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First Prize: THE HOUSE BESIDE THE SWAMP by Baizura
$50 cash, Brad Steiger's book
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, & Haunted Places

Second Prize:
$25 cash, Brad Steiger's book
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, & Haunted Places


Third Prize: THE HAUNTING OF MORTY'S HOUSE by Kevin Broeckling
$10 cash, Brad Steiger's book
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, & Haunted Places


Honorable Mention: WOMAN IN THE FOG by Tina Sena
Brad Steiger's
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, & Haunted Places

This story happened a long time ago when I first started my job. I had graduated from college and was sent to a remote village in my country. It was so remote, you could still see wild boars, monkeys, bats and little poisonous frogs from the jungles and swamps there.
There was no accommodation except for an old house near a swamp. It was an old abandoned house, built during the British Occupation. I thought I was alone but I was greeted by another four young ladies like myself who had come earlier. We introduced ourselves and I got to know their names as Rose, Miriam, Nora and Sammie. As I stepped into the house, little did I know that my life would never be the same again.
There were four rooms in the house so I had to share a room with Miriam. On our first night in the house, we had dinner together and then went to our rooms. At around 12.30 am that night, I was awakened by noises from the kitchen. The noises sounded like people cooking, cutting, chopping and pounding. I woke Miriam up and we went to check the noise but there was nobody in the kitchen. So we went to our room and locked ourselves in. The next day, to our horror, all of us awoke to find that we had slept in the front yard, amongst the tall dewy weeds.
"Did we sleepwalk last night? All of us?", we asked ourselves.
When we checked the front door, it was still locked from inside. We had to call a locksmith to pry the door open. Somebody or something had moved us outside last night.
"Someone doesn't want us to stay in this house!", squealed Sammie.
Well, we stayed on because we had no other choice. We had to endure all that happened next, in that house. Every night, exactly at 8.00 pm, we will hear noises outside. It sounded like horses galloping round and round the house. When I tried to record the noise with my tape recorder, it stopped abruptly and when I quickly opened the windows, there was nothing. We asked the villagers about it and they told us that the sounds were made by the creature called "Jembalang" (pronounced Jem-bar-lung), a man with legs of a goat from the waist downwards. Whatever 'it' was, 'it' never failed to make 'its' nightly rounds. 'It' had never harmed any of us, though.
The house had no proper irrigation drains so all the waste water goes into the swamp behind the house. On one night, after a long exhausting day, I fell asleep on the mat. I was awakened when I heard somebody calling my name continuously.
"ZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZuraZura..." , the little voice called.
I quickly got up to see who was calling me .Then suddenly the voice changed into high-pitched shrieks.
Eeeeeeeeiiiiiiheeheeheehee", it shrieked insanely.
It came from the swamp. This went on for ten minutes and all of us huddled on to each other in fear. The voice sounded unearthly, I cannot compare it with anything I have heard before.
"It is just a bird." Rose tried to console us.
"What kind of bird sounds like an insane woman ?", asked Miriam.
It seemed that one of us had her menstrual period, so while bathing, the blood flowed to the swamp which we assumed had caused the commotion there. The villagers called the creature ,"Langsuir" (pronounced Lung-sue-ir). It is a cross between a vampire and a banshee. This incident happened only once because the next time, we tried to be careful. However, 'it' often called us by name, now and again, in 'its' little childlike voice. One night, while I was watching T.V, suddenly I remembered that I hadn't locked the front door. I went to lock it and as I was turning the key, 'it' called my name.
"Zuraaaaaaaaaaa..", ' it' cackled just outside the door.
I ran to my room and asked Miriam if she had called my name but she said she had not.
