The entity would visit five-year-old Dan Mitchell’s bedroom at night. The thin, androgynous creature that called itself “the tooth fairy” would appear and tell him stories. Large, wide-open eyes – too large to be human eyes – stared at Mitchell as words spilled through its always open, round mouth.
Angel, demon or extraterrestrial?
It’s been more than 28 years since he first saw the entity he grew to call “the Harlequin,” but, although he goes years without feeling its presence, it’s always been with him, walking like cheap animation along the side of the road, or staring at him from the dark.
Mitchell and his family lived with his mother-in-law in a Milwaukee suburb briefly in 2009, just a few blocks from the house where he grew up – the house where he first experienced the Harlequin. It was waiting for him.
“A couple weeks ago I was helping my mother-in-law clean out her basement and organize a few things,” he said. “I woke up fairly early to get a head start on it before everybody started to wake up.”
Mitchell started working in the basement about 6:30 a.m. when he heard a noise from the top of the stairs.
“Within the first 10 minutes of going downstairs to organize, I keep hearing a tapping noise coming from upstairs by the back door,” Mitchell said. “It sounds like someone was gently tapping the window of the back door.”
At first he thought wind caused the sound, until it grew louder.
“Almost instantly it goes from a tapping to some quick thuds on the door that just stop abruptly,” Mitchell said. “It sounded like someone was knocking rather desperately. I was actually pretty startled by it.”
Mitchell grabbed a piece of pipe and slowly ascended the steps.
“I get to the top of the stairs and notice that whoever was knocking on the door was walking away toward the alley,” he said. “I can only see this person from the back and my heart utterly sank. I knew immediately what I was looking at.”
It was the Harlequin.
The entity walked away from the door like a bad theater actor. It wore a blonde wig, black winter cap and reddish-pink pants pulled up to the knees revealing unnaturally pale skin. It also wore penny-loafers with no socks and a winter coat with ruffles sewn onto it.
“For a brief second I thought maybe it was a homeless person, but there is just no way,” he said. “These things communicate they aren’t human just by their presence. I can’t describe this; you just can’t mistake it once you see it.”
The thin, sexless thing walked to the end of the sidewalk that cut through the back yard and disappeared behind the garage.
“I felt like I went instantly pale,” Mitchell said. “As it turned the corner to go behind our garage I caught a very quick glimpse of the eyes, the orbits were gigantic and the face was expressionless, almost mask-like. The thin mouth almost too small for the face.”
The thumps on the door woke Mitchell’s wife and she rushed downstairs worried her husband had tripped on the stairs. She found her husband staring out the window of the back door. Mitchell’s voice quivered as he told her what he’d seen.
“They don’t understand the dress at all or how to fit in,” Mitchell said. “I could have left this event as being a homeless person for the sake of my own comfort, but then we had another strange thing happen.”
Author’s note: This is the second of a two-part story about a family plagued by disembodied voices.
The voice came from downstairs, but Alex McFeeters didn’t know why he heard his father’s voice. His father, Craig, wasn’t supposed to be home.
“Alex, come down here,” the voice said.
Alex went downstairs; maybe his father had gotten home early.
“He said that it sounded like I was sitting in the recliner, that I normally am sitting in, and that was where the sound came from,” Craig said. “He was surprised to see that I wasn’t there in the recliner.”
Alex walked around the house, but couldn’t find his father and Craig’s truck wasn’t in the drive. Alex realized something chilling – his dad wasn’t home.
“I asked him if he was certain that it was my voice,” Craig said. “He said that it was my voice, it wasn’t someone else’s.”
This was two weeks after Craig had heard a woman calling from outside his house – a woman who wasn’t there.
“This is a strange event, no doubt,” Craig said. “But this goes much deeper. This has happened to all of us in my family, where we hear the voice of one another, but that person isn’t home.”
Craig has heard the disembodied voices of his family for years.
“Numerous times I would be in the basement of our old house on the computer and I would hear my wife holler downstairs for me,” he said. “I would go upstairs and no one was home.”
The instances got so real for Craig he would often hear the front door open and close and feet shuffle across the floor.
“Then I wouldn’t hear anything more, no footsteps across the floors of the house like they had come on in,” he said. “Then I would go upstairs and no one was home.”
Craig’s wife heard this, too. One day as she sat in the downstairs office, working on the family’s computer, someone called to her.
