Being my father’s child, I’ve always wanted to make some groundbreaking discovery that would keep me remembered long after my death. After reading articles about the supposed Smile.Dog, I’ve been trying to make a supernatural breakthrough discovery, myself. I mean, this stuff is right up my alley, as spooky stories have been my favorite genre since I could read. Unfortunately, I have made a terrifying conclusion if I say so myself, so if you are easily unsettled over scary stories or horror movies, I urge you to turn back now.
In May of 2013 I had just began to read of the disappearance of four teenagers in the small town of Oakcastle, California. I had seen an article about it in the Oakcastle Times while on a visit to my girlfriend’s house. Once I had gotten there, I had planned to give her a ride back to my place because of her family reunion that’d be just five minutes from my house. Following the reunion, we had planned to go out to eat at some fancy restaurant and crash back at my place. Because of the “long drive” there, Sarah insisted that she drove back instead of me. So I sat in the passenger’s seat, while she kept going on about how excited she was to see her family members that she hadn’t seen since she was x years old. Before leaving of course, I took a newspaper (which she had saved for me, as usual) and an egg and cheese on a toasted bagel (which she had made for me and was delicious, might I add).
We were just about to get on my exit when I finally came about the four missing teenagers. The article was as follows:
Four missing teenagers have struck the small town of Oakcastle by surprise, their parents mourning over their losses. But the parents aren’t the only ones grieving, the whole town it seems is having one collective sob over the loss of Maddison Murray, Quentin Jones, Chase Rodriguez and Victoria Campbell. The teens were last seen at Maddison’s house on May 13th around the midnight hour.
This is what caught my eye.
After checking internet history on Quentin Jones’s computer, what is found is instructions to a pagan ritual known as the Midnight Man game, which was opened on May 13th at 9:55:07 PM. By piecing together evidence, it was assumed that the four had played this game at Maddison’s house before going missing. If you happen to see a tall 16-18 year old girl with long, black hair, snake bite piercings and gray eyes, a boy with shaggy brown hair, blue eyes and a large scar on the left side of his chin, another boy with spiked up black hair and hazel eyes and lastly, a very tall girl with long blond hair, glasses and nose piercing, please report this to the police immediately.
Wow. After telling myself I wanted to make a supernatural breakthrough, this sounded like the perfect opportunity. So, while Sarah was at her reunion, I’d do my research and hopefully come out with some facts I can use to narrow down what caused the teens to go missing.
After dropping her off, her kissing me on the cheek and telling me when to pick her back up, I headed to my house and hopped onto my laptop. After about an hour of research, I came across Maddison’s Facebook account. On it were a few pictures of her and the friends that fit the description in the newspaper. But the one that I took note of was one of her hugging her father or uncle in front of what appears to be her house. In the bottom left of the photo was a street sign that read: -ner Ave. The house in the background had the number 392 on it as well. If I ever wanted to make this discovery, I’d have to take a leap of faith and try to find that house when I dropped off Sarah the next day. According to Sarah, she had a great night. After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed back to my place and watched a few Seinfeld reruns together while we tried to get some shuteye. But as I’m sure you’ve figured, I couldn’t. I was extremely excited for the following day to come.
After a thirty five minute drive to Sarah’s house, she agreed to help me look for said house knowing that finding a big discovery was on my bucket list. After about 15 minutes into our search she had realized where the house was the whole time. Two blocks from Sarah’s house was 392 South Spooner Street, the house where Maddison lived. Or had lived.
Greeting us at the front door was her father and mother, which I noted to be extremely depressed and forlorn. They had tear ridden faces and had asked why we were here. [S stands for Sarah, M stands for Mother and F stands for Father]
Me- Hello Mr. and Mrs. Murray. I’m really sorry for your loss. But I have a college paper about supernatural beings or rituals and I heard the thing in the paper about Quentin’s browsing history with the “Midnight Man game.”
F- Ah, yes. Maddi had her (wipes eyes) friends over that night and they were going to play that game.
Me- Do you have any evidence of the game that I can use for my project? I understand and am empathetic for your loss if you decide not to.
M- I don’t appreciate that you are trying to exploit my daughter going missing to y-
S- He doesn’t mean it that way, we swear. His dad made a huge discovery in his time, and Anthony just wants to be like his dad.
