Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
Shortly before her death, my husband's grandmother gave us a gift we would not soon forget. This innocent gesture would snowball into a strange series of events that would lead us to believe that this particular present was more than it seemed. The gift in question was a doll and her name was Little Alice.
When we first removed the doll from her box, she didn't seem to be any different than any other collectible we had received. She was a large doll, around two feet tall, with blonde curly hair and a face that was the picture of innocence. She was dressed in a lacy white dress with a matching bonnet. To add to her charm, she was a talking doll.
At first, the things that the doll said were the typical fare: "My name is Little Alice", "I like peas and carrots" and "We are going to be friends" were some of the phrases she repeated most often. All of that was normal and good and to be expected. It was some of the other things that she said that made us wonder what kind of doll we had on our hands.
One day, I was holding Little Alice and making her speak when she suddenly blurted out: "You need professional help." Needless to say, I was floored by the comment. I tried repeatedly to get her to say it again, but she wouldn't. In fact, she never again uttered those words--at least not when we could hear her.
Little Alice telling me that I needed professional help was amusing, but that wasn't always the case. We were sitting outside one day on our porch swing with the doll when, in the midst of the usual "We are going to be friends," she began to recite court documents that sounded like something from a war tribunal.
In her speech, Little Alice mentioned concentration camps as well as what she had eaten for dinner. She rambled on and on for several minutes, the whole time speaking in a thick German accent.
When the doll finally fell silent, my husband and I tried in vain to make her repeat her oration. Just as before, she snapped right back into character. She never again spoke of courts, concentration camps or anything of the ilk.
This incident had given us such an uneasy feeling that we decided to get rid of Little Alice. We didn't know if she was possessed or cursed, but we did know that it was unlikely that she had been programmed to say the things she did. In any event, we didn't feel like keeping her around to find out what she would say next.
Since she had been a gift, I couldn't bring myself to throw her in the trash. Instead, I banished her to the garden shed. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't work out in the end. Any time I would need something out of the shed, I would have to see Little Alice. She wouldn't speak outright, but she would make garbled noises that sounded like she was talking under water.
I ended up throwing the doll away after all. We were glad to be rid of her and that was the end of that, or so I thought. Months passed and I decided to clean out the shed. It was when I moved some old paint cans that were sitting on a shelf that I found a reminder of Little Alice.
Tucked away, in a place it shouldn't have been, was the doll's blonde wig. How it had managed to escape from underneath her bonnet and find its way to the shelf, I'll never know. Perhaps Little Alice wanted to surprise us one last time.
A Cherished Heirloom
Objects can retain the energy of their owner long after that person has departed this earth. It is only when the bauble ends up in the wrong hands that problems can arise. No one knows that better than Kim Sanders and her family.
Before Kim's paternal grandmother passed away, she left specific instructions that all of her worldly possessions were to be divided up among her survivors. That consisted of her son, who is Kim's father, her two daughters and eight grandchildren. One particular item, an antique broach, had been willed to the woman's favorite grandchild, Hanna.
The broach had been in the family for generations. It was truly a work of art that consisted of pearls surrounded by tiny diamonds all resting in a platinum shell. Kim's grandmother had rarely worn the precious item choosing, instead, to keep it tucked away in her jewelry cabinet. The broach only made appearances at special occasions such as weddings and funerals.
Everyone in the family knew that Hanna was the favored grandchild. From the moment of her birth, she had held a special place in her grandmother's heart. Even so, bickering erupted among some of the relatives when they learned that Hanna would receive the valuable jewel. They argued that the broach should be sold and the proceeds divided equally among the grandchildren. Kim was one of the few who stayed out of the squabble.
Even though Hanna had every right to keep the broach, she compromised with her cousins. She agreed to buy each one of them out of what they thought should be their share of the broach's value. Each grandchild had already received a significant amount of cash from the estate. Hanna used her share to make small down payments to each of her cousins. Following the initial payouts, they came to an agreement that the broach would be held by a neutral party until Hanna had paid them off in full. Only then would the broach be turned over to her.
Kim's father, Bob, was chosen as the keeper of the broach. He had no interest in the item and neither did Kim. Almost immediately upon his taking possession of the broach, bizarre events began to occur.
It had never happened before, but now--day and night--the silence in Bob's house would be broken by the violent slamming of doors. He described it as someone walking up and down the hallways shutting every door as forcefully as they could. He lived alone at the time so there was no possibility that someone else was in the house.
