Before the Revelation

February 15, 2017 at 12:00 AM

December 15th, 1985
Joram Bernstein

Well, time surely does fly. It’s already been forty years since my wonderful stay in Auschwitz. To my surprise, I’m not horribly tormented by the memories of that putrid hellhole of a prison like most people I have come to know during the time; well, at least not anymore. Probably because in my perspective, it’s best to forget. Well… not exactly forget so to say but rather to just make the best of everything with the life I still have. It will never be the same again but at the very least, I still have one. I mean, for Christ’s sake, I stared right into the malevolent eyes of death itself with calm but cherishing smiles. When you’re faced with an army of Nazi soldiers guarding the camp, pointing MP40s at you with bullets with your name on it, you tend to try to remain calm, do as you are told and hope for the best. To my surprise, it worked. Although, I don’t know what worked more – the fact that I always remained calm or whatever monstrosity that intervened that some claim to be a rogue angel.
After the war ended, I moved to the US hoping to get my mind off of this whole experience. A typical man’s life story short – I was happily married, had two kids, Ellie and Jonathan and then a divorce, lost custody, and now have a whole house to myself while I drown in alcohol. Hell, if you thought what happened during the war traumatized me, well, allow me to be straightforward – it didn’t. Why? Well, it’s quite simple. I never had any attachment to any of my fellow prisoners. I always kept to myself, followed the guard’s instructions and never allowed any emotional connection with anyone. I know that sounds really callous but during the time, you had to keep yourself numb and pray to God that you would survive. As cold as this sounds, I had nothing to lose. Every man for himself I guess.
As I drank a glass of scotch that I have longed for since the time of day, I received a call from someone I wasn’t familiar with. As I finished the last bit of my drink, I answered.
“Hello, Mr. Bernstein?” asked the unknown caller.
“Who is this?”
“My name is Daniel. I just need to ask you something.”
I did not have the energy to ask how he got my number or how he knew my name so I complied. “Alright,” I said in a tired, irritated voice.
“Listen, I am working on a book about survivors like you and I was wondering…” I vaguely interrupted him as I knew what this was about. “Let me guess. You want an interview with me about my story during the Holocaust, am I correct?”
“Why, yes, sir… if that’s okay for me to ask.”
I sighed heavily, rubbing my eyes from bitter annoyance and told him my address. “Go ahead and come in tonight.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“I have nothing else to do. Go ahead.” I hung up.
I could tell he was an anxious young man who aspired to get my story out there. This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked for an interview and it’s certainly not going to be the last. Over the years, I never complied with anyone, not that I was uncomfortable but there was just nothing to tell. I learned to burn those memories away and to simply move on from whatever hells I have witnessed. Besides, whatever I have to say, he probably has heard it before so why not just get this interview over with?
About two hours later, he arrived on my doorstep. I let him in without him knocking. He took his hat off and politely said, “Hello, Mr. Bernstein. I’m Daniel Adams. Pleased to meet you.” He held his hand out for a handshake. “Likewise,” I replied. I welcomed him into my home and led him into my office. He was dressed quite nicely I should add. He had an obvious smile on his face as if this was his first interview for his new book. His smile faded away instantly when he noticed my personal library. He began to shake a little when he hesitantly asked me, “So, you’re studying demonology? The Occult?” I turned around and embarrassingly chuckled. “Yes, just personal research.” Behind my dusty desk sat a massive crimson shelf filled with books, journals and documents about the Occult and the nature of the paranormal. On the wall beside the shelf was pinned a little old sketch of a blurry monster I made several years ago.
He nervously smiled as he pulled out his pen and paper. “I apologize if this makes you uncomfortable,” I said. “We can go in another room if you like.”
“Oh, no judgement here,” he replied as he scratched his head nervously smiling. “It’s just a little unexpected to see that many books about demonology in one room.”
Before I could speak, he stared down to the ground like he was ashamed. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”
I leaned towards him and said, “I’m normally not a patient man but you’re young and have a lot to learn so I’ll let that slide.” He looked up at me and revealed that nervous smile once more, ready to write. I asked, “So, what do you want to know?”
“How did you feel during the time?” Again, his eyes lingered upon the ground ashamed of his question. I gently placed my hand on his shoulder. “Son, it’s okay. What happened was a long time ago. Feel free to ask me any question you like, okay?” He looked upwards with a distant smile regaining focus.
“Alright, to answer your question – I didn’t know what to feel,” I cleared my throat. “To tell you the truth, I was numb the entire time I was there.”
“The horrible things the Germans did didn’t affect you?” He asked in a voice more concerned than confused.
“At first, they did. Mostly when I was in the departure train on the way there.”
“What was that like?”
“It was treacherous. There were at least thirty of us in one car for five days. Very little rations and water, no bathroom, not even a little porthole sized window to look through. Almost complete darkness every day and night. It was during the winter as well and with the little clothing I had on, I hardly slept at night. During the day, I say I got an hour total because the rest of the hopeless prisoners moaned in disbelief that we were here. I heard a few choke out as their lives slowly faded away from dehydration. I always hid in the corner with my knees tucked against my chest. Hearing all these haunting wails screaming for death to come and take us all, I remained silent as I drifted into the corner. I think that was the first time I cried as well.”
I took a deep breath after I spoke. Mistaking my tone for discomfort, Daniel asked me, “Are you okay, Mr. Bernstein?”
“Yeah, I’m okay, I just need a drink.” I cleared my throat again. “Anyways, it was horrifying but the only reason why I’m still alive is because I always kept to myself. If a guard gave me an order, well, if you were smart, you did what he said or you would be shot or worse.”
Daniel was puzzled. “What do you mean worse?”
