Songbird

The world of psychics and mediums is a very complicated place.  Some people think they’re all scammers who tell you, “you’ll eat lunch today,” and then charge you $200.  Others, possibly more desperate people, believe every single thing a psychic or medium tells them to be true – even if they already eat lunch everyday.  But there are also some people, including myself, who believe that certain people do possess a power to catch a glimpse of the future or the past, and truly want to share this gift with others.  What they say should be taken with a grain of salt, but sometimes, what they have to say can bring peace of mind to those that are struggling.  This one is short but sweet.  It serves as a reminder that not all supernatural forces are horrifying.

XJ, recently lost his father to cancer.  He was young – late forties – and the time between his diagnosis and his death was swift.  His father was remembered as a plump, happy guy that really loved to sing.  A few months passed and XJ and his mother were standing in their kitchen when his mom pointed to something on a perch right in front of their window.  An incredibly fat bird that was definitely not native to Michigan was singing a beautiful song.  The two laughed at the oddness of the situation, thought nothing of it, and returned to their daily life.  The bird came by about once a month or so.

Being the only male in his house and sharing a great relationship with his dad, XJ struggled a lot with the loss of his father.  He felt himself falling into depression, so in a desperate attempt to talk to his dad, he decided to see a psychic, and was sure to bring his own skepticism along.  He only revealed the most basic information he could about himself; he didn’t tell the psychic his father had recently passed on.  Not even a minute into their conversation, the psychic said to XJ, “Your father recently passed on, didn’t he?  He visits you often, in the form of a bird.  He sings to let you know that everything is going to be okay, just like he did when you were a child.  He is ready to pass on to the other side, but won’t do so until he knows you are going to be alright.”

Within a month of their conversation, XJ sought help and felt himself slowly but surely rising out of the deep depression that was taking over his life.  He saw the bird one last time, wiped tears from his eyes as he said goodbye, and never saw the bird again.

33775445804_37aed18101_o.jpgPhoto by: Cuatrok77

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A Big Ole Trash Fire

3939482195_a38ca92eae_oPhoto by: Icm1863

My best friend’s ex-boyfriend, who we’ll lovingly refer to as Trash, told me some of his supernatural experiences before he became known as Trash.  The only reason I’m willing to tell his story is because it’s probably one of the craziest stories I’ve heard to this day and will of course, scare you sh*tless.

Trash was eleven years old and his older brother was thirteen at the time.  The two were closer than ever and had a great relationship with their father, who passed on not too long after this story took place.  Trash and his family lived in an old farmhouse that was built in the 1850s.  History, and spirits, were rich in that house.  It had a garage separate from the rest of the house; above the garage was an apartment-style “mancave” that his dad spent a lot of time in.  It turns out a lot of weird shit happened in that apartment, and his dad just did a good job of brushing it off – but I’ll get to that later.

Trash and his brother went up into the attic one day to say hello to their dad, but found that he wasn’t there.  In fact, what they found was much, much worse.  When they took a step into the apartment, the door slammed behind them.  Being rather young, they were spooked but tried not to think too much of it.  They took a few more steps into the mancave, calling their dad’s name.  In the middle of a Michigan July, it got so bitter cold in that apartment that they could see their breath in the air.  They felt a breeze behind them, and turned around to find something mortifying: a large black mist in the shape of a person floating inches from their face.  They ran towards the other side of the room, screaming for their dad.  Eventually they were stuck in the corner, huddled together, and yelling as loud as they could for their father.  Just as the mist was about a foot from Trash and his brother, their dad threw the door open and the mist flew out the door.  When he told me this, all I could think was “WHAT. THE. FUCK”.  But the story got spookier from here.

When Trash was much older, his mom told him all the stories his dad would tell her about that apartment: your typical weird orbs, sounds of footsteps at four in the morning, and peripheral glances at shadowy figures floating by.  She said her husband was unbothered by most of these things.  However, she noticed that when his stories started to involve him being touched, finding weird marks on his skin, and things flying across the room, he sounded much more scared and agitated.  Still, he continued hanging out in the mancave.

