Late October, 1999
Drawn by local reports, a group of ghost hunters arrives in the small town of Hampton, TX. Twenty years ago, a couple was found dead in their manor just outside the town proper. According to the police report, the wife, Aiesha Magnus, was found with a hatchet in her skull on the front steps of the house, leading into the courtyard. John Magnus then went upstairs and shot himself on their bed. Magnus’ dogs, a quartet of Doberman pincers, died from eventual starvation.
In the intervening years, locals have reported sights of a ghostly woman walking the highway near the property wielding a hatchet, lights in the dense woods surrounding the manor home, and sounds of dogs growling and barking.
Andrew Sinclair, Douglas Sims, Zoey Harvey and John Green arrive in the small town in the early afternoon, and they stop at city hall to announce their intentions to the local authorities. Meeting with the county’s sheriff, the group signs liability waivers and interviews the sheriff himself. He reiterates the police report, but he also adds some of his own experience, as he was the one who found the bodies 20 years ago.
Arriving at the Magnus property, the group quickly moves inside, setting up their base of operations in the living room. Doug’s array of monitors is set up in one corner, and he gets the cameras and other recording equipment ready for the investigation. Zoey heads off to look over the house while there is still some light. She finds the master bedroom where Magnus killed himself, the blood long dried. Outside the window, she sees a greenhouse, and she heads out to check it out. She finds it in surprisingly good condition—only three panes are broken. Heading back inside, she also spots access to a basement, which is a curious feature for a house built on Texas’ hard clay.
As night falls, the group splits into two teams. Andrew and John head upstairs, while Douglas and Zoey go out to the highway, where the woman had been seen. Splitting up. Douglas heads one direction, while Zoey heads another. After a few minutes of walking, Zoey hears rustling in the woods, as if someone were walking alongside her, but trying not to be heard. After ensuring that John and Andrew had not followed them to the road for a bit of fun, Zoey tells Douglas what she heard. At that time, Zoey feels a sudden chill, as the air temperature around her drops enough to cause her breath to condense as she exhales. As Douglas films her, he hears what sounds like a dog growling behind him. When he turns, the sound stops. The pair decide to head back to the house.
Meanwhile, Andrew and John look around inside. The two enter the long hallway of bedrooms. Other than a very ugly dried blood pool on the bed, nothing seems out of the ordinary in the master bedroom. In the smaller bedrooms down the hall, however, the pair hears the sounds of women sobbing and crying, and John gets a hint of hashish, Looking around, the pair find no evidence of anyone having smoked in the house in years, but the pair do notice that the smaller bedrooms have locks on the outside.
The groups head back to base and compare experiences, heading off again after a few minutes. Douglas and Zoey head back up to the master bedroom, where Zoey begins to smell a combination of whiskey and sex. The pair checks the windows for a draft, but they are closed tight and locked. As she turns to leave, Zoey yelps in surprise as she sees a glimpse of a figure outside the window smiling at her lecherously. Looking back, neither of the pair sees anything outside the second-story window. Douglas attempts to make contact with the spirits, but receives no response.
Andrew and John check out the grounds, finding no real activity. John takes the opportunity to light up a joint, not wanting to waste a trip outdoors.
Zoey leads Douglas outside to the greenhouse, and the pair move inside. Any plants grown here died long ago, but not before growing wildly with no care. Douglas finds a plastic plant identifier with the word “Basil” on it. He figures the Magnuses grew their own herbs in the greenhouse. Zoey heads to the back of the greenhouse and enters the small shed, where she finds a number of garden tools long since rusted beyond any usable condition. Finding no evidence of any spectral phenomena, the pair head back inside.
Passing through the kitchen, Doug and Zoey head down into the basement. There, they find a sizable wine cellar long since looted of its contents. In the center of the floor, a hole in the concrete leads to a cistern, half-filled with putrid, stagnant water. A kennel stands near the stairs leading up to the outside, and a number of canine bones are scattered in that space. Zoey enters the wine cellar and detects a hint of urine and sweat in the air. However, there is no evidence of active spirits at the time.
The group meets up again and compares notes. Andrew and John head back outside to check out the trees surrounding the property. Andrew looks for evidence of Doug’s growling dog. What he finds is a single set of rabbit tracks, leading up to the remains of a rabbit. The carcass is mutilated almost beyond recognition, and heat still rises from the remains. Andrew sees no other tracks to indicate another animal. Upset by this development, the pair heads back inside.
Zoey and Doug head into the library. The shelves are empty of any books, and Doug attempts to record EVP in the room. After a period of silence, the pair heads to the kitchen. There, both hear the faint sound of dinner: flatware tinking against plates, the ping of crystal glasses in a toast, the faint murmur of idle discussion. After a few seconds, the smell of cooking food comes to the pair’s nostrils, and it quickly turns into the stench of any number of burned meals. Doug attempts to contact the spirit, and gets no response. As the pair head back outside to examine the greenhouse, which Zoey feels might be important because of its relatively undamaged state, the pair hears a dinner plate crash against the wall back across the room. Doug rushes over to the source of the sound and sees the destroyed remains of a plate on the ground. He looks across the room, and a cabinet that was closed before is now wide open. Doug attempts another EVP session, and the pair head outside to view the greenhouse.
