The Devil and John Doe

I had constantly replayed the memories of last year’s haunting in my head and had been in utter confusion until just recently as to why my house had been haunted. To simply put my history in the house:

I have been living here for my entire life and there had never been any disturbances until last year. I had been going through an altogether stressful time trying to improve my grades in school and was pulling all-nighters in excess. As any sleep-deprived person knows, one loses energy and ultimately falls into a very vulnerable state of mind.

As I physically and mentally grew weaker, I began having mild hallucinations involving images appearing out of the corner of my eye. Although I have always believed in the paranormal and have done extensive research on it, I dismissed these images because I was completely aware of what sleep-deprivation can potentially do to a person. It was not until physical disturbances began to occur that I became more aware of what was going on around me.

Everything became worse after one night when I was in the dining room and heard the most utterly horrifying moan come from the living room when everyone in the house was asleep except for me. It was as if something was awakening or had finally been liberated.

I would be sitting at the computer in the dining room and would hear things falling off the counters in the kitchen behind me. Keep in mind that everything on these counters is far from the edge and there would be no reason for them to fall unless they were pushed. When I went to go look, medicine bottles would be scattered on the floor, far from where the counters stood. As much as I wanted to believe they had fallen on their own, I knew that there was no way for them to have traveled so far from the counters without something shoving them off.

Then the dreams began. All of them are now vague in my mind except for one that had me so scared that I had to walk around my house for months with my head down so that I would not see anything around me. In the dream I was sitting in the recliner in the living room and staring at the television which was not even turned on. I studied the reflection in the glass and saw the figure of a man standing behind me. Immediately startled, I leapt out of the chair and turned around. No one was there and everything appeared normal except for the large pair of eyes on the wall, bearing down on me with such force that my knees buckled and I remained helpless on the floor. The dream jumped to me standing in the dining room and looking into the dark living room. A man in robes blacker than the night walked through it and towards me. His skin was charred so black that I could not make out any facial features. He took me by the hand and proceeded to walk me through the house. He told me about the psychical energy in each of the rooms we passed. He took me to the area where my bedroom and my brother’s bedroom are and said, "In the corners of this house there is death." He took me to my parents' room where my father lay brutally murdered on the bed. My mother was sitting next to him in an upright position and was in a trance. She was chanting about hellfire and brimstone, but it wasn’t her voice speaking the words. It was a man’s voice. I screamed and ran back out into the living room where I saw the man who had been in the television’s reflection. I remember looking back and forth between the black man and the one standing in front of me. I ran to the one in front of me.

I woke up screaming and sobbing and had to be led into the kitchen by my mother while I buried my head in her shoulder. I couldn’t look at the living room as we passed it. I knew that I would see the black man and completely lose my sanity. The shock eventually wore off after a few weeks, but I knew that I was permanently scarred from that dream.

There continued to be disturbances in the house late in the night when everyone else was in bed except for me. I vaguely recall falling asleep in the living room on certain nights and just as I was drifting off, I would open my eyes a bit and see the silhouette of the man from the reflection sitting on the couch as if guarding me as I slept.

It wasn’t until this year when I was sitting in my English class and discussing literature that everything that had happened to me finally came together. My teacher was talking about how because of Puritan influence, literature often alludes to the Bible. He then proceeded to ask, "Have you ever heard of the black man in the forest?" We all shook our heads and he continued, "Well, if you ever come across him in literature, just know that he’s the Devil." I was completely speechless. I had never known who the "black man" in my dream was until my teacher had explained it. Now I know that I came face to face with the Devil and that the ghost whom I now call "John Doe" was there to protect me from him.

Recently, I was babysitting two young boys and we were watching a movie. The youngest one was snuggled up against me and getting drowsy. He looked up at me and asked, "Are you tired?" I replied, "A little. I haven’t gotten much sleep lately." He then said something that I will never forget, "Don’t get too tired ‘cause that’s when the bad things get you." I stared at him in complete shock. Did he know what had gone on? But how would he? I never found out.

Submitted by Eleanor Waldgrave, CA, USA