Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Desert Haunt Part 2-Guest Blogger

 Here's part 2 of Guest Blogger Rick's haunting.  If you want to catch up, you can read Part 1 by clicking HERE.

If you like to be a guest blogger, we'd love to hear from you.  Click HERE  to get the information to submit your story!

Hope you enjoy Part 2 of Rick's story!

Lance & Jennifer

A Desert Haunt, Part 2

Well, our little rescue desert dog, Buddy, had just arrived on the scene at our home in the Mojave Desert and strange happenings started picking up in our house. This was now February 2019, right at one year since we moved in. The only odd thing Sheri remembers prior to Buddy moving in was the occasional odor of cigarettes in one area of the house.

I will add here that the week before Buddy showed up, on January 15, 2019, our landlord brought a 10'x16' building from a nearby property. He put the building close to the horse lot so Sheri could use it to store feed and tack. Great! What a nice gesture! Or was it?

I've always been paranormal-curious and was a big fan of Ghost Hunters back in the early 2000s. I also loved watching the early seasons of Supernatural, Medium, and Ghost Whisperer. My interest goes further back than that since I'm a huge Scooby-Doo fan from my childhood to this day. So, taking the step from the strange things happening around our home were just strange to calling them paranormal wasn't a huge leap. What to do about it? That was an entirely different dilemma.

Shortly after Buddy moved in with us the flags started adding up. I worked all day and usually spent the evenings staying busy until bedtime, so I wasn't as aware of these things as Sheri, who rarely left the property except to ride the horses or get feed for them. After Buddy's treat-basket incident, we began talking more about what she was experiencing. This led to me noticing them more and more when I was home.

The first thing was the smell of cigarettes got stronger and moved to other parts of the house. Neither of us smoke. The most common area we smelled it was in the living room where we had put a left-behind loveseat that I usually sit in. The rooms are really tiny in order to accommodate three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room, family/office room, and utility room. So there are only so many ways to configure the living room if you have more than one piece of furniture. I'm sure our setup matched many of the previous tenants over the place's 30-year history. We actually don't know anything about the loveseat other than it was simply here and we asked if we could use it, along with a dining room table that was also left behind by someone. They don't smell like smoke if you put your nose up to them. The other most common area we would smell cigarettes was around the back door leading out to the rear porch and small fenced-in back yard.

If that was all, we could have kept ignoring the signs. But there was more. They mostly happened to Sheri and I got to hear about them later. That was the most frustrating thing for me. She would call me or text me while I was at work freaked out about another experience she'd had and I had absolutely no idea what to do. I needed to protect my family but I didn't know what I was up against.

As Spring wore on, the unexplained stuff just kept ramping up. Below are some of the events. I can't necessarily recall dates or sequence, but they seemed to go from less obvious things that simply made you wonder to more physical stuff that was hard to just shake your head and move on from.

         At first, things inexplicably fell off shelves, tables, counters. Stuff would also go missing, then show up again later. A pocket knife I'd carried for years went missing and was never seen again to this day. I totally understand these things can be written off to being misplaced. That's exactly what I did at first.

         Sometimes the computer or phone would start behaving strangely. Especially if you were trying to type something. It would just start adding symbols or random characters. In some cases, the only solution was to restart the device.

         One weekend afternoon I was in the living room watching TV and a loud commotion came from the bedroom. Buddy lost his mind barking and growling at the sound and all that caused me to jump. I followed him into the bedroom and he went straight to the closet, his hair up and growling. Some of Sheri's shirts had come off the hangers; some of the hangers were swinging and some had come off the rod. Nobody was in the bedroom, and Buddy & I were alone in the living room. That wasn't the only time things in that closet came off the hangers.

         Sheri started having her bra unsnap while she was working outside. It didn't happen all the time, however over a couple-week period it was rather predictable. Sheri would work all day without any problems with her bra, then, when she finished up her chores for the day and was coming inside for the evening, her bra would come undone right at the base of the steps to our front porch. It almost always happened that way, no matter if she was finishing early or late. Sheri swears, since she's been wearing a bra most of her life, she had never had this kind of trouble with her bras before. It didn't matter if they were new, old, or what. It would come undone at almost the same place as she approached the house to come inside for the evening. It wasn't just confined to her or the house area though. Once it happened to one of her riding lesson students in the middle of a lesson. The young lady was so embarrassed she didn't know how to tell Sheri what happened. It also happened to Sheri once when was getting out of the truck to go into a feed store.

