This began in 2004. We were 15 years old, my friend Ryan and I. We weren’t “bad” kids, per se. We just kind of liked to do what we wanted and worry about the consequences after. One of our favorite things to do back then was mess around in the abandoned houses that scarcely lined Mill Road, which coincidentally was along the route between our two homes.
The rundown houses were few and far between, so we made do with the options we had. It came to a point where we had explored every abandoned property up and down, backwards and forwards. Mill Road just became another desolate walk on our journey to each others houses. Then one day, while walking from Ryan’s house to mine, there was a new house on the west side of the street.
When I say “new house”, I don’t mean a freshly built home, I mean an abandoned house we’d never seen before. It was just as rundown as the rest of them, if not more. We had walked the route the day before, and the house was not there. It was as if it had sprung up overnight. We stood in front of it, admiring it for a few minutes. After observing it a bit, we decided we should check it out. We couldn’t reason or rationalize it inexplicably being there, but we figured there had to be a reason, and whatever that reason was was good enough for our thrill-seeking minds.
There was a set of a few creaky stairs leading up to the large porch. The blue paint job that looked like it had been abandoned itself about halfway through was chipping and peeling where it wasn’t already worn away. The windows took up the left 75% of the face of the porch, next to the front door on the far right. We checked the handle, and to our surprise, it was unlocked. Normally we’d have to jimmy open a window or find some other means of gaining entry.
The door opened up to a foyer with a staircase that led upstairs. This turned out to be a duplex. Next to the stairs was a small closet, which was next to the closet. We decided to check out the first floor first. We opened the double doors which led to a large living room, which connected to the dining room.
We entered the living room, which was occupied by two worn out, ratty couches, and littered with random papers, shoes, garbage, just all around junk. It looked like one day someone had lived here one day, and left the next, and all of their left behind belongings had been thrown around in disarray. The windows were still intact, but had curtains over them, letting in thin strips of moonlight.
We walked through the living room and into the connected dining room, which housed a large desk on the wall to the right. The rest of the room held a couch and more litter. Next was a small hallway. Standing from the dining room looking in, straight away was the kitchen, and to the right were two bedrooms with a bathroom in between. We ventured our way into the kitchen, our shoes sticking the to cracked and peeling linoleum, and that’s where we first heard the noises.
Something was under us, in what we assumed was the basement. It sounded like a pipe had fallen to the ground. We freaked out for a second, but figured it was just an animal or something, so we kept exploring. We checked out the bedrooms and the filthy bathroom, and then decided to go upstairs. In the back of the kitchen there was a door that led to a foyer in the back of the house. There, there was a wooden staircase leading upstairs and a cement one leading to the basement. Admittedly, we were too afraid to check out the basement.
As I’m walking up the creaking stairs behind him, Ryan stops and puts a finger to his lips. We stand there silent, until I motion to him asking what’s wrong. He tells me he could have sworn he heard someone laughing, but decided it was probably someone outside somewhere. We approached the door at the top of the second set in the staircase, and Ryan reaches for the doorknob. He turns it and enters the pitch black room ahead. From what I could tell, it was the kitchen area of the upstairs unit.
I never got to see the upstairs, because as soon as Ryan stepped foot inside, something pulled him forward, and the door slammed behind him, knocking me backwards down the stairs. I was disoriented for a moment, but the sound of a shrill laughter snapped me out of it. It was like an exaggerated clown laugh but…sadistic. That’s really the only way I can describe it. I stood up and yelled out for Ryan, but got no answer.
My heart was in my throat, and nearly beating out off it. As I sat there with my back against the walls between the two sets of stairs, I ran through a million scenarios in about a second flat. I called out for Ryan one more time and heard nothing but silence. Then, the doorknob started turning. I slid my back up the wall, silently praying that it was Ryan just trying to scare me. The door slowly creaked open about 2 inches, and something was standing on the other side of it, but it was too dark to see. I grabbed my flashlight off the floor and pointed it upwards. It wasn’t Josh.
I had the light on whoever it was for no longer than a fraction of a second before I pushed off the wall and ran down the stairs and back into the lower unit kitchen. I heard steps pounding down the wooden stairs behind me. I ran with all the energy I could muster through the kitchen, the hallway, the dining room, and finally the living room, where I made it to the double doors. It was when they wouldn’t open that I felt like I was going to die. For a moment, I gave up all hope. I heard the door in the kitchen slam against the wall, letting me know that whoever it was was downstairs with me.
In the best display of quick thinking I’ve ever shown, I looked to the three large windows behind the rotted out couch that overlooked the porch. I threw my flashlight through the closest one, shattering the glass. I then jumped onto and over the couch, through the remaining glass, and fell onto the porch. I quickly turned my attention behind me, and in the moonlight, saw only the silhouette of someone much larger than me or Ryan advancing towards me. I got up and stumbled backwards over the railing of the porch, falling onto the small plants on the ground below. Without hesitation, I got up and sprinted away from the house as fast as my 15 year old legs would take me, hearing that same cackling laughter from behind me. I looked back at one point and saw someone in what would be the living room of the top floor, but I’ll never be sure who it was.
