The Silver Key


The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.

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Body horror
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Thomas chooses the silver key, and ends with a gift from Cain: the charity is now his to do with as he pleases. Depending on the decisions he makes, Cain may pay him a visit again in one year’s time.



Thomas looked back and forth from key to key, gold to silver and back again. To him, they seemed so small within Cain’s already smaller-than-human hands, yet felt to be the biggest choices of his life.

Either way, I’ll be a hero to someone, right?’ Thomas thought to himself. He raised his eyes and looked around at the dark, silent night surrounding them, contemplating the weight of the choice before him. How many out there were trying to spread holiday cheer but instead lining the pockets of some faceless CEO? How many had been promised that strides would be made for their health, poor kids would have food and shelter, or water would be made clean, and in the end, none of that happened because some people harbored more greed than care for their fellow humanity?

Then his thoughts turned to the mounting bills at home, and the sleepless nights as he listened to his family argue and worried about his own future. “I’m sorry,” he whispered as he turned back to Cain… and reached for the silver key.

Cain raised a brow, but otherwise remained expressionless as he simply said, “Interesting.”

Then, as if almost challenging Thomas, he added, “Are you sure this is the correct decision?”

Thomas said, “Absolutely. How many families have been put into the same position as my own by some corporate greed BS hiding behind a charity’s name?”

Cain nodded his agreement as he seemed to shrink back to the shadows, only a glimmer of light reflecting in his eyes confirming his presence was still in the air. “Oh, and Thomas?” he called out just as Thomas turned in the direction of the office building. He paused and looked back to the shadows.

“Much like boxes and toys wrapped beneath holiday trees, it would be unwise to open the package too early. Be sure to bring it back here—to me—first.”

Thomas nodded curtly and resumed walking into the direction of the only office buildings he knew that were nearby. As he gripped the silver key in his pocket, he noticed it seemed to be growing warmer. He found himself forced to stop and remove his hand from his pocket as it felt far too hot to touch. The moment he stopped, an automatic door opened to his right. He jumped, caught off guard by the sudden movement. He reached back into his pocket, tentatively touching the key, to find it had somehow returned to being as cold as the night air.

Thomas looked at the still-open door thoughtfully as he rubbed the key. Then, with a small twitch at the corner of his mouth, he realized the key must be guiding him here. He entered, calling out to see if anyone was there, the brief echo of his voice dying quickly with no response. Shadows hid within shadows, while the chair behind the chest-height front desk belonging to either a security guard or receptionist was vacant. Thomas paused, perhaps considering the value of the task in lieu of such a dark and lonely office building. Whatever the thought was, he pushed it aside and pressed onward past the desk and into a carpeted hallway to the right.

He held up the silver key, the red light of a nearby exit sign illuminating a small number etched into it by hand: three eighty-three. There were signs on each door; in large text was a name or title or description of purpose. However, in smaller text below that was a number. Thomas quickly realized he would need to go to the third floor to find a room starting with a three, and made his way to a stairwell to ascend.

He wandered a maze of hallways as numbers went by, never quite matching his key. Nearly giving up, he stopped at the end of a hallway and looked back, frustrated. Something registered in his instinct before it did in his brain. He looked more closely, then it hit him. He slowly walked to a set of three doors. There was a three twelve and a three thirteen, but between them, sandwiched in such a way that it only could have been a miniscule closet, was room three eighty-three.

There were no other markings than the number to indicate what the room itself was for, which was peculiar when compared with all the other doors. Thomas started to insert the key into the deadbolt, but before he could, the key grew warm, and the lock clicked. He looked down at the key in amazement to find that, to further his confusion, the numbers on the key had vanished.

“Almost like a dream,” he mumbled to himself.

He opened the door and found himself once again perplexed as a modestly sized office was revealed, a feat not possible given the location of doors on either side of the now-open one. There was little in the way of decorations around him, he found as he stepped foot inside. Drab but clean would be an accurate description. A lone fake plant sat in one corner, but there were no pictures, awards, or degrees adorning the walls. In the middle of the room was the only real presence to indicate that it was an office: a polished mahogany desk. Atop the desk, perfectly centered, sat an ornate, wooden box with a silver lock. Thomas leaned in closer, tracing his finger across the box’s decorative markings. Had he paid closer attention, perhaps he would have noticed the decorations disguised three words: pascere qui creatur.

Thomas inserted the key. Before he could twist it, he heard a slight click. He pulled back his arm to withdraw the key and open the box when he found that he couldn’t. His fingers wouldn’t release the key. He yanked his arm, but it wouldn’t budge. Panicked, he looked closer to see that his fingers were changing. Shiny pieces of metal were protruding, some parts rough and sharp, some parts smooth and reflective.

His heart raced and he stumbled back, dragging the box with him. It fell open, a small box wrapped in parchment paper clattering to the ground. Thomas didn’t notice that, though, as more pieces of silver metal broke through his skin from the inside until his entire hand was covered in keys. It didn’t stop, however, and began to spread up his arm. In desperation, he turned to run out of the office, only to find that there was no door. He was trapped, and his body was being taken over by metal keys, cracking his skin to break through. He held his hand to his face but saw not his own reflection in that moment, but a different reflection in each key. He focused on one and felt the reflection come to life.

Although Thomas found himself unable to tear his eyes from the key, he was aware that he was no longer surrounded by an office. The displaced reflection had grown: surrounding, enveloping… swallowing him whole. The sound of his own heartbeat gave way to a slow, muted crashing of waves and gentle but constant breeze. Relaxing on what appeared to be a well-deserved vacation was his family. His mother and father were sharing a bottle of wine, laughing together. Thomas couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen them laugh. The beach started shifting: the waves stayed stationary as the rest of the scene rolled and tumbled chaotically until he fell to the ground back in the office.

He looked up, only to find his eye caught in another reflection and he was instantly, irresistibly absorbed. An embarrassment of riches was stacked around him: cars, cash, fine wine, and decadent food. At the far end of a slowly swirling tunnel of wealth stood two figures, laughing and shaking their hands. One figure he instinctively knew was the CEO of one of the charities referenced on the news. The man was responsible for millions of dollars being misused for his personal gain. The other figure was Thomas.

Other Thomas turned to face his key-ridden self and slowly smiled. Although he didn’t speak, he could hear Other Thomas’ words in his ear: “Nobody misses the money, they all feel good for giving blindly. If they don’t do their research, it’s on them. I don’t have to give the box to Cain. I’m sure Steve here would be happy to ensure Cain never sees the box.”

The last words echoed around Thomas as the tunnel closed in, crushing him. He closed his eyes as he began to suffocate, only to find the pressure removed. He carefully opened his eyes to find himself back in the office, curled into the fetal position. His hands had returned to normal and the original box was nowhere to be found. He slowly stood to his feet. Looking around, his eyes fell to the small box wrapped in parchment paper. He quickly scooped it up from the ground and stumbled out the door.

On unsteady legs, he made his way out of the office. Following the dim red glow of the exit signs, he found his way to the front lobby, then outside where the cold night air sent a shiver down his spine. Every step felt heavy. He could still open the box. It felt itchy in his hands, and the only way to relieve it was to see what was inside. Was it worth giving up such a fortune? Or was the vision just a trick? Or, perhaps a better question: was the entire quest he’d been sent on a ruse devised for the delight of a devil? These questions weighed heavy on Thomas’ mind, steadily slowing him down.

On one hand: if he took the money, would he be any better than the people who had crippled his family’s opportunity to thrive at every turn? Would he not just be another cog in a system designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer?

On the other hand: would he actually be making a difference? A corrupt charity closing down—or “negatively influenced,” as he recalled Cain’s exact words—seemed like such a small victory—and to what end? Would the vague and perpetually ungraspable notion of justice be enough to put food in his stomach and a roof over his head? Hardly. But could he live with himself if he didn’t take this opportunity to mete out justice?

That was the heart of what Thomas had to decide as he paused at the edge of the empty square, the holiday decorations silent and empty without the cheer of children around them.

His fingers gently felt the rough texture of the parchment paper. It would be so quick and simple to open it. Cain was nowhere to be found. He wouldn’t even know.

The visions of wealth came back to him, but he brushed them aside. How could he make an informed decision if he didn’t know what the choice was?

Thomas surveyed the area, the small shadow of a creature beside the large Christmas tree going unnoticed to his eyes. He bit his lower lip indecisively, then stepped into the square and made his way to the bench with a sigh. Cain soon emerged from the shadows, glittering eyes trained only on the package.

“Here it is,” Thomas said, holding the package out for him. Cain quickly snatched it away, examining it—carefully at first, then with unconstrained glee. Without uttering a word, Cain quickly tore away the parchment paper and opened the small box inside.

Thomas’ curiosity was overwhelmed. “What’s in it?” he asked as he stood to peer inside.

Cain quickly jerked the box away, putting his body between it and Thomas. “You mustn’t touch it!” he cried out.

Thomas stepped back. “Chill, man. I wasn’t going to touch your stupid box. I just… after all that I went through, I wanted to know what I brought over.”

Cain’s gaze dropped to the box and slowly revealed its contents to Thomas. Inside was a wooden block.

“I’m sorry… that? That’s what all this is for? How the hell does that have anything to do with a charity?” Thomas asked, incredulous.

Cain grinned, but didn’t take his eyes from the block. “It’s a very special wood, Thomas. Very special, indeed. It’s not quite ready yet, but it will be… soon. Would you like to know what it looks like when it becomes ready?”

Thomas couldn’t imagine how a simple block of wood could mean so much, but, desperate to know that he hadn’t wasted his evening, nodded. Cain turned and motioned for Thomas to follow him as he walked to the Christmas tree.

“This wood is what I use for my decorations!” Cain stated proudly.

Thomas peered at the wooden Christmas ornaments. Earlier, they had seemed odd to him, but now, knowing they were hand carved, he could acknowledge that their almost life-like appearance made some sort of sense. “You must put a lot of work into these,” Thomas said as he bent down to get a better view of one.

“A lifetime’s worth,” Cain agreed.

Thomas squinted a little as viewed the ornament before him. The carved face looked familiar, but he couldn’t place it.

“It’s cold out,” Cain said, interrupting his thoughts. “You’d better be getting home. We wouldn’t want your family to worry.”

Too distracted to disagree, Thomas stood and slowly nodded, but when he turned to face Cain, he only barely caught a glimpse of movement as he vanished into the shadows once more.

Suddenly feeling very cold, Thomas rubbed his arms and headed back home as he realized that, in the end, nothing had changed. He was heading back to financial woes and a world where corruption prospered. As he turned onto his street, he reached into his pocket and withdrew the key to his family’s apartment. The feeling of a key in his hand felt more uncomfortable than normal now, and he nearly dropped it, but managed to smile and shake his head, despite his own unsteady hands.

As he neared his door, he froze for a moment. On the doormat was the ornate, wooden box that had been in the office. Hands trembling, he carefully approached it and picked it up. It was nearly exactly the same, only this time, there was no lock. He sank to the ground, as he debated whether to open it, throw it away, or immediately destroy it.

With a deep breath, he opened it.

Inside he found several official-looking documents and an envelope sealed with wax. He looked through the documents, not entirely understanding all the legal terminology or why they were in a box on his doorstep. He carefully broke the wax seal and opened the handwritten letter, unfolding it and began to read:


You faced several choices tonight, but I have one more to offer. In the box are legal documents transferring ownership of the charity to you. You can continue to profit as your predecessor did while helping a few people here and there, or you can change things to benefit more families in situations such as your own. Depending on your choices, perhaps we will meet again this time next year. I could always use some help decorating my tree.


Thomas put the papers back in the box and closed it in disbelief. Slowly, warm tears rolled down his cold cheeks. Things were going to change—finally. He could hardly wait until morning to let his family know that he was going to make a difference, even if he didn’t know much of the details yet.

He stood, then looked down at the box in his hands, letting his thumb slowly caress the wood grain. The feeling of the wood jostled something in his memory and he thought back to the ornament on the tree, realizing why he recognized the face. Then his face twisted in confusion as he wondered, ‘But why would Cain have an ornament with the face of the old CEO on it?

Jeremy and Nathan from The Storage Papers would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. We hope you are able to spend quality time with friends and family, and have the opportunity to make a difference in your community for those who can’t. You can volunteer your time with local organizations for a variety of causes, or use websites like to find a charity to donate to that you know uses money to support their stated mission, like the following with A ratings from Charity Watch:

And many more amazing causes to make a difference in the world. As always, the choice is yours.

Things Aren’t What They Seem – Season 2 Episode 16

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Strong language

Episode Transcript

“Things aren’t what they seem.”

I’ve had a few days to let these words sink in, and things feel extremely different now.  The events at the church all happened so quickly.  I didn’t have a chance to really hash things out in my mind at the moment, but so many things seemed wrong with how all of that played out.  I feel numb.  My thoughts have been preoccupied by the agony that Malcolm went through as I cut into his chest, but even more so, the fact that I didn’t even hesitate, despite the pleading he did for me to stop, and I never even considered stopping.  I feel like I’ve crossed a threshold somehow.  Not necessarily that “innocence is lost” type of feeling, but something similar.  Something without emotion regarding myself, or the ability to empathize with others.

I should be feeling something right now, but instead, I’m just numb, and it’s taken a few days for me to recognize the sensation.  I looked at myself in the mirror last night and saw a giant void.  There’s a particular appearance to people who’ve experienced some sort of trauma or witnessed something that will most likely be resolved only after years of therapy.  I’ve seen it before in my father’s face, a Vietnam veteran.  I’ve seen it in friends’ faces that I went to high school with after they’ve returned home from the middle east.  I saw it in my mother’s face after my father passed.  And I saw it in my own face in the mirror last night, but at the same time, it took me gazing into the mirror for some time to realize…I also saw it in Ron’s face when I climbed the bell tower, watching Benjamin Scanlon dangling by the rope around his neck.

My dreams are no longer permeated by amalgamation of shadowy silhouettes and grinning creatures.  Instead, the phrase, “things aren’t what they seem” is repeated over and over in the Grinner’s gravelly voice as I dream, and they’re accompanied by Ron’s face, with that dull expression of nothingness when there should be emotion. Something just doesn’t feel right.  I tend to be pretty intuitive about people and their motives, but with Ron, I truly believe he’s pleased with how I’ve been able to help him with the podcast and the organization of documents, not to mention being bait for his plan.  But I’ve always felt like he was holding something back.  If anything, he should at least trust me by now.

I’d been debating whether or not to say anything about this gut-feeling I’ve had, but to who?  I’m not sure if anyone in the group would have more allegiance to me, a guy that most of them just met, over Ron, who they’ve already got an established relationship with.  Unless they also felt the same way I did.

For that reason, and the fact that only one of them has taken a professional oath to do the right thing or risk serious consequences, I decided to reach out to Detective Anderson.  I contacted him a couple of days ago and asked if he wouldn’t mind meeting me somewhere public. 

We met in a park close to my house where I beat around the bush a little while, trying to probe to see what his thoughts were about the events that unfolded, and to try to gauge his reactions to my interaction with Ron at the bell tower.  Anderson had a stone cold poker face.  He peered at me through squinted eyes and puckered his lips as if he was sucking on a sour candy.  He obviously was not volunteering any information, and neither was he providing much feedback in his body language or his speech, so when I caught him glancing at his watch, I just came out and asked, “Do you think Ron is telling us the whole story?”

His squint turned into a scowl, and he replied, “now what the hell does that mean?”  

