Welcome to Crappypasta! This is the companion site to Creepypasta.com, and here is where you’ll find stories that we deemed not quite ready for the big leagues. If I believe that a story has potential but just isn’t quite there yet, I’ll post it here with some tags explaining my reasoning. The community at large can then offer their feedback and constructive criticism to aid the author in fully realizing their story’s potential.
However, if the community is in agreement that I made an error in judgement and the story should be accepted for the main site as-is, they may upvote the Crappypasta. If a story hits the (undisclosed for obvious reasons) correct ratio of positive to negative votes, I’ll move it to the primary Creepypasta archive, complete with a note of my taste fail!
You may read a more in-depth explanation of this process here.
I use the categories to give succinct feedback on each story posted. Rather than write out comments on every pasta, I make my feelings known via the categories that I assign to each specific post. This is done manually and on a per-pasta basis, so if you received a certain category on your story, that is my feedback to you.
You may read full descriptions of each category and how to interpret them as feedback/criticism here.
Note that due to how the sites have evolved, many categories are now outdated. In the dawn of this website, I didn’t get nearly as many submissions as I do now. As such, I was able to post and categorize every single eligible rejected story, even stories that I personally felt had a snowball’s chance in hell of being moved to the main site.
Nowadays, however, this would be an unrelenting sea of nonsense – most open-submission days garner well over a hundred submissions, and it’s statistically likely that only one or two of those will be more than a short, low-effort, all-lowercase paragraph. To prevent a flood of slush, I now only post stories that I believe have potential to be rewritten or upvoted to the main site.
All this is to say that some categories will almost certainly be archive-only from now on, simply because I can’t imagine a situation where I’d actually be posting a story that would deserve the “THIS IS STUPID” tag – it just doesn’t match up with how the site operates anymore.
The most frequent issues raised by new visitors are those of intended meanness and author permission. Please be reassured that if a story was posted here, it was submitted to me directly (I don’t go trawling the internet for stories to mock) with the author giving EXPLICIT permission for me to post their work here if it didn’t make the cut for the main creepypasta archive.
While we do allow comments that dabble in snarkiness as long as they are still entirely constructive criticism, the mod team will not approve comments that contribute nothing to the refinement of a pasta. Likewise, this means that comments left simply to be nasty or bully the author will be deleted. In cases where a commenter continually attempts to leave abusive comments towards authors, they will likely be banned entirely. This website is, first and foremost, about helping people succeed with their writing projects. Unnecessary nastiness does not help us accomplish this goal and, as such, has no place here.
That said, there will always be people who do not grasp the site’s function and leave comments accusing everyone leaving even benign, helpful feedback of bullying. Such comments are at each individual mod’s discretion on whether or not they will be approved, but if a comment section gets completely derailed due to misunderstanding-based white knighting, I will likely remove the comment chain in order to get the post back on track: we are here to give feedback, not argue with people who can’t be bothered to read this very blurb!
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Hey babe did you make it home alright?
I did, yeah. Had a fun time tonight. We should do it again sometime
Im down. Hows saturday sound?
Dunno yet. Have to see if I work.
Cool. TTYL, then.
What? Thought you were going to bed?
I was. I can’t sleep.
Yeah, me either. Wanna chat?
Nah my voice is shot from all that screaming. That concert was worth it though.
Yeah it was. So what, wanna just text then?
LOL okay, about what then?
I dunno. Nothing really. Just not ready for bed yet.
Alright, cool. So what do you wanna do next saturday?
Dunno yet. Still have to see if im working, remember?
Oh yeah, thats right.
Lets play a game, Evan.
Uhoh. Isnt that a line from a scary movie or something? 😀
LOL. Not that kind of game. Just something stupid and fun.
And sexy? 😉
Lol you wish. No, you just hit the third button on your phone a bunch of times and see what kind of crazy sentences it comes up with.
It is. Thats the point.
Alright, fine. Here. Yeah I just want you are you? what do we know what I can do to make a decision on what I was saying
Lol. Thats ridiculous.
Hehehe. This is kinda fun. Here, let me try again. A bad by I am a few more of a bunch of my head it all I can get a bunch of my head it all I can get. That’s it. Just keeps looping that.
Lol. How did that happen?
I dunno. Your turn.
Okay, hold on. I hurt myself today and its really bad theres blood everywhere
….what the fuck?
That’s weird. Hold on. Let me try a different button. So much blood its everywhere and I can’t stop crying blood blood blood
This isn’t funny Jenna.
Its not me! Its my phone!
This is just a weird prank that your playing on me right?
Hey, I dont get it either. Im not doing it on purpose, k? I promise.
You swear its not you?
Shit…. now I gotta know.
Do the last button.
Evan, no. I dont think thats a good idea.
Just do it. Please?
Fine. and even though we are friends i just want you to know that we will be sad when i die in three days.
It doesnt mean anything Evan its just a stupid game alright?
Yeah but why are yours so specific when I get weird nonsense. Here look Dying to see the world of people who are not the same thing as the most popular and its contents
So whats your point
So I put in the word dying and didn’t get anything as ducked up as you just got.
Sorry, autocorrect. My point is dont you think that’s a little weird?
That’s the point Evan. It’s supposed to be weird.
Weird I could handle. Yours is just… I dunno. Creepy.
And you’ve been watching too many scary movies. Good night Evan.
Yeah, maybe… Good night Jenna.
Talk to you tomorrow.
K. Hey, and Jenna?
😐 really, Evan?
Yeah, I know. Stupid. Good night.
Hey babe, where were you today? I didn’t see you in class?
Don’t freak out, okay?
What do you mean? Are you okay? What happened?
I’m fine, I just had to get stitches, okay?