I poured another glass of scotch before I spoke. “You see, the Nazis were ruthless. When you’re in the camp as a prisoner, they could not give two shits about you. To them, you’re a waste of skin, God’s mistake, made for disposal. They completely disregard the fact that you were a human being. It didn’t matter who you are. Whether you’re white, black or any other color in the rainbow, male or female or even a child, unless you are proven to be a good use for manual labor, they would kill you in any way they pleased.”
As Daniel wrote everything I stated, he began to shake. “Wait, even children?” He said in a really faint tone.
I took another drink from my glass. “Yes. I’ve seen toddlers and even newborns thrown into pits of fire. Oh, my God, their screams… See, this is where I started to become numb from the whole thing. Even after the mothers witnessed their children burning into a crisp, they would shoot them and burn their corpses in the same pits just because they could.” I can still hear their screams in my sleep. As I filled another glass, I said, “I’m sorry. It’s one of those few things that really haunt me even to this day.”
Daniel puts down his pen and paper anxiously. “Oh, my God, I’m sorry. We can stop now if you want.”
“No, it’s okay. I needed to talk about that. I just need a moment.” I took a deep breath and regained my train of thought. “Alright, where was I? Oh, yes. That was only the beginning. It was like the first circle of Hell itself. Worse was yet to come and even after being emotionally numb, I still wasn’t ready. During my whole experience, for my four years of imprisonment, I’d say I spoke maybe a total of ten words. When they gave me orders, I did exactly that. Most of the time, it was a struggle but I did what I could to stay alive. With the very little rations and water we were given, I nearly strained myself until dawn but I was still alive. They specifically chose me to handle certain tasks as they did with anyone else they saw fit. I wasn’t holding my breath however. They could shoot you for target practice at any time even while you were working at any time. In most cases, they would gather a large group only to be placed in gas chambers. Oh, my God, the screams again. Even behind closed doors, you could still hear their screams as they suffocated to death.”
Daniel began to get angry. “Those sick bastards. How could they do that?” He gripped his pen tightly.
“Because they could. And because they could, I almost died. I was selected for execution because my time was up. I was against a wall with rotting corpses surrounding me. I thought their reeking flesh was the last thing I’d ever smell, the terrified faces of my fellow prisoners, the sinister smiles on the guards faces – I thought that would be the last thing I’d see. They fired killing everyone except me. Somehow, I was still alive. Not a single bullet hit me. I kept my eyes closed and held my breath and pretended I was dead. As awful as this sounds, I could feel blood smothering me and I used it to my advantage. Oh, God, this was when I almost truly died. I would much rather have been shot but since they thought I was dead, they were about to dispose of my body in the pit of fire…”
Daniel suddenly stopped writing and looked at me confused. “Wait. You said you were still alive because you kept to yourself, right?”
“Right.”
“And you’re saying they almost executed you and burned you alive, right? Well, if that was the case, how did you escape? You’re giving me two different stories.”
Ah, shit, I thought to myself. This kid pays attention. “I guess I gave myself away on that one, huh?”
He got his pen and paper ready once again. “What really happened? How are you still alive?”
I hesitated for a brief moment. “I’m going to need another drink for this.” As I poured my last glass, I could feel his anxiety. He knows there’s something I left out on purpose. He knows there is a truth that I didn’t intend to tell. Well, he will know why my truth was hidden. “Look, what I’m about to tell you is completely true and I do not plan on going to a mental institution.”
He looked me as if I was delusional. “What do you mean by that?”
“So, obviously, you see all these Occult books here, right? You will soon come to the realization as to why I do but you have to swear to me that you’ll believe every word I say, okay? I am not crazy.”
Daniel appeared afraid. “This is the part of my story that really fucked me up and I have a good reason why I never talked about it with anyone. You’re the only one I’ll ever tell this to.” I sighed. “Ask any survivor of Auschwitz and they will all give you the same reaction, same expression and same fear. They are all too terrified to tell the tale. So, Daniel, I know how this sounds but you have to believe me, alright?”
He nodded yes while he began to shake. I could see a speck of sweat on his forehead. “So… what happened?”
“Alright, here goes,” I took a deep breath. “So, there was this one prisoner who we all talked about during our time. We didn’t know his name or his number for sure but I believe it was Bruce. He was a really… vengeful character. Rumor had it that he was somehow possessed or something. He occasionally attacked the guards but… the funny thing was that they wouldn’t kill him on the spot. I saw him rip out someone’s throat in front of an officer and all they did was pin him down. I saw him rip out a piece of someone’s ribcage and shoved it down his throat with brute force. I saw him take a man’s gun and empty a clip into his face. Man, he was one strong, angry bastard.”
Daniel stopped me, “Wait, he killed a few guards?”
“That would be an understatement. He brutally mutilated them.”
“Well, if that was the case, why didn’t they kill him, especially if he was a threat to them?”
“I don’t know. It’s like they were expecting it, testing him somehow. I heard one officer say, ‘Perfect.’ Even to this day, I wish they had somehow killed him.” I finished my drink. Daniel grew even more anxious. “One day, he charged up to a guard, tackled him to the ground and brutally beaten him until his head was battered. That’s when they finally decided to execute him. After four murders, they finally decided enough was enough – which was quite odd. I know it sounds strange and abnormal but there was something about him they found… fascinating. It took five guards to restrain him. An officer smiled and shot him in the heart. Even after that, he was still somehow alive. They dragged him to a flaming pit and tossed him in…”
I hesitated to tell him the rest. “And…? What happened after that?” he asked. I stared at him for at least a minute before speaking. “Look, I really don’t like talking about this.”