I reiterated my thoughts about Ron’s reaction to the scenario as we stood at the top of the bell tower watching Ben Scanlon swing back and forth below our feet.  Then I brought up how I recalled observing them in what looked like a heated discussion prior to the main events, and I said, “I can tell when I’m being lied to most of the time, and I can usually determine when I’m not being told the whole truth.  Compliments of having children I suppose.  I would guess that you have developed a similar skill set in your line of work.”

He looked frustrated, and perhaps just a little offended as he stood up and turned his back to me, glancing at his watch again.  He turned back around to face me without the scowl on his face any longer, and said, “look, I understand what you’re saying, but I really need to get back to work.”

For the first time in several days, I felt a surge of emotion.  It was rage…this guy was about to blow me off after all the shit I went through to help him and his buddy, Ron…after risking my life!  I can’t recall everything I said, but it was along the lines of “what the fuck, man!”

I don’t recall doing it, but in that moment of anger I must have closed the gap between myself and him, and got a little too close for his liking.  I only realized this when he put his hand on my chest, and sternly said, “You need to sit down right now.”

In my mind, I was calculating the probability of whether I could take him in a fight or not…but before I could come to a conclusion, he convinced me to sit.  

Once I took a deep breath, his demeanor shifted once again to something resembling an apologetic approach, and said, “I just can’t come out and tell you everything, but I can attest to Ron’s character, and he wanted nothing but the best outcome going into that night.  There are some things that are just not my place to tell you.”

I thought about this for a moment, attempting to lower my heart rate and resume rational thought.  He seemed sincere, so I apologized for snapping at him, and asked, “So you think I should come straight out and ask Ron?”

He quickly said, “that’s not what I’d recommend.”

Enter my frustration again.  I told him that I just didn’t know what to believe, but I was questioning some motives, and things weren’t adding up.  He apologized for not being able to help me by providing direct answers, and then made some crack about how I should fill out an application at his work, which I barely recognized as a joke as he began walking away.  I was still 100% convinced that there was something wrong with the way Ron was acting and what he was saying that night.

I went home, made some lunch, and then my intuition was confirmed when I received another brief message from my Twitter contact, 4thTrumpet.  The timing and nature of his message were somewhat ironic.  The exact words in the text he sent were, “Things aren’t what they seem.”

That, in itself, was somewhat remarkable since there’s no way he could have known about my experience with the Grinner uttering these words upon his departure.  Even Brianne, who was right next to me when I heard these words, was unaware of them, and I hadn’t told anyone about it.  

Shortly after 4thTrumpet sent that one line of text, he sent an image.  On my phone screen, the image was initially so small that I couldn’t make out what it was.  So I downloaded it to my phone, then opened it and expanded it.  The single-page document was heavily redacted, with only a few words actually visible.  As my eyes scrolled to the top, I could make out the words, “The employee acknowledges,” then a few lines further, “legally binding,” and even further down, toward the bottom of the page, I could see the phrases, “subject to fines and criminal charges,” followed by another redacted portion, and then the words, “up to 10 years in prison per account.”

My best guess is that this is some sort of non disclosure agreement.  The document portrayed great care to redact information, and it looked like there were three signatures covered up, with only one exposed.  What caught my eye here was that next to each of the three redacted signatures, just to the left, there was an additional space blotted out that I wasn’t quite sure about the purpose for.  I’ve seen plenty of legal documents, and typically, there’s a printed name with a signature line, but this was very specifically disguising something else.  

I zoomed in further on the third signature and the space blotted next to it.  A portion of that section was actually visible, most likely unintentionally.  I zoomed in as far as I could until the picture became pixelated.  It was a symbol, and I’d seen it before in the papers.  With phone in hand, I pulled a stack of documents I’d been recently reviewing, and pulled a few that I saw symbols on.  It was easy to match the small portion of it that was visible on the image to one of the documents.  It was a symbol of a pentagram with some other smaller depictions within the spaces.  It was one of the 7 symbols I’d commonly seen on documents pertaining to Project Hydra.  

And then…I scrolled down more, and there, adjacent to the notary seal, was the fourth signature that was not redacted.  Why it didn’t jump out to me immediately, I just don’t know, but it was a signature I had seen many times.  It was Ron Hammond’s.

Bait – Season 2 Episode 15

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Topics of possession, physical trauma, blood, gore, general horror, suicide, mild language.

If you, or someone you know needs help, call 800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Episode Transcript

When I was a kid, and probably more so as a young adult, I’d always wanted to see evidence of a ghost – a full bodied apparition…or any one of America’s favorite cryptids like Bigfoot or maybe the Mothman…I was obsessed with horror movies and basically anything that had to do with the paranormal. 

 I think when I first discovered these boxes of documents – what we now refer to as the storage papers – I thought it was a chance to feel that again…that same wonderment with the unknown

I’m sure as any of you that have gone out and experienced life can vouch for, things rarely work out anywhere close to the scenario we’ve played out in our heads. The truth is that things rarely work out at all, and when they do it always seems to count on things falling apart in just the right way.

I guess by virtue of listening to this you know that I’m still alive…. 

Whether or not our plan was a success…that’s relative…I can’t really give you a yes or no answer. 

If you listened to the last episode of this podcast, you know that I called out the Grinner…I intentionally antagonized him. While that was indeed every bit as monumentally stupid as it seemed, I actually did have a plan. Well…let me rephrase….Ron and Detective Mark Anderson had a plan. A good one…or so I was assured. 

The plan was laid out to me by another fairly new acquaintance: Brianne Scanlon. She muttered over a Styrofoam cup of black coffee, a cigarette dangling from her lips. 

 I was bait…that much I knew. What I didn’t really understand was what I was supposed to do next.

While I can’t exactly tell you the name or…where exactly we were…I can tell you we were at a Catholic Church. Not a new building…no…a very old Catholic Church. Black mold in the corners and dust obfuscating the light passing through its large stained glass windows and blanketing most of the surfaces with a snowy layer of soft grey. For that alone. I was kind of glad to have a face mask with me – even if I had it dropped to my chin at that moment. 

I bit the inside of my lip and calmed my breathing, taking a sip of my coffee. My eyes passed to the lipstick stains on the rim of Brianne’s now-empty styrofoam cup. She smiled weakly – she’s younger than me but she had the attitude of an older sister. Pretty…or some tired approximation of it. We briefly shared a look of pity and I took the moment to get acquainted with her features. She used makeup to hide the dark circles under her eyes and the freckles that ran across the bridge of her nose, she wore red lipstick hidden under a white painters mask. 

She glanced towards the large ornate wooden doors of the Church before putting her cigarette out on the wooden pew and pulling her face mask back up. 

“You know you’re safe in here right? His kind can’t exist inside these walls.”

“What exactly is his kind?” I asked.

She looked up at the ceiling blankly and then back to me.

 “It’s probably better we don’t say.” 

I have to admit I felt a bit awkward, kind of like I was reading someone else’s personal diary back to them…but I pointed out that Malcolm brought her to a church pretty early on…when they were dating. She looked a bit incredulous at first but then she explained.

“As crazy as it sounds…he was still Malcolm then…it wasn’t until after he fed the thing…gave it life…fed it all of those people…all of those cultists…that it actually took over his body. I don’t even know that Malcolm even really wanted to be completely taken over, but I’m not sure that matters now. Ron told me once that he fed his sister to it as a kid…not on purpose, he was playing around with a spellbook…but when he did, he woke it up. It woke up and it asked Malcom for more…drove him crazy. There was a little piece of the Grinner in him ever since.”

Off on the other side of the church, one of the pews screeched a few inches across the floor. A hushed conversation between Ron and Mark Anderson was beginning to get loud. Ron got up quickly and Mark followed him apologetically. I knew just as much of what was said then as I do now, but they returned a few minutes later with another man in tow. 

He looked to be in his late 30’s or early 40’s…tall with olive skin and dark hair that was starting to grey.  I was a bit thrown off by his appearance – khakis and a dated looking woven sweater-vest – he kind of looked like a caricature of a college professor from the 70’s. 

I’d come to know this man as Father Lucas Stone – a name I’d actually recognized from the storage papers. Looking at him – his soft polite mannerisms – he certainly didn’t look like any sort of monster or creature of the night. In fact, he looked like someone I could probably take on myself. I didn’t sit on that thought for long though, before his face shifted to a look that seemed like a cross between anger and concern and he walked briskly back out of the room. 

I glanced around the room to gauge everyone else’s reactions…Ron and Detective Anderson were back to arguing and Ron was trying to force what looked like an envelope into the Detectives hands. Again – I’m not really certain what exactly they were arguing about. 

It was at this point that Brianne got up and walked back towards the churches office area. She looked back and shook her empty styrofoam cup as an explanation, and not one to miss a hint, I got up and followed. As we entered a break-room-like area to the west of the church, I was introduced to Brianne’s brother Benjamin Scanlon, and Father Michael – the caretaker of the property. 

Benjamin, was surprisingly calm and put together and the lines beside his eyes told me there was a smile behind his black painter’s mask, even if just a broken attempt at courtesy. He lifted his arm to shake hands but quickly lowered it. 

Father Michael was an older gentleman, he looked to be in his late 60’s with white hair and the typical white collared shirt and black jacket.

Brianne lit up another cigarette before looking towards the three of us.

“I’m not scared, ya know…I’m just…I want this to be over” 

Benjamin sighed before looking at me and then back down at the floor.

We chatted for a bit longer and I was it would turn out, Ben was more keen to share some of the details of the plan – details I was inexplicably left out of. 

Unsurprisingly, the three of us – Benjamin, Brianne and I – were all bait for the Grinner in some way or another. Having us all in the same place was a guarantee that it would actually show up – something Ron and Detective Anderson were counting on. This part of the plan was all but expected – after all, Benjamin was (to my knowledge) still being actively pursued by the Grinner. 

Ron and Detective Anderson also anticipated that what we were doing would be recognized as a trap. As we would come to understand though, that didn’t really matter. In fact, that sort of was the plan. I’ll try to explain it the best I can.

The plan hinged on one simple idea: the Grinner is smarter than us, it knows it’s smarter than us, and we can use that to our advantage. While we’re safe in this building for now, we are effectively trapping ourselves in here – placing ourselves at the disadvantage in a sort of demonic siege warfare while the Grinner looks for weak spots in our plan. 

But if we were to somehow pull Malcolm’s body into the Church…well, Ron and Mark Anderson seemed to think the Grinner wouldn’t be able to make the trip.

As to what would happen next…the demon without its human host…Ben was pretty certain that Ron and Mark Anderson had a plan for that as well…though he didn’t exactly share it with me.

Benjamin’s explanation was cut short by a sharp noise and a bang coming from down the hallway to our left, a noise I’d realize later was a door being thrown open – squealing on its hinges before smacking hard against the wall. 

What followed next was a series of bangs as doors began flying open in every room of the church, the echoes shuffling down the aisles and up the walls of the altar. Father Michael audibly calmed his breathing, tea rolling over the lip of the ceramic mug he had in his shaking hands. 

Ben panned the room cautiously before continuing his approximation of the plan. 

“I asked you earlier…if we were able somehow able to magically teleport Malcolm’s body in to the church?” 

I nodded and he smiled with a childish confidence. 

“Well…Ron’s got a guy for that.”

Ben would evoke another name I’d recognize from the storage papers…Preston Nicholson.

It was easy to forget that Benjamin and Brianne hadn’t read any of the documents I have regarding Preston, nor have they listened to this podcast where I’ve gone over some of those documents. I couldn’t be sure how much they knew about Preston, Lucas Stone, or even myself, but I had a sense that Ben’s enthusiasm was based more on his confidence in Ron and Mark Anderson and that made me feel a bit uneasy.

More doors began to slam and things began to rattle throughout the building. Ben continued to clue me in on the plan – Brianne poking her head out in the hallway protectively and father Michael sipping his tea and making a noticeable effort to remain stoic. Ben’s voice raised to match the rising chaos enveloping us.

The Grinner would eventually show up and…well…when he did, we would be waiting for him or…rather, Lucas Stone would. If you’ve followed The Storage Papers, you know that the last person to possess Lucas Stone’s alleged curse would later – begrudgingly – accept the moniker of werewolf. I honestly find that to be a bit…on the nose, no pun intended…but as Ben would insist, the rumors were true. That meant that Lucas might have some sort of chance against the Grinner – maybe not in a one on one fight…but we wouldn’t have to find that out. 

You see, while Lucas might’ve been chored with sniffing out and leading the offensive towards the Grinner, he was ultimately just a distraction. Lucas’ job was to hold the Grinner in place long enough for Preston to create a bubble around the three of them and teleport them in to the church. If everything went according to plan, it would be forcing the Grinner on to holy ground – something that Benjamin and Brianne agreed would…kill him.

Sounds easy enough, right? 

It was admittedly a bit convoluted and relied heavily on circumstance. The whole plan basically hinged on this idea that the Grinner would shrivel up and die the second Malcolm’s body touched holy ground.

 To be honest I wasn’t sure if it’d work that way…and…well…I wasn’t really sure that Lucas or Preston were even capable of such a feat in the first place. As far as I was aware, Lucas Stone was delusional…Preston Nicholson was a con-man…a thief…but the thing that lives inside Malcolm Foye…that that thing is very real. Even if either of them were who they said they were, there’s no telling whether or not they’d survive this attempt…let alone succeed. 

I wasn’t confident that Ben was necessarily telling the truth about any of this either…even if it was the truth as he recognized it. 

But I would soon find out.

The sound of yelling – pews screeching across the wooden floors – sent us scrambling towards the entryway of the church. Ben led the way – taking off running – and while I tried to keep pace with Brianne, my speed hesitation just made me a human shield for Father Michael who made his way in the back. 

The doors were splintered open, dangling from their hinges,  \and in the center of the room were two figures huddled over a pair of unconscious men – one of which I couldn’t completely recognize but…knew all too well. A face I’d pictured a thousand times…a face I’d only seen in grainy security footage…a face I’d seen staring back at me from the dark…Malcolm Foye. 

Next to him lay Father Lucas Stone – barely breathing and floating atop an ever growing pool of blood. He was missing his right arm up to what looked to be the shoulder, and a good portion of the skin on the right side of his face. His empty eye socket glistened – it looked as if something small was moving around in there but I couldn’t say for sure. Wet exposed muscle was slowly being enveloped in a transparent white film – I couldn’t have known this at the time, but this was a sort of proto-stage in his newly developing flesh. 

Brianne knelt down hesitantly to take a better look at him – placing her fist to her mouth and looking around at us before carefully settling her scope on Malcolm’s unconscious body. She narrowed her eyes in his direction before looking back down at Lucas Stone. He opened his mouth a bit and I watched as broken teeth popped and cracked, and rolled down his jaw – drool and blood forming viscous bubbles that tumbled from his lips – his shaking legs kicking up years worth of dust from the floor. 

His right eye rolled aimlessly as his head lolled to the side. At first I couldn’t tell that he was looking at me. Without losing eye contact he suddenly lurched forward, grabbing aimlessly at Brianne – but she stepped backwards and his chest smacked against the floor. 

 He spat and grasped at a nearby pew to gain leverage. He was still looking at me when spoke.

“So this is your boy, Ron?” 

I hesitated – not sure what to say or how to interpret what was happening…I glanced over to Ron who shot me a concerned look, before I replied, “I’m…just sort of an acquaintance.”