Stitches? For what!?
I cut my foot last night. It was so stupid, Evan, it’s not a big deal.
It sure sounds like a big deal! How many stitches?
Evan, don’t make a big deal out of this, please? It’s a coincidence, okay?
How many stitches, Jenna?
27!? Jesus, Jenna! Is that a lot?
It was pretty bad, but it’s over and done with, okay?
Did you cry?
I said, did you cry?
Why does it matter, Evan? You’re freaking me out a little.
Just answer the question, Jenna. When you cut your foot open, did you cry?
Yes, Evan, I fucking cried, okay? It fucking hurt and I fucking cried! Why is that so goddamned important to you?
This: “That’s weird. Hold on. Let me try a different button. So much blood its everywhere and I can’t stop crying blood blood blood”
Oh Jesus Evan! Stop. It’s a game. It’s a stupid game.
Using your predictive text.
…lol are you serious right now?
What’s so funny? It got that right, didn’t it?
Jesus you are serious. Okay, hon, you don’t really believe this, right? I mean, try it again. Seriously, try it again.
I don’t want to.
Evan… Do it.
Fine. Which button?
I don’t care, pick one.
Fine. Be happy about that one in my head.
See, Evan? It doesn’t predict shit. It just says some random shit, it’s just nonsense, okay?
Fine. Your turn.
Why not? If it’s as harmless as you said it is.
You’re such a prick sometimes.
Just do it, Jenna.
Fine. And now you’ll never see me again I’m gone away I’m dead and you’ll never see me again you’ll never see me again you’ll never see me again.
Evan, it happens, okay? You get stuck in a loop all the time. Didn’t you get stuck in a loop before with something about your head?
Yeah but it didn’t throw in all those phrases in between. I mean, I’m gone away I’m dead? WTF is that?
Evan, would you please just stop talking about this? It’s starting to piss me off.
Fine. I gotta get up early tomorrow anyway. Good night, Jenna.
Wait, seriously? Evan, don’t be like this.
You still up, Evan?
Fine, be a dick. Good night, asshole.
I know I should have messaged you back that night. I’m sorry. But I thought you were right, okay? I didn’t think that anything would happen, and you had me convinced that it was just your phone messing around. I know that this won’t do any good, and I always delete this shit instead of hitting send, but fuck… I wish I could say this to you in person, one more time.
WHO THE FUCK IS THIS?
I was. I can’t sleep.
WHO THE FUCK IS THIS? THIS ISN’T FUNNY.
Nah, my voice is shot from all that screaming.
Is this a joke?
Let’s play a game, Evan.
This can’t be happening. I’m not even sending these. How are you responding to me?
Don’t worry about it, Evan. You just hit the third button on your phone a bunch of times and see what kind of crazy sentences it comes up with.
Do it, Evan.
…no. I can’t, Jenna. I can’t, okay?
It doesnt mean anything Evan its just a stupid game alright?
Fine. I miss you so much but it will be okay because I’ll be joining you any day now I’ll see you soon I’ll see you soon I’ll see you soon I’ll see…
“Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.”
— William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1597
“The story of this Herne, who was keeper in the forest in the time of Elizabeth, runs thus: – That having committed some great offence, for which he feared to lose his situation and fall into disgrace, he was induced to hang himself on this tree.” -Samuel Ireland, Picturesque Views On the River Thames, 1792
The following is the account of a bizarre recurring dream published from the diary of a late friend who passed away last March, after a trip to England to visit extended family. The journal entries listed below were found under his pillow the day after my friend (who will not be mentioned by name, to protect his family. I will refer to him as Alec) had died suddenly, recovering from severe mental trauma at Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Boston. I was deeply saddened by his death, as was his family, of course. We had been friends since elementary school, and I knew him inside and out.
Which was why it was so puzzling to me what he had written in his journal.
Alec had kept a dream journal, as a requirement for the psych classes he was taking at the time at Bunker Hill Community College. (That’s in Boston as well for you outsidaaahs.) It was an extra credit opportunity, and I guess Alec didn’t get around to doing it till the day after he got back from England. That isn’t uncommon (both Alec’s procrastination and the dream journal assignment, hahaha). Most psychology courses require some dream analysis, so I wasn’t confused about that. The thing that blew me away was the fact that Alec, in all the twenty-three years I’d known him, had never been able to remember a single dream in his life. Yet his dream journal was full. Every single page. His family could not make heads or tails of what it was, and, after careful reading, gave it to me to see if I knew anything about what was written in there.
The notebook itself was nothing special. It was a small, refillable Moleskine, black bonded leather (that’s what it said on the cover’s interior.) Its first entry was March 23rd (the day he’d returned from vacation in England), and there were daily notes on each dream- each realistic, intense, and uncharacteristically vivid dream, up until the very night that he died. His notes were so detailed, and filled with language and vocabulary I didn’t know he knew. Alec was not the most well-read of students, but that is not to say he was dumb. Of course, he read when he had to, like in his coursework for his psych classes. He learned extremely quickly and had a thought process so fast it was hard for all of us to keep up with him, all the way through high school. Brilliant at math- and analyzing people- but by no means was he very well read. I repeat, Alec was not well read- particularly not in Shakespeare, and even more particularly not in the above passage from The Merry Wives of Windsor. As Dickens said, “This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of this story I am going to relate.” Only this story isn’t wonderful. Not so at all.
Furthermore, I apologize for any incoherence in his notes, I copied it all down here word for word for you guys to take a look at. Any parenthesized script is stuff I added, or clarifications.
Wow! Last night I had the first dream that I can remember. God, it was vivid. Kinda scary too, just my luck that my first real dream was a weird one.
