THERE'S A REASON that Halloween takes place in autumn. If it was celebrated in the sweltering summer or at the height of winter, it wouldn't be the same, would it? No, Halloween - or All Hallow's Eve - is perfectly timed: twilight comes early, the air is chilled, the trees shed their decaying leaves, and the earth prepares for its dark sleep... for death.
It's no wonder we all get creeped out this time of year. We become more aware that there are things - unknown things - out there in the dark. Here are three true stories of Halloween-time encounters with the unexplained.
THE EVIL BLACK DOG
J.F. lives in a small area of Texas called Del Valle, where there is little more than gas stations, schools, houses and cows. She usually considered this place rather boring, but one night a few days before Halloween would change all that for her.
On this night, J.F. was driving her boyfriend to his house at about 8:30 p.m. Being a person who says she can almost always sense imminent danger or evil, J.F.'s heart began to beat rapidly. For some unknown reason, chills ran down her spine and she began to perspire, even though she had the car's AC on full blast. "I was getting an eerie feeling that something evil was up ahead," she says.
We are all familiar with how an animal's eyes glow in a creepy way when a light is shone into them. "Up the hill about two minutes from my house, a black dog walked right in front of my car," J.F says. She thought it was peculiar that the animal was just casually walking across the road without any apparent fear of getting hit by her car. "I hit the brakes and managed to stop about five feet from the dog," she remembers. "It just stood there and stared at me. I turned on my high beams, and when I saw its eyes, they were a golden reddish tint. It stood there for about a minute, then walked away. I hit the gas and sped off, terrified. But when I looked back, the dog was nowhere in sight."
J.F. proceeded home but could not shake the weird feeling of dread that overcame her before and during her encounter with that black dog. Was it a harbinger of something more terrifying? J.T. believes it was a catalyst for a very disturbing dream a few nights later.
"I dreamed that I was in my room listening to music when it all of a sudden stopped," she recalls vividly. "I looked at my iPod and it was still playing, but there was no sound. I looked at my door and there was a man in a black trench coat staring at me. It wasn't the fact that there was a man in my room that freaked me out, it was his face. It was red with black cracks all over, and he had horns. His eyes were a deep gold with no pupil, and he had long fangs coming out of his mouth.
"I just sat there staring at him. Then he said, 'It's time....' And that's when I noticed a watch in his left hand. When he spoke, his breath came out as smoke and reeked of burning spoiled meat. He made a grab for my neck and that's when I woke up. The first smell that came to me was burning spoiled meat."
J.F. continues to be haunted by these connected experiences. "I can never be outside now - not at night. Demons and ghosts exist outside. I have purified my room because it seems that's where I'm the most vulnerable. These entities seem to appear when I'm trying to enjoy life."
Next page: The fairy and the troll