I ran all the way back home, where I called the police. I told them my friend had been kidnapped in a house on Mill Road. They sent a unit to the area I told them (as I didn’t know the address of the house we’d illegally entered), and a unit to come get me. Where I told them to go was to the house in the field between the large abandoned white house and the shitty apartments on the corner. They asked if I was sure, and I said yes.
I later found out that there was no house where I had sent them. One detective thought I was flat out lying, while another gave me the benefit of the doubt and assumed I was misremembering. I gave them the layout of the downstairs unit and the two foyers, but no house in that immediate area was built in such a way. It was as if as quickly as the house had shown up, it had disappeared.
Ryan was never seen again. A missing persons investigation was underwent, but with no leads and a statement from me that seemingly made no sense whatsoever, it was quickly thrown on the back burner. A funeral was held fro Ryan a few years after his disappearance, which I wasn’t allowed to attend because his parents held a particular disdain for me after everything happened. They buried a picture of him.
It wasn’t until nearly 8 years later that I was browsing the internet, looking at random pictures on some random website, when I saw the house again. It was in the background of a selfie two people had taken, only it was in a completely different state. I looked at it for hours, trying to determine if it was in fact the house, or if my mind was just showing me what I apparently wanted to see.
I didn’t know how it was possible, or what it meant, or what had really happened that night, but I knew that I would never find out if I didn’t go find that house. I had recently received a large inheritance from my grandfather’s passing, and I decided to use the money to set out to find what happened to my best friend. And the first stop on what would turn out to be my journey was Fort Wayne, Indiana.
STORY OF NICK AND RYAN
I met Ryan in the second grade. He moved from out of state to Milwaukee when his dad got transferred at his job. He was placed in my class, and sat in the desk behind me for the duration of the year. Over time, we began sitting at lunch together, and before we knew it, we were playing at each others houses.
Before long, Ryan and I were nearly inseparable. We lucked out by being placed in the same classes throughout the rest of elementary school, and the same homeroom all 3 years of middle school. High school came, and we weren’t in as many classes together as we’d grown accustomed to, so the even already abundant amount of time we spent together outside of school increased.
Our freshman year we began getting very into the horror genre. Movies, stories, comics, basically anything focused in that particular brand. We wanted to be scared, and we wanted to be scared bad. I suppose it was the surge of adrenaline one gets when they are truly chilled to the bone. When we realized we could take Mill Road as a shortcut between our houses, our first thought was that it would be creepy to walk down at night.
Mill Road stretches for a few blocks, and most of the houses have been demolished, mere piles of dirt occupying where they once stood. The houses that were still up hadn’t been occupied in years, let alone were livable. There were 16 abandoned houses and one extremely rundown, yet still occupied apartment building on the corner on Mill Road; and area which we came to call “The Forgotten Part Of The City”. The apartment building was a haven for drug activity, sex workers, and overall transience,
I don’t remember who had the idea to explore the abandoned houses first, but whoever followed the others suggestion did so eagerly and without the slightest convincing. We were on the hunt for anything potentially creepy. We’d hoped for ghosts, demons, cult activity, even a dead body. All we got was mostly talentless graffiti, garbage, drug paraphernalia, bugs/rodents, and the occasional squatter (although I have to admit, the few times we ran into someone else in a nearly pitch black house was pretty terrifying).
I’ll always remember the first house we went in. It was somewhere in the middle of the block, and it was around 8:30pm, so it had just gotten dark recently. The windows were boarded up as it was a foreclosed home, but we found a loose board in the back that covered a broken out window, so we used that as our entry point. Our first task was to establish a quick exit route, so Ryan and I simply (and as quietly as we could), knocked out the board we’d just entered through, making enough room for us to make a quick leap out if need be.
The window we entered through was located in a bedroom. The room looked as if it had belonged to a young boy at one time or another, as there were race car graphics along the top of each of the four walls, peeling off where they hadn’t already fallen. We stepped down onto the crunching glass on the floor and shined our flashlights inside. The door to the bedroom was open about an inch. I remember saying to Ryan how the feeling I had when we first stepped into that house was the feeling I’d been looking for all along. He agreed.
We opened the door and walked into the hallway, which had been spray-painted with different tags and logos of varying talent, then spray-painted over again with more. We explored the first floor then headed upstairs. We reached the top of the creaking steps and entered a den area. There was a closed door at the back of the room that looked very uninviting. I think neither myself nor Ryan wanted to look scared, so neither of us objected when the prospect of moving forward through it arose. We approached the door and I turned the knob slowly before flinging the door open.
It was the master bedroom, and there was a ratty old twin sized mattress on the middle of the floor. Next to it were countless used condoms with old needles and broken glass pipes complementing the empty beer cans and liquor bottles. This had clearly been a hangout for some pretty undesirable people at one point or another. It was when we stepped into this former party spot that we heard something coming from the closet within. It was a scratching of some kind, and a high pitched squeak every few seconds.
Again, with our false bravado fueling our curious fires, we decided to see what it was. We joked about how if it was a ghost we were going to be rich (I don’t really get the logic behind that, but hey, we were 15). This time, Ryan slowly opened the door, and out ran 2 rats. They startled us both, but we quickly recovered. It was when we flashed our lights inside the closet that the true horror was revealed. On the floor of the closet, on top of a broken down cardboard box, was a rat king.
