Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Case File 002 - Strange Guest of the Old Oak Hotel

Written by Darwyn Parker
Transcribed by Andrenn Jones

Business enterprise is often believed to be the heart of the American dream. You have an idea, you make a business out of it and get rich doing what you love. That's what they sell in the political ads and newspaper articles, anyway. Ambition is the core principle of being an entrepreneur. There have been few businessmen with quite as big a spirit as Dario Del'Otto. Dario moved to America shortly before World War 2 had begun. When his family was small, him, his wife and their first son Franco. They escaped Italy shortly before the madness had taken over Europe.

Dario worked hard for many years in California, earning money at several dead-end jobs. Scraping what cash he could save for his American dream. All while having three more children to care for along the way. In early February of 1950, Dario moved his family from California up to Serling, Oregon. He took all the money he had saved and began to build his dream: The Old Oak Hotel. Serling's first hotel, as the town had yet to expand enough to attract many tourists. Dario felt the town deserved something grand to help travelers see the beauty of Serling.

His vision was a majestic hotel that sat at the far end of the town, surrounded by old oak trees. Tucked right next to the river for a gorgeous view. It had a vibrant and warm entrance, it's arches holding up the sign as they welcomed you to your new home away from home. Inside the lobby was warm, smooth stone floor leading to a large fire place not far from the front desk. A small welcome area full of books about the local area was set up for anyone who had to wait. After the lobby the sprawling hallways were revealed to you, lines of rooms marked with bright shining gold numbers to indicate which was yours.

Along the walls were patterns of trees to occupy your eyes until you found your room. Each room was carefully assembled by Dario to be as comforting as possible as soon as you stepped in. Colors of Autumn adorned the walls, splashes of orange and yellow. All converging into a beautiful pattern along the ceiling. Large, plush beds awaited you. Not far from them was a balcony looking out into the woods or, if you were on the left wing, the river which always shines beautifully in the moonlight. A large desk for one to work at was not far from balcony. Spacious closets for all your travel bags and clothes. It was a lavish getaway in the heart of the forest.

After months of hard work, with his own two hands, Dario completed the Old Oak Hotel. While the Oak made sense, as the hotel looked more like a log cabin surrounded by the same type of trees that built it, no one understood why he put "Old" in the name of a new hotel. He would grin at them and say "Because even a place can have an old soul."

That was the kind of man Dario was. He did what he liked and never really worried too much about what anyone else would think. June, 6th 1950 was the official opening of the hotel. There was a huge party that the entire town had been invited to. Held inside the ballroom he built with his own hands, Dario welcomed the people of Serling to his business with open arms. Live music and delicious food filled everyone with excitement over the new Hotel, getting people talking and suggesting it to all their family members next time they would stay.

In that early year after opening, business was doing well. The Old Oak was a hotel founded on principles of giving their guests a warm, welcoming experience while they stayed and word of mouth had been helping exponentially. Up until that point, Serling was somewhat stagnant as far as business was concerned. After the hotel opened it began to rekindle the American Dream in many other members of the community. Several businesses opened up that helped nurture a more positive travel destination for anyone driving through. Many believe that if not for the Old Oak Hotel, Serling would still be twice as small as it is today.

It was around late December of 1950 that the vision of Dario's American Dream began to sour and twist into a nightmare. On the eve of December 30th, a man checked into the Old Oak Hotel who would forever change the future of the Del'Otto family. He was described by many of the staff as tall, just a little under 6 foot 5. He always wore heavy clothing, making it difficult to discern the type of body frame beneath his garments. He had broad shoulders, like a football players. Sitting atop them was a bald head, mostly concealed in the shadow of the large dust-caked old hat. His face was rather plane, worn looking as if he'd seen much in his time. He had cold, piercing eyes and always had a large grin on his face.

"Good evening." He spoke in a deep, confident voice when he greeted Franco at the front desk. His grin never left his lips even after the introductions. Franco later mentioned feeling ill just staring at the man. As if something about the air around him was unnatural enough to start making him feel unwell. He took his time slowly writing his name and information down in the guest book. Making Franco's sickened feeling worsen by the minute. By the time the guest took his key and left, Franco was near vomiting and left for the rest of the day. Franco and the rest of the staff never told his father about the strange feeling the guest gave him until after he left

His first name he checked in under was Charles Ratheway. For the week that he was checked into the hotel he never left. He stayed in his room, ordering room service once in the morning and once at night. He never said a word to the staff. He would merely pay them for their service, take his food and have them remove the plates and silverware from his last meal. Each staff member who delivered him food would later admit to the same sickening feeling when near him. Though they were exposed to him far less than Franco had been. Franco remained ill and in bed at home for the entire week.

January 6th, 1951 the guest checks out early in the morning, 3 full hours before check-out and before most of the guests have awoken. That morning as the guests awoke, terrible memories that had seemingly been repressed began to resurface. The front desk was swarmed by several furious, confused and frightened families recounting the horror that occurred in their rooms.

A young woman recounted through her tears about waking up late one evening, shortly before 3 AM. She found a man in her room, described like the strange guest, only his heavy clothes were all gone. His skin was loosely draped over his body, blood leaking from some corners. Barely fitting to his frame.