I took another deep breath. “So before they almost threw my body into the pit, I heard shouting and women’s screams. It was so grotesque; they dropped everything they were doing, including me. As I lay there pretending to be dead with my eyes barely open, I could see five guards restraining the violent prisoner. His face was covered in blood and he had an eager smile as the officer approached him. I could hear what they were saying. The officer said, ‘What a waste. You were so perfect. But it looks like you’re no different. False hope for a flawless creation only to fail like all the rest. No matter, there will always be others of your kind.’ The prisoner gave a sinister laugh and replied, ‘When I get out of here, I will find you, dismember your flesh piece by piece and feed it to your battered face while your family watches.’ He then spat blood in his face. The officer punched him and shot him point blank in the heart. ‘Toss him into the pit,’ he said.” I took a deep breath yet again. Daniel was nervous but very intrigued.
“So, what else happened?”
I sat there for a moment before I finished my story. “They completely forgot I was lying there so I stood up and hid behind a building. I know, that was very reckless and would’ve gotten me killed for sure but what happened next… Oh, dear God…” I paused before continuing on. “As they threw his body into the pit, I could hear him screaming. Such agonizing pain… But there was something peculiar about him… the more he screamed, the more distorted it became. Each scream was an octave lower than the last and the volume progressed until it came to the point where it was monstrous and unbearable to hear. And suddenly, it stopped. It was like he absorbed the flames and he let out a demonic screech gushing blood which looked like a fountain of crimson. Oh, my God… He didn’t appear human anymore. His eyes illuminated pure white, his arms were covered in… scales to best describe it. They were as black as night with fang-like spikes that glowed blood red with claws that took on the same color and shape. He had large angelic wings that looked… mystic. The wings were there but it’s like they made the illusion of mist; black fire. I can’t even describe it. The next thing I knew, he attacked the surrounding guards swiftly. In quick moves, he butchered right through their flesh and… I know this sounds crazy but I saw him… forge a giant scythe out of their blood. It was like he defied the laws of physics and somehow made a solid, sharp weapon. Demonic magic to best describe it. More guards came after him and he took incredibly long and fast steps towards and slashed right through them. At one point when a guard was in a pool of blood trying to run from the creature, the prisoner somehow created a thick spike that rose from the ground impaling him from his anus out of his mouth. I don’t know what he was doing but it was like he could manipulate blood in any way he wanted; like he could control it at will. Clearly, their weapons were useless against him as he forged the scythe into a spiraling longsword. Can you just imagine the dread they felt as the last thing they saw were those glowing malevolent eyes with that demonic laugh mocking their pain as he slaughtered them like helpless animals? It was literally a bloodbath. He brutally mutilated at least fifteen guards before flying away. The oddest thing… he specially targeted the Nazi guards. No prisoner was hurt. Not even a scratch on those who were nearby. It was like he unleashed all of his personal Hell only to hunt down and murder those that caused his pain.”
Daniel was baffled and shook with fear. “So… he just turned into some kind of monster and… killed all those people?” He stared at me like I was a madman.
“I know how it sounds but it’s the truth. What he did to those guards truly traumatized me.”
“I see,” Daniel said softly. He closed his book as he asked me one last question. “So, how did you escape?”
“After the creature fled, the rest of the guards panicked and ran away as well. They burned all evidence of our documents, their whereabouts and left us for dead. It was the Americans that discovered the camp and of course, they came to our aid.” I signed.
Daniel continued to look at me in disbelief. “I’m sorry, Mr. Bernstein… I don’t know… Are you sure you know what you saw?”
I became furious with his question. In anger, I replied, “Listen, kid. You don’t what it was like down there. You don’t know what it was like to watch little children burn right in front of your eyes. I’ve seen the Nazis pile bodies in a truck only to bury them in a trench,” I raised my tone. “I know what I saw! I’ve devoted my life to find out what that creature was. That’s why my family left me. That’s why my kids were scared shitless. They thought I was mad. They thought I was as crazy as my stories when I got all these books trying to find out what the fuck this thing is. Ask any other survivor or any other Bernstein that could tell the same story – they are too fucking terrified to tell the truth. So before you start calling me crazy, you might want to be little more understanding on what I have fucking witnessed! Do you understand me?!”
“Okay! Okay! I understand!”
I got the chance to calm down as I sat on my chair. I poured myself another glass and softly said, “Look, I’m sorry I screamed at you. I know this doesn’t make any logical sense but I know what I saw and it was real. It really screwed me up but I’m not crazy.”
Daniel calmed down as well. “It’s okay, I understand.” He politely asked, “Did you ever find out what this creature was?”
“No. I couldn’t find anything that even closely resembled what I witnessed. Whatever it is however, I have no doubt that it’s still out there and it’s hungry.”
Daniel grew nervous once more. “Mr. Bernstein… I have a confession to make. My grandfather was a Nazi soldier but I strongly disagree with his actions and his views and that’s why I’m writing this book. But… this monster, you said he specially targeted men like him. If I’m related, does that mean I’m next?”
“Well, I highly doubt he’ll try to hunt you down for that reason but just in case he confronts you, just don’t tell him about your grandfather. From what I have seen, he doesn’t kill innocent people. Just don’t piss him off. And above all, whatever happens, do not bleed.”
Daniel had enough and gathered his gear and walked out the door. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Bernstein. I must be going now. Have a good night.” All I did in response was lift my glass and softly said, “Cheers.” I knew he was terrified but at least he listened to my story. I know what you’re thinking: “How could this be real? The textbooks would’ve described this.” Oh, please. Those damn history books never reveal secrets that weren’t meant to be told to the world. However, that’s the problem. Nobody knows who this creature was, where did he come from or why he was there. All I know is that he’s angry, inexplicably powerful and kills any Nazi that crosses his path. With that motivation, I still remain unsure whether he was a brute vigilante or just a beast lusting for blood.
As a storm approached, it began to rain unnaturally hard. Seeing my old sketch of the figure I have made a long time ago hoping I would find anything like it, I approached it with a smile while finishing my drink. As I stared right into those hypnotic white eyes, I asked myself…
“What the fuck are you?”

