By: Marijn Meijer
I like to consider myself a pretty logical man, someone who doesn’t fall prey to the faux-news stories shared on the internet and stands his ground on topics of debate until presented with well-researched, established, and convincing counter-arguments. One of these topics includes the existence of ghosts, ghouls, and other incarnations (or reincarnations) of dread and the afterlife. My long-seated beliefs have admittedly been questioned after I sat around the dinner table with my long-time friend, Josh, and his family. They shared with me a plethora of short, albeit creepy, stories of their old house from my hometown of Saline, and the ghost, “Tomas” who dwelled within its walls.
Through the flickering of dim candle light Josh’s mother recalls the precursors to the haunting of the household ten years ago. She starts with the story of Josh’s little brother, who was four at the time. He was playing in his newly cleaned room when his mother comes in to see the place a mess. Before she can say a word, his brother looks to her and tells her that his new friend, who he calls “Tomas”, wanted to play, and insisted on taking everything off the shelves to find what toys he wanted to play with. A week later, Josh hears a bloodcurdling female scream from the basement while getting ready for school. After investigation, he tries to play it off as nothing. But this was only the beginning of a long series of paranormal encounters.
Weeks pass with no incident before a friend of Josh’s older sister visits with an Ouija Board, where they try to contact the afterlife. Josh, his sister, and her friend contact his cousin Rachel, yet “Rachel” cannot recall anything from her previous life aside from the family in the house, which leads them to believe it was another entity trying to impersonate her. After Josh’s sister confronts the entity, he threatens to harm her on Halloween if she doesn’t listen to him. At the time they did not know who – or what – this entity could be, but soon the pieces fall into place.
A month goes by, and Halloween was quickly approaching. In the basement (containing Native American artifacts that Josh’s father collects), Josh, his brother, sister, and cousin were sleeping. His sister wakes in the night to a young, friendly seeming boy. She was in shock, frozen with fear until he shows that he was only trying to play. Soon, she becomes more comfortable. As he approaches her, a presence with a farmer hat lingers at the door. She believes it was the father of the boy, filled with anger that the boy wanted to play, demanding that he goes off with him and now realizes that the threats are likely from this overbearing father, in attempt to keep the family away from his son.
The day before Halloween, as the entire family sits in the living room, they hear a dim chatter coming from the kitchen. As Josh’s mother goes to investigate, she discovers the radio is still on. As she goes to turn it off, the volume cranks to its highest, startling the household. Being too much for the family, they sleep in the living room that Halloween together, in fear of the father keeping his threats against Josh’s sister and the family. He never showed himself that night, but he had one last attempt before they moved away. At the families going-away party Josh, his sister, and cousin amongst others were having their last hurrah in the basement when one of their father’s spears falls off the wall right by his cousin and sister, almost piercing the two.
Saline is a small, strict and religious farm town at its roots, which is why the family believes that Tomas was the murdered son of a strict farmer who also took the life of his wife (hence the screams), even trying to control his family in the afterlife. To me this still seems far-fetched, there could be so many other explanations for the occurrences in the house, but there is no denying the fear I saw in this family’s eyes and the horror that these events – paranormal or not – caused them.