He approached her bed, then laid beside her. Casually he began to start a conversation. Recollecting things about her past no one else could have known. About her mother's recent death and other tales she never shared with anyone else. He never touched her the entire time, simply carrying on the strange morbid conversation. She remained paralyzed for the entire hour that he continued to speak. As it reached the end, he began to speak of her own upcoming death. He went into grotesque detail about the way her head would be severed and roll down a hill, into oncoming traffic to leave a rather awful mess. He left shortly after this, and she instantly fell back asleep and forgot it even happened, until the guest was gone.

There were similar stories from all eight guests who brought their stories forward. It was after this that everything began to slowly crumble around Dario and his family. The Old Oak's reputation went from sparkling and bright to darkened overnight. Suddenly it didn't feel like a safe place for the family to stay. If this strange intruder could so easily break in and torment guests then who else could get in? What other dangers could come for them in the night?

Dario fought hard to keep the tide from turning against him and keep the hotel afloat. He reported the guest to the police right away only for them to return to him with an awful revelation: Charles Ratheway was dead, and he had been dead shortly before he checked into the hotel. Mr. Ratheway was found skinned in his apartment down in Portland shortly before the guest had checked out. He'd been dead for the entire week and the medical examiner had difficulty placing the cause of death. While he had been skinned, he'd also been shot, stabbed, badly burnt and had several strange holes along his abdomen, unrecognized markings surrounding them.

Even through that horrible event, the hotel persevered. Dario worked overtime so he could start hiring some better security around the hotel. He enlisted his first three sons, Franco, Johnathan and Alexander to help keep an eye out as well. For a few years things were going well and it seemed the damage had been repaired from the strange guest. It was then, July 3rd, 1955 that he checked in once again. He arrived late in the evening, while Dario and his sons were patrolling the hotel as security. Francesca, Franco's then girlfriend and future wife, was the employee who checked him in that evening.

She checked him in and felt a strange dizzying feeling, similar to vertigo at times whenever she looked at him for too long. His appearance was slightly different as well. A similar body frame, tall, lean this time and hidden away in heavy clothing. She described the same piercing dark eyes as Franco recalled, but his head was different, short dark hair with a few stray locks pooling around the side of his lean face. He looked almost vermin-like this time with a slender long nose and dark circles around his eyes. Even with such a lean face he still had a massive grin.

He checked in with the name Max Hardy and once more he stayed an entire week in his room. Ordering  only one meal a day this time, early in the morning and never again for the rest of the day. This time whenever staff delivered the food, they mentioned the same vertigo affect as what Francesca experienced.

After the week came and went, the guest checked out early in the morning once more and vanished without a word to the staff. Several guests made their way to the front desk, describing different horror stories this time. Dario's heart sank as an older couple spoke of the intruder. A tall, lean man with a face just like how Francesca described. His skin was described as leathery, almost like an outfit instead of real skin. He stood at the foot of their beds until they both awoke to the sound of him humming a lullaby.

Though they were terrified, the same paralysis that had affected every other guest who encountered this man was holding them still. He sang several songs, many of them with different voices. Always soft, sweet and warm like a young mother's voice as she sings to her baby. As the man sang, he slowly sunk his long, twig-like fingers into his abdomen. He tore the flesh around his stomach away, carefully ripping his skin apart and exposing the round red sack in his belly. He never stopped singing, sounding so happy as he eviscerated himself. He held up his stomach for the couple to see. The old woman could see something crawling around inside of it already.

As the intruder ceased singing, he shushed the couple quietly and set his stomach on the bed at their feet. They stared in horror, waiting for whatever had been resting inside it to appear. Two small clawed hands ripped their way free of the bloated stomach. A creature that the couple argued over describing was now free and staring hungrily at them. The husband insisted it looked like a small ape, feral with big glowing eyes. While his wife adamantly refuted that and said it was like a cat with soft, sunken eyes that were red but did not glow. They both agreed it was covered in hair and had claws, but neither agreed with the others description all through their complaint to Dario.

After the small creature was free, it climbed atop the old woman's chest. It leaned into her ear and whispered it's name, then left one deep cut along her chest before vanishing. She was in tears by the time she finished her half of the story. She said that it was her unborn baby. The one her husband could never give her that she wanted so badly. It was the son she wanted to name Elijah. She realized that all the lullabies the man sang were all ones she had planned to sing to her first child to get him to sleep. How he could have known all her favorite tunes and to conceive such a nightmarish avatar for the child she never had, she didn't know but she made it clear she blamed Dario and his family for their failure to keep them safe. She had a scar right where she recalled the creature slashing her.

It was after the second visit that things really began to fall apart of the Del'Otto family. Dario had an incredible spirit but one could only fight the tide so long after two cases of this strange intruder, the reputation of the hotel was forever stained. Each guest had a horrifying story of the intruder tormenting them with grotesque imagery and using their old fears and lost desires against them. One guest described watching his high school sweetheart appear before him, then slowly devoured from the inside out by bugs and snakes and other horrible creatures eating away at her until there was nothing, not even a skeleton.

Dario never gave up on the hotel but the rest of Serling already had. In the short five years the hotel had been around, business was already starting to boom in Serling and grow in new ways. Another hotel opened up and with it's first real competition, the Old Oak had an even harder time surviving. Dario was unable to fight public opinion of the hotel though he tried his damnedest to get the community behind him again. He tried another huge party, but none of the townsfolk came and it ended up being a drain on their funds.