-New house. Living with mom and dad, and my older brother Mark, get own room for the first time after sharing with Mark for six years. Remember feeling excited about that.
-White painted room. Glass chandelier, huge bed with white sheets. Bedroom has a balcony with huge glass windows. On a beach? Can hear ocean. Felt peaceful.
-Go to bed. Lights are out, moonlight pours in through window. Light stops suddenly, leaving me in pitch dark.
-About to fall asleep, hear raspy breathing from above me… huge sense of dread, adrenaline rush, and I wake up.
-New room, maybe addressing old traumatic memories of having own room for the first time, recalling memories of first night sleeping alone probably (Alec used to be afraid of the dark as a kid.)
-No idea about the breathing.
Okay… Same setting as last nights dream. Very strange, Dr. Maguire (Alec’s teacher) says that’s rare. It’s especially rare for me because I don’t remember my dreams… Got scarier, probably because of this.
-Same as last night’s. Breathing got heavier. No moonlight in the window.
-Got adrenaline rush again and woke up.
-Maybe it’s just me, but it felt a bit longer this time… Less dream-like? I wouldn’t know.
-I don’t know what to make of this. Maybe there are repressed memories that are shifting levels in my psyche, brought on by trip to Windsor? Last time I was there was around the time we moved in… Dr. Maguire will know.
– Still no idea about the breathing.
SOMETHING IS WRONG SOMETHING IS WRONG SOMETHING IS MOST DEFINITELY WRONG I HAD THE DREAM AGAIN
I talked to Dr. Maguire about it again, he gave me the same answer and a worried look. He will think I’m crazy if I tell him any more. He suspects me of something. I can see it in his eyes. If I talk to him again, he’ll send someone to take me away.
-Same as before.
-Bed, dark, raspy breathing.
-They are getting longer now. Adrenaline is the only thing keeping me away from whatever’s breathing in the attic above me.
-Im done analyzing this. It’s starting to really scare me. And it’s becoming more lifelike.
3/26/15 (Presumably. Alec did not provide a date in this entry.)
It happened again.
Last night, it happened again. For much longer. Much realer. These dreams are getting realer.
-Same as before. Get in bed, lie in bed. full dark. breathing starts.
-Same adrenaline rush. But I don’t wake up.
-The breathing gets heavier and I hear footfalls down the stairs
– *THUMP* I can hear it coming *THUMP* I can smell it coming
-down, down, down to my door oh jesus christ help please please help
-The smell of rotting wood its everywhere its in my sheets and my hair and oh my god its standing outside my door right now
– knock knock.
At this point I woke up screaming in a cold sweat. I will not sleep tonight. I went out and bought as many energy drinks as I could carry. I did not show up to class today.
-Did not sleep. No dreams last night. I felt more at peace than I have been since we left Windsor, but I am exhausted. And tense. I wonder if the trip has anything to do with it, bringing back memories? Last time we visited Uncle Dan in Berkshire we had just moved into our new house. (Alec’s uncle, lives in England. Berkshire is where Windsor is located) I was sleeping alone by then… Repressed memories brought back by the trip?
-No sleep still. No dreams. Feeling sick, black dots dancing in my vision. Worth it to not have to dream.
– The smell of rotting oak is still here. It’s clinging to me but I’m too afraid to shower. I don’t want to find out what’s waiting for me behind the curtain.
-Tension again. Phone rang twice, but did not answer it.
-Is someone watching the house?
-I’m out of energy drinks and I can’t stay awake any longer. Not eating anymore and I haven’t left my apartment in days.
I’m so tired i can barely write properly but at the same time I feel more refreshed than ever. This fatigue is better than dreaming. Those dreams were making me paranoid, I realized I haven’t really spoken to anyone for about three or four days. I got a call from Sam (That’s me. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear earlier), apparently he’s worried about me. We’re going to lunch together now, should be home before 8:30. Don’t think I’ll eat.
It is at this time that I can fill in this gap between the dream journal and his actual life- that his family didn’t get. On the Red Line train home from our Italian dinner (that, yes, he did eat) in Boston’s North End, Alec fell asleep. He had seemed mentally and physically sapped through the whole day, and I had no clue as to what was causing it. Alec was never one to miss his sleep, but that day he looked like the walking dead. Dark circles under his eyes, raspy voice, bloodshot eyes, unshaven. In retrospect, haunted is a good word that would describe my friend that day. Skin as pale as the white tablecloth we ate our dinner on, and he stank. Not like people stink when they don’t shower- That day he smelled like something different. Wet leaves and rotting wood, like the inside of a long-abandoned house. He looked on the verge of being seriously ill. I wish I had said something sooner. I was so stupid, to not realize how bad of a condition he was really in. It’s no excuse, but at the time, he just seemed to be really, really tired. It was little wonder, then, that he fell asleep on the subway. We were alone in the train car.
His head gently hit the window on the Alewife train. His tense body relaxed. For five minutes I could breathe easy. Maybe he was going to be okay after all.
That’s when the screaming began.
I had no sooner closed my eyes when a bloodcurdling, unearthly screech came from the mouth of my still-sleeping friend. His eyes were open, rimmed with red, crimson streaks webbing from the whites of his eyes to the irises. The tendons in his neck tensed, white ribbons underneath pallid skin. Every muscle in his body convulsed sporadically, contorting his body, as if some infernal puppeteer was operating madly to make his ruined body perform this hellish dance. He screamed again, louder this time, and his voice broke in a horrid gargle. Blood bubbled from his throat. Whatever was happening in his sleep, it wasn’t something I wanted to know about.
