It's the 2016 CREEPY CORNER Halloween Reader Roundup!

To be read with the lights turned low, preferably under the covers.
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Louise Hung
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To be read with the lights turned low, preferably under the covers.

Happy Halloween, Creepy Corneristas!

I know you're here for the stories, not to read my ramblings for once, so I'll make this quick. THANK YOU to everyone who submitted stories. I read every single one of them, and spent all weekend banging my head against a wall over which ones to include. If I could, I'd take over xoJane for Halloween and make it xoCreepyLouise&theCreepyCorneristas&TheirCreepyStories&Gef.

Every single one of you made my Halloween a little bit brighter (darker? which one is the good one in this case?). 

But one thing's for sure after reading all your spooky, funny, chilling, thoughtful, and insightful emails: This is the best little community on the internet. I will gnash my teeth and battle anybody who says otherwise. 

Oh! And don't forget to give some love to this photo:

second cemetery

Second Cemetery of Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel. "Again, according to Time Out, the only visible cemetery in the West Village." (Courtesy of Katie)

It was submitted by Creepy Cornerista photographer "Katie," along with some of her other eerie, atmospheric photos of "Spooky New York City" (all rights reserved). 

So enjoy, you wonderful weirdos. And always, always keep on creepin'. 

Be Careful 

Submitted by Anonymous

I definitely have a Black Eyed Kid story for you.

My aunt’s family is from a part of East Tennessee that’s still very isolated. Even today, you have to drive down a perilous one-lane road full of switchbacks, with a sheer slope on one side into this deep gorge where it’s always dim because of the trees. This whole countryside is full of cliffs, and they drop off so suddenly, you can easily walk right off one if you’re not paying attention.

When I was a kid, my uncle would go with my aunt to visit her family in the summer. Usually they would load up the truck with a grill, charcoal, and coolers full of food and beer, and have a cookout right there in the woods.

My uncle told me they were having one of these cookouts in the early '80s when he felt nature's call. As he headed off through the trees, my aunt called after him, “Wendell, be careful; there’s a cliff back there.”

“I know,” he answered, continuing on his way.

He stopped behind a stand of trees about 30 feet back from the cliff and was just zipping up when he heard the voice of an adolescent boy from over the cliff’s edge call out, “Wendell, be careful; there’s a cliff back here.”

My uncle always said it was a very mean-spirited voice.

At first he was convinced someone had made their way down onto a ledge and was messing with him, but there was no one with a voice like that at the cookout. He cautiously walked to the edge of the cliff and peered over. About 40 feet or so down, on the forest floor, were two boys dressed, in my uncle’s words, “like something outta Tom Sawyer.” They wore baggy homespun shirts, baggy trousers held up by suspenders, barefoot as you please, and at first he could only see the tops of their broad-brimmed felt hats.

Then they looked up at him.

Their eyes were coal-black, as if nothing was there, or something inconceivable, and then one of them grinned (a very mean-spirited grin), and his teeth were black as well. Then the boy motioned with his hand to come on down.

My uncle knew everybody in that area (there were only a couple hundred), and there were no boys like that. He also knew there was no conceivable way those boys could have got down there, except by trekking through miles of rough, uninhabited woods…or falling.

He backed away slowly from the edge and hightailed it back to the party. My aunt asked him what on earth had happened, because he looked green. At that time he just told her, “I saw something over that cliff that shouldn’t have been there.” She looked at him hard for a minute and then said, “Yeah, I bet you did. You wouldn’t be the first, either. These woods are eaten up with weird things.”

The Bowling Alley

Submitted by Anonymous

It was the spring of 1982, when I was a junior at a small liberal arts college in central Iowa. There was an old bowling alley in the town where the college was located, and one Friday afternoon my friends and I decided to give it a try.

The place was pretty small, just eight or 10 lanes, and everything in there seemed old-fashioned, from the decor to the bowling balls and shoes to the signs on the walls. What really caught our attention, though, was how cheap the prices were: something like 25 cents a game plus shoe rental for 10 cents, which in 1982 was about a tenth of what these things would normally cost. The only employee was a middle-aged guy who didn’t say much. There weren’t any other customers, but we were happy to have the place to ourselves and had a fine time bowling several games for what seemed a pittance.

Walking back to the dorms afterward, I remember talking about how we couldn’t believe the place managed to stay in business charging such low prices. Still, we couldn’t complain and we looked forward to bowling there again.

