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The Hands

Estimated reading time — 10 minutes

The worst thing I’ve ever done in my life happened about twelve years ago, when I was a sixteen year old kid living in Cleveland, Ohio. It was the early fall, when the leaves were just starting to turn orange and the temperatures were starting to fall, hinting at the freezing chill that was only a few months away. School had just started, but it had been going on for about a month now, so all the excitement of going back and reuniting with old friends had been replaced by the realization that we were captives in a place that only wanted to load work upon us. Understandably, me and my friends were all eager to do anything that might remind us of the worry-free, responsibility-free days of summer.

Earlier that year, about the time the last school year had let out, one of my friends from work, (McDonalds, which some people think is lame, but I always had a great time there), had taught me a technique to make yourself pass out with the help of an assistant. It worked something like this: One person would rapidly take ten deep, heavy breaths, and on the tenth, squeeze his eyes shut and hold his breath as tightly as possible while crossing his wrists over his heart. The assistant would then give the person a huge bear hug from behind and squeeze the person’s wrists into his breastbone. Within seconds, the person holding their breath would lose consciousness. The assistant was then in a perfect position to make sure you didn’t totally collapse and crack your skull open on the sidewalk. The effect only lasted for like a second or two–it wasn’t like we were putting ourselves into comas or anything–but it felt like you had been out for hours, and when you came to, the disoriented feeling of not knowing where the hell you were and what you were doing there was awesome.

Now I know some people are like “WTF, are you a fucking retard?” And yeah, I know, we were probably killing about a million brain cells each time we would knock ourselves out, and I think probably my memory has suffered for it. But to a bored-as-hell sixteen-year-old, I thought it was hella cool. All the effect of getting your lights punched out, with none of the pain of getting hit in the face. I’d tell you to try it to see for yourself, but after what happened; I would never recommend it to anyone.

One interesting side-effect of doing this, which was really most of the reason we did it, was that while you were out, you’d have extremely lucid, vivid dreams, which you could always recall upon awaking. (After all, you were only asleep for two seconds). We were good kids, and had never, and would never try drugs, so to us, this was like a poor man’s LSD. These visions, in some way, were usually related to what you were looking at right before you passed out. For example, once I dreamed that I was climbing a mountain. Way up in the Himalayas or something, but there was a hand rail there. Who the hell puts hand rails at 20,000 feet? When I came to and remembered where I was, I realized I had been looking at the staircase at the corner of my girlfriend’s living room. Another time, I had a vision of Fred Flintstone smiling and holding out his hand in front of a mural with the D.A.R.E. logo. (That’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program cops teach in public schools. You’ve probably seen the bumper stickers). I woke up and saw that my friend Brett had been standing in front of me right before I slipped into dreamland, and that logo was on his shirt. Where Fred Flintstone came from, I have no idea.

The visions were always mundane things like those. Always, until that one day.

Like I said, school had been going on for about a month, and we were already sick of it. We were hanging out one Saturday in “the field,” which was really an easement for the electric company to run their high voltage lines. A few of us were sitting on the metal beams at the bottom of one of the towers. My friend Mike was climbing up to the second tier of beams so he could jump the eight or ten feet to the ground. I thought it was stupid, but hey, I’m the guy who thought it was cool to induce unconsciousness by starving my brain of oxygen.

It was a warm day for October, but the light gray of the sky was slowly getting darker, and in Cleveland, in October, that probably meant that before long, the temperature would soon drop from a comfortable 70 to about 50 in the course of a few minutes, and if we were really unlucky, an ice-cold rain would start to fall. The air was already damp and heavy, and we could hear the quiet buzzing of the high-tension wires above us.

I sure as hell didn’t want to spend the last few moments of a pleasant Saturday afternoon watching this dumbass climb partway up the high-tension tower, jump down, complain about how “that one killed his feet,” only to climb up and do the same stupid thing over again.

“Hey, let’s make ourselves pass out,” I said. By that time, it wasn’t as much fun as it had been in the early summer when we first discovered it, but it was a hell of a lot better than what we were doing. Vince was up for it, so was Richard, but Mike, the guy jumping off the tower, said, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Holy crap, you haven’t been knocked out before?” Vince asked. “No,” was the response. Mike had been at his mom’s house all summer, so he hadn’t been in on all the fun we had been having.