A “rat king” is a group of rats who are all bound together by their tails becoming intertwined. There must have been 20 on this particular rat collective, and all we saw was their eyes glow in the light as they inched their way across the floor, crawling over each other. It was absolutely horrifying. We both screamed and turned around to run downstairs. We made our way back to the bedroom we had entered from and quickly got ourselves out of the house.
While freaked out, we were pleased in that we had achieved what we’d set out to do, explore something scary. We would spend the rest of the summer exploring these houses, sometimes doubling back to ones we’d already been in when the challenge of finding a way into a new one proved to be too great. We eventually made our way into each and every one, though. We always expressed our wishes for the apartment building to be vacated so we could explore it, but that wouldn’t happen for years to come.
I arrived in Fort Wayne about 5 hours after I left Milwaukee. The picture I had seen online was tagged as being taken at a Burger King, so I went to the different Burger King locations found in the city. My phone informed me that there were over 10 to choose from, so I started with the one closest to me, and did a lap around the building to see if the angle of the picture matched up with any views I had in person.
It was at the sixth Burger King that I was finally in the right place. The problem was, I was standing in the exact spot that that picture was taken, and the house was nowhere in sight. All that was there was a small area that had been recently prepared for some construction. The area was blocked off by a stationary gate and signs reading “KEEP OUT” and “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. I chose to ignore the signs and stepped onto the large dirt opening.
There were papers littered about, but for some reason, one particular piece caught my eye. It was a neon pink piece of computer paper with black print, that was a flyer for a Christian revival tent in Point Township, Indiana. I don’t know what it was about this particular advertisement, but I was drawn to it. Something inside me told me that that was where I needed to go. I needed to find “The True Revival”.
I made the nearly 6 hour drive to Point Township, and when I did, it was beginning to get dark, so I checked into an off the wall motel for the night. I was checked in by a very nice young lady behind the desk, who I managed to spark a conversation with. Our pleasantries eventually led to her asking me what I was in town for. I used this opportunity to fish for some information. I inquired about any tent churches in the area.
She told me there used to be 2, but both shut down. I asked about “The True Revival”, which she said was the more popular one. She told me it had shut down about 3 years prior, and asked why I had the interest in a now-defunct church tent. I lied, saying I was a writer working on a story about old tent revivals, and asked if she had directions to where it used to be, so I could get some pictures. Luckily. she was able to get a hold of a friend whose parents had visited the revival tent in the past, and was able to point me in the right direction..
As I laid in bed that night, I questioned what I was doing, and what was actually happening, how I had gotten to where I was at that point. I had found a place based on a random picture, then was inexplicably drawn to a piece of paper that turned out to be a flyer for a church revival tent that hasn’t been around in 3 years. Admittedly, it didn’t make even a little sense, but then again, neither did my best friend’s disappearance 8 years earlier.
Finding the area that The True Revival once stood proved to be arduous. None of the roads were marked, and only a local could tell one from the next. Once I found the correct path to take, I went down it, only to come to a gate which my car was unable to pass. Thankfully, The kind girl at the motel told me this would be the case. The gate was positioned at the end of a long dirt road, right where a thick, dense set of woods began. I got out of my car, locked it, and went on my way.
I was told to head east through the woods and I would eventually find the spot the tent once stood. Getting through the crowded forest adorned me with numerous cuts to my arms, and proved tiring. It was after a half mile that I finally came to a clearing. By the looks of it, I don’t think that I would believe that this place was once a respected religious location if someone told me.
There were a few old, weathered tents with a stake or two tethering it to the ground that had been worn by the weather from the 3 years they laid there unused. Multiple cups, old food wrappers, and other garbage littered the area. I could tell where the main tent had been from the proximity of the remaining tents. There was a decrepit stage that I assumed was once used by a preacher for holding sermons. On the rotting-wooden shell of a stage was a battered pulpit with a raggedy cloth over it displaying the logo for The True Revival.
I didn’t exactly know what I was doing here, and nothing about my surroundings gave any indication of my purpose for being there. I stood in front of the stage and looked at it, kind of spacing out for a second. I was all but prepared to leave when something made a shuffling sound behind me. I nearly jumped out of my skin when the serene silence of the open area was broken; until then, I had only heard spontaneous gusts of wind. I turned around and saw a bulge under one of the tents. Not sure what it was, I was wary to approach it. Then the bulge moved again, moving closer to edge, closer to being released from what it was hiding under.
Suddenly, the the bulge dropped to the ground, as if whatever was holding that small section of the unpitched tent had simply vanished from existence. Then, a small bug crawled out from under the tent. I couldn’t quite tell what it was at first glance, until it spread its previously hidden wings and flew off into the distance. It was the sound it made just before flying away that identified it to me. It was a cicada.
And with that revelation, I heard more. The buzzing of cicadas pierced through the hushed tranquility of the former site of The True Revival from all directions. Not only that, but it was getting louder, as if it were closing in on me. I looked all around me and saw nothing, until a shadow washed over me like a blanket. I turned around, and the previously uninhabited area behind me was now a 20 some odd foot wall of green and black insects, all heading in my direction.
