Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
I’m writing this as somewhat of a warning, but also a slight cry for help. I do not know who else to turn to that may take me seriously, and I know this community is often eager to help in situations like this.
A few months ago in late July, I attended a music festival with my girlfriend, Debbie. This particular festival was in a small Wisconsin town called Twin Lakes. It went on from Thursday until past midnight on Sunday, so by the time we left the last show, trudged through the mud, packed up the last of our belongings from the campsite and drove past the stampede of fellow festival goers, it was pretty late.
Her and I have attended this festival for the past four years. It’s pretty much common knowledge amongst the community that cell phone service is completely gone after the first day. I think it’s a combination of being in a small town, and randomly filling a small area with thousands of people, that causes the service to dissipate so quick. Because we were aware of this, we fully expected to not have use of our phone’s GPS system to help us navigate the town. This didn’t worry us though, because like I said, this was our fourth year and had pretty much learned the route back home by now.
Unfortunately, the usual route we were prepared to take was completely blocked off. We saw flashing red and blue lights in the distance, and later learned one of the festival goers had been struck by a vehicle. After waiting for 20 minutes and not moving an inch, Debbie and I agreed we should try and find another way back. We pulled a U-turn and began to drive in the opposite direction. After a few minutes we saw a side street and decided we’d try it out.
This road… well, it was dark. Really dark. The kind of dark where you drive slow and blare your high beams – which is what I did. Being into horror films, I took the opportunity to make a comment on our creepy surroundings to Debbie. She kind of laughed, but I noticed the fear in her voice and eyes. Being the loving guy I am, I decided I would take advantage of her fear and scare her even more. Boyfriend of the Year, am I right?
I switched from the AUX settings in the car to the radio and immediately switched to AM. I scanned one by one until I found one that was just blaring white noise, I left it on and began making comments to Debbie in different horror-inspired voices… things like “They’re watching us” and “Tonight seems like a nice night to die, don’t you think?” The crazy thing was, Debbie didn’t find my hilarious jokes very entertaining and kept trying to shut the radio off. Buzzkill.
I agreed to cut the act and told her it can all end if she played along a little bit, by choosing one random AM station for us to listen to. With an annoyed sigh, Debbie reached over and spun the dial with little thought. The station she landed on was AM 630.
She hit the spooky jackpot with that one. What we heard could only be described as a little girl singing with a high-pitched, distorted voice. I immediately began laughing at her selection, since it was exactly what I was hoping we’d find and so much more. I whipped out my phone and recorded a Snapchat video of our reactions, which I’ll link below:
I continued to laugh while Debbie nervously chuckled. I actually found it strange and a bit unnerving myself, but did not want to let it show in front of her… macho-guy-routine, and all that. I went ahead and switched back to the AUX and continued our drive home. A few minutes after switching back, the music got cut off once again, and my high-pitched ringtone flooded the car with an ear-piercing jingle. The number was strange and told me it was from Russia, so I ignored it. I had recently purchased a URL from GoDaddy and made the foolish decision to not make it private, so my mobile number was made public for all the spammers to find. That meant receiving calls from randomly generated numbers became a common occurrence, which is why this one did not phase me too much. It did a little, though. Most of the spam numbers I received were domestic, and were received during weekday afternoons. I had never received one at almost 1 AM on a Sunday night– let alone one from Russia.
Not too long after rejecting that call, I received another. Again, it was an international number, this time, from Morocco. I figured it was the same person as before, using the same random number generator, and once again ignored the number. A few minutes passed when– you guessed it… another call. This one, though, was in fact domestic. The call was coming from Phoenix, Arizona. Since this was from inside the US and I was finally angry enough to answer and chew out the solicitor on the other end, I picked up.
I wish I didn’t.
I angrily asked “Hello?!” several times and did not receive an answer. Usually, that would be my cue to hang up, but I was annoyed and felt persistent (not to mention Debbie was watching, and ya know… macho-guy-routine). I knew someone was there, because I was able to hear some background static, and the faint sound of someone breathing.
“Hey, asshole, I know you’re there. What the hell do you want? What can you possibly be trying to sell at this hour?”