In early 1961, Dario began to try and revamp the Old Oak's image and put himself severely in debt remodeling the hotel. His wife begged him not to do it, to give up on the hotel as it was becoming a massive burden on their family. With so few guests staying at the Old Oak, any non-related staff had be let go. It was up to Dario and his entire family to run the hotel and while he had 6 children by now and his brothers had moved out to assist, they were still understaffed. Most family members took on
three to four jobs to try and keep things running smoothly. Through the renovation their workload was doubled as Dario couldn't afford to have anyone assist him with the build other than his family members.

Dario's health was starting to wane as the remodeling began. Another reason his wife begged him not to go through with it. But it was too late by then, the loan had been taken out and the supplies purchased. Even though he was getting weaker every day, he worked his heart out to try and save his dream. It took 4 months longer than he estimated and he'd gone fairly over budget but by 1962 the renovations were complete. Dario was sure this would save his business and his family. They had a grand re-opening and for a moment, it seemed like it may have worked. It had been long enough since the last incident that most of the community was willing to try and give the new and improved Oak Inne a try.

A day after the hotel's re-opening, February 20th, 1962, the guest checked in for the third time.  His third name he checked in under was Alec Moore. This was another dead man's name, as Alec Moore had died the day he checked in to the Oak Inne. Dario's youngest son, Franklin, checked the guest in this time. Franklin described a somewhat different body frame this time. He was tall once more but this time had slim shoulders and small hands. He looked pale and sickly, like a man who knew
his time was coming to an end. He wore the same heavy clothes and dusty old hat with the familiar piercing eyes and wide grin on his pale lips.

Franklin was the only staff member to ever see the strange guest. He described neither a feeling of sickness or vertigo when in his presence, but rather an incredible sadness. A powerful depression swept him and by the time the guest took his key and was on his way, Franklin was in tears. Upset for the rest of the night and never certain why.

His third time staying, the guest never ordered room service and never left his room. Dario had noticed that a guest was checked in he hadn't seen around yet. It was a couple of days later when he asked Franklin if he had seen the guest after checking him in. Franklin said he never saw the guest after checking him in and none of the other staff members could recall seeing him either. Dario was terrified that the strange man who had haunted them in the past had returned, but he didn't want
to jump to conclusions and kick a man out on the street with no evidence. So he called about Alec Moore and it was then he discoverd another dead skinless man had checked into his hotel.

Dario was furious and stormed up to the room with his sons, planning to beat the intruder black and blue for all the trouble he'd caused their family. When they arrive at the room he stayed in, Room 25, it was completely empty. There was no sign that anyone had stayed in the room for days. There was a thin layer of dust and the bed looked perfectly made. They tore the room apart looking for some evidence of the intruder, but there was nothing to find. Dario felt he was going mad and  began to babble about being cursed. Franco took his father home that evening to help him get some rest.

After that night they searched the room, guests began to complain about an intruder once more. These stories were worse than anything Dario had heard before. A middle-aged gentleman told the story of how the intruder appeared in his room, his skin described as looking slimey and wet. More like a diver's wet suit than actual skin. A strange dark green substance pooled around at his feet and dripped off of him while he spoke. The intruder spoke about all the fun ways to make one suffer. Detailing various forms of torture it liked to indulge in. He then raised his hand to demonstrate his favorite form of torture.

He grabbed his index finger and slowly, very slowly, pulled it backward. He took his time, savoring the loud crackling sound as the bone began to slowly snap. As he pulled it farther back, the guest could hear the distinct sound of muscle tearing and saw skin splitting open along the fear as it was fully pulled back. Instead screaming in pain, the intruder simply laughed while he then continued to pull back the rest of his fingers, each one taking longer than the last.

After telling his story, the guest was shaking and sobbing as he confessed that this had been his greatest fear as a boy. How all of his older brothers would hold him down and pull back his fingers until he cried Uncle. How he would go to sleep at night, having nightmares of them pulling the fingers back all the way and having to see and hear exactly what the intruder showed him.

A weak older woman, sickly and barely able to stand with her cane, told her story through hacking coughs and wheezing. She had been feeling fine when she checked in the night before. Now she felt as if all her energy was gone and her muscles had been sapped of what strength they had left. Her story of the intruder began late in the evening as she saw the slime-covered man in the corner of her eye hiding behind the curtains. He approached her silently then raised a pillow over her head, bringing it down and smothering her. He would smother her, give her barely half a second to catch some breathe, then strangle the air away again.

This went on for what must have been an hour, her body constantly thrashing and desperately attempting to get him off. Scratching at his skin, tearing some of it off which only terrified her further. The viscous slime poured out of the wound she made all over her hands making them slippery. After the hour passed, he finally removed the pillow. She was left dazed, her lungs aching for more air when she finally took a full breathe. As soon as her vision cleared, the intruder was gone.

One young couple, recently married and staying at the hotel for their honeymoon, recounted their story to Dario. They were awoken by the strange man as he began to play with 2 grotesque meat puppets that resembled them. With a clear patch of hair taken from her head on the wife doll. Each puppet would reveal a horrible secret about the spouse they represented. Revealing when the husband had cheated on her, when the wife had stolen from him, each little secret had the puppets tear each
other apart bit by bit until they were in scraps at the feet of their bed.