I took off running, in the only direction I wouldn’t be swarmed by the winged creatures, which was towards a set of woods connected to the first one I’d traversed that bordered another side of The True Revival. I ran as fast as I could, and felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as it was being nearly touched by the cicadas that were quickly gaining on me. I leaped past the threshold of the woods and kept running, but suddenly, the buzzing sound was getting quieter. I slowed down running as the feeling of being chased drained away and the tingle in my spine dissipated..
I looked behind me and saw the sheet of bugs floating idly at the threshold of the woods, and as I walked backwards, the cicadas seemed to lose interest and all began flying away back in the direction from whence they came. I stopped to catch my breath, hoping that this intense situation was over, and that I could just take the woods back to where my car was parked. I took out my phone and used its compass to point me in the right direction.
About 5 minutes into my walk, I heard a twig snap to my right, deeper into the woods. Thinking nothing of it, I kept on walking. Then I heard it again, this time it was a few twigs snapping in rapid succession. Still, I assumed it was an animal of some kind, so I sped up my pace to hopefully stay ahead of it, as it seemed a relatively decent distance away. I wasn’t sure what kind of animals were native to this part of the state, but I surely didn’t want to find out.
At this point I’m quickly moving through the thick woods, dodging trees and climbing over fallen ones with ease. Then I suddenly heard the rapid succession of twigs snapping again, this time very close to me. I know that this should have encouraged me to move even quicker, but for some reason I stopped in my tracks, frozen with fear; I was draped with a wave of dread. Then I saw something in my periphery. Fear made me unable to look directly at what was slowly approaching me, and I feel like whatever it was knew that, as evidenced by staying out of my direct line of sight and in the shadows. Whatever this was, it was unlike any animal I’d ever seen before.
For what felt like an eternity, this thing approached me, as if it was decided whether or not to confront me. Then finally, while still staying draped in the cover of the shadows, it moved within my line of sight, and I was frozen all over again by what I saw. Until that point in my life, I had never known what it felt like to be paralyzed with fear and anxiety. It was as if lead had filled my veins and I was being weighted down to the ground.
This…thing…walked on all fours, all long, skinny, spindly fours. Its arms must have been nearly four feet, and were jointed in the very center. Its legs were probably about a foot shorter than its arms, and each finger and toe had a short, but seemingly razor sharp claw attached to it. It had an almost shiny, oily very dark grey skin that was loosely hanging onto its body, that looked as if it could be stretched any which way if pulled. Its face was about 1 ½ times the length of a normal humans, with circular eye that were pure white with no lids. I had my eyes focused on its, and it never appeared to blink. It just circled around me in the shadowy parts of the woods, breathing heavily.
Once it made two laps around me from about 10 feet away, it stopped off to my right, again in my periphery. It was then that I heard a whisper from an indiscernible source.
“Come hooooome.” followed by the unmistakable, albeit whispered rendition of the laugh I’d heard in the house 8 years earlier. It was at that point that the creature seemed to melt into the shadows that were providing its cover, all while making a strange hissing sound. The moment it was gone, I began sprinting to the car, and thankfully made it.
I had gotten so enthralled with finding the place the photo had been taken, that I had foolishly not done very much research on the house phenomena itself. I went to a hotel and took out my laptop, and my search had me up until nearly 5am. I found certain circumstances that had certain aspects of what happened to me and Ryan way back when, but nothing that directly lined up. That is, until I was about 50 degrees separated and in the deep bowels of the internet, I found a forum from about 3 years ago wherein someone told of an experience very similar to mine.
Calcalater624 5-12-2013 6:22PM
So, I don’t really know how to explain this, because it doesnt make any real sense. I hope you guys will believe me because Im rly looking for help. Im in Oklahoma by the way. Me and my friend were walking home from school, and there was a house they had been taking down recently. Well when we walked past that spot last week, there was a house there, but it looked like it had been there forever. It was different than the one they were tearing down, but it was still in really bad shape. We were standing there looking at it, and then we heard a cry for help from the inside. It sounded like a little boy crying from inside. My friend said we should go see if whoever was there needed help. I didnt rly want to but I went with anyways. We walked up to this porch and heard crying coming from inside. There were 3 big windows on the front of the house so we looked in but couldn’t see anyone. Then we heard the little boy yell “come help me, the front door is unlocked! Im stuck!”. My friend went right in, Im not gonna lie I was kind of scared but I went in anyway. The crying was coming from the back so we walked through this big room that connected to another big open room then there was a hallway. It was rly dark but my friend kept saying “just come on” like it wasnt a big deal. She took one step into the darkness and then she got pulled forward by something. I screamed and turned around, but didnt want to leave her. Then I saw a man walking out of the darkness and I got so scared I just ran away. The man was laughing when I was running away. I went to a house a few doors down to call the police, and when I went back outside the house was gone. Like it had never been there. The police think Im lying but Im not. I was in the house. I know I was. And I know my friend got taken. Please, if anyone can help at all please let me know. I havent seen the house again since that day and Ive driven past the spot a bunch of times.
