not be obtained. After searching through local records and cold cases, I was able to confirm the disappearance of one Shaelynn Wilson, a 22 year-old female who had been last seen hiking with some friends shortly after the end of World War 2. The police report filed at the time indicated that despite the knowledge of her friends and parents, the missing girl was witnessed practicing witchcraft at the camp that year. Once the parents were informed and shown evidence of this, they ceased to express interest in the search efforts.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the cases I’ve brought forward so far. You can always reach me by social media or email. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Or you can leave me a voice message at anchor.fm/thestoragepapers. Make sure to reference episode 7, Shaelynn.
Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. I’ll be back in two weeks with another case for you. Stay safe, and by all means, please… avoid trying to summon any spirits.
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You’re listening to The Storage Papers. Episode 6: The Magician’s Apprentice
What is it about magic tricks that mystifies us? We all know that they’re primarily optical illusions or some kind of deception, and yet we watch, amazed, most likely because someone has been able to fool us without us knowing exactly how. I would argue that the majority of people don’t believe actual magic is real – that someone can possess unique knowledge or that physical objects can be moved with the mind. But then again, if you look at stories within most religions, wouldn’t you classify many of those things as “scientifically impossible”?
This summarizes an age-old argument between science and religion, between skeptics and believers. The belief that something thought to be impossible may be achievable is not so far fetched. Governments across the world, including our own, have invested millions of dollars in research into psychic phenomena, ESP, and other abilities. You have to wonder what their research has found. Unless you believe your government is forthcoming and shares this kind of information with the public.
Today’s episode comes in the form of interrogation notes of someone who claims to be able to perform the impossible, yet he claims it’s not magic.
Interrogation of Preston Nicholson, recorded by Special Agent Victoria Almeida, FBI, 19 May 1997:
Background – Mr. Nicholson had been detained by the local jurisdiction, and I was briefed by Detective Mark Anderson upon my arrival. I recently issued a warrant for his arrest for grand theft, or more specifically, potential links to multiple accounts of theft across the country. He has had a few prior accusations by several various local law enforcement agencies across the country, but has never been charged or convicted according to my records.
Mr. Nicholson is a Mentalist. That is, he travels across the country with his act, visiting dozens of county fairs between the months of April and September each year. He appears to make a decent income with what the fair pays him, but he also accepts tips, which appear to exceed his annual income. If anything, we may be able to get him on tax evasion. But that’s not why I brought him in.
Last year I became aware of a pattern of petty theft occurring, which is not normally within the jurisdiction of the FBI, but when you combine the total of cash being stolen, by who I believe is Preston Nicholson, this could be a significant amount for a grand theft charge if I can link him to it. It is my belief that he is getting greedy, and that’s typically what ends up getting a thief caught.
The FBI has allowed me to be a part of a field test group for new software, which the agents all refer to as “the brain,” which I find a little cliche’. It’s apparently connected to a wide network of law enforcement agency databases, and continues to connect to new ones each day. It’s programmed with an algorithm to do one thing: find patterns and report data. The data then goes to an FBI analyst, and then whether or not it’s perceived as something significant, they then assign an agent to pursue further investigation. I’m told this is a joint FBI-CIA project, but I have yet to see how the CIA is involved.
During my actual interrogation of Nicholson, his story aligned with what I knew about his current work, traveling with the county fair. In fact, he nearly admitted to stealing money, and he was really kind of cocky about the whole thing. What he told me was… interesting, to say the least. He was smug, but I didn’t believe he was lying.
I decided to ask him about how one becomes a Mentalist. He explained that he had a fascination with magic ever since he was a child. He practiced card tricks in his spare time, and his parents always encouraged him. When he was about to graduate high school, he attended the Yavapai County Fair in Prescott, Arizona in the late 1980s. He said he witnessed the best magic act he had ever seen. The venue was at the outskirts of the fairgrounds, bordering the pine trees. To his surprise, there were only a few people in attendance, but he thought it was likely due to the lack of flashy lights or music that would normally draw peoples’ attention.
He said there were multiple performers, all doing tricks that he thought were fairly novice. But the last performer in the show performed “real magic”. He didn’t name the performer, and I am checking records to see what I can dig up. There’s got to at least by tax records from the fair to look into.