F- I don’t get what the point is, but here.
Maddi’s father ran into his daughter’s room and quickly returned with a camcorder.
F- Here. Her camcorder files were corrupted, but if you find anything let us know. (He hands me a camcorder and a usb cord to hook it up to a computer)
I was shocked at him being so quick to give me the camera. He just looked like he wanted to get rid of it. After riding back to my girlfriend’s house, we went inside and set up to the camcorder to my laptop. She grabbed the blanket for the two of us and we curled up on the couch with my laptop, the camcorder hooked up to it. After going into my computer folder and opening J:/CAMCORDER, I had realized that there was nothing in the camera’s storage at all. It was after unchecked the “Hidden Items” box that I saw some actual storage. They were each .avi video files that were all out of order. Before watching it Sarah got up to get a snack when out of nowhere the power went out. Great. Sarah instinctively pulled out a lighter and lit a cinnamon scented candle and brought it over to the laptop. The sun was just setting and it’d be dark soon. After calling the electric company via cellphone, Sarah and I decided it was time to watch the video.
I have tried to piece together the videos as close as possible. By watching the clips three times through, I have noted that Maddison is referred to as Maddi and Quentin is referred to as Q. Creating this transcript took a lot out of me and often made the hair on my arms stand up. I'll write each one as a clip. There were approximately fifteen total.
I. A crowd of three people is surrounding who I presume to be Maddison. They are in their late teens (16-17)
M- You guys excited?
Behind them is an electronic alarm clock that reads 11:42 PM and a queen size bed with a red comforter. In a mockingly stern voice Maddi says:
M- Now do we have any wimps here who would rather not participate in such a challenge as this?
Q-Chaase? Simultaneous laughter between all of them.
C- Guys (chuckling), guys shut the hell up. M- Well? C- (Pauses) Yeah, I’ll play, as long as I get a partner.
He glances at Tori. She kisses him on the cheek.
T- Always. Maddi points her finger at her mouth and sticks out her tongue as if she’s mimicking throwing up. M- Pathetic. Q- Guys, guys. Keep your romantic gestures to a minimum. C- You guys are just going to have to deal with it for the next few hours. Q- But making out could egg on the (in a mocking voice) Miiidnight Maaaan! M- Yeah guys. Provoking the Midnight Man isn’t the best idea. I’ve read stories about this shit and- T- (interrupting) We'll keep them to a bare minimum. The clock now reads 11:44 PM.
M- Shit, we gotta get the s-
Static, followed by whitenoise.
II. The group of teens sit cross-legged on a wooden floor with four candles and four containers of Morton Salt in front of them. Maddi pulls out a cigarette lighter. On the wall behind the teens is a grandfather clock that reads 11:56. Maddi lights all of their candles and puts the lighter in her pocket. She distributes three lighters to her friends which she had pulled out of her opposite pocket.
M- Everyone ready? Everyone nods. She takes four sheets of printer paper from the floor behind her and distributes them to the four teens.
Q- I'll kill the lights.
He walks slowly back to the group, gripping his lit candle in his hand and beckons the group to a large front door. Maddi rushes over to the camera and picks it up. The view from the camera is of her left eye and eyebrow. After five seconds, she points the camera at her three friends. Chase is holding hands with Tori and Quentin has his arm around Maddi. They are on her front porch.
Q- Some double date huh? M- It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Chase looks at his watch.
M- Two minutes.
Q- Everyone have their paper?
T- We have to have our own right?
T- Shit. Chase and I were just going to rip one in half.
M- Tori, it specifically says you have to have your own piece of paper. We don’t want to screw up the ritual. Be right back.
Maddi enters the dark house and flips on a few light switches. She runs up her the staircase at the center of the house and runs into an office. After grabbing a single sheet of printer paper, she turns off the lights she had turned on and runs out of the front door.
M- How’d I do?
Q- Nice job babe!
Quentin kisses her on the cheek.
M- Thanks, Q. Here’s your paper, Tor.
She hands Tori the piece of paper she had ran in the house to get.
C- 30 seconds.
M- Alright guys let’s get ready. I wish you all good luck.
T- Yeah same everyone.
Everyone kneels onto Maddi's porch. If you are unfamiliar with the Midnight Man Ritual, stop right here. Please read the following article.