There were a bunch of “Holy shit, that’s crazy!” and “This is obviously fake” comments on her post, but then I came to this one:
FollowTheBreeder 5-13-2013 2:06AM
The house was blue, wasn’t it? And when you walked in the front door, there were steps going up? The door to the part of the house downstairs was on the left? I’ve been in that house. That house took someone from me too. It was in 1988 in Washington State. My sister and I were walking home from the store a few blocks away from our house one day, and we saw a dog that had a collar on it walking alone about two blocks from our house. We’d lived in that neighborhood our whole lives, so we knew it well. There was a small field next to where we saw the dog, and that day, there was a house in the field. Right in the middle of it, like it had been there forever. But we knew it hadn’t. The dog ran up the porch and into the open front door, and to the left, inside the house.
It was obvious the place was empty. I don’t know why exactly, but we could just tell. There was something so quiet and eerily peaceful about it. We heard the dog bark from inside, and my sister insisted we find the dog and return it to its rightful owner. She was always an avid animal advocate. So we walked up the steps to the house, in the first door, and through the second. We walked through the same connected living/dining rooms and got to the hallway. There was a kitchen straight ahead, then 3 doors to the right. The one was a bathroom, another a bedroom, and the third had its door closed.
Chrissy walked in the hallway, trying to listen for the dog, and then it barked from behind the closed door. It all happened so fast. Chrissy went to the door before I had a chance to yell “NO!” and turned the handle, the door slightly opened to pitch black. Something grabbed her from inside and pulled her through the opening, then slammed shut. I walked up to the door and tried turning the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. Then I heard the laughing.
I backed away from the door because I was more afraid than I had ever been in my entire life, and then the knob started turning from the inside. It opened and a man peeked his head out. I remember his hair was wild on top of his head, the silhouette of it looked like someone had ran their hand through it and left it as is. I couldn’t see his face, but I could hear his laugh. I saw his arm reach out from behind the darkness and I ran. I hate to admit it, but I ran.
I went to the next house up the block and called the cops, they came, but there was no house there. They also thought I was lying. They never found my sister, and I’ve never been able to find anything about what happened that day, anywhere. I can’t believe I happened across this post. PLEASE get in contact with me. Please. I’m begging you.
I set up an account on this particular forum and messaged both users; I wasn’t really expecting a response as this board was, as I said, years old at this point. To my surprise, both posters responded to me within the next day. Calcalater624 was a now 19 year old girl name Ali, and FollowTheBreeder was a man in his early 40’s named Kevin. I regaled to them my experience with the house, and we agreed that all of our tales were connected. One particular thing we had in common was that none of us had ever seen anything in the house past the first floor. In fact, I was the only one to get past the hallway.
I explained to them my situation, that I was on a mission to find out what happened. Kevin said he had tried, but didn’t have the means or availability to drop everything and seek out answers. Ali said she was in school and had no idea where to even begin, and when she posted on that website it was a last ditch effort to get answers, and the correspondence between Ali and Kevin didn’t prove very fruitful.
I explained to them that I had seen the house in a picture from Indiana, and that my search took me to where The True Revival once stood, and then told them what happened to me there. Kevin offered to use his Internet sleuthing knowhow to try to dig up some information on the now-disbanded revival tent. As Ali didn’t really have the means nor the technical knowledge of how to search, we decided we would just keep her updated with what we found.
That night, after ending our online conversation and exchanging phone numbers, I went to bed. At some point during my slumber, I had the most vivid nightmare I’ve ever had. I had had a few nightmares in the weeks following Ryan’s disappearance, but nothing really long lasting. That night, though, was something completely different from the nightmares I’d had years earlier.
In the dream, I found myself driving down a long, empty road. Eventually, I passed a sign that read “GILBERT: POPULATION 28”. Shortly after the sign, I was out of my car, standing in front of the house. I didn’t want to go in, but I was unable to stop myself. The shadows of the house were particularly pronounced; the dark spaces in the house seemed to go on forever. I entered the house and instead of going to the left and into the lower unit, I headed up the stairs. Each one creaked louder than the last. About 3 steps up, I heard the laughing. Then, I heard the whisper of “Come home”. I reached halfway up the stairs and looked behind me. Down in the shadowy foyer, I saw the creature that had approached me in the woods. Even with the mounting dread, I knew I could only continue up the stairs.
I reached the top of the stairs, and the door to the upper unit was on the left. As I stepped in front of it, it slowly opened without my assistance. Inside was pure darkness. It was darker than the most pure black I’d ever seen. I felt that if I set foot inside I would never find my way out. Then I saw a hand reach out of the darkness. It extended a finger with a long, chipped fingernail that signalled for me to enter. As I hesitantly took my first step, I woke up.
I quickly grabbed my phone to document everything I’d seen in the nightmare, most importantly the road sign. After a quick internet search, I learned that the “Gilbert” I’d seen in my dream was located in Arkansas. I knew where I had to go next. I packed up the following morning and set out on my way.
I made the 7 hour drive to Gilbert with no stops. Located in northern Arkansas, the town has a population of roughly 26-28 people, making it one of the smallest populated towns in the United States. I took solace in this, hoping that since it was indeed such a small place, I wouldn’t have too much trouble finding what I was looking for.
As soon as I passed the “GILBERT: POPULATION 28” sign I felt a strange worry come over me. It felt as if someone knew I was here, and wanted me to leave. I had an overwhelming urge to leave that place, but I powered through it. I knew that if I ever wanted answers to what happened to my best childhood friend, then I would need to overcome fears I never even knew I had. This situation was anything but familiar or normal.
