Dwelling Paranormal Thriller Review

Need a good horror movie for Halloween season and you’re tired of all the same cookie-cutter movies of the genre? If so, then try Dwelling, a paranormal thriller written and directed by Kyle Mecca.

Haunted house movies are usually pretty formulaic: Unsuspecting family moves into a haunted house, haunting ensues, family either flees for their lives or banishes the spirits from the house. Not so in Dwelling. In Dwelling, Ellie (Erin Marie Hogan) purposely moves her family into a haunted house because she wishes to reconnect with the spirit of her deceased mother. Just this premise alone, the fact she purposely moves into a haunted house, makes this film quite different than most others of its genre, and compelled me to start following the film’s production progress a few years ago.

Filmed on location in Buffalo, New York, Dwelling is a classic slow-burn and not littered with gimicky jump-scares. Mecca’s story is a suspenseful build in a supernatural setting, harkening back to the days of Hitchcock when it was the tension of the moment, the possibility of what may happen, that scared you.

The actors portray this tension well as the situation inside the house devolves, setting up a mesmerizing conclusion. After a traumatic childhood that found her sister, River (seasoned scream queen, Devanny Pinn) in a psychiatric facility, Hogan’s Ellie is hell-bent on utilizing the house and the budding psychic abilities of her young niece, Izzy (Abigail Mary), to find the closure she seeks with only the lone voice of reason, her partner, Gavin (Mu-Shaka Benson), standing in the way. What happens when the paranormal and the desire to harness paranormal power collide?

Haunted Road Media was fortunate enough to recently interview both Kyle Mecca and Erin Marie Hogan about Dwelling and their own paranormal experiences on The Edge of the Rabbit Hole Livestream Show. (Watch the videos posted below.)

Recently released on DVD, Dwelling may be found at your local Wal-Mart or Fye, and also on iTunes or Amazon. (Click for direct Amazon link.)

New Encounters Coming Soon!

Allow me to be candid this Monday morning… I’ve busted my ass, and I’m exhausted. Those who are involved in the publishing industry know what all goes into producing a book, especially when you have a hard deadline. So, in order for the next Encounters With The Paranormal book to make it on time for the release event later this month, finishing the book became my weekend. There were videos to produce as well, but the book took precedence — we need to have it available at its own release event, after all.

I must thank all the contributors, of course, and Shana has been there every step of the way to help champion the cause, contributing her stories as well and helping with editing, along with her unwavering moral support. Donna Gorton helped with some editing, too, and I can’t thank Dave Nunnally of It’s Raining Zen enough for his considerable contribution, not only in the sizable accounts of the hauntings at Mineral Springs he sent my way, but also in the historic photos he provided. This work does not exist without all of those who have been involved. Those who contributed this year include Shana Wankel, Vanessa Hogle, Rob Gutro, Michelle Hamilton, Coyote Chris Sutton, Dave Nunnally, Brooke Haramija, Sabrina Meyers, Donna Gorton, Greg Feketik, Stephanie Bingham, Dawn Bradley-Francisco, Katie Hopkins, Darrell Russ, and Penny Scott. And, of course, the talented Adam D. Tillery has returned to offer more fantastic illustrations.

It’s a collective effort, to be sure, but, damn… I was wallowing in a puddle of drool by night’s end last night. There’s still more work to do, of course, including the e-book format and all the promotion that follows a book release. The promotion is a whole other job, entirely.

Not to worry, though. We may have missed a video for Sunday night on Haunted Road Media’s YouTube channel (for those keeping track, we’ve been going every Tuesday and Friday night, plus at least one other, usually Sunday), but I’ll get one out there tonight. Yes, that means, somehow, after I”m done with the day job today I will record, edit, upload, and put together all the additional material (thumbnails, etc.) for a video all by night’s end. Oh, and I have to finish up a few things for tomorrow’s Edge of the Rabbit Hole episode, too. And there’s that darned e-book I was just talking about a moment ago. Also, at some point, I’ll want to go live and talk about these things since everyone loves live. There aren’t enough hours in the day… (well, there are, but that darned day job keeps getting in the way).