         Sheri was in the bathroom and saw, through the frosted glass window, the dark shape of a person walking up the front porch steps. It looked like the shadow of a person backlit by the sunlight. She thought it was UPS delivering a package, so she hurried to finish her business and went to the front door to find nothing. No package, no person, no vehicle. There were no sounds of footsteps, knocks, or a vehicle pulling up to the house. Just that unmistakable shape of a human being.

One of my favorite things to do here in the desert is sit outside in the evening around our fire pit. The night air cools down and the warmth of the fire feels really good. The house is surrounded by gravel, put in so the owner could move heavy equipment and trucks around without worrying about them getting buried in the sand. I took advantage of all that graveled space to put out a fire pit and not have to worry about the fire getting away from me. Sitting by that fire in the evening is the best way I've found to relax at the end of a long day. When I lived back east I could only imagine what it would be like to sit outside, drink a cold beverage, and not be attacked by night insects. I can now do that, but after one particular night I have to wonder if something else might deliver a different sort of attack.

The sun had slipped over the horizon 30 or 40 minutes before and I was listening to some music, drinking a beer, and trying to pick out constellations in the darkening sky. Sheri was in the horse lot off to my left finishing up with her evening feeding and I was waiting for her to join me. From behind me, I heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps running through the gravel. I thought I was about to be hit from behind…with what, I didn't know. I jumped up and yelled out a warning to whoever was rushing me. I grabbed the fire poker and pivoted 180 degrees toward the sound of those steps and got in a fighting stance, prepared to defend myself as best I could. With my heart racing and my adrenaline stoking my courage, I tried to locate the threat. Nothing was there. There is easily 10 yards of open space all around where I was sitting. The gray sheet-metal fence that had been to my back was the closest thing and anyone would have been outlined against it. I reached for my flashlight and probed all around in the gathering dark. Nothing. I sidestepped, still facing the perceived danger, until I could see beyond the corner of the sheet-metal fence. Again, nothing. I was all alone.

That experience unnerved me more than anything up to that point and since. Were we in danger? I couldn't be sure. The sound of those footsteps running toward me, crunching in the gravel, haunts me to this day. The menace and purpose in them were apparent. They could not be ignored. Neither can they be forgotten. I don't know what made that sound. My eyes told me there was nothing around that could have made it. My physical reaction to it told me something had to have made it.

I told Sheri what happened when she joined me a little later. She could tell how disturbed I was. We wondered what we could do. I admitted I was scared. She acknowledged she was too.

What do you do when you finally accept you're dealing with a haunting? Where do you turn? In part 3, I'll try and explain how the experiences affected us and how we tried to fight back.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

A Desert Haunt Part 1 - Guest Blogger

We'd like to welcome new guest blogger, Rick!  He's sharing the terrifying story of his experiences in the desert.  Here's Part 1 of his story.

The purpose in sharing our story has been to help others; giving them strength and courage to get the help they need to live a normal life.  That purpose has turned into a mission.  

We don't shy away from our experience and neither should anyone else.  No one should suffer in silence out of fear of being judged or ridiculed.

If you'd like to be a guest blogger, click HERE for details.  We'd love to hear from you!

Thanks and enjoy Rick's story.


A Desert Haunt

So this story has been hard to write. I've made several starts but have never really been able to finish. Maybe it's because we're not truly done with it yet. But reading the Eberhardt's story when I was searching for my own answers helped me get through our experiences and to a place of more peace. I thought this could be one way to show my appreciation for them sharing their experiences and potentially contribute to their mission to help others dealing with strange and scary things in their homes. 

Our story starts in September 2017 when my long-time girlfriend, Sheri, and I moved to the Mojave Desert in California after I got out of the Army. This was a new chapter in our lives, leaving the military life behind and becoming civilians again. I had been hired on to a Federal job, so hopefully you'll understand my not disclosing our exact area. We moved to a place where we had no ties, no family, no friends; just the purpose of starting something new.  

We landed at a short-term rental we found before we left the military and then, in January 2018, we found a more permanent place to rent. This place, where we still live, gave us the opportunity to have our two horses on the same property with us instead of boarding them at another location. Our landlords had moved out of state and we've become caretakers of their property as well as renters. 

"I could never sleep here at night all by myself." 

That's what the wife half of our landlord duo said when my girlfriend told her she would be alone for two weeks while I went to Colorado Springs on my first business trip. Too bad we didn't have the foresight to ask why she would say something like that. Or why the husband, who usually lets nothing go without commentary, had nothing to add to his wife's statement. 