The next weekend, we headed back to the bowling alley, expecting to bowl another two or three games for less than a dollar. This time a teenager was staffing the shoe rental counter and there were some other customers already bowling at a couple of the lanes.

We confidently went up to the counter to rent our shoes and were taken aback to see that the prices had been raised to a couple of bucks a game plus another dollar for the shoe rental.

We asked the kid at the counter what was up with the price hike, and he told us the prices were the same as always. When we told him we had just bowled there the previous weekend for 25 cents a game, he looked at us like we were crazy and said he had no idea what we were talking about. Baffled, we asked him about the middle-aged guy who had been manning the place on our first visit, and he told us that no one like that worked there. It was all very strange.

We went ahead and bowled a game or two anyway, and we continued bowling there most weekends for the rest of the semester, but we never again encountered the middle-aged employee or the 1950s-era pricing.

The Lights in the Convent Basement

Submitted by Anonymous

Starting at the age of 12, I worked at a day care center that was located on two floors of a convent. I was a student at the adjacent Catholic school, in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. Nuns lived on floors two and three, with their kitchen on the ground floor, and the day care classrooms located on the ground floor and in the basement. I worked for the nun who ran the day care center, with my older brother and some other kids around the same age, for years, and we became little superintendents, cleaning and repairing things there. We'd also stay weekends to watch the older, less mobile nuns and their pet dogs — sometimes just the dogs — and to do larger-scale cleaning projects (shampooing wall-to-wall carpets, polishing floors, etc.).

One summer, my brother and I stayed at the convent for a weekend, just to dog-sit. These kinds of weekends were nice because we didn’t have any additional work to do; all we had to do was relax, watch cable on a really big TV (neither of which were things we could do at home), and keep the three dogs — Sammy, Jingle, and Raven — fed and relieved.

On Saturday, a huge summer thunderstorm was forecast, so we made sure to gather up some batteries and flashlights because a lot of the time the old breakers at the convent would blow fuses, and even if the power came back on in the neighborhood after an outage, we’d have to change fuses to get the lights back on in the building. That evening, we sat around the little table in the nuns’ kitchen eating dinner with the TV on, while the dogs ate from their bowls just a few feet away.

The storm began, and before long the power was out from the high winds. Lucky for us the storm was incredibly strong, but short, and was over within less than an hour. We sat in the kitchen with our flashlights on and finished our meal. After the noise from the storm ended, things became eerily quiet, and we waited to see if the power would come back on.

As we sat there, Sammy jumped up from her post-meal nap and ran down the hall and around a corner to the front door of the day care, barking like a lunatic. All the dogs at the convent were pretty chill, not at all aggressive, and Sammy, despite being the largest, was probably the meekest of them all — this was pretty surprising to say the least.

Still, we figured it was probably just someone from the parish swinging by to see if the nuns were doing all right with the power outage. So we got up, walked across the hall from the kitchen into a classroom, and peered through the blinds, out a window that faced the front porch to see who was at the front door. No one was there.

All of a sudden, Sammy bolted back down the hallway toward us and sped at the door to the trash yard, fiercely barking.

“Maybe she just wants to go out?” my brother said. That was normally where we’d let her out on the weekends, so it seemed plausible.

But just as he hesitantly took a step forward to let her out, she again turned and ran to the front door, barking.

By now I was scared, and I think my brother was too, although we weren’t talking about it. Without speaking, we both went after her toward the front door. I can’t speak for him, but my thoughts at this moment were wholly occupied with the fact that we should not split up, because something was happening.

This time, perhaps in a fit of bravery, my brother put his eye to the peephole in the front door. Without saying a word, he pulled his head back, and I knew that no one was there. I checked to make sure the knob and deadbolt were both set.

After only a moment, Sammy again turned and ran toward the trash yard door. We ran after her again, flashlights in hand, but this time instead of barking at the trash yard door she turned and barked into the basement. She was unable to descend because of a baby gate that was stretched across the width of the stairs.

At this point, my brother ran and locked the door to the trash yard, and the two of us grabbed Sammy and carried her upstairs to the second floor. We’d had enough and decided to bring all the dogs up there to hunker down until the power came back on.

After a few hours, we noticed the streetlights came back on, but the power in the convent stayed off. We talked about going to check the fuses, but neither of us wanted to go to the basement to check them, so since it was already the wee hours of Sunday morning, we decided to wait it out and do it in the daytime.