Our nights were disturbed by sounds of people cooking, chopping, cutting, pounding and slaughtering (animals ?). Sometimes the noise came from outside the house and sometimes from the kitchen but when we went to check it, there was only darkness. Every day we went to work feeling tired and grumpy. During the night, sometimes we accidentally awoke to see a lady standing at the end of our beds, watching us. One moment she was there and the next, she was gone. Once, I had pretended to be asleep, she came to my side and stroked my hand. Then she flipped it. Flip! Flip! Flip! I shut my eyes tightly and tried to stifle my screams. One night, she went overboard when she went to Miriam, who was sleeping and encircled her cold, clammy fingers around Miriam's neck and squeezed. Miriam screamed and fought back. Then the lady vanished. From that night onwards, Miriam and I shared the same bed.
Then something happened to Sammie. Sammie, who had big beautiful eyes and long curly hair which came down to her waist. She was beautiful and talkative but she was also faint-hearted. She was not strong inside, so she became the target of the entities in the house. One night, we heard Sammie screaming so we ran to her room. She had a bout of hysteria and was thrashing herself on the floor. All of us, tried to calm her down and Nora gave her our version of holy water but she flung it away. Her big eyes stared widely at us as though she wanted to devour us. We recited some holy verses and she fell asleep. When she woke up, she did not remember what had happened that night. All she remembered was that she saw three ladies, floating near the wire-mesh on top of her door. They were trying to get into her room.
"They wanted me to be their sister." , cried Sammie.
She said she tried to ward them off and then darkness overwhelmed her. This incident was just the beginning of the end for poor Sammie. One night, we were having dinner of some curried vegetables and rice. Sammie was eating hers when all of a sudden, the curry turned into maggots, her plate, her spoon and her mouth were filled with live squirming maggots. Sammie screamed and big red blotches surfaced on her face, hands, legs and body. We rushed her to a hospital in a town,which was a long way off.
"We must get out of this house!", shouted Nora.
We told our predicament to the manager of our workplace and he said that they had planned to build proper living quarters for us. They will start building it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we were on the edge of our sanity, trying to cope with the incidents that happened in that house. If only the new house could be built earlier and if only we had gotten out of that hell house, this tragedy would not have happened. We will regret this for the rest of our lives.
After a few weeks, Sammie recovered and came back here. One evening, all of us were walking back from our place of work. Sammie was her usual self and was chattering happily. Suddenly, she became silent, her face changed and her eyes searched fearfully around her.
"What is this place? Where am I? This is not the way home! What is this place? Girls, where are you? You're scaring me." , Sammie screamed horrifically.
We were shocked because this was, the way back home and we were walking beside her. We held her and she screamed hysterically. She struggled as we brought her back, yes, to the house which was indeed a terrible mistake. All the way, she screamed and struggled. We did not know what to do except to recite holy verses until she fell asleep. We laid her on her bed and sat around her, all the while, reciting holy verses. Suddenly the lights went off, there was a power failure. Rose quickly groped for candles and matches in a drawer. She lighted a few candles and put them around Sammie's bed. We continued reciting holy verses while Sammie slept. In the candle light, we could hear sounds coming towards us. They were snarling, hissing, crawling and growling around us. They sounded like angry terrifying beasts, coming closer and closer. We looked at each other in fear.
"Just keep on reciting the holy verses. Don't be frightened." , Miriam reassured us.
Without warning, all the lit candles went out. Poof! We screamed and held each other. Rose quickly lighted the candles again.
"She's gone! Sammie's gone. Where is she? Sammie! SAMMIE! ", we cried.
Yes, in a split second, Sammie was not on her bed anymore. We cried as we searched for Sammie around the house. We told the villagers and they conducted a search party but Sammi was nowhere to be seen.
"We must do something. Oh, Sammie, where are you ?" cried Nora.