The magician invited 5 people on stage with him, then he proceeded to sit in a chair in the middle of the stage. His assistant set up 5 bar stools in a circular pattern around him, and placed a bowling pin sitting upright on each stool. Then he instructed the 5 volunteers to pick a bar stool to stand next to. When they did, he invited them to pick up the bowling pin and make sure nothing was attached to them before returning them to the chair. Then he invited them to examine the bar stools. Once they all agreed there was nothing attached, he closed his eyes, and began to levitate each bowling pin. I thought he was using magnets at first.
His assistant walked around the circle instructing the volunteers to try to grab the pins. When they did, the pins moved out of their grasp. One of the volunteers appeared flustered, and continued grabbing for his pin, but the pin moved in multiple directions. This alone excluded magnets as a possibility for me. The magician sensed his frustration, and invited him to try once more, stating he would not pull it away again. He was able to grab it, and he examined the pin again before shaking his head and releasing it back into the air. He was obviously upset, and tension grew as he began shouting obscenities at the magician. The man called him a phony and challenged the magician to move something else.
With all five bowling pins still in the air, the magician held out both hands, extending his index and middle fingers, then placed them on his temples and closed his eyes. It was great showmanship. Then he instructed the man to reach for his pin again, which was suspended above his head. As he reached for it, the pin rose higher. The crowd gasped, which confused the man, but also drew his attention to the fact that he was suspended in mid-air as well, about two feet off the ground. The magician asked in a theatrical voice, “do you still doubt my powers?” I couldn’t tell if he was just being dramatic or if he was becoming angry. The man, obviously frightened at this point, said “no” as he panicked, flailing his arms in an attempt to lower himself.
He was gently lowered to the ground and the volunteers were dismissed. Though the small crowd had risen to their feet in a standing ovation, I watched as the magician lowered the bowling pins back onto the stools, and the man walked quickly to the exit, eyes welling up with tears. I stuck around after the show hoping to chat with this magician. I wanted to learn from him, and I was eager to see if he would take on an apprentice. He refused, of course. But I followed him to three different fairs before I warranted any kind of consideration.
He agreed to meet me in a public place on a day that he wasn’t performing. We ended up going to a local diner where he asked me one question. “Do you believe magic is nothing more than deception?” When I said yes, he smiled. We had a long talk about my life goals, my family, and a bunch of personal things before he agreed to take me on as his apprentice. Then he showed me real magic.
Through spending time with him, and as a result of his training, I began to develop abilities beyond anything I could imagine. You see, he claimed to be part of a secret government project earlier in his life. He had been identified through his medical records as an ideal candidate for experimental espionage, having a specific family history and some unique genetic attributes that he wouldn’t discuss with me. He explained some details about the program, saying that a lot of the information had gone public, so he wasn’t violating any nondisclosure agreements by telling me.
He claimed to be a part of something called “Project Hydra”, which carried out the training through some government shadow agency, most likely the CIA, and various supporting teaching institutions. They used specific curricula to teach three levels of psychical abilities. The first level was telekinesis, in other words, moving objects just by thinking about it. Level 2 was remote viewing. Once telekinesis was mastered, a person is more susceptible to activate other parts of your brain, unlocking additional abilities. They trained him to observe sights and sounds outside of his immediate location. The more practice he had, the farther away he could view. Level three was interactive projection. This was considered the most advanced by the CIA at the time, with only a small number of people successfully being able to do this. It includes all the skills of telekinesis and remote viewing, but in addition, projection allowed other people to see him and communicate with him in remote locations.
He quickly became their star student, and spent much more time than anyone else undergoing medical examinations of his brain, getting blood drawn, and experimenting with his abilities. He was eventually given a security clearance and was utilized as a remote spy to assess nuclear threats and enemy military technology. What they didn’t know was he continued developing capabilities beyond their knowledge and understanding.
He described a fourth level of development, which he referred to as translocation, which added the ability to physically interact with objects in remote locations as if he were present. This further developed into being able to interact with multiple objects simultaneously, as I had witnessed at the magic show when I watched him perform. He began getting severe headaches when he practiced this for prolonged periods, so he reserved his performances and only practiced from time to time.