The final straw came soon after.  One day, Trash’s dad was doing his laundry in the basement of the farmhouse.  He threw some shirts and ties in the washing machine and went upstairs for an hour or so to get some work done.  He was home alone.  While he was working, he heard some strange noises coming from downstairs.  He was clearly irritated that odd things kept happening to him in the apartment, so he didn’t want to let this fear take over his or his family’s lives.  Thus, he boldly walked downstairs to check out the noises.  When he got downstairs he was horrified to find all his shirts and ties hanging on the rack, on fire.  He was frozen as he watched the flames spread to the rest of his clothes.  He quickly grabbed a bucket of water and put out the fire before it could spread to the rest of the house.

A week later, Trash and his family moved out of the house.  At the time, Trash and his brother had no idea why.

Trash’s dad died about a year later, before Trash could ever hear his account of the story; but he said the tears in his mother’s eyes as she described her husband’s horror caused enough emotional distress for him.

Dancing with the Devil

This is one of those stories that you’re pretty sure could only ever happen in a fictional horror movie.  I wish it was, but MW told me this one, and she’s one of the most reliable and honest people I’ve ever met.  So if you’re feeling a little light-headed or if you have a tendency to pee off-command, maybe wait to read this one.

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MW’s parents, JW (her mother) and CW (her father), were out of town visiting a friend who was recovering form surgery at the time.  They had passes that let them in and out of the locked outpatient recovery unit, which made it easy to come and go as they pleased.  So, they decided to explore the city a bit and stopped at a small diner to grab a bite to eat.  The locals seemed friendly, the service was great, and no one was bothering them.  About halfway through their meal, JW noticed a woman a few booths over intently staring at her.  It was an angry stare, and even when JW stared back, the woman did not let up.  JW and CW took about fifteen minutes to finish eating, and this woman never broke her gaze towards JW.  She told her husband that this creepy woman was staring at her, and that it was making her uncomfortable.  CW, a former cop, told his wife not to worry and that everything would be fine.  They got up to pay their bill and left the restaurant — with the mysterious woman following them every step of the way.

As they made their way into the hospital doors, the woman was never more than fifteen feet behind them.  What really set JW and CW over the edge was how easily the woman snuck behind them into the locked outpatient unit . . . almost as if no one even saw her.  They walked a little more hastily to their friend’s room, and finally lost the woman.  When they arrived at their friend’s room, she looked right past CW and JW and screamed, “Get the fuck out of here!”  JW was distraught and confused . . . “But we’re your friends! We just want to be here with you!”  Her friend pointed behind CW and JW and said, “No.  HER! She’s the fucking devil!”  Just as quickly as CW and JW could turn around, the woman was gone.

Their friend explained that the woman had been hanging around her room, threatening her, saying she had been straight from hell, and bringing an overwhelming sense of doom . . . just as the devil would.

Made You Look

Morning Walk #3

Photo by Rick Harrison

There’s a park in Livonia, MI that’s perfect for families, little league, and thrill seekers alike.  Rumor has it, that in the 1850’s, there was a beautiful mansion in the middle of the woods at Rotary Park, home to a wealthy couple and their two young girls.   Their butler waited on them hand and foot, and dealt with the little girls even when they were nuisances.  However, the butler eventually snapped and brutally murdered the young girls with an axe.  But that’s just a rumor . . .

As recent high school graduates, my friends and I had no obligations other than our sad minimum-wage jobs; so we did anything to keep ourselves occupied before leaving for college.  Some say you can see little girls in white dresses floating about.  Others say the murderer’s spirit still lurks behind the trees.  When we heard about the history of Rotary Park and locals’ accounts of the horrors and legends that lie deep in the woods, we had to see it for ourselves.  As teenagers with underdeveloped brains, we made the stupid decision to wait until midnight before entering the woods – the witching hour.  JS, CW, MD, and I parked in a spot that hid our car from meddling police but was still too close to the woods for comfort.  We slowly exited the car and made our way towards the woods, MD and I clutching each other tight while JS and CW pretended to be bold men and waltzed right up to the woods’ entrance.

