I wasn’t really sure if or when I’d be back doing this show.
There were some things that happened during the break that I’m not sure if I should talk about. Others I’m not quite sure I’m ready to rehash.
I let my phone go to voicemail twice before I picked it up. It was Brianne. I was surprised to see she hadn’t yet run away from all of this; I’ve certainly been trying to. But I have something… something nobody else has. Hundreds (if not thousands) of documents related to the supernatural. What I had let take over my office and my garage… and my life… was a library of the dark and twisted and awful.
And Brianne needed my help.
A few months ago we put an end to a demon possessing a man named Malcolm Foye but not without great personal loss. Brianne’s brother, Benjamin Scanlon, was killed in the fight, as was a Catholic priest named Father Jonathan Bank. The formerly possessed subject known as Malcolm Foye escaped, though gravely injured, and I thought that was the end: the end of demons influence, the end of the Grinner. But I was wrong.
Under the Grinner’s coercion, Brianne was compelled to gather a plethora of medical documents: mostly neural scans of various individuals. She’s not exactly sure how she obtained the documents (she was in a sort of fugue state) but she’s a nurse so we can make a fairly educated guess. Among those black and white images of humans brains were some labeled Brianne Scanlon and she wanted to know why, so she went searching.
What did the Grinner want with scans of her brain? When did any of this happen and who were all of these other people? Why were these documents labeled Project Hydra?
She got close, but these people were hard to find. The ones who were still alive at least. You see, most of the people that she had been able to track down were dead. All but one.
She never told me his name, only that he seemed like a completely normal guy. She followed him for a while, sat outside of his house, watched him and his family. She told me they were happy, that she didn’t want to inject her poison in to it by bringing him in to this. But then he died in his sleep.
A man in his thirties doesn’t just die in his sleep (or at least not according to Brianne). It was odd… and awfully convenient. So she started backtracking, making her way through all of the dead people she found in the files, and then she started digging deeper. They’d all died in their sleep. Every last one of them.
Brianne came to me because she thinks her own dreams are connected. She thinks that whatever happened to the people in those medical documents is happening to her too. She won’t give much detail, but she says there’s a man… or sometimes he’s different men… and he’s coming for her. I’m not certain what she means by that. But at her request I’ve started doing some research using the storage papers as a resource. I’ve been organizing them, trying to make sense of all of the madness, and I’ve found some things that might be pertinent to what’s happening to Brianne.
I haven’t mentioned it yet – not to Brianne, not to anyone – but I’ve been having some odd dreams myself. Dreams where I find myself floating: floating above my sleeping form. I look down and I see that I’m not breathing… not moving. I think I am dead. I reach out to touch my chest and I fall back in to myself… and that’s when I wake up.
I want to find out what happened to those people. What’s happening to Brianne. What’s happening to myself. And so I want to bring you along as we search through to Storage Papers looking for dreams… looking for those that have died in their sleep.
This is the first document I uncovered on the subject. It is the transcription of a recording made in the late seventies or early eighties. According to Ron’s notes, he was given the transcription by a colleague some time in the two thousands who referred to it as ‘the Delores Tape.’ Unfortunately the tape itself isn’t in my possession and later you’ll understand why. Instead I’m forced to rely on this transcription and hope my own voice is a suitable substitution.
With that out of the way, I present to you The Delores Tape: Side A.
To be honest, it felt a bit awkward to say no. At the time it just seemed… rude. I certainly didn’t want to come off as a snob. The man in the khaki suit lowered a paper match to his tobacco pipe, taking a long draw and flicking his wrist to extinguish the flame.
“As long as I have permission, I would like to stay here and monitor your dream.”
I smiled. “Oh, but of course.”
And with that I carried on. I think I was baking a cake. Yes, I was baking a cake. You see I had preheated the oven and gotten everything ready – let the butter rise to room temperature – but I just couldn’t figure out what type of flour I was supposed to use. Not wanting to bug your grandfather, I decided to just go and pick some from the garden.
The man in the khaki suit was jotting down notes on his clipboard, and when I looked in his direction he gestured for me to carry on, almost shooing me away. I made my way to the back door, wanting to peruse the garden for the perfect flower for my cake. I looked back once more to see if the man was following me. He was not. Instead, he was heading towards the den where your grandfather was sleeping in his favorite chair. You know how much he loved that reclining chair.
I warned the man, “Don’t go in there and wake up my dear old Harold. And don’t turn off his westerns if you know what’s good for you!”
The man nodded, but he didn’t listen one bit. Instead, he smiled (an awful snarl) and he disappeared around the corner, deliberately making his way to the den, despite my warnings of waking Harold. Well, I certainly didn’t want him disturbing my sweet old husband from his nap, and I found this behavior to be downright disrespectful. I’d made up my mind that this nasty man had to go, so I put my baking on hold to go give him a piece of my mind.