The silence lingered for a few more seconds, before it was broken. I began to hear music. But not just any music… it was the same style of music we heard on the creepy radio station we had turned off just before receiving the calls. I felt my face get flush and sort of just frozen up, phone still on my ear. I don’t know how long I sat there like that, before I was snapped out of it. I hadn’t realized what snapped me out of it until Debbie broke the silence in the car.
“Ugh, what does he want?”
I looked into the rear view mirror and saw what Debbie was referring to. There was a pickup truck tailgating behind us that had flashed it lights. The driver did it again– just one quick burst of their high beams in our direction. I had no idea what they could have wanted. I was going 5-10 miles over, so it wasn’t because I was impeding traffic. It was a two-lane road with no oncoming traffic, so even if they were in a hurry, they could easily have gone around us and sped up.
At this point, I was still on the phone, and still had not heard anything but the music coming from the other end. For whatever reason, I did not hang up, and was too distracted by the tailgater to try and pry more info from the caller. After about 30 seconds of being dangerously close to our car, the truck finally began to switch lanes in attempt to pass us.
It was dark, so I could not see into the drivers car through the windshield, and when they were beside us, we realized their windows were tinted very dark (definitely past the legal limit). In that moment, it did not mean much to me, since I figured they would speed pass us and be out of our hair soon. That… didn’t happen. The truck got in front of us and slowly began to apply their brakes. Red flags, everywhere. I had read enough stories of criminal encounters to know this easily could be a trap to rob us, or worse.
I knew I had to be tactical to avoid any problems. Debbie, on the other hand, wasn’t thinking so clearly. Feeling tired, anxious to be home and now annoyed to her breaking point by this driver, she swiftly reached out her arm and pressed down firmly on my car horn. It wasn’t the first time she had pulled this move and it’s something she does that I absolutely hate. I always tell her she’s going to get us into some serious confrontation one day– a serious confrontation that will have to be handled by me– so I’m usually quick to grab her hand and remove it from the horn. This time though, I was frozen.
I was still on the phone with the mystery caller at this point, subconsciously transfixed on the chilling audio that was radiating into my ear. From the phone, I heard it… my car horn. It was delayed by a nano-second and sounded far away, but I knew it was the same. I heard my car horn coming from the other end of the call. Whoever was in that truck, was the person I was speaking to. The person who called us with the suspicious numbers. The person who was playing the same radio station we had randomly discovered. And now, the same person who almost got us to come to a complete stop in the middle of a Wisconsin back-road at 1 in the morning.
Fight-or-flight is a funny thing… it’s very impressive how fast your mind can actually process information when it’s fueled by fear. In what felt like a blink of an eye, my mind ran with the possibility of reaching for the baseball bat I kept in the back seat and coming at this driver with all my might. That fantasy quickly went South, as I pictured a group of grown men with guns spilling out of the truck, killing me and doing God-knows-what to Debbie. I thank God to this day that the stupid macho-guy-routine came to an end right then and there.
I quickly and haphazardly, slammed down on the gas and swerved around the truck, picking up as much speed as I could. I might not have the fastest car in the world, but it’s in pretty good condition. It was more than enough to escape the old, worn-out pickup truck that was following us.
After about 10 minutes of speeding well past the legal limit, blowing stop signs and living out all my Vin Diesel fantasies, we were back in the more sprawling, busy areas of our route. There was no sign of the truck. Debbie, who was screaming at me for the first few minutes of this escape, was reduced to quiet crying as she clutched a pillow tight to her chest. My adrenaline had worn off, and now I was feeling shaky.
We had been riding in dead silence this whole time, so I reached down to the floor of the car for my phone. I figured we can both benefit in some cheery music to help lighten the mood, since we both clearly were not eager to discuss what had just happened. I grabbed the phone and tapped the home button. The screen illuminated… and I saw that I was still in the middle of a call. I never hung up the phone before speeding away… and apparently, neither did the mysterious caller on the other end. We approached a red light and I slowed down to a stop. That’s when I put the phone up to my ear. My breathing was undoubtedly audible at this point.
At first I was met with silence, other than the same muted white noise as before. The silence was broken by the caller. In a deep voice, I heard one sentence that filled by body with nauseating chills.
“Almost had you.”
After that, the call was ended.
I must have looked shaken, because Debbie nervously asked me what was wrong. I simply shook my head without a word and continued driving. About 30 minutes later, we arrived home. At that point we were so exhausted that we walked inside, decided to leave unpacking the car for the next day, and dropped into the bed without even bothering with showers.