Credit: Gage Garza

The House in The Shade

February 10, 2017 at 12:00 AM

These events took place when I was five years old, in the rural south. You see, back then, my family was always moving from town to town because of my stepfather’s work. Among the memories I have of this time include some family secrets that we still don’t really talk about. What I’m about to relate to you is one such untold secret we would rather forget.
The modest white house we had recently moved into was surrounded by two large willow trees that blocked out the sun, leaving our backyard shadowed and apart from the rest of the world. My two older sisters and I would often swing from their branches and climb their thick trunks while our mother and stepfather would sit on the porch and contentedly watch us play in the late afternoon.
We would ride bikes, swim in the inflatable pool, fly kites and run on the slip and slide, you name it. We were very active children and never left a beautiful day unfulfilled. Across the street were a few other homes, and the sweet old couple directly across from us would often sit on their own porch and wave and smile at us as they drank lemonade from a large pitched and sat in old wooden rocking chairs. Our mother often waved cheerfully to them when we were brought outside, and their smiles and sweetness always made the day more pleasant.
Until, that is, a few months after moving into the old white home our mother got the three of us together, telling us there was something we needed to talk about as a family. She told us sternly that we were no longer to wave at the sweet, elderly couple across the street. She went so far as to tell us not to even look at them, and if we saw them waving at us we were to come inside and tell her.
This was an odd request to us. Nothing about the elderly couple seemed threatening or off in any way. Hell, our mother was the one who was always talking about how sweet they were to be so friendly. So this request baffled us and continued to baffle us for the rest of our stay in this particular home, but we minded, and no longer responded to the couple across the street. Soon they had been easily forgotten as we got on with our lives in other homes in other towns.
That is, until I was sixteen years old, having a pleasant dinner out with my sisters and mothers, a rare occurrence for sure during this time of our lives. For whatever reason, over our evening meal the conversation turned to that quiet old white house and the elderly couple across the street.
As soon as the subject had been brought up, my mother’s joyful face had darkened. Her eyes fell to her lap and it took her a moment before actually addressing us. She told us that she had been afraid to talk about the subject all these years, especially while we were still living in the home, afraid of needlessly making us afraid of staying in the quiet house in the shade of the willow trees.
At that time, our stepfather had been working at the local Pepsi Company, a well paying job that allowed my mother to stay at home with the three of us while still making a modest living for our family. Apparently, one of his coworkers had actually lived in the house beside the willow home for nearly six years and had only moved out the year before.
My stepfather and the man were talking about the neighborhood and the house, when at some point my stepfather mentioned the sweet, elderly couple across the street that liked to sit on their porch in the evening and watch us kids laugh and play. The man looked genuinely puzzled. He said that my stepfather must be joking, just pulling his leg. My stepfather replied just as perplexed.
With a sober face, the coworker told my stepfather that there was no elderly couple living across the street. Sure, there had once been such occupants in the small home, but they had both died horribly nearly three years before from carbon monoxide poisoning. The couple’s stove had leaked gas for days before they finally succumbed to the poisoning, and it took longer than that for anyone to find the dead couple. The man knew because he was the one who crossed the street to check on them, only to find the ghastly scene.
He recommended we leave the house in the shade.

Credit: Frank Wagers

The Well

February 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

My grandfather grew up on a chicken farm outside of Krakow, Poland. He passed away a few years ago at the age of 82. A few days before his passing on, due to an aggressive form of stomach cancer, he sat me down next to him in his old rocking chair and said in his familiar polish accent “After I took the boat to New York, I promised to leave this story behind”.

He didn’t look up as he spoke to me, simply staring into his cup of black coffee. “It’s been 70 years….and I must tell someone before I meet God”

“I was born in a small, quaint, empty town, which despite the Nazi occupation, still functioned. We lived in this two-bedroom farmhouse, my father, mother, and my brothers Michal and Igor. I’m sorry, you never got to meet any of them. Anyway, Michal and Igor were twins, identical twins actually, and we had heard rumors of the Nazi fascination with identical twins. This forced us, and we already lived in a secluded part of the countryside, in the last occupied house in the town, to be even more reserved. In order to not go into the occupied towns, we basically ate only chicken, and eggs for every meal, and whatever Mama could gather from the garden. It was lonely, but we survived. “

“The only two things which were really hard on me were the fact I had to sleep in the basement, due to Michel and Igor being toddlers, they required my father and mother’s attention. The basement was cold, with only a small window and moonlight was the only light I got. Because of this, I always delayed going down there until I was absolutely exhausted, so I wouldn’t have to lie there awake. On the nights that I couldn’t manage to sleep, I would look out of the window, which gave me a small view of the garden and the large abandoned water well. This was my daily activity throughout those lonely war-torn nights. In general, it was boring and uneventful, but occasionally I would catch a glimpse of a family, or even just a man, or two lovers, sneaking their way through our garden up to our front door. They always looked rushed and frightened, and sometimes wore tattered uniforms. What would follow were horrible sounds of banging and pleadings for whoever lived here to open up, followed by an argument between my Father and Mother over whether we should let them in.”

He moved in the chair to adjust himself

“You see son, we didn’t know it, well I at least didn’t, that we lived fairly close to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and those people were escapees”

“Well did your father let them in?!” I asked impatiently.