And finally, he achieved a fifth level of mastery. He was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor and was given brief life expectancy, which he never divulged specifics about. He called this fifth level “ethereal”, and said he could do everything in levels 1-4, and in addition, he could cause physical objects to translocate as well. There was a distinction to be made though. He could cause an untrained person to experience what it’s like to project, and they couldn’t interact with the physical environment. Or he could actually translocate inanimate objects,permanently if he desired. In other words, he could steal cash money from the pockets of everyone who attended his shows by simply thinking about it. He’d remove it from their wallets and place it all in an undisclosed location with his mind while they watched him perform his “magic” tricks on stage. That’s how he got away with it.
He said he found the whole scenario ironic. People show up expecting to see magic, which most often includes some kind of misdirection. Within his magic trick being performed on stage, which was its own form of misdirection, there was the inception of the trick itself actually being the misdirection. It was beautiful. A “trick within a trick”, so to speak. He paused to tell me to consider an additional level of inception. He told me to consider how the FBI was trying to figure out how he could have possibly pulled off theft. Then he, not so casually, suggested that may have been its own form of misdirection to keep them busy while he pulled off something else… something unthinkable. And nobody would ever know.
Mr. Nicholson must have noticed a facial expression I was making at this point. I thought it was a great story, but there was no way I was buying it. He said he knew I didn’t believe him and grinned, but I urged him to continue.
He went on to explain that he currently had abilities up to level three… interactive projection, where he could communicate with others in remote locations. His mentor believed he could learn level four within the next few months. He never admitted to stealing money himself, but he explained that his mentor would relieve his audience of a small amount of cash at each show, never going above $400. It was the perfect scenario. People attend the county fair with cash on-hand, and they were relatively close in proximity, so taking the money was easier. He knew that he could get away with it because depending on the state you’re in, any theft above $400 or $500 was considered grand theft instead of petty theft. Local law enforcement agencies would never start looking outside their jurisdiction for small potatoes, and he didn’t believe anyone would notice.
I asked him why his mentor didn’t just steal credit cards. He said it was because there was an electronic record anywhere credit cards were scanned, and the authorities could easily track you down with security camera footage and other new technology. He was confident that small amounts of cash taken from various locations would be the ticket to remaining undetected. Then he said his mentor actually attempted taking credit cards a couple of times in the past, and found that whenever he tried using them, the cards were demagnetized. This led him to believe that perhaps the act of translocating a physical object may create some sort of electromagnetic field that caused demagnetization of the card.
He spoke of the brilliance of the plan, and practically begged me to charge him, knowing that I have zero proof of any of this. I asked him why he was providing me so much detail, and he said he just wanted to be able to share all of this information with someone, and that keeping it a secret was eating him alive. He was so confident that he couldn’t be charged for this, that the only way he could possibly be convicted was if he demonstrated his abilities before a judge and jury. And he wasn’t about to do that. He was right, and he laughed in my face as I released him from custody. He even thanked me for letting him get all of this off his chest.
Agent’s Notes: We believe he is going by a new alias now, and we have lost track of him after placing him under surveillance in hopes to lead us to his mentor or get caught with some kind of evidence such as a large sum of cash. I am reluctant to report this, but the team that had been monitoring his hotel room where he was last sighted consisted of three seasoned men. They said they watched him enter the room, but never saw him leave. They had been monitoring from three rooms over, and had ordered takeout from a local delivery service. When the delivery arrived, they were unable to pay the fee because all three of their wallets were missing. When they checked the room, he wasn’t there.
This leads me to two possible conclusions about Preston Nicholson, the magician’s apprentice, assuming what he told me was true. Either his mentor aided him in efforts to evade us, or he truly did have mastery of all five levels of psychical abilities that he described. Of course, there’s a possibility that this is all an attempt at deception, and I have been duped. I am concerned about the future of my career at this point, as his entire statement is on record. I have no other potential explanation for these events. If none of this is true, and all of this was an elaborate deception, I’d still be impressed.
