Close Encounter of the Paranormal Kind

By Gregory Myers, President - Paranormal Task Force
Edited By Laura Helbig

My scariest paranormal moment goes back to 1982 when I was a teenager. My family had
moved to a 100 acre church camp where my grandfather had been the sexton for decades.
We were to be the caretakers for the church. This was a wonderful, adventurous place for a
young city boy. There were the woods, many buildings, a river, and a very large in-ground
swimming pool.

The transition from city life to life in the woods didn’t take too long. We did corrective
maintenance on many of the buildings and equipment. Then, using a tractor and a Bush Hog,
we went to work on the land, reclaiming the fields and an old dirt road upon the property.
Within a year we had the camp landscape restored to what my father remembered from years
ago when he had attended the camp. We also completed many repairs to the newer
buildings that had been erected after a fire destroyed some of the original structures
several years after my father had been at the camp.

While restoring the campground, I noticed an odd, old, abandoned house upon the property.
It was about one-half a mile from the home where we were staying, situated about 100 yards
from an old dirt road that I was clearing, one that had once connected the campground to
the old highway. The house sat in a little valley that seemed a bit eerie. However, at that time
in my life I didn’t believe in ghosts or other paranormal activity. My belief was about to

The first time I cleared the road in front of this house, the engine of the tractor I was using
cut off cold and came to a complete stop. I tried several times to restart it before finally
disconnecting the Bush Hog and slowly pushing the tractor over a small incline and down
another small hill. Eventually, I get it going, and I retrieved the Bush Hog. After that incident,
I began to notice that most of the camp equipment, including other tractors, trucks, and
hand-held equipment didn’t seem to work very well when used near that old, abandoned
house in the valley. If this were happening today, I would have paid heed to this warning, but
as a cocky teenager I didn’t pay the slightest attention.

Soon after making new friends in the area, the house became an attraction for us, and we
began to explore it. The house was an older, small, two-story home. In the summer months,
dense vegetation blocked it from view. The first floor had three rooms; the second floor
consisted of one open room with a vaulted attic type ceiling. Most of the windows and doors
were gone leaving only some framed openings. The house was still generally safe (in the
opinion of a teenage boy anyway) and was a very exciting place to hang out and visit with
friends. Since the stairs were gone, the main challenge to the house was getting to the
second floor; however, we quickly figured out we could use the lathing boards to climb up
there. The second floor became our club house. It was larger and wide open with only two
remnants of where the windows used to be, one in front facing the road and one at the rear
of the house. There was also a weird two or three foot square opening in the middle of the
floor, its purpose we never knew.

I soon found out that the home had belonged to former camp caretakers from about the time
when my father had attended camp sessions there in the 1950s and later. The caretakers
were a childless married couple who in the 1960s had been murdered. The one or more
assailants used a shotgun and were never captured. Soon after that awful event, the camp
was closed for many years. Still, teenage boy that I was I never gave a second thought to the
two people who had been murdered. I just thought of the house as my personal clubhouse.
Looking back, besides the oddity of the equipment stopping or stalling when we tried to use
it in the valley, I remember that even in the dead heat of summer at times the inside of the
house was so cold it seemed like an invisible air conditioner was running.

As we got the grounds and the buildings refurbished, the camp was ready to again to host
groups for the church and its affiliations. The following spring, camp sessions began. This
sort of changed my whole life. Until then, the 100 acres and the many buildings had been a
private playground for my family and my friends. Now we had to share it all with as many as 50
to 75 children, teens or adults. The serenity that I had enjoyed was gone and privacy was
limited except for a few of my secret places. As we had been getting the camp ready for
visitors, I had been cutting hidden trails that went to some of my favorite places, one of
which was the abandoned house.

One day I learned that one of the groups was going to take a midnight nature hike on the
grounds. Their path was going to include the dirt road that passed in front of the house.
Now, being teenage boys, it won’t take much to imagine the plan we devised for these
midnight “trespassers.” It was actually quite simple, and, if we were successful, we would
have many terrified campers racing for their cabins. A friend and I would go down to the
house before the group left for their midnight adventure and wait for them on the second
floor. When they arrived, we would make creepy noises and give them the scare of their
lives. If they dared to investigate the noises, we would get out and, using the thick
vegetation around the house as cover. We would escape on one of my secret trails. The
night finally arrived. It was a nice, cool evening for summer. The sky was clear, and the moon
was bright. I wish I could say that it was a full moon, but frankly I don’t remember if it was nor
not. It was, however, bright enough to illuminate the woodland floor, and we did not need
much assistance from our flashlights to navigate our hidden trail to the house. We left for
the house about 11 p.m. arriving about 30 minutes later. We climbed the wall to the second
floor and hunkered down to wait for our prey.