Speaking of live… did you know that I’m now on Periscope? Since this service also streams to Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been using of late to replace what we had been doing as just straight Facebook Live videos. Follow me there at: https://www.pscp.tv/MikeRicksecker

If this seems like a disjointed blog post, that’s because it is. We’ll continue on with more of the October Haunted Blog tomorrow… and expect the Encounters With The Paranormal: Volume 3 release, featuring Mineral Springs Hotel, to be on Wednesday.

Add that to the list!

Bleeding Painting and Rising Bones

The cracked grave of Legh Master.

My first book focusing on the paranormal was Ghosts of Maryland, covering a state in which I’d lived for 17 years split up between two different stints, and it contains over 100 ghost stories. Not surprisingly given all its history, Maryland is an extremely haunted state!

There are a number of tales that I often speak about, including my experiences at the Samuel Mudd House, my discoveries of Ariana Calvert at Mt. Airy Plantation, and my prophetic dream of Montpelier Mansion, but I also found the town of Westminster to have a number of very interesting haunted tales. Westminster is a quaint, historic town, sleepy in some senses, but its ghost stories are anything but sleepy. In the most recent Friday Night Ghost Frights I tell two of these tales — the legend of Legh Master and his cruelty that still surfaces today, and the strange tales of Cockey’s Tavern.

The bleeding painting of Ulysses S. Grant.

Legh Master was a cruel, rich widower who had moved to Maryland from England after his wife passed away. He murdered slaves in his great iron works furnaces and its said that in death, his bones are still trying to rise from their grave. At Cockey’s Tavern, many hauntings have occured, including disembodied footsteps and candles relighting themselves, but it seems to be the wall hangings that are the most haunted. Not only are they found to move on their own, but the one of Ulysses S. Grant (some say it’s just a bearded man and not the former President) appears to bleed on its own.

To learn about these tales, watch Friday Night Ghost Frights below!

Personal Haunted History! Part 1

October is just budding, which seems paradoxical for the preeminent autumn month in which the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground, but it’s a more colorful way of stating the month has just begun. Thus, this October Haunted Blog has just begun as well. I’ve decided that I’m going to update it daily throughout the week, so Monday through Friday. The weekends I’ll reserve for doing weekend things like working on full investigation videos, going to events, and visiting Shana.

Today’s journey is going to take you down the path of some of my early influences, those things that set me on the road of becoming a paranormal investigator, ghostorian, and author of haunted tomes. Monday’s blog featured one specific item, the ghost story of The Golden Arm, a creepy little tale that we’d listen to during story time in first grade. The mystique of the legend invigorated my senses. Another story record that I used to listen to a lot as a young child was the old school version of Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion,” which included a very creepy cool sound effects track at the end of the record.

In the pumpkin patch, 1981.

Of course, as a little kid I loved Halloween season. Who didn’t like dressing up as something spooky and running around the neighborhood to get free candy? Like clockwork, Stevie Jones was always the first at the door looking for treats before it even got dark — what great spirit he always had. My mother was wonderful, hand-making our costumes and hosting little Halloween parties with the neighborhood kids. I was terrible at bobbing for apples, but it was fun. I also loved going to the pumpkin patch with my sister and finding the perfect pumpkins for my father to later carve into jack-o-lanterns.

The sun was just toasty enough during the day to keep us warm, and that brisk scent of fresh-fallen leaves washed over us throughout the season as we rushed out the door. Shadows seemed to grow longer in the afternoons, and the cool nights were inviting, beckoning us to wonder what lurked in the darkness.

I was born in and currently live in Ohio (I’ve literally come full circle, working ten minutes down the road from the hospital in which I was born), but those ten autumns in Massachusetts as a child were absolutely magical. We had a large back yard with a plethora of trees, and while raking them was quite a chore, I loved jumping into the pile. After the leaves would billow up around me, I’d lie there for a moment as the heat off the leaves flushed my cheeks and light crackles echoed around me. Then… inhale deeply and coast to a surreal dreamland of oranges and reds on nature’s pillow. Later, in preparation for the coming winter, my father would ask me to help him split wood from a tree that he’d fell. What scent from a tree wasn’t attached to me?

I was always reluctant to let the season end, but at some point my mother would start taking down the Halloween decorations, including ceramics she had made, and the Thanksgiving decorations would find their way out of a box. There was one week after Halloween when I was about six years old that I drew an assortment of skeletons, asked my mother how to spell the word so I could add it to my drawings, then cut them out and hung them on walls around the house so I could create a haunted house. Of course, she made me take them down and explained that Halloween was over and we would shortly start getting ready for a big turkey dinner. Damn.