* * * * * *
The next morning, I grabbed the keys and went to go bring the car closer to our apartment entrance in order to speed up the process of emptying all our camping gear. I got to the car and when I hit the “unlock” button on the keys, I did not hear the sound of the doors unlocking. Instead, I heard the dull thud of the locks remaining the same. In our tired daze the night prior, we had neglected to lock the doors. I peeked inside the car and saw that everything seemed to still be there, including some cash that was visibly strewn across the passenger seat. I figured we had gotten lucky and proceeded to get inside.
Right away, I knew something was wrong. It was the smell. Whether you know it or not, every single person has a scent. You can smell it when walked into certain homes, or smelling someone’s worn clothing. In that moment, I was picking up a scent that did not belong to me or Debbie. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it was undeniable– slightly musty, with a hint of menthol. I got out of the car and inspected it once more. Again, nothing seemed out of place. I took a breath and told myself I was imagining things. Once again, I climbed into the driver’s seat, this time ignoring the unusual smell. I stuck my key in the ignition and fired up the car.
I almost jumped out of my skin when the radio began to blare. I could have sworn we had turned it off but hell, I thought we had locked the doors too. It wasn’t the radio being on that scared me. It was the fact that the radio was on it’s loudest setting… and was programmed to AM 630.
I could almost hear my heart beating rapidly as I stared wide-eyed at the console. I knew, for a fact, we had switched to the AUX setting. I just knew it. The radio station was no longer playing the haunting sounds as the night prior, and was now projecting the sounds of some obscure talk radio or news channel. At that point, I did not have enough energy to deal with this any longer. I turned off the radio and drove the car up to our building entrance. Debbie was waiting there for me. We both looked exhausted. Without speaking very much, her and I worked together to empty the car. I parked it back in our spot, and that was that. There were no more weird calls (other than the usual spam), no strange discoveries with the car, that radio station, etc. I tuned into it a few times and found that it was still the same boring news channel. Since Debbie and I live in Chicago, I figured it made sense that it would change. Things went back to normal.
That is, until last week.
It started when I checked my phone in the middle of my lunch break at work. I had four missed calls, all from random numbers. The last one… was the same Phoenix number I picked up on the way back from Wisconsin. That number, had left a voicemail.
In the voicemail, as you may have guessed, was more of the creepy music we hear that night. There were no other sounds or voices. Just that damn music. Since then, I had noticed a lot of cars with Wisconsin license plates. It’s probably all in my head, I know. Cars from neighboring states is nothing crazy. But it just seems like there are way more than usual, parked around our apartment, driving past me on the street, etc. I would probably be able to brush all this off, if it wasn’t for what happened yesterday.
I was getting out of a meeting at work and checked my phone. I had three missed calls. Two from random numbers (again, nothing super unusual), and one from Debbie. She had left a voicemail. Upon playing it, I almost threw up my lunch.
It was the eerie music.
I called her right away, and she picked up after the first ring. She answered normally and I began to ask her what the voicemail was all about. At this point, I figured she was playing a prank on me this whole time, and just forgot to mask her number before making that particular call. I demanded she confess it was her, and when she finally started to cry while denying it all, I relented. I apologized for screaming at her. I explained everything that was happening for the past week and ended it all with her missed call and voicemail. It was quiet on her end. When she finally spoke, the adamant fear in her voice began to make sense.
She explained to me that she couldn’t have made that call. She was running errands, and had been grocery shopping at our local mega-chain supermarket. In a rush to stay on schedule, she had forgotten her phone in the car.
* * * * * *
I don’t know what to do. A small part of me still suspects she may be playing a very long practical joke on me, but she has never been the prank type. And even if she was, how could she have orchestrated the radio station or the pickup truck? It doesn’t add up. All I know is, I haven’t let down my guard for a while. I’m carrying a knife on me and am looking into getting my conceal-and-carry license ASAP. I’m going to insist Debbie does the same. She is not a fan of guns, so if she is behind this, maybe that will be what makes her confess.
Has anyone in the southern Wisconsin area, by ANY chance, had experience with this radio station? If not, PLEASE, do not access it. I can’t be sure the station itself has any connection to what’s been happening, but why risk it?
I’m scared. And I hope this ends soon.