Each person quickly writes their names on separate sheets of paper and prick their fingers with the needle, dropping a single drop of blood on their names. After allowing the drop to soak in, they each put them on the porch facing the door. At exactly 11:59:38 (according to Chase) the four knock on the door twenty two times to the beat of the ticking clock. At the last knock, they enter the house, blow out the candle and shut the door behind. As quick as possible, they relight their candles. And hi five eachother.
M- We have now summoned the midnight man.
Q- Three and a half hours to go.
C- Tori you gotta st- Static. Whitenoise.
The next few .avi files were just static and whitenoise with a few seconds of out of context sentences.
III. Quentin is in a dark room with Maddi. His face illuminated by the candle.
Q- (static) I just (static) IV . Static
V. Whitenoise with a few seconds of static.
VI. Finally one with actual conversation.
M- So it’s been an hour since we started. We've had an occasional chill now and then, but nothing exciting has happened. I've been beginning to question whether or not we did the ritual right.
End of clip. No static.
VII. Maddi appears on the screen panicked.
M- Chase's candle went out. Unluckily his pieceofshitlighter wouldn't light. He's sitting on my living room floor in the middle of a circle of salt. Tori (big breath) Tori told him she'd sit with him and as soon as she stepped in the circle, her candle went out. I don't know if this means if it symbolizes that she quit the game or something. All I know is that it can’t be good. I’ll keep you posted.
VIII. Maddi is sweating. She is standing up against some sort of refrigerator.
M- Great. Its 1:30 and Quentin's out. Now I gotta walk around for two hours by myself in shear darkness.
Q- (In the background) It's okay Maddi, just blow out the candle and we can just sit and chat. Making out is always optional.
M- Don't egg him on remember? I'm just gonna walk around for the remainder of the time and I'll stay close to these three dipshits who couldn't light a candle.
She points the camera at the three teenagers who are out.
M- Oh. Provoking. Right.
IX. Maddi is now pointing the camera to vlog her experience/where she is and why.
M- So, I'm walking through my house in pitch blackness. I'm trying to not leave a single spot not stepped on. My three idiot friends are on the lower floor or first floor of my house. I'm just getting upstairs for the first time of the night. Kind of excited, kind of dying inside, really have to pee.
In the background the outline of a figure moves behind Maddi and turns into one of the rooms. Maddi quickly turns around.
M- (whispering) shitshitshitshit
Q- Just me. Gotta take a shit. Maddi looks panicked as she turns the camera to face her.
M- Quentin you dumbass! You're not supposed to leave the circle of salt. You've already lost! You're vulnerable enough! Not to mention that whole "taking a shit" thing was very attractive...
Q- Jeez. You're saying this like this game is actually real. Babe, do you actually believe that this "midnight man" is in your house? I think I know what I'm doing.
M- Whatever, Q. I'm going back downstairs. So help me God if you turn on a single light.
Static. I'm afraid to say it, but this is where everything went downhill. The last five clips have made me question whether or not I should've began watching them in the first place. If you are questioning as to whether or not read the rest, please don't. For those who stop reading, I strongly urge you not to play the midnight man game. You may not exactly know why, but simply viewing these video clips have scarred me for life. For those brave lunatics who are still reading this, I strongly urge you to STOP READING NOW. It may be too late by the time you finish. I've warned you. Don't blame me.
X. Maddi is walking around the second floor of her house.
M- Well, my boyfriend has left the premises and it is just me on the second floor.
She turns a corner into a bedroom when she gasps.
M- Holy shit it’s freezing in here. I think I shou-
Then her candle went out.
Maddi quickly relights her candle.
M- Seven seconds. Dear God, that was a close one.
She wipes sweat from her forehead.
M- Not bad though, I sure as hell can light a candle quickly. I’m going down to the first floor. She walks down steps and into the living room where her friends were sitting.
Q- Oh my god, you scared the living crap out of me.
M- Sorry. I just felt a chill up there. Thought it’d be best to come downstairs. So how’s everyone’s night?
T- Alright. Chase fell asleep in my lap.
M-WHAT WAKE HIM UP NOW!!!!!!
T- What’s your problem?
M- You can’t fall asleep remember? We’ve broken enough rules with you quitting, Quentin taking a dump and now Chase is sleeping? You guys might as well just s-
He turns around facing a table with four chairs seated at it. Nothing else is there.
