Yes, the words above probably do amount to the strangest article title I have ever written! And the subject matter of that same article is no less strange, as you’ll now see. In the week leading up to Christmas 2007, I found myself on the receiving end of one of the strangest stories ever to darken my path. It has been my experience that when people are looking to speak with someone about their encounters with the unknown, they seek out those most amenable to what they have to say. By that I mean: most of my cryptozoological work is focused upon those fringe cases that exhibit evidence of high-strangeness and paranormal qualities. And so, the bulk of the reports that are brought to my attention usually tend to present such eerie qualities, too. Laura’s certainly did.
She was thirty-six, lived in Rochester, New York, and worked for the Post Office. Laura related to me a remarkable and disturbing series of events that occurred to her and several friends in the summer of 1985 – events that began with attempts to contact the spirit world and culminated in the manifestation of a fearful, hairy man-beast.
It was a Friday night, around June or July of that year, Laura told me, that she and three of her school-friends, Beth, Brooke and Alison, had come to visit her. Laura’s parents were out for the evening, and so a slumber-party, loud music, and discussions about boys were the order of the day; or, rather, the whole night. That was not all, however.
Brooke’s older brother possessed a 1940s vintage Ouija board and she surprised the friends by pulling it out of her bag when she arrived at Laura’s. As Laura told me, none of them were seriously frightened by it: rather, they found the idea of “playing with the Ouija board while my mom and dad were out” to be both fun and exciting. But what began as a bit of light-hearted entertainment for four teenaged girls, soon mutated into something very different.
Laura admitted that none of the four girls had any real idea of how to use the board, aside from “what we had seen in horror movies.” Nevertheless, they improvised to the best of their collective abilities, pulled out the obligatory wine-glass, placed it in the center of the board, and the index fingers of their right hands atop it.
Questions of a typical “Is anybody there?” nature abounded, while each of the girls attempted to use the board to contact a long-dead relative, such as a great-grandparent, a great-aunt, and so on. Laura told me that on no occasion did the spirit world answer back, and, having eventually got bored, the girls returned to their favorite topic: the boys at school.
But not before, on two occasions, the electricity went off – something that disturbed the four friends, given the fact they had been indulging in a bit of ghostly activity only minutes before. The rest of the evening progressed without further incident, Laura assured me; however, the same thing could most definitely not be said for the following night.
For reasons that she is at a loss to explain, Laura stated that after her friends had departed the following morning, and after the all-night slumber-party was over, a feeling of dread began to build within her – but for reasons she was never able to fathom. That dread only increased when, once again, the electricity went out: at around 6.00 p.m.
Then, just after she bid her parents good night and retired to her bedroom, Laura heard a strange, animalistic scream coming from the direction of a small wooded area near her home. She opened her bedroom window, looked out, but nothing could be seen in the overwhelming blackness. Still feeling somewhat disturbed, Laura climbed into bed and anticipated getting a good night’s sleep. Some chance of that happening.
Around 2.00 a.m., Laura was woken by what she said was the “grossing smelling thing ever: like an old rotting cabbage.” She was about to reach for her bedside lamp when she could see silhouetted across the room a large, black, man-like figure that seemed “hunched over and had huge, long arms and big, white eyes.”
As I sat in my office and listened down the telephone, Laura told me that at the moment she attempted to scream for her parents, it was “like I’d been paralyzed. I was sitting up, but couldn’t speak or move at all.” Worse still: the hairy, smelly creature slowly moved towards her and stopped about eight or nine inches from her face. It was, Laura told me with some significance, “just like Bigfoot: a big hairy thing that I couldn’t tell if it was a monkey or a hairy man.”
The beast stared intently into her for several moments, and then backed away, until such a point that its black form was practically indistinguishable from the shadows of the far wall, and it eventually disappeared, “like it had been sucked into the shadows.”
Interestingly, Laura explained that although the monster had undoubtedly terrified her, she did not get the impression that it was hostile. Rather, she felt – but could no precisely explain why – that it had manifested with the specific intent of warning her “not to get mixed up with ghosts and Ouija boards.”
And, since that day, she has not. As for the man-beast, he never returned.