Other guests gave partial bits of information, clearly not wanting to share whatever deep seeded childhood fears the entity had awoken inside of them. Dario was heart broken and now was starting to fall apart himself. The Serling PD believed that Dario himself may be the intruder, wearing various disguises after breaking into people's rooms. He was kept under close watch by the police for several years. Having police cars not far from the Hotel only worsened an already ruined reputation for the Oak Inne.

In late 1968, Dario's health had reached an all time low and his doctor diagnosed that he had a few years left to live, if he was lucky. His heart was failing him. His family almost refused to believe the news at first. Many of them thought Dario had the heart of a lion, a powerful machine that never needed repair. His heart was failing him though and with his time short, he decided it was time to give up on his dream. Dario begged his oldest, Franco, to take over the business of the hotel. The Oak Inne wasn't doing well, with a captain who wasn't all there in the head, the ship was in rocky waters.

Reluctantly, Franco agreed to take over the business from his parents. His father and mother moved back to California where he spent the last few years of his life in what little happiness he could find left in it. Dario Del'Ottoe died on March 22nd, 1971. Little information was available on Dario after he left Serling and Franco only held onto the hotel until his father's death. Not even a full week after his passing, Franco sold the hotel and moved out of Serling with his wife and children. Shortly after it's purchase, the Hotel was remodeled into a much cheaper motel.

The Oak Inne is scheduled to be demolished in a few days from when I write this. It never apparently ever made much money back for the owner and the land has been sold to be turned into a parking lot. I visited the Oak Inne a few times when visiting Serling. It was an all right place to settle down for a night or two. None of the charm from when Dario had ran the place remained though. It was a sad, hollow shell of it's former glory that I heard so much about when I was younger. Before the Oak Inne is destroyed and forgotten, I sought out and will be interviewing Franco Del'Otto to see what he can tell me about the hotel and his father's final days.

________________August 5th, 1984.

After having a lengthy conversation with Franco, recorded on tape, transcribed onto the page word per word what he told me. I feel this is a vital part of the investigation before I wrap up this file. Now here, in Franco's own words, are his father's last few days.

Franco had a nervous look on his face as he began to relive the story for me. "My old man was never happy down in California. It was too bright, he would say, it only reminded him of the dark they ran from. He was ashamed of himself for giving up on the Old Oak. He felt like he abandoned one of his own children. He knew damn well I wasn't ready for the responsibility of taking over a huge burden like the Old Oak. I did my best to keep the place from imploding, but it was a sinking ship when I took over. I was mostly just plugging holes and waiting until the sharks got me. I figured this would be my burden to carry for the rest of my life.

I get a call one day at the hotel, on my private line for my room. My wife and children were living there with me for the time. We couldn't afford a place of our own so we made the hotel our home. When my mom called I could tell something was wrong just by the way she was speaking. Her voice cracked and she had a hard time saying the words. Dad was dying and she wanted everyone down there immediately. Not an easy feat, closing down a whole hotel for even a few days. We somehow
got it locked down in time to get there before he passed. I arrived the last, everyone else had been there for a full day before me.

He didn't talk much during those last couple of days. Mostly he just stared out the window, at nature, mumbling to himself about missing the big trees. He never talked to us until the night before he died. He asked everyone to give me and him a moment alone. After we had the room clear, just us, he grabbed my wrist and told me I had to get rid of the hotel. I stared at him in confusion. He'd begged me to take the place from him so he could retire. Why all of a sudden didn't he want me getting rid of it?

He explained, as best as his drug addled brain could. He confessed that he knew the source of our failure, the Demon that had been haunting the hotel and destroyed it. He says it was a creature his father had dealt with it in his time. He had bargained good fortune for 100 years for his family, and in 1950, the bargain had come to an end. The demon had paid his due and now was collecting in the form of our pain and sorrow. He did the twisted things in the night to make our greatest achievement into our greatest shame.

He spoke with such vigor and clarity, unlike how I'd heard him speak in well over a year. His talking was usually distant and half rambling and mumbled under his breathe. But he spoke with power behind his words as if he knew it was the most important thing he could tell me. He insisted that I not tell any of the other family members. That the curse may die with him, if we are lucky. He would pay the price for his father's sins, gladly, if his children would be safe. I told him we were safe, everything was fine. I was just trying to comfort him but he was so terrified for us.

After trying to get him to talk about something else, he grew quiet again and had nothing more to say for the rest of the night. To anyone. After that he passed the next morning in his sleep. The doctors say it was peaceful, but he was clutching his chest so tightly. His face looked in pain. But we believed them because we wanted the cold comfort that he did not die in pain. After he passed, I found a seller for the hotel. My mother was furious with me but I insisted it was what father wanted. She still hasn't spoken to me since that day.
Sometimes I'm not sure if what haunted our Hotel was a man or a demon. I think about if he was just some man, some twisted individual who killed people, stole their identities then was just having some sick fun with our guests. It's hard to imagine anyone could be as depraved as that. As strange as it sounds, it feels more plausible he was a demon. Something from another world, taking his pound of flesh for deals long sealed.

I haven't seen him in decades, but I still think about him late at night. When the house gets quiet and I can hear everything. I listen for him, keep an eye out and make sure he's not in my room. I feel so ridiculous for looking over my shoulder all the time. But it's hard not to wonder about what could be behind me, waiting in the shadows.

