02 Nov Never Use a Voice Recorder While You Sleep
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"Never Use a Voice Recorder While You Sleep"Written by Christopher Maxim
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Estimated reading time — 16 minutes
One day at work, the subject of sleeping came up. My co-workers threw stories back and forth about some of their weirdest dreams. I chimed in with my sleep-talking antics. Everyone laughed as I raddled off some of the crazier shit I’ve said while zonked. One of my co-workers, Bill, really busted a gut. After he finished hyper-ventilating, he told me that I should set up a voice recorder while I sleep so I can play it back at work every morning. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a bad idea.
That night, I downloaded a decent voice recording app on my phone and placed it on my nightstand before I went to bed. Being single and living alone, I had no way of knowing what I said in my sleep anymore, so I was looking forward to hearing what it would pick up. It would be a humorous way to start my otherwise dull mornings.
For two months I recorded a lot of great stuff. One night in particular, I kept screaming, almost as if I was running from something in my dream, but after a few minutes I said, “Bad fridge!” I couldn’t stop laughing at that one. Neither could my co-workers when I showed them.
Eventually, the app picked up something unsettling. Listening to the audio for any trace of funny banter I might find, I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a door being slammed shut with great force. Hearing that, my heart sank. I wondered if an intruder had made their way into my home.
My house is a small cottage on the outskirts of town. I was able to get it at a great price due to its location and age. As such, some of its components are antiquated. I knew after hearing the recording that the only two doors sturdy enough to make that loud of a thud were that of the attic and the basement.
Basements and attics have always freaked me out. Never liked to go near them as a kid, and I still don’t as an adult. They kind of terrify me. The ones in my house, even more so. Something about them being old made them all the more sinister.
Despite my fear, I had to make sure no one was in the house. I got up out of bed and headed straight for the basement, as that was the door closest to my bedroom. I hesitantly opened the door and descended into my home’s depths. I was nervous, but I was desperate for some peace of mind.
The basement… was empty.
I quickly ran back up to the first floor and proceeded to journey upstairs. Once I reached the attic door, I froze. As much as basements make my skin crawl, I find attics to be far worse. Maybe it was because they were always a big unknown to me. I had only ever been in an attic once my whole life and that was to help my dad unload some Christmas decorations. Even then, I was spooked.
Because of my phobia, I installed a dead bolt on the door when I moved in. It sounds foolish, but hey, it helps me sleep at night. Looking at the door, I noticed that the dead bolt was still locked. An intruder could have gone in and then re-locked it on their way out, but at least I knew they weren’t in there anymore. This was my excuse not to go inside. I went back downstairs and put the noise out of my mind.
Forgetting all about the loud bang, I continued to record at night in the hopes of catching more sleep-talking. I did, but it wasn’t of the hilarious, absurd variety. The night after I recorded the noise, the only thing I said the whole night was, “Where are you?” I didn’t pay it any mind, as I’ve said similar things in my sleep before. It wasn’t until I heard the following night’s recording that I became alarmed. I said the same thing, “Where are you?”, only this time it was followed by a strange, static sound. This was odd, but I chalked it up to coincidence and a phone malfunction.
I quickly discovered that neither of these things were to blame.
Every night after, I got almost the same exact thing. I would ask, “Where are you,” and then I’d get some sort of static interference. I couldn’t explain it, and it left me rather frazzled. I showed my co-workers, but they weren’t able to offer me any insight. I thought about not recording anymore, but not knowing would make me more uneasy. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on.
And then, one night, I caught something different. Listening to the audio intently, I heard two distinct things. During a two minute stretch in the recording, there were footsteps in the background, almost as if someone was pacing. It was very faint, but it was most certainly there. The second thing I heard was me asking the same question, “Where are you,” only this time I received a response. It was a low whisper, but I could make out what it said.
Deeply unnerved by my findings, I set up the app again the next night. I also took the liberty of setting up two digital cameras; one in my room, and one facing the attic door. After adjusting the light settings on each, I felt confident in my approach. I didn’t have time to deal with this bullshit, so I wanted nothing more than to get it sorted out, somehow. Unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t that simple.
I slept through the night, like normal, but I did have a weird dream.
In my dream, I was at home. I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I heard a scratching sound coming from upstairs. Naturally, I assumed it was mice, but as I sat there, the noise grew louder and louder. It eventually morphed into a horrendous knocking sound. That’s when I got up to investigate.
I made my way up to the attic door and the noises ceased. I stood there for a moment, expecting it to start up again, but it didn’t. Complete silence for what felt like a few minutes. Then, without warning, a loud clicking sound broke the tension. The deadbolt had unlocked itself. And that’s when I woke up to the sound of my alarm going off.
