Some hauntings seem to go the extra distance, to turn from merely unsettling paranormal occurrences to full on waking nightmares. The setting for our tale here is a quiet suburb in the town of Manchester, Connecticut, where a boy named Michael Jones lived with his mother, Denice, and his stepfather, Bruce, in a normally peaceful modest home on Glenwood Street. Michael was a completely normal boy who had never exhibited any problems and was well-behaved and calm, nor had they ever had any sort of paranormal experiences in the home at all. However, this was about to change, and the family’s content, quiet life was about to be held under siege by supernatural forces beyond our understanding.
It all began in 1993, when Michael was just 5 years old. His mother Denice was in the kitchen making dinner on an otherwise uneventful evening when she was surprised to hear Michael upstairs screaming uncontrollably. This was highly unlike the boy, and he had never experienced bad nightmares before, so her first impression was that there might be something seriously wrong. She rushed to Michael’s room, his screams echoing around her, to find him shaking and sobbing inconsolably, clutching his knees tightly to his chest and his wild eyes darting about the gloomy, dimly lit room. When he calmed down a bit, he told his mother that there had been a pale white old man in old-fashioned clothes and surrounded by light looming over his bed, who had tried to touch his shoulder and then vanished when he had screamed.
The startled Denice searched the room but found no evidence that anyone had been there, so she assumed that it had just been a bad nightmare, but just a few hours later it happened all over again. Once again, the boy drew everyone running to his room with panicked screams and once again, he told them about the mysterious pale old man lurking about his room. His father frantically searched the entire house and the yard, but there were no intruders to be found, no evidence of anyone there at all. Rather eerily, a few days later when they were visiting Denice’s parents, Michael went pale and began pointing and jabbing a finger at a photo of a man in a portrait, shouting that this was the man who had been in his room, which was odd because it was Denice’s grandfather, who Michael had never met and who had been dead for years. His parents didn’t know what to think of any of this, and just tried to chalk it up to a young boy’s overactive imagination, but if they thought that was the end of it, they were very wrong.
These nighttime episodes became more frequent, and Michael began to claim that the old man was not the only entity visiting him. He also said their was a pure black figure exuding pure dread that he called the “Shadow Man,” as well as other indefinable things in the gloom of the shadows that he said whispered to him and cackled and laughed in the darkness. His worried parents brought him to a school counselor, a psychologist, and even a neurologist, but there was found to be nothing actually mentally or physically wrong with him. At this point Denice and Bruce were still under the impression that this was all in Michael’s head, but this would soon change when the phenomena began to intensify and others began to witness it as well. On one occasion his parents ran to his room to find the boy screaming on top of his bed, which was bucking and shaking violently. Another time, the parents heard thumping on the walls and ran to Michael’s room to find the door locked, despite the fact that it had no lock. Bruce was forced to bust the door down to get in, and once they entered, they found the boy trembling with fear and his blanket twisted up into a rope on the floor in the form of a noose. On several occasions the parents saw shadow figures themselves, and they also witnessed various poltergeist phenomena, such as faucets turning on or off, doors opening and closing by themselves, and objects flying across the room, with one incident involving metal board game pieces that flew into a wall so forcefully they became lodged within it. If they had any doubt that any of this was real or not, those were quickly dispelled with these bizarre experiences, and Denice Jones has said:
For a long time I didn’t believe Michael. I feel very guilty that I didn’t believe him. I know it sounds unbelievable. And if it didn’t happen to me, I would never believe it. I don’t blame anyone or hold it against them for not believing. But it’s all true.
Things got even more violent when Michael began to exhibit welts, bruises, and even bite marks on his body, often in places in which he could not possibly have inflicted them on himself. One of the most frightening incidents happened when the parents ran to the room to find scrawled across the wall the words “MICHAEL WE’RE COMING TO GET YOU YOU KNOW WHY,” as well as the number “3” and a crudely rendered picture of an eye, all rendered in red. This was obviously far from a child’s wild imaginings, and the family became convinced that demonic forces were trying to possess their son. They moved homes several times, but the phenomena followed them everywhere they went. They contacted paranormal investigator John Zaffis, who could find no rational explanation for what they were experiencing. Another investigator by the name of Keith Auriemme believed that Michael was in the early stages of a demonic possession, and so they contacted Rev. Robert McKenna, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, who allegedly had performed about 125 exorcisms in 15 years. In 1998, McKenna carried out an exorcism on Michael and claimed to have succeeded, yet while the more violent phenomena receded, there were still shadowy figures sighted around the house for some time after, and there was an eerie incident in which Michael’s best friend, Brandon Thomas Magnotta, borrowed his jacket to go outside and was hit and killed in an auto accident. Coincidence or not? Michael would go through three more exorcisms, but has allegedly been tormented by these forces to this day.
The case of Michael Jones has featured on TV shows such as ABC’s PrimeTime Live,”as well as Unsolved Mysteries, and is also the subject of a book written by Denice Jones on her experiences, titled The Other Side: The True Story of the Boy Who Sees Ghosts. What was going on here? Was this some sort of demonic manifestation? Was it simply telekinetic energy perhaps projected by the boy himself? Was it just addled imaginations, and if so, why? There have been no solid answers, and it remains one of the more frightening hauntings on record.