Since last fall I have been helping my friend Steve rehab a house in the Corbly’s Tract subdivision in Mt. Washington, Cincinnati, Ohio. In order to save some money I’ve been living in the house while working on it. From the first day living here I felt something weird was up. I would hear voices as if someone were talking quietly in the basement, sometimes at night I would hear someone walking about when I knew I was the only one in the house, and once an entire box of cookies simply disappeared from the coffee table (everyone blamed Steve’s dog, but what happened to the box?!?!)
In the course of the work I found some black mold in the basement, and knowing that the mould spores are both toxic and can cause mild hallucinations in certain sensitive people I immediately began the process of eliminating it. As spring came, after bleaching, tearing out infested drywall and vacuuming every speck of dust from every corner of the place, I opened all the windows, put fans in them then blew out whatever dust/spores remained. While tackling this Augean task I also discovered that we had a mouse in the house which went a long way toward explaining some of the sounds I would hear and indeed after capturing it late in the spring the disturbing sounds seemed to abate.
Corbly’s Tract sits at the highest and northern most developed point in Mt. Washington, because all the land on the northern slope is unstable, making it unsuitable for any kind of construction, so that land has been constituted a nature reserve. Something that makes the house and property ideal: a fairly urban area, just ten minutes from the center of the city with eighty acres of forested land adjacent to the back yard! I grew up in a subdivision just like this and loved the woods, so when Spring came I asked some of the neighbor kids where a path going into the woods was. They looked at me as if I was crazy, then told me they never went back there, citing coyotes and saying it was “just scary”. Now in the winter I had both heard and seen coyotes, but once the spring had come, they seemed to have moved on, so I hopped the fence with my camera hoping to get some stock images of the burgeoning Spring. What I found was a dense, sylvan tangle that was nearly impossible to walk through. As a mater of fact it was so difficult I probably didn’t get fifty feet in before I gave up and turned back. There were two strange things too: hundreds if not thousands of pop cans and bottles everywhere, some really old and some that looked like someone had just finished them, but they were all upright and scattered amongst them was every kind of ball imaginable, and something I didn’t think was significant then: a nasty odor like road kill and raw sewage and sweat.
My work as an artist has often focused on night time scenes and I do timelapse videos where I will remain still as the world around me moves in seeming fast motion. Walking through the neighborhood over the past few months, late at night taking photographs I noticed that a lot of the streetlights will suddenly go dark for a few minutes, then slowly come back to full brightness. I thought the city had decided our neighborhood would get all the defective lights that somebody must have ordered from a company that belonged to the brother-in-law of a council person but , wow, it would make a great time lapse piece, me standing under these lights with the flicker of television on the curtains of the houses around me. So two nights ago I went out to do some preliminary shots. While out there I caught a whiff of that same odor, but thought it must be something dead in the storm sewer, and I went on taking my photos but became frustrated because I couldn’t get the camera’s autofocus to work. I went home, downloaded them and noticed something that made every hair on my body stand on end. on the pole between two lights, after they had gone dark I saw two glowing red lights, like eyes.
I’ve never been one to get spooked, I’m 54 years old and a part of the first generation to watch Scooby Doo, which taught us that the monsters are never real, they’re just bad people, so I grabbed my photo bag and walked back down there, expecting that I would find some kind of ready light on a transformer and that would be it. As I approached the block with that pole, there were no red lights to be seen, but maybe they only came on when the streetlights were out, so I waited. I smelled that odor again, only this time it was overwhelming, the first light went out, then the second. There still were no red lights up there and as I reached into my bag to get my camera I saw two, unmistakable, glowing red eyes in a yew bush not fifteen feet from me. I PISSED MY PANTS! I did so while running faster than my middle aged body was probably capable, looking back into the dark only able to discern something, that looked like a pre-teen kid in size, but with really long arms, and it had dark skin, but that’s all I could make out because I was a too busy PISSING MY PANTS and running, which was surprisingly easy to do in this particular circumstance. Whatever was chasing me seemed to be avoiding the light, but I don’t know for sure.