Besides the phantom door slamming, Bob also noticed that items around the house began to disappear. He had to purchase new eyeglasses after the ones he wore every day went missing from his nightstand one night as he slept.
He also had to have a new lock put on his front door after he came home one day and found that his key no longer worked. The key still fit the lock, but would not move the tumbler. The locksmith who installed the new lock could find no reason why the key wouldn't work.
Bob was also surprised one day to find his refrigerator door standing wide open even though he had not been home and was certain that it had been shut when he left that morning. As a result, he ended up having to throw out many of the groceries he had purchased a few days prior to the event.
Fearing that someone was trespassing in his home, Bob set up a video camera in his living room in an effort to capture the culprit on film. When he played back the footage each day, it showed nothing out of the ordinary. That is, except for one time when he saw something that he couldn't explain.
On one segment of the footage, Bob could clearly see a shadow moving from the living room into the hallway. Immediately after the dark vision disappeared from sight, doors could be heard slamming throughout the house. When he showed the tape to Kim, they both agreed that something had invaded his home and they had a pretty good idea what it might be.
They suspected that Kim's grandmother was behind the recurring disturbances. What convinced them beyond any doubt was what happened when Kim's cousin, Brenda, announced that she was getting married. The trouble began when she asked to be permitted to wear the broach during the ceremony as her "something old." Everyone, including Hanna, agreed to the request.
As soon as the broach was handed over to the bride-to-be, all of the negative energy that had been focused on Bob shifted to Brenda. She reported that doors were now slamming at her house when no one else was around.
She also said that her expensive wedding gown had developed a smell that made it impossible for her to wear. Although it had been pristine when it was purchased, the dress now reeked of cat urine. Brenda didn't have a cat, or any other sort of pet. To make matters worse, the bridal shop refused to take the dress back. Brenda would have to wear it, stench and all.
Things went from bad to worse for Brenda. She suffered a nasty bout of food poisoning as her wedding day approached. To make matters worse, she was getting no sleep due to the noises that had suddenly erupted in her once quiet home. Besides the slamming doors at all hours, a constant humming sound would fill her bedroom at night. She began to feel like something, or someone, was trying to drive her mad.
When Brenda confided in her cousin about all of the strange occurrences that were plaguing her, Kim told her about their similar experiences at her father's home. She then suggested that the only way to stop the onslaught of disturbances was to get rid of the suspected object that was causing the turmoil--the broach.
Kim explained that as soon as Bob had turned the heirloom over to Brenda, the chaos at his house had abruptly come to a halt. For her own sake, Kim urged Brenda to hand the broach over to someone else. Who the lucky or, in this case, unlucky recipient would be was the question they now had to answer.
As a result of Brenda's ordeal, the cousins all got together and agreed that they had been behaving like spoiled children in the aftermath of their grandmother's death. It was clear to most of them that she had wanted Hanna, and only Hanna, to have the broach. They decided that they would hand the broach over to her and call off the debt.
As soon as Hanna had the broach in her possession, it was as though a dark cloud had been lifted. Brenda's wedding went off without a hitch. She walked down the aisle in her wedding gown with no sign of the mysterious odor that had, only a short time earlier, permeated the garment. Hanna wore the broach to the ceremony, just as her grandmother would have had she still been living.
Hanna has never reported having any odd occurrences in her home since she has owned the broach. She keeps it wrapped in tissue paper in her jewelry box, just as her grandmother had done for decades. One day, she will pass it on to her daughter. It will stay in the family after all, just as her grandmother had always intended.
The Chiming Clock
My mother is a deeply religious, no-nonsense woman. She doesn't believe in the occult or supernatural, nevertheless, she is the owner of a possessed object. She doesn't like to talk about this subject and there is more to the story than I can share. I will, however, tell you what she has told me.
It all started with a Christmas present I purchased for my mother at a local retail store. Ever since I could remember, my mom had wanted a clock that chimed on the hour. I happened upon such an item while holiday shopping in 2012.
It was in a popular chain store that I found the perfect gift for my mom. It was a large wall clock with a swinging pendulum. It wasn't expensive or fancy, but it chimed on the hour and I knew that she would love it. What I couldn't know at the time was that there was something very unusual about this clock. According to my mother, it could speak.
My mother is in her eighties, but she is in no way senile. She is as sharp as a tack and not someone prone to foolishness or fantasy. She would also be the first one to tell you that clocks can't talk except, of course, for the one I gave her for Christmas.
