BRAD STEIGER & RANDY MAUGANS REVIEW CHRIS HOLLY’S NEW BOOK
Brad Steiger’s Book Review
The Curious Observer-Real Time Paranormal Experiencer
By Randy Maugans
What Lurks Behind the Closet Door!
This story I know is true as it happened to me. I was living on Manistee Lane located in East Islip, New York and the year was 1967.
I was 16 years old and had my junior driver’s license, which at that time meant I could drive until dark where I lived in New York.
It was summer and life was happy and fun. Now being able to drive, even if only up until dark, gave me a new freedom and allowed me to enter the world ‘hanging out’ with the older teens who could drive at night!
At least, my friends and I could sit and sip a coke in Mc Donald’s parking lot until about 9 p.m. or dusk before having to return home.
On a typical evening, my friends and I would hang out at the McDonald’s hamburger place in town in my car until dark and it was time to bring my car home.
As dusk approached we would try to find an 18-year-old, with a senior license who could drive at night, willing to follow us home. If we were lucky we could talk an older teen into following us home and agree to take us back to the teen hangout so we could continue being part of the crowd.
Most nights, however, we simply ended up bringing home the car before dark and our hanging out at McDonald’s parking lot would be over for the evening. Anyone caught driving with a junior license after nightfall would lose his or her driving rights altogether so we were careful about being home on time.
Consequently, the hours between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock became critically important each evening. If we did not have our ‘after nine’ pals lined up by then, we were home for the night by nightfall.
The night of the incident was a Saturday night in the summer of 1967. My parents were off visiting my grandparents. I was allowed to drive my mother’s convertible with my pals until nightfall. I was to return the car to our house by 9 p.m. – or else.
I was out with my two friends, Sally, and Sara. We were hanging out with all the other teens in town at McDonald’s.
My friend Sally’s older brother said depending on what was going that night he might pick us up at my house at 10 o’clock that night so we could continue hanging out -after I had taken my mom’s car home.
He agreed to take us for pizza in town. It was a big deal to us at the time as my friend’s brother was a 20-year-old. Being seen at the pizza place with him was a feather in our 16-year-old caps.
The time came for us to take the car home so we headed to my house to meet Sally’s brother. I drove the car home and parked it in the driveway in front of the house. We all rushed to my front door as a few hours of cola-drinking at McDonald’s left us all in urgent need of the bathroom.
The three of us ran to the bathroom across the hall from my bedroom and laughed as we yelled at each other to hurry up and swore off all additional cola-drinking during future McDonald’s visits. I was last in line and rushed into the bathroom as my two friends stood brushing their hair in the mirror in the vanity area of the bathroom while I used the water closet.
When I returned back to the vanity area where my two friends were standing, Sally turned completely white and said to Sara and me:
“I have a horrid feeling–we are not alone in the house. I think I heard something.”
We all froze and listened. I thought I heard a sort of bump too. I said;
“Let’s get out of here!”
The three of us blasted through the bathroom doorway, down the hallway, and out the front door. I slammed the door and locked it. Luckily, I had placed my keys into my pocket but I left my pocketbook inside the house.
We ran to the car and I backed it into the street. We quickly closed the convertible top and locked all the car doors. We were all in the front seat. We sat there terrified. I could feel my heart pounding with a fear I knew was real and warranted.
After a few minutes, we thought maybe we were just suffering from ‘The boogie-man” syndrome.
I thought I should, at least, go back inside and get my pocketbook. Then I could call my parents and have my license and money with me as well. I was getting out of the car to go back to the house when something caught my eye.
As I stepped outside of the car, I thought I saw the front porch light flicker. My friend Sara stood beside me in the street as we looked up at the house.
We watched then as the light over the front door turned on and off again and again. I felt a fear I had never before known. Somebody was definitely inside the house and playing with us as well.
We jumped back into the car and locked the doors again. I started the car so we could go call the police and my parents. As I turned the ignition key with my trembling hand, I continued to watch this person inside my house continuing to flicker and light up all the lights in the living room.
As we pulled away, my friend Sally said:
“Oh God, he is in your room! He turned on your light!”
I felt sick and angry all at once, knowing as I drove for help that someone was in my home, intentionally toying with us. We reached the end of my street just as my friend’s brother turned the corner on his way to pick us up. I blew the horn and told him to pull over. We all started screaming at once.