After a few minutes, we began to hear odd scuffling noises from the first floor. Whispering,
my friend and I speculated what could be making them, and we dismissed them as the
shuffling of a four-legged critter that had found its way in. It wouldn’t be hard; after all, the
doors and most of the windows were missing. The sounds became louder and almost
sounded like human footsteps below. We started to wonder if it was “a someone” and not a
critter that had found its way inside. We both stuck our heads through the opening in the
floor. Nothing. We shined our flashlights into all the areas below. Still nothing. There was
nothing there and there was no place to hide from our vantage point. Odd, we thought. Then
we heard what sounded like the footsteps of a huge man wearing work boots. We could hear
him, but we still couldn’t see anything! Our bodies became flush with adrenalin as fear began
to overtake our senses.

The mysterious footsteps became progressively louder; they sounded like they were
heading towards the staircase opening we used to get to and from the second floor and still
we could not see anyone. The steps seemed to pause below the staircase opening giving us
a false sense of security. Perhaps whoever it was had decided not to attempt climbing up.
Relief came over us as we thought the nightmare was over. How wrong we were.
The silence was suddenly broken as wood splintered and pieces of plaster fell from the wall
we used to climb to the second floor. Summoning up our courage, we took one last look and
saw some of the lathing boards breaking inward as if an invisible person was climbing the
wall by kicking his or her feet into it. In that moment we wrote a new definition for the term
“scared !#%@$+”. We only had two choices now: 1) be brave and try to climb down the wall
that the invisible being was using, or 2) jump out the window into the midnight air and hope
that we landed safely. I learned then and there that my “best friend” probably wouldn’t be my
best friend for long when he opted for the second choice leaving me alone in the house. I
took a third option: backing away from the staircase opening hoping that this would not be
the moment I would have a sudden bowel movement.

There I was. My friend had jumped out the window. I was alone and unable to get the
courage to do anything but freeze. I couldn’t hear any noise. The plaster had stopped falling,
and the boards were no longer splintering. Whatever it was had reached the second floor
and was in the room with me. I heard one thump and then two more that sounded like heavy
work boots being planted on the floor. Then I heard a deep, heavy exhale. At that precise
moment I wanted to curl up on the floor and cry for my mommy.

I refrained from crying out and kept still, waiting and wondering what would happen next.
After a few seconds of silence, the heavy footsteps started coming towards me, this time
accompanied by the heavy breathing. My friend had made it safely out the window, and I
could hear him yelling, asking me if I was okay. I wouldn’t need to respond; he would find out
how I was. As the footsteps grew nearer, time seemed to stand still, fractions of seconds
seemed like hours, the breathing became louder, and the room got colder and colder. My
fear kept me from going out the window, and I certainly wasn’t going near the staircase
opening; whatever was in the room with me stood between me and it.  

Finally and suddenly I was attacked. It leaped upon me, and I still remember the painful, ice
cold feeling that went through my body. I heard one final breath from whatever it was, and it
was ready to consume me, body and soul. I felt like an icicle was being jammed into my body.
It was the summer of 1982, and I was being frozen to death! It was then I made my choice, the
same one my friend had made. I jumped out the window opening in the deep black of night. I
didn’t care what I might land on, I just wanted out of the house. I was surprised to see my
friend still there waiting for me. It took all the energy he could muster to keep up with me as I
raced down the dirt road screaming in terror.

That group of campers we had intended to scare was indeed frightened when they saw us
run past them at full speed. We had accomplished our goal but certainly not in the way we
had intended. Another being also accomplished its own mission as we never again returned
to that old house.

Not long after this night, my family moved back to the big city, not because of this event, but
for other personal reasons. It was many years before I told them or anyone else about what I
experienced that summer night. It was a night that changed my perspective on many things.
And it was the night that I, too, became a true believer in ghosts and the paranormal.

Thank you to Laura Helbig for final editing!
© 2006 - 2010 by Gregory Myers – Missouri Paranormal Research

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