A piercing laugh rippled from the church’s vaulted ceilings. I hadn’t realized it yet but we were putting on a show for something that lurked from deeper within the church, and it wouldn’t be long until that something revealed itself to us.

It was like the sun was setting, only far too fast. The amber glow of sunset poured through the stained glass windows, and then fell to grey night sky. The moonlight rose across the walls before giving way to the rising sun, before dropping back in to the grey of night – faster and faster until the room was flashing…pulsing with light.

Laughter trailed down the dark corridors, softened by the thick cobwebs and dust. 

I took inventory of my surroundings: Ron was tying up the still unconscious Malcolm…Mark Anderson was holding a knife and thrashing through the pages of a leather-bound book – one that looked suspiciously similar to a book he’d left in the care of myself. 

The flashing light made the whole room look like it was twitching.

Benjamin and Brianne looked to be arguing about something – though I couldn’t be sure because the didn’t seem to be making any noise. In fact, I couldn’t really hear anything except but the laughter. It seemed to be coming from every direction but…I felt like I could tell exactly where it was coming from. It was a laughter that was calling my name, and the more I thought about it that way the more it came to be true.


I looked to Father Michael. I could tell by his expression that he heard it too…we nodded silently in agreement and began heading towards the noise.

We made our way down the hallway…the flashing light from the windows giving way to flashing light bulbs – popping and showering us in darkness and glass.  

We reached one of the offices and entered. Inside it was pitch black but for a small glint at the other side of the room- the small swirling doorknob of what looked to be a closet. I looked to father Michael and I could tell his fear matched his determination…same as myself. He said something to me, but I couldn’t tell what it was…all I could hear was the laughter…the laughter that was also…my name. 

The door handle stopped turning when I put my hand on it. I opened it slowly and at first I could have convinced myself it was just an empty unused supply closet. But as I turned to father Michael I saw the horror on his face and as I turned back I saw it.

The light reflecting off of the eyes staring back up at me from the floor…the crescent smile…I recognized that face…as my eyes adjusted to the light. The same smile I’d seen in my house all those nights – only to turn on the lights and find myself alone. 

While I wouldn’t have been able to recognize him, this was Preston Nicholson…only it wasn’t. He was fused to the floor, his body halfway between this level of the church and the one beneath…and in his body…wrapped around his bones…in his shuttering lungs like tar…was the Grinner. 

And in an instant he wasn’t anymore…Preston’s body slumped to the floor – his hand around Father Michael’s ankle. The holy man looked at me wide eyed…a grin rolling in waves across his face…tears falling from his eyes. He mouthed something to me…before the smile reached behind his ears – I think he was saying sorry.

I ran.

The Grinner came stumbling behind me, veins tearing from his skin and extending like living tree roots. He laughed with a mouth at least a foot wide, teeth long and yellow. 

Back in the hallway the light from outside still flickered, making every step the Grinner made more unpredictable. His body seemed to stretch, the veins from his torso whipping and spooling together to form tentacles and his head opening and closing down the center. 

His mouth didn’t move as he spoke.

They’re not dead, Jeremy…I just ate them…

I neared the worship area of the church, where I’d hoped to find help from Ron or Mark Anderson. The Grinner continued.

Do you know why this didn’t work? Because you invited me here…you invited me in. Whatever happens next is your fault, Jeremy…

I came back to find that I’d been abandoned. Ron..

Mark Anderson…Ben…Brianne…Malcolm’s body was gone, too. Lucas Stone lay in the corner beyond a trail of blood. The Grinner spoke again, this time with his impossibly large mouth.

Where is my body, Jeremy?

I couldn’t find the courage to say anything, and even if I had, I’m not sure what I would have said. Instead I ran – ducking past the Grinner’s whipping appendages and deeper into the church – this time past the altar and towards the stairs that lead to the bell tower. I found Detective Anderson waiting for me in the room beyond the altar. He handed me a crumpled piece of old looking paper and a large ornate knife. 

“Finish carving this symbol in to Malcolm’s chest. When the Grinner makes his way back to his host body, this seal will trap him in it. He won’t be able to move or switch bodies.” 

“What are you going to do?” I asked him.

“The friggin’ werewolves job…distract the Grinner.”

I rushed to the stairwell that led to the bell tower – throwing open the door and scrambling up the steps – making my way to the first landing where I found Malcolm. Only he wasn’t unconscious…he was tied up and gagged and when he saw me his eyes went wild. I dropped my weight on to him to hold him down but he was struggling – screaming behind his gag – and with every swipe of the blade he struggled more.

The symbol was a sixteen pointed star, something I’d seen on a few of the folders in the storage papers but…honestly didn’t think much of. The paper was thick, almost like cloth, and as such was soaking up vast amounts of Malcolm’s blood and obscuring the image. The ivory handled blade was quickly becoming slippery – soaked with blood – each point of the star cutting deeper into Malcolm’s squirming body and…just like that, Malcom’s body convulsed…and the blade slipped…

I knew just looking at the amount of blood…I’d made a terrible mistake. Malcolm moaned and slowly slipped from consciousness. I’d stabbed him to death.

I had no choice but to run. The whispering laughter was approaching…the laughter with my voice in it…the wooden stairs splintered and snapped with every step the Grinner took.


Beyond that set of steps and before the bell tower I found a large attic space – dank and filled wall to wall with retired or otherwise unused furniture and church materials. Forgotten boxes of wine bottles, and stacks of unread pamphlets littered the edges. 

I made my way to the corner, hoping to hide behind an old desk. I knew if I made it any further up the bell tower I’d be trapped – this was my last chance to get behind him and make my way back down the stairs. 

I could hear him getting closer – calling my name. Mocking me.

You’ve really mucked it all up this time Jeremy…you invited me here and you killed my host…I can’t stay in this body…

He made his way into the attic…scurrying across the entryway on eight legs. He now resembled a sort of mix between a giant spider and a person…but inside out…dragging a slimy mess of organs and spools of intestine behind him.

I dove from the bottom into the graveyard of unused furniture – the white sheets that once covered these forgotten relics pollinating the room with thick choking dust as the Grinner ripped them away – snapping at my ankles with claws made of tendon and bone.

This old man’s body is already worthless to me…come on out so I can decide whether to eat you or wear your skin…

I edged my back along the wall, until my palms no longer found purchase behind me – there was a space in the wall…a crawlspace.

I could see him through the gaps in the furniture, kneeling on the ground – laughing – his body morphing in to a bug-like exoskeleton of dust and flaking bone. He was still grasping at furniture and pulling down sheets, but he was slow…weak…the laughter was quieter now.


I felt a hand reach from behind and cover my mouth, and for a second I struggled to break free, but Brianne’s voice was in my ear.

“The host’s body is too weak…the Grinner is a parasite…he doesn’t just inhabit the host body, he feeds on it…that’s why Malcolm looked so old and frail.” 

She guided me backwards, deeper in to the crawlspace. I’d realize later that we were in a maintenance space for the church’s ventilation, and it spanned almost the full length of the building. It was a way out. Another way to get behind the Grinner, rather than letting him push us further up and in to the bell tower. 

I asked Brianne what made Malcolm so special – how was Malcom’s body able to survive as the Grinner for so long? The simple answer is that she didn’t know – neither did Ron or Mark Anderson. 

She did tell me something else though…she told me Ben had a theory – the Grinner is able to survive inside Malcolm…because Malcolm found some way to hold onto all of those souls he’d gathered for the Grinner – put them somewhere else where he had control. 

Surrounding us was a dark expanse of wooden cross beams and pink insulation. I had a feeling if I stepped off one if these wooden beams, the ground would give way like tissue paper and I’d fall to my death.

I heard the laughter again…it was soft…there was more than just my name hiding in it this time. He spoke to me…spoke to me in a way that Brianne couldn’t hear…that nobody but me would ever be able to hear…and I’ll never forget what he said to me.

Things aren’t all that they seem.

I wasn’t sure exactly what it was…it sort of felt like a bug wriggling just behind my eyeballs…I can’t really explain it…but I had to turn back…

I turned to Brianne – her eyes swelling in frustration and disappointment. 

She grabbed me by the back of my shirt, and I yanked myself free. She was yelling at me, but I’m not sure what she said, I wasn’t really able to register anything more than her tone. It was like listening to sound underwater – muffled and distant. 

I made my way back through the opening of the crawlspace and I peered through the gaps in the pile of old benches and desks that had concealed our escape route. The Grinner was gone…all that remained was a layer of dust and powdered bone.

I made my way out of the junk pile, weaving through chair legs – like brambles – finding new paths in the dust sheets. I knocked over a box of empty wine bottles – I couldn’t hear the glass clink and roll across the wooden floor…I was still having trouble hearing anything but the whispering laughter. I couldn’t make out the words anymore though, just their general direction.

I began making my way upstairs towards the top of the bell tower, following the voice. What I thought was a pile of dust was actually a trail, leading a path of what looked like sand and fragmented bone on every other step or so. The whispers were fading now and as they did, my hearing was returning. As I made my way to the first landing, I could hear talking…or…arguing up above me – though it still sounded like I was underwater.

The next set of stairs upward were a part of a larger iron framework that held the bell and hammer mechanism in place. Flashing white light bled in through the cracks in the walls making time feel as if it were stuttering. 

…and then someone fell over the railing. I watched as the body seemed to suddenly stop and float…rotating in the flashing light. It felt like minutes – the body hovering in the air – before I realized they weren’t coming down. 

I slowly made my way up the iron steps and to the platform above me, where I found Ron…and Ben.

Ben’s body was dangling from the handrail. A thick hemp rope that once held some of the weights used to raise and lower the now-static bell…looped around his broken neck. 

Ron wouldn’t tell me what exactly had happened until later – after we’d made our way back down all three sets of stairs…passed the spot where I’d found what I thought were the final dusty remains of the Grinner, passed the spot where I’d last left Malcolm to die…only he was no longer there.

As it would happen, Preston was missing too – though I’m certain he’s out there somewhere right now just fine. To my shock Detective Anderson was alive, injured but not mortally wounded or missing any important appendages.

Ron and I met Brianne, a now much less gravely injured Lucas Stone, and Mark Anderson at the entryway of the Church. It was only then that Ron explained what happened.

Ben, Ron, and Mark Anderson brought Malcolm up towards the bell tower where he’d only have one route of escape, which they could easily block. They planned to seal Malcolm’s body with the 16 pointed star and then kill him once the Grinner returned to his body, and before he could gather his bearings. The idea was that if the Grinner’s host body is killed, both souls would be swallowed in to hell. The seal was to make sure when they killed Malcolm the Grinner wouldn’t be able to escape in to someone else’s body. 

If I can be absolutely honest, the plan was stupid…it was a poor solution to overcome the failure if another brilliantly stupid plan…and in the end it got Ben killed. 

When I led the Grinner back towards the bell tower, Ben and Ron ran up further and Mark Anderson back-tracked – not wanting to be cornered at the top. 

When the Grinner depleted father Michael’s body and gave up on catching me and Brianne, it used the last of its energy to make it up the tower – now just a crawling pile of dust – and jump in to Ben. 

Ron told us that Ben fought it…and ultimately…he won…when he wrapped a rope attached to one of the handrails around his neck and threw himself over.

He killed both himself and the Grinner. At least for now…

Malcolm brought the Grinner from out of hell, and right now Malcolm Foye is out there somewhere. But when I held that knife…I cut deep…I cut a scar that’s never going away…so if Malcolm ever does decide to invite the Grinner back in to his body….he’s for damn sure never getting out of it. 

When I look at Brianne, I still see the same broken woman I first met sitting on that pew…cigarette in her mouth…empty look on her face. Wracked with pain and guilt…blame for ever meeting Malcolm and inviting him in to her life…only now she’s shattered to pieces.

I’ve thought a lot about what the Grinner told me…the words he floated in to my head when I was retreating in to the crawlspace – the words he said that made me want to turn around…

“Things aren’t all that they seem.”

Thank you for listening.

The Meeting – Season 2 Episode 14

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General horror, demonic provocation

Episode Transcript

The last few days have seemed like weeks, and there has been a flurry of events taking place.  For many reasons, whether it be lack of time, permission, or authority, I was not able to capture all of the events I wanted to, but I wanted to share a selection of notes I did take.

Friday, August 14, 2020

I’m on my way out of the house.  Just a couple of days ago, I received an invitation from Ron to meet tonight at a church near old-town San Diego.  Up until now, talking about these people I’m about to finally meet in-person seems kind of weird.  It’s a lot like meeting a celebrity or perhaps someone you’re familiar with in some way, but you’re not quite sure what to anticipate going into the actual introduction.  Naturally, I would have liked to record this meeting, but when I asked Ron in advance about that possibility, he was very clear about the requirement for no record of the conversation due to the potential negative outcome it could have for our plans.  I even asked about recording it and not releasing it on the podcast until after our plans were carried out, but for some reason, I think this pissed off Ron.  I just can’t imagine why.  Sorry guys, I tried.

Saturday, August 15

I got home really late last night…too late to document anything, but either way, I really needed to sleep on the information I was given last night.  I met both Brianne and Benjamin Scanlon.  Detective Anderson was there, and of course, Ron was as well.  I thought I was going to be able to meet Father Lucas Stone, but surprisingly, he wasn’t there.  Who I didn’t expect to see there was Preston Nicholson.  It was insane because we were all gathered in the church, talking to one another, and then I heard a voice from behind me which startled me a bit.  When I turned around, he was just sitting there in the pew behind me as if he’d been there the whole time.  

For some reason, everyone I hadn’t met prior to last night looked just about like I expected, but Nicholson didn’t.  He looked younger, and he had a serious way about him.  For some reason the account I read about way back in Episode 6 made me think he was more mischievous, like some kind of class clown character.  He was all business.

While I have been advised not to provide many details about the plan that we devised, I can share with you that I can see the value of presenting these accounts to you more so now than ever, even though it’s rather minuscule in the scale of what’s actually happening here.  

For the time being, we believe we have a way to get rid of the Grinner, and it’s fine if he knows our intentions.  No, that’s not right…it’s actually better that he knows them.  I don’t know if this demon who toys with our minds and tries to weaken us physically and spiritually, if he audibly hears what I’m saying through the podcast, or if it uses abilities of a more more supernatural nature to know certain details about the people it infects, but I know he’s been in my head as of late.  

I’m tired of the middle of the night visits, the fleeting shadows out of the corner of my eye, the disembodied voices I’ve heard, and even managed to record.

Sunday, August 16

This morning, I’m confident that the Grinner has some sort of spiritual connection, as if he’s aware of the notes I jotted down from yesterday, because he paid me a visit in my sleep.  I’m so tired of being toyed around with.  Of being taunted.  Shortly after 2:00 a.m. this morning, I was awoken to the feeling of pressure on my chest.  I was lying on my back, which in itself is strange because I never sleep that way, but it felt like an elephant was standing on me.  I tried to move, but it was as if I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t even yell out, and when I tried, I only made muffled, grunting noises.  I could do nothing to prevent what happened next.  

The shadow figure entered my room for the first time.  Normally it just stands near the doorway and peers around the corner at me, and for some reason, I had always considered my doorway somewhat of a threshold.  I don’t know why…I guess it’s just because I’d never seen it gap the distance between the doorway and my bed.  But this changes things.  It seems more intimidating now…more threatening.  