“Dude, you gotta try this. Watch, we’ll show you.”

Vince and I got off the tower, stood in the grass at the center, and I did the customary ten deep breaths. I squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath so hard that if they hadn’t been shut, they’d have probably popped out of my head. Then I felt my friend clamp down on my arms in front of my chest, and suddenly, as if there were nothing more natural in the world, there was a giant lobster, climbing around a lobster cage, and I was under the ocean with seaweed growing from the sandy bottom under my feet.

The next thing I remember, I was awake and Vince and Richard were asking me, “Dude! What did you see? What’d you dream?” The back of my head was killing me.

“Fuck, did you let me fall?” I wasn’t really that heavy, but Vince was pretty weak. He just stood there, looking guilty, and Richard told me he had. “What’d you see though?” he asked.

I rubbed my head and said it was a lobster. It was pinching Vince’s head off with its claws.

I turned to Mike, watching from the L-shaped beams above, and said, “See, it’s fuckin’ awesome.”

“Whatever, I don’t trust any of you enough to do that shit to me.”

“Come on man, you gotta try it. It’s no more dangerous than what you’re doing now. I promise I won’t let you fall like this bitch did.”

He squinted in the way people do when they’re trying to decide if what they’re thinking of doing is worth the risk or trouble. He jumped down one last time, got up and said, “Fine, once.”

If only he would have thought a little longer, or just flatly refused.

He repeated the ten deep breaths, with me as the assistant to make sure he didn’t fall. He held his breath and I helped him slip into that other place. It’s something I’ve regretted ever since, that, and when I think back on all the things I wish I had done differently in my teenage years: girls I should have tried for, classes I should have tried harder in, all the things I should and shouldn’t have done, putting him in that bear hug and squeezing him into unconsciousness is the thing I most regret.

I felt the dead weight shift from his feet onto my chest, and he was a pretty big guy, but I made sure to let him down easy and not knock his head against the hard-packed earth. Just as I laid him on the grass, he came back.


He woke up screaming.

“FUCK! HOLY FUCK GET AWAY! GET AWAY! GET AWAY!” he screamed as he leaped up to his feet and flailed his arms around his head. We all jumped back, afraid of being hit in his frenzy, but more afraid, so scared we almost shit our pants, of what we were seeing.

After about five seconds, which is about twice the time it normally takes a person to realize where they’re at and remember what they were doing, he slowed down. “Shit. Shit Holy shit” He was breathing heavily, gasping deep breaths and hunched over at the corner of the tower. It’s a wonder that in his maddened state he didn’t run right into the supports and knock himself out for real. But he just stood there, bent over at the waist, then fell to his knees. With his back turned to us, he started rocking and wringing his hands and muttering to himself.

“Holy mother of fuck,” said Vince. “What the hell did you see?” But Mike didn’t answer. We approached him slowly, and as we drew near we could hear him quietly sobbing. In our macho world, that was normally a crime punishable by death, but at the time of course we didn’t say a word. I reached out a hand to his shoulder. But as soon as I touched him, a touch so tentative and light that he shouldn’t have even been able to feel it, he shrieked and jumped away, clanging his back into the corner of the tower. He pressed up hard against it, staring at us with a look of terror in his eyes so real you’d think we were demons from the pit of hell.

If ever in those few moments I thought that he was “putting on” to fuck with us, that look put all my doubts to rest. That and what happened afterwards of course.

None of us said anything, but after about ten minutes Mike had calmed down enough that Richard was able to coax him to his feet and lead him back to his house. As I had suspected, the temperature had fallen like crazy in just a few minutes and, just as I figured it would, the freezing cold drizzle started to fall. I told Vince I was just gonna go home and I’d see him tomorrow. We always spent the evenings and rainy days playing Mortal Kombat on our SNES, but he didn’t object. I think he probably wanted some time alone to reflect on what horrible thing we had done to our friend, just like I did.