I was certain that whatever curse destroyed the Old Oak was gone when my father passed. I never saw the man again myself, except for in my nightmares. However my youngest daughter has been drawing a strange, tall figure with piercing eyes and a wide smile often. I tell myself it's a coincidence, but I rarely believe it."

After my interview with Franco, I have come to conclude that the strange guest of the Old Oak Hotel may very well have been a demon. Dario said his father made a dark deal and I can't help but wonder if something in the heart of this town calls to the darkness beyond our world. I found several demons that could have been the ones Dario's father summoned. Far too many to try and pair down to even a few. I fear the strange guest may never have a true name.

This morning the Oake Inne motel was torn down. I watched as a piece of Serling's history was ripped to nothing but bricks and dust. I had no sentimental attachment to the place in my childhood. Only after learning of it's story and the tragedy that befell it's maker did I understand and care that we were losing it. Now it will be forgotten, like so many other bad memories in this town.

As the final piece of brick came down and the bulldozers cleared what little remained of Dario's dream, I saw a man in the distance. He was tall, with broad shoulders and heavy clothes. Atop his head was a large, dusty old hat and looking at me through the rubble were his two piercing eyes. He smiled wide at me and tipped his hat before walking away. I watched in shock, tempted to run after him. As I was about to give chase, I saw he was already gone. The Old Oak's strange guest paying one final visit to the dream he destroyed.

-Darwyn Parker, August 7th, 1984

Monday, September 26, 2016

Case File 001 - The Hungry Spirit

Written by Darwyn Parker
Transcribed by Andrenn Jones

Serling is a town founded on ghost stories and strange things that can't be explained. Of all these phenomena I have found the Hungry Spirit one of the most fascinating.  An entity discovered when I was just a boy living in Serling, I wasn't even 8 yet when the first reports of a strange, horrible creature roaming the streets of Serling began to surface. While I have growing up around these unsolved mysteries, few thoughts chill my bones as much as the idea of ever finding this creature.

The tale of the Hungry Spirit begins the night of January 24th, 1972. A young boy named Richard Grummet, age eleven, had wandered far from home and was turned around as the sun fell. He couldn't find anyone around to help, and the boy soon began to panic. As most children do when faced with the danger of being lost.

Richard ran up and down the streets looking for help, but no one was in sight. All the lights were out, the cars were gone and the street was as quiet as the grave. After running himself ragged, it was then he began to hear the call of the spirit. Richard could see it from afar in the glow of twilight.

His recollection was fuzzy at best, he admitted, when the police finally found him hours later. He mostly recalled the mouth, gigantic, gaping, as if it was a mouth and nothing more. Waiting for him to enter. It called to him in a soothing, soft voice. Promising him candies and toys if he simply wandered it's way and sought a companion.

Richard was too terrified to stay any longer than that, running when he realized that the thing calling to him had no face, no body he could make out, just the massive mouth. Richard was found by the police an hour later, crying, terrified and begging them to keep it away. Insisting he could still hear it. The policemen reported no sounds as they found the boy.

This was the only report on the Hungry Spirit with any real detail beyond the basic information future sightings would contain. Police in Serling rarely take the reports of supernatural happenings very serious. Beyond writing it up and filing it in a big book that nobody ever uses, they don't really care to investigate the ghosts of this town. All further reports were generic and with zero further details. Only some more information on the sightings could be found in the town newspaper the Serling Tribune.

The Hungry Spirit was given it's nickname early on by the paper.  I still recall hearing tales around the school yard when I was a boy. It was a small enough town that we all knew the boy, Richard, at our school. He never wanted to talk about it, but everyone else did. I heard all kinds of stories about it, most of them no doubt were fake but perhaps one or two may have had a kernel of truth in them. That is the terrifying thing, it seemed to call to the children.

Despite this, it never been attributed with a missing child. Not officially, at least. Many believe the Hungry Spirit's first victim was a young homeless man named Lucas Dell. His parents were in Portland, Lucas had bused to Serling and after being fired from most of the small time stores, he was unable to find work. He became one of the homeless around town who would perch on street corners and have signs asking for assistance. He was only 15, having dropped out of high school years ago and now stuck in Serling with nowhere else to go.

Lucas had friends around town who helped him out and would sometimes let him stay in their homes for some work like cleaning or mowing the yard. He was having difficulty finding anyone to let him stay for the winter of 1972 though. It may not snow much, but it could still get very cold in Serling during the winter. He was on the streets most nights, and whenever he would see his friends, he mentioned hearing someone calling to him.

Lucas would describe to his friends a soft, soothing voice echoing across the alley walls and beckoning him to come and see something wonderful. Lucas didn't do drugs, but his friends still thought he must have been on something as none of them believed in the Hungry Spirit. It was still a child's ghost story.

Lucas went missing December 16th, 1972. When his friends mentioned what Lucas had said about hearing the strange voice, they insisted he must have been on a drug of some kind. There was no connection officially made to the spirit, but I and many others strongly believe Lucas was the first victim. When a child goes missing there are usually search parties and a strong effort to find them. When a homeless person goes missing, it is written off as them leaving town. With no way to check if that is true or false, the narrative of ignorant silence is allowed to continue.