There would be other haunting opportunities later… more to come!

Ghost Girl of the Goldenrod

Part 2 of the October Haunted Blog: This true ghost story first appeared as “Annie” in ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PARANORMAL: VOLUME 2.

I believe I first encountered Annie in the main lobby and concession area of the Goldenrod Showboat. I had ventured inside with my video camera in hand and was left alone for a few minutes to soak up the atmosphere. I love moments like these and being given a chance to just listen to and feel a particular location. I could certainly feel the age of the boat around me, its golden years gone by, but I could also feel that it still had some life in her yet. That’s when I felt her near me.

The Goldenrod Showboat, Feb. 2016.

I was looking out toward the windows, wondering what the splendor of the showboat must’ve looked like back in its glory days, when I felt a presence approach me. At first I thought it might have been Shana, but I knew she was back out on the deck with Jake. I turn from side to side, but nobody was there, and I suddenly felt a slight tickle behind my ear, a distinct sensation as if somebody was lightly playing with my hair. Whoever it was, it felt female in nature, and as quickly as the sensation had come it had gone.

Of course, this could have been anybody, but after what happened later that evening I do believe that this brief encounter was Annie saying, “Hello.”

Annie had been a young woman who lived on the Goldenrod Showboat many years beforehand in St. Louis along with her father who worked there. While she dreamed of being on stage, she had a fling with the assistant captain who encouraged her to perform as an actress and a dancer like many of the others who worked there.

One night, her involvement with the assistant captain came to a head as her father expressly forbade her from seeing the man. An argument ensued between father and daughter, and Annie ran off the boat into the dark St. Louis night. The next morning she was found as a corpse floating alongside the Goldenrod, and to this day nobody knows what truly happened to her that fateful evening.

Later that evening I’d visited, Shana and I were deep into our paranormal investigation of the Goldenrod, and we were exploring the second floor dining and dance area which is purported to be a frequent haunt of the spirit known as Annie. Since Annie is known to enjoy dancing, I asked her if she would like to dance with me on the small patch of wooden floor in the center of the room. I’m not a very good dancer, so I did my best to amble about in a circular fashion as Shana looked on. That’s when I felt it.

Annie, as depicted by illustrator Adam Tillery.

Similar to what I had experienced on the lower deck, I felt the sensation of somebody playing with my right ear and the hair around it. I laughed a little since it did tickle a little bit, and I told Shana about what I was experiencing.

Playfully, Shana spotted an opportunity for the spirit to get a little more interactive and suggested, “Annie, if you like his ear so much why don’t you go ahead and blow in it?”

Sure enough, at that prompting I felt a sudden burst of air inside my right ear as if somebody had just puckered their lips and blown directly into it. I gasped and laughed, “She just did!”

We had a good chuckle, and Shana suggested that Annie do it again. Sure enough, in my other ear I felt the same kind of sudden influx of air as if somebody had just blown into it.

We don’t know why this spirit was so forward and interactive that particular night. Perhaps I resembled the young man she had fallen for and was denied pursuing the night her life came to an end. Or, perhaps, she was simply in a happy, playful mood that evening. These are possibilities upon which we would normally follow up; however, we may not have that opportunity with Annie.

Just before the Goldenrod closed its doors at the end of March 2016, a medium was brought on board in order to afford the opportunity for spirits to pass on before the boat was to be destroyed. Annie was, purportedly, one of the spirits that did so. In a follow up investigation of the Goldenrod after it re-opened its doors, I made another attempt to dance with Annie in the same location in which she had blown into my ear. Something did happen, and it wasn’t Annie… but that is another story for another time.

More fantastic true tales like this can be found in ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PARANORMAL: VOLUME 2, part of the proceeds of which go to help the historic Goldenrod Showboat.

October Haunted Blog!

Welcome to October! What is it about this month that has always made it seemingly magical? Of course, Halloween caps it off at the end, Shana and I had our handfasting last October 29th, and both of my parents were born this month (my father was actually born on Halloween), but it really has more to do with the energy in the air, the aroma, the weather, and the changing colors. It’s a hauntingly mysterious time that I try to make last the entire year, but it is only October that has that true aura.