The next day, all of us decided to consult a 'Pawang' (pronounced Par-wung) a witch-doctor who lived quite a long way off in the jungle. We told him what had happened to us. He shook his head and told us that we were too late to help our friend. We cried helplessly. He then gave us some charms to protect ourselves and told us what to do. That night we did as instructed. At 12.00 midnight, armed with torch lights and spades, all of us went outside and planted the charms at the four corners of the yard. It was drizzling. One, two, three, four charms had been planted and almost immediately, we could hear a horrible noise from inside the house. We forced ourselves to go into the house. It was as though, there was a tornado in the house, howling and flinging our things around the room, there were also howling and banging in the toilet. This went on for five minutes and then .silence. A few seconds later, the house moaned, creaked and shook terribly. Miriam pulled us out just in time before the roof caved in. The entire house had collapsed .except for Sammie's room.
That night, we stayed at one of the villager's hut, exhausted and bewildered. The villagers said that the house had collapsed because it was too old. We looked at each other silently. Then we stayed at the new living quarters even though they were not complete yet. There were still no water or electricity . We continued our lives there until each of us, was transferred to a different place. I was the last person among us to be transferred out and had to stay there alone for five years. Five years of my youth had gone with the wind and each day, I thought of that horrible incident which took Sammie away.
The villagers told me that, now and then, they saw candle light from the collapsed house. from Sammie's room. A few daring teens went to check it. Through the broken window, in the rays of a lighted candle, they saw a young lady. She had long beautiful curly hair up to her waist. They could not see her face. She was sitting in a chair and reading an old book. She was slowly flipping the pages of the book with her dainty fingers. Then she turned to face the boys and they ran and screamed in fear. But that is another story.
It has been a long time since I left that village but the memories from that place still haunt my life till this very day.
Submitted by Baizura
In the Fall of 1990, I was working for a cleaning company in my little hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio. This company won a bid to clean the facilities for the Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island located in the Put-in-Bay harbor. The Theodore Stone Laboratory is the nation's oldest freshwater biological field station and is the Island Campus of Ohio State University. Our responsibility was to clean two houses, which were living quarters, a cafeteria building as well as the old Cook Castle, a large mansion that overlooks the Put-in-Bay harbor.
We were given a week to do all the cleaning and were allowed to stay on the Island, staying in one of the two houses of which we were cleaning. We divided into groups and began our work. I was fascinated with the old Cook Castle and began working there. The faculty working in the OSU laboratory would come to visit us while we cleaned and we would talk about the island and the castle. One of the faculty members remarked that the the castle was haunted which of course peaked everyones interest. They explained that the third floor and the tower in particular was haunted, so we began to joke around about it and went about our work. I personally did not believe the "ghost stories" and began cleaning in the high tower. As I began cleaning, one of the other members called my name and I came down the tower in answer to the call, but no one had called me. I knew that they had to be playing with me because we were all kidding round about the place being haunted. As I continued sweeping the floor I had the strangest feeling that there was someone watching me, as if standing behind me. Turning around I saw nothing. This sensation grew and grew and before I knew it I was sweeping while looking over my back. It was the strangest feeling. I felt silly knowing that I had just spooked myself about the place being haunted and was making this all up in my mind. Yet I couldn't stand it any longer and left the tower to clean somewhere else. I traveled down to the second floor and began cleaning with my sister who was working with us. Several hours later I was talking to my sister in the main hallway and in my peripheral vision I saw a large dark mist float past the doorway which we were standing next to. After it went out of view I immediately checked and there was no one in the room. The room was bare. My sister didn't see anything and I chalked it up to my mind continuing to play tricks on me.
We finished up that night and had a cookout and party and went to sleep without a hitch. The next evening we were cleaning one of the houses on the island. Everyone, including the OSU faculty had left the island except for a handful of us who wanted to stay the night. I was cleaning one of the bedrooms and was standing right next to the window when someone knocked on the window from outside. I just laughed and continued on working and conversing with the others. About five minutes later it happened again and I ran out of the room, ran out of the house as fast as I could to catch the prankster, but no one was there. I went back into the the house and there were all five of my co-workers. They had not left the house. I told them what happened and we all took a look outside. It was very dark and their was no one else on the Island. Once the boat leaves in the evening no one could come over to the Island and no one could leave. We all got a little spooked by it, not so much that someone or something knocked on the window, but by the realization that we could not get off the Island if we wanted to.