“No” he said “It would have been a death sentence for them as well as for us. The Nazis didn’t like Poles, but they tolerated us, and it was easier to hide Michal or Igor than an entire family. My father did what he had to do in order to keep his family alive. As the war went on, less and less people began showing up in the middle of the night. Only our chicken and vegetables began to disappear. Losing our only supply of food would not have been possible, and at this point my father knew it was probably the escapees, so he built a fence around our property. Despite this, the chickens continued to disappear. They weren’t killed, they were simply, gone. Just vanished from their cages and pens.”

“One night I decided to stay up myself in order to see if I could find out the answer. I battled my tiredness until the wee hours of the morning, and despite the poor lighting and rain, I caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a human figure run across the garden. I rushed upstairs to tell my father and he ran outside with a knife, the best home-defense weapon we could afford, but we found nothing. No one.”

“The next day we did find something though, footprints, leading from the chicken cages, to the water well. They were made in the wet mud from the rain, and they were of bare feet. No shoes. No socks. Just feet. My father had mercy on the man who was trying to find refuge and left him a note, indicating that he had 2 days to leave and then he would begin to seal the well”

I waited impatiently for my grandfather to tell me the fate of the man.

“The following night, I conjured up the idea to take a blanket down the well to the man since winter was creeping in. I waited until my parents were asleep and I snuck outside. I shouted down the well something friendly, indicating to the poor man my intentions were benign, and I began my descent, hands and feet clinging to the pegs which were attached to stones. As I was approached the bottom, I smelled something absolutely horrific, and I pulled my father’s flashlight from my pocket and tried to shine it on the man, coming to the realization of just how large this well was, since it used to supply water for the entire town and its families. Families which no longer remained.”

“But I found no man, only…..a hole. A hole in the stone, where the wall of the well had collapsed, opening up to some type of crevice. Only 2 meters wide, and 3 meters deep and tall, inside sat not a man. Inside was a family, with only a skeleton like creature as the only survivor. The light reflected off of his sunken eyes, and grayish skin. Face covered in blood, with chicken carcasses scattered around. A pile of decomposing chickens, next to a woman, a son, and a daughter, the children who must have been barely 5 years old. And they seemed to have been dead for weeks. The man, if he even could be called that, just stared at the light, and I stared back, incapable of breaking his stare. I did not feel threatened by him for he lacked any sense aggression. He simply sat there crouched over, without a sound, next to the putrefying body of his loved ones, and chickens he could have only been using as his source of water, as their meat was not eaten.”

“He was empty, devoid of whatever in us makes us human. He should have realized his family was dead long ago, but he was still bringing food for their corpses. He couldn’t accept it. He did finally turn his head though, when I shined the light back onto the corpse of his daughter. He stared at her, and sat down closer to her, and continued to stare”

“You can leave now, I’ll open the gate so you can escape. My father will seal the well in the morning ” I said to him. “Please leave now” My young voice and advice didn’t seem to have any effect on him.”

“At this moment I decided it would be better for me to just climb back up the well and leave, hopefully the man would follow and escape. As I began my climb I shined the light on him one final time……”

“What did you see Grandpa?” I shuttered

“A tear fall from his eye, he had become a man once again. He broke free from the delusion, only when he saw the body of his dead daughter, which had been hidden by the darkness. He realized he had been bringing food, not to his family, but to corpses”

“That night it rained again, but I found no footprints leaving the well in the morning when my father sealed it”

The Hot Springs

January 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

A couple important things to note before I tell you about my experience: you are more than welcome to go check this place out for yourselves. Do a quick google search of “Diamond Fork Hot Springs Utah” and you’ll get hundreds of results telling you exactly how to get there (for those of you that are curious it is about an hour and a half drive from Salt Lake City). I would not, however, recommend that you go by yourself, or at night.

Another important thing to know is that where my experience took place and the land surrounding has a significant history, especially related to Native Americans. Unfortunately much of the recorded history is about the exceptionally bloody conflicts between these Native Americans and early settlers. Just a couple examples are Black Hawk’s War, the Provo war, and the Walker war. I also wish it to be known that I am quite fond of Native Americans and what I know of their culture, and I have absolutely nothing against them (in fact I have several close friends that have Native American heritage). I do not mean to offend or accuse by telling my experience, and I mention this side note only because of the possible link between my experience and various legends about so-called “skin walkers”. I will provide the facts and you can make of it what you’d like.

That being said, the Diamond Fork Hot Springs are a gem nestled a good half an hour drive and subsequent hike up the canyon and away from the city. I had been there several times before my wife Kenna and I decided to take a Monday off and hike there again this past winter. The springs are quite popular and during the summer they tend to draw a large crowd of college students, scout troops, and old men that are overly fond of publicly bathing nude. I had gone in the winter with my cousin several years previous and at that point we had the springs to ourselves, so I convinced Kenna to spend one of her days off hiking to them with me.

January 11th, 2016:

We began out hike just before 1 PM, thinking that this would give us ample time to hike to the springs, enjoy soaking for a couple hours, and get back to the car before sundown. I had hiked to the springs in the winter before, and knew that each winter the road is blocked off to cars well before the trail to the springs begins. This is due to snow (though honestly it seemed to me like it wouldn’t be hard for a plow to go the additional four-ish miles). I guess I forgot just how far four miles is when you’re walking through snow and ice. Nevertheless, we walked through the gate (the road was still open to hikers/snowshoers) and began our hike.

We enjoyed ourselves and took breaks about every 30 minutes, each break thinking that the trailhead must be around the next bend in the road. Shortly before our first break, I noticed a hole (cave would be too generous a term) in the side of the mountain to the left of us. It was obviously a man-made hole, as it was covered by a section of chain-link fence, but it still perked my curiosity. It was only about 30 feet from the trail, so I told my wife I’d like to check it out and she happily came up with me. Upon further investigation, we found that it was not much more than a boring hole. We used our flashlights to shine as far back into the hole as we could, but all we could see is some abandoned piping. After taking another 5 minute break, we continued on further into the canyon.