I made my way in that direction, towards the hallway that led to the den, to my dear Harold and that awful, awful man. But the hallway had become impossibly long. It went on for what looked like miles: the walls stretching and pulling like wet dough. There was a shimmer (like I was looking at a reflection) and I knew if I stepped foot in that hallway I would fall right through the floor. I knew I would die if I made one single step.
So I closed my eyes. I pictured the den, Harold’s westerns flickering on the television set, and I could see it. I could see what that monster was doing to my poor old Harold. His hand was reaching right in to Harold’s chest. I was in the den now (the twisting and bending hallway behind me) but I was too late. That awful man in the khaki suit told me as much. He told me he was just doing his job. He asked me would I forgive him for what he had done. I couldn’t look at poor Harold. I knew that your grandfather was no longer with us. I was silent. Frozen.
The man in the khaki suit frowned, reaching in to his jacket pocket to retrieve his pipe and a small box of tobacco to pack it with. I felt stuck. I’m just a little old lady. There was nothing I could do.
When I was a girl I remember walking into the coop to feed the chickens on your great grandparents’ farm only to discover a fox was ripping them to shreds. You have to understand there’s nothing malicious about a predator, but there’s nothing remorseful about one either. I felt the same then as I did when I was a girl staring in to the eyes of that fox, afraid to turn my head and look at all the blood and feathers. The man opened his mouth to say something, but he never got the words out, not before I woke up… alone in bed.
It was unusual to wake up alone, your grandfather being such a heavy sleeper. Never one to get up to get a glass of water or use the restroom, he always slept the whole night through. But not tonight. No, tonight he was gone and I was alone. I had wondered how he managed to get himself out of bed (let alone without waking me), why the door was shut, why he hadn’t turned on the hallway light. As I made my way to the door I heard a strange noise.
And as I opened it and stepped out into the hallway, I saw it: the flickering grey light inching its way up and across the ceiling; the rising sound of static, on and off which each click. It was the old television in the den flickering on and off with its spinning clicking dial.
I’d find my Harold in there, sitting in his favorite chair, head pointed up at the ceiling. They’d tell me it was a heart attack. And maybe it was… or maybe it was whatever that nasty man in the khaki suit did to him in my dream.
After that I stopped having dreams about the man in the khaki suit. At least for now. The nurses come to check on me less, and when they do it’s never one that I recognize. They do odd things too. They forget my medications, or give me the wrong ones at the wrong time of day. They ask me strange questions, personal ones, like if anyone ever touched me as a child, if Harold ever hit me or beat me. They ask me if I believe in God… if I would ever betray God.
It scares me deeply. It scares me to think of what they might do if I don’t play along… if I tell anyone.
According to a notation at the bottom of the page, its at this point that the recording is interrupted by a visit from one the nurses. Delores is administered one of her medications and someone can be heard whispering something inaudible before the tape recorder is shut off. This concludes side A.
The following is a transcript of side B.
Franklin was a decent enough man, though your grandfather never quite grew to like him. I think Harold was jealous, afraid Franklin might try to steal me away. After all, Franklin was quite handsome with his tweed jacket, and of course he’d been a bachelor since the early fifties. He’d had to flee Mississippi. Being a black man in love with a white woman still wasn’t easy back then, don’t let them tell you that it was. He’d always held out hope that he’d see that girl again, but that’s a story for a different time.
Franklin told me that he saw the man in the khaki suit. He told me other folks had seen him too, that he had a habit of doing what he did to my poor Harold. I asked Franklin, “Who else had the man killed?”
And he thought about it for a long time before he responded, in the sweet southern Mississippi accent, “Too many, Delores… too many. Folks don’t want to talk about it. And if you see that man again you tell him leave you alone and you close your eyes tight and don’t open them until you wake up in your bed again.”
I remember Franklin cupping his hands over mine and saying a prayer. He told me that he’d miss Harold, though I doubt that was entirely true. His eyes swelled up and he asked me to promise him that if I ever saw the man again I’d close my eyes until I woke up, and so I did. He asked me one more favor before he left. He took his hand off of the doorknob and lowered his voice. He told me to hide all of the pictures of my children and my grandchildren. He said if I didn’t then they’d take them away.
I tried my best to remember but I didn’t think Franklin ever had any children. The next time I’d see Franklin he’d be under a sheet carried out of his bungalow on a stretcher. He didn’t have any family, at least not any that he stayed in contact with. I hadn’t seen him come out for at least a couple of days, and they hadn’t stopped in to give him his medications either. I can only imagine what he must have looked like in there, that poor soul.
He was a sweet man, that Franklin. You know, I think about him a lot, almost as often as I think of your grandfather. Sadly, Franklin wasn’t the last. Next was Oscar… Charlie… then Isabella and her husband Christopher. This is a retirement community. We are all old or getting there. It may sound a bit crass, but this is what old people do. We die. But not like this.