The next day we were finishing up the cleaning in that same house and I looked at the window where the knocking had occurred. I was shocked. I ran out of the house to look at the window from the outside. There was about a four inch gap between the window and the window screen and the window screen was painted shut, which meant that the only way anyone could knock on the window pane was from the inside! I showed this to several others and they were spooked, because they heard the knocking on the window as well from the previous night. I went back into the room to investigate further and the shower was turned on in the bathroom off of that room. No one else was in the house. I turned off the shower and left in a hurry.
Later that day my boss, who was also my sister's boyfriend, gave me instructions to go down in the basement located in the cafeteria to get something that he had left there. In the basement there were three floor freezers (like refrigerators laying on the floor) and one large walk-in freezer. When I arrived in the basement all of the freezer doors were wide open. I shut all the doors and grabbed the item he wanted and returned and told him about the freezers. He looked at me in astonishment because he had just come from the basement and everything had been fine. We walked back down and I showed him how all the doors were opened and we both said nothing. We didn't know what to think.
That night my boss and I were on the Island with a couple of attractive girls who also worked for the business and we were drinking beer and having fun. My boss made a bet with me that I could not go into the castle, all the way up to the high tower and back down again for an extra $50. Being in the presence of two attractive girls I could not refuse the opportunity to be courageous and cool, as well as earn an extra $50, so I agreed. All the doors on the castle were locked and my boss/friend unlocked the rear door and opened it. Looking down the blackened hallway he handed me a lighter and said that they will be watching me from the outside through the windows and I had to approach a window on each floor so they knew that I actually completed the bet. He patted me on the back and I began the long walk down the black hallway to enter the main house. As I was about a quarter of the way down the hallway with my lighter in hand I could hear my boss/friend behind me say in a deep voice, "I'm going to get you John...." I just laughed and yelled out "very funny!" and continued down the hall. I entered the main floor of the castle and it was extremely frightening. I felt a coldness and an aloneness that I can't explain to this day. The darkness of the castle was almost unbearable. I had to walk slowly because at one point the flame went out on the lighter and I almost panicked. My friends outside were shining a flashlight into the castle which gave me little comfort at the time.
I slowly began my ascent up the stairs to the second floor. I remembered the strange black mist I saw earlier that week on the second floor. I was not about to look out around me lest I see something, so I looked straight down at my feet as I walked. I cleared the second floor and ascended the third. I could hear my friends outside calling my name and flashing their lights through the windows. As I continued down the hallway on the third floor I became aware of an almost overwhelming feeling of being watched, almost like someone or something was walking next to me, staring at me.
I finally came to the entrance of the high tower, which was right next to a window. I paused, looking out the window at my friends and they cheered when they saw me.
I turned to walk up the stairs to the tower and something stopped me. I couldn't go any further. The darkness seemed almost too dark. There was something there in front of me. Something that somehow told me that if I continued up the stairs I would die. An unworldly fear engulfed me and I was paralyzed. Right at that moment the little flint roller on the lighter popped off and the flame went out. In that moment of terror I fell back against the wall and slid down huddling in the corner right next to the window. All I could do was look down because I knew something was there staring at me and if I looked up...well, that would be the end of me. I went into a state of shock. I heard my friends outside and could tell that they were shining their lights through the window. I reached up and placed my hand on the window and they saw my hand and started calling out to me. Time seemed to stand still. All I remember next was that my boss and an another co-worker came up into the castle to the third floor calling my name. I couldn't answer, the fear had gripped me so hard. When they found me they stood there shocked for a moment and quickly grabbed me lifting me up. I was able to muster a "get me the f out of here" and they basically carried me out of the castle, but instead of going out the back door we went out the front, double doors and out onto the lawn.
