Reports of hauntings are often tied to a particular location. In the following account, L.R. Hartwell describes how a paranormal entity attached itself to him after he and his family moved into a trailer in Indiana.
Editor’s note: The following account has been edited for grammatical mistakes and increased clarity of information. Permission to perform these edits was granted by the eyewitness.
“It was feeding on me.”
My experience began in 2007. My family had just moved into a trailer in rural Indiana. At the time I was fifteen and had been in protest of our move, feeling as though I was being torn away from my friends and life in the town we were moving from. From about October to December of that year, I delayed enrolling at school and stayed at home in a bout of depression.
During this time I had vivid dreams of a girl. Each time she was in a car that had recently crashed and was screaming for help – begging me to help her. I ran and ran towards the car, but it was like my feet were stuck in mud. The dreams were so real that I can remember every detail of them to this day.
Once I begun attending the local high school, I started dating an older girl and would frequently ride with her to school in the morning. One day as we were riding along one of the country roads, I had her pull over. I had begun to feel immensely ill and needed to vomit. After I did so I asked her to drive me back home, which she did. Yet, not five seconds after we turned around, I noticed something I hadn’t before in her car. Hanging from the rearview mirror was a memorial picture of a girl. The girl from my dreams.
My blood went cold, and I am sure that my already pale skin grew even paler. I began to tear up at it. My girlfriend noticed my physical discomfort and asked if I was okay. I snatched the photo from the mirror and asked who the girl was. A little scared by my sudden franticness, my girlfriend told me it was a close friend of hers who had died about two months before I started going to school. She told me that she had been in a car accident. I asked her if she recalled me telling her about my dreams, and she finally put two and two together. We were both shocked.
It turns out that the girl who had passed away in the car accident had lived in my house, in the same room as me, and had moved out with her family only a week or two before her death.
Over six months passed. During that time, me and the girlfriend broke up. My older brother and I also switched bedrooms, for he had a friend who moved in with us as he and her started attending the same college and I had the larger room. It was during these months that noises began to be heard about the house. At first they were minor, and did nothing to terrify us. Once, when I was still in my original bedroom, I thought I heard a girl laughing.
Almost three months after my brother’s friend moved in, I was awoken when her and my brother burst into my room. Together, they explained that they had heard a girl laughing in the room. They were both visibly shaken. I remember we all kind of slept sideways in my twin sized bed that night.
A few more months went by and his friend moved out due to some personal issues. My brother immediately demanded that I switch rooms with him again, which I did. By now I was almost seventeen, and loved the idea of having the bigger room – even if it seemed to be a bit haunted. After I moved back in, that’s when things started to get worse.
Every night it seemed that my closet door would open by itself. Sometimes I would place a clothes basket in front of the door, just in case it was a draft causing it, but the door would still open, the basket moved away from it.
I began to awake at 2:55 A.M. on the dot every morning, something that had never happened to me before. About a week into the awakenings a small earthquake hit our area at exactly 2:55 A.M. At the time, I took this as a sign that whatever was in the room with me been warning me. But, I was wrong.
About a year into sleeping in that room I was diagnosed with insomnia and Paranoid Personality Disorder, both seemed to pop up out of nowhere. When I did sleep I had dreams of dark figures waiting for me at every turn. My parents thought it was part of the PPD, but I knew it wasn’t. It was something to do with that house – that room. To make matters worse, my brother had moved out the previous year to get out on his own, so I felt alone in this. I couldn’t help but think there must have been a good reason why he was so keen to swap rooms again after his friend moved out.
One day, out of nowhere, the dreams stopped. Everything was normal again. During this period I became a father, graduated high school and soon started working to support my son. Things stayed quiet like this for about two and a half years. I worked a lot and only stayed home on occasion. For a time, I moved out on my own. Whatever lurked in that house couldn’t reach me when I was away. I truly believe that whatever the entity was it thrived on emotional manipulation, with me as its target. When I was away, I was relatively safe.
Eventually, I had to move back in with my parents. This is when things started picking up again and came to their climax.
One day I was approaching the house with my son, holding his hand. My mother rushed outside to greet him, and we all came in and settled in for his visit. It was then that he asked me, “Daddy, who was that girl?”. I asked him “What girl?”, and he said there had been a girl at the door. He told me that she had waved at me through the glass screen door. I immediately thought he meant my mother, as there was no other girl in the house, so I ignored it at the time. Now, in hindsight, I am not so sure what he saw…
After that time, I continued to experience strange things in the house. They seemed to intensify, morphing from strange sounds, even strange sights, to physical encounters.
I started dating a young woman who moved in with me after a few months of dating. At this time my room was being carpeted, so we were sleeping on a pull out couch in the living room. One night, as I was returning to the pull out, I felt as though something was standing behind me, with its arms outstretched to grab me. I jumped into the bed – feeling as though I had barely escaped its outstretched arms – to find my girlfriend physically shaking. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me that someone had been standing behind me.
Once we moved back into my bedroom, things got worse. At night, half asleep, half awake, I would see a dark figure moving from my closet next to my bed. One night it went a step further, and began to choke me. I was physically gasping for air, unable to move, barely able to breathe. I would describe it as sleep paralysis, but I am certain that it was real. My girlfriend woke up, suddenly sitting up, knocking whatever the shadow was off me into the darkness. She had seen it too, but unlike myself she was wide awake. Unless we had both hallucinated the same thing, I have no choice but to conclude the dark shadow was really there.
Soon afterwards we left the trailer, just as my brother moved in with his boyfriend. About a year or two later, they told me about their experiences. After I left, things got even worse. The bathroom light would flicker on and off each time they went in there. If my brother acknowledged it and asked it to stop, it only got worse. They experienced physical attacks. My brother’s hair was pulled. He even had something grab him as he reached into his closet to get a shirt. One night, they heard sobbing coming from my old bedroom. When they opened the door, a shrill screech sounded out. The closet door flung open, and the scream continued. They told me that it sounded like nails being dragged against the wall. The sound circled the room and then out the window. After that, the activity stopped.
They moved out soon after when my father left the house as well. To this day we have no idea what was in that trailer. It took many shapes: the girl in the crash; a shadowy figure; and even the girl my son saw waving at me from the door. We just called it the shapeshifter. Whatever it was, it tortured me from the time I was fifteen until I was twenty-two. I am glad to be away from it because, whatever it was, it was feeding on me.
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