In honor of the spooky season, I want to share with you a truly scary story.
I am the youngest of six siblings. I have four brothers and one sister. Since I was a little girl, I was intrigued by scary stories, especially true stories. As a teacher, I’ve noticed that children have this attraction to scary stories. I see myself in them. Why is that? Is it curiosity? I ask myself the same question. Why are scary stories intriguing to me? I would say because it’s the unknown. Halloween is my favorite time of the year. I start celebrating in August. Halloween has always been a big deal in my home. I started creating haunted houses till I was about 20. I was also really into scary movies and scary stories. It wasn’t just me. My siblings were also interested in spooky stuff. We would watch documentaries on haunted houses on television. We would go to the video store and only go to the horror section. Any other genre of films was out of the question. When I was a teenager, my siblings and I would spend the summers staying up all night watching scary movies and just having fun. One summer, we had the movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose on DVD. We watched that movie so many times, and each time it would frighten me. It’s nothing like the original exorcists, but it still had this eerie feeling. The film was about a college student passing away from epilepsy, but her family believes that she was possessed and a demon killed her. To this day, that movie scares me when I think about it.
One of those summer nights, after watching Emily Rose, my sister went to sleep, but my brother and I went exploring. We live by this part that some of you might be familiar with if you’re from Los Angeles, Lake Balboa Park. The park had a reputation of having unusual things happening, such as ghosts and alien activity. It is right next to an army base. Today, the park is infested by homeless people, but back then it was infested with skunks and the unknown. It was late into the night when my brothers and I decided to go for a walk in the park. We brought our dog, Honey, and my brother, Hasib, brought his bike. It was probably past midnight at that point, and it takes about an hour or two to go around the entire park. I always felt safe with my brothers, so fear wasn’t even in me. I was excited about our walk. We enter the road that cars usually use to enter the park. It’s a good 15-minute walk on that road. Once we enter the park, nearby is the lake. We cut through some grass and went on the path by the lake. We walked a good distance, and we were about to go up a small hill when Honey, my dog, froze. She wouldn’t move as much as I yanked on her. She was scared and started whimpering. Everyone stopped to try to get Honey to move. My brother, Yama, looked ahead. Was there something scaring Honey? A raccoon? He didn’t have to go very far to see that a short distance away there was a bench and a lamppost above it. There was someone or something sitting on the bench. It looked like a woman. We could see her silhouette. She was short with long curly hair. The rest of her was not visible. We all stared at her. She got up and looked at us, and scratched her head. Then she sat back down. Strange energy was hovering amongst us. I started backing away slowly when my older brother, Yama, took charge. He said, “Turn around everyone, right now. Let’s go home. Hurry.” He made sure all of us were in front of him. We all kept glancing back as we rushed towards the exit. Something strange was happening though, it felt like as much as we rushed, we couldn’t get out of the park. At one point, we stopped. Hasib was on his bike and started acting cocky. He said, “It was just a homeless lady. I don’t know guys are freaked out.” This started an argument between Yama, the oldest, and Hasib, the fourth oldest. Hasib wanted to prove that he wasn’t scared so he said, “I am going to go back, I am not scared.” He got on his bike and rode back towards the thing. My other brothers thought he was bluffing but he was really heading back. Out of nowhere, a screeching started. It was a women’s terrifying voice. It screeched so loud that the ducks and the geese started screeching too. Yama told Adres, the second youngest, and I to run out of the park and to get home. Yama and Omar ran towards where Hasib went. Adres and I started running out of the park with Honey. We were on the road for cars. I was scared. I could barely talk because I was so scared and I knew Adres was too. We heard running behind us and it was Yama, Omar, and Hasib. For some odd reason, Hasib’s bike got a flat tire. We waited for them and we all ran together. Finally, after what felt like hours, we were out of the park. We stood at the stoplight wondering what the hell just happened. Yama was on the phone with his girlfriend telling her what happened. We crossed the street and were walking down our neighborhood when something peculiar happened. A cat, probably around six months old, was on the crosswalk. I walked up to it and pet it. I picked it up and thought why isn’t this cat running from me. Being a foolish animal lover, I brought the kitty home with me. It was strange that this calico cat appeared out of nowhere. We got home and woke up my sister and my parents. My parents yelled at us and went back to bed. My sister got up and listened. The boys decided to go back in their car to see what it was but they couldn’t get back into the park. It was almost three am. The kitty was just sitting on the couch staring at my brother Omar. It started freaking us all out so we let it free. My sister and I camped out that night in my bed because I was scared. My brothers all slept in the living room together because they were scared. We locked the gates of our home and let Honey roam around the yard when she started barking like a mad dog. My sister said to ignore her and just sleep but something strange happened. As we laid in bed, there was a knock on our wall which was facing the front yard. One knock, two knock and by the third knock we both ran out of the room to the living room. Once in the living room, we saw that the boys weren’t in bed instead they were looking through the curtain outside. Something was out there. There was so much noise on the roof and just around the house. We all camped in the living room together for a couple of nights.
That was one of the scariest nights of my life and I continued to be afraid for a while. My mother threw out the Emily Rose film and we all stopped watching scary movies for a while. Every time I closed my eyes, I would see that woman. I wasn’t the only one though. Adres kept dreaming about her. She would stand outside my bedroom window in his dream. He said the dream stopped after he yelled at her and said leave us alone. We were all disturbed by it and tried to rationalize what happened. Was it a demon or a witch or a homeless person? Time passed by, and we all started to believe that it was all in our heads. We assumed it was a homeless person and the rest was in our heads. But, it wasn’t something we made up. It happened. We never went to the park that late again. Young and dumb.
Happy Spooky Season.