C-(Just waking up) Hey guys (yawn). What time is it?
M- Quentin, nice job trying to scare us. And 2:23 AM.
C-Jeez I’ve been out for a long time.
XI. Maddi is walking around her kitchen with the candle and the camera pointed at her face,
M- So, I’m in my kitchen, walking around and I see someone from the corner of my eye just standing there. And so I turn around and it’s gone. Pretty freaking scary, huh? I’m gonna go upstairs one more time and I think I- Her candle goes out. Out of nowhere. I can tell she isn’t prepared for it. Instead of fumbling with a lighter, she sprints to where her friends are and draws a circle of salt around her. She turns the camera to face her. She is crying.
M- I just. I just don’t want to sit here in the dark for an hour with our minds getting the best of us.
Q- It’s okay. It’s just some ritual. It was designed to scare you, Maddi.
Everything is going to be okay.
M- (Wipes tears off of her face) I’m a freaking mess.
C-We can sit here for an hour and tell funny stories if it pleases you.
T- Pleases, really?
They laugh. End of clip no static.
XII- They are all in the circles of salt telling funny stories
Q- And I still have the scar to prove it.
T- I call bullshit
M- Yeah there’s no way in hell you-
Suddenly in the kitchen the sound of glass breaking or a plate falling booms over the sound of Maddi speaking. End of clip.
XIII Maddi has her head in Quentin’s shoulder. She’s crying again.
M- Quentin, you have no idea how scared I am right now. Like I am so superstitious.
Q- It’s okay, I’ll protect you. If the midnight man comes your way I swear to God I’ll beat the living shit out of him. It’s a good thing you didn’t make the salt circle in the kitchen.
M- Good point. I am freaking the hell out Q oh my god how much time do we have left?
T- Chase, come over here with me, I feel cold.
M- DON’T LEAVE CIRCLE DID YOU NOT JUST HEAR THE PLATE FALL
She starts crying again.
T-. Maddi, your imagination is getting the best of you. We only have a half hour left.
End of clip.
XIV Maddi is clutching Quentin’s shoulder.
M- Tori just went up to use the bathroom. It’s been ten minutes.
Footsteps echo through the house.
The footsteps grow louder, then stop. I can barely make out Tori’s voice.
T- What the f-
This was followed by a bloodcurdling scream. Maddi begins to bawl into Quentin’s shoulder. Quentin tries to act manly by hugging her, but I see fear in his face.
C-I’m going to get her. Quentin, come with me.
Quentin instantly stands up.
M- GUYS DON’T LEAVE ME HERE!!
She is bawling her eyes out.
C-I’m not going in there alone. Quentin get up!
Q- Babe, I’ll be back in two minutes. Don’t move.
They run towards where the scream came from.
C- I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU THINK YOU CAN-
Static End of clip.
XV. This was the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in my life. Maddi is sitting crosslegged on her hardwood floor stifling a sob. However, the shakiness in her voice suggests that she’s been crying for some time now.
M- The game ends in three minutes.
She is still sobbing.
M- They left five minutes ago. QUENTIN!!!!!
No response. Nothing.
The camera is just facing her crying. Then, she sees something and just starts screaming.
M- It’sjusttwominutesleft. It’sjusttwominutesleft.
She closes her eyes and just keeps crying. After two minutes go by, she sprints to the closest light switch and turns it on. She walks to where her four friends went, near the steps to her second floor. And sprawled out on the floor were Chase, Quentin and Tori, unconscious. From what I could see, there was no sign of injury, no bruises, nothing. Nothing. Maddi just stood there screaming in disbelief. Kneeling next to Quentin’s body, Maddi continued weeping. She grabbed his hand and looked up to the top of her staircase.
Camcorder still in hand, she fled the house screaming for help at the top of her lungs while putting as much distance from her and the house at the same time. After about another minute and a half of her running, she stumbled over her own two feet and skidded across the sidewalk. The camera went flying into the street, facing the same direction that Maddi was fleeing from.
The camera, sideways, faced a figure getting closer to her in the distance.
After watching these clips Sarah and I just sat there cradling each other in our arms. We sat like that for hours without even talking. After a while my laptop died and the darkness surrounded us.
That’s when the cinnamon candle went out.