I watched as it levitated into a horizontal position directly above me, suspended in the air, and then it began taking on an entirely different-looking form.  It was almost animalistic, and it was speaking in Latin.  I couldn’t understand it at the moment, of course, but the tone was authoritative.  As it spoke, the pain in my chest swelled, and I thought I might have been having a heart attack.  I couldn’t even focus on the words being said, but after only a few words were spoken, the shadow figure dissipated and my pain was alleviated.  I could breathe again.  I rolled over to check on my wife, who was still soundly asleep and unaware of what just happened.

I took a moment to gather my thoughts, and then I picked up my digital audio recorder from my night stand.  It was still recording.  You see, any time I’ve done paranormal investigations, I’ve always found the audio recorders to come in most handy.  Well, that along with good research.  But I’ve always suggested to clients that they invest in a good one.  You can always record over old files or archive them for later review.  But ever since I began getting these late-night visits from our demonic acquaintance, I’ve been recording the encounters.  

This is the audio from the encounter I just described.

Non licet esse tam audax, ut putas te potest tollendum me.  Grassor si audes.

The loose English translation of this is, “You can’t be so bold to think you can get rid of me.  Go ahead and try if you dare.”

Monday, August 17

I’ve never been known to shy away from a dare.  Anyone who has known me long enough can tell you this.  Sometimes, it’s a fault, but I’m guessing given the taunting nature the Grinner typically uses to interact with me, he might just be aware of that.  In fact, I was counting on a visit from him shortly after my meeting with everyone.

In light of the increasingly pervasive nature of these visits, I’m taking this opportunity to call you out.  I’m speaking directly to you now, (bleep), who we call “the Grinner”.  I believe that any power you hold over a human being is an illusion.  That you’re actually very weak, and there’s really nothing you can manage to accomplish that we don’t allow, or that your master hasn’t given you permission to do.  The truth is, I think you’re nothing more than an errand-boy.  If you truly wanted to accomplish something by lingering around for so long, you would have done so by now if you really had the ability.  I’m starting to believe that you’re nothing without a menial task to fulfill, an order to follow, or a human host to try to manipulate into doing the things you can’t do for yourself. 

I challenge you to prove me wrong.  Tonight, we’ll all be gathered together.  Everyone you’ve infected including myself, and Ben and Brianne Scanlon will be in one place.  Why don’t you meet us there and show us what you can do?  Stop hiding in the shadows and visiting us while we sleep, while we’re vulnerable.  My bet is that you won’t even show up, and I’ll be sure to update everyone who listens to this podcast that you failed to show your face to confront us.  That you’re nothing more than a disembodied coward.  Useless… afraid… pathetic.

I assume you’re aware of the place we met Friday night.  All you have to do is meet us there, face to face and prove us wrong.  We’ll be waiting.

This week, I’m not asking for your social media interactions, or that you reach out to me with your thoughts or check out our website.  I would just ask that, if it’s part of what you believe in, to say a word in prayer for protection for myself and our team of people assembling to address this Grinner.  And please ask your like-minded friends to do so as well.  Rumor has it that gathering in numbers has more spiritual significance, so we’re hoping to get all the help we can as we prepare for tonight.

A Nightmare on Redwood Avenue – Season 2 Episode 13

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General horror

Episode Transcript

This week’s document is a nearly empty black and white composition notebook – only the first twenty or so pages have any writing in them at all. There’s nothing inside to indicate its purpose or who it belongs to and when I first read it I assumed it was just a creative writing exercise from a college student…or maybe I had just hoped that. If it had been just that, someone’s homework, it wouldn’t have been in that storage unit at all. While much about Ron remains a mystery, through examining these documents I’d like to think I’ve come to learn quite a bit about his mindset and methodology, and this wouldn’t fit unless he thought there was something to it. Still, I’d find it much more comforting to think of it that way – just the workings of an active imagination. It wasn’t until I reviewed a copy of a police report that was tucked into the back page that I realized what it actually was, but more on that later.

I’m running. Every night, it’s the first thing I know. My legs are a blur and my chest burns as I try to inhale more oxygen than my lungs can hold. I’m only vaguely aware of the burn though – just like I realize my legs are beginning to feel rubbery and I’m on the cusp of misplacing my foot into a twisted ankle. But that’s not what’s on my mind.

What keeps me placing each foot further into the unknown is what’s behind me. At least, I hope they’re behind me. I don’t dare look back, though. I can’t. Taking any ounce of attention away from the task at hand for even a split second could spell the end for me. I know this to be more true than any religion or creed. So I keep running.

I see a white light in the distance. Just like I did last night. And the night before. And every night as far back as I can remember since I was a child in a life that seems like a faraway dream. But I keep running. Maybe this time it will be different.

Although it seems impossible to hear anything over my gasping breath or pounding heart, I hear something that’s not quite footsteps. It more closely resembles a waterfall. Or a crashing wave, as that’s more similar to what is actually there. It’s like a tidal wave of darkness ready to overtake me and suck me out into a sea of…I don’t know. I don’t want to know. And if I can make it to the light, maybe I won’t have to know.

I can see that there are actually multiple lights. I risk a glance at my surroundings as I press on. There’s a thick scape of trees to either side and overhead gnarled branches block out the moonless sky, all working together to create a fog of varying shades of gray and black around me. They could be running beside me or even ahead of me, waiting for me to emerge from the woods to reveal that there was never any escape to begin with. But I know for certain they’re behind me so I keep running.

I break past the woods and see that I’m in a small town now. I know this place. I don’t know why, but it’s instantly familiar. I don’t have time to think about it, though. I can’t keep running. Not now, anyways. I have to stop. I need time for the burn to go away so I can make another break for it. Without pausing as the ground changes from whitened dead grass flat against the dirt to the hard black pavement of a small street, I turn left at the first intersection and glance back at the woods. They haven’t emerged from the tree line yet. Thank God for small miracles.

Every house has an open door. Every house except one. I haven’t seen it yet, but I know it’s there. I continue down the street as it bends right and without hesitation run into the eighth house on the left. I haven’t been in this one before. The black door, like almost all the others, is open, but that’s the only way I can get in.

Knowing the outcome before I try, I yank at the door handle in vain. It won’t budge. It never will. After pulling with all the strength left in me and making no progress, I pause. I can hear a sound in the distance. An almost bass-y squeaking, like when wet glass is rubbed. The sound cuts through the night air. I have to hide, closed door or not.

I walk past the entryway and further into the house, stepping as quickly and quietly as I can, but I feel like each step on the white tile floor creates a thunderous echo. Entering the kitchen, I see another open door. An unfinished wooden staircase leads down into darkness. I hesitate, looking around for better options. I see a large chef knife lying on the grey marble counter and try to pick it up. It is like trying to lift a two ton brick. I know it is futile.

I turn back to the basement door and reluctantly enter. Every step creaks and groans under my weight, as if protesting an intruder. There is no light down here and I can just make out two more doors at the far end of the barren room by the faint light of the kitchen. I just took a step towards those rooms when the kitchen light flickers and I freeze. My time is up. I spin and in two swift steps place myself underneath the staircase where I crouch.

The light continues to flicker and I hold my breath. My breathing is the least of my concerns, though. My heart may as well be broadcasting in Morse code, “Hey, I’m over here. Under the stairs. Come get me!”

I place a hand to my chest, willing in vain my heart to slow to a quieter pace. It enters. There is no squeaking of steps. I’m not even sure that it touches them. All I hear is a sopping wet sound, like someone is squeezing slime against something as it descends into the basement. I see its vague, dark form between strobes of the light. I can feel its presence suck the air from my lungs and turn my fingertips to ice. This is the closest they had ever been. I know it is not a matter of if, but when, it will find me.

It pauses at the foot of the stairs and I silently pray it won’t turn to see my eyes peeking between steps. Instead, moving at a maddeningly slow pace with head cocked to the side, it begins exploring the basement along the wall, its tongue extended against the cold stone as it does so. A trail of thick saliva drips behind it.

I know what I have to do. I have to wait for it to get to the other side. It will go into the rooms. It has to. That’s where I was going to hide. That’s where, logically, I should have. Not out in the open. When it goes in, I will make a break for it. It is my only shot. But I have to wait. I have to wait for it to go into the room, and I have to pray it is the only one of them in this house.

I stare at it more intently than I’d ever looked at anything before as I slowly begin to stand up, ready to move as soon as it is out of my eye line. My peripheral vision is gone. All I can see is this shadow and the long tongue that hangs to the side.

My head contacts the stair above me as I rise and it spins around. I see its eyes.

After that there’s a blank page, then another page that just has three words etched deeply into the paper in a harsh scrawl: “Almost has me.” The writing resumes again on the following page.

I’m running. The town is behind me now, but it won’t be for long. It’s lights already offer no illumination to the brush that flies past me. I’m in the woods again. I don’t know how I made it last night. It must have turned into morning when our eyes met. It’s the only thing that makes sense. But here I am.

I’m not sure how I’ve been able to keep this up. Every day I’m exhausted and for what? To do it all over again the next night? I can’t do this anymore. But my feet keep moving.

I see the white light. I know if I can keep up this pace the light will splinter off into more lights and then a town will form. If I don’t, the darkness will overtake me. I keep running. I once again emerge from the black mouth of the woods and feel the texture beneath my feet change from earth to hard pavement that sends shockwaves up my bones with each pounding step.

I turn left at the first intersection and look back to the treeline where what appears to be a black mist is emerging. They’re moving faster tonight. I continue running down the street, knowing instantly exactly where I am. But why? Why is this place so familiar?

I can’t go back into the same house as last night. They’ll know. I have to find somewhere else to hide as I recover. Somewhere to last the night. But I’ve been in almost every house by now. They know all of my hiding places.

Then I see it. The white, closed door in a sea of open, black doors. I won’t be able to open it. It won’t move. But it beckons me. I move towards it and the houses on either side of me begin to rumble, then, one by one, they collapse as the ground shifts. The world rotates and I find myself walking upwards at an almost impossible angle, struggling with every step. I see every structure around me fall and emit a cloud of black dust in their wake. I drop to my hands and knees, beginning to crawl. I look at the white door before me, seeming to grow ever further away.

It suddenly occurs to me. I realize what it is now, why I know this place. This is where I grew up. Nobody had believed the stories I told of monsters licking their way through town. My dad told me it was just a bad dream. Maybe it was. Or maybe this is just where the monsters lived. Maybe when you fall asleep, you fall into their world. And when they find you…I don’t know. I don’t know what they’ll do to me. But I don’t want them to find me. I don’t want to be trapped here with them.

The earth on either side of the road begins to fall away silently. This won’t slow them down, though. I don’t have to look to know that for every inch I crawl, they’ve easily glided a foot. All it’s done is limited my escape routes and made me that much easier to see.

In my peripheral vision I see movement. It’s black, but it’s not them. I can barely differentiate anything from the black, starless sky, but I recognize the rectangles as doors. All the doors I had run past and been unable to budge. All the doors that had not offered shelter but an invitation to all that is evil to come in and find me. To take me away. They surround me, creating a tunnel of black, useless doors that floated with no passion, just indifference as to the fate of the creature that was now crawling for its life to the white door to my childhood home that would refuse to offer salvation. 

But I have to try. What choice is there? This is my fate. I can hear them now. The familiar rushing noise. My hand touches the door that is now almost directly above me and I begin to cry as I reach for the handle. There is no give. I try to yank on it, but I have no strength and even if I did I know it wouldn’t make a difference. Beyond the door I can hear strains of muffled yelling followed by a crash, then more screaming. I slowly, with great effort, turn and rest my back against the closed, white door. Of course it was never going to open.

They’re not far away now. I can see the rough pavement slice their tongues as they move towards me, a trail of blood and saliva in their wake. There is no longer any urgency in their motions. And why should there be? They know I’m not going anywhere. It was always going to come to this. The white door – the only place in this world that offers protection – it would never allow me in. It’s just the illusion of shelter. A false hope. The trauma that occurred there as the town stood idly by would always keep me out. Everyone had heard my pleas for rescue. But here we are. Finally resting for a moment against the closed door.

Maybe if I’m still here tomorrow I can find a way to bring some matches or something into this world. I don’t know how that would work, but this door and everything behind it offers nothing to me. I don’t need to remind myself of it anymore. It won’t save me, it never made me stronger despite what I wanted to believe, and thanks to these creatures growing ever closer, it certainly won’t have the chance to kill me. It doesn’t belong here. It has to go. I may be running out of time and I may never escape this place, but for these last few moments that I have I can take back everything that was stolen as a child. I can finally move forward, even if it is into the darkness of this world. At least I will be moving away from this door. 

The air around me is now being warmed by their hot breath as the last few feet are removed from between us. Even if by some miracle it turns to morning before I feel their tongues on my skin, they’re mere inches away and there’s no chance at all of making it through another night. They have me. They finally have me.

The next page just has two words on it, but they fill the entire page: “Tomorrow night.” The rest of the pages are blank. I double checked to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. That’s when I found the copy of the police report tucked in between the last page and the back cover that unfortunately shed some light on what I had just read.

Officers Daniels and Hiers entered the apartment at approximately 10:30am, responding to a request for a wellness check from the resident’s employer due to multiple absences from work and seeming to display paranoid behavior that had been growing worse recently. The resident was found in bed, unresponsive to stimuli. There did not appear to be any drug use involved aside from a prescription sleep aid on the nightstand next to a notebook.

The notebook appeared nonsensical, however when contacting the doctor who had written the prescription, he stated that the resident had been experiencing regular nightmares and, aside from the sleep aid, had recently begun a dream journal to help analyze what happened in their mind every night. The doctor confirmed that the amount of pills remaining indicated the resident had been taking them as prescribed. The tox screen confirmed this, ruling out an overdose as the cause for the comatose state. The door was locked and foul play is not suspected. This is a medical matter clearly requiring no intervention from law enforcement. Due to this, the case is being closed.

The resident, whoever that was, had been experiencing bad dreams. From the sound of things, this had been going on for a long time. After reading about their last two dreams in their journal entries, I can’t imagine living through that every night from childhood, only to wake up and find whatever traumatic reality they lived in offering no reprieve. I also can’t help but wonder where this town is that they grew up and if it really exists.

Worst of all is the fact that these creatures in the dreams bring back memories of a single entity I read about in a previous episode, The Licker. I have to wonder now if this may be some sort of species that exists in the world we enter in our dreams, and perhaps the poor girl in the previous episode had encountered one that had managed to escape into that place between sleep and consciousness. If they do reside in that world, how long will it be before you or I encounter them?

There’s still much science hasn’t told us about those who fall into a comatose state. After reading this, I can’t help but think it never will explain those things fully for the simple reason that it can’t explain the supernatural.

Either way, before I fall asleep tonight, I’m going to try to make peace with…I’m not sure. Myself? Someone? The universe? I’d encourage all of you to do the same. You just can’t ever be sure you won’t encounter something uninvited in your dreams or some place in between.

Editors Note:

Previously this transcript referenced an episode which has since been renamed. The previous title was a derogatory term and, once we were made aware, the episode was retitled.

Brianne Scanlon – Season 2 Episode 12

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Strong language, sexual assault, trauma, topics of possession, general horror

Episode Transcript

In today’s episode, I’ll be reviewing some of Ron Hammond’s notes from a client meeting with Brianne Scanlon.  The contents of these notes, in my mind, warranted a direct conversation with Ron for a few reasons, but I’ll get to that later.  Ron’s notes from home visitation of Brianne Scanlon, February 9, 2016.