The entrance to the woods is a straight path, about fifty yards long, that ultimately forks into two equally dark, looming paths.  According to the maps, the woods go on for another mile after the fork.  As we hesitantly made our way down the straight stretch, we heard what we assumed was wildlife stirring and trees settling.  We eventually made it to the fork in the path and stood their silent, frozen.  A crackle, much louder than the others, came from our left.  Just as we all snapped our heads to the left, we heard an equally loud crackle from our right.  Cue head snap to the right.  Silence.  As we took a few steps towards the right side of the split, we were startled by more crashing and banging.  JS and CW thought MD and I’s fear was funny, so they darted down the right side of the path, disappearing into the woods’ darkness.  Knowing they would try to scare us, we said “fuck it,” ran back to the car, and locked the doors.  About five minutes (that felt like an hour) passed.  Still no sign of JS and CW.  MD began to worry about them, so we sucked it up and quickly made our way back to the fork in the path before we could change our minds.  As we walked up to the split, we heard a disturbing moaning noise and then a loud scream.  Not ten seconds later, JS and CW bolted right past us screaming “Run!”  Well, shit.  MD and I instinctively followed.  When MD and I had left the car, we locked the doors behind us, since JS had his keys.  As he fumbled around in his pockets trying to find his keys, my eyes were locked on the woods.  A black figure began to emerge from the woods’ entrance.  It wasn’t walking, but floating ominously towards us.  The only details this figure had were bright white eyes and an encompassing layer of smoke.

JS finally unlocked the doors and snapped me out of my frozen state.  I think it took about four seconds total for us to get in the car, start it, and get the hell out of there.  When I asked what all the commotion was about, CW said that he thought MD and I had followed them into the woods.  He saw someone hiding behind a tree, thinking it was MD, and slowly made his way towards her.  “MD” stepped out from behind the tree, let out a load moan, and began to float towards CW.  He swears that whatever it was, was not MD and was definitely not human.

Do Not Enter

In Northville, MI, a quiet town that sits on a massive amount of wealth and conservative values, there’s a massive, looming shrine to the one part of history the town wishes they could hide.  They even tried to hide it, by building a huge outlet of restaurants and stores right next to it . . . but you really can’t hide a tattered building of this size and stature.

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Image by (Hometown Life)

The Northville Psychiatric Hospital consists of over twenty buildings with underground tunnels connecting them.  It was active from 1952 up until its inevitable closing in 2003, due to the state’s extreme health budget cuts, and the enormous amount of money it took to maintain the facility.  The remaining few hundred patients were moved to other facilities, and the the Northville Psychiatric Hospital was abandoned to collect dust and asbestos.

15 years after its closing, the hospital still attracts ghost-hunters and thrill-seekers alike.  The threat of being charged for trespassing and breaking and entering is just the sprinkles on top of this hospital’s allure.  The rumors about the place are numerous — hearing phantom screams down the halls, seeing cryptic writing in red paint on the walls, and sounds of footsteps sprinting down the hall.  So, a family friend, who we’ll call M.J., decided to see it for herself.

When describing the place to me, M.J. said it’s exactly as the the rumors say.  Graffiti stating “Get out” and “Run” litter the walls, and unexplainable noises fill the emptiness of the abandoned hallways.   The hallways and individual rooms have incredibly dangerous live wires that sit in puddles of rain water, and broken down gurneys and various medical equipment still remain.  With one other person in tow, M.J. felt an ominous, looming feeling over her.  When she expressed this to her friend, the door they entered through slammed shut.  They ran to it and it wouldn’t budge, locking them inside this hazardous haven.  Slowly, they made their way back to the door when they heard chaotic yelling and incredibly loud footsteps sprinting down the never ending hallway.

