The first installment of Bump in the Night was about the weird encounters during my stay in Victoria, BC. Since then a good number of strange peculiar things have transpired, the type that can’t be explained through natural causes. You know, those moments where the hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand, followed by a peculiar sensation of dread or fear.
Conventional terms would describe it as being a change in the air. The superstitious often call it the work of the paranormal, be it malevolent or otherwise. Within the fetish/BDSM community, there is a small element of people who do rather enjoy tampering into the occult; others follow a new age philosophy or movement such as Paganism or Wicca. Suppose that merely adds to the ‘weirdness’ behind the culture, no?
As a bit of a skeptic, a bit of Deist (a branch of theology that believes in a higher power, based on science rather than source books), and an enthusiast for all things occult, I often contemplate about the mysteries of the unknown. Some of my favorite authors include Clive Barker, Stephen King, and the late H.P. Lovecraft leading to wild imaginings of terrifying forces from the great beyond.
The human penchant for curiosity has often been the cause of their greatest misgivings. As Stephen King once wrote, there is a draw towards the macabre and morbid fascinations; not unlike the way people stare at a grisly car accident, the horrific carnage of serial killers, some people are naturally drawn to the dark side of things.
The following stories and events are non-fiction. Some are seemingly trivial, others arguably evidence to the unexplained. Believe what you will.
San Francisco, California.
The Golden City is a bastion of culture. It is the place where a good majority of movements, mostly involving the LGBT, had began. It is also regarded as the frontier for pioneers of old, a place where many immigrants would travel and land. The historical wealth behind the architecture and the age behind them has often been grounds for much paranormal activity.
Much of the time I had spent in the city was situated at a dingy hotel with cheap tropical wallpapers, aligned with plastic oranges, and the constant smell of East Indian cuisine. The WiFi there was spotty, incorporated a commercial filter that blocked access to adult sites (ironically, my blog, which was considered ‘sexual content’ despite lack of pictures), leaving me with little ways to pass the time. The connection was abysmal, often cutting short, at one point cutting off an early draft of an entry – deleting what may have been a day’s work.
Frustrated I decided to go for a walk for the rest of the day. There had been no events available – at least not to my knowledge – which meant time to explore the nightlife. The area where I stayed was filled with vagrants, liquor stores and late-night convenient stores. From time to time, you heard the ravings of addicts roaming the streets, stepping past loose plastic bags and litter all over the sidewalk.
Gradually as I roamed the streets, late into the evening, I stood nearby an area overlooking the fabled Golden Gate Bridge. I found a comfortable bench, surveyed the scenery, and lit up a cigarette. Mind you, the Golden Gate Bridge is notorious for over a thousand suicide jumpers, meaning that the place itself could be considered tainted by negative energy (if you believe that).
Having attempted to cross the bridge with the flag exposed, I was well aware of how dangerous the place happened to be – the winds were immensely strong, perhaps some twenty to forty mile per hour winds. For that reason, I gave up on the attempt after nearly being swept off the railing due to the accursed flag getting most of the breeze. Following the second blast of wind, I gave up on the attempt entirely, lest the Bay Area news reports of a “suicide ruled by accident of man attempting bizarre fetish stunt”.
It was late sometime in the evening. My glasses at the time were already chipped and faded, the degrees having increased over the past year, and as I blew smoke from my lips I glanced at what appeared to be a single shape walking along the rails of the bridge. Immediately I blinked my eyes and tried to focus on the figure. Could it be another jumper?
Reaching into my satchel, I pulled out my compact binoculars and looked at the figure, spotting what appeared to be a young man in modern clothes hovering over the rails. Before I could get a better view it, a gust of wind moved my hand, losing my view on him. When I looked back, the figure had seemingly disappeared.
That couldn’t have been right.
The rails were far taller unless the man had been a giant.
Which meant that he would have to be hovering over the rails to be seen in the first place.
Salt Lake City, Utah.
Deja vu has been a common occurence.
Maybe its the similarities in architecture between the cities I’ve visited, maybe its just pure coincidence. Some people believe that deja vu is a glimpse into a simultaneous synchronization with an alternate or parallel universe; others just dismiss it as a bout of being neurotic, for which either I can’t say for certain.
In most cases when I experienced deja vu during my travels, it would have been from the constant commute from my lodgings to the next event or place of interest. I begin to notice the same stop and surroundings, sometimes even spotting a familar person riding on the transit; however, between those odd moments of run-ins, one particular incident stood out.
While in Salt Lake City, riding on the train into the city thoroughfare, late one evening I took note of a single platform station which I leave only to your imagination. The moment was picturesque – a black man with a gray cap, hunched over a newspaper; a lone blue paper flyer drifting over the edge of the station; the distant hum of the approaching train. The man looked up at me then back at the paper again.
For some weird moment, I felt that I had encountered this before, perhaps subconsciously at a different place and time. San Francisco or Los Angeles would not have been too far a guess, given the numerous transit trains and tunnels throughout those locations. I glanced at a nearby post beneath the train mapping and saw what appeared to be the numbers 578-21 written in red marker.
I shook my head, dismissed the feeling and boarded the train, eventually disembarking at the center of the city. It was already approaching dusk. When I disembarked, alone, I glanced at my surroundings.
To my surprise, the same old man sat with a newspaper at the exact bench, as a blue flyer floated over the edge of the platform. I blinked my eyes. I had not touched a drop of liquor or any illegal narcotics. My heart began to sink.