What about the magic of Christmas, some of you may ask? Yes, I do enjoy the Christmas season, but take note that my favorite Christmas movie is the 1970 version of Scrooge because I love the hauntings.

To honor the season, I am going to attempt to add some sort of haunt to this blog nearly everyday. I’ve desired to do something like this for a long time, but it’s always been a challenge since there are 5,721 other things that I’m doing. My travel schedule has been heavy, we’ve been consistently putting out three videos per week on the Haunted Road Media channel for months now, we just published Vanessa Hogle’s new book Walking With Ghosts last week (if you haven’t yet grabbed a copy, you absolutely must), and the next volume of Encounters With The Paranormal will be out very shortly.

I’m going to start this series with a video I posted back in July, but it was a significant early influence for who I am today. Sitting in Miss Steele’s first grade class during story time, the tale of the Golden Arm invigorated my senses and perfectly set me up for the following school year in which I began my first real creative writings. Mark Twain, who significantly endorsed this tale as fantastic storytelling, could not have made a better recommendation.

Here is my telling of the classic ghost story, “The Golden Arm”:

Higher Degree of Investigating

If you’ve been paying attention to the Haunted Road Media YouTube channel, you’re aware that we’ve added a new type of format to our growing collection of 350+ paranormal videos. We’re now offering videos in 360 DEGREE VIRTUAL REALITY (VR), for use on any device that supports the technology (most modern cell phones and computer web browsers)! It’s our way of trying to allow our viewers to fully view the environment in which we’re investigating, providing a much more immersive experience. Now, when we hear a noise from across the room viewers can pan the camera around on their own to see what may have made the noise.

By no means will this eliminate the traditional format videos we’ve been uploading for years. 360 degree VR videos aren’t exactly ideal for highlighting a specific moment of an investigation, like multiple listens of an EVP, so we will continue to offer the same great content that we have been on Haunted Road Media. What the 360 degree videos will do is offer another type of look at a haunted location and offer the viewers the chance to literally put themselves in our shoes to fully see what we see — and even what we can’t. We’ll be able to give virtual tours that allow viewers to explore on their own, enter a room and “spin around” to see what it really looks like rather than be relegated to one specific camera angle. It makes the whole experience much more expansive!

There’s going to be bit of a learning curve since we just started using this technology, but we’re really excited about what it can do for us as investigators and what it can offer viewers for a more comprehensive investigative experience. It’s already caught for us evidence that we wouldn’t normally have captured simply because of its angle of view.

So come explore with us in 360 VR!

Top 10 Solar Eclipse Legends

Cultures from around the world each have their own explanations for the cause of a solar eclipse, each spiritual or supernatural in nature. Below are some of the more interesting ones, with an accompanying video.

10: Heavenly Union
In old German mythology, the hot female Sun and cold male Moon were married. The Sun ruled the day while the sleepy Moon ruled the night. Seeking companionship one day, the Moon was drawn to his wife and they came together, and their union created a solar eclipse.
Likewise, Australian Aborigines, considered the Sun as a woman who carries a torch. Again, the moon was considered a male. Because they associated the lunar cycle with the female cycle, the Moon was linked with fertility. A solar eclipse was was believed to be the Moon and the Sun coming together as man and woman.

9. Danger to the Unborn
The ancient Aztecs believed that a solar eclipse is dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn children. It was believed that since an eclipse was a bite on the face of the sun the unborn child could develop deformities, usually a cleft lip. Therefore, pregnant women were forbidden to go outside during an eclipse. Many times the Aztecs would perform human sacrifices during solar eclipses in order to appease the gods.

8. Transylvania
In Transylvanian folklore, people believed an eclipse was caused by the sun turning its back on the sins of humanity, most notably the bad behavior of men. Evil demons would wreak havoc upon the Earth during this time, and simultaneously, the eclipse would create a poisonous dew (scientifically, an eclipse can produce a dew, but it’s not poisonous). This dew would be the onset of some sort of plague.

7. Water Protection
In certain parts of ancient India, many believed that when an eclipse (either solar or lunar) occurs a dragon is trying to capture one of the two celestial bodies. People immersed themselves in rivers up to their neck as an act of worship to help aid the Sun and Moon defend themselves against the dragon.