Additional Note: Our search for any records of a “Project Hydra” has been unsuccessful according to our CIA counterparts. Tax records received from the Yavapai County Fair produced no records of payment to any magician. They produced all records between the years 1985 and 1990, which we later cross-referenced with IRS records, and they matched. We were also able to reach the head of operations for the fairgrounds during those years, now retired. He couldn’t recall there ever being a magic act at the fair during his years of employment.
Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. I would love to hear your thoughts on the cases I’ve brought forward so far. You can reach me by social media or email. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Make sure to reference the episode. Today’s is Episode 6, The Magician’s Apprentice.
Have you become aware of any high strangeness near you? If so, I would love to hear about it. Please consider sharing this week’s episode via social media so these papers can get more exposure.
You’re listening to The Storage Papers. Episode 5: Ice Cream Man
I remember growing up in the 80’s and playing outside all day during the summers. The neighborhood kids might be doing different things in a number of different groups down the street, but one thing was certain when we heard that familiar tune projecting from around the corner or down the road. We would all experience that Pavlovian watering of the mouth, and we dropped what we were doing to run and ask our parents for spare change as if life or death depended on it.
If we hustled, we might just get lucky enough to wave down the ice cream man to stop, and a line would form full of children we were both familiar with, and some we hadn’t even seen before. Looking back, there was a kind of magic to those moments. It didn’t matter what our differences might have been, whether we had been getting along okay or not, or if you were meeting a new kid on our street for the first time. We all put it aside for just a few minutes to wait in line and enjoy some ice cream together.
Today’s witness statement comes from Marianne Ward, a single mother who worked two jobs to provide for her and her daughter, Chelsea, who probably had similar experiences chasing down the ice cream man during her summers off of school. But for Chelsea, they would not be formed into fond memories following the summer of ‘84…
Statement by Marianne Ward, Monday, October 14, 1984, 6:45 p.m. Detective Glenn Speck taking statement from the Emergency Room at Long Beach Naval Hospital:
I need to find out what happened to my daughter. Chelsea has always been an outgoing and fun-loving 7 year old, but she’s been out of it since they found her this morning. She won’t eat. She refuses to speak to me. I can’t even tell if she understands what I’m saying. All she does is look off into the distance with a thousand-yard stare. I mean, she’ll look at me when I try to get her attention, but I can’t tell if she’s processing anything I’m saying. I think something traumatic happened to her, and I just want my little girl back.
No one knows anything about the few hours when she was gone, but I can tell you what led up to her being missing. Last Friday night, we had a sleepover. One of her friends from school was invited, Grace is her name, and she’s slept over several times before. Her mother, Debbie and I are both divorced, and we’ve developed a great friendship over the last several years. The night was fairly uneventful for the most part. We ordered pizza, and after dinner the kids rolled out sleeping bags in the living room and watched some movies while I read a book on the couch.
When it was bedtime, they begged me to let them sleep in my bedroom instead of going to Chelsea’s room. There had been a news story about the rising rate of child abductions in the middle of the night right before the TV was turned off. I didn’t have any problem with that, but they did keep me awake for a while with their chatting and giggling. I didn’t object since it was the weekend and I didn’t have plans the next day.
That night I was awoken by a noise coming from the living room around 2:00 a.m. It sounded like footsteps, but I wasn’t certain. I laid in bed listening to make sure I hadn’t dreamed the noise, but I figured one of them might have gotten up to go to the bathroom. I rolled over to see which one of them was up, but their sleeping bags were empty next to my bed. As I got up to see what was going on, I became aware of music playing. It sounded like the same music that you hear being played when the ice cream truck drove down the street during the summer, but I couldn’t be certain. It was very faint, and somehow… different.
Before I could get out of my bedroom, I heard our front door being unlocked. I had a deadbolt and a sliding chain lock, which I could hear being unlocked from the inside. I rushed down the hall and into the living room to see what was happening, and as I arrived, I saw that both girls had also opened the front door, as well as our screen door and were walking outside.