We wrote her remark off as referring to the isolation of the place. Nobody would hear you scream here since the closest neighbors had strategically put up fences and planted trees as visual reminders of their ideology on privacy. No worries. We had a shotgun, a rifle, and almost a 4-wheel drive. Taking inspiration from Hank Jr., we were both country folks; we could survive. 

The property had three structures. The main place was a drab, blue-gray mobile home that more resembled a modular house thanks to the wood panel siding and half-length covered porch. A small back yard with grass and two sweeping mulberry trees were a nice touch. A dead tree pointed like an ominous finger toward the west end of the house. Sheri hung a hummingbird feeder on it. 

Front of house as approach from driveway.

Front of house as approach from driveway. 

The other two structures were in a fenced off yard set off from the home place and surrounded by a dark brown sheet-metal fence taller than my 5 feet 9 inches by a head. An all-metal tan shop dominated the area. It was high as a two-story building and boasted two garage-style roll-up doors on the north side. Right next to it was a paint shop that, ironically, was unpainted. It's gray metal walls and decayed wood roof looked like a graveyard mausoleum compared to the nicely painted workshop. Talk about a stark contrast. 

There was only one rule - no painting the inside rooms of the house. All we were told was there was a tenant who painted a room (not sure which) black. The landlords said it took many coats of paint to get back to a light color. We were fine with that, especially since I don't like to paint. Anything. But it begs the question why anyone would paint a room black. In hindsight I can only think of it being a person or people with dark tendencies. No telling what was done in the dark of that room. 

Our interest in the place, however, was strictly for the horses. Right out the front door was a half-acre area that was enclosed on three sides. The owners gave us free reign to finish fencing this part off so Sheri could put the two horses there. For the first time in our 8 years together, we had finally found a place that we could have the horses with us instead of boarding them miles away. It was great! 

That first year our priority was turning our little place into a home for us and the horses. We bought corral fences and shelters, started watering the trees and the grass, and weeded the rose bed out front. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Even that couple of weeks Sheri stayed alone was uneventful. Our new life in California was taking on a sense of normal. 

Normal, that is, until Buddy showed up out of the desert in January 2019. Somewhere around a year to the day of our move-in date. I was at work when I got the first text from Sheri about him on January 22. Buddy is a rusty red colored dog about the size of a fox. He has a white patch on his chest and the most soulful brown eyes you can imagine. He found us during a cold spell that had temperatures dropping to the teens at night. I immediately knew I wanted to keep him, but we had to try and see if we could find an owner. We reported him to the local animal shelter's Facebook page and also on another lost and found page. Then we waited. 

First Buddy photo, January 22, 2019 

At first we set up a place for him to sleep on the front porch in a cooler with some towels because of the cold. We put a dish by the steps and bought some dog food. In just a day or two, we moved him inside and he's been inside with us ever since. Nobody ever claimed the little guy. So after waiting the required two weeks, Buddy joined our little family. The vet said he was about a year-and-a-half old. Nobody has been able to identify what type of dog he is. Speculation is mostly on a blend of chihuahua, Pomeranian, dachshund, and even terrier. Only his mom and dad really know. 

Up until that point, nothing was too unusual. I learned after the fact that Sheri would smell cigarette smoke on occasion, but it wasn't anything she felt worth mentioning at the time. 

The month after Buddy moved in, things took a dramatic turn. Not for the best. 

I got a text from Sheri on Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019. We had put a small basket with toys & treats on top of Buddy's kennel in the kitchen. One of them came off the kennel and crashed to the floor. Except it didn't just slide off, the way it landed it looked like it was flung off the crate. As I remember it, this was when we finally started thinking something paranormal was going on. Sheri had actually been having experiences before then, but had not said anything to me about them. 

So this was the start of a journey that, while not "run-out-of-the-house-screaming" level of scary, forced us to accept that something out of the ordinary was going on in our home. We started living in a state of constant dread and the fear slowly built until I started looking for answers which eventually led me to this blog. I am going to stop here for now, as one post is just not enough to tell this story. In future contributions I will highlight some of the experiences that came next as the activity ramped up, our reactions and struggles to deal with what was happening, and ultimately the story of a surprise visitor that shed a ton of light on what was going on.

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A Desert Haunt Part 2-Guest Blogger

  Here's part 2 of Guest Blogger Rick's haunting.  If you want to catch up, you can read Part 1 by clicking HERE . If you like to be...

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