The clock had seemed to be like any other chiming clock until one night when my mother was jolted from her sleep by the sound of a whispering voice in her room. She could hear the voice as clear as day. It said, "You're not pretty" and "Put your boots on."
My mother bolted upright in bed and grabbed the flashlight she keeps on her nightstand. She shone the beam around the room, but couldn't see a soul. Thinking that she must have been dreaming, she attempted to go back to sleep.
As she tried to drift off, the voice spoke again. It repeated the same phrases in exactly the same way. This time she could tell that the sound was coming from the wall where the clock was hanging.
My mother sat up in bed and listened as the clock continued to say the same things over and over again. The phrases "You're not pretty!" "Put your boots on!" were now being shouted at her by the clock. They were nonsense and had no significance to her.
Most people would have bolted from the room or, at the very least, gotten rid of the clock. Not my mother. Instead, she turned off the light and told the clock to "shut up" as she covered her ears with a pillow. This would soon become her nightly ritual.
If anyone else had told me this story, I would have probably suggested that they were imagining things. The problem in this case is that I know my mom. She would never, ever make this up. If she says the clock talks, I believe her.
My sister and I have both urged her to throw the clock away. My sister even bought her another, much more elaborate and expensive clock to take its place. It made no difference. My mom loved her chiming clock and refused to get rid of it.
This story would simply be an amusing anecdote except that the clock has a darker side. My mother told us that the clock has said many sinister things to her that she dare not repeat. Her reasoning is that, if she repeats the vile threats that spew forth from the clock, she could be putting us in harm's way. In her mind, what we don't know, won't hurt us.
My mother still has the clock to this day and, to my knowledge, it is still talking to her. The verbal outbursts are not as frequent as they used to be, but they still occur. Fearless to this day, my mom trusts in her faith to protect her from whatever force inhabits her beloved clock. Try as we might, we cannot persuade her to part with it. So, for the time being, their story continues.
An Ominous Find
Kay Chichester is a great lover of collectibles and antiques. It is not unusual for her to travel hundreds of miles in a weekend in search of unique items from bygone eras. It was at an estate sale in Richmond, Virginia that she would find a bargain she couldn't resist. She would soon discover that, sometimes, things really are too good to be true.
Kay had been one of the first patrons at the sale when the doors opened on that spring morning. When she entered, she saw that the house was filled to capacity with a lifetime's worth of goods.
She overheard the man who was hosting the sale inform another shopper that the house had belonged to his mother. She had recently passed away and he was in charge of settling the estate. Having no need for most of the items left behind, he had decided to sell off the lion's share of her possessions.
It wasn't long before Kay had amassed an armful of bric-a-brac to add to her collections. She had promised herself that she would only buy what she really needed, nothing more. It was after making that pledge that she had seen the one antique the house had to offer that she couldn't refuse.
Hanging on the wall, in what Kay assumed had been the deceased woman's bedroom, was an oval mirror. The glass was foggy, but Kay could still make out her reflection in the weathered glass. The detail work on the frame was breathtaking. What appeared to be cherubs had been meticulously carved into the framework by hand. If she bought nothing else that day, she wanted that mirror.
When Kay asked the woman's son how much he wanted for the mirror, she was stunned by his reply. He looked at it for a moment and then told her that he would let her have it for ten dollars. Kay knew that this intricate work of art was worth so much more than that, but she gladly paid the man and left with the find of her life.
The mirror became a great source of pride for Kay. She showed it off to anyone who entered her home. They all agreed that is was beautiful, except for her daughter . She told Kay that something about the mirror made her feel uneasy. So much so, in fact, that she urged her mother to get rid of it. She explained that whenever she looked into the mirror, she felt that someone else was staring back at her.
Kay thought that her daughter was being silly. She had looked into the mirror many times and had never felt anything out of the ordinary. That all changed a short time later when she was running late for work one morning and stopped to check herself in the mirror before rushing out the door.
As Kay put her face close to the glass while she was fussing with her hair, her reflection suddenly appeared to be distorted. She described it as something one would see in a funhouse mirror. Her eyes were elongated and her mouth was drawn downward.
Kay was startled at the face that was looking back at her from the mirror. She was so alarmed, in fact, that went into the bathroom and looked into that mirror to see if her mind was playing tricks on her. Her reflection in that mirror was normal, except for her skin's ghostly pale appearance.. She hurried out the door, careful to avoid catching her reflection in the antique mirror as she passed by.