We walked, and walked, and walked. The time wore on and much earlier than we would have liked, our feet began to ache. I was beginning to regret insisting that we go on this adventure when finally we turned around a bend and saw the bridge that marks the trailhead. With newfound energy we rushed over to the sign with information about the various trails. At this point it was about 3:00 and I was beginning to become a bit concerned about having enough light to make it back before sundown. But we were already this far and we weren’t going to turn around before spending at least some time soaking in those springs. Plus we had flashlights just in case, and the way back to the car, albeit lengthy, was very straightforward. So we pushed forward knowing that we were well over half way there. Our strength seemed to diminish at an exponential rate, which was concerning because we’d have over a five mile hike back to the car. But I knew that we’d make it back somehow, perhaps with more frequent breaks than on the way up.

We soon began to smell the sulfur odor that was a sure sign that we were getting very close. We ended up seeing some bikers as we approached the springs. They were riding some of those “Fat Bikes” that have huge tires and are designed for the snow. We were happy to see them coming towards us, as this meant they were leaving and we would probably have the springs to ourselves. After letting them pass we hiked another ten minutes or so and finally reached the springs. I cannot explain how heavenly of a sight to behold those springs were. The combination of the milky blue water, the red rock with snow on it to our left and our right, the blue sky above, and the waterfall about 100 yards ahead were too much to take in at once. And best of all, we had it all to ourselves. We quickly stripped down to our swimming suits and hopped in.

It felt incredible, truly like stepping into healing waters. We relaxed for a bit and our noses quickly adjusted to the sulfur smell. Unfortunately our bodies also adjusted to the water temperature, and before long the water didn’t feel as amazingly warm as it did at first. There are a few places between the first spring and the waterfall further along the trail where water bubbles out of the earth and flows into a pool of it’s own, so I figured I’d check out a couple of the other pools and see if I could find a hotter one. I managed to climb up the runoff of some of the other pools, thinking that this would save my feet from freezing. It did, but in the process my feet slipped several times on the mossy rocks and were fairly banged up by the time I reached the other pools. To my delight these pools were significantly warmer, so I rushed back and beckoned my wife to come join me in these warmer springs. After a very brisk 30 second dash, we jumped in and I yelped briefly as I realized I may have jumped a bit too close to the mouth of the spring.

We soaked and enjoyed ourselves for about an hour. We ate some of the chips and granola bars that we had packed in and I downed a good deal of Cherry Coke (perfect drink for a hike, right?). At this point I had accepted the fact that for at least some of the hike back we would be in darkness and have to use our flashlights. From the springs it was hard to tell just how much the sun had set, since there are mountains rising steeply to both the east and the west and the sun is only visible overhead for around 5 hours in the middle of the day.

At about 5:00 we decided we really needed to get going, as much as we were dreading the hike back, so we dried off, took a few pictures, and headed out. Shortly after beginning the hike back I realized that my feet were immensely sore, and that my legs were already begging for a break. I mentioned this to Kenna and she mentioned that she was feeling the same. I could tell that we were both in a mood to complain, so I determined to try and keep the mood light and the conversation lively to distract us from our discomfort.

Things got very dark very fast. We hadn’t even reached the half-way point from the springs to the main road when we started seeing stars above us. We a couple flashlights with us, but I figured we should put off using them as we could since I had just grabbed them from my parents house and had no idea how long they’s last. I also hadn’t thought to bring extra batteries. All was well though, as our eyes had adjusted with the darkness and making out the snow packed trail wasn’t too difficult.

I could tell that Kenna was getting as tired as I was, so in an attempt to distract ourselves from our weariness, I asked her about a scary movie that she had seen with a friend a few days previous. As she told me the plot I began to feel a bit anxious and jumpy, but nothing more than what would be expected. It was part way through Kenna’s explanation of the plot, though, that I felt a surreal sinking feeling. It was as though my insides were being squeezed and I was descending into a state of panic. I generally don’t get overly scared when reading or hearing scary stories, especially if I know it’s just a movie, but this was different. I determined that this must be due to our circumstances, being isolated in the mountains far from anyone else with darkness surrounding us on all sides. From the beginning of the sinking feeling to attempting to justify it and brush it off was only a matter of seconds. I hadn’t realized it but Kenna had paused her explanation and hiked in silence for those few seconds, then hastily wrapped it up and moved on to another subject. I was secretly glad that she had finished so quickly, and figured that some discussion on a lighter topic would probably push out the overwhelming feeling of panic and paranoia that had overtaken me.

It was about at this point that I began to hear the whispering. There is a river that runs next to the trail and down about 5 feet in most places, and I tried to brush the noise off as the sound of rushing water. The thing that made me especially uneasy though was that the noise wasn’t just coming from the river to the left of us. It was coming from the right and from behind as well. Kenna had gone silent and again I hadn’t paid much attention as I was quite distracted by the noises. They started out very quiet, almost too quiet to even notice over the sound of the river, and slowly grew louder. They never grew loud enough to completely get rid of the doubt that they were actually there, but I was sensing a change in Kenna’s disposition as well. Shortly thereafter she said my name (which nearly made me jump out of my skin) and asked if I’d be okay taking a break. I tried to appear calm and said I would, though the feeling of panic was still as strong as ever. It seemed to scream that we needed to get away from where we were now.