The next day I went to see how Mike was doing, but he and his dad were gone the whole day. I asked him later where he went, but he wouldn’t tell me. I think it must have been to a psychiatrist, because by Tuesday, the next time I saw him, he seemed to be better, if a little zoned out. I figure he got some drugs to calm his nerves, but that’s just a guess. I never really found out. Over the next few days, The four of us hung out, and while Mike was quiet, he didn’t say anything about what had happened. We just talked about stupid, unimportant stuff. Girls we liked, classes at school we hated. I wish we had said something to him now, though I don’t know if it really would have helped, we had no idea what we were facing, and to this day, I still have no clue. But we avoided the subject of what happened that Saturday, and the practice of passing out in general, like it was the plague.

It wasn’t until the following Saturday that he said anything related to what was happening to him.

We were walking down the quiet street of our neighborhood, towards the wooden footbridge that crosses the creek that runs between the houses, separating the development into two halves. I was going on about this hot girl who was a grade above me and who, consequently, wouldn’t give me the time of day, and he, staring at the ground, walked on with his hands in his pockets. Suddenly, out of nowhere and right in the middle of one of my sentences, he says, “I won’t be around much longer.”



“They’ll be coming again tonight, and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep them out this time.”

“Hey. Hey, what are you talking about? Who’s coming tonight?”

“The hands, the voices.”
At this point I was like, “holy shit.” I could feel my breathing get quick and shallow and I felt my face and hands get hot to hear him talk, so matter-of-factly, about some horror that I couldn’t even imagine. But I’ll never forget that conversation. It’s etched into my mind like the stone tablets in The Ten Commandments.

I stammered a few times, then said, stupidly, “What hands?”

“At night, I look at the tree out my window, then it goes black and the hands, dozens, a hundred of them, push in against the glass.”

“And what do you do?”

“I push back. All night. But I’m tired. I can’t keep them out anymore. And the voices say I have to let them in. Little kid voices, and little kid hands.” He lowered his voice to a whisper, but I could tell, in what he said next, that he was struggling to keep the panic at bay. “Sometimes, I see their faces,” he said in a trembling voice.

We had come to the walkway up to his house. He stopped and finally lifted his face to me. “Tell Vince he can have my Super Nintendo. He don’t have one and his mom sure as hell won’t buy him one. Richard can have my CD’s. I know you guys don’t like rap, but he does.”

I started to say something, but he turned and walked up to his house. He went inside and closed the door. How I wish I would have went up and knocked. Told him I would have stayed the night. But we were sixteen, and at that age guys didn’t do that anymore. So I just went home. I didn’t even answer the door for Vince when he came over later. When I went to bed, I didn’t sleep well, and I was constantly listening to every creak and groan that the house made, listening for the voices of a multitude of children. I normally slept with the curtains open, but tonight, I closed them tight.

The next day, we learned someone had broken into Mike’s house. A police car was there in his driveway, and I about shit a brick when I saw it. Later, my worst fears were confirmed when I learned that it was Mike’s bedroom window that had been broken into. He was missing, was all they told us. The cops asked all three of us a ton of questions, and people from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children came and asked us more. I’m sure I looked as guilty as shit, but when I said I didn’t know what happened; it was, after all, halfway true. They were looking for some pervert that had abducted Mike. So no matter how hard they grilled me, they couldn’t get any information relating to that, of course, so finally they gave up. He was on milk cartons and missing children TV shows, but to this day, his is still an unsolved case.

After it was all over, I went to the library to research what the fuck happened, because in those days, while the internet was a research tool, it was only for rocket scientists or people who could afford a $5000 computer. I didn’t find much. The closest thing that I think is related is something I only discovered later, in my Junior class on World History. Apparently, Egyptian priests used to seal themselves in coffins for just long enough a time to almost die. They would then be resuscitated so they could relate the things they saw in the netherworld while dead to the other priests. I can only figure that perhaps the electricity in the air, or the weather, made Mike go under deeper than we ever had and gave him an experience something like what the Egyptian priests had. But Vince knocked me out too, in almost the same spot where Mike was standing when I did it to him. Could he have just been more receptive to the call of that other place? Or had knocking my head on the ground somehow jostled me free of their hold? I don’t know, and I don’t think I ever will, but sometimes it still makes me shiver.