Over the last eleven years there have been several other sightings of the Hungry Spirit. Back then the Serling Tribune had a series of articles documenting the strange sightings around town.. This series of articles, written by Alice Bennet, from 1970 to 1979, was toward the back of the paper and rarely mentioned or even noticed by most of the townsfolk. I read the article daily but when I mentioned it to others, I often got confused looks or shrugs.

It recounted every sighting of the Hungry Spirit up until it's cancellation by the paper. Bennet left town shortly after, or I would have sought an interview with her about what other information she may recall about the spirit. She was one of the few people to ever investigate the strange cases of Serling and I hope to track her down in the future.

Her articles were not very detailed, recalling secondhand information of a creature that nobody ever cared to see up close. While the soft siren like voice and massive mouth were always documented, no one ever saw much more. One young woman claims she saw it floating slowly toward her, but she confesses to having been under the influence of alcohol that night.

While there were only a few sightings confirmed by townsfolk, the Hungry Spirit has been seen by the homeless members  of Serling frequently. Or so they claimed, when I interviewed several of them. One gentleman, in his early fifties, told me he sees the Hungry Spirit all the time. It calls to them, but the adults do not feel any power in it's call.

While children have described finding the call soothing and warm, adults have called it hollow and cold. It seems whatever trick the entity is trying to do, it cannot work on adults. Despite this, some homeless people still go missing from time to time. As usual, there are no reports when they vanish. No one cares when a homeless person goes missing. It's like the spirit has found the perfect prey.

So I will attempt to find the entity myself. I am still young enough I may yet hear it's call and not hear the cold distance it really carries. Hopefully my youth will attract it. But I can't simply wander the streets of Serling at night. I've decided to forego my motel room for the foreseeable future and sleep in the alleys and corners of Serling. Keeping an eye and ear out for it, documenting anything unusual I may see. I am aware this is not a very safe way to investigate, but it seems the most direct chance I have at finding this spirit.

I have wondered about the Hungry Spirit since my friends first told me of it on the playground. It haunted my mind as a child, a fascinating little nightmare that seemed so possible and yet was too frightening to consider. It's still been at the back of my mind all these years later and I have to find out if this thing is real or one of the legends that is merely a myth. I begin my investigation tonight. I will take only my flashlight, journal, a few pens and enough clothes to  keep me warm as I wait for the creature to come to me.

I am writing this after my experience with the entity. My fingers still shake, so I fear the legibility of this writing may be illegible. My apologies, I have not been able to calm my hands for hours. I spent several nights on the streets, in the alleys, waiting to hear the spirit call to me. I spoke with various other homeless citizens and they all told me I was crazy to seek the entity out. Now I fully comprehend their warnings. It was this very night that I saw the spirit and heard it's strange siren song.

This following bit of text is pieced together from what I wrote down as I saw the entity. My memory of the Hungry Spirit has already begun to fade and haze with time. Yet the vividness I describe it in was seen just a few minutes ago. Perhaps this is why no reports have ever had detailed descriptions. A possible defense mechanism the entity possesses? Make one's memory foggy of what it saw. Had I not written down the following, I too would have had the same spotty recollection as every other report. Here is my description of the Hungry Spirit.

I heard it calling to me just after the sun went down. It was so distant, so quiet and soft. Not unlike my grandmother's voice, shortly before she died. She spoke with the same relaxed softness. She knew her time was here and she accepted it. Now the spirit was signalling my time was at an end as well. I followed the sounds for well over an hour, to the edge of town. I knew it was foolish, ridiculously dangerous, but I chased after the soft calls in the night. It was near the end of an old gravel road that I saw it.

At first it was obscured in shadows, floating toward me so slowly, so calmly. My eyes watered from the smell coming off the entity. It's scent was like a butcher's backroom with dozens of rotting corpses. A distinct coppery scent was in the air with the horrendous odors coming off of it. It was the smell that hit me first and nearly overpowered me. Tears were streaming down my face, I fought them to clear my vision just in time as the entity briefly hovered under a street lamp.

I stared then into the gaping maw of something otherworldly. The reports only mentioning a large mouth were correct, it is a large mouth. At least 75 percent of the creature is this massive jaw, open wide. Careening down from the top of it's head, widening as it goes on and on for what looks like an eternity. There are no eyes or nose on it's head, only the top of the mouth. Down it's chest and to the edge of it's hip the jaw extended disturbingly. It is nearly impossible to look at this creature and stare at anything other than it's incredible jaw.

There was flesh around the mouth, grotesque, bloated flesh that was pale and covered in sweat. Dripping some rather awful looking green bile from it's skin flabs. It had one arm, on it's right, weakly hanging outstretched toward me. Beckoning me toward it eagerly. It was weighed down heavily by rotten flabby skin that looked loose on it's frame.

It's other arm looked like it had been gnawed off. Nothing but a disgusting dripping stump now remained. His legs were so small I could barely see them. It saw me and already I could see the Hungry Spirit began to salivate at the sight of me. That only increased the putrid smells coming off of it. It was then I looked into the mouth better and saw the strange incongruity.

All along the mouth, there are teeth. Hundreds of teeth, perhaps a thousand all along it's jawline. Each tooth was different from the one next to it. Some were clearly human teeth. Some large, some small like children's. Other teeth were sharp, jagged canines from animals. Fangs next to molars. There were even teeth behind teeth like a sharks.

