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Close your eyes. Imagine a voice. Taking over, and it’s all you can hear. Screaming, loud, high pitched screaming fills your conscious. It won’t leave you alone. Ever. At night, at work, all the time. Can other people hear it? Or are you going crazy? You start to lose touch with reality. Nothing matters, except the voice. Because it never leaves you. And it will never leave you. Your life is this voice. Normal doesn’t exist anymore, and death- well- it starts to look better everyday.
This is what happened to Ray McNeil. He was normal forty-something banker, living the American Dream in the bayous of Louisiana. Boothville, to be exact. A small village in the southeastern corner of the Pelican state, population: 854.
Ray’s life was normal, boring even. He woke up every morning in his beige colored room, to the sound of his elderly neighbor’s rooster. He brewed coffee in his older-than-the-hills percolator, and put on his only suit, the one with the tan leather elbow patches. He drove his 2006 Buick LaCrosse, bought with last year’s Christmas bonus, to Regions Bank, where he worked as a teller. He stopped at the store everyday on his way home, to buy cream sodas for his two children, Mack and Ray Jr. Sandy McNeil had dinner on the table at 6:45 sharp, and Ray’s day would repeat when he woke up.
Then, the voice came. Slowly at first, but gradually, Ray describes being completely at the voices’ mercy. First, he lost his job at the bank. Focusing on the numbers in accounts suddenly seemed inconsequential compared to the screaming in his mind. Then, his personality changed. Ray and Sandy started fighting. But even the nagging voice of his wife couldn’t drown out the insistent noise. The couple separated in May of 2014, and a divorce followed. Sandy cited “irreconcilable differences”. The kids went with Sandy, leaving Ray in a house too big for one, lonely person.
When investigative reporter Jason Bates for the Baton Rouge Times sat down with him on February 17th, he did not see the man who once prided himself on the simplistic beauty of his life. Instead, a man, haggard and hunched answered the door when he knocked. The door bell, which formerly played a merry tune, hung broken on the doorframe. The siding was cracked and faded. A neglected garden lined the front walk. Dressed in blue striped pajamas, Ray McNeil looked twice his age, and as bad as the house. Maybe it was a product of the nights he had spent in jail a few weeks before, for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, or the alienation he had faced from his former friends and neighbors, but Ray looked tired. Tired with life.
He now spends his days at home, screaming along with the voice, drinking to drown out the sound. He hasn’t left his sanctuary in weeks, or showered, as far as Jason could tell. In fact, Ray only ventures outside on every third Friday, when he drives an hour and a half to the capital to see his teenage children. This is his life now. Eating Kraft Mac-and-Cheese in his bathrobe, on the days he’s actually lucid enough to eat. Watching old western reruns, on the days he can focus on reality. Ray McNeil is a victim. A victim of something deadly and destructive, and yet, not recognized by the public. We acknowledge Bigfoot, and Nessie is a common conversational topic, but we refuse to believe the facts in front of us.
This is Ray McNeil’s story, and it demands our ears.
An Interview With Ray McNeil, February 17th, 2015
Q: So, Ray, please describe what you have been hearing for the past year.
A: I hear screaming. A female’s voice, like nails on a chalk board. It’s soulless, a voice from hell… And it won’t leave me alone!
Q: We know that this Voice is the reason you are currently unemployed, and the cause of your divorce, but can you elaborate on the effects this thing has had on your life?
A: I lost my wife, my job, my kids. I have nothing. My friends have all abandoned me. The Voice is the only thing that has stayed. And look at me, who could blame them?
Q: Now this is something I’ve been wondering, and I’m sure our readers will be curious as well. How often do you hear this Voice? Is it all the time, or do you have periods of silence?
A: No. All the time. No sleep, I can’t have conversations, well, who would I have conversation with? That wasn’t a joke. I can’t eat, most of the time. All I do is listen. You don’t understand how AWFUL it is.
Q: As you can tell, I’m very interested in the specifics of the voice. So I was wondering if the Voice has ever delivered a coherent message? Do you hear words?
A: On occasion.
Jason: Like what?
Ray: It always says, “Let me out. Set me free!” I don’t know what it means, I would let it out of my mind if I could!
Q: Whoa, easy there, Mr. McNeil. Now, where do you think this Voice originated from? And, why you, Ray? Why has it targeted you?
A: It is my family’s curse. My ancestor, Silas McNeil, murdered his wife and children while they slept. I believe this is our penance. His spirit has been sent back t-t-to haunt us! My dad was crazy, killed himself when I was three. And now, it’s happening to me. I’m going crazy, and nothing, nothing can stop it. Aaah! STOP! JUST STOP IT, please.
Q: Mr. McNeil, Mr. McNeil, please. Just one more question. What message do you have for others out there, that are hearing the same thing, Ray? People in your shoes.
As far as we can tell, Ray never answered this question.
At this point, He became hysterical, clutching his head and screaming. He then proceeded to destroy the lapel mike clipped to his pajama top, and threw the glass of water he’d so kindly offered Jason against the wall. Suddenly, the battered state of the couch and coffee table were explained. The remaining mike that had been attached to the wall behind Ray recoded the struggle that ensued. Mr. McNeil, who had been rolling. around in the floor, banging his shins into the table legs, stood up, red-faced. He lifted the offending table, and by the sounds of it, threw it at the wall. Investigators later found a dent in the wall that supports this.
On this day, the Voice claimed another victim. Jason Bates, 26, lost his life to a demonic phenomena also responsible for Ray’s loss of sanity. Autopsy reports later confirmed that Jason Bates died of blunt force trauma to the skull, likely from the smashed lamp later found at the scene. Ray McNeil is in police custody, awaiting trial at this time. We will continue to post updates on this site as the trial progresses.
Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. Do you think Ray should be granted his insanity plea? What do you think the Voice is? And, if you, too, are suffering from this same affliction, please, seek help. We will end this violence, and end the Voice.
Credit To – Ashley Burkholder, Ben Wetovick, and Kolton Morse