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135 thoughts on “The Hands”

  1. Awe that was kinda sad…him giving away his stuff.Great story-I used to do those breaths in a circle with my friends, and then we would all stand up quickly, the surroundings warping and looking purple-ish.Haha, we thought we were soo cool.

  2. Yotan
    February 16, 2009
    but who was ha-

    no, i’m not doing that.

    i rather liked it.

    February 16, 2009


    Well Yotan, looks like the pun-man said it for you. X)

    Nice little story there. XD Not creepy enough for believe or idealistic seeds in my brain, but good nonetheless.

    I rate this 4/10!

    Grim Gamer

    Blood is red, corpses are blue, I like games and you should too…

  3. Liked that touch about how it could’ve been the narrator if his head hadn’t hit the ground or something similar.

  4. We used to do that a lot when I was younger. I was a small girl & one of my guy friends was a lot bigger than me & could put me out really well…deeper than most. I experienced some crazy shit while I was under, so this definitely hit home. Great, yummy pasta!

  5. Great pasta. Many years ago, I actually quit knocking myself out (via a different but similar method) because I started to get a feeling like someone was with me while I was unconscious. The feeling got stronger each time I did it. So the creepiness factor definitely hit home.

  6. I’m wondering if the hands and faces were actually there, or you friend had mental problems ( no offense to him). Maybe he ran out the window that night or something did snatch. Whatever happened, this tory scared the heck out of me.

  7. Maybe I'm doing it wrong..?

    I haaate passing out.. I pass out when I don’t eat enough (hypoglycemia sucks) and I’ve passed out twice because I came into a delightfully cool building from damn near triple digit outside temperatures, but I never see anything while I’m out.. I guess what I’m getting at is I find this delightfully creepy because of the little truths in it. When I wake up, I have no idea where I am, or what i was doing before..

  8. Very, very awesome! I didn’t exactly “freak me out,” but – hell – this was written in a very realistic style. Felt like one of my friends could have easily relayed this message to me…. The mystery of it all is also something I really enjoyed. Lots of stories are ruined when they try to explain the supernatural.

  9. i did the passing out thing when i was in middle school. although we didn’t do the deep breaths because then your brain would be hyperoxygenated, not oxygen-deprived, we did the same thing mesohungry did. but the one time i did it, i had a weird-ass dream just like the story says (it involved jay leno and taxi cabs). fortunately none of my friends disappeared afterwards. :p

  10. ohh, I really liked this pasta! We used to do this when I was younger, only we stood against a wall and had someone push on our chests. I dont remember dreaming of anything, but I remember waking up once screaming and flailing around. Never did it after that. I never heard childrens voices or had hands try to get me though.

  11. Wow, only one other person who was grimly reminded of The Hands Resist Him? ;-;

    …Great, now I’m paranoid. Freaking… Youtube… Let’s Plays…


  12. I like the fact that it was told from the point of view of someone other than the character to whom the creepy shit was actually happening, there’s too much of that on this site.

    The group of kids reminded me of the kids from South Park but as teenagers. It’s like South Park grew up and met Edward Gorey and they had a child.

  13. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
    This one scared me cause my friends did this in the beginning of the year and my buddy Andy did it to me and I just didn’t like the experience I had when I did it.
    Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck

  14. me and my friends do this, o.o
    thats what got me interested..fuck, now i wana do it again! XD…but at the same time, i dont o.o

  15. Hey guys, I dunno about you but me and my friends already tried this and it works(minus the disappearing act in the pasta) but our version of doing it was incredibly different:

    1 You crouch down and take 20, not 10, rapid deep breaths

    2 On the 30th breath, you stand up quick and stare as high as you can while a friend on front of you puts pressure on your neck with both his hands and in a matter of two seconds, you will go unconscious and fall limp

    I tried it and it worked the first time but there was no visions or anything, you just fell like you’ve been asleep for a week or so


    the only thing you have to worry about…

    Is the teach coming in the classroom the very second you pass out.


    yeah, that was the dare that we do in our junior years, after lunch we would dare someone to be the ‘sleeping beauty’ minutes before the teach came in, the reward is that we would treat him later in the bar. We enjoyed slapping the victim so that he’ll regain consiousness XD

  16. I can’t believe I didn’t comment on this the first time I read it.
    I liked this one, it definitely had good narration and set the proper mood. I want more from this author.