Once she had calmed down, Kay decided that she had probably overreacted to what she had seen in the mirror. Just the same, she found herself making an effort not to look into the object she had, only days earlier, felt so lucky to own.
On the rare occasions when she would take a quick glance at her reflection in the old mirror, the results were always the same. Her face would be nearly unrecognizable. Kay found this particularly worrisome because she had looked into the mirror at the estate sale and her reflection had not been distorted. It had been a bit hazy, but she could clearly make out her features. Now, the mirror would not allow her to see the face she knew to be hers. Instead, it showed her the gnarled, contorted version it wanted her to see.
Kay hated to part with the mirror. She still loved the artwork on the frame and the work that had gone into it. She was torn between her fear of the antique and her desire to keep it. It was only after speaking to her daughter about her dilemma that she came to a decision.
Her daughter told Kay what she had neglected to share with her when she had seen the mirror for the first time. The young woman said that when she had looked at her reflection in the glass that day the face staring back at her was not her own. Rather, it was a twisted, bizarre caricature that had shaken her to her core. She hadn't told her mother at the time, but she had been so upset when she left that day that she wept for the entire two hour drive home.
When Kay asked her daughter what she thought should be done about the mirror, the answer was clear and to the point. She felt that the mirror was cursed and should be destroyed. Her theory was that, for some people, the mirror reflected some inner turmoil or ugliness that couldn't be seen by the naked eye. Instead of looking at your own reflection, you were looking at what the mirror perceived to be the real you.
Kay's daughter suggested that she take the mirror to the incinerator and burn it. She told her mother that it was only a matter of time before whatever was haunting the mirror seeped out into the world around it. If that happened, she feared that there would no way of getting rid of it.
Kay believed her daughter, to a certain extent, but still couldn't bring herself to completely destroy the antique she had so cherished. In a last ditch effort to hold on to the mirror, she contacted the pastor of her church and asked him to bless the cursed antique.
She was relieved when he told her that both his mother and grandmother had collected antiques their whole lives. He knew a thing or two about relics of the past and even shared some words of wisdom with Kay.
He explained that mirrors, as well as cameras, were antiques he had been taught to avoid. He said that since they capture images, they retain a memory of that image forever. He also told her that many cultures shun these objects for that very reason. They even believe that souls can become trapped inside of them. It is for that reason that some people cover mirrors in a room when someone dies lest their departing soul attempt to seek refuge behind the glass.
While listening to the pastor, Kay began to wonder if the soul of the previous owner had become trapped inside of the oval mirror. Perhaps, she was unable to move on into the afterlife and this was causing her to act out using the only tool she had--the mirror.
In an attempt to ease her fears, the pastor agreed to come to the house and say a prayer over the mirror. He told her that he had a full schedule, but would work her in later in the week. Relieved, Kay looked forward to putting the matter to rest.
When the day finally arrived, the blessing didn't go as planned. The pastor would later tell Kay that a chill had stopped him in his tracks as soon as he walked through the front door. He didn't want to frighten her at the time, but he had felt the presence of something evil and not of this world.
Kay, unaware of the pastor's trepidation, led him to the object he had come to see. As he stood in front of the mirror and began reciting the prayer he had prepared, he caught sight of his reflection. The shocking image before him was like nothing he had ever seen before.
The face he was seeing was contorted and the mouth appeared to be frozen in a snarl. Shaken, he continued to pray. As he spoke, the feeling of foreboding in the room became more than he could bear. Whatever the evil presence was behind the glass, he knew that it was beyond his level of expertise to convince it to leave.
The pastor apologized to Kay as he informed her that he couldn't help her after all. He advised her to destroy the mirror as soon as possible. He felt that it was infected with something malevolent. He stressed to her that time was of the essence. The mirror, and whatever lived within its angel covered framework, had to go.
Kay knew that the pastor was right. Still, she couldn't perform the deed herself. Instead, she phoned her daughter and asked her to take the mirror to the incinerator. Once the mirror was out of the house, Kay immediately felt the mood in her home shift. It was as though a dark cloud had lifted and light was once again allowed in.
Kay still shops for antiques, but there are some items that she makes a conscious effort to avoid. One of those objects, as you can probably guess, is any form of mirror. She decided that one cursed item in a lifetime was enough.