Sure enough, there was a blown 30-amp S-fuse in the electric panel down in the laundry room. We replaced that, flipped the master switch on the modern breaker, and power came back.

When Monday morning rolled around, my brother and I were talking to one of our coworkers about the storm. She had lost power too, so she and her boyfriend had gone for a drive once the storm had passed because they had nothing better to do at home.

She confessed that they had decided to come mess with us while the power was out, but after driving by and seeing lights moving around in the basement, they felt bad that we were down there in the dark, probably scared, trying to get the power back on, and drove away. Neither of us corrected her at the time, but the conversation ended almost immediately after we exchanged sickened looks with each other. My brother and I had never set foot in the basement that night. 

The House in Kyushu

Submitted by joon66

My grandfather's house in Kyushu was old, grand, unconventionally large for Japan, and decidedly haunted. The odd incidents there were both of the small- and large-scale variety, and experienced by a number of family members.

At the top of the goosebumps scale is a bittersweet experience that my obasan (auntie) reported.

One night, she was sleeping in a tatami room in the house. Tatami rooms have traditional Japanese flooring made of tightly woven straw, and occupants sleep on the floor on futons. My auntie was woken in the middle of the night to the sound of one of the interior sliding doors opening. Since she was sleeping at floor-level, she could only make out the vague figure of a man in the dark and she just assumed it was my ogisan (uncle) returning from using the bathroom.

She saw the man move softly and carefully around the periphery of the room, but instead of lying down on the futon beside her, she saw the legs/feet walking right past her head where she lay and moving toward the other side of the room. As the figure slid open the outer door and silently exited to the hallway, she saw in the moonlight that it was actually my ogiichan (grandpa), who had traversed the room.

This may have seemed perfectly normal except for the fact that ogiichan had passed away three days prior, and my auntie was actually home for the funeral.

Cigarette Smoke

Submitted by WSP

The massage therapist I was seeing had his spa in the basement of his home. Honestly, nothing shady about it. Very clean. Calming. Newly constructed (as of when he moved in) and built to be a massage room and a meditation/yoga room with its own restroom between.

I had always felt 100 percent comfortable there. Never even felt weird to have a male massage therapist. Super-nice guy, great ratings everywhere I researched, and personal recommendations from six or seven friends. Everything was aboveboard. We enjoyed our sessions and usually chatted through them.

Until he started to get religious on me.

He had been treating one of the spiritual leaders in town and studying with her. He's what I would call a religious experimenter, in that he has never found a religion that completely works for him, so he tries something new every so often.

Well, he decided that if he was going to listen to this spiritual leader, he should hear from the other side. So he had been "having conversations with the devil." In his house.

If you believe in conjuring a spirit to talk to, you most likely know that anything that calls itself “Satan” is most likely a malevolent being, or something very evil. But the devil doesn't admit to being the devil.

I'm in the middle of a session, and this guy casually mentions his conversations with the devil. I immediately smell cigarette smoke. I ask him to change the subject. He wants to know why. I wave it off as my being uncomfortable talking about such things when I'm trying to relax.

He keeps discussing it, and I keep asking him to stop. I feel trapped, because I don't want to get off the table nearly naked. He keeps talking about Satan as if Satan were a dinner party guest. I keep smelling the cigarette smoke.

Time to turn over. I put my head in the cradle. I'm getting blasts of hot air in my face (a first, and the only time this has happened) with an even STRONGER cigarette smell. I open my eyes and see glowing red eyes looking back at me. I get startled. Massage guy asks what happens. I hear a deep and low chuckle that sounds otherworldly. I tell him. He says my imagination is getting the better of me, but that it's proof I need to talk about g-d and the devil. I tell him I am not comfortable and this needs to stop now.

Massage guy apparently thought I meant the talk. He kept going with the massage. I kept trying to get up, only to find I couldn't move. Massage guy finishes. Gives me the affirmation and leaves. Once I'm alone, I start talking under my breath. Telling whatever-that-was that I want no part of it or its associates. That when I leave I will be leaving alone. Do not cling or follow. So on and so forth.

I get dressed, climb the stairs, and see massage guy looking like a puppy that's been kicked. He apologizes but will not look up. I told him that whatever is down there is not what it's claiming to be, and his rooms and house need to be cleansed. Then, still kicking myself, I paid for my session. And left.