  17. Probably one of the best creepypastas in my opinion, because it’s applied yet it still has a sense of mystery, it’s not totally random or poorly thought out.

  18. Ah, I remember reading this on the Pointless Waste of Time forums in like 2006. One of the better ones from the creepy stories thread.
    Sort of surprised to see it here.
    I’m even more surprised to see that the most common criticism is “too much profanity.”

  19. Admittedly, wasn’t too creepy, but then again, most of what I read on creepypasta doesn’t creep me out too much. Maybe because I’m just desensitized to too much. Anyways however, I felt strangely compelled to read with much attention just because it sounded like an account that a friend would interestingly recall to me in a normal everyday conversation, and in that tone alone of how you did the storytelling was what added to the realism of everything. I say well done.

  20. Good. If you are inclined to do so, you should change the ending to make it frightening. The characters were relatable, so if they were hurt in some way, we would actually care.

  21. N-I-C-E i would’ve said that they found his body and a bunch of bloody children hand prints all around but still its good! :-)

  22. Wow man that was cool!! Just wondering but when the kid, Mike, saw the hands and stuff was he still dreaming? Like the hands was someone spying on him and then eventually took him? I think this because you said something from reality seems to follow them into the dream, like the handrail etc., and some how the dream had screwed up and “followed” him into reality. I don’t know, maybe I’m over analysing the story…

  23. I absolutely loved it. Was it gory? No. Super scary? No. It kinda reminded me of “Stand By Me.” One of Stephen King’s best work.

  24. pretty good pasta, well written and knows which audience to target however not that scary, I kept reading and waiting for something horrible ugly thing to happen but it kinda disappointed me, good one though.

  25. I read this story like I read all other copypasta, sitting in one spot, not stopping until I get to the end. I would have moved on to the next one, but now I am crying hysterically. The story wasn’t sad. I’m not scared. I’m not sure.

  26. @azriel, it helps make it seem more real, as apposed to “so i went home, then the next day mike was missing, as if i didn’t already know”

  27. This was a very good story that borders reality. reading this in a very dark corner of a room with only the light of the monitor to keep me company gives a very scary vibe. I love that if you think about the possibility that this story being true makes your imagination run wild.

  28. It took me damn near three days to read this whole thing, and the ending was terrible. It had AMAZING build-up, but it seemed like the author decided they just wanted it done, so they sped through the ending.

    *obligitory ‘who was____’*

  29. Good story, but the abduction at the end broke the suspension of disbelief for me. Why would demons that haunt your mind need to break a window and take you away? He could have just gone mad or died of a mysterious cause…

  30. That kinda made me shiver at the end ;P
    I really liked it though, wasn’t the creepiest, but it really did give me a good mental picture.

  31. Hey guys. I’m the author of this. IDK who Anonymous from March 7th is, but it’s not me, though I echo his sentiments.

    I wrote this in October of 2006 (or 05 maybe) for a contest on the forums to “tell the creepiest thing that ever happened to you.” The prize was an autographed “John Dies at the End” book and I won. :) Then when David Wong went over to Cracked, the forum archives ended up over there, so that’s why someone mentioned they saw it there.

    I agree that I overdid the profanity part and probably should have done it differently. Oh well.

    Sorry it wasn’t creepy enough for some of you. I tried lol. I got the idea right after I saw that “Hands Resist Him” painting and shat brix. Not sure what I could have done to make it creepier. I just had a scary mental image of those hands pressing in on the glass, and barely-seen faces in the dark outside.

    And we really did used to knock each other out like that, but the dreams weren’t lucid, just really clear. (I didn’t know what lucid dreams were when I wrote it. /x/ set me straight though). :)

    I’m surprised the story is still around and that someone enjoyed it enough to submit it here. Anyway, glad most of you liked it and everyone else at least liked most of it.

  32. Hey guys,

    I’m glad you liked it! And the ‘They’ part was just because the hands had no name. As he said ‘The hands, the voices’ He had nothing else to call them but ‘They’. I’m glad you all liked it!

  33. Your heart can stop and you can stop breathing for over 4 minutes before you get any brain damage. All this did was knock you out. Doghead’s got something there, would be even creepier if Mike never talked about what happened.