I told them to stop, and they acted like they hadn’t heard me. I had to go to them and grab their arms to lead them back in the house. Both of them had that catatonic look on their faces as if they had been sleepwalking at the same time. Then simultaneously as if they had rehearsed it, they both said “The ice cream man is here, We have to go.” Then the music began to fade, and it was like they returned back to normal as soon as it got quiet again. They were confused, and somewhat alarmed. Grace seemed bothered that I was holding onto her arm and shook loose. I apologized and asked them why they were going outside, but they didn’t seem to recall doing that.
The next morning, when Debbie picked up Grace, she was greeted at the door by a big hug from her daughter. Apparently, she was anxious to leave, and blamed me for “acting scary”. I’ve tried to call Debbie a couple of times this week, but she hasn’t returned my call yet. I’m a little concerned about what Grace could have told her, and want her to at least hear from me about what happened. But I’m far more concerned about Chelsea now.
The following night, on Saturday, it happened again right at 2:00 a.m. Chelsea had been in her room this time, and her door creaks when it opens. That’s what initially woke me up, and as soon as I heard it, I got up. Fortunately, she was still in our hallway headed toward the living room, but when I called her, she did not reply. I could hear the ice cream truck’s music again, and again, it seemed off-tune.
I decided to follow her to see if she went for the door again, and she did. Once again, I had to grab her arm and pull her to keep her from going outdoors. Again, she said, “The ice cream man is here. I need to go.” As soon as the music stopped, she snapped out of it and asked to sleep in my bed the rest of the night. She was extremely frightened and crying.
For the entire week, I was afraid to go to sleep. On Sunday night, I ended up staying up the whole night, and then I called in sick to work and stayed home after I took Chelsea to school. The rest of the week, I set an alarm to go off at 1:55 a.m. I wasn’t able to go to sleep after my alarm went off any of these nights, and on Friday night, it happened again. My alarm went off at [1:55] and the music started up at 2:00 a.m. on the dot. Chelsea had been sleeping in my bed, and she stood up to walk out of the bedroom.
This time, I tried to catch her before she even got out into the hallway. I tried to wake her, calling her name softly at first while I grabbed her arm above her elbow. She wasn’t responding, so I pulled harder and called her name louder with each attempt. She made it out to the hallway, and I still couldn’t get her attention. It felt like no matter how hard I pulled, she moved forward with the same slow walking pace as if I wasn’t even there. It was like she had superhuman strength. The only reason she didn’t reach leave the house successfully is because I blocked the front door so she couldn’t reach the locks.
This whole time, I had been behind her, trying to pull her away from the front door. I hadn’t noticed her face until she turned around. Her eyes were pitch black like hollowed out holes, and she had tears rolling down her cheeks. Then a voice came out of her that wasn’t hers saying the same thing as before, but angrily, and what sounded like a distorted adult male voice. “The ice cream man is here. I must go.”
This scared me so bad that I let go of her arm and backed up toward the hallway. She started walking toward the door again, but the music faded, and she started crying. She wiped tears from her eyes as I watched her eyes return to normal. I thought she was just scared, but then she asked me why her arm hurt. I could see swelling beginning above her elbow where I had grabbed onto her, which quickly turned into bruising. This all frightened her significantly more when I told her how hard I had tried to pull on her to keep her from leaving the house. Both of us were scared. I didn’t know what to do or who to call. Nobody was going to believe this.
And then last night, she managed to get out the front door without me knowing. I woke up freezing cold to find my sheets and comforter on the floor between my bed and the door going into the hallway. I could feel the cold air coming in through the door. I looked over at my alarm clock confused, wondering what time it was. I made sure it was set for [1:55] before falling asleep, but it was flashing [12:00]. We had experienced a power outage, and the alarm didn’t go off. I looked at my watch, which was laying on my nightstand next to me, and it said 3:30 a.m.
Chelsea wasn’t lying next to me, though she had gone to bed with me at 9:30 p.m. the night before. I called for her and nobody answered. When I ran into the living room, the front door was wide open, and only the screen door was closed. I walked outside and into the street, looking all directions for signs indicating she had walked any particular direction, but found nothing. All I could hear was a faint breeze. She was gone.