He had brought two of his football pals with him so we all decided to return to the house for one more look.
We both parked in the street and everyone watched as lights inside the house kept switching on and off every few seconds — first the kitchen, then the den, and then over to the living room. The front porch light was apparently turned on and off every time this intruder passed the switch inside.
The boys watched this taking place and clearly felt the same fear we did. My friend’s brother decided we needed to call the police. He sent one of his friends in his car to call for help. The rest of us stayed locked in my mother’s car — the three of us girls, Sally’s brother, and Sally’s brother’s friend.
We sat there for what seemed an awfully long time but in truth, it was only a few minutes. I was very fearful this person in my house would leave before the police arrived.
We sat anxiously as the seconds ticked away and occupied ourselves by watching lights turning on — and now staying on — throughout the house. Soon the house looked like a barn fire on a dark beach as every light appeared to be on — including outside floodlights and driveway spotlights. We sat silently watching.
Suddenly from deep inside the house came this animal-like, wild growling scream. I will never forget this non-human screaming until the day I die. Whatever was in my house seemed to be howling in anger.
As this thing screamed it must have been pounding on the backside of the front door or a front wall. The house echoed this wild animal-like screaming and muffled banging with such force I began to shake and cry. My friend’s brother touched my shoulder from the back seat with his hand and said:
“We need to leave. This is way too much for us to handle.”
I was shaking so much I could barely place the car into gear. We started down the road but had rolled only a few yards when our friend returned with a police car following right behind him.
Coincidentally, my parents were turning the corner right behind the police car. I stopped my car and waited until the policeman was standing just outside my car door. I rolled down the window and then we all started to tell him at once what was happening. The policeman looked up at the house to see the last of the light changes occurring.
As the policeman stood looking at the house the creature inside let out one last howling scream. The policeman reached for his side arm and whispered:
“Mother of God!”
My parents ran to the side of our car and the policeman asked my father for the keys to the house. He then withdrew his gun, called for backup and started up the driveway toward the front door.
Before the policeman unlocked the front door, another policeman arrived. He ran to the front door to aid the first policeman and they entered the house together.
We all stood outside watching as the policemen made their way through our house. It seemed as if a very long time passed maybe ten to fifteen minutes — then one of the policemen called my father to the house.
Again they seemed to be searching the house, this time, all three of them.
My dad eventually returned to the rest of us, still standing by the cars, and told my friend’s brother to take all the kids directly home and to lock his car doors and not stop for anyone or anything.
As my friends drove away, my dad told my mother and me to get back into the car. He got into the car with us and quickly locked all the doors.
He then told my mother and me the policemen discovered the back door had been ripped open. He said the person who broke in had taken some of our clothing and makeup and threw it around the house. My dad then looked at my mother in a way that told me there was something more he was not saying.
By this time, there were many police cars around the neighborhood. I saw two policemen with a dog searching the neighbors’ yard closest to our house. My friend Kim lived there with her family. We sat in the locked car for a long time. Both of my parents were upset and I was scared to death.
Finally, a policeman appeared at our front door and motioned for my father to come back inside the house. My dad left us locked inside the car and did as the policeman directed.
My father talked with the policemen for a few minutes and then motioned for my mother and me to come inside the house as well.
When my mother and I walked into the house, one policeman and my dad took my mother by the arm to show her something down the hallway while another policeman tried to distract me in the living room.
I wanted to stay with my parents and I started to walk toward the bedroom area where they had gone when my mom let out a horrible scream and burst into tears. I took off in a full run to where my parents were standing.
They were in my bedroom. I walked into the bedroom to find my parents looking behind my open closet door. The policeman was looking behind the door as well. I leaned forward and pushed the closet door closed in order to see what they were looking at behind it.
On my bedroom floor, no longer hidden by the closet door, sat a little wooden chair my dad normally kept in his office located behind our garage.
Draped over the chair, as if someone had been sitting there holding it in his hand, was a long piece of brand new rope. It looked as if someone had just let it slip from his hands as he stood up to leave.
On the floor beside the chair were a long sharp carving knife from the kitchen and some matches. My makeup had been used to paint strange marks and symbols on my bedroom wall. My nightgown was torn and thrown into the wastebasket next to my desk.