I remember shaking so badly that I had trouble talking or walking. They picked me up and carried me to one of the houses and wrapped me up in blankets. After about an hour and some hot tea I was able to talk. They told me that they thought I was playing a trick on them because shortly after they saw me in the third floor window the two double front doors opened up in front of them. I looked at them in amazement. I told them that I had been on the third floor the whole time and couldn't move. They looked at each other in astonishment. The only way that the double doors could have been opened was from the inside and there was a 2x6 beam that kept the doors from being opened, which was propped up next to the doors, as if someone had placed it there after opening them.
I then told my boss that I didn't appreciate what he said to me when I began my walk into the castle. He looked over at the two girls and back at me and said, "I never said anything to you after I patted you on the back. I immediately went back to the girls and began watching you through the windows." Needless to say everyone was in a state of bewilderment and fear.
When the sun finally rose that morning and the rest of the crew arrived I left the Island never to return again. I later learned that several other people had experienced strange things while working there as well, such as window blinds being rattled, people hearing their names being called, and a full-sized painting of one of the houses being constantly turned upside down without explanation.
Submitted By John Blatt
When I was a boy, I had a friend named Morty Hill.
One weekend, Morty invited me to stay over at his house. It so happened that same weekend his family was also hosting a number of out of town relatives who were there for a wedding. They had quite a party there that Saturday night. When the party finally wound down it was pretty late. A lot of guests left to go home and the rest of us were left to find a bed.
The rooms went fast. Like musical chairs, when the end came, I was without a bed. I ended up getting the downstairs couch.
No big deal. At home, I slept by myself all the time, so I didn't even think about it. I went around turning off lights and finally switched off the light next to the couch, then lay down and slowly drifted to sleep.
Some time later I was awakened. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out where I was, but even then I didn't know what woke me up.
And that was when I first heard it.
Someone was walking around upstairs. I imagined that one of the out of town people had gotten up to go to the bathroom. A little later, I began to wonder why I could hear them so clearly. If they were walking barefoot I shouldn't have been able to hear them at all. Was I just imagining things?
No. There it was again. This time a little closer. Now I was fully awake. Whoever was walking around was purposeful. And they weren't bare footed either. This person had to have been wearing heavy shoes or boots. As I lay there, melding this into the fabric of a rationalization, footsteps walked the length of the hall above me.
I kept up my little mental narrative. Sure someone had gotten up and put on their shoes to go in search of a bathroom. That made sense.
Oops, wait a second, they just passed the upstairs bathroom! The footsteps kept coming.
Just as I start to wonder when they'd reach the end of the hall, realize their mistake and turn around, I hear footsteps coming down the stairs.
I'm kind of dense at times. With my mind hopelessly locked into this fantasy I,d concocted, I began to anticipate the point at which they would reach the bottom of the steps, turn down the hall and begin their final rush to the bathroom. I'm so into it, I start thinking maybe I need to use the bathroom myself!
I was visualizing all of this so vividly that it took me a couple of seconds to realize that the footsteps didn't make the turn at the bottom of the stairs. They just stopped. It kind of threw me off balance and I lost my focus for a moment. Again, I strained to listen. Still nothing. Then it hit me. Someone, some THING, is down here! In the next room. Standing.
Does it know I'm here? Can it see me? Can it hear me? I move not a muscle. I make a conscious choice to stop breathing, so I can hear it better. It doesn't help. The only sound I can hear is the beating of my heart. I start to panic.
Then, before any sound can manifest, I sense a change in awareness. Not mine... ITS.
I know without a doubt, IT is aware of me. I can FEEL it turn in my direction.
I hear it's footsteps begin to walk.
It comes around the corner and into the living room where I'm trying with all of my might to be invisible. If I opened my eyes right now, and there was enough light, I would be able to see whatever it was. I would just have to look down towards my feet and it would be in my direct line of sight. Only I won't because I'm too terrified. I notice now, for the first time, how cold the room has become.
It comes closer and stops at my feet. I can feel its eyes on me. The hairs on my neck and my arms respond by standing straight up. My fight or flight response has short-circuited, deserting me, forgetting to take me with it.