Brianne Scanlon called me Monday (yesterday) night asking to speak with me first thing in the morning.  She didn’t want to come into the office, and said it was easier to show me what she needed to show me from her own home.  She sounded exhausted.  

I arrived at her apartment near Balboa Park around [8:00] in the morning, and I brought her a coffee – black with no cream or sugar.  I had noticed how she took her coffee in a couple of earlier meetings.  In fact, I couldn’t recall ever seeing her without some kind of caffeinated beverage in-hand in any of the interactions I’ve had with her.  It must be a nurse thing.

When I rang the doorbell, I couldn’t hear any sign of movement indicating she was even home, so I rang a second time, and followed it up with a few loud knocks.  It startled me when I heard the deadbolt being unlocked because I hadn’t heard any footsteps approaching the door, and when she opened it, I was almost unsettled at her appearance.  I’ve seen her without makeup before, and she’s the type that’s really pretty, no matter how much effort she’s put into herself to look presentable.  But today was different.  

As the door cracked open, the first thing I noticed were her eyes.  They were squinted so much that they were nearly closed, hiding from the light of the open doorway and straining to make contact with my own eyes.  I asked if she was okay, and she sounded groggy in her response, saying, “um…. Yeah, sure.”  She sounded confused.  Perhaps I did wake her up.  As the door swung open, I got a sense of her skin tone, which looked different as well.  Normally, she looked somewhat tanned with an olive complexion.  Today, she looked extremely white, almost to the point of having a grayish hue.  Her hair was knotted, which I noticed as she brought her forearm up against her forehead to shield her eyes from the sunlight coming in through the open door.  She had on sweatpants and an over-sized t-shirt.  I had obviously woken her up.  I wondered if she forgot about our phone call last night.

I came through the doorway and closed it behind me quickly to stop letting bright light inside, and it took me a few moments to allow my eyes adjust to the dark.  I held out a tall cup of coffee that I brought her, and she did a little widening of the eyes that told me she was thankful, though she didn’t verbally express it.  As she took her first couple of sips of coffee, I began to gaze around the room, which was also in disarray.  Fast food wrappers and pizza boxes were spread out over the coffee table and on the floor.  Blankets were on the couch and dirty dishes overflowed in the kitchen sink.  On the counter next to the sink were a few empty wine bottles, and there was an odor of something rotten coming from the kitchen – most likely the garbage disposal.  

She told me the living room was a mess and invited me to sit down at her small dining room table in the kitchen.  When I asked if she was okay, she said, “absolutely fucking not” in somewhat of a slurred manner.  Was she drunk?  Then she put her face in her hands and began crying.  I stood back up and walked over to put my hand on her shoulder, then asked what was going on.  She said “everything” and apologized for her inability to maintain composure.  

So I said, “let’s take it from the top.  What’s changed since we last spoke?”  Brianne proceeded to tell me about some things she’d been experiencing over the past few weeks.  She was in trouble at work over missing shifts that she couldn’t even remember if she called out for.  She claimed she was missing time.  That there were multiple occurrences of hours and sometimes even days that she couldn’t recall from her memory.  Last night, when she called me to set up the meeting, she claimed that she didn’t know where she was for the last two days, and that the duration of these events was getting longer.  She also claimed that she was having what she initially thought were dreams, though now she believes them to be real experiences, and these things had been happening to her for nearly a year, even up to the moment when I first met her, though she only recently realized this.  

When I asked her what she meant, she said “for example, I remember being at work at the hospital a little over a year ago.  I didn’t have this memory until a couple of days ago when I was having one of these dreams, and then all of a sudden, I found myself disoriented while at work, not realizing how I’d gotten to the place I was sitting.  I looked down, and in my hand was a USB flash drive.  It’s almost like I’m finally able to recall actual events that occurred, but only when I’m having these crazy dreams.”

I knew the answer to this already, but I had to ask, “what was on the flash drive?”  She said that she had downloaded some patient files and medical records.  Specifically history and prognosis files, surgical and imaging reports, and other testing results including labs, genetic and metabolic testing.  Then she explained that another one of these dreams revealed that she had put the medical records onto her own computer at some point.  When she went to eject the flash drive in the dream, the date was March 7, 2015, about one year prior to the date she could actually recall doing this. 

At first, she said she wasn’t certain that these were actual real events… until last night.  She claimed that after having one of these dreams that supposedly revealed a real-life memory, she woke up and decided to go to her computer to look for these files that she had downloaded.  She found them.  With some additional information as well.  While her new memory (or so we’ll refer to it as) revealed the medical documents she previously discussed, there were additional files, including some video footage of a hotel parking lot, and a strange person behaving rather strangely.  She said she watched until the end of the video, where the individual looked as if his head turned completely around, walked toward the camera.  She believed it was Malcolm.

For some reason, whether it was the emotional tension of the moment or the stress, she recalled packaging and shipping the flash drive to her brother, Ben.  What she didn’t recall was whether or not they ever even discussed it afterwards.  My hunch was that she didn’t provide a return address, and that Ben Scanlon probably recognized the person, but didn’t want to admit that he knew him for some reason.  

Brianne then continued to describe some other things in her dreams.  Until about two weeks ago, she had been sleeping in her bedroom, but she’d been having these horrible nightmares where she’d experience intruders in her bedroom at night.  She described waking up startled, but unable to move, and being surrounded by shadowy beings.  At first, they’d just stand there and stare at her.  As she would attempt to move, and come to the realization that she wasn’t able to, they would begin to smile.  The closer these beings got, the more she could distinguish just a couple of features… their wide grins and their almond-shaped, solid black eyes.  The more she would struggle to move, the more entertained they seemed to be, until eventually, they would all reach out and start touching her.  Their hands would run all over every inch of her body, grabbing and squeezing every inch of skin, including many inappropriate places.  “It was painful”, she said.  “Humiliating and violating, and it would fill me with shame because they all seemed to be enjoying themselves and I was letting it happen.”

She wasn’t sure how long this would occur for because it seemed like time would slip away.  Eventually she would try to distract her mind from the whole thing and think of something else as it was all going on, and that’s when she would notice a very different sensation.  Almost as if their hands became ghost-like, they would pass through my skin and the pain would temporarily subside.  I could see their hands permeating through my body and as I looked at their faces, the smiles would be gone.  There was a frantic, almost worried look on their faces now.  Like they were searching for something that they just couldn’t find.  They were angry, and they began to get violent.  They were all trying to push one another aside for a chance to reach through my body and feel around for whatever it was that they were trying to grasp.  And as I slowly began to regain my ability to move again, I would see a strobe of light flash.  Always three flashes, then screams of agony while they scurry away.  It’s almost as if I was being protected by this light somehow.

She said these dreams were recurring, and then she walked me into her bedroom.  On the walls, I could see outlines of humanoid-looking shapes.  It instantly reminded me of the images in textbooks you see from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs where the detonation flash permanently created shadows on structures and cement.  There were several shadows, each with a distinguishable shape, and it appeared as if they had been created multiple times over.  Brianne pointed to the walls and said, “here’s some physical evidence for you.”  Then she pulled up her shirt to reveal her stomach, which was covered in bruises.  She said, “and here’s another effect of the dreams”.  She looked like she’d been beaten badly.  I encouraged her to seek medical attention, but she declined, saying “that’s not the kind of help I need”.  

After lowering her shirt, Brianne led me back to the living room where she laid down and covered up with a blanket.  She asked if I wouldn’t mind staying for a couple of hours to be there with her while she attempted to get some kind of sleep, and to see if I could witness anything in case one of her supposed dreams happened again.  I thought it was actually a pretty good idea and asked if I could browse through the files on her computer to see if I could notice some kind of pattern or pull a piece of pertinent information out of them.  She told me to knock myself out.  As I began viewing these files, I realized there were literally thousands of patient records included.  I asked if she’d taken a good look at them, but she was already sound asleep.  I decided to make a list of things I noticed about them, along with some questions for follow-up:

  1. The medical folders aren’t named according to patient name or medical record numbers.  Instead they seem like some kind of letter/number combination, and all begin with the letter H so far.  How are they organized?
  2. There are symbols associated with each of the folders.  At first glance, I’ve seen several, including some that are either duplicated or have more than one symbol that can be cross-referenced between multiple files.
  3. Can these files be indexed by patient name, date of birth, etc.?  Look into creating a database, as well as amount of time that would take and cost – consider out-sourcing.
  4. Cross-reference cases with my own files… there may be nothing here, but I have a hunch…
  5. Follow up on the homicide that occurred at the hotel where the attached video took place.  Who was the victim?  Still unidentified?  Obtain autopsy report.
  6. Check formatting of file storage.  There are more folders within each of the primary ones, but a few of them have extra folders that don’t appear to have medical records in them, but do pertain seemingly non-medically-related information.  Is this a consistent pattern?

I spent the better part of the afternoon going through these files, not realizing how much time had gotten away from me in the process.  Brianne seemed to sleep soundly the entire time, despite the frantic clacking of keys and clicking of the mouse I was doing.  I did note one additional item I’d like to follow up on, though I’m not quite sure how yet.  There were a total of 7 folders on the drive that were password encrypted, and I know I’m going to need some help unlocking those.  The only information I could see without these passwords were the file sizes.  They were monstrous.  Either they contained a lot of media, pictures and videos, or a shit-ton of text-based files.  

When Brianne woke up, it was early evening.  I asked if she knew the password for those folders, and she attempted to use a few passwords she had created for software and systems at work, but she was unsuccessful.

That’s the end of Ron’s note from this specific day.  Here on the Storage Papers Podcast, I’ve only shared a small percentage of the files in my possession publicly compared to those I’ve read, and those I’ve read are but a fraction of a percent of the total number of files here.  After initially reading what I just shared with you, the listeners, I felt compelled to call Ron and ask some questions specific to some other files relating to the medical records mentioned here, as well as the current state of Brianne.  

Ron shared that he was in touch with Brianne regularly, but her disposition has become rather despondent.  Over the last several months, she’s fallen into a deep depression.  She’s had trouble at work and is undergoing psychotherapy on a bi-weekly basis.  Ron said she’s dulled the dreams with medication, convincing herself that they’re not real, at least for the time being until we’re able to figure out a way to free her from the oppression of the Grinner.  

While there’s more documentation to uncover about who… or what the Grinner actually is, Ron shared that over the last few years, he’s solicited the help of various priests who are skilled in the rite of exorcism.  Some have been successful, at least for a period of time, in relinquishing the Grinner’s grasp on Brianne even if only temporarily.  She’d go for a period of weeks and sometimes months without the dreams and visitations, but when she’d start to show real progress he would return.  Every time she experiences this cycle, the fight in her leaves a little bit, and Ron clearly expresses that he fears she will not be able to fight much longer without a permanent solution.  He believes he has one, and plans to fill me in very soon.

With Ron’s permission, I’ve expressed interest in adding my own notes to these files after conducting some of my own additional research regarding the oppressive effects taking place for Brianne Scanlon.

I did some of my own reading and research into the demon we refer to as the Grinner.  I still won’t share his name, especially now after what I’ve learned, though it is documented multiple times within the papers.  I connected with a friend of mine who I’ve worked with on a couple occasions doing paranormal investigations.  My friend, who has asked to remain anonymous to protect his privacy, is a theologian and demonologist.  When I presented the demon’s name to him, he asked me to give him a week or two to visit the archives and present what he found.  I guess I was a little surprised he hadn’t heard the name before.

About 10 days after that, he asked me to meet him at a cemetery about an hour outside of the city.  I thought this was odd, but he explained that there was a reason for it, in addition to it being on holy ground.  He also admitted to listening to The Storage Papers podcast to get some context regarding my reason for looking into this.  I suppose additional listeners never hurts.  

He was able to reference two aliases for the name of the demon possessing Malcolm Foye.  He explained that this particular demon was not a low-level demon, but a higher-ranking one in high favor with Lucifer himself.  The Grinner, in the spiritual realm, commands 30 legions of demons and has been promoted to the rank of high president in hell.  He is also very old, being one of the original angels cast out of heaven when Lucifer fell.  You see, most average, run of the mill demonic entities simply run around looking for opportunity and pouncing on the weak.  These older ones are more reserved, making calculated moves.  They have the power to influence masses, they are eloquent and often charismatic, and they show patience and restraint when needed in order to set the stage for longer-term plans. A human lifespan is a blink of the eye for them to wait for conditions to be right in order to accomplish a goal.  

My theologian friend took a little bit of extra effort that I hadn’t counted on though.  He shared information as we walked through the cemetery, until we stopped.  He noted something very different with the reported behavior of the Grinner compared to the literature he’d referenced.  According to current knowledge, he has grown in power to influence multiple people, to come and go as he pleases, and only seems slightly inconvenienced by the rite of exorcism performed on his victims.  There’s a missing piece to this puzzle.  He’s gone millennia without these abilities, and then suddenly he’s grown in power?  It just didn’t add up until I started digging around for information on the Scanlons.

He stopped speaking for a second, turned and looked at a gravestone next to us, then continued saying “there’s information I’m not able to share with you here and now due to the oath I took to gain my current position, but the information is there for you to discover if you follow the right leads.  The Scanlons are holding back information from you and your friend, Ron.  Perhaps even Ron is holding something back.  We can’t prove this, but it’s a theory I’ve been compiling for a few years now that when Lucifer grants additional power and authority in hell to one entity, an equal amount must be taken away from another entity, or even a group of entities as I fear the case may be with your Grinner.  This power, however, has to be earned.  Try to think about the ways he interacts with you and the Scanlons.  Does he know intimate details about you that nobody else does?  Has he exploited your fears?  Is he capable of possessing multiple people at the same time?  It might help you to keep a journal of your experiences as well as everyone else’s.”

My mind was churning with thoughts about how this additional power and new abilities could be earned, but I couldn’t recall finding anything in the papers preceding the information I’ve already shared.  It took a moment, but I noticed him looking at the headstone still.  When I turned to look at it myself, I was blown away.  It read, “here lies Melanie Foye, beloved daughter and sister, who gave her life for the cause.”  I must have worn an expression of perplexion on my face because my friend then encouraged me to look into the people, meaning the Scanlons and now presumably the Foyes, and then the spiritual side of things will make more sense.  I thought it would have been the other way around.

After sharing my own insights and some of this research with Ron, I believe I must have somehow earned an element of his trust.  He divulged some major details regarding his plan for dealing with the Grinner.  He believed that in addition to the power that clergy could bring to the battle, he would also need to recruit the help of a more supernatural nature.  He’d been seeking Lucas Stone for some time and finally managed to connect him with Preston Nicholson.  I must admit, his plan sounded batshit crazy, but at the end of the day all of this stuff sounds that way.  Ron really seemed to be excited to share the details of his plan with me.  He was almost giddy…yet still, I still sensed restraint.  Perhaps over time he’ll be more transparent, and I know what you’re thinking… but I can’t share details about his plan until we’ve carried it through.  I can say now though, I feel like I’m officially part of the team, for whatever that’s worth, and you won’t have to wait long for those details.

I asked Ron what the next steps were.  He said it’s time to pull everyone together.  We need to lay out and rehearse our plan and find a way to lure the Grinner out.  “Thankfully,” he said, “that won’t be the difficult part thanks to you.”  He said he’ll send word soon regarding when and where to meet up with everyone.