Shocked and terrified as I was, I slapped him awake there in the tunnel of the Alewife run. He was in shock, and nearly catatonic. People in the opposite cars were beginning to wonder what was happening through the dirty glass panes that separated us. I was frantic trying to call an ambulance to meet us at the JFK/UMass platform, and could barely concentrate through Alec’s incoherent babbling and my own shock. Through some grace of whatever God there may be, the ride was arranged. People from the other cars helped me carry my friend out onto the filthy platform, and up the stairs into the station where two paramedics waited by a gurney. The ambulance lights flashed in the dark outside the window. The paramedics hurriedly hoisted him onto the gurney, and wheeled him down the ramp into an ambulance. The last delirious thing I heard him say before they wheeled him in through the ambulance’s doors was, “I have to stay awake.” One paramedic looked at the other, and shook his head. “Sh… Don’t try to talk. We’re taking you to the hospital now, this is just to make the pain go away.” The flash of a syringe, and Alec was asleep again.
Alec was put into room 237 on the second floor of Beth Israel Deaconess hospital, in a high dependency unit in the mental trauma care department.
The next morning, March 30, I went to see my friend in room 237, only to find out that his room had been changed from the friendly maid who was changing the sheets. There was an oak tree out the window, she told me, and something about that oak tree must have scared him out of staying here. She told me he could be found in room 217 now, just down the hall. I thanked her and left.
Alec was sleeping when I found him. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I left my flowers and a get well card on his bedside table. That was the last time I would see him alive.
The hunter is here.
I found it in Windsor and it’s never going to leave.
Oak trees are its herald, the hunt is its existence.
And I am its prey.
Last night the dream came again. I slept through the day, but the night was when the dreams came.
-All the same as before.
– In bed, full dark. Breathing begins, adrenaline. Fear sets in, then terror.
-I hear it coming down the stairs
-I smell the rotting wood. It is oak wood. Don’t ask me how I know. The hunter only operates with oak.
-Terror magnifies, swells. I cannot move, not that I could before. I am rooted in my spot from sheer terror and I cannot close my eyes.
-The door swings open. Rush of cold wind, smell of rotting wood and leaves. Wind dries out my eyes, tears gush, but I still cannot even blink.
-The Thing is come. The Hunter.
-All I see in the blackness is a silhouette of a tall man. And horns. Horrible, warped, twisted horns. Antlers, is the word for them.
– And two white glowing holes for eyes. Horrible, horrible eyes. Whenever I close mine, I see them still, burned upon the inside of my eyelids.
-It does not speak. It does not move. It watches me with those horrible white eyes. I wet the bed and still cannot move, screaming silently. I lie in a puddle of my own urine and cower at the sight of the demon before me, for hours.
– Jackie, my nurse, woke me up for breakfast. I cried, I was so happy. But I know I’ll never be free from it now. I give myself one more night.
I remember I used to analyze these dreams. I remember I didn’t even use to dream- I would even complain about it. Now, I’d give anything to have those days back.
3/31/15 (Presumably. Sometime before 9:15 am)
Its dark and I can’t see or feel anything. I only have until the shroud of sleep wears off to write this. It is my final account, the last dream. I am dying and I can feel it now. It will be good to be free.
– Same beginning. Full dark, in bed, breathing.
– The Hunter comes downstairs. I smell rotting wood, and something different this time. Rotting flesh. Corpses. The smell of death.
– knock knock.
-I still cannot move. Urinate again out of fear when the door swings open.
-The Hunter stands there. I expect it to remain like that. But he moves. The Hunter moves. It takes one step towards me, and I scream without a sound. It rushes towards my bed, and tears me open with sharp, unforgiving claws. The pain is immeasurable. I see it move, but see it still standing at the foot of my bed. Its eyes bore into my soul, suck the very marrow of my existence out through the gash in my stomach.
-I do not pass out. I feel everything it does to me, but see nothing but a silhouette and two white eyes. I vomit again and again at its foul stench and the horrible pain in my abdomen.
-Finally, the pain stops.
-Hours pass of me sobbing on the bed, in horrid cesspools of my own vomit, blood, and urine, with the demon watching me until the sun rises.
-Oh, the sunrise. I’ve been praying for it to take me away ever since these dreams began.
-Out my window, the eastern sky breaks with light. The dark fades. I begin to see a little.
-Only, after a while, I realize something is wrong.
-The sun is pure white. White as the eyes of the Hunter.
-I try to scream again but I don’t make a sound
-I scream and scream and scream as i read the words written on my wall, in my own blood and organs:
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.
When poor nurse Jackie found his mangled body at 9:15 the next morning, she nearly had a heart attack.
That very monologue was written on the wall of hospital room 217, in Alec’s blood.
Credit: S. Francis
When Jesse went to Japan on holiday, she heard about the story of the daruma doll.
The daruma doll was modeled after a monk who had meditated facing a wall for nine years. Later on, frustrated he had fallen asleep while meditating, he had cut off his own eyelids. Maybe that was the fact that had given rise to daruma dolls being sold without their eyes; there were simply blank spaces for its eyes.
“It bring you good luck,” the shopkeeper had said in English learnt from sitcoms. “Help finish your dream.” Apparently, it was customary to make a wish before painting one eye of the daruma doll, before painting the other eye if your wish came true such that you could motivate the daruma to grant your wish by promising it full sight.
It was definitely an interesting concept, and it’d make a nice souvenir anyway, so she bought a mini one.
When she got home, she closed her eyes before using a marker (hey, she didn’t have a paintbrush) to dot the left eye of the daruma doll. “One day,” she promised. “Your eyes will be as big and full as mine.” She could have sworn that the daruma’s smile had expanded, just a little.