When I got home I did what any reasonable person would do, I called 911. In a breathless, panic I tried to tell the operator what had happened but I do realize now how I must have sounded.
“Black thing! With red eyes chasing me! Long arms!”
The police arrived only about ten minutes after my call no siren but lights flashing. Before I could finish telling my story the officer taking the report just threw his clipboard into the car and asked how much meth I had smoked and how many days I had been up. When I attempted to object told me to stop talking if I didn’t want to spend the night in jail, then proceeded to lecture me on the consequences for dialing 911 for a non-emergency and then on the dangers of drugs. The entire time he was doing this, the neighbors were looking out their windows, standing on front lawns gawking at me in my piss soaked pants occasionally speaking to the other officer and either looking concerned because there is a drug crazed madman living in Corbly’s Tract or laughing at the bit of craziness that this idiot has caused or both. When it was all over the sun was rising and I was so exhausted I just laid down on the bed and went to sleep.
Waking up it seemed as if it had happened on TV and certainly not to me. It was only when my next door neighbor, Jacob, knocked on the door (something he had never done before) that it all came back to me. He was much more inclined to believe I had seen something than the police officer had been and theorized that it was a big coyote,but told me that the streetlights had been going on and off like that for as long as they had been there. He said the city had replaced the lamps, the bulbs and checked the power lines but nothing seemed to work.
Then he said ” I’ll tell you something, though, them coyotes is smart. They’ll somehow get into your yard and steal pop! Pop! It’s happened to just about everyone, even though not one person has seen it.”
All I could think about was all those cans and bottles. What ever I saw, it liked pop. I remembered I had a bottle of lemon-lime pop in my camera bag, that must be what it was after. I still wasn’t thinking too clearly so I went to the store and bought a case of store brand pop and as sundown approached I put one just next to the fence and waited. I kept seeing shadows, convincing myself there was something there then in a flash those two red eyes flew up to the fence line and that can vanished. i grabbed a battery operated flood light and a couple more cans and took them into the back yard, this time not so far and I stood there, shining the light into the woods. After about 15 minutes the light began to dim, so I ran into the house and when I got to the window I saw three sets of eyes but I had only put out two cans, so I opened the window and tossed out another and in a flash the eyes were gone. Once more I went out shining the light into the woods. That’s when Jacob came out a bit perturbed and told me I was scaring his kids and he would appreciate it if I would stop. I told him I had seen it but this time there were three of them then he looked at me just like the police officer had the night before.
“Listen, dude, I don’t care if you’re on drugs, I’m a libertarian for Christ’s sake, but you’re fuckin’ freakin’ my kids out and if you don’t stop I WILL CALL THE POLICE!”
Not wanting a repeat of the night before, I went into the house, this time turning on the back porch light then tossing all but two of the cans into the yard. I guess all the noise had spooked them because I sat there for hours and they didn’t come, then just as I was about to give up two, four eight then more and more eyes came to the edge of the fence then the porch light dimmed and they came at the house in a rush. They were at the window tapping and tapping. I had those two cans but that wouldn’t be enough for all of them so I grabbed the flood light and switched it on. What I saw was horrifying. They had a black scaly skin without sheen at all, they seemed to absorb the light, tiny almost non-existent back legs and long arms with a spike on the back of their hands and a round head with two red eyes and a downward pointing proboscis (for lack of a better word) about the size of a soda straw.
I screamed, loud then threw the two remaining cans breaking the window. The smell came flooding in but the light seemed to actually hurt them because they didn’t come in the house they just scattered into the woods. I heard Jacob shout that he had called the police, but all I could do was lie there, crying in absolute terror. When they got there I somehow avoided getting hauled in again, I think because I had let them in and they didn’t find any drugs or paraphernalia but they did say I smelled awful and needed a bath. As Jacob left for work I heard him yell “Dude, get some help!”
I know what I saw and even though the photos are out of focus I have attached them to this entry. all day the lights in the house have been dimming and I don’t know what to do other than what I am doing. Getting this story out and preparing for war.