“She heard me open up the door at the top of the steps and holler down for her, calling her name and then she heard nothing,” Craig said. “After a few minutes she came upstairs, and no one was home. This spooked her a bit.”
Then the voices – voices of family members – began shouting out more and more.
“We aren’t hearing someone else coming into the house, or calling for us, we are hearing the actual sounds and voices of people in our family,” Craig said. “I’ve heard my wife, she has heard me, our son heard my voice, so what is going on here?”
Craig began keeping tabs on the voices and found everyone in his household heard them.
“It seems in every case that one of us has been alone in the house, and the party that they heard, they were expecting home at any moment,” Craig said. “Then it seems like about 10 minutes, sometimes more, before the person or people return home, one of us hears them either come in the door or holler downstairs for them.”
At first Craig thought the voices and sounds of his family coming home may be a phenomenon similar to people seeing ghosts in their home doing things they would have in life.
“I wondered about it being some kind of residual energy at first,” he said. “Maybe something that builds up in the matter of the house or the walls or something.”
But he soon dismissed that because the voices his family hears are of people who are expected home soon. Craig thinks these auditory experiences might relate to a psychic connection he has with his family.
“It is like an anticipation of them coming home, or something,” he said. “I believed that my wife and kids were going to be home soon, and then what I hear is them all returning home, coming in the door, and the distinct sound they normally make coming in the door.”
Alex had the same feeling when he heard Craig call to him.
“My son believed that I would likely be home before long, and he heard me call for him,” Craig said. “Very strange indeed. I don’t know that I’ve heard or seen other reports of this type of thing, but I have to believe if it is happening to us, that it happens to other people as well.”
Whatever the cause, Craig and his family continue to hear voices and footsteps of people who aren’t there. Maybe the McFeeters on the road are just unconsciously telling the McFeeters at home that everything’s fine.
Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part story about a family plagued by disembodied voices.
Craig McFeeters sat in his home office in Lawson, Mo., on Dec. 22, 2009, when he heard a woman call from outside. The woman’s voice was clear – maybe too clear.
“I heard a woman who sounded like she was outside on the sidewalk about 15 feet from the front door and just outside of my office,” McFeeters said. “I heard a woman fairly loudly and vividly say, ‘Hello? Is anybody home?’”
McFeeters walked to the front door and opened it to an empty sidewalk.
“I fully expected to see a woman standing there,” he said. “I was wondering why wouldn’t she just ring the doorbell or knock on the door? But sometimes when the garage door is open, people will come in the garage so I thought maybe that was it, she didn't know which place to go.”
He looked for a car in the driveway or for a woman walking toward the road, but saw nothing. The houses on either side of his were silent.
“No signs of someone from a neighbor’s house causing the event,” he said. “And it is very cold, so it’s not like someone had their windows open. But the voice wasn’t coming from far away. It was more like from the corner of the room, or just outside of the walls of the house.”
When McFeeters went back inside, he asked his son and daughter who were watching television in the living room if they’d heard “it.”
“Hear what?” his son said.
“You didn’t hear that woman?” McFeeters asked his son. “Then my seven-year-old daughter said, ‘I heard her.’”
McFeeters went toward the hall leading to the garage; the garage was the only place left for the woman to be.
“I walked into the kitchen just knowing I would find a woman standing either in the garage or just outside on the driveway,” he said. But when he opened the door, the garage door was shut, the garage empty. “I knew then for certain that it was a spirit of some sort.”
McFeeters said the woman sounded confused.
“Which is what struck me as odd right from the start,” he said. “Maybe she happened onto this time and space and had no idea what she was doing here. I got the feeling she wasn't from anywhere near this time, like from the 1800s or something.”
Shortly after, his four-year-old daughter began having problems sleeping.
“She has been wetting the bed nightly and she is scared to sleep in her room,” he said. “You know the typical monsters in my room kind of thing. But the strange part is that she really seemed to be telling the truth and describing them.”
His daughter wouldn’t sleep in her room. She would sleep with McFeeters and his wife or on the floor outside her room, but she wouldn’t set foot in there after dark because of the goblins.
After seeing the fear grow in his daughter, McFeeters spoke to two clairvoyants over the telephone. They agreed that something was wrong with his house which, he thought, may account for the disembodied voice.