I went back inside to search the rest of the house just in case she was in another room before I ended up calling the police. I remembered hearing somewhere that they couldn’t file a missing persons report for 48 hours, so I told them we experienced a break-in and my daughter was missing. They arrived within 10 minutes, and I let them know limited details about what had happened because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy. Just that I had woken up and she was gone, with the front door left open.
They had stayed for a couple of hours until the sun started coming up, and I received a phone call from my friend, Debbie. It was the first time she had attempted to call me since the sleepover, and she was in a panic, crying, asking if I had seen Grace. Debbie said she just woke up and Grace was gone. Her front door was wide open too, and I told her I was experiencing the same thing. I offered to go pick her up so we could drive around and look for the kids, but she wanted to call the police first.
So I left my house around 6 in the morning today. I drove around for hours with my window down, yelling her name. I had to stop for gas once, and I just kept driving. At one point, I stopped over at Debbie’s house. Grace had been found shortly after our phone call this morning. Apparently she had only made it a couple hundred yards from the house when an early-rising neighbor found her and brought her home. Debbie was surprised to hear that I hadn’t found Chelsea yet, so she and Grace began driving around in their own car to help. I told her where I had already gone, and we split up the rest of the town to cover more ground faster.
By 3 this afternoon, I was feeling defeated and I had some time to think about other things I could try. She had a few friends within walking distance, so I got out my black book, thinking I’d make a few phone calls. As I picked up the phone to dial, one of the policemen was knocking on my door. He said they found her, and had been trying to call me, but couldn’t reach anyone at my home number. Apparently, she wouldn’t talk to them, and Social Services has been called for what he described would be a routine check-in, nothing to be worried about.
When I arrived at the police station, they indicated they had just taken her to the emergency room for a medical examination. You want to know how to make a mother worried sick? Tell her that her kid is in the emergency room and fail to provide any additional information. I hurried over here to the ER, and have been waiting here since. Thankfully, there’s been nothing identified as medically wrong, though the Social Worker asked me about the bruising on her arm before allowing me to see her. I’m glad they found her, but right now they have no idea what’s wrong with her.
The Police Officer who found her came to check on her and speak with me… said he found her in a junkyard. She didn’t respond to him at all when he tried to get her attention at first. He said she was just standing there next to an old, rusted out van, one of the few vehicles that hadn’t been crushed. She appeared to be having a conversation with someone in the van, but as he approached, she stopped speaking. I’m not sure why he told me this, but he swore he saw a dark figure in the van, and was certain it had been rocking just a little bit as if someone were inside it. Though Chelsea was close to the van, she was never witnessed touching it. When he approached the van to look inside, there wasn’t anyone in it.
What he did find was horrible. The officer told me that they had found remains inside the van. What looked like 5 or 6 people, children most likely, all clothed in what looked like pajamas. He said he wasn’t sure because they were all so old and dirty. The Medical Examiner had been called out to the lot to determine exactly how many individuals were there, and to ID them all. He asked me again if I knew of any other missing children just to make sure, but I assured him I don’t. Just what I had seen some of the news coverage.
Then I asked the officer if he happened to notice if it was an ice cream truck she had been standing next to. He said yes, and asked how I had known. I just told them what she had been saying about needing to go because the ice cream man was there. He looked as confused and horrified as I felt.
I just want to know what happened to my daughter. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to sleep at night now.
Ms. Ward was able to take her daughter Chelsea home that evening under the conditions that they receive professional counseling, that the Social Worker was given permission to drop in on them unannounced for up to 6 months, and that they communicate any intention to leave town to the Department of Social Services. I will most likely check in with them after we can ID the remains from within the van.
Additional notes following 6-month check-in: Everything appears to have gone back to normal for the Wards. Chelsea is undergoing some counseling, and the Social Worker indicates no further check-ins are necessary. Chelsea is speaking, attending school, and performing well, but she still has little memory of the events leading to her disappearance.
Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. I would love to hear your thoughts on the cases I’ve brought forward so far. You can reach me by social media or email. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @StoragePapers. Make sure to reference the episode. Today’s is Episode 5, The Ice Cream Man.
Have you become aware of any high strangeness near you? If so, I would love to hear about it. Please consider sharing this week’s episode via social media so these papers can get more exposure.