However, she now didn’t know where to put it. It couldn’t be out on the tabletop; a daruma doll with one eye was much too frightening to sleep with. At night, it was a one-eyed pursuer of her dreams, almost as if it would forget it’s purpose, and devour her wishes. So no, it couldn’t be anywhere on display. In the end, she simply decided to put in in her schoolbag.
It was just the next week that Jesse’s parents discovered her missing. She hadn’t come back from school, nor was she picking up her phone. Naturally, they made a police report. Their seed of doubt had flourished into a sapling of worry, before blossoming into a full grown flower of despair in 3 hours. She never hung out with her friends after school, and she always gave them constant updates via text on what she was up to. “She is a good girl,” her mother had wept while making that police report, emphasizing the is, for it was the only thing she could hold on to.
A few days later, the police found Jesse. She was in some abandoned warehouse; kidnapped, presumably. The strange thing was, there was no sign of any of her kidnappers. Nor was there any ransom demand. She was just left there, mutilated into some gory mess that even the police had a hard time looking at her without vomiting. She was enveloped by cuts, with her limbs all chopped off crudely, which were now lying beside her. Her eyes were thankfully closed. Nearby, her schoolbag lay open, her textbooks spilled out onto the floor. Notably, the daruma doll had also fallen out of the bag. It had 2 full, black, symmetrical eyes.
When the forensic team opened Jesse’s eyes, they discovered she only had one eye. The other had been perfectly dug out by a dagger of sorts, leaving a blank hollow socket. It was then that they discovered she looked exactly like a one-eyed daruma doll; someone’s wish waiting to be granted.
Footnote: there is a legend in the old days of Japan that a yakuza kidnapped women and mutilated them to become similar to darumas before selling them.
It’s not unheard of for a doctor to lie to a patient. In my fifteen years as a physician, I can count the number of times I’ve lied to a patient on a single hand. Unfortunately, today marked an occasion when I was less than truthful to someone who implicitly trusted me, and I feel rotten for betraying that trust.
It all started when a thirty year old man came into my office complaining that last night he was startled awake by a ghost. He described a wispy black hooded figure that loudly screeched at him in the middle of the night. Utterly terrified, he sprang out of bed and switched on the lights only to find nothing was there.
A rather sizeable percentage of my patients suffer from psychological problems, it’s more common than one might think. While it’s impossible to make a snap judgment, this patient didn’t feel like he was hallucinating or making up a story. Before I referred him to someone who would likely prescribe him a couple of rounds of anti-psychotics, I thought it might be wise to search for a more mundane solution. I started by asking him general questions about his health and sleep habits.
“How well do you sleep at night?”
“Has anyone ever told you snore?”
“I never had a girlfriend who didn’t complain.”
“Do you often feel tired during the day?
“All of the time.”
I told him not to worry about the ghost, he probably just has sleep apnea. Someone who suffers from sleep apnea intermittently stops breathing at night, causing them to feel tired and lethargic during the day. The shriek he heard was probably his own lungs gasping for air. As for the dark hooded figure, it was probably a combination of a bad dream and shadows in his room, nothing to be worried about. I recommend a sleep study and describe the procedure to him.
“You will spend the night in a clinic that has a bed in in. A technician will hook up electrodes to your head, and put a mask over your nose and mouth to monitor your breathing. The first half of the night you will be monitored for apneas or pauses in your breathing. During the second half of the night, if we find that you have sleep apnea, we will pump air into the mask to help you breathe. You will also be videotaped while you sleep, so I can check for unusual movement or behaviors. After the study is completed, I will review the data to make a diagnosis.”
My patient goes into the clinic and completes the sleep study. I spend the next day reviewing the data and video tape. Today he came into my office for the follow up appointment. Here is the lie that I tell him:
“You have one of the worst cases of sleep apnea I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, it is easily treatable, I can prescribe a CPAP machine for you. It’s a small machine that is connected to a mask that covers the nose and mouth, similar to the one used during the sleep study. It will help you breathe at night. It’s absolutely essential that you use this machine every night. If you don’t use it, there may be extremely severe complications such as heart failure, a heart attack, of you may simply asphyxiate yourself while you sleep. I want you to promise me you will use it every night.”
He promises me he will use the CPAP machine every night and I breathe a sigh of relief.
I consider the lie I told him to be quite innocuous. While it is true that he has severe sleep apnea, medically speaking, it’s extremely unlikely to kill him. I did omit some other information though, about the data and the videotape from his sleep study. Here is what shook me up so badly last afternoon, when I was alone in my office watching the recording.
I have the breathing data, the brain activity, video feed all synched up on my laptop. The video feed shows his entire body from an overhead perspective. I search the data for apneas, here is what I find.
For the past hour the apneas have been occurring every 4 minutes. They are relativity minor, lasting anywhere between 10 and 13 seconds accompanied by minor spikes in brain activity. No unusual movements from patient.
Severe apneas have been cycling for every other minute for the past hour. Each apnea lasts between 21 and 25 seconds. Patient will often twitch arms and legs when gasping for air.
Abnormally long apnea lasting 33 seconds. At the 30 second mark I think I notice a slight shadow over the patient. He jerks his head when gasping for air.
Another abnormally long apnea lasting 37 seconds. At the 30 second mark I notice a definite shadow over the patient. Could it be the technician checking up on him? The patient violent his jerks head while gasping for air.
An extremely abnormal apnea lasting 49 seconds. Apneas really shouldn’t last this long. At the 40 second mark I notice the tip of someone’s head enter the frame of the video feed. As soon as the patient gasp for air, the head disappears.
Rather freaked out, I stand up and walk away from my laptop. Perhaps I’ve been staring at the computer screen for too long. Perhaps my patient’s complaints of ghosts and hooded figures have subconsciously planted an idea in my mind, and now I’m seeing things that aren’t there. I need to take a breather. In the break room and buy myself chips and a soda. After making small talk with a nurse and a physician’s assistant for 10 minutes I feel relaxed and recharged.