Cleansed myself. Smudged my car. I have not had a similar experience since. Thank goodness.

Holcomb Road 

Submitted by Carissa

A normal trip to Holcomb Road with my friends begins with piling everyone into one car, usually somewhere after 11 or midnight. The drive is long, so there's a lot of time to work up the tension as the city falls away and the farmland becomes more extensive between the occasional signs of life. Finally, our car's headlights hit the large wooden sign — Holcomb Church, with an arrow pointing right. Turning left, we approach the woods.

Holcomb Rd

Holcomb Road. (Courtesy of Carissa)

It was the site of a known bus accident where dozens of schoolchildren were killed. Since the accident, strange and unexplainable things have occurred for decades.

Our car always approaches the edge of the forest where the trees begin, and we stop and flash the headlights one, two, three times. Tradition? An attempt to lure out the ghosts by doing things in threes? Either way, it's necessary before proceeding. The lights then remain off, and we creep the car forward into the dark.

There are many theories about the Creatures in the woods around Holcomb Road. Some say they are what the ghosts of the children who died there in the bus accident became. Some say they're the reason for the crash in the first place. But all who spend enough time at Holcomb realize that, yes, they are there, and they are real.

We took a friend once for his first time, telling him nothing about the Creatures so he'd be unbiased. He screamed and floored the car out of the forest, reaching the church before he would speak, he finally got it out that he'd seen a dark figure high up in a tree, reaching to a branch beside it. He described it with exactly the same words I'd used the first time I'd seen one — it was "smaller than a human, but bigger than a cat." They're almost feline, but have arms and legs and eyes that flash if your light hits them just right.

The most unsettling thing about these creatures is that they mimic.

They mimic not only sounds, but lights — stare long enough, and you'll catch flashes out of the corner of your vision, high up in a tree, or deep to the side where there are no humans. They mimic the flashes of cameras and the tiny blinking of lightning bugs, though there are none otherwise.

We found out that they mimic sound one night when the aforementioned friend whistled to himself — a habit he has when he's nervous — and we realized after a while that he wasn't the only one whistling. He stopped, and half a beat later, so did the woods. Testing, he whistled three different notes. After a few moments of silence, too long to be an echo, the notes came back out of the woods in the distance, drawn out and somehow distorted. He tried with a few more different notes, and they always responded after a moment, almost sarcastically, warped. 

Whether the Creatures got bored or just liked watching us squirm, they soon let out a high-pitched, echoing screech from everywhere at once, and we bolted to our car and far away from that particular visit.

Once when we were walking a friend through the woods for the first time, a small, cold hand slid into mine. I felt the pressure of her fingers, the distinct knowledge that a little girl was taking my hand as if to cross the street safely. I feel bad now, after my inevitable scream caused us all to run as fast as we could back to the car. She was probably just looking for a friend, or to guide me back to safety — because that's what they do. It's well known that if you sprinkle flour onto the rear bumper of your car and then turn off the engine in the middle of the road, you might start feeling the car edge forward. Even if you don't, the proof is in the tiny hand prints in the flour, from the children who just wanted to get you away from that place, before you became like them.

I can't explain it. It didn't make sense. Then again, nothing does at Holcomb Road.

Just Reach the Street Light

Submitted by martinikiss

Back when I was a young warthog, I had just exited a messy relationship where we had a huge falling out that resulted in us both seeking separate apartments with only a two-week window to do so.

Unemployed, I had few options and ended up signing a lease for one of the tiny stand-alone casitas in a seven-unit complex alongside an alley that serves as a major runway for fellows of ill repute. It wasn’t in a good side of town, but hey — independence — and it was within budget. Being fairly naive, I also had no qualms about the resident drunk who took interest in me, nor did I mind that absolutely no one turned their porch light on.

A few days into settling into the place, I came across a box of stuff that belonged to my ex. It was about 10 p.m. or so when I called him up; he said he was in the area and would pick it up right away. I gathered the box and decided to meet him street side rather than allow him to my doorstep.

The casitas were set far back from the street, arranged in an L-shape, with only two apartments forming out the back corner (the short side of the "L"); my apartment was at the very back with no direct sightline to the main street. This meant I had to walk the entire length around that corner, down a pitch-black stretch that ran parallel to that length of alleyway.