We sat down in the snow and didn’t talk much. I think I mentioned something about how we must be getting close to the road, and that then at least we’d be on a wide paved road rather than this thin dirt trail. I didn’t dare ask Kenna if she was feeling or hearing anything, in part because I didn’t want to sound like the scary movie plot was getting to me, and more in part because I didn’t want her to confirm that the weird stuff going on wasn’t just inside my head.

Unfortunately the whisperings hadn’t stopped while we rested; in fact they seemed more real than ever. I was getting antsy and again anxious to at least be making our way towards our car and sure safety. I suppose it was more a desire to be making our way away from whatever was behind/around us. At this point I began to shiver, and pointing this out to Kenna, I suggested we keep pushing onward. I knew that I wasn’t too cold, at least not cold enough to make me shiver like I was. Put simply I was overwhelmingly terrified of the darkness around us and what it contained.

We hopped up and continued onward. All the time I was hoping and praying that we would see the bridge marking the trailhead and at least make it off of this dirt trail and back onto pavement. I knew that we would have a several mile walk back to the car after crossing the bridge, but there was something comforting about the thought of being on the wider road.

As we came upon a rather steeper part of the trail, recognized it as a landmark that was very close to the bridge. I decided we should pull out our flashlights for this portion. I didn’t want either of us slipping on ice or tripping on a root and falling into the river below (and among whatever else might be down there). We each took a flashlight and I decided to go behind Kenna just in case she started sliding backwards.

As we started climbing up I looked at down at the path and noticed the strange tracks that the bikes had left in the snow. I also noticed some other strange tracks that were going around and over the bike tracks: it looked like a small party of people with bare feet had gone through with a pack of large dogs. My mind was trying to put things together quickly, but was struggling. Those bikers had been the only people that we had seen, but these foot/paw prints were certainly from people that had come after the bikers. Another strange thing was that these prints were not only on the trail, but were left deep in the snow to either side, seeming to go off in random directions. Some tracks came to the trail, others left it, and everywhere there were large paw prints mixed with human footprints.

At first this came as a relief to me. My first thought was that there must be some very dedicated campers who had decided to bring their dogs along somewhere close by. The thought of some tough burly campers nearby in these forsaken mountains was like a ray of light to my mind. Then a point of confusion began to form, small at first but then very concerning. Campers don’t go hiking around in the snow in bare feet, and this point was much too far from the springs for someone to be walking around without shoes.

This thought process, from terrified to hopeful back to terrified and concerned happened within a matter of seconds. Kenna had stopped and turned to me and pointed out the prints in the snow as well. I tried to brush it off with a chuckle and a “yeah, what the heck are people thinking?”. But the look of concern on her face only confirmed that I was not alone in my worried thoughts. The panic was again overcoming me, and I wished more than ever that the whispering would stop. All I could say is “let’s go”, and we pushed on with even more determination than before.

I kept looking behind us, every time expecting to see something following. Each time before I looked back my stomach would do a flip, but not once did I see anything suspicious. We kept our flashlights on for the rest of the hike out, and at long last we saw the bridge ahead. We quickly crossed it and without a word continued onto the main road. Roughly four more miles and we would be safe and sound in the car.

To my immense relief, the whisperings seemed to quiet down now that we were on the road. My legs and feet were aching like the dickens, so I asked Kenna if we could take another quick break. She obliged, and I very quickly regretted making the suggestion. The river still flowed by the road, but it was not nearly as close as it was to the dirt path, and therefore didn’t mask any sounds. At this point the whispers, though quieter than they had been on the dirt trail, were very clear and undeniably existent. I stared back to the bridge wishing that this maddening noise and accompanying sense of extreme paranoia would go away. As I looked to Kenna to see how she was reacting to the menacing noise, I noticed she had her head in her hands and seemed to be shaking. I put my arm around her shoulder and pressed my head up against hers, and as I looked down I froze.

The snow we were sitting on was covered in human footprints, along with those enormous paw prints. Again, there seemed to be no method or destination in mind for whoever/whatever had been stomping around here. I shined my flashlight with a shaky hand in each direction, trying to figure out where these things had gone. I followed one set of footprints that ascended up the side of the hill to our right and saw that the human prints ended and those huge animal prints picked up right where they had left off.

I felt as if I was descending into madness. I wanted to cry. I began to feel angry towards these things. Was this some sick joke? I wanted to scream and call out these things to stop messing around get on with whatever they were going to do to us. More than anything I wanted this all to END.

With hot tears stinging my face, and with this newfound anger giving me a boost of energy, I pulled Kenna up by her hand and without a word we continued at a brisk pace down the road.

I could not shake the darkness. This was so much darker than anything I had experienced. It was horrible and overwhelming. Even the stars above seemed extremely dim. The darkness was pressing in all around us, above us, below us, and worst of all it seemed to be inside us. Strange thoughts entered my mind, wondering what acts of evil could bring such a feeling to this place… wondering if we had done anything to bring this upon ourselves. Was this some sacred place that we were trespassing on? Had we done something to offend these creatures?

Whatever the case, I hated this area and felt that I was beginning to give in to the evil ambient darkness that seemed to be consuming us. I wanted to give up. The thought entered my mind that embracing this evil might be the only way out.

Kenna saved me from my own thoughts. Her sweet voice pierced my dark thoughts and halted this internal spiraling. She had stopped and softly said my name. After taking a second to recover, I asked how she was holding out. She pointed off to the right, toward where her flashlight was shining on a patch of juniper bushes.

Again, that invisible hand seemed to clench my stomach and I froze momentarily. A pair of eyes were reflecting back at us. I tried to regain my composure, and after a few seconds I noticed that the eyes remained unblinking. I quickly realized that they were that of a dead animal. The awkward angle and lack of movement gave that away. As I continued to stare I realized that this was not just a single dead animal. There were five or so dead deer, and what made my stomach really churn was the amount of blood covering a large patch of the road. I turned away as the sight made me light headed and shifted my focus to the ground right in front of us.