Conspiracy Anonymous – Season 2 Episode 11

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Episode Transcript

If you look at the history of the evolution of man, we’ve only really had exponential growth within the last hundred years or so.  From the time we accomplished flight in 1903 for just a few seconds time to putting a man on the moon in 1969, technology has helped us progress at a rate that has been previously unfathomable.  The computing power we carry in our pockets on our mobile devices far outweigh that which took up entire rooms at the Kennedy Space Center during the moon landing.  Most believe we’ve just come far on our own.  But some suggest we may have had some help.  Others, like the author of today’s letter, claim they know we’ve had some help.

Today’s letter appears to be written anonymously, but it’s also accompanied by a Freedom of Information Act release statement.  Some of the contents of the letter have been redacted.  While I don’t recall ever running across a letter like this in my own research, I have heard elements of its contents from various different people around the world.  People who believe that not only the U.S. government, but several governments around the world are in league together for a larger purpose that has yet to be revealed.

The quote “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” comes to mind as I read this, and I’m even reluctant to believe there’s an ounce of legitimacy to it.  Still, I deemed it worthy of sharing since the government deemed it classified at one point in time.  If any of this is true, the person who sent this could be the biggest whistle-blower in the history of the U.S.

Letter dated Monday, November 19, 2018

To whom it may concern:

In my 30 plus years serving my country, I have been privy to information that has been concealed from the public which I believe needs to be shared systematically, and on a world-wide scale.  It is with great risk to myself and my family that I am bringing this information forward now, so great care must be taken to hide my identity.  My conscience and the implications of what I know, however, far outweigh that risk.

Our government operates programs from black budgets through clandestine agencies that exceeds the limited knowledge of the media, congress, and even the U.S. President.  I will try to be concise with a broad summary of what I know.

It was early in my career when Bob Lazar went public about his research at S4 near Area 51.  I remember thinking the guy was crazy at the time.  I have come to learn that everything he stated about the multiple craft being housed there, as well as the gravity propulsion system he worked on was true.  There was a lot he didn’t know though, and I’m quite certain there is much I am not personally aware of as well.  

In the early 1990s, I first became aware of a joint military base on our moon, which serves as a training station, a communications hub, and as a launch-point for deep space missions.  NASA, in collaboration with the United States Air Force and (about two and a half lines have been redacted here), have completed the construction of the base under our noses.  The lack of media around shuttle launches following the Challenger disaster has allowed them to transport materials and personnel to the moon to accomplish this goal over several years.

I personally oversaw what you might refer to as an “inter-species meeting”, which took place on the moon.  To our knowledge, there are at least four types of extraterrestrial beings, all of which were in attendance at the initial meeting.  Three of them are friendly, and have been permitted to observe us here on earth with some agreed-upon restrictions, while the one remaining species is treated with caution as it is believed to be hostile.  

The friendly species, which consist of


observe us with explicit instructions not to intervene, and to remain unnoticed.  The hostiles, which we refer to as the chameleons, observe, and in some cases do much more.  They…interact without our permission and with utter disregard to any agreements made with the other three species.  They possess an element of superiority to us and all other alien species, and do not seem to have any desire to engage in a peaceful way.  They are deceptive, and there is evidence to suggest they maintain somewhat of a hive mentality.  Once one of them gains specific knowledge or perceives danger, they all react accordingly.  We consider them inter-galactic bullies, though we don’t currently know how many of them there are, and have avoided direct contact with them since the first meeting.

The other three species also feel threatened by them, and have requested our cooperation in various ways in order to be able to potentially defend themselves against them.  First, they need some of our planet’s resources.  Salt-water appears to be valuable to them, and a majority of their presence on Earth is at the deepest parts of our ocean where they primarily remain undetected.  Occasionally, they also seek granite.  In addition, they lack physical strength.  We have elite military units training with their technology.  What they lack in physical ability, they make up for in intelligence.  They communicate telepathically, and they’ve displayed the ability to control other species of humans, mammals, and other earth life forms with their minds.  In some cases, a small percentage of humans possessing some unique genetic markers, have been able to be trained in telepathic communication and psionic abilities.  They recruited human volunteers through the Hydra Project, which was advertised publicly through the university system, and also included some military personnel.

In turn, they are sharing their technology with us.  We have only scratched the surface with some of the capabilities, but so far, we’ve developed stealth technology, fiber-optics, and a few things that I am not at liberty to discuss.  Through use of alien materials not available in our solar system, which they transport for us, we’ve also developed our own, less sophisticated version of gravity propulsion.  It varies from our jet engines and propellers in that it allows craft to move space around it rather than push the vehicle through it.

Through this collaboration, we have established a presence on Mars within the last 10 years.  We waited to truly explore beyond our moon with manned missions until we had three of the crafts built.  One to travel, one reserved for rescue, and one as a backup.  

We have built a self-sustained ecosystem on Mars, complete with a small group of colonists who have successfully grown crops, survived the low-gravity environment with some medical advances using alien technology, and who are just starting to see a second generation of human beings who have been born there.  There is oxygen generation within the complex, and the (redacted: Nordics) have agreed to help us with terraforming efforts, though I have my own suspicions about their motives.  Personally, I don’t understand why we would begin terraforming Mars when we could easily repair our own planet.  This must be how the Native Americans felt.

Some testing was performed with our new craft back in 2015, and you may remember in November of 2017 the New York Times article that revealed footage from a Navy fighter jet.  Well, those craft weren’t ours, and frankly, we’re not sure whose they are.  Our craft were testing below the surface of the water, keeping a short distance between our Navy strike group to test out our current sonar capabilities in efforts to learn if we were detectable by our current military technology.  We believe the tic tac UFOs were either the chameleons or potentially another species we have not yet encountered.  Whatever the case, they were highly interested in observing us.  We believe the tic tac UFOs were drones, sent to match our crafts’ movement and collect data for analysis.  A simple radio frequency was detected and being emitted and relayed into space.

The only reason I suspect it might be another species than the chameleons is because of the recovered craft we have in our possession.  From what we can tell, there are at least 5, and possibly 6 variations in technology, with different unidentifiable elements and means of propulsion.  The chameleons don’t seem as technologically advanced as the other species, but they are more integrated into our society.  

I believe we are on the verge of something big.  It’s no coincidence that the President, who made the public aware of an intention to create a Space Force, announced this within months of the press releasing some video evidence of alien craft.  In the coming months, you will begin to see greater levels of disclosure happening across the world.  It is for a very specific reason.  You see, a majority of the joint task force believes a threat is imminent.  We’ve kept this knowledge secret in fear of how the public would react, but now we know a threat is coming.  We just don’t know when.  We had to start putting information out there to get people used to the idea that life exists on other planets.  But we also have to balance the ability for people to reconcile that with knowledge of the coming threat.  Unfortunately, the general public’s reaction to this information has not been taken very seriously, and in most cases anyone coming forward has been ridiculed.

I’m not asking that you go public with any information yet.  Just be aware of what’s going on around you, and be cautious.  The chameleons possess the ability to mimic human beings in their appearance and behavior.  They can infiltrate all levels of government and our military, and we have reason to believe that they have already done so.  We don’t know to what extent though.  Neither us, or any of the other 3 species we’re collaborating with truly understand their motives or their methods, but we know they can mimic other species as well.  They can only be distinguished by their inability to telepathically communicate, and the limited time they can maintain a physical resemblance of another species.  Otherwise they are undetectable.  They even use our dark web to communicate with their human collaborators.

They walk among us, impersonating us, gathering information, and growing their collective knowledge.  Any accounts you’ve heard about involving abduction and experimentation has most likely been them.  And we’ve come to believe that there may even be subsets of agencies within our own ranks who have made side deals with them.  We don’t know what they have agreed to exchange, or the cost at which they do so.  The biggest problem with having multiple initiatives running dark is lack of accountability, and eventually, you’ve got to wonder if objectives may contradict one another.  Not one person knows everything, and our biggest concern now is that perhaps we are being manipulated and/or controlled by an alien species who views us as expendable.

Things you should be on the lookout for include global changes, catastrophic events caused by acts of god, and of course, more UFO sightings.  There have already been some leaks surrounding HAARP and DARPA, which have found their way to popular conspiracy theorists.  But my belief, not shared by everyone, is that our planet is being terraformed right now.  As we watch temperatures rise, earthquakes increase in magnitude and frequency, radiation accidents occurring, rapid depletion of the ozone layer in specific regions, and other strange phenomena happening all over the world, consider that some may be indicators of what lies ahead.  

I know I sound like I’m crazy, but I’m not ready to become the Bob Lazar of whistle-blowers just yet.  I must maintain my position anonymously in order to have continued access to this information.  You are one of the few people I trust, but in addition, I know you’ve already received confirming information to some of these claims in your work.  Obviously, you’ll need to connect some dots, but I encourage you to keep an open mind, and guard your knowledge.  I will send word as often as I can, but for now, I’m being surveilled closely.  Don’t trust anyone.


P.S. Pertinent to your podcast endeavor, FOLLOW UP ON PROJECT HYDRA.

I know what you’re thinking.  And quite honestly, I’m thinking the same thing too.  This is probably the most out-there thing I’ve read yet, and reads like one of those tin-foil hat theories that is impossible to prove.  On one hand, whoever wrote this speaks of things that have occurred in the media or may be based on facts, and I do recall reading some supporting documents within the storage papers that may just back up this story, but the problem still lies in proving those documents to be true.

Either way, I find these claims incredibly interesting, and I will be on the lookout for additional information to corroborate anything I can.  I’m not quite sure I know what to do with this information in the meantime though.  Let’s assume it’s all true.  What is within my power today to prevent a hostile alien takeover?  I suppose all I can really do is continue bringing awareness to information like this.  Just in case it’s true, at least you won’t be surprised if you’ve listened to this podcast.

The Cold in the Cabinet – Season 2 Episode 10

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General horror

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We are always haunted by our past, whether by nature or nurture we are the consequence of our ancestors. Each one of us is part of a long line of teachings and genetic code, being passed down from generation to generation. Criminals and heroes, saints and murderers; we carry them in our blood. Who they were makes us who we are. Yet this past is never fully known to us. Every family has its secrets, which begs the question: can we ever truly know where we come from?

Today’s episode comes in the form of a letter, from a Stephen Leopardi to Ron Hammond. It is dated as October 5, 1984.

My dear friend Ron,

I have recently encountered a phenomenon relevant to your newfound curiosity in the paranormal. In truth, I have no idea who else to contact. A few weeks ago I had inherited a cabinet from my great-aunt. This came as a surprise, as this was the first I had heard of her passing. She and I were never particularly close. She lived in Italy and knew little English. I had only seen her at large family gatherings, and then only when I was very young. Mostly, I remember her sitting quietly to the side of the table, eating little and muttering Italian under her breath. She looked impossibly ancient, her face so wrinkled that you could barely make out her features. She was old, so old, in fact, that I am unsure if anyone knew her exact relation to the family. We all just called her great-grandmother. Her age and cryptic past scared me as a boy, though I wasn’t the only one. Whenever she spoke the entire family fell immediately silent, and everyone rushed to do what she asked. 

    The most distinct memory I have of her is my family visiting Italy for a funeral. I was about nine years old. We slept in my great grandmother’s house during our brief stay. It was a small house, consisting of one story and a total of five rooms with no electricity or running water. I had a penchant for exploring at that age and being in new territory was immensely enticing. On our first night staying, I had gotten up in the middle of the night, wandering around the house when I found a small room filled with a variety of strange objects, most of them were completely unrecognizable. The room itself was rather nondescript and it looked like it was rarely entered. A thin coating of dust covered everything. Strangely enough, I did not remember seeing the room during the day. The only light came from a crystalline lantern whose light refracted around the room. Though it resembled an ordinary lantern, its light shone fiercely and harshly than any other flame of that size. Odd trinkets and bizarre devices were in the room, and each seemed to be placed with the utmost care. Most of the objects I had no names for, though there were a few that I could identify. Among them was a tea set made of some purple-ish stone, a porcelain horse covered in eyes, and a gyroscope menaced with rusty iron spikes. What interested me most however was a cabinet in the back of the room.

 Its wood had black and red tones swirled together with a strange intensity. Carved into it were grotesque images of unrecognizable animals, snarling and entwined. When you looked at out of the corner of your eye, the beasts seemed to writhe slowly, as if  acting out some dark, obscene drama. I am unsure how such an optical illusion was achieved, and have seen no equivalent elsewhere. 

I approached the cabinet, intensely curious as to its contents. Before I could open it, I felt the tight grip of bony hands. My great-grandmother, with an unexpected strength, pulled me away and held me close. She turned me around and looked into my eyes, with an intensity I will never forget. “It is still dreaming.” she said, in perfect English. Then she marched me back into my room. It scared me so much that I never went out of that house to explore again.

With all this in mind, you can imagine my astonishment and curiosity when my sisters dropped a cabinet off at my house, the same cabinet I had seen all those years ago.

Hammond has a note written on the side: bit of a shut-in.

It was fairly large, as cabinets go, though surprisingly light. It was exactly as I had remembered it as a child. The front possessed those hellish carvings and I now noticed that the back of the cabinet was unadorned save a single symbol etched into the wood.

I had initially used the cabinet to store wine, but when it came time to take a bottle out, it was deathly cold and the glass seemed soft in my hand. It almost felt fuzzy. I tried storing various other objects in the cabinet and the same effect occurred. All I put in came out soft and cold. I ended up keeping the cabinet in my room, storing exercise clothes that I would wear while on the treadmill to keep me cool. 

I am aware that I probably should have told someone about this strange property of the table, but I have never been one to show off and I did not want undue attention with people I barely knew coming into my home. All in all it seemed like a fairly innocuous property, even if it was strange.

Nothing new happened for about a week and a half until one night I discovered something I can scarcely describe without my hands trembling. I had opened the cabinet one morning to retrieve some clothing and inside was what appeared to be a mummified child. Its leathery ocher skin was stretched tight over its tiny body, save for the eyes which were absent, leaving two large holes. Its skull looked far too large for its body, while its hands and feet were freakishly small. Most disturbing to me was its pose.The child was curled up in the fetal position, save its visage, which faced upward and outward, mouth agape. It resembled a child discovered during a game of hide-and-seek, mouth open in surprise and delight at being discovered by its mother. 

    I closed the cabinet immediately and ran out of the room. After some time had passed, I inspected the cabinet again and found the child completely gone. Perturbed, but believing it to be only my mind, I moved the cabinet into my attic and slept downstairs that night, and the nights following. In the night, in the direction of my room, I heard what I thought was a faint cry coming from the direction of my attic. I dismissed it as another trick of the mind but it chilled me immensely.

In the following months the cries continued, at first infrequently. I am not fond of going out of the house unless I absolutely had to, so I convinced myself that what I was hearing was simply an illusion, the consequence of my dreams seeping into the waking world. I had checked numerous times for the mummified child but it never once was there. But slowly, so slowly that it took me a while to notice it, the frequency of the crying nights increased. The cries began to get louder and louder. Eventually they weren’t only cries. Soon they were screams, desperate screams, primal screams. Have you ever heard someone really scream? Like a mentally ill person being restrained or a mother being taken away from her child? The screams sound as if they are painful to produce, excruciating even. They scream themselves ragged, and right when you think it will end, even more screams come, more agonized than the last. These were the type of screams coming from the attic.

    Despite my agoraphobia, I have moved out of the house and am staying at a nearby motel. If you need to enter or inspect the house, there is a key in the potted plant by the front door. I am aware this is not like your usual cases, but I do not know who else to turn to. I will pay however much is necessary.

Your eternally grateful friend,  Stephen.