  34. This is a good one, although it goes slightly downhill after Mike reveals what he sees. There is much creepy potential here, work on it more.

  35. :] I liked it. But while reading it, I was hearing Family Guy in the background. So it kinda ruined the effect lol.

  36. I think it was awesome, I love the fact that the narrator is using a trivial doing from the real world and link it to a supernatural phenomenon. Makes me buy the story more than those “whoop de do and suddenly this thing/monster appeared” ones.

  37. very well done I’m glad i never tried that however i think i actually might just because did not really like how he did the will seemed a little out of place by my standards

  38. I liked it… it was rather good, ut you could have skipped the “They’re Coming”. It’s cliche’, always has been and quite frankly I’m a bit tired of it. Besides that it was fine.

  39. I think it’s a great pasta, the ending was quite boring and could have been a little better but overall i thought it was a very good pasta :).

  40. I liked it, even though it wasn’t insanely creepy. The images though, my overactive imagination painted a great picture.


  41. I like it. This one is realistic enough like a first person account to make you scared and make this story effective. The recent stories often fail because it tries to hard to make things creepy for the sake of it.

  42. The amount of detail made the characters and the situation itself very believable. However, as actual pasta it wasn’t that good because, well it wasn’t all that creepy. I definitely got chills if only I imagined the situation had happened to one of my friends when I was that old.

    You’re a talented writer and I look forward to more in the future.

  43. It was all going quite right, but my brain sort of jumped when I read “Sometimes, I see their faces” Damn, I formed the image on my head, and that was creepy.

    Then it sort of went down. It had a proper ending, but maybe it shouldn’t. The explanation cooled the mood. Well, at least I’ll sleep well tonight… ^_^

  44. I find this a bit wierd as me and my friend have just been doing the same shit.. O.o
    good pasta, but not really creepy..

  45. ive read something clsoe to the ending of this,its where a kid goes on a feild trip to a museum,and hes a big egypt buff,and hes telling his friends about how egyptian priest whatnots used to seal themselves up ts othe ycould realte sightsi n the netherworld,except he tries it for himself,and the coffin gets stuc kshut,and when it finally gets opened hes way back in egypt,its wierd

  46. Not that SCARY, no, but very well-written and super interesting to read. I almost thought we weren’t going to find out what Mike saw and I was pissed, hahaha.

  47. i liked it, but “WTF” was inappropriate.
    In addition, it was a little too vague.
    It was like not enough chocolate in chocolate milk.
    but really

  48. Why has noone posted “Then who was hands?” yet? That, and Why haven’t I been on this site before now

    It’s like a compendium of awesome and creepy.

    Being a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, this stuff is right up my ally.

    Back on topic though, This story had me shitting bricks until the milk cartons line. It ruined it because it comes in bags in canada, etc.

    I liked the story overall, though.


    Up until the “They” part. You know.

    But I knew guys in high school that did the whole passing out thing all the time.
    So much, in fact, that teachers were told to give a long ass speech about how bad it is for you.

    I don’t think you really do have dreams like that, but its definitely a great thing to turn to something creepy.

    Thumbs up.

  50. @ H2SO4: I think the profanity helped set the scene, really; this is one scared kid, and profanity at that age helps release that tension better than anything.

  51. To tell the truth, I was disappointed. It seemed like half the story was “If only we knew” and “I wish I could go back” and on and on.

    It was certainly a good idea, but I don’t think the monster idea was developed quite enough. So they force themselves to have dreams, then one person, for some reason, sees something real and then it kidnaps him. The hands, voices and faces were good in theory, but just seemed unconnected and a little random.

  52. Not bad, but there’s too much profanity. It was pretty jolting everytime I read “fuck” in the dialogue (or even worse, in the narrative). Not a bad concept though.

  53. Nice one, i liked the lenght and the overall feelings it gave me…the ending could have been better, maybe putting the narrator in a supposed danger related to the dream he had just before his friend,but…who cares, it’s good.

  54. This pasta isn’t creepy enough. You do have potential you just need to make it to where the reader finds out the “thing” on their own and it needs to crash down after that. I do like the hands though, nice touch.

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