I could see the teeth moving, undulating to a silent rhythm that it's voice carried while calling to me. Now I heard the voice of my older brother, letting me know how warm and cozy it was inside. As he summoned me forward I then began to gaze beyond the mess of teeth and see how itch black the mouth truly was.

Inside the mouth is a seemingly unending darkness. No tongue, no flesh, just shadows inside it's jaw. I stared in amazement, feeling as if I could float forever in the void of whatever was on the other side of this entity. I stared in such horror and amazement. I had heard the tales so many times but a bit of skepticism came with most of them. Children sharing ghost stories.

Here, the ghost story was staring back at me. And it was ready to make me into another one of it's lost tales. It soothingly told me to crawl in, that everything would be wonderful and every question I asked had an answer inside. It would tell me all the truths of what was going on, and that this was my best shot to ever find out.

I was in a trance at first, my body swaying in the same way that the teeth in the mouth did as it called to me. My mind in tuned to the entity for that moment. It was then I remembered that my family could not be inside that thing. That it was using my memories to play tricks on me, somehow. I fought the call and as soon as I regained control of my feet, I fled.

It was then the Hungry Spirit gave chase. I would not expect a creature weighed down by so much mass to be able to move swiftly at all. It had two dangling stumps for legs, merely hovering along. But as I picked up speed and put a good distance between myself and the entity, I realized how wrong I was.

It was able to move at speeds that would put some cars to shame. It let out a horrible scream of hunger and rushed at me so fast I could barely recognize it. Moving almost like a blur. I ran as fast as I could, thanking my gym coaches of yesteryear for all those track meets they put me through. I wasn'ta world class runner but I was at least able to keep myself moving with the entity right on my back. It was then I heard it calling to me again. This time it's voice was the cold emptiness I had been told of before. Hollow and cruel as it shouted at me, mere inches from me so I could feel it's hot rancid breathe on my neck.

It shouted furiously that I would regret turning down it's offer. That I would come willingly back to it some day after I learned what was really going on in this town. I reached my motel and as my foot touched the mat of my door, the entity was gone. I could still smell it's horrible scent in the wind. I finished my notes as quickly as I could so that I would get everything it said down, but even now I feel I forgot some of what it told me. I know it was warning me, telling me that what I  found would be worse than the spirit itself. I have only just begun my investigation and already there are bad omens around me.

Tonight, I met my first spirit face to face. I have thought I'd seen spirits, supernatural happenings, most of my life growing up in Serling. Often I would not worry about it, as I was a child and it all simply fascinated me. Now I am beginning to understand the sinister undertones of my childhood fascination.

I know this investigation will continue to be dangerous. I will see things I should not see, but I can't stop now. Not when I've finally scratched the surface of  this town and it's mysteries. I'm going to uncover every buried skeleton and dirty locked away secret Serling has. No risk is worth letting the truth remain hidden.

-Darwyn Parker, June 16th 1984

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I am not writing this as my story, but as the story of my younger brother, Darwyn. Darwyn was born just a little over a year after I was in late 1964. He was a smart kid even at a young age and was always observant for his surroundings. For our early years, we grew up in a small, secluded little Oregon town called Serling. Serling was surrounded by woods on all sides and broad mountains all around.

We only lived in Serling until we were about 12. Our parents had divorced and our father decided to move to the California for life in the city. He was never a fan of Serling. Apparently they only lived there because our mother grew up there when she was young, and she wanted that same experience for us. Our mother was always in love with that town.

She stayed in Serling, and our father got custody easily from her. I have stayed in the cities since then, all my life. Darwyn on the other hand chose to visit often right around the age of 17 in early '84. As soon as he had his own car and worked a job to afford gas, he would drive up to Serling all the time. Sometimes just for a day or two, other times for a full week. My father hated that he would just vanish without a word and never tell him. They fought about it often, but eventually Darwyn moved out and it wasn't a problem after that.

I got a place of my own, and Darwyn and I kept in contact sporadically over the years. As we grew older, I knew Darwyn was still going back to Serling all the time. He'd confided in me how he'd lost a few jobs because of this, often leaving for the town and getting so engrossed in his reason for being there, he just forgot about all other responsibilities. I tried to talk to him about it, suggest he take a break from his visits, but he always insisted he had to see our mother about something. They were working on something important, he would adamantly inform me.

 I eventually grew suspicious of this, and called our mother during one of Darwyn's longer trips out to Serling. She let me know that she hadn't seen Darwyn much in the last few months. Despite this, I knew Darwyn was visiting Serling every other week by now. He was spending nearly all of his time in town, and yet he wasn't even talking to mom. I should have tried to stop him there, but he was always difficult to get a hold of. This was a time before cell phones and e-mail, you see.

 Darwyn apparently had a pattern while visiting the town, he stayed at multiple hotels and motels, and always switched rooms every night or two. I didn't learn this until much later. I will explain all in a moment as to how I know this now. Darwyn continued this frequent visits to Serling all through the mid to late 80's. He was certain there was some grand plot behind all the old urban legends and ghost stories we were told as kids. I just figured he had an active imagination and was engrossed in the old legends.

