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Otherworldly: A True Story

This is the five year anniversary of this occurrence. I thought I'd share it here...

Yeah, so I tend to see, hear, and feel things not actually explainable by conventional means.

I’m sure there are a myriad of unconventional means to explain what I see, hear, and feel. However, it’s the irony in the unexplainable nature of these things that makes it seem more interesting. I’ve always been a little on the psychic side, but my affinity for rational deduction has brought me, more often than not, to the conclusion that “it was just the wind.” However, what happened two weeks ago unnerved me in a way that flouts all notions of rational deduction.

I don’t flinch easily and I am more likely to walk alone into a structure that looks like a portal to hell than I am to go Krogering. I am an urban exploring junkie and my work is often driven by the surrounding environment, so I like to establish a theme of dark beauty by way of a darker environment. This was the case once again as I scoured shooting locations two weeks ago with my friend Natalie. It was late in the afternoon and we had just finished shooting at our first location in northern Ohio. We were driving aimlessly throughout the countryside, hoping to find an abandoned house or old barn. After driving a bit longer, we found both. There are ways to tell if a house or structure is abandoned, such as an unkempt lawn and lack of window coverings. We saw both indicators and pulled into the driveway and around the back of the house to seem less conspicuous. The house still had furniture inside and was locked, so that option was out. There were a number of small structures on the property, but they were mostly already collapsed. Further back on the property was a huge barn. I could see an older padlock on the door. Older or rusted-out padlocks also mean that the location is not being watched on a regular basis. Natalie stayed in my car to finish getting ready while I ventured out to investigate other possible entrances to the barn.

The thing about hiking a distance to a location is that you have to hike the same distance back to your starting point. We were already on private property, so my guard was immediately up. I had to walk a fair distance to get to the rear of the barn. As I walked, I got more and more pensive about the fact that Natalie was by herself in the car. If something happened, I needed to be able to get to her fast enough. The longer I walked, the less this notion became possible. We were losing daylight, so I was eager to find a way into the barn and start shooting. Once I went all the way around to the rear of the barn, I could no longer see my car or Natalie. We usually have someone else with us to serve as a lookout, but not this time. The rear door of the barn was fairly large and still on its track. With some effort, I was able to get it open wide enough for my fat ass to squeeze through.

Once inside, I took in as much as I could visually. Like most older barns, there was light coming through places in the walls and the ceiling. There was certainly enough light to pop off a few more emotive shots with Natalie. I tend to make a lot of noise on purpose when I enter a place like this. I then stop to listen to everything. You have to listen to the things you would expect to hear, but it’s also listening to what’s not expected that is the most important. Then it hit me…a really uneasy feeling about the surroundings. There was an old motorcycle under a tarp, which briefly took my attention away from the uneasy feelings I has having. As I approached it, I came upon the entrance to the main section of the barn on my right. The main section was massive and the floor was mostly open. There were at least four windows high up on the front-facing wall. However, the glass in each window was missing and was likely broken at some point. It was the light that was coming through the windows that made this feel so surreal and otherworldly. It was cast in a sickly yellow hue, making the main section of the barn appear to glow. As I mentioned, there was no glass in the windows or any other factor that would cause the sunlight to appear this unnatural color.

I’m fairly certain this entire I episode I have been chronicling only lasted about five minutes, but there are reasons I have doubts and there is also a rather unsettling theory I have drawn I will speak to shortly. I was standing at the entrance to the main section of the barn, but then I found myself standing in the middle of it. For some reason, I don’t remember stepping over the threshold or walking to where I was now standing. The main section continued to glow with the sickly yellow light. I took in the entire room as best I could, but I was now becoming increasingly terrified. There were so many shadows surrounding me and I was now certain I was not alone in the barn. I was certain that if I blinked, there would be a person standing under each window in front of me. I haven't felt that kind of fear or absolute dread in a very long time. I was listening intently for the things I shouldn’t expect to hear, but the dull thud of my own heartbeat in my ears was overpowering. I knew something was about to happen, so looked at my feet for anything I could use as a weapon. I then became too afraid to move because I knew as soon as I did, it would happen. There was something truly evil present in this barn and I wanted to leave. I was conscious of side-stepping towards the entrance. I could hear the dry hay under my feet scrap against the ground with each step. I knew I was being watched by something and I knew if I ran that it would be all over. I just wanted to get to back to Natalie. Dozens of the worst outcomes flashed through my head in an instant. I am an academic with a fairly high IQ, but at that point all I could do was mutter, “Fuck this.”

I turned and went for the entrance. It was only about ten feet away, but it seemed much farther. I moved quickly, but I could feel something massive coming up from behind me. I was actually prepared to dive out of the rear entrance, but I wanted to stay on my feet. I kept moving and I was suddenly outside, as if I blinked and made it happen. I ran full-speed back to the front but then stopped when I cleared the corner because I didn’t want to scare Natalie. Once I got back into the car, she immediately knew something was wrong. To this day, she doesn’t know what happened inside the barn. All I told her was that I had an uneasy feeling and that I thought we should shoot elsewhere, which we did. At the last shooting location, I felt like nothing had happened and it was actually a different day. It wasn’t until I was driving back to Columbus that I felt an indescribable sense of dread.

As I stated, the whole incident inside the barn only lasted about five minutes. It started to feel like it maybe lasted much, much longer. I could smell the dank air of the barn and feel the dust in my lungs. I started to wonder if I was still there and that driving home was just an illusion. I panicked a little, but started to grasp everything around me that was tangible to make sure I was awake. I made it home safely, but laid awake most of the night with a very unsettling notion. I began to wonder if part of me was still inside the barn and now trapped. I have been under a tremendous amount of emotional stress prior to this, so the rational side of me has ‘mostly’ dismissed this to just being scared and paranoid. Still, I feel a measurable amount of desire to go back to the barn. I just have an odd feeling that once I go back in, I will see myself standing inside.

Kevin JamesComment