6. Sun Swallowers
In ancient China, the earliest word for eclipse, shih, meant to eat, and eclipses were believed to be caused by a dragon eating the sun. Instead of immersing themselves in water they would bang on pots and drums to scare away the dragon. If the dragon left (which it always did, of course), this would mean good fortune was on its was for their emperors.

In Vietnam, the sun swallower was a giant frog trying to escape his master, the Lord of Hahn, and the Lord is the only one who can convince the frog to release the sun.

The Tatars of western Siberia claimed that a vampire tried to swallow the sun, but he spat it out when it burned his tongue.

5. Bitten By The Bear

The Pomo, a Native American tribe in northern California, tell a story of a bear who started a fight with the Sun and took a bite out of it. In fact, the Pomo name for a solar eclipse is “Sun got bit by a bear.” According to the Pomo myth, solar eclipses occur when a bear, wandering along the Milky Way, crossed paths with the sun. The two began to argue about who should move out of the other’s was, and when the sun refused to step aside, the bear challenged the sun to a fight. After taking a bite of the Sun and winning the fight, the bear continued on until it encountered the Moon, the Sun’s sister. When the bear also took a bite out of the Moon this caused a lunar eclipse. It’s possible this story may be the Pomo explanation as the why a solar eclipse usually occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.

4. Preventing Ragnarok
The Vikings believed that the apocalypse would be inspired by the actions of two wolves — Skoll and Hati who are endlessly chasing the sun and the moon, waiting for Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. They thought the wolves wanted to eat the sun and the moon; Skoll would go after the moon, while Hati would go after the sun. An eclipse was the result of one of the wolves finally catching the sun or moon. The people on Earth would scream and shout and make as much noise as they could in order to scare off the wolves and stave off Ragnarok, which would begin if both the sun and the moon were caught.

3. Korean Fire Dogs

A long time ago among the many heavenly kingdoms was Gamangnara (Dark World), whose king, concerned about the darkness surrounding his kingdom, ordered a fierce fire dog that belonged to one of his subjects to steal the sun and the moon. The fire dog tried to carry the sun in his mouth, but it was too hot and the dog could not hold on to it, and gave up. The failed attempt made the king angry, and he ordered a more ferocious dog the steal the moon. But when the dog tried to carry the moon in its mouth, the moon was so cold that its mouth froze. The dog tried many more times to bite the moon with its teeth, but in the end it gave up and came back. The king did not give up, however, and continued to send more fire dogs, but they all failed every time. It’s believed that a solar or lunar eclipse is when the fire dogs from Gamangnara are biting the sun or the moon.

2. Cherokee Cardinal Legend
Long ago, the sun’s daughter was killed. The sun was so distraught over the loss of her daughter that the sun went dark.

People knew they could not live without the sun, so they sent seven men with magical powers to bring the daughter back from the ghost land. She was brought back in a box, but the people were instructed not to open the box. The daughter pleaded and begged to be let out, so they succumbed to her pleas and lifted the lid. When they did there was a flash of red, and instead of the daughter a bird flew out. This was the first red bird, a cardinal, and it is the reason people can’t be brought back from the dead.

Still trying to resolve their problem and bring back the sun, young dancers were sent to the sun instead. As they began dancing, the sun was please, showed her face, and balance was finally restored between the upper and lower worlds.

1. Hindu Demon Rahu
A group of gods desired to create an elixir of immortality, so they enlisted the help of some demons to help them churn the cosmic ocean, using a mountain for a churning stick. The ambrosia eventually emerged like curds in milk. In the process the sun and the moon were also created along with many other enchanted things. The gods promised to share the elixir with the demons, but when the task was complete, the god Vishnu disguised himself as a woman, enchanted the demons and stole their portion of the elixir.

Upset and wanting what he was owed, the demon Rahu sneaked into the camp of the gods and stole a swallow of the elixir. The sun and the moon spotted him, however, and immediately told Vishnu. Vishnu got to Rahu just as he was drinking the elixir and cut off Rahu’s head before it could slide past his throat. Thus, Rahu’s body died but his head remained immortal. Rahu was angry at the sun and the moon for telling Vishnu, so he began chasing the two objects through the sky. Every once in a while, he catches up with one of his betrayers and swallows it, but because since he’s just a severed head, the sun or the moon slips back out through his open throat. Nonetheless, the demon continues his pursuit indefinitely.