Just when I think it can't get any worse, an icy cold descends upon my feet. Whatever the hell it is, it has just sat down on me! There's no weight, just this freezer like, cold on my feet.
Paralyzed with fear, I pray like a madman. Not for fishhooks or to be a big-league ball player or any of those other prayers of a 14 year old, but for another kind of miracle entirely. I'm praying for deliverance.
The next thing I know, the early morning sun is shining in through a window waking me up.
Hearing voices in the kitchen, I get up from the couch and go out to see who it is.
It's my friend Morty, and his mom, sitting there at the kitchen table eating breakfast. They ask me how I slept. I tell them the whole grisly experience with as much drama as I can muster, only to see them smile. I ask them, "What's so funny?"
Apparently, they've heard this tale before. They've been living here for awhile now and are used to the things that go bump in the night. The story goes that an old man died in one of the upstairs bedrooms years ago. For some reason, his ghost likes to walk around the house at all hours. He never upsets anything but he is kind of noisy. Morty says, "I guess I should have told you."
I was never comfortable there after that and recently I've thought it a strange kind of coincidence that there's also a book titled "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson, as though the haunting of Morty's house was pre-ordained.

Submitted by Kevin Broeckling



My friend Steve shares a house with his brother in Arlington, MA. His skeptical view of the world could give Michael Shermer a run for his money, so when he relayed this tale to me I thought he was pulling my leg. He wasn't.
A couple of years ago, in mid-fall, Steve took a walk to the back yard to straighten up the trash buckets. Behind him a small pond sat placidly under a cloud of fog. He never liked the pond because of the never ending feeling that it was watching him.
He never told this to anyone for fear of ridicule, so he coped by not looking at the pond at all. No matter what he had to do, even if it was something pertaining to the pond itself, like removing garbage from the edges or setting small boats onto the water for his young nephew. But that day, as the brisk fall air forced one of the garbage cans to topple over and roll into the pond, Steve realized he had to face his fear. He ran after the can, but missed it by a few inches as it hit the surface of the pond water and began to sail away. The fog was unusually thick, but Steve didn't want to hear his brothers protestations about a garbage can in the pond, so he followed it in.
The water was a few inches passed his ankles and he found it hard to see through the fog so he held his hands out at knee level trying to feel for the bucket. He did this for a few minutes before giving up. He stood tall and tried one last time to see through the fog. The feeling of someone, or something, watching him returned. He told himself this was ridiculous. It was midday, and despite the fog, the pond was not too big and so the possibility of someone lurking in it seemed stupid.
Just as he was reconciling with this fact the fog slowly began to part. About four feet in front of him a path clear of fog stretched out all the way to the other end of the pond. He imagined this was what it was like when Moses parted the red sea.
He stood in awe just as a figure emerged from the fog and stood in the path, facing away from him. He said it was a woman, dressed entirely in white. Her gown flowed into the fog from which she had emerged only seconds ago. She was looking away from him, toward the other end of the pond and her hair billowed in an invisible wind. He said her hair was more of a grayish color. As her hair billowed he saw what he perceived to be a pointed ear, almost eleven.
She stood their for sometime, looking away from him before the fog slowly began to close in like two walls coming together until the woman was enveloped in the fog once again.
He said he had no time to register what he had seen before the fog quickly dissipated; pulling back into the trees until it was gone. He stood in the water, dumbfounded as the pond loomed beneath him, placid and relatively normal.
The garbage bucket stood upright at the farther end of the bank as if someone had pulled it out and sat it down on the grass. He said he turned and literally ran to the house. He had never run that fast before in his life.
He never relayed the tale to his brother, or anyone else for that matter until the subject of King Arthur, Merlin and the lady in the water came about a week ago, while he was at work. This is when he told me this story and now I am telling it to you.
He swears it is completely true.
Submitted by Tina Sena