Several times, I found myself walking through the dark, unable to see even the box I was holding, and that scared me. I thought, Maybe I should turn back; he can meet me at the doorstep. But, no. Stop being a wuss. I tried to calm myself by focusing on reaching the streetlight some 200 feet away. I listened to the sound of my footsteps crunching in the gravel and rehearsed in my head the spiteful things I’d say to my ex when I saw him.

It was then that I noticed a certain crunch, crunch that didn’t line up with my own footsteps. More confused than alarmed, I stopped in my tracks. Nothing. I continued to walk, but I heard it again. CRUNCH, CRUNCH, out of pattern with my steps. I stopped again, and heard it clearly this time — CRUNCH.

Thinking I’d scare whatever cat was following me, I spun around suddenly to find not a cat, but a shadowy figure about 6 feet tall and less than an arm's reach from me. Startled, the figure jumped back a step.

In an instant, I felt my heart begin to pound, and my eyes blurred as though they were about to roll back in my head. I felt a surge of combined adrenaline and anger before I went on autopilot.

I heard my own voice bellow out, “What the f*** are you doing?! Huh? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

The figure stammered in a breath that reeked of alcohol, “I uh, uh… Hey…where are you going this time of night?”

Autopilot Me barked back, “No, where the hell are YOU going? You don’t FOLLOW people in the dark!”

He stammered again, “Uh — no, no, no. I just, uh, saw you walking and — hey, do you like beer? You want to come inside and have a beer?”

I said, “No, I’m going to meet my boyfriend right now. Don’t walk behind me; walk beside me.” And he did.

He walked right alongside me, stuttering and stammering odd small talk to justify why he’d been silently sneaking behind me in the darkness. I didn’t say anything; all I could hear was my inner voice screaming for me to just reach the streetlight.

My ex pulled up at that moment. I turned to the shadowy figure and shared a few more choice words.

I immediately opened the car door, jumped in, and told my ex, “Please just drive.”

With my adrenaline now waning, the reality of what happened fully sunk in. I explained the situation and asked if I could stay the night at his place. He agreed, and only a few minutes after we drove away, my phone buzzed. It was a text from my mom.

“Are you OK?” She asked.

I replied, “Yes, why?” and she responded, “Oh, good. I just woke from a nightmare that you were somewhere dark by yourself. A man came up from behind you and put his hand over your mouth. I woke up in a panic.”

The Answer

Submitted by Madchen

When I was 19, I moved into a cute three-bedroom apartment with two friends. We'd spent a few weeks having fun and settling in and really liked the vibe of the place.

One night, my new boyfriend came over to hang out with me and my two roommates. After dinner, we got bored and were searching for something to do when someone suggested holding a seance.

No one except my boyfriend had ever held a seance before, so we weren't quite sure how to set up the board (and this was in the days before smartphones). So we grabbed a thick piece of cardboard from nearby and drew the alphabet around the edges and yes/no in the middle of the cardboard. We grabbed a shot glass from the set on the bench and all put our hands on it.

We had no idea what we were doing and were all skeptical, so we weren't taking it very seriously — saying in spooky voices, “Is anyone there?” and laughing. We were about to stop, as it felt ridiculous, when the glass suddenly started moving really rapidly and forcefully. I can honestly say that I couldn't feel any one particular person moving it.

It started to spell “GET OUT.” Well, at that, we promptly lost our shit and started getting scared, and stopped the game immediately. We sat around the table trying to calm down, and as we talked we ripped up the cardboard piece, until it turned into a pile of scraps.

We then left the kitchen and went into the lounge room and sat talking for a while about what “GET OUT” may have meant. Did it mean get out of the house? Someone wondered aloud, “Maybe it was saying GET OUT of the seance, i.e., seances are dangerous. Maybe it was a good spirit protecting us from what may have been nearby?”

At that moment, we heard a clunk from the kitchen, which was in the adjoining room. All of us heard it and turned our heads toward it, so I knew I wasn't crazy. It sounded like something hard being set down on a surface. We crept over there, terrified, to see what it was.

When I saw it, my heart stopped.

Even writing this today, I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. We'd put all the shot glasses away, back on the shelf in the kitchen when we'd packed up. But there, at the edge of the dining table, was a facedown shot glass and a piece of cardboard balanced on top.

The cardboard had the word "yes" on it.

Looks like a good spirit answered our last question and was protecting us from anything bad lurking nearby. To this day, I still have no reasonable explanation for what happened that night. 

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