Glancing over at the post, I saw the exact same numbers 578-21. I looked at my phone clock and saw that time had passed. I noted that the same sunset, the colors over the sky, were still the same as before.
At that moment, the man glanced up at me as he did before. Only this time, he flashed me a grin, lowering his newspaper.
I immediately left the platform.
During my stay in Denver, there had been the reports of a tornado far away at a certain county, whose name escapes me at this point and time. Ironically I had purchased cheap movie tickets for Oz the Great and Powerful, in this case I wasn’t looking forward to being trapped in a land full of singing munchkins. Or winding up torn asunder by fierce winds.
Retreating immediately to my room, I packed my belongings and began updating statuses furiously on Facebook and FL, resulting in a flood of messages and calm reassurances from the locals. The weather proved manic and wild in Denver, unpredictable as the locals describe. Outside I watched as cars appeared to pull out of the parking lot, deserting it to a chilling empty quiet; my monitor, who keeps track of my location, moved onto Phase 2 (a term used for being at the ‘Caution’ level of preparation).
After much debate I decided to attend the movie, essentially after the hotel staff assured me of my safety, and while my review for it would be a separate issue, what transpired would not be.
At the theater, I sat alone and watched the big screen picture. Sometime, notably having drained the large beverage (American sized, mind you) I went to the washroom and returned.
When I went back to my seat, I noticed what appeared to be a mother and child moving in the front rows of the theater and sitting down there, which I initially dismissed. Regular moviegoers after all.
Once the film had finished, I gathered my belongings and stretched slightly, turning to leave. When I glanced back as the lights came on, the mother and child had seemingly vanished. The only exits to the theater were directly behind me with the exception of the emergency exits, which would have been set off had they enter that area.
In Chinese folklore, the front rows of the theater are often kept empty due to them being reserved for the newly departed. Though between different cultures, this may not be applied, for some peculiar moment I thought about those myths. I stared long after the lights came on and glanced behind me.
There was nobody.
At one anonymous dungeon, a private party, there is talk of a haunting there by one of its locals.
While the dearly departed did not transpire from an accident or murder, their passing itself being a natural cause, what occurred was that while leaving the party the man had suffered a cardiac arrest. His body was found in a nearby ditch on the road though
apparently most of the people leaving did not notice it.
Though the procession went smoothly followed by a memorial service, the stories circulate that the unusual demise and discovery resulted in another negative taint in the air. I was skeptical, of course, considering that I was leaving a party near that area. Not having made prior arrangements for carpool sharing, I left on foot with my dufflebag, walking towards the main road and bus stop.
Sometime during my descent from the hill of the area, I stopped to light a cigarette and reclined against a fence, staring up at the open night sky. The moon was a half-crescent and the part of me that is superstitious has often believed that the moon was an indication of events to come. In the past, during the better part of my explorations, let alone the enjoyable night outs in Vancouver, the moon had often been full.
Suddenly from the corner of my eye I caught a movement which alarmed me. I lifted Annabelle and shot a glance at the bushes, spotting a rabbit as it turned to flee. It was dark out, my eyes had become adjusted somewhat to the evening dim, and I chuckled at the silly thought.
When I lifted my head up and glanced across the road, I caught a glimpse of a figure, male, standing in the dark. It was a weird moment, staring at the shadow cloaked form, I called out to the fellow, Good evening.
The man said nothing.
Awkwardly I continued smoking, occasionally glancing at the figure across the road, which left me feeling rather out of place. From my left I caught sight of a car passing by, the headlights shining over me, bright enough to wince; briefly I looked up across the road, hoping to spot the figure in the dark.
The car honked, rolled down the window, and one of the partygoers offered me a ride. I looked over across the road and no longer saw the man, perhaps having walked off back to the house nearby. “Hey Yellow, you want a lift?” The driver asked.
I accepted, got in, and looked back at the road. Nobody was there.
I’ve got a question, I said. Where did that fellow pass away?
The driver laughed, replying, “You were standing probably a few feet from where they found him.”
The tenements of Chicago are often rife with urban decay, a term used for the degrading wear of the old brick buildings, most visible during the day. Graffiti pollutes the walls of the buildings and back alleys, alongside the wooden stairs leading to the backdoors of apartments that feature barred windows.
People say you’re at your most contemplative when you stare out a car window, watching the world go by, and I confess that I enjoy greatly watching the scenery of the farmlands between the major cities; at night, aboard a train or Greyhound, there is a peace to the urban jungle as you watch the streetlamps flicker by, the figures along the streets.
That is, unless, during one such ride you experience what i call a “Children of the Corn” moment.
While the train sped past the old tenements, I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a group of people standing on the rooftops of some old derelict building, watching the train pass by. Their eyes seemed to be following my particular car, making eye contact with me.
Just before the train entered a tunnel, I caught a glimpse of a man very close to the train, standing at a roof parallel to the train tracks. His eyes made contact with mine.
Let’s just say I felt a bit uneasy from that little encounter.
Strange things happen all the time.
Stranger still are the things that happen without warning and explanation. The world can be a fascinating place yet there remains so much that is left unexplained, perhaps better left unknown.
For a traveler across the many roads of the United States, the desolate and remote places, does it come as any surprise that these strange wondrous encounters take place? For indeed, where there is a history to anything, so too must there remain a memory of it that may defy time and space.
DOO DOO, DOO DOO, DOO DOO, DOO DOO.