I immediately got up and gathered the cameras, as well as my phone. I was eager to see if they’d captured anything. They did, but it only left me with more questions.
Halfway through the audio on both my phone and the camera in my room, I heard once again, “Where are you?” There was no response and no static, but there was a loud bang, just like the one I’d caught before, only more distinct. It was most certainly a door being slammed shut. I quickly grabbed the second camera and began looking through the footage. The attic door never opened. Instead, I heard the bang in the background, ever so faintly. Given the volume in each of the clips, it seemed as though it might have been the basement door. After skimming through the rest of the footage and finding nothing else out of the ordinary, I decided to check the basement again.
With a mixture of nerves and adrenaline, I ran over to the basement door and swung it open. I hurried downstairs and turned the light on. I was fed up and a little annoyed, thinking someone was somehow having a laugh at my expense. However, when the room lit up, I was greeted with the familiar sight of an unfurnished basement. It was completely empty. No intruder and no answers.
Frustrated, I went off to work and tried to keep my mind off of my odd dilemma. That proved to be a difficult task. I kept playing out different scenarios in my head during the work day, but nothing made sense. The only logical, though somewhat illogical explanation that I could come up with, was that I was being harassed by a spirit. I didn’t want to give in to that notion, but I was running out of ideas.
I tried to talk with my co-workers again, in the hopes that they would tell me it was nothing to worry about. Instead, I received the opposite. One of my co-workers told me to call the cops and have them look through the house for signs of a break-in. Another told me I should stay at a friend’s house. Bill told me to abandon the house and run for the hills. He was only joking, but it didn’t make me feel any better about the matter.
Things took a turn for the bizarre when I arrived home that day.
Opening the front door to the cottage, I stepped in and set my jacket down on the couch. I then plopped down in an attempt to unwind. Immediately after sitting, I heard the bang again. It was clear as day. It was the same sound from the audio and footage, but this time I was hearing it in person.
I jumped up and looked straight ahead at the basement door. You could see it from the couch – it had been in my line of sight the entire time. Though I hadn’t been looking directly at it, I was fairly certain it hadn’t moved. Still, the bang definitely came from that direction. Spooked but curious, I decided to check it out.
I walked over cautiously and examined the door. There was no indication that it had been slammed shut. The wood around the door was pristine, and the floor below had not been scraped. I opened it and trotted down the old, creaky stairs to investigate the basement for a third time. After reaching the bottom, I turned the light on. I expected to see nothing, just as I had before. While scanning the room left to right, nothing is mostly what I saw. After doing a double take, however, I realized that something was amiss.
Off, in the center of the far wall, was a door. This sent a chill up my spine. My basement had no doors. That I was sure of. I knew this before purchasing the place almost a year ago, when I first took the grand tour. I also didn’t see the door when I went down there that morning or the other day. It didn’t make a lick of sense.
I walked towards it, bewildered. I wasn’t sure of the door’s origins, but I knew that it had to be the cause of the sounds I’d been hearing. There was no other explanation. As I approached the impossibility before me, I realized something that made my skin crawl. I recognized the wood, the design, and the deadbolt.
It was the attic door.
I didn’t want to open it, for fear of what might be lurking behind. Instead, I ran upstairs and checked to see if the attic door was still there; the actual one. It was indeed. I then ran back downstairs into the basement, only to find that the door down there had vanished. Had I merely imagined its presence?
Thinking I had gone completely mad, I went back upstairs and sat down on the couch. My mind was running haywire, trying to comprehend things, but it eventually gave in to its own weariness. I ended up taking a short nap, and that’s when I had another weird dream.
This dream was similar to the one I had before. I was sitting on the couch, watching TV, when I heard a scratching noise. The only difference was, it was coming from the basement, rather than the attic. It too progressed and turned into a voracious knocking that I couldn’t ignore. As such, I got up from the couch and went downstairs to put a stop to it.
In my dream, the basement was empty. No mysterious door in sight. That, and the knocking and scratching ceased upon my entrance. At my wit’s end, I went back upstairs. The sound then returned with a vengeance, only this time, it was coming from the attic again. I ran up there as fast as I could, but the noise stopped. I waited. Following the narrative of my previous dream, the deadbolt clicked, signaling that the door had unlocked itself. Unlike my previous dream, however, the door opened up a bit and a hand reached out from within. That’s when I woke up.
I wrote the first dream off as the byproduct of an over-stressed mind, but to have it reoccur? That wasn’t ordinary, at least not for me. Between the door in my basement and my strange nightmares, I was a mess. Both perplexed and frightened, I called my friend John.
John is an eccentric fellow. He’s the kind of guy who believes in UFOs, ghosts, conspiracy theories, the occult, and other things of that nature. Not only does he believe in them, but he studies them. He knows more about Roswell than I do about myself. Being a skeptic, I always thought the massive amount of information he retained was borderline useless. I changed my mind about that after seeing my attic door pop up in my basement. If anyone could help, or at least steer me in the right direction, it was him.