Top 5 Paranormal Investigations

A common question I get asked during interviews is what’s the most haunted location I’ve investigated. This is a tough question since one cannot make the paranormal happen on demand, so I can only speak to my own personal experiences and not what has happened at a location for all time. There may be a particular place at which I witnessed very little paranormal activity while it was off the chain for others, and vice-versa.

The following list are the Top 5 paranormal investigations that I’ve conducted by experiences. These are single investigations, not what I may have experienced cumulatively at a location and not necessarily in the order of my favorite locations. This was tough to narrow down since I’ve had a lot of experiences at a number of locations that I talk about all the time, but the accompanying video is already 20 minutes long at just five. I encourage you to give the video a watch since it also includes footage from the experiences I describe.

5. Mineral Springs Mall (Hotel), Alton, Illinois

This is actually a recent investigation the Shana and I (Society of the Haunted) just conducted with Lee Ehrlich and Chris Sutton. Lee specializes in underwater investigations and showed us a very interesting method in being able to converse with spirits using water. Using this method we captured a plethora of EVPs that are plain as day, answering various personal questions such as “Where are you from?” and “How old are you?”, giving us a better insight about the spirits that are there. It may very well be the single best investigation for capturing EVPs I’ve ever had (tough to gauge at this point, however, considering how many investigations I’ve conducted).

4. Residence in Jacksonville, Illinois

This nearly 100 year old house in Illinois is teeming with paranormal activity. Originating in the third floor front bedroom, a strong presence kept following us and affecting us all evening throughout the investigation. Of significant note was the way Diesel the dog was affected all night long. For the longest time he wouldn’t come out of the second floor side room, and when he finally did he was spooked by something we all heard but nobody saw.

3. Residence in Edmond, Oklahoma

This was the “cleansing night” for the episode “Monster in the Closet” we filmed for the television show The Haunted on Animal Planet. There were so many things that happened as the cleansing was being performed by Carl Johnson, including the back door flying open multiple times, the girl getting punched in the gut by something unseen, the “Die” EVP, the wind kicking up out of nowhere, and more. The show failed to show it all due to the limited air time. Little known fact… the original episode title was “Wrath of the Wraith.”

2. Goldenrod Showboat

Teaming up with Shana, I’ve investigated the Goldenrod Showboat quite a number of times now and have had plenty of paranormal experiences aboard, including the “Annie” incident as chronicled in Encounters With The Paranormal: Volume 2. However, the greatest paranormal experience I’ve had there to date was at the end of the investigation following the “Ghosts of the Goldenrod” event organized by Haunted Road Media. There was some mild activity throughout the evening, including sightings of the shadow upstairs and a couple “twinkles”. But after all had gone except for Shana, her friend Tara, and I, what started off as a bar of light on the ground near Shana turned into a translucent yellow ball that started dancing around the showroom. At first we deemed it a fairy, but it’s difficult to know what it really was. For nearly five minutes we watched it dance around us before it flew off toward the lobby and disappeared.

1. The Stone Lion Inn

The night of one particular investigation at the Stone Lion Inn started with an EMF sweep that almost caused me to pass out. When the full investigation got started the activity immediately ramped up. While investigating the lower level Parlor Suite, a bureau drawer in the entrance hall slammed shut all on its own, and I captured a fantastic white wisp near it with my camera. A few minutes later while walking up the stairs a framed pictured of Lizzy Borden crashed to stairs of its own accord. Add in some of the “usual” hauntings of the house, including disembodied footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and shadows darting about throughout the night, and it made for what was definitely my most active paranormal investigation to date.

Apologies to the Ferry Plantation, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Samuel Mudd House, among many others. Even if I had put together a Top 10 I would still be apologizing to a number of locations. You can find videos to all of these investigations and more at http://www.youtube.com/hauntedroadmedia.

Shadow People Exposed!

Of all the supernatural entities I’ve encountered, I’ve encountered shadow people the most. That seem rather fitting since I love things that are dark and mysterious, writing about and exploring the unknown since I was seven years old. Just recently, I gave a presentation at the haunted Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville, Virginia, in which I spoke at length about the different types of shadow people that are believed to exist, legends and folklore throughout the ages, and various theories we have about them today.