Attached are some additional notes by Hammond, dated October 29th, same year.

After getting the keys from Stephen, I entered the house at 9 a.m. and found the cabinet in the attic like Stephen described. I took some photographs, which I’ll include with file later. It was weirdly light, like Stephen said. I couldn’t just leave it there, and it didn’t seem smart to sell it, or just give it to charity. I’m not going to lie. The cabinet freaked me out. I had handled reports of the paranormal and have been in a lot of dangerous situations but this was my first cursed object. As I looked at the cabinet, with its swirling orgy of ancient beasts,  I felt the overwhelming urge to destroy it. The grotesque faces of the carved beasts it was seemed to be mocking me. Even with its small size, something about it felt imposing, like a single massive monolith in a wasteland My mind almost immediately formulated a plan to burn it, and to wipe the object off the face of the Earth. 

 I picked up some gasoline and drove to a nearby junkyard the next day with the cabinet. I remember it being cloudy, a real overcast day, which was weird for Southern California. Still don’t know if it had something to do with the cabinet. When I’d found a remote area where I wouldn’t be bothered, I doused the cabinet in gasoline and threw a lit match onto the object. It burned up quicker than I expected, faster than most wood. Soon though I heard that horrid screaming that Stephen described. The mummified thing crawled out of the burning cabinet, slowly, clearly in pain. It faced me and began to inch towards me, looking into my eyes. I’m not gonna lie I froze. I didn’t freeze during police training, and I never froze in the army, but I froze then.  I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what I should do. I just waited, and watched as its leathery skin was burnt away. The thing stopped moving far before it ever reached me. I think it’s dead, if such a word can be applied here. I’m realizing that I’m out of my depth. It could’ve been evil or innocent or something else entirely and I don’t know. I realized I didn’t know if the burning even worked, or how the cabinet worked either. From then on, I was much more cautious with my work; collect as much data as you can beforehand, only take cases you can handle, don’t play with fire. Sometimes I hear the thing screaming in my nightmares. 

I’ve looked up the symbol and it seems to be a combination of a dreaming and birthing symbol used by the Nuragic civilization in Ancient Sardinia. I’m not entirely sure what it means as there’s very limited research available even among experts and in occult texts. The civilization believed that in the beginning there was only roiling chaos, the creator deity split the chaos into the realm of reality and the realm of nightmares. Each night, we are slowly pulled to the realm of nightmares, but supposedly it takes at least a lifetime to finally be pulled over. Eventually one’s body becomes useless, or mad, or what have you, and your soul enters the realm of nightmares. There are still so many unknowns, but my theory right now is that the process might also be able to happen in the opposite direction, where something or someone in the land of nightmares could be manifested into the material world, over a long period of time. Could a nightmare wake up?

The Overnight – Season 2 Episode 9

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Gore, death, general horror

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One of the top fears people have is being alone. Another is meeting new people. Two seemingly opposite fears that can come together and create some sort of uber-fear. One such job where with these two fears conjoin is the hospitality industry. The overnight shift. One person left alone to take care of dozens of strangers. What could possibly go wrong?

Statement of Sandra R. Cantry to the Stone Park Police Department (SPPD) May 23, 1998

I worked at the Homecoming Inn & Suites. I was the night shift employee. Four nights a week I would come in from 10 P.M. To 8 A.M. It was easy money. I basically just sat around.

My nightly schedule went as follows: check in the evening stragglers looking for a room and watch the little television at my desk. Plus one more thing I’ll get to later.

The stragglers were easy. Usually, they were truck drivers having just finished unloading their cargo to the local stores that needed a place to lay their heads for the night before heading back out to do it all again the next day.

The television was a bit more difficult. It was a five inch set, supposedly portable. The problem was that any time you moved even an inch the antenna would jiggle and the picture would turn all wavy. As long as the guests weren’t too needy, calling in for towels and wake-up calls, I could watch Letterman and Conan, undisturbed. The channel change could be difficult so I’d usually miss the last seconds of the Letterman’s musical guest to make sure I saw Conan’s monologue.

It was nearing eleven-thirty and the local CBS news was wrapping up. I didn’t pay close attention to the fluff piece they always seem to end because a man entered through the front door. He came over to the desk and I turned the volume down on my television, scrambling the picture in the process.

He didn’t say anything at first, just staring at the board on the wall behind me that spelled out our nightly rates. I initiated the conversation with the forced B.S. the management makes us say, “Welcome to Homecoming Inn & Suites. We hope to make you feel like you’ve come home.” He continued staring at the board for a few more seconds. Until his hand went into his pocket and he pulled out a mess of crumpled bills and coins. Then he said, “One night. Keep the change.”

I finished up with him by giving him a keycard to room 312 and he was off. Room 312 was one we set aside each night for specific type of guest. You see, 312 is the crap room. TV only gets the local channels. The toilet only goes down properly every third flush. And the bed hasn’t been replaced since man first walked on the moon. It is a room for only the creepiest of clientele. And that night’s Mr. 312 fit the bill. I just wasn’t sure why. Something about his look.

I went back to my TV, fixing the static and turning the volume back up. Letterman was just coming on. The announcer saying that tonight’s guests are Harry Connick Jr. and Hank Azaria. Dave came out and began telling his jokes. I laughed a couple times. The Top Ten List was just about to start when the phone rang.

I waited for the third ring to answer, taking the phone from its cradle. I didn’t want to have to mess with the TV reception again so I took the phone as far as the cord would reach, which wasn’t far. The caller wasn’t Mr. 312 dissatisfied with his accommodations, as I feared it might be. It was a couple in 305, our honeymoon suite, not that we ever got real honeymooners at this hotel. Mostly, anniversaries. Some affairs. The couple wanted fresh towels brought up. I grabbed two from our linen closet and headed to the elevator.

The doors opened with a ding. The elevator was old-fashioned. Emphasis on the word old. If it was ridden too much it began putting a burning smell in the air. There were three numbered buttons, sort of. The 2 and 3 were relatively clear to make out, but the 1 had long ago faded away, only the tip left looking like an apostrophe.The first floor featured the front desk, dining area, gym, formerly a pool that we had to fill in, etcetera. The second floor was where the family rooms went, two beds, half of the rooms connected. The third floor was two floors in one. To the left of the elevator, from the perspective of getting off on that floor, were the single rooms. To the right, our suites. We had two honeymoon suites. They each had the hot tub in the middle of the room for god knows what reason.

I rode the elevator to the third floor and found room 305. I handed them the towels, they gave me a tip, $2.00. People here don’t do that. Almost made up for missing some of Letterman.

I began walking back toward the elevator and, as the doors were opening, I noticed the light at the other end flicker out. In the darkness it seemed that there was something staring at me but then the light returned. And nothing was there. I entered the elevator and returned to the first floor. I finished Letterman and Conan undisturbed. It was time for me to do a part of the job I hated most. Rounds.

My job entailed two aspects. One, to do all the duties of a hotel employee. Two, be a security guard. Not really. But sort of. Every hour or two I was supposed to go outside and walk the premises. Then, I was to do the same inside. Up and down each hall. Check to make sure nobody was trying to crash for the night. Go to the second and third floors and make sure nobody was doing anything in the halls. It was easy, but it was also time consuming. Time I’d rather be spending watching infomercials like new Oxiclean thing.

I grabbed my flashlight and headed outside. I began by walking around the outside of the hotel. The night was chilly for late May. Clouds were in the sky. The trees rustled with the wind. The parking lot was unusually full. I had gotten dropped off by the employee entrance around back so I hadn’t seen earlier. Nothing seemed amiss on the outside so I returned to my desk. Something seemed off and for a minute I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, I noticed the noise. The static of the TV. That itself wasn’t unusual. That the TV was on its side was. I righted the TV and turned it off. I’d turn it back on after rounds.

I used the elevator for every other part of my duties except for rounds. I’d put on some weight over the last couple years. So for rounds the stairs would do. I walked over the stairs pretending to check each door along the way, in case management put cameras somewhere. But stopping and entering one room. The old pool.

It was a good sized space. A shame we had to close it down after the accident. No one even died. Just sued the shit out of the hotel. The old owners went into bankruptcy after. It was probably just in mind but I could swear the smell of chlorine still lingered in the air. Some nights it even seemed like I could hear the water splashing about. Now we only use it for storage. If anyone ever wanted to steal ten years worth of tiny bars of soap, then this would be the place for them. Also, we kept the lost & found boxes in there. I looked in one. There was a Gameboy Color some kid must be crying his eyes out for forgetting laid on top. I should remember to snatch that at the end of shift before anyone else got to it. There were a lot of cigarette lighters and the smokes themselves. One was an old Zippo, monogrammed on the side with the initials A.R.C. Same as my dad’s. Arthur Reginald Cantry. Died at 37. Lung cancer.

I shoved the Zippo in my pocket and started back toward the stairs.

On exiting the pool area, I heard the ringing from the phone at my desk. I ran over, nearly out of breath from the short jog. Thinking to myself that I should start taking the stairs every time I needed to go up and down them. I made it to the phone at the fifth, maybe sixth ring. I said “Hello, Front desk speaking.” There was no sound from the other. Then, a voice from the other end of the line, “One night. Keep the change.” It was Mr. 312. The eerie thing being that he said the phrase exactly as he had earlier. Same non-inflection. Same underlying creepiness in every word. I’ve been taught to be polite to the guest so I said back, “Is there anything I can do for you?” The other end hung up.

I stood there for a moment just standing and taking the odd exchange in. Then, I put the phone back down and noticed my TV back on its side. No time to right it. I had a place to be. I grabbed the pepper spray from purse, never leave home without it. My mom got me one with an alcohol base thinking it would be more effective. I’m no scientist so I don’t know if she’s right or not. I didn’t plan on using the pepper spray but it would be nice to have just in case.

I headed for the elevator, forgetting my promise to use the stairs more. As the elevator dinged, the phone began to ring again. I headed back over and answered. I said “Hello” out of ritual. The other end of the line went right into it. “One night. Keep the change,” said in the same way again. This time I hung up the phone before Mr. 312 could. I headed back to the elevator, the door still open, and got in, pressing the button for the third floor.

I was angry. I don’t like being messed with. I was off to see what this guy’s problem was.

I got out on the third floor and noticed the same thing as before. The light was out. And there I was, having not brought the flashlight with me. I started to walk slowly down the darkened hallway. I knew the place well enough to make it to the door but that didn’t become necessary because just as I entered the darkness, the light started flickering. On/off. On/off. On/off. I timed my movements with the moments of light and made it to the door for 312.

I stood there for a second. I was still angry but becoming aware that this man on the other side of the door was far larger than me. What was I going to do if this turned physical? Probably scream a bunch and hope 310 or 314 came to help a damsel in distress. Before I knew that I had made a decision to continue, I was knocking at the door. But not really knocking because the door just creaked open the second my fist met it.

I stepped inside and said, “Hello.” A reply came in the form of two sentences I had become sick of: “One night. Keep the change.”

My pace slowed with each step. The floorboards creaking under each and every one. I’d made it far enough in that I could see the bed. And the man standing on top of it. Mr. 312. There was blood gushing from his eyes. It streamed down his body and pooled by his feet. In each eye was a spring from the bed below. I could see the holes in the mattress from where they’d been taken out. Mr. 312 was motionless except for his mouth. That wouldn’t stop moving. Saying the same two sentences over and over again like a broken record. “One night. Keep the change.” “One night. Keep the change.” “One night. Keep the change.”

I didn’t know what to say so I said the only thing that popped into my head, “What change? You gave exactly the right amount, asshole.” This may not have been the smart thing to say because motionless Mr. 312 was moving more than just his mouth. His head turned to me. It seemed like he was staring at me in the way he had stared at the board when he first entered the hotel. Then he took a step forward and I was booking it out that door and into the flickering light of the hall. Except it wasn’t flickering anymore. I came out the door into darkness. The elevator seemed forever away and the light of the other side of the hall even further than forever. I ran into the black anyway. Hearing the possibly alive but can’t be, Mr. 312. He ran behind me. More than keeping pace, his long legs allowing him to gain on quickly.

I got to the elevator hoping I could press the button for the first floor and the doors would close before he reached me. When I got to the elevator I found it no longer there. Someone must have called it from another floor.

I didn’t have time to think of another plan and just ran toward the light at the other end. One thought did come through my mind these next paces. I was fast enough to get to the stairs, but he would overtake me on them. I needed somewhere else to go and found it looking at the doors I was passing as I ran. I stopped abruptly and knocked on the door of 305. It opened to my touch much in the same way 312 had. I didn’t have time to be suspicious this time and entered. I closed the door behind. Mr. 312 started banging from the other side.

I walked slowly into the main area of the suite expecting to find the couple sleeping in the king-sized bed. They weren’t sleeping nor were they in the bed. The male of the couple was in the hot tub. The hot tub bubbling away, steam coming up into the air, almost masking his appearance but not enough. I could see the blistering all over his body. Burns had formed and a mixture of pus and blood was seeping from each pustule. The female was in no better shape. She hung from the ceiling fan, the towels turned into a makeshift noose, her feet dangling into the hot tub, looking to be just as burned as her male counterpart. They were both very obviously dead and that’s when I remembered the other dead guy.

His knocking was growing louder at the door. The doors were old and wooden. They wouldn’t last forever. I needed yet another plan but, again, had no time to think of one because the dead were coming back. The male got up, his skin sliding from his legs like a pair of unbelted pants falling from a waist. He tugged at the female, ripping the fan from the ceiling, but the knotted towels stayed connected to both fan and neck. The female began moving too, dragging the fan along with her as she did.

I was trapped between the dead couple and the door. Neither side of the door seemed great anymore, but I needed to make a choice between the two. Die in 305 or chance that I could, somehow, get past Mr. 312. I’d have to chance it.

I went over to the door and timed my opening. He knocked on the other side and as he readied his next knock, I opened the door. I grabbed his arm and pulled. Luckily, catching him off balance and pulling him down into the door. His legs gave out from under him and he fell. I jumped over him and ran for the stairs.

I’ve never been a very good runner, but I would have made the Olympic track team in that moment, getting to the stairs in record time. And then, just like in every horror movie ever made, I tripped. I fell down a half flight of stairs.

I laid there dazed but conscious. My right ankle feeling unusual. I looked down and saw it at an angle it should not have been at. Then I saw shadows hit the doorway above. I looked up to see the three dead guests beginning their descent toward me. I tried getting up but the pain from my ankle was too much. I fell back onto the step. They were nearing me. I looked around and saw nothing helpful to get me out of this situation. I reached into my pockets and found two items. My pepper spray and the Zippo lighter. Alone neither was useful to me right that moment but together they may be.

The sprayed the pepper spray toward them with my left hand and with my right I lit the lighter, turning the two into a makeshift flamethrower. I swept the flamethrower back and forth, making sure it would hit all three of them and it did. They caught quickly. Even the towels attached to the female’s neck caught. But it only slowed them. The three human balls of flame continued toward me, while also catching the railing and all other surrounding areas on fire.

I got up onto my good leg and hoped for the best. I hopped each stair and made it all the way down to the second floor and another decision. I could try to keep hopping down the stairs or I could try for the elevator. My sprained or broken ankle wouldn’t be any help and those few hops to that level left my other one hurting too.

I entered the second floor and limped my way down the hall while holding onto the wall for some added support. Both of my ankles cried in pain but the choice between death and pain was an easy one.