There are no such things as ghosts, I should know better, I’m a doctor for god’s sake. There is an obvious explanation for what I’m seeing in the video feed. Time to get back to work. After vigorously rubbing my hands together, I sit back at my laptop and search for the next apnea.
An apnea lasting for 1 minute and 45 seconds? This can’t be right, the equipment must have malfunctioned. I stare at the video feed to see what the hell is going on. At 40 seconds I see the tip of someone’s head again. Even though I’m horrified, my eyes are transfixed on the video feed and I can’t look away. At the 1 minute mark, an entire head of a black hooded figure is visible. By one 1 minute and 30 seconds I can see the full body of a black robed figured holding a scythe leaning over the bed.
A knocking noise behind me. My head must almost hit the ceiling as I leap out of my chair in sheer terror. As I jump out of my chair I accidently knock my laptop to the floor. I look behind me to see a nurse standing in the door.
“Sorry for startling you. Don’t forget your 2 o’clock meeting with the pharmaceutical representative.”
“Thanks for the reminder”, I tersely reply.
I place the laptop back on the table only to find the screen is dead. Disappointment is mixed with relief when no lights come on after plugging in the power cord. I rack my brain for hours before thinking of a plausible lie to tell my patient.
Credit: M Barnett
You’ve heard a thousand stories of some horrible, decrepit being haunting children’s dreams, invading their imaginations to the point of mentally scarring them or otherwise becoming a seemingly living manifestation to entire communities, we’ve all heard of them. Most well known are Bloody Mary and her unnerving mirror ritual kids carry out as sleepover dares, or The Boogeyman being used as a verbal warning against unwieldy children, the names and monsters go beyond my two simple mentions. But one particular “booger” that stayed branded not only in my mind, but the small cluster of people’s minds living up the lonely backwoods road I still live on to this day is Mammy Muff. Despite my best attempts to learn if there was ever an actual woman named this (and if that was her actual name) that lived on Sugar Creek Road, my search has proved futile. Town records don’t mention her, the elders I’ve spoken to have shaken their heads or told me she must have been before their time, so the only details I know are the ones that dwell within the legend of her.
Apparently sometime back in the late eighteen hundreds lived a lonely woman simply called Mammy Muff in one of the numerous abandoned and fallen structures littering the land around Sugar Creek road. The legend goes on in droves about her beauty, how smooth her coal-balck hair was, how her white smile rivaled that of pearls, how the intensity of her amber eyes would make the fire in a man’s heart burn hot and how shapely her body was, the legend makes it clear she was a stunning woman nonetheless. She was neither wed nor courted (an old southern word for dated), and would refuse man after man that sought out her love. But like most tales, she eventually fell for a silver tongued devil that she felt was worthy of her heart…but it was not so. He got her pregnant and then left as quickly as he had appeared, and of course this shattered her soul. Her depression not only fortified her reclusivness but also took a toll on her child, as she was further struck down when her pregnancy ended with a miscarriage, and it is there that the legend takes a dark turn. Mourning her lost child coupled with her broken heart and soon began to alter the way Mammy Muff looked; her hair became ragged and wiry, her teeth became yellow and even her radiant amber eyes were said to have dimmed into a lifeless grey. Her former curves thinned into emaciated stretches, and she became near insane as her body decayed. It is not known when but she at one point is it said she intentionally broke one of her arms and cut off the fingers on whichever one it was, and then let it heal awkwardly into a twisted club-like appendage, giving the once beautiful woman a deformed appearance. It was not long after that incident that her house burned down and she was presumed dead therein, that’s where the legend ends and my story starts.
I own numerous animals; dogs, chickens, and rabbits and it is a common superstition that when something unnatural or bad is coming that animals will react to it in strange ways. Cows will lay under the barn on a day it will rain hours before it even does, whiporwhills call in threes before a death ravages a family and other such things like that, so it peaked my attention when one night while feeding my dogs they all sat down in unison and turned their heads towards the woods with raised ears. To further induce my uneasiness the chickens stopped squawking and the rabbits began to stomp their feet violently within their pens, which meant they felt threatened. Doing what any sane person did, I began to make tracks towards my house, or in other words I started running like hell. But before I could reach my door an unearthly wail rose from within the dark forest I live close to, and as you’d expect by now it was that of a woman. The hairs rose on the back of my neck and I’m fairly sure I may have pissed myself, for it was something even the childlike screams of a fox couldn’t best. After the cries died down I rushed into my house and locked every door and window and took a shotgun and hid within my room. It didn’t help my fear that a massive thunderstorm began shortly after. I slept little that night and would wake up occasionally when it sounded like something was slamming against my outside door. The next morning the rain moved out, though it didn’t take my paranoia with it. I never ventured far into the woods after that and when I did it was always a short stay. Oddly enough, whenever it thunderstorms you’ll always find muddy footprints leading aimlessly through the forest, small ones too, small enough for a woman to have made. And if you look closely enough, you can find long black hairs lining the bird nests in the trees… South Carolina is full of mysteries and legends, from Cry Baby Bridge to the Lizard Man of Ore Creek, but the one that will stay with me till my dying days is Mammy Muff, the lone spirit of Sugar Creek road.
Credit: Daniel L. Revis
Credit Link: http:[email protected]
When I was younger, everyone believed me when I told them about the monster in my closet. I guessed that I always looked and sounded truly terrified that…everybody thought I was telling the truth. I was lying, but no one seemed to notice. My dad never checked my closet, my mom never checked under the bed. They believed me, and dragged me into their room to sleep for the night. After a few weeks of this, they took me to see a therapist. I told her the same thing I told my parents.