“They both almost simultaneously said there is a portal opened up in her room from a ceremony done on the land a long time ago,” McFeeters said. “Someone opened it up, and didn't close it properly.”
McFeeters, who feels he’s sensitive to the paranormal, has often been uncomfortable in one part of his daughter’s room.
“Then they proceeded to tell me about that same area that I was picking up (a strange feeling),” he said. “Which was more than spooky – and somehow validating.”
The women told McFeeters how to close the “portal” and the goblins and the fear disappeared – for two nights.
“I did it, but didn't feel that I had closed it properly,” McFeeters said. “It seemed to help for a couple of days, and then was obvious that it didn't work.”
The fear crept back into his daughter’s life and she began wetting the bed again.
“I told the lady about it like a week later and she said she would call one of her best friends and they would attempt to close it for us,” McFeeters said. “Apparently they spent two hours on the phone doing this ritual.”
Since that time, although she’s had a couple of accidents, his daughter stopped wetting the bed.
“She has slept in her bed every night since, for like three weeks now,” he said. “She has only wet the bed twice in over three weeks, which is a minor miracle to us.”
The ritual seemed to stop the goblins and stop the girl’s terror, but it didn’t stop the disembodied voices.
Next week: The family discovers the voices are something more than ghosts.
Sunlight poured into 16-year-old David Emerick III’s room as he lie in bed, a cold fear freezing him motionless as he slowly realized he was not alone.
“I have never felt so helpless,” Emerick said. “I felt afraid for my life.”
And he couldn’t move.
“I had a total paralyzing feeling on my entire body,” he said. “I couldn’t get up or move any part of my body no matter how hard I tried.”
He tried to scream for his mother, but his lips couldn’t move.
“I was aware of my surroundings and it was during the day I could see everything limited from where my head was pointing,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t a dream but it seemed like my hearing was amplified.”
His heart beat in his ears and the sound of a bath running came from somewhere in the room. Then he heard something laugh.
“The noises seemed confusing at first until I was terrified of a clear sound of giggling like a little kid laughing at me in the room,” Emerick said. “I felt very fearful and this is where I began to try and struggle and fight out of the state I was in. I heard the giggles right next to me I knew the direction in which they came.”
Emerick forced his eyes toward a small couch next to his bed and saw his unwelcome visitor.
“It was a ghostly figure of a pale baby and its head was bigger than normal,” Emerick said. “I was able to snap myself out of the state I was in. I got up sweating bad and shook up and confused. I then looked at the couch again; nothing was there and everything was back to normal.”
Although Emerick never saw the giggling, ghostly child again, this wasn’t the last encounter with the unknown in his parent’s house.
“This was the first and only time I could clearly make out the figure in detail and actually hear it,” he said. “I don’t understand why my episodes continued but they did in that house. Just the same paralyzed feeling and unable to get up or call for help plus my hearing would be amplified.”
A few years later, Emerick slept the night in a friend’s guest room, whatever tormented him when he was young came back with fervor.
“It was a violent episode for me where I actually felt the presence angry, or where it actually felt like it was doing something to me,” Emerick said. “One thing that caught my attention during my paralyzed state was my friend’s dogs; they were going crazy scratching on my window very loud with their paws and whimpering.”
From his spot, frozen in bed, Emerick could see the ceiling and details of the room from the light of the moon.
“Then suddenly I felt like my body was floating above the bed slowly, and then it started to get violent. It felt like my body was going in all kinds of directions,” he said. “I could clearly see the ceiling up close, then I would be dragged back down to the bed and I remember [being up to] the ceiling again.”
Emerick was helpless as something shoved his body toward the ceiling then dragged it back to the bed. Then he stopped moving.
“It was a very violent episode,” he said. “I was able to get a view of a dark figure near my bed. I felt the presence was not good and its presence was a feeling of hatred.”
The thing disappeared and so did Emerick’s paralysis.
With the dogs still jumping on the window and barking, Emerick turned on all the lights in the room and looked in the closet and under the bed. No one was there.
“My fear quickly turned to anger,” he said. “I was sick of being harassed and attacked by whatever was causing my episodes.”
Emerick spent the rest of the night on the couch in the living room. That was three years ago, and he hasn’t experienced anything as intense since. He still feels the paralysis, but knows how to combat it. He just wants to know what’s causing it.