On my bed was an outline where something had laid on it and left an imprint. Across my headboard on the wall were long claw marks where something had torn into the wall.
I also noticed a putrid order lingering in the house. I took it all in despite my paralyzing terror and then I looked one more time at the little chair and rope no longer hidden by the closet door.
I ran to the bathroom and vomited. My mom, crying, came in after me. I knew I had missed losing my life that night by the mere luck of my friends needing to use the bathroom. If I had entered the house alone, my life surely would have been taken. The question was, by who or by what?
It was a big deal that night. The police stayed with us for hours. They did not pretend the incident was just a robbery or some silly kid staging a prank. I knew clearly, as they did, that I had barely escaped a cruel and untimely death.
The Police searched the area for hours that night. They scanned the house for fingerprints and took great care in recording the details of all we had seen and heard.
The police talked to my dad before leaving and told him they knew of another incident in the area with similar details.
A woman had been lured into her basement by the unexpected sound of her washer and dryer running. She also heard the horrid screams of this vile intruder and ran for help. It was not the first time they had to deal with this, and we could tell the police were both concerned and frightened.
I slept on the floor in my parents’ bedroom that night. In fact, I slept on their bedroom floor until my dad fitted all the windows and doors of the house with either heavy-duty locks or steel bars. I refused to go outside by myself or drive anywhere in the car alone. I was terrified.
Weeks passed and life started to return to normal. My older brother had returned home after serving in the military and was back living in the house and I was beginning to feel more at ease.
One night as my family and I sat around the kitchen table eating dinner the phone rang. My father answered it. It was the neighbors next door. They asked my father to come over as they needed to speak with him.
My mother, brother and I were still sitting at the kitchen table when my father finally came back. I could tell by one look at my Dad’s face something once again was terribly wrong.
My father sat down and told us that our neighbor’s daughter, who was my friend, Kim had been sitting in the families den watching TV.
She was home with her mother and little brother. She was sitting on the couch beneath which was under the window when something from outside the house grabbed the window — frame and all — and ripped it right out of the side of the house.
I could not understand what he was telling me. I asked my father what he was talking about.
He repeated — someone or something with incredible strength grabbed the window frame and ripped the entire thing out of the wall of the house.
Kim jumped up screaming as an arm swatted for her from outside the window shell. Kim claimed she felt what seemed like a claw skim across her neck as she jumped off of the couch.
Her mother heard all the noise from another room. She grabbed her husband’s loaded rifle and ran into the den where she saw the window ripped out of the wall and this arm reaching for Kim.
By this time Kim was on the other side of the room screaming. Her mother took aim and fired at the space where the window had been. She could not tell whether she hit it. Whatever it was ran away when she fired the gun.
Once again the police searched the area. Dogs were used. Police cars covered the streets. Once again this creature escaped.
I remained terrified the rest of that summer. I refused to leave the house without another family member accompanying me. I refused to drive alone in my car.
I never stayed home alone and progressed only as far as sleeping in my bedroom with the door open – provided my brother or my parents kept their bedroom door open as well.
I went away to school the following year. I would never again spend time alone in that house. If my family went away, I would go out too and stay out until they returned. I never again felt safe in that house again.
As far as I know, whatever entered our house that summer night was never caught or identified. I do know he or ‘it’ intended to tie me up and hurt me. I do know he or it had little or no fear and enjoyed terrifying us that night. I also know he or ‘it’ was a beast and far from human given its loud haunting screams and incredible physical strength.
I will always believe the monster that ripped the window and frame out of Kim’s wall was the same monster that intended and tried to kill me.
I am thankful I ran out of the house that night and was not home alone,
I am grateful that my friends were there with me to help me think things through. Sometimes our fate is just a quick decision we make without thinking it through. I am glad I listened to my friends and ran out of the house when I did, and did not go back into the house or try to handle the situation alone.
That night fate gave me a helping hand. Many a day since I have pondered how lucky I was to survive that horrifying event. It haunts me still as I continue to wonder what type of creature I could have faced alone that night.
We all often wonder where did it come from? And where did it go? I often think about this experience as one of the greatest mysteries of my life.
It just goes to show one never knows what lurks behind the closet door!