While there, Andrew gets on the radio and calls Doug and Zoey to ask them about the library. Apparently, while they had seen no books, Andrew and John came across one large book in plain view in the room. Both Andrew and John hear the sounds of someone reading, a female voice speaking Arabic. Doug and Zoey head quickly to the library.
There, Zoey and Doug see the book they hadn’t spotted before. Andrew opens it and sees a language he is not familiar with. Some of the symbols, however, are known to him, and he identifies them as related to the use of black magic. Andrew quickly puts the book back on the table, and he and John leave the library. After they leave, Doug and Zoey both jump at the sound of a book slamming against a table, but they see nothing. When Doug returns his attention to the book, it is gone. Zoey points out that it is now on the shelf behind him. Doug picks up the book and he and Zoey leave the library.
All four head up to the master bedroom for a closer examination. Doug sits on the bed, where Magnus shot himself, placing the book on the edge of the nightstand. The book visibly moves toward the center, as if someone were pushing it to a more stable position. With the group’s attention focused on the book, Doug feels the bed shift and then the weight of a woman against his back. The other three see nothing, but Doug feels arms draped over his shoulders, stroking his chest and stomach, and he feels the soft pressure of breasts on his back. Describing the sensations to the group, Doug feels warm breath on his earlobe. Suddenly, the sound of someone walking up the stairs comes from outside the room, and the “woman” quickly disappears.
Hearing the sounds of barking dogs outside, the group rushes outside, but when they arrive, they see nothing. Turning back to the house, Zoey spots the silhouette of a man in the master bedroom window, backed by a light inside the room. The silhouette’s arm reaches beside the window and seems to turn out the light. The group heads back up to the bedroom and examines the lamp, which is not plugged in, and when plugged in, gets no power, like the rest of the house.
Doug sets up a camera to look up the stairs, and the group discusses what to do. Andrew believes that the book is key in some way to James Magnus, and it should be destroyed. John offers his lighter, and the group starts a fire in the living room’s fireplace with bits of paper and broken bits of wood. When the book is placed on the fire, it immediately bursts into a bright flame, and is consumed within seconds.
John gets the idea to go to sleep and continue the investigation in the morning. He heads out to the van, not wanting to sleep in the house, and the others head down to the basement. While there, they all three enter the wine cellar, and Andrew closes the door. Within seconds, the sound of dogs barking angrily at them echoes through the room. The door shudders with loud bangs as if dogs were throwing themselves against the door. Tilting his camera down, Doug sees dust swirl from the ground as if stirred by the snort of a dog trying to see under the door. After a few minutes, the sounds stop, and trio cautiously head out and back upstairs, to the main bedroom.
Doug wants to try to contact the female spirit again, so he sits on the bed. While no sensation of a woman comes to him, the group does hear the sound of someone walking up the stairs. Looking into the hall, they see the top of someone’s head, and then, John’s face greeting them. He tells them that even though he was tired, he couldn’t sleep, and he hefts a camera onto his shoulder. Doug sits back on the bed, again trying to get the woman to respond. After a few seconds, John slams the camera into Doug’s face and then jumps on top of him on the bed.
Confused, the group tries to subdue John, who tosses them off without much difficulty, laughing all the while. He headbutts Doug, nearly breaking his nose and dazing him, then he gets up and turns to Andrew, who has lit a bundle of sage in an attempt to remove the possessing spirit from his friend’s body. “John” pushes Andrew away, and his head slams against the wall. Doug capitalizes on the opening to slam the nightstand’s lamp against John’s head. John wheels around on Doug again, and Andrew hits him in the back of the head again, and John collapses.
Cursing, Doug examines the remains of his camera. After a few seconds, an unearthly howl of frustration echoes through the house, and all the doors start to slam loudly. The conscious members of the group quickly decide to abandon the investigation. While Zoey and Andrew carry John’s inert body to the van, Doug quickly packs up the gear and throws it into the back. As the van pulls away from the house, Zoey sees a pack of four dogs chasing them down the drive, and as she looks back at the house, a man’s silhouette in the master bedroom’s window, before he reaches to the side and shuts off the light.
The group finds lodging at a local motel, and they bandage up John’s head. The rest get some sleep. Hours later, John finally comes to with no knowledge of what happened. Doug remains awake and starts to go through the footage, finding that any footage of the book is whited out, like overdeveloped film.
The next day, the group makes their report to the sheriff, telling him that the place is definitely haunted, and it should be removed from any property sales lists until such time as an exorcism can be performed. The sheriff obviously is unconvinced, but does say that he will pass the information off to his superiors.
The group heads back home, and what footage remains is posted to their website.
D/FW by Night
The first glimpse of the Truth
Late October, 1999