Again the snow was covered in those cursed footprints, this time painted with blood. I’ll spare you the details, but let me say it seemed that these creatures had enjoyed themselves immensely at this horrid spot, and there were several trails of blood streaking the snow. Still focusing on the ground, I led us forward and to the left around this horrible scene of carnage, averting my eyes from the worst of it. I kept expecting to encounter the smell of rotting flesh, but it never came. I guess the deer carcasses were too fresh and the cold weather probably helped too.

Soon thereafter we passed a campground, a landmark that meant we were getting close to our blessed car. It was at this point that the hollering began. When I heard the first shout a chill went down my whole body, and I felt sick to my stomach. This was an inhuman shout, and it wasn’t far behind us. I looked back, nearly tweaking my neck in the process, but STILL I couldn’t see anything! It was indescribably terrifying! I wished that I could see something so that at least I would know what we were up against. Anything, I felt, would be better than being kept in this state of knowing something was there but not knowing what it was!

We hurried forward toward the car, our legs and feet protesting every step, and the hollering seemed to grow ever closer and louder. Every 20 seconds or so I would quickly scan to the left, right, and behind. Each time I hoped that I would see something to relieve me from this deranging state of not knowing. Still, I was terrified to the core of what I might see.

Finally, after hours of wishing we were here, we rounded a bend and saw our beautiful car. Never in my life was I so happy to see it. My moment of joy was cut short, however, as I did one of my brief scans of our surroundings.

Upon looking behind us, I saw several dark figures moving slowly towards us. A few had their heads raised, and I wondered what I had been thinking when I had wished that I could see what these creatures were. Each of them were humanlike in form, though they were unusually tall and walking on all fours. They were all covered in thick, reddish brown hair, and had bright red eyes that reflected perfectly in the dim light of my flashlight. I will never forget those eyes.

What terrified me to the very center and still haunts me to this day is the expression they all wore. Each that had their head up was staring right at me as they slowly crawled forward, and they were each wide eyed wearing a toothy grin. It felt as if they were boring inside me with their stares, and I was certain we were going to die. At this point I wasn’t afraid of death; I was instead terrified of what the alternative would be once they caught up to us. I could see an excitement and twisted joy in their faces, as if they were playing a favorite game of theirs, feeding off of our terror. And oh, how I wish I could describe the blackness that surrounded them! It was a blackness that was felt as much as it was seen. It was horribly fascinating, almost even enticing, but those terrifying creatures were so vile that at no point did I consider moving even an inch toward them.

At this point I nearly went berserk. Luckily Kenna hadn’t looked back yet, and was marching faithfully on toward the car. When I finally unrooted myself from the spot and found my voice, I cried out to Kenna to run and not look back. I had caught up to her at this point and she turned to look at me and possibly behind. I screamed “DON’T!” and she seemed startled by my state of near insanity. She looked forward toward the car again and we both sprinted straight for it, adrenaline overcoming weariness. We jumped in, slammed the doors, I fumbled with the keys and let off the clutch quicker than I intended, nearly killing the engine. The darkness seemed to be thickening by the second. As I unintentionally peeled out, flinging mud and snow all over, Kenna turned around and screamed. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the creatures mere feet from our car. Their sick faces were ecstatic with excitement, and their wide grins made me shout and put the pedal to the floor. Soon we were zooming along the canyon at about 40 miles per hour (very dangerous for such a small, winding road), and somehow these fiends were keeping up with us! Everything about them was incredibly unnerving, from their horrible gallop to those perverted smiles. I prayed that we would reach a straightaway where we could go faster and perhaps by some miracle outrun these beasts.

Out of the blue the darkness seemed to lift, the stars shone more brightly than they had all night, and I was overcome with relief. I looked in the rear view mirror, and saw the creatures, now far behind us, leaping up the sides of the hills to our left. It was still a sickening sight, but somehow I knew that they were done toying with us at last. We drove in silence for several minutes until we reached the highway.

What a sweet relief it was to see other humans. Seeing the warm glow of their headlights was like walking up to a hot fire after being cold. I turned to Kenna and saw that she was crying, and I in turn began to cry. We cried and hugged, but remained silent as we sat there next to the highway. There was nothing to say at this point. Shortly after getting back on the highway I noticed I was quite nauseous and shaky. I pulled over and threw up, and felt much better afterwards. At long last the paranoia left me, and I felt like a new person.

We got home around 7:30. We turned on all the lights, shut and locked the door, and stayed up all night. Neither of us wanted to sleep, so we stayed up holding each other tight and trying to distract ourselves with movies.

Neither of us talked about what we had gone through until well into the next day, when the sun was high and everything was bright. I could tell neither of us wanted to be the one to bring it up. I felt that if we talked about it, we would solidify that it really happened. But I finally brought it up and it was almost a relief to have it out in the open.

We’ve told a select few people about this experience, and much of it is still quite confusing to us. We still have some questions that may forever remain unanswered, such as what in the world were those creatures? What did we do to warrant their pursuit? They were certainly the quickest creatures we’ve ever seen, so why didn’t they catch up to us? What would have happened if we had tried to confront them?

All we know is that there is a serious evil presence up that canyon. And if you don’t believe me, you know where to find it.

Credit: Tyler T

Possible Ghosts Caught on my CCTV Cameras

December 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Possible Ghosts Caught on my CCTV Cameras

This is a video feature. If the embedded video is not displaying for you, please click the link above to go directly to the video’s YouTube page.

Credit: Dro Simoes – @the_dro

Creepypasta

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