I spoke with John for a couple of hours. He was ecstatic after hearing about my experience. He began raddling off all of the different things he thought it might indicate. Some of his theories included a wormhole, a gateway to the other side, and even a glitch (one of the many theories that he subscribes to is that the world we live in is a simulation). He told me that he couldn’t be completely certain about what it was without seeing it for himself. Unfortunately, he lives too far away to just stop by and visit.
Instead of leaving me empty-handed, John gave me some advice on what to do next. After telling him about the voice I captured and the dreams I’d been having, he started leaning towards the ghost idea. He thought it might be trying to communicate with me. Because of this, he told me I should set up the voice recorder in the basement and ask the spirit some questions. I could play back the recording after and listen for the voice. John said that I should do it in the attic as well.
Though weary of his methods, I told him I’d try it out. After all, I couldn’t just sit around and expect the situation to resolve itself. I didn’t like the idea of going up into the attic by myself, but I needed to do something.
After getting off the phone, I immediately put his plan into action. The basement would have to be first, as I was still apprehensive about going upstairs.
I set up the app and put my phone on the basement floor. I proceeded to ask questions, leaving enough space in between for someone… or something to answer. I asked for normal things like its name, its age, and what it wanted. After roughly five minutes of interrogation, I stopped the recording and played it back.
I must’ve listened to my own voice a million times, hoping for anything audible to present itself. To my dismay, I caught nothing of the sort. It seemed as though the attic would indeed have to be my next venture.
I reluctantly climbed the stairs up to the attic door. I looked at it for a few moments, took a deep breath, and unlocked the deadbolt. I opened the door and braced myself.
There was nothing there, save for the previous owner’s belongings.
When I first purchased the house, I had to do a little bit of renovating, so to speak. The owner before me had no cable, electricity, or proper plumbing. On top of that, they left all of their stuff behind. I had most of it removed, but left everything that was in the attic. I had no need for the space, and I didn’t want to put any more money into emptying the house than I had to.
I perused through the attic’s wares for a bit, curious as to what it was that I technically owned. Some of the interesting items that stood out to me were an old postcard from Paris, a strange-looking dog collar, and a book on witchcraft. The fear set in while going through the contents of my new collection. The angled ceiling, antiques, and large window overlooking my yard did give the place a dose of charm, but I still didn’t like attics.
I quickly hit the record button on the app and set my phone on the floor. I asked the same questions as before, but didn’t leave as much space in between as I really wanted to get the hell out of there. Before stopping the recording, I had a thought. Perhaps the spirit would respond if I asked it the same question that I did in my sleep.
I cleared my throat and asked, “Where are you?”
After asking the final question, I stopped the recording and played it back. It sounded almost identical to the one I’d recorded in the basement, complete with a lack of answers. That is, until the very end. After I asked the last question, I heard a familiar, low whisper.
After hearing this reply, I immediately turned around. There was nothing there. Despite this, I hightailed it downstairs. That eerie voice reinforced my phobia of attics and instilled in me an indescribable dread. I could no longer bear to be in that house by myself.
I called John again and begged him to help me out. I told him I’d give him the gas money for the 8-hour round trip. He was reluctant at first, knowing that he’d have to spend the night and call out from work the next morning. Curiosity got the best of him in the end. After much deliberation, he agreed to come over.
I waited for John in my car. While sitting there, I couldn’t help but examine my house. I began asking myself questions, like is it really haunted, do ghosts really exist, and my favorite, is this what my life has come to? Though the questions were speculative and rhetorical, I pretty much knew the answers. As I gazed towards the house in disappointment, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.
It was a silhouette, standing at the attic window.
Holy shit. What the fuck. What do I do?
Those were the only retorts that crossed my mind after seeing the shadowy figure. After a few moments of staring, the figure stepped back from the window, completely out of sight. I sat and pondered about it for a few minutes after its departure.
In a moment of bravery, I chose to go back in the house and up to the attic. Crazy, I know, but it’s my house, and I needed to show this thing that I wasn’t interested in playing its games – even if I was scared shitless. Besides, John would have my head if I didn’t follow the damned thing.
Feeling confident, but still shaky, I ventured up into the attic. I swung the door open without hesitation and waltzed in like I owned the place. After all, I did. The attic was void of any ghostly figures, but it did harbor the faint scent of candle wax. Unsure of how to proceed, I started talking in a loud and firm tone.
“This isn’t your house. I’m tired of your bullshit games, spirit. I demand that you leave at once!”