I aimlessly drove around Gilbert for a little while, before realizing I hadn’t eaten since the night before, so I looked for a place to stop. The only place was a diner called The Gilbert Cafe. I walked in and realized I had been getting stared at since I pulled into the parking lot. Each of the diners 7 or 8 occupants was clearly surprised to see someone new. Nonetheless, I sat down at a booth, and a kind, middle aged woman came up to serve me.
When she brought me my food, she casually asked what I was doing in town. I realized that I couldn’t tell her I had dreamed about it so I came to see about a ghost house, so I said I was just passing through on my way to Oklahoma, but she gave me a look as if she were skeptical about my reasoning (turns out if you’re heading west, Gilbert is pretty out of the way), but didn’t press the issue.
As I was sitting there eating, I noticed the entire place had gotten very quiet. I looked up and saw everyone in the diner, including the waitress and the cook, standing up, still, and staring directly at me. It sent a chill down my spine. Then, to make things worse, I blinked, and in the time it took me to close and open my eyes, the rest of the people in the restaurant now had wide, white eyes, similar to those of the creature in the woods.
I slowly stood up, trying not to agitate any of the horrifyingly calm and focused people that stood before me. In another blink of my eyes, they were now a few feet closer. My heart was nearly pounding out of my chest as I continued moving backwards towards the door, then I saw something move near the restrooms in the back of the diner. Though is was draped in shadows, I could still tell. It was the same thing that had taken Ryan in the house when I was 15.
I blinked a third time, and this time, I was face to face with the group of white eyed restaurant patrons. They suddenly parted, as if making way for something coming from behind them, and all the light in the diner, even the natural light faded away. The entire establishment was coated in shadow, and the silhouette moved its way towards me, before entering the gap between the restaurant-goers. It stopped stood still for a few moments, before leaping towards me.
Suddenly, I jerked back to consciousness. I looked around, and all of the people in the diner were completely normal, just talking and eating their food. I looked towards the back of the restaurant at the restrooms, and the area was well lit and empty. I looked down at my plate of food and realized it was half eaten. I had spontaneously hallucinated the aforementioned situation. Thoroughly freaked out, I dropped money on the table and left the Gilbert Cafe.
Still not sure why my dream told me to head to Gilbert, I drove to a motel about 10 minutes away from the diner. While collecting myself there, I received a call from Kevin, who then conferenced in Ali. He was calling to inform us that he had a name and some information connected to The True Revival.
The head pastor at The True Revival was a middle aged man named Wilson Coates. The revival officially shut down when Coates disappeared in 1979.
The True Revival was started in 1968 in Oklahoma, and moved from town to town throughout the years, performing sermons for religious fanatics and collecting donations from dedicated churchgoers. He and his 3 followers (two women and a man whose names Kevin was unable to find), travelled across the country, soliciting donations from every small town they went through, and it turned out to be enough to sustain them for years.
Word travelled about the charismatic and talented preacher and people came from all over the state to hear his word. He eventually was spoke about as a man whom God spoke through. Then one day, during a stop in Point Township, Indiana, Wilson Coates disappeared. His three followers were uncooperative with police, and the case remains open to this day.
I thanked Kevin for the information and the told him what happened to me at the Gilbert Cafe earlier that day. He said he would do some more research and see if he can’t pinpoint what it is that’s been haunting my thoughts and dreams. Meanwhile, I still had to figure out why my nightmare sent me to Gilbert. I decided to sleep on it and continue on my search the following morning.
When I woke up, I showered and headed right out, I drove around the remaining areas in Gilbert I hadn’t covered the day before and eventually came to a clearing that was of similar size to where the revival tent had been set up in Point Township. Instead of stopping, I decided to go find some people that might have some answers. The most populated place besides the diner (where I didn’t feel comfortable showing my face anymore) that I could find was the Gilbert General Store.
The Gilbert General Store also serves as a sort of visitors center. They rent out canoes for river trips and the like. I walked in and was greeted by a very kind, soft spoken man. He asked what he could help me with and I told him I was a writer trying to collect information on former tent revivals. He knew exactly what I was talking about when I brought up the topic.
Without having to really prompt him, he opened up about everything that happened during the time The True Revival was in Gilbert. He said people came from all over the state, throwing their money at the personable preacher, who seemed to be able to relate to every individual he spoke with. The people of Gilbert didn’t take too well to the situation, as everyone around there was kind of a tight-knit community.
Even with the backlash from the locals, The True Revival seemed to stay around much longer than their stops normally lasted. One day, the 20 or so residents of Gilbert got together to get The True Revival and Wilson Coates out of their town. When all was said and done, the church group left, but afterwards, the three men who led the mob died strange, unexplainable deaths. With Wilson Coates and his three followers as the lead suspects, they were tracked down in southern Indiana (Point Township). Somehow, Wilson got word of this before Indiana police were even aware, and he disappeared without explanation.
About a year and a half after Wilson Coates disappeared without a trace, the one and only time there was a reported sighting of him was back in Arkansas, in a town of about 1,500 called Flippin, which sits about an hour away from Gilbert. And in Flippin, he was spotted driving towards the mountains, and after that, was never seen again.