I’ve lived here for a long time now. Harold and I moved here in our late sixties and as I sit here today, I’m almost 82 years old. And it’s never been like this. Never has death been a daily occurrence. This isn’t right. I’m the only one left. I’m the only one that knows what he really is.
There’s a note at the bottom of the page. It says: “Remaining audio unrecoverable. Tape no longer functional.”
I was frustrated. I couldn’t help but feel like the last piece of this puzzle was lost to time, so I did a bit of digging and I managed to hunt down Ron’s contact: the colleague who had passed along this transcript all those years ago.
It wasn’t easy. There was an old cellphone hidden away in a box of office supplies that once belonged to Ron. It wasn’t hard, sifting through the decades old contacts, to find who the old cop buddies were and who Ron’s other colleagues were. I made some cold calls. Most of the numbers were no longer in service and so I was surprised when someone finally picked up.
I asked her if she knew anything about the Delores tape. She laughed. She’d heard about it, but never got a chance to listen to it. I asked her if she knew who had given the transcript to Ron and in turn she asked me if I had a pen. She couldn’t give me his number, instead she gave me an email address. Told me it was still a shot in the dark, she hadn’t spoken to him or Ron in years. To be honest, I didn’t feel hopeful going on a stranger’s hunch, but it was the only lead I had. If he didn’t know anything about the Delores tape, then maybe he knew someone who did.
He emailed me back a couple of days later and this is what he had to say.
If you’re looking for Ron, I don’t know that I can really be of much help. If you’re just looking for information on the Delores tape, I’m not sure that I can be of much help with that either. What I can tell you is that she was absolutely a real woman. I met her once.
I was never able to follow through with a full investigation because a few days after I met with her she was found dead: died in her sleep. There was never a cause of death listed because you usually don’t need an autopsy at that age. When you’re over eighty years old and you die in your sleep… that’s what they call dying peacefully. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you: “That’s the way to go.”
I’m not so sure.
What’s interesting is that the day after Delores passed away, that whole retirement community burned down to the ground. On the news they insisted that twenty-three people had died in that fire. A tragedy. But I had been to that property just days prior. It was practically empty.
I saw some of the on-site staff of course, though they dressed more like pharmacists or scientists than what I would have thought nurses dressed like. Unless they were having an early Christmas party when the fire broke out, I don’t know how the hell twenty-three people could have died in that fire. I never saw any sign of a single resident except for Delores.
They never published the names of those that perished. I was never able to track down anyone who had family on the property either. It’s almost like the place never existed before it burned down. But it did. I was there.
But I know the real question you have on your mind. It’s the same question everyone’s asked me about the tape, what Delores was saying when the tape cut out.
The simple answer is that I don’t know. The first time I played the tape, I immediately started making a transcription. It just makes things easier to reference when you have it all on paper. And thank God I did, because when I got to that part – near the end of side B – the tape recorder I was playing it back on just sort of combusted. Not really a big fire or anything, but enough to let off some black smoke and ruin the tape recorder. The tape melted. I was never able to hear the end of it. Unfortunately, I’m just as much in the dark as you are.
If I really try, I can trick myself into thinking that something wouldn’t allow me to hear the end of that tape. Something wanted that story to die in the fire with everything else. I guess it sort of did.
The only person who knows what she said is the person who recorded it: Delores’ grandson. And, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get in contact with him since her passing. Believe it or not, he’s the one who reached out to me. I told him to go to the police and he told me that he tried. He was 16, and this was the best he could do.
None of it really makes any sense. It’s the reason I gave up on paranormal investigating. It’s the reason I passed that transcript to Ron. If I could give you one word of advice, Jeremy… it’s to quit it with the podcast, and quit looking in to this stuff before you get yourself killed.
I sent a follow-up email, just to make sure I had permission to share this exchange on the podcast. He agreed on the condition that he be allowed to remain anonymous.
I did some more digging after that. I looked for burned down retirement communities and when that didn’t work I changed the keyword to ‘nursing homes’ and then to ‘assisted living facilities’. I couldn’t find anything that sounded quite like what Ron’s former colleague described in that email.
I did some other searches, looking for anyone else’s experiences with the man in the khaki suit, but I didn’t really find much online. I like the way Ron’s former colleague put it: it all died in the fire.
However… I did find one thing. Something that cut a bit through my numbness, reanimated some of the fear I must have had resting in my bones since dealing with the Grinner. It was a forum post that reads as follows:
“Hey, does anyone know how I can get in touch with that girl that was talking about seeing a man in a beige or brown suit every night in her dreams? I remember everyone telling her that they sounded more like nightmares. I’m just a bit weirded out because ever since I read that, I’ve been having dreams about him, too. “
I reached out to the poster but I haven’t yet gotten a response. Something tells me I’m not going to, and I hate knowing that.
I have a feeling that there’s more to this. This story may have burned away a long time ago, but it’s just a piece of something much larger. Something tells me that the other pieces lay somewhere in these boxes… somewhere in the Storage Papers… I just have to put it all together again.