There was a monster in my closet, under my bed. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was there. I had the same terrified look and terrified tone I had before. At first, the therapist didn’t believe me. But by the end of my story, I knew she did. I could tell from the look in her eyes. I don’t know why they believed me, I just knew that they did.
She then asked me to describe what the…thing…looked like. I shrugged and looked down. It looked like a normal man at first glance. But as you stared, he became decrepit. His skin started to look like it wore off, and it looked like he had a metal endoskeleton inside of him. It almost looked like he was an out of order animatronic, whose fur and suit had decayed or fallen off, or like small animals gotten to him and started to eat it.
She asked me where this thing would be in my room and how I knew it was there. I told her under my bed, I occasionally saw his metal hand with skin falling off almost every finger sticking out. Or, if he was in my closet, he poked his head out. His ear was falling off and he was missing an eye. His right cheek had three long gashes in it.
When I had started talking about it…I’m not quite sure. I guess it was about when I was 5. You know, that age where imagination really starts to take hold in the mind of a child. I probably just wanted something to talk about. You know, the way a little kid always wanted everyone’s attention to be on them. I also loved to snuggle with my parents at night. I remember that.
No one ever really asked me why I had started imagining this thing. I guess every little kid has a story of the monster in their room. I started calling it ‘The Believer’ because everyone believed me when I told them about it. My friends never wanted to come into my room when I told them about the Believer. After a while, my whole school knew about it and I lost friends. No one wanted to come over to my house, who knew where the Believer could be? Who knew if he could be following me around or not?
That is why I’m telling this story. Because I thought that it was a thing of my past, a phase of my childhood I went through. But now it’s back. The Believer is in my closet, under my bed. In my cupboards, looking at me through the other aisle in the grocery store. I thought I was imagining things as a little kid too, but now I believe.
The night was beautiful, serene and warm; tranquil.
The soft breeze of the summer dusk blew, rustling the branches of the trees around the house, and carried in with it the gentle hum of the creatures of the night. The low croaks of the frogs, nestled in the trees, as they seemed to speak back and forth with one another in the dark, and the drone of the insects came all together in through the window. All of this, this delicate chorus which rode on the wind, was brought in and to the ear of the child who slumbered in his bed, alone in his room.
He lay there, a slight, pale boy of only nine, spread haphazardly in his bed, his body wrapped in the tangled mess of cotton sheets.
His head sat sideways, sunken in the pillow, and his mouth was just slightly agape as he slept; a thin line of saliva creeped from its edge to pool on his pillow. One arm was there, resting beneath his pillow, the other up and wrapped around above his head like an arc, and he slept on his stomach. He fidgeted just a little while he slept, moving slightly, and his foot twitched as it hung over the edge of the mattress.
And he dreamed.
He dreamed of a place.
A misty, fog ridden swamp, a dark and desolate marsh where he trod completely alone. The long tendrils of grey mist licked at his ankles, wrapping around them, flowing, as if they were to try and grasp him and hold him there tight. And the mud sucked at his feet, clinging to his shoes in a desperate attempt to keep him in place.
But still, he ran.
And the trees loomed over him, dark and foreboding, and the night was silent. The moss draped over them, and they were hung with vines that formed silhouettes in the ghastly dim of the night.
They looked to him like corpses suspended from the branches.
He ran towards the house; he could see it, through the gaps in the brush and the foliage, it shone, faintly visible.
It was so close, now.
He could see the light, yellow and bright, shining through the window that sat behind the porch. And he could hear the voices, the laughter, that echoed jocularly from its interior, all so clear, as if he were there inside with the occupants as he ran.
But then he began to hear it, ever so light, and seeming so distant behind him.
It was behind him, following him.
So he sprinted forth, running harder, moving through the night as fast as he could towards the house, towards safety.
It was shelter, it was safe. It was a home. There were people, and they sounded so happy, joyous, and he wanted nothing more than to make his way there and to run inside, and to join them in their apparent festivities.
It was an escape.
But the more he ran, the farther away it grew, shrinking away from him, and the sounds of the people that were inside became ever fainter, fading away.
The breathing behind him grew, becoming louder, filling in where the sounds of the family in the house were lost.
It was heavy, raspy breaths, haggard and exasperated sounding, as they came and went through the throat of that thing. One after the other, over and over, breath after breath.
The house was nothing more than a miniscule image so far off now.
He couldn’t hear them anymore.
It was there, just behind him, he could tell. He could feel it now, the warm, moist exhalations which fell upon the skin of the back of his neck. They came, long and drawn out, as it let the air drift across his skin, and he wanted to cry.
The house was gone now, and he was alone in the swamp, in the swirling mist, with it.
Then he felt the unusual sensation in his foot, as it became washed in a feeling of cold. And it only grew worse, becoming so ice-numbingly gelid that he soon could feel nothing but the steady aching of freezing pain. It made it so hard to run; it was nearly impossible now; he was stumbling.
And then he could feel it, the hand against the back of his shirt, the long fingers running so gently over him, as if to caress him. They itched at his skin, and burned at the touch.
And he screamed.
Then he woke up.
But when he awoke, he found that he could not move; he was frozen in place, the muscles of his body all clenched and taut, so tightly knotted that they throbbed in pain. He could do nothing but sit there, wrapped in his sheets, and they felt as if they were weighted down on him. They constrained him, pinning him in place, his body flush against the mattress. He hardly dared to breathe, because he could hear it.
It came from below him, a hoarse sound; throaty breaths that resonated against his eardrums.
It was under the bed.
