Fiction: “Payphone”

Old payphoneFrom an unfinished manuscript found in a dumpster outside a diner in southern New Jersey:

The phone rang again.

The one that shouldn’t ring. The old payphone hung high up above the back door, high enough that you’d need a ladder to get to it. The disconnected one, the one that’s NEVER been connected, not in the entire time it has graced Sal’s with its ancient, boxy, coin-operated presence.

It rang. Again. And this time, I almost answered it.

I stopped myself just in time. It’s just as well, since Sal probably wouldn’t have liked it too much if I’d gone and hauled the ladder out of the storage closet and set it up over the family of four unlucky enough to have been seated at the table by the back door. ESPECIALLY not because of that phone – I’ve had a hard enough time with her about it as it is.

The first time it rang, I actually picked up the phone by the kitchen, thinking someone was calling in an order. The ringing kept going after I picked it up, though, and there was a dial tone in my ear anyway, so I figured maybe I just hadn’t gotten enough sleep or something and shook my head a few times to clear the cobwebs out.

The second time, I had conked out for about ten hours the night before, so I knew it wasn’t the mad ravings of a sleep-deprived mind. No one else looked up when the BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRING! noise cut through the clatter of the kitchen, though, which kind of wigged me out.  The only other phone in the joint besides the one by the kitchen is that payphone, and I didn’t think it was capable of ringing; maybe it was, though, and someone had managed to call up the number for it as a prank? Ha ha, very funny, funny? I asked around the kitchen to see if anyone knew what the deal with it was – how long it had been there and so on – but everyone just kind of shrugged and said that as far as they knew, it had always been there, and no, they’d never heard it ring, not once. Sal started giving me the stinkeye then, so I stopped my chattering and got back to chopping tomatoes.

The third time it rang, Sal told me shut up about it, no one CARESabout the goddamn phone, it’s DISCONNECTED, it’s always BEEN disconnected, there’s not even a PHONE hookup there, one more mention of it and she’d give me my WALKING papers, thank you very MUCH.

I shut up about it.

Advertisements
Read more "Fiction: “Payphone”"

The Most Dangerous Games: The Three Kings

MirrorThere exist in the world a number of games which you really shouldn’t play. You probably already know one of the most famous ones – Bloody Mary – but here, in “The Most Dangerous Games,” I’ll be chronicling some of the lesser-known ones. But seriously, don’t play them. Ever. If you MUST play them, do NOT half-arse them. You never know what you might bring back with you if you screw up. 

The Three Kings comes to us from FableForge, a redditor with an… interesting past. At his behest: Please don’t actually try this.

Read more "The Most Dangerous Games: The Three Kings"

Found Footage: “No Through Road”

On December 17th, 2008, four 17-year-old boys were found dead in their car at an abandoned farm ten miles from their hometown of Stevanage, Herefordshire in the UK.

“This video contains the unedited footage from the camera belonging to one of the boys, also found in the car.

A lot of found footage films begin with something like this; most of them, however, aren’t nearly as effective as this one is. The premise is simple, but the idea is terrifying. It takes the phrase “hopelessly lost” to a whole new level.

Several years after “No Through Road’s” first appearance, three sequels of sorts emerged. I don’t think they pack quite the same punch as the first one – like the Slenderman series “Marble Hornets,” which had an excellent first season before getting more and more nonsensical as it went on, it sort of gets bogged down in itself. They’re still worth a watch, though; find them here, here, and here.

Read more "Found Footage: “No Through Road”"

Haunted Road Trip: Clinton Road

Clinton Road

Previously: The Villisca Axe Murder House.

In the town of West Milford, New Jersey, there is a road off of Route 23 that few venture down if they can help it. Poorly paved, full of treacherous curves, and nested deep within the woods with few houses or lights, its official name is Clinton Road. To those who have experienced it, however, it is known as the scariest road in America.

The road gets its name from the settlement of Clinton, located where the road crosses a brook in the area… Or at least, that’s where it was before it vanished. With such a history, it’s no wonder it’s developed a reputation; indeed, there are so many legends associated with Clinton Road that it’s hard to believe a mere 10 miles could house so many spooks.

Where to begin? Perhaps here:

Clinton Road ghost boy bridgeLike many allegedly haunted roads, Clinton Road has a Dead Man’s Curve – a stretch of road with a curve so steep it becomes known for the number of lives it has claimed. Clinton Road’s Dead Man’s Curve passes over a bridge; it’s said that if you travel down it at midnight, stop, and throw a coin from the bridge into the river running beneath it, the coin will be tossed right back at you, returned by the ghost of a boy who died on the perilous stretch.

Read more "Haunted Road Trip: Clinton Road"

Creepypasta of the Week: “Anomaly”

Anomaly

Previously: “Abandoned by Disney”

Humans have long been fascinated by photography’s ability to capture a moment right as it’s happening. We’re fascinated even more, though, by things revealed in photographs that our own eyes couldn’t necessarily see at the time the image was taken. Most of the photos taken during spirit photography craze that hit at the turn of the century have since been determined to be obvious fakes… but what if those anomalies they captured were real? And what if somebody REALLY didn’t want us knowing they were? Make sure you click through to read the rest of this one — you won’t want to miss the images that accompany it.