Assuming it was the police, M.J. and her friend ducked into the first barren room they saw.  They stood tall and quiet next to the door frame and heard the cops sprint past.  M.J. peeked outside the door just as the police had passed the room, and was mortified at what she saw.  The culprits of the yelling and running were not the cops, in fact, they were the farthest thing from them.  She saw three shadowy figures running down the hall, strapped into straight jackets, manically yelling “We’re FREE!”

M.J. and her friend waited in that room, trapped for at least half an hour, terrified and speechless.  By the grace of God, or perhaps by some supernatural force, M.J. was finally able to get service and complete a phone call to her brother.  The door was unlocked from the outside, and her brother came to the rescue.  M.J. and her friend escaped the Northville Psychiatric Hospital with goosebumps down their spines, and luckily, no criminal charges.

A Date with a German Man

My cousin, who we’ll call K.M., grew up in a beautiful home secluded in the country in northern Michigan.  Nothing too exciting ever happened in Big Rapids, MI, and K.M. didn’t have too much to worry about when it came to robberies, murder, you know, all that big city crime.  She really only had normal twenty-year old things to worry about; that is until our family hosted its annual “Doe Camp” at her house.

Her father and my mother have thirteen other siblings, which means K.M. and I have 30 first cousins on that side of the family alone.  So, many years ago, when all the men went out hunting in November, the women would stay in, drink wine, get fat, and relax for a weekend.  When the men returned at night, they would light a bonfire in the driveway so we could continue said shenanigans.

As is usual in our family, we had to find something incredibly f***ing stupid to entertain ourselves (because why the hell not!?).  Aunt Theresa, the daredevil of the sisters, whipped out a Ouija Board from God only knows where.  For those that aren’t familiar with a Ouija Board, it has letters, numbers, and “yes” and “no” written on the board, along with a planchette that slides along these, so that if one contacts a spirit and asks it questions, the spirit can communicate back.  Each person participating has to put two fingers on the planchette and let it slide without moving it, which leaves room for all the non-believers to say I’m full of shit; but I’ll continue anyway . . .

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Image by Fabrice Florin

Sitting around the kitchen table, with the lights off and candles flickering lightly, Aunt Theresa dared K.M., who was in her twenties around this time, to try a Ouija Board with her — and apparently K.M. must have had waaaay too much wine because she said yes.  They closed their eyes, placed two fingers on the planchette, and had Aunt Catherine stand over the board to read the message.  As Aunt Catherine read the responses aloud, it became clear that the two had contacted a man named Jon Toter.   He was allegedly from Germany and had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Jon was pissed; not the kind of pissed you get when someone eats your leftovers and then tells you how good they were —  worse.

As Aunt Catherine continued reading, Jon stated “Kill her.”  Even though everyone needed to go change their underwear at this point, K.M. asked, “Kill who, Jon?”  The planchette began to slide slowly as Aunt Catherine read the letters — “T” “H” “E” “R.”  Faster than you could say “HOLY SHIT!” Aunt Theresa grabbed the board, ran outside to the men sitting around the bonfire on the driveway, and demanded that her brother Frank, K.M.’s dad, burn the board and bury it.  Unsure how the hell he ended up with nine crazy sisters, he obliged.  He poured kerosene on the board, lit it on fire, and buried the ashes.

But that’s not the end:

Ballin’ on her big doctor budget, Aunt Theresa was visiting friends in Germany a month later.  She began to tell them this crazy story and mentioned that the spirit’s name was Jon Toter.  They immediately stopped her.  They spoke fluent German, and informed Aunt Theresa that “toter” in German means “dead” and “tod” means “death.”

 

Side note: When K.M.’s father, Frank, passed about a year ago, to lighten the funeral’s mood with an ill-timed joke, Aunt Theresa suggested that John Toter had gotten him.

 

In memory of the man, the myth, the legend — Uncle Frank.

1959- 2017

uncle frank

Photo from a family album.