He could feel it. He could feel it moving beneath him, near the head of the bed.
The night wore on, and he was trapped in this relentless hell. He laid there, unable to move, unable to do anything but simply to listen to the thing as it breathed below him, just inches away, separated from him by no more than the mattress. He could feel it as it adjusted itself, and the mattress shifted as it did, ever so slightly, lifting as it pressed its body into it. And there was the subtle scraping of nails along linoleum flooring.
On and on it went, unceasing, the only sounds being that of his beating heart, and that of it as it moved and breathed so near to him in the darkness.
Only when he was washed in the dull warmth of the morning sunlight could he move again, and only then did he realize that he no longer heard it.
How long it had been gone now, he did not know.
He did not speak to anyone of it.
And the next night was as gentle and calm, with the skies filled with darkened clouds that blotted out the light of the moon, and from which came the drops of rain with their rhythmic pattering against the house’s roof. There was no wind that night. It was not quite quiet, but peaceful nonetheless.
He laid there, awake this time, trembling in terror of the dark and the night, and he was curled into a ball, his face buried in his pillow while he hid from the unconscious world. Tears streamed down his face while he shook.
Then the shaking ceased, and he found himself unable to move.
It was back.
The breathing was back, it was there, beneath him, and it moved.
It was near the foot of his bed this time.
And all night he laid there, wide awake, unable to move, absolutely petrified with fear of the thing that was below him.
It did nothing but breathe as the night passed on.
And he wished that he had told them, he wished that he had told his parents of this damned horrible thing. He wished he had not kept it to himself, out of fear and embarrassment. He wished instead that he had exposed this repulsive being to them so that he could sleep in peace, alone.
Soon, the soft glow of the coming dawn became apparent once more, and the black of the skies lightened to an ugly, diluted grey.
He was so close, the sun so near now, and he would be able to move from this wretched spot, and flee into his parents’ warm embrace.
His toes then became cold, growing frigid, just as had his foot in his dream, and they hurt so much that he wanted to cry out and scream, yet he found himself incapable of doing so. They throbbed, and he so much wanted to writher in pain, but he could not, and so he felt his fear swelling within him.
He felt it as it moved.
And then there was something, some inexplicable force, that gripped his leg around the supple flesh of his calf, and he found his leg extending, straightening out and towards the edge of the bed as it pulled on him, until his foot hung suspended over the edge, hovering in the air, so much like it had the night prior. Then the other leg, moving the same way, dragged to the bed’s edge just like the other, and he found his feet stuck there, rigid, and immobile.
He felt something else then, as long and spindly fingers began to trace their way along each of his toes, toying with them, almost playfully. Almost childishly. Poking at them, and gently touching them, wiggling them around in its grip, playing with his petite extremities.
It seemed to be enjoying itself.
And then he felt the fingers creep up, skittering over the tops of his feet now, running along his ankles, and then back down to continue its gentle fondling of his toes.
He could hear something else, now, a sound mixed in with that of the creature’s movements and breath. It was the sound of a tongue, lapping at the inside of its mouth, and of wet lips smacking as the abhorred thing began to salivate hungrily.
His heart pounded in anticipation, as though it was thrashing inside of his chest, beating violently against his ribs. His breathing had grown frantic, short, wheezing, panicked breaths that were almost silent.
And suddenly there was something latched onto his toes as they throbbed, pinching down on them, gripping them tight like a vice.
It began to pull.
Slowly, it yanked at his toes, tugging at them, slowly stretching at the skin and he could feel it as it began to tear.
They ripped apart gradually, as the wretched thing took time in its efforts.
The skin began to rupture around his joints, splitting apart, ripping like fine fabric, sinewy bits peeling grotesquely apart. It pulled away, and then the blood began to flow.
But still, it continued, relentless. The flesh was next, little bits of stringy muscle that finally gave out, tearing apart. The tendons popped audibly as they snapped, severing. And the bones began to split, fracturing as they separated from one another.
The blood was everywhere, filling his sheets now, and all of his toes were gone.
He heard it.
His bed was soaked in such copious amounts of blood.
And then the room filled with light, the dawn had come, and he was released from the horrible paralysis of the past night. He screamed in agony as suddenly he was capable of movement, and of sound, of vocalization.
He was freed from it.
And his parents came rushing in, running at the sound of his distress, and they found him in a puddle of crimson sheets and coagulated blood.
He was shaking, now, his body convulsing in spasms, the blood spurting, and he had quieted. Sweat poured profusely across his skin, and he had become cold to the touch.
And some time had passed, wherein he spent it mute and traumatized in a hospital bed, afraid to sleep when the night came, but mute during the day, unresponsive to inquiry. And when he returned home, he would refuse to so much as look towards the door into his room, and he would say nothing.
His parents let him stay with them, that first night, out of both pity and of fear, expecting after that to leave the house, most likely permanently.
He laid there, then, the pain in the stumps of his former appendages still profound, and he was curled up crying between the soft and warm bodies of his parents as they slept beside him, turned away from him.
He could hear them breathing.
Softly, so different than the breaths of that damned thing that had been beneath the bed, and he was comforted by their continuous inhalations and snores. But then they began to change, growing less frequent, slower, the gaps between them growing longer. Each successive breath was fainter than the one prior, until they stopped altogether, and he was overtaken with fear.
Moments passed, and he was engulfed in dreaded silence.
Still they did not stir.
He realized then that he could not move.
The boy felt himself overcome with cold, throughout his entire body now. It was so quick and so sudden, and so overwhelmingly freezing that he stiffened, and his muscles clenched. It was the same as before, only this time it was all encompassing; nothing of him went untouched by the icy presence.
Then came the breathing.
Credit: J.S. Meyers