I made it to the elevator and pressed the button. As I waited for it to get to the second floor I looked back for the first time. The three balls of fire were still coming my way and the flames continued to spread along the walls. I followed the flame’s paths with my eyes and noticed something disconcerting. Every door on this level was open.

New dead guests exited from those open doors. Each obviously dead in all manners of ways. One had a glass shard from a television protruding from his neck. Another had only the tip of a remote control peeking out from inside his throat.

The elevator dinged as the mess of new faces began running for me. I got in and pressed the button for the first floor a million times before the door finally closed and left me in relative safety. The journey down was fast, though I could smell the burning smell that sometimes came from the elevator. Or, and this was probably more likely, the burning smell may be coming from the second floor.

I got out of the elevator and fell to the floor. Neither ankle would be of much use anymore. I crawled along the floor and out into the night. I looked up when I was far enough away and saw that all of the second and third floors were now ablaze. I thought about going back in and calling 911 from the phone and even started back toward the hotel to do so, but the flames were spreading too fast. There was a payphone on the sidewalk so I started toward that.

Just as my hand touched the phone to make the call it started ringing. I answered. “Hello,” I said into the phone. The other end was silent for a moment. Then a voice came loudly into my ear saying, “One night. Keep the change.”

I dropped the phone and curled up on the sidewalk. I began to hear sirens coming in the distance and passed out from some mixture of pain and fear.

I woke up some time later in the hospital and found an officer waiting by my bedside. He asked what had happened and I told him the story. Leaving out no detail even if it all made me sound crazy. He handed me with a pen and paper and told me to write all of this down. Then he walked into the hall where he radioed for a psych consult. After the night I had, that sounds about right. Maybe I am crazy.

Signed, Sandra R. Cantry

After reading about the case of Sandra Cantry I was left with more questions than answers. What killed all the guests at Homecoming Inn & Suites? Why did they come back from the dead? Why did they try to kill Sandra? Did they survive the fire? And what kept knocking the TV over?

Further research has given me no answers to any of these questions. One question not in that list that was answered is what happened to Sandra Cantry? After a legal battle, Sandra was ruled to be sane and that her story was all a fabrication. She was convicted of thirty-five counts of manslaughter and one count of arson. She will spend the rest of her days at the Stone Park Women’s Correctional Facility.

The Dog in the Corner – Season 2 Episode 8

The Dog in the Corner - The Storage Papers podcast episode art

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General horror, cyber stalking, strong language

Episode Transcript

This paper is noted that it’s a transcription from an interview with a Jessie P., dated June 28, 2015. It doesn’t state who was conducting the interview or why and wasn’t attached to anything else to give anymore context, but one of the details sounded familiar. Then again, maybe I’ve been reading these papers too much and am starting to see connections where none exist.

I came home Thursday to find my fourteen year old pit bull, Lucy, had died. I’d raised her from a puppy, picking her from a rescue when she started licking my face as soon as I petted her. She had been getting old now and it was just her time, but that didn’t make burying her any easier. She was a sweet girl, and I had always been able to count on her to cuddle when I was feeling blue. She kept me healthy both mentally and physically, as she gave me a reason to go running twice a day and get out of bed on days when I didn’t want to lead an adult life.

By Friday I was feeling pretty far down in the dumps and I no longer had my little buddy to comfort me, so I ended up taking the day off work to split my time between moping around and trying to distract myself by browsing all the usual websites.

It was during this time that I stumbled across a post with a link simply titled “Smile.” Because I was trying desperately to distract myself, I was clicking on almost everything. It led me to this super weird video. I think it was some sort of religious thing but it was hard to be sure for most of it. It could have been some self improvement, pay me $500 and I’ll show you how to live your best life bullshit for all I could tell. A lot of it was pretty nonsensical, and it ended with this guy that had this huge…smile, I guess, you’d call it. Like, it was the shape of a smile, but…I don’t really know how to describe it. It couldn’t have been real. Someone probably edited it to make it look bigger and creepier than it actually was. I don’t know. He didn’t even say anything, then an image of an upside down cross appeared over the top of his face with three letters: O, D, A. It faded to black. 

In the video description was a link titled “Join.” I had no intention of pulling out my credit card to pay tribute to a cult or something and I was just morbidly interested enough in finding out what the hell I had actually seen, so I clicked it. The browser on my phone sat spinning for a minute, and I almost gave up to move onto the next thing, when three words appeared in the top left corner of an otherwise blank, white page.

“See you soon.”

I’ll admit, for a moment I was creeped out. The video was weird enough, but to have it followed by that message on such a plain webpage definitely kicked up the uncomfortable vibes a notch or two. Then I just shook my head, chuckling to myself. For a moment, I had been had. I’ve read my share of urban legends, but an interactive one definitely made it more interesting, I’d give them that.

As afternoon turned to evening, I heard my doorbell ring. I wasn’t expecting anyone and, with that strange website in the back of my mind, I opened up my home security app on my phone to check the front door’s camera before I approached the door. I was surprised to see Jason and his girlfriend, Renee. Jason was a co-worker and a friend. I’d hung out with both of them on several occasions and we’d both spent time at the other’s place. I opened the door and was met with an immediate hug from Renee. Jason lifted a twelve pack of beer behind her and told me he’d heard about my dog and they weren’t gonna let me grieve alone.

I wasn’t exactly in any state for guests, but they were coming in to keep me company whether I liked it or not. I was grateful to have friends like them. Renee ordered some pizza and Jason cracked a beer open and shoved it in my hand before opening one for himself and shoving the rest in my sparsely populated fridge. Just as Renee finished ordering way too much pizza for this small of a group, the doorbell rang again and Jason grinned mischievously. He left the kitchen to answer my door before I could ask what was going on, and I heard the sound of more friends and co-workers. I was suddenly feeling very self conscious about my gray shirt and lounge pants, and walked briskly to my bedroom to change before any more visitors could see my state.

I exchanged my pants for a pair of jeans and ran my hands through my hair as I assessed my appearance in the mirror hanging on my door. My phone was almost dead from a nearly full day of attempts at distraction so I decided with everyone there to plug it in on my nightstand for the rest of the evening. As I did, I noticed I had a notification – a text message had arrived a few minutes ago. Apparently, I hadn’t noticed the buzz in my pocket with everyone’s arrival. I didn’t recognize the number it was from, and all it said was, “Can’t wait to meet.”

I briefly thought of the video, then realized the more plausible explanation was just a wrong number. I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about it, though. I typed out a reply to let them know they messaged the wrong person, then set my phone down and let it drift from the forefront of my mind as I left the bedroom to greet everyone.

Three other friends had shown up and two of them had brought their significant other. I was surprised to see that someone had brought their dog over, as well. It’s typically considered something of a faux pas to bring a pet without any sort of warning, but then again people also don’t usually show up unannounced at someone’s house. It was actually a welcome surprise. It was an Australian shepherd, not a pit bull, but it still made me think of Lucy. I found that having the presence of another dog helped temper the memory of my lost pet to bittersweet rather than just sad.

As it turns out, my friends knew what I needed better than I did. Beer bottles were emptied, pizza was devoured, and stories were shared. Everyone talked about their favorite memories of Lucy, which meant a lot to me. Jason talked about his first time meeting Lucy it was actually as a favor. I had to leave unexpectedly for the weekend as my mother was in the hospital and wouldn’t be able to bring Lucy with me, so I had asked if Jason would drop in a few times and take her for a walk. He agreed and I had given him a very quick rundown of what to do. Apparently, it was too quick of a rundown.

It was actually a bad time for it, because I had been in the middle of switching her food as well, so she required half and half of the old food and half of the new. Jason had made the mistake of leaving the pantry door open when he left in the morning, which had a bag of the new food on the floor. When he came back that evening, he claimed it was like a scene from The Exorcist. There was a trail of diarrhea all through the carpet in the living room and vomit in every room she could access. Just outside of the pantry a shredded dog food bag littered the floor. Lucy had consumed the entire bag of new food.

Jason had a way of telling the story so it always elicited a laugh, and I had been torn between horror and laughter when I first heard it myself. Lucy had been okay, though, so laughter won at the end of the day. Besides, after all the work he had put into cleaning up Lucy’s waste, I couldn’t really be mad at him. He had gone out and purchased a whole new bag of the same food. I had offered to repay him, but he declined, insisting it was his own fault.

That story just reminded me that I had some good friends. The night wore on and eventually it was time for everyone to head out. I thanked everyone for coming, and teared up as I did so. It really did mean a lot to have everyone show up to support me like that, especially since it was my dog that died, not like a child or brother or anything.

Mike, the only other member of the party without a second half, asked if he could crash at my place. Too many beers for safety. I didn’t have another bedroom, but I brought him down to my basement and set a spare blanket and pillow on the couch I had down there. When I came back upstairs, I sat down on the couch for a minute before jumping out of my skin when I saw the dog was still there. I had completely forgotten about it throughout the night and didn’t even know whose it was. Well, I guess I did now since only Mike was there.

I called for it to follow me and led it downstairs so it could be with its owner who was already snoring. I went back upstairs and made the rounds, locking the doors before heading to bed myself. The rollercoaster of emotions that had coursed through me over the past twenty four hours pushed me down onto my mattress. I closed my eyes and I couldn’t help but allow a tear to escape.

Just then, I heard my phone buzz on my nightstand. With the night of friendship putting distance from the time I had checked my phone, I had completely forgotten about the text from earlier. I had a few more texts.

After I had responded to tell them they had the wrong number, they had replied simply, “No.”

About ten minutes after that, the next message read, “Sorry to hear about your dog and sorry I can’t make it, yet. Have a beer for me, too.”

My eyes stopped at that message. I couldn’t move. Who was this? How did they know anything about me? There had been another message a couple hours later, right around the time we had been telling stories about Lucy.

“Can you still smell Lucy’s vomit?”

I instinctively looked around. Was there someone watching me? Listening? I looked back to see the last message that had come through right as I laid down. “Rest now. Soon.”

I dropped my phone and backed away from it. What did that even mean? Was this some kind of sick joke? Or was someone actually able to see me? I looked at my window. Was someone out there? I practically jumped over to the light switch to turn my lights off. Darkness filled the room. I slowed my breathing so I could listen for…I don’t know what exactly. Anything. There was nothing. Maybe some rumbling, but that was probably the furnace kicking on.

I began to inch my way to the window. I felt the material of the curtains against my fingertips. I tried to steel my frayed nerves so I could bring myself to look outside. I wedged a finger between the wall and the curtain and pried it away, even so slightly, so I could peak outside. A street lamp illuminated an empty sidewalk. No unusual cars outside. Nobody in a mask approaching my home.

I finally began to breathe normally as I let the curtain go and slid down against the wall. Some sick asshole had to be screwing with me. That had to be it. Still, before committing to that notion, it was better to know. I grabbed my phone and loaded up the home security app again. The splash screen opened and seemed to take longer than normal to finally login. Once in, I clicked on my cameras, one by one, to make sure everything was as it should be.

Front door? Clear. Back patio? Empty. Living room? Safe. Basement? Well, occupied, but with the expected number of people.

I paused on the basement camera. It was dim lighting so hard to see anything too clearly, but it looked like the dog was in the corner and…growling at the camera, I think? Only my front door camera was equipped with a microphone so I couldn’t hear anything through the app. I looked at the bedroom door and listened again. That wasn’t the rumbling of the furnace I had heard before. The dog was growling. But at what? The camera? I looked back down at the phone. It had gone down into an aggressive stance now.

The thought that there might be something just out of sight of my camera entered my mind and I decided it was time to call the police. I don’t know exactly what was going on but there was far too much to this creep show than I was comfortable with. Just as I was about to swipe away from the camera feed to dial, I realized it had stopped its growling.

At first it looked like something had stabbed it, but I realized that wasn’t what was happening. I’m still not sure exactly how to describe what was going on. It was like legs were bursting out of its sides. Long, spindly legs that came to a point instead of a foot. I stared at my phone in petrified horror as chunks of fur tore away one by one to make room for the additional bony appendages. There were probably a dozen legs by the time it seemed to stop. It stretched out its new form. It now stood five or six feet tall by my estimation. It stopped and looked at the camera, baring its teeth once again.

Suddenly, it was gone. One frame it was there and the next all I could hear was the rumbling of a dozen legs scrambling up the stairs of my basement. I ran to my bedroom door and locked it just as it started pounding against the door. I backed away from the door, mind scrambling for how I was going to defend myself once it inevitably made its way in. I could see the bloodied tip of a couple legs trying to reach through the gap between the door and the floor.

I sobbed and dialed 911 to beg for my life. I had barely started talking before the operator interrupted me to tell me officers were already at my location. In my confused and terrified state I didn’t bother asking how they got there so fast, I was just grateful to hear pounding on the front door. The legs withdrew and I saw its shadow under the door pause before disappearing entirely.

I heard glass shatter by my patio at the same time my front door burst open, followed by the police announcing their presence. I tried to call out to let them know I was here, but couldn’t manage anything more than a whimper. I heard them going through my home room by room when my bedroom door burst open and I saw an officer in full SWAT gear with a gun aimed at me. I raised my hands and screamed my name and don’t shoot and I called 911 please don’t shoot me. I told them about some kind of dog that I think had run out the back and about Mike down in my basement and to make sure he’s okay. He got on his radio and informed his team of another person in the basement, paused, and said there may be a dog attacking people in the neighborhood, too.

Mike was okay. He slept through the whole thing and about soiled himself when he was woken up by a SWAT team. They took us into protective custody where we stayed for the next forty eight hours and someone debriefed us. I thought they had been there for the dog or whatever that was. That’s why I had called them.

They asked me if I’d seen any strange videos online recently or clicked on any unfamiliar links. In the wake of everything that had happened, I almost said no. Then I felt cold spread through my gut as I nodded. They nodded and told me that the link I had clicked on had allowed an individual to access everything on my network, including my home security system. That individual had been essentially stalking me all day.

They had been trying to track this person’s activities for a while, I guess. It sounded like he had kidnapped some people before me, although they were somewhat cagey about their answers to requests for specifics. It sounded like it might have cult related, although they wouldn’t tell me if this was their method of recruiting members or if they were kidnapping people for…something else.

When I described the dog’s transformation, they looked puzzled and I ended up consenting to having my blood drawn for alcohol testing, despite insisting I only had two beers all night. I tried to pull up the video file, but all my camera footage from the past twenty-four hours had been deleted. No doubt it was done by whoever was behind that video.

They didn’t know anything about the dog. When I asked Mike about it, he just replied that he didn’t have a dog and never saw one all night.

I’ve replayed that night in my head a lot. Why was it growling at the camera? Was it growling at the other person looking on from my camera? Was it trying to protect me? But I know the true answer. As much as I’d like to believe in guardian angels…or demons in this case, I know what it was. It was a predator. What I had witnessed as I cowered in my bedroom that night was two predators fighting over their prey.

I did a fair share of searching online for any mention of a hacker who kidnaps people and came up empty. Based on the description of the man in the video and the letters that appeared, it’s my belief that this has something to do with the Order of Divine Acolytes group. I don’t know if they were trying to recruit another member or to locate someone for another purpose, but it does make me feel slightly less comfortable with clicking on random website links. And was the creature Jessie saw related to that? Or maybe it really was a terrifying coincidence of two separate killers vying for a pound of flesh, as horrifying as the idea is to even consider. 

If you’re listening to this podcast and your research has found anything I wasn’t able to, I would love for you to reach out and share your insights with me.