I thanked the man for the information and headed back to Anna’s House (the sort of bed and breakfast I was staying at in Gilbert, since they don’t have any real hotels), where I called Kevin. We tried getting Ali on the phone in a conference call but she didn’t pick up. I explained to him what I had learned and he noted everything. He then relayed the information he found out about my nightmares and visions I’d had.
His searches had brought him to all kinds of Native American folklore, some of which he regaled to me, but none of it made sense, as we were dealing with a Christian preacher. I took note of all the things he told me, but really didn’t take to much stock in it, as it all seemed rather farfetched and unrelated to what we were dealing with.
At this point, we were stuck. I didn’t know where to head next. The proverbial trail had gone cold. I got off the phone with Kevin and laid down. Eventually I drifted off to sleep, where I had yet another dream. This time, I was standing in front of the house. The silhouette of the man I had briefly seen upstairs during my time in the house 8 years prior was standing on the porch, and for the first time I got a good look at the shape.
I should say, the lack of shape. The entire being was sort of on big arch, like the tall, yet somewhat wide top half of an oval. There were some distinctions in the shape though. It looked like feathers. The head turned to the side, and I could have sworn I saw something resembling a small beak. Then, it raised its right arm, and pointed a clawed finger. His arm separated from his body, and the feathers went flat, making it look like a human appendage. I heard a hissing sound come from behind the man, and noticed the thing from the woods lurking in the shadows, its white eyes floating like orbs in the dark.
I looked to my left, towards where the man was pointing, and saw a set of mountains. Then, I woke up.
I documented my dream, and sat up. It was already morning. I sat frustrated for a moment, because I didn’t know where I was supposed to go from here. I resolved to get some food from a place called Ferguson’s Country Store and Restaurant, which was literally the only other place around to eat something that wasn’t microwavable from the Gilbert General Store. From there, I was going to head back home, since I had no other destination; mountains weren’t really enough to go on. I got myself ready and packed, and went to thank the owners of Anna’s House before I took off. I couldn’t find them.
Figuring they were outside doing yard work or something of the sort, I stepped out the front door. What I saw made me drop my bag, and made my heart drop to my feet. Across the street, standing as if it had been there for decades, was the house. It had the same, blue chipping paint, the almost completed paint job on the porch, the three windows on the left and the door on the right.
The owners of Anna’s House were curiously observing the spontaneously placed house, already on the porch. I was in shock, Every part of me wanted to yell out to them, but I couldn’t find my voice. Finally, I was able to move again, and I began running towards them, and I yelled out for them to stop. The wife yelled back to me that someone was calling for help from within. I tried yelling that it was a trick, but the husband had already opened the door. I saw a long, dark grey arm with talons on the end of its fingers reach out the crack in the door and grab the man, pulling him inside with ease.
His wife, obviously shocked, pushed the door open, and there it was. The thing from the woods grabbed her as well, throwing her to its right inside the lower unit of the house. The thing retreated into the shadows, and I heard the familiar, guttural laugh coming from the man, who was standing midway down the stairs leading up to the second floor. Suddenly, the door slammed shut. I heard screaming coming from the inside after that, and I saw a lot of movement through the lower windows, and then it all just stopped.
I began to get lightheaded. My vision went blurry and before I knew it, I passed out.
When I came to, I was looking up at the clear blue sky. I regained my composure, praying it was all just another vision. I ran back to Anna’s House, and looked all over for the owners, but to no avail. Their truck still sat behind the house, but I knew it would never be used by them again. I knew they were gone.
I threw my stuff in my car and drove away, still not sure where I was going, but then the idea popped up in my head that I should go to Kevin. I called him and asked if it would be okay for me to come to where he lives. He told me his wife wouldn’t want guests, but that we could definitely get together. At the time, he was living in Minnesota, so I headed north.
I made it all the way there with no further issues, much to my genuine surprise. Kevin met me at my hotel and nearly kicked the door down. I asked what had gotten him so worked up, and he said that Ali was missing. He had searched records for near where she lived after a few unsuccessful attempts at reaching her, and found a missing person’s report for her in her town. He had found this out literally minutes before leaving for my hotel. While we had no proof, we both knew that she had become victim to the house.
Kevin then told me he did more research on Wilson Coates. Apparently, nothing could be found on him before the age of 22. He said the documents on Wilson seemed to begin in Calera, Oklahoma, so after getting to know Kevin a bit, that’s where I headed the next day. At this point I had numerous questions.
- What happened to Ryan all those years ago?
- Why did Coates go back to Arkansas?
- What happened to Ali?
- Why did the house show up in Gilbert?
- What does the house even have to do with The True Revival?
I hadn’t yet figured out the origin of the house, or how it itself was connected to everything. I mean, obviously I knew it was taking people, and that the monsters instigating the taking live within it, but where did the house come from? How does it move about?
I made it to Calera and immediately went to the library to search through public records, and sure enough, I couldn’t find anything from before he was 22. I then decided to look for his parents, and that’s where I started getting some answers. His mother was a full blooded Native American woman, and his father of European descent. That made Wilson half Native American. It still didn’t explain why there were no records of him before the age of 22.