I knew this wasn’t going to work, but it was almost cathartic. I felt a hell of a lot better fighting back. I walked around the attic, satisfied with my rant, thinking that I had actually conquered my fear. My smug demeanor wouldn’t last more than a few moments.
Soon after I spoke, a gust of wind blew through the attic and hit me like a bus. Nearly knocked me over. I knew it was the ghost’s doing. I tried to stand my ground, but I was pretty damn frightened. I watched as everything around me flew about, creating a tornado of mementos and keepsakes. I was about to retreat, when I noticed something that hadn’t budged an inch. It was the book on witchcraft that I’d seen before. Upon noticing it, the wind inexplicably stopped and everything fell to the floor. I walked over to the book, curious as to why it remained stationary. As I did, it opened up on its own. It was startling, but I somehow sensed no malice. I was coming around to the fact that the ghost might really be trying to communicate with me.
The page the book landed on was a spell. The whole thing was in Latin, but from what I could make out, it had something to do with growing plants. Confused, I reached out to the ghost for help.
“What do you want me to do?”
After asking the question, the attic door slammed shut. I thought for a moment and gathered that it wanted me to recite the spell in the attic. I was still confused, but somehow calm. It felt as though I was helping the spirit in some way.
Before I could read from the book, my phone went off. It was a text from John:
“So, so sorry. I can’t make it out there. My boss won’t give me the day off tomorrow and I’m not sure my car will make it there and back. It desperately needs new tires and I won’t be able to buy those until Friday. Give me a call back then and I’ll see what I can do. Good luck.”
Even though I wasn’t freaking out anymore, it was nice knowing that someone was on their way to my house, just in case things went sour. I didn’t like it, but I was on my own. I accepted this, and turned my attention back to the book. It was time to deliver the spell.
I cleared my throat and began reciting the text in the book. I took Latin in college, and although I didn’t retain all the information, I knew enough to make the proper pronunciations. Even still, I stumbled over my words during certain parts. Because of this, I had to restart a couple of times. I wanted to get it right, especially if it was truly what the ghost wanted.
After finishing the spell flawlessly (for the most part), the attic door opened. I walked out with the book in hand, wondering if everything was over. When I reached the bottom step and turned around the corner, it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t. The basement door was wide open.
I was in uncharted territory, taking orders from a ghost, but I hoped I was following along alright. Seeing the basement door ajar convinced me that I probably needed to recite the spell down there as well. I still wasn’t sure why, but it felt like this was the spirit’s will. As such, I obliged.
I walked down into the basement with the book and turned the light on. A quick glance around revealed that I was alone and that there was no door. I cleared my throat once again and began reciting the spell, word for word. Honestly, I was a little excited. It felt like I was doing something productive about my ghost problem, and that it might actually help put it to rest. This time, I got it right on the first try.
Upon finishing the spell in the basement, the house began shaking. When I say the house, I mean the whole house, basement and all. I ‘d never experienced an earthquake before, but it seemed like the only logical explanation for what was happening. It wasn’t until I looked around the room during the madness, that I realized it was the spell’s doing.
There, on the far wall, shaking with the rest of the house, was the attic door. I wondered if the spell had somehow summoned it, simultaneously causing the house to wobble. The tremor eventually stopped, and I was left with the door, lending credence to my theory. I waited for a few minutes, thinking the door would open, but it did not. It seemed that I would have to do that myself. I wasn’t too happy about it, but I’d come too far to back out now.
I gathered my wits and walked over to the door. I proceeded to swing it open, without fear, just as I had upstairs. Behind the door was a surprise.
It was the attic. The attic, upstairs. Everything was the same, only there was a man standing at the window. Hearing me open the door, he turned around. His eyes widened when he saw me. He ran so fast in my direction that I didn’t even have enough time to take more than a single step back. He rushed through the doorway and into the basement. He turned back around and slammed the attic door shut, making sure to lock the deadbolt. He turned to me, grabbed my shoulders, and looked me dead in the eye. I was baffled and scared for my life.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you so much!”
After expressing his thanks, the man let go of me and ran upstairs, but not before turning back around and offering me some advice.
“Whatever you do, don’t go in there!”
He gestured toward the attic door before bolting upstairs. I ran after him, wanting to ask some questions, but when I got upstairs, it was already too late. My front door was open, and I could see him running down the dirt road towards town.
And that was that. I’ve slept every night since then with no noises or paranormal issues whatsoever. I even set up the cameras and voice recorder a few times to make sure. They didn’t catch a damned thing. I don’t know what the hell happened, but I am sure of one thing. The man that came out from behind the attic door was no ghost. It was a living, breathing person.
CREDIT: Christopher Maxim
(Click HERE to check out Christopher Maxim’s book, How To Exit Your Body and Other Strange Tales)
🔔 More stories from author: Christopher Maxim
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