This final story involves a framed portrait that my husband bought at an antique shop. He made the purchase during a time when we were collecting oddities for a store we were planning to open. We were on the lookout for items that we deemed to be bizarre or creepy and this item certainly fit the bill.
My first impression of the portrait was not a good one. Revulsion is probably the best way to describe my visceral reaction. This antique was awful in every way and I immediately wanted it out of my house.
The portrait depicted a woman with her hair parted in the middle and slicked down so that it was plastered to her head. Her lips were pursed and the piercing eyes that seemed to follow us everywhere were as angry as two hornets.
The frame was square with an oval inlay surrounding the actual portrait. It looked ancient and was probably very valuable. That being said, I hated it.
We have all encountered people in our lives who give off bad vibes and I am no exception. Nothing, however, had even come close to the horrible aura that emanated from this portrait of a stranger. Just having this relic in our home seemed to cast a pall over everything around it.
My husband tried to soften my feelings toward the antique by reasoning that she had probably been someone's mother, wife or sister. She had meant something to someone at one time and we should show her some respect.
Chastised and ashamed, I agreed to let him keep the treasured picture in our home, at least until we opened our shop. We named her "Gretchen" for no reason other than the fact that the name suited her to a tee.
Almost immediately upon Gretchen entering our home, our lives began to take a downward spiral. My husband was, at the time, the most sought after karaoke host in our area. He worked nearly every night and was always in high demand. Within a month of purchasing Gretchen, all of that changed.
One after the other, my husband's jobs fell to the wayside. Either the establishments that employed him went out of business or they simply no longer needed his services. Whatever the excuses were, he lost every single job.
In the midst of this turmoil, my aunt died suddenly after suffering a fall in her driveway. It had been a fluke accident whereby she slipped for reasons that no one could figure out. The fall had caused a hemorrhage in her abdomen and she bled to death from what had seemed to be a minor injury. As a result, we inherited her wonderful dog who also died a short time later.
My mother-in-law, who was only in her sixties at the time, began to behave erratically. She was diagnosed as suffering from dementia. Her mental health began to deteriorate at an alarming pace. She could no longer live on her own and ended up losing the home she had purchased only months prior to her rapid decline.
Bad luck seemed to be heaped upon us and anyone connected to our family. A good friend of my husband's died from a heart attack at the age of thirty-six. My younger brother suffered a series of strokes that left him confined to his bed and unable to speak, walk or eat without the aid of a feeding tube inserted into his belly.
All of these events happened within the span of a few months. Every time the phone rang, we feared that it would be more bad news. The oddities store we had planned to open became a dream that was dashed. Since my husband had lost all of his jobs, we could no longer afford such a risky venture.
It was also at this time that our furnace, which was less that a year old, went on the blink and required expensive repairs. Following suit, our hot water tank fizzled out and had to be replaced. My van, in a few weeks time, managed to get not one, or two, but three flat tires. This wasn't the same tire over and over again, but three different tires for no obvious reason.
The stress of everything happening around us was also causing cracks to appear in our marriage. The strain became so great that we talked openly of divorce. Our young daughter was also sensing the negativity and commented that she wished our lives could go back to normal.
No one said it out loud, but we knew that all of our misfortune had started after Gretchen became a fixture in our home. It may sound silly, and it could all be coincidence, but the difference in our lives before and after my husband bought the portrait was like night and day.
Fortunately, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. My husband knows a lot of people who deal in antiques and he told a few of them about Gretchen. He even shared with them our theory that the portrait was cursed. We believed that the person Gretchen had been in life was now lost. What was left was a picture that caused nothing but suffering for anyone who had it in their possession.
One of his acquaintances couldn't get enough of the story and he even offered to take Gretchen off our hands. We were a bit hesitant, not wanting to pass our bad luck on to him, but he insisted that he wasn't afraid of the antique or the curse that it might carry. We handed the portrait over to him and breathed a collective sigh of relief. We would never again have to see those angry eyes glaring at us.
It is worth saying that, almost instantaneously, our luck improved. My husband began working again, this time, at his leisure. We didn't open our oddities shop, but we did establish a DVD store that is quite successful.
With the antique out of our lives, the upheaval in our home subsided and a peace settled over us that cannot be explained. Whoever, or whatever, Gretchen was, her presence brought nothing but sorrow and chaos into our lives. Whether it was just a series of unfortunate events or a curse brought upon us by the portrait, we'll never know. We do know that things were better once Gretchen was out of our house.