A quick search revealed to me that Calera was just 5 miles south of a Choctaw reservation. I finally felt as if I was getting some useful information. By this time, it was dark out, so I decided to get some sleep. I stayed in the closest motel I could find, and coincidentally, it was completely vacant, besides the older gentleman who checked me in.
I was laying in the motel bed at about 10pm when I heard a knock on the door. Only there was something off about the knock. It was like whoever was on the other side was knocking with their fingernails. It’s hard to explain; it just didn’t sound right. I quickly got up from the bed and looked out the window. But saw nothing. I went back to bed and heard it again a few minutes later. I looked back out the window, and again saw nothing, but then I realized that I was seeing literally nothing. It was completely pitch black outside my window. I couldn’t see the sign for the motel, and when looking the other direction, I couldn’t see the main office for the motel either.
Then I saw them. The white eyes of the creature from the woods. It scratched its talon-like fingernails against the window, then tapped them on the door again. I could only see its eyes in the darkness, and its extended limb; the rest of it was draped completely in shadow. I stood there for probably close to an hour as this thing stared at me; I could feel it somehow goading me to go outside and confront it, but I knew better. I saw it shift positions and once again melt back into the darkness. Sunrise inevitably came, and as soon as the faintest hint of light shown over the horizon, the creature melted into the shadows and was gone, and I could see again.
Somehow this told me that I was getting close. I don’t know why this thing didn’t kill me in the woods, or why it didn’t tear my door off its hinges and slaughter me right then and there, but I sure was thankful it didn’t. I got about 3 hours of sleep and headed to the Choctaw Tribal Headquarters. All I had to go on was a single Native American woman’s name, and I had no idea who to ask about it. I walked in and approached the help desk, where I was greeted by an extremely polite middle aged Choctaw man.
I said I was looking for information on a former member of the tribe, a woman named Opa Chuka Ishtabi. When I said that name, the color drained from his face. The young woman who was sitting next to him stopped what she was doing and looked over at me. I asked if I had done something to offend them, and that if I had I sincerely apologized. They told me not to move and got on the phone. About 30 seconds later, 3 Choctaw men in suits approached me, and escorted me behind a set of doors marked Tribal Council Members Only.
I was taken into a large office where a man sat behind an immaculate oak desk. The room was adorned with numerous Native American artifacts. I would’ve been truly impressed had I not been scared out of my mind. They sat me down and asked what I knew about Opa Chuka Ishtabi. I told them I knew nothing, and that I was looking for information. I told them I knew of her son, Wilson Coates, and that something sinister was connected to him.
It was then that I got the true story of Wilson Coates.
Wilson Coates was not even really Wilson Coates. He was born Ayamawat Chuka Ishtabi. Which translates to “He who follows orders, in a house he takes and kills”. That right there told me I was on the right track. His mother has the same surname, but her name (Opa) means “Owl”. Wilson (as I’ll still call him since it’s easier) was brought up in a very strict Native American household. It was long suspected that his mother murdered his father shortly after she gave birth to Wilson, but it was never confirmed.
Opa was a part of the Choctaw tribe, but involved herself in very strange activities, including learning and teaching her son the practices of the occult. Eventually, she was exiled from the Choctaw tribe, and forced to live off of the reservation. She took her soon and moved deep into the Ozark Mountains. Over the course of the next few years, she successfully recruited other Choctaw natives to join her in her black magic practices.
When the Choctaw council members finally had enough, they sent some of their own people to go and dispatch the group, and make attempts to get their former members back to their rightful tribe. When this happened, Opa killed herself via self-immolation. Being that her son was not a full blooded Choctaw native, he was not welcomed back to the reservation. It is thought that he lived in the mountains for a few years, before he and a few people the tribe didn’t know personally, but knew were associated with Opa, began a Christian revival in nearby Calera, under the name “The True Revival”.
The True Revival operated under the guise of a Christian church, but it was just a mask and a source of funding for Wilson to continue practicing his occult knowledge in a dangerous mix with his Native American beliefs. When the incident in Gilbert occurred, and Wilson disappeared, the Choctaw tribe sent out their best men to find him.
They tracked him down to a house in the mountains in Montana, off a long, desolate road called “200”. When they attempted to apprehend him, the Choctaw members found themselves unable to advance on the house. It had been protected with a mix of occult and Native magic. Wilson stepped out onto the front porch and made a spectacle out of his forthcoming “suicide”. The Choctaw men watched as he chanted a spell (the words of which they refused to speak out loud) and was viciously stretched out in all directions, his skin taking on a grey/blackish hue and his eyes turning a bright, blinding white.
While this was happening, one of the men happened to look up to the second floor window and saw a nearly shapeless figure that seemed to have feathers growing out of its body. Wilson was now a disgusting, horrid creature, and once his transformation finished, he seemingly melted into the shadows on the porch. The men returned to the reservation and regaled what they had seen.
They then explained to me that the occupant of the house was Wilson’s mother, who had effectively killed herself, only to be turned into a “Tah-tah-kle’-ah” or “Owl-Woman”. It was a creature from a different tribe of Native Americans but one that was feared throughout the entire race. There are only 5 of these “owl-women” in the world, and they are essentially the walking embodiment of death.
Her son had essentially sold his soul to her, and that had resulted in his turning into a “Nalusa Falaya” or “Long Black Being”, a creature from the Choctaw set of beliefs.