Below is an online version of that presentation:


I began this presentation with my own account of my first encounter with a shadow person which occurred when I was only about eight or nine years old. This story was featured in the first volume of Encounters With The Paranormal, and Adam Tillery drew a fantastic illustration representing what I had seen.

As a special treat, here is an excerpt from that book, the chapter “The Shadow Person” in its entirety:

Encounters With The Paranormal

I was young, very young, the night I was scared speechless. I’d like to put an age on it, perhaps seven, eight, or nine. I can’t be sure other than it wasn’t the first time I had witnessed something paranormal in nature. That honored is reserved for “the blinking gorilla” I saw at my grandparent’s house when I was perhaps five or six.

I was lying in bed in the front upstairs bedroom of their house built by my great grandfather in the 1920s when my eyes traveled to the doorway. Beneath the Fenn College sticker affixed to the door there stood the ghostly apparition of what my child mind deduced was a gorilla. I can’t say for sure what it was – a short, squat man, perhaps – but it glowed white and faded in and out in the doorway. I called for my parents who came rushing upstairs and I told them of what I saw. Of course, what I saw was simply excused as a dream or my eyes playing tricks on me, but the blinking gorilla did become a part of family lore, more like a side joke, for years to come.

A couple years later I was, again, in bed, but this time it was my own. Something had awoken me out of a dead sleep. It was the middle of the night and the house was deathly still, dark save for the light from the street lamp coming through the window and the soft glow from the Peanuts nightlight against the far wall. My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and looked down the length of my bed. That’s when I saw it.

In the corner of my bedroom, between my closet door and the window to outside, stood a shadowy figure. It was as tall as a man with vague features of a face, but nothing else discernable. I couldn’t even tell if it was wearing clothes.

For a long while we stared at each other, I at it and it at me. Part of me hoped it would just go away, perhaps slide into the open closet doorway and just disappear. Then, perhaps, I could just chalk the incident up to a strange dream in the middle of the night. But that’s not what happened.

“The Shadow Person” by Adam Tillery

The shadowy figure approached me where I lie and hovered over me. Its presence blocked out the light the filtered in from outside and the world around me grew dark and heavy. I still could not see any features the shadow may have borne. It was dark and ominous and as quiet as the dead. Then it reached for me.

I tried to scream, but couldn’t. My mouth gaped open and all my muscles tightened as I struggled to let loose with a cry to my parents for help. My body failed me while shadowy hands took hold of me. I was frightened out of my mind not knowing what this creature had in mind to do with me. I was absolutely helpless, but its next actions made no sense.

The shadow grabbed my arms and pulled them across my body, yanking my wrists up to my neck. I continued to try to scream, but still nothing came out. What was this thing going to do with me? Why had it crossed my arms? I almost felt like I was choking.

It let go of me then and rose from my bed. It turned from me and exited my bedroom door, which was directly to my right. I rotated my head and watched as it suddenly ran down the hall to the linen closet, opened it, and then darted inside, closing the door behind it. I lied there motionlessly for a long moment, arms still crossed, mouth still gaping open trying to scream over what had just happened to me.

Finally, I was able to climb out of my bed and shuttle over to my parents’ bedroom directly across the hall. I woke them from their slumber and told them what had happened, but like all good parents they were comforting and reassuring and told me it was all just a bad dream. I slept with them the rest of the night.

Years later others would try to tell me that what I experienced was sleep paralysis and that upon waking my mind was still in a bit of a dream state and hallucinated the incident while my body… my body. Sleep paralysis requires complete muscle atonia, the complete weakness of the muscles while one sleeps. With my mouth open, my arms crossing, and my head turning to watch the shadow person run down the hall, I was able to move. I just wasn’t able to scream.

Since that time I’ve seen many wisps of shadows darting to and fro at other haunted locations, peaking at me from around a corner, or darting into an open doorway. I’ve even seen one dart across a room and slam into a swinging metal door, producing the sound of the slam but not actually moving the door. However, after countless paranormal investigations and visiting scores of active locations, I have never again seen a full figure shadow like that nor has a shadow person touched me in such a way ever again.

Encounters With The Paranormal is available from Haunted Road Media: http://hauntedroadmedia.com/index.php/books/5-encounters-with-the-paranormal