Greetings.

I guess I should say upfront that I’m new here, so be patient with me, as I don’t know all the rules or etiquette or whatnot. A friend of mine linked me to this board after I told him the story and showed him the materials I’m about to share with you. He thinks some of you will appreciate it, but to be honest, from where I’m sitting this site seems more like a haven for idiots than a serious “paranormal image board.” Whatever. I’m motivated to share this stuff and need to do so anonymously, for reasons which will become clear. Technically, I’ll be breaking the law, but if I understand how this place works, this thread will disappear in a day or so anyway.

Here’s the deal. I am a production editor at a small independent publisher in the U.S. I won’t say which or where, so don’t ask, as I’d like to keep my job. The pay isn’t that great, but it’s an easy gig, and I like the people I work with. A lot of what we publish are what you’d call coffee table books.

The kind people flip through when they’re bored, but almost nobody ever reads them cover to cover. Bland pictorial histories of certain cities or states that sell well in regional gift shops. The occasional book of maps or a biography. A few museums outsource their gallery catalogs to us. That kind of thing. The work is boring, but it’s steady and we get enough jobs and our books make enough money to stay afloat, which is a lot more than most small presses can say these days.

Because we’ve been around a while, our name is somewhat known to history buffs and people who think they’re an expert on such-and-such town in Nowhere, Idaho or some esoteric topic nobody really cares about. We get a lot of unsolicitied manuscripts from people that really shouldn’t be writing books and unsolicited CDs full of photographs from people that shouldn’t be taking pictures. Because we’re small, and don’t have a separate acquisitions editor position, the job of going through this “slush pile” gets passed around the office.

Very rarely, somebody will find something worth pursuing and pitch it to the rest of us, but our Senior Editor/Publisher gets the final say. For the last nine months I’ve been working more or less nonstop on a book that everybody at the office was pretty excited about. Our copyeditor found it during his turn with the pile. An old guy I won’t name had contacted us out of the blue and offered us the chance to publish his rare archival photo collection, provided we treat the subject matter with the respect and seriousness he felt it deserved.

Read more "Creepypasta of the Week: “Anomaly”"

Apparently the University of Virginia Has Its Very Own Paranormal Research Lab

UVA

Well, here’s a fun little tidbit: TIL that there’s a paranormal activity lab at the University of Virginia. Who knew? (Well, you might have; I didn’t. At least, not until today.)

The Division of Perceptual Studies – or DOPS, as it’s known – was founded in 1967 by Canadian-born psychiatrist Dr. Ian Stevenson. Originally called the Division of Personality studies, its raison d’être is “the scientific empirical investigation of phenomena that suggests that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relationship to matter, may be incomplete” – that is, using the scientific method to take a look at things that can’t always be concisely explained by it. The phenomena that fall under this umbrella include most of the things we usually file away as “paranormal”: ESP, apparitions, poltergeists, out-of-body and near-death experiences, deathbed visions, and memories of past lives.

Sounds kind of like a real-life (and slightly less malevolent) version of the SCP Foundation, no? Although I’m fascinated by mysterious phenomena, I can’t yet say whether I believe in it; since “documented proof” these days is so easily faked or simply misinterpreted, I probably won’t consider myself a believer unless or until I experience something first-hand myself. I like that the folks at the DOPS are legitimately researching it, though – it lends it a legitimacy it might not otherwise have, so maybe something conclusive will come out of it eventually. And bless their little hearts for putting up with what I’m sure is an awful lot of stigma while they’re at it.

[Via The Atlantic]

[Photo via]

Read more "Apparently the University of Virginia Has Its Very Own Paranormal Research Lab"

Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll

Previously: Kuchisake-onna.

Type: MO (Malevolent Object).

Period/location of origin: 1904, Key West, Florida.

Appearance: Subject is a model representation of a humanoid figure commonly known as a doll. He is dressed in a sailor suit, and he carries a small stuffed lion. He measures 3’4”. Contrary to popular belief, his hair is not made of human hair; rather, it is a synthetic material resembling wool.

Modus operandi: Subject will first search for a child between the ages of two and five. Once a suitable target has been acquired, subject will latch onto the child and make himself the most important personage in the child’s life. The child will begin to carry subject everywhere, sleep with subject as a bedtime companion, and insist that subject has his own seat at the dinner table. The child will also occasionally be heard to have two-sided conversations with subject; parents may erroneously ascribe the second side to the child providing a put-on voice for subject.

Subject will then begin to increase his hold on the child. Parents may wake up to hear the child screaming in the night; upon investigating the disturbance, parents will find child in bed with subject, surrounded on all sides by overturned furniture. Should the child experience a fit of anger or rage, the child will blame it on subject. Should household objects be misplaced or damaged, the child will insist that “Robert did it.” Giggling not belonging to the child may be heard in the halls of the home, and passersby outside the home may witness a small figure moving from window to window. Subject’s facial expression may change suddenly and without warning.

Subject will attempt to maintain control over target for the child’s entire life. Should the child marry upon reaching adulthood, subject will find a way to remain in the target’s home.

Subject’s ultimate goal is unknown.

Read more "Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Robert the Doll"