What I know now, is that my brother was seriously delusional in thinking that not only were those old ghost stories real, but that there was some thing behind it all. It will all be outlined as I release his work after this post, but I wanted to properly give you all some frame of reference for who my brother was before and as his investigation continued. It's important to me that you don't just see his writing and think he's crazy. He was a normal, brilliant young guy who I truly feel could have made a difference in the world.

Darwyn went missing in the late Summer of 1990. He'd been missing nearly a month when my father said we should call it in. I was hesitant, I figured he was just hiding out somewhere in Serling, digging through note books and theorizing over things he's heard. He told me he'd been documenting and researching, but not much about his work. In those last few years, I almost never saw Darwyn. He wouldn't return my calls, and rarely responded to letters. Often they were short, to the point and with very little care or concern. Just quick replies while he focused on his work.

My first time back in Serling was putting up missing posters of my brother. My mother refused, insisting he wasn't missing or dead, merely finishing his work. It took the police a while to find where he'd been staying last. He had jumped so many rooms and hotels that it was like a maze trying to find his last spot. After they looked through everything, they determined none of it was vital to the case and gave it to my mother. They searched a short while longer and eventually closed the case a few months later. The official report reads that my brother went mad, driven insane by all the old urban legends that filled Serling over the years.

They read his work and said it was the work of a madman, pure and simple. He was probably out hiding in the woods, living in a cave and eating wild animals. I knew that couldn't be true. My brother was disturbed, true, and yes he believed in the supernatural to a powerful extent. But I knew Darwyn and he wouldn't just vanish without saying goodbye to us. My mother refused to let me and my father near Darwyn's things after she was given them by the police department. She insisted that his work wasn't ready to be seen by us yet. Confirming for the first time she did know something about what he was up to when visiting town.

I pressed for more information, but she insisted I leave. My father tried as well but she became angry and shouted us out. For the next twenty years, nothing. Darwyn was gone, my mother seemed insistent that his writing wasn't ready for me yet. I was still a young man back then myself, worried about my brother but with my own life ahead of me. I moved on from the loss and started a family of my own. I've been happy, and for a while, it seemed like everything was back to normal again for me and I could relax.

Then my mother died.

 It was determined by the autopsy to be of natural causes. She died in her sleep. Peaceful, they insisted. It was then all of her possessions and thus Darwyn's as well, were given to me. My father wanted nothing to do with them. So I reluctantly agreed to take them, but I didn't touch the boxes for quite a while.

My mother died in 2010, and the boxes had been sitting in storage for over 6 years now. One day I just had a feeling, I needed to look into Darwyn's boxes. It was a little strange, as I had all but forgotten about them by now. I had my own things to focus on, work, my upcoming wedding anniversary, my children's birthdays, it all seemed to blend together to keep me from thinking about the boxes. So a few weeks ago, right around the time he went missing 26 years ago, I went to the storage locker and got all of his boxes.

 I was surprised to see they were all very well organized. Darwyn was a smart guy, but his mind was sometimes a bit scatterbrain when it came to how he organized things. He seemed to have a system only his brain understood of where he kept things and lord knows I could never decipher it. As I picked up the book labeled "Year One, Cases 1-4." and flipped through it, I began to understand why my mother hadn't wanted me to read these yet.

While most of the writing in the book was my brother's I noticed that several pages and moments were clearly written by my mother. Darwyn could never use cursive for whatever reason. His fingers just didn't adjust to the way he had to hold and move the pencil, I suppose. My mother was masterful at cursive however and made it almost look like art. There were several extra pages in every case that seemed to bring all the notes and compiled data that Darwyn had placed in bits and pieces and told them as a linear story much better.

I flipped through all the books and found similar work by my mother, all of Darwyn's files had been completed by her, down to the last year, 1990. I took the books home and during my down time, read through them. At first I had mixed feelings about reading them as they weren't really all that much about my brother most of the time. Darwyn was very much trying to tell the story of Serling itself. Hence the name of the blog. He wanted to introduce the world to the old haunts and eerie tales of an old, creepy town we grew up in.

Darwyn would have a few stories about himself and his findings, but they are mostly tales of the town itself. I found much more of what I wanted to see about my brother's mindset in a separate box with his private journals. All of them came with locks. Thankfully the keys had all been left with the journals for me to open them. I will include some of Darwyn's journal entries regarding certain cases to help you all better understand my brother as this blog continues on.

Now as I wrap up, the reason for me posting the stories that my brother researched so deeply. My whole reason for sharing all this deeply personal information about my family and the tragedies that have befallen us. When I read the final book of Darwyn's work, there was a note written by my mother at the very end. She asked me, pleaded, in written form, to spread this work.

I didn't really think I could get it published anywhere. So my son recommended I put them online. His friend Andrenn is helping me with transcribing my brother's stories onto this blog. He will be the one posting most of the time. I felt before you start to read through Darwyn's cases, it would be best to give an introduction.

One last thing, I feel it only fair to be honest and confess that I personally do not believe in the stories told here. I am very much skeptical to the idea that any such supernatural events could occur. While there will be a couple of stories involving me, they are from long ago, and I chalk them up to childhood imagination. However my brother believed in his work strongly and I respect his wish to share the story of this town with the world. I am not telling you these stories are or are not true. I am saying I simply do not know and with my own lack of information, cannot believe.

Make of these stories what you will.

Welcome to Serling, everyone.  

-Nathan Parker, Eugene, Oregon, September 2016.