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