This did not happen to me, it happened to a second cousin who is also a friend, MJ.
MJ is a very interesting guy. He was a Military Police Officer in the CAF, and was deployed with Canadian and UN missions in places like Bosnia and Rwanda where he was part of criminal investigations and pursuing fugitives. After years of doing this, he resigned from the military and started working as a private security contractor and consultant.
He's usually very taciturn and wouldn't say a lot about the work he's done before in the military and in his current business; which I suppose makes sense since he wouldn't be very good at his job if he wasn't. But sometimes, when we're having a chat, he would tell me about his experiences on the job; some stories are fascinating, some are creepy, some are downright terrifying, and all are true.
There is one he told me that I want to share with other fans of the creepy and macabre, and I detail it below in his words with his blessing, minus information that he says is classified, such as personal identities and location. Thanks MJ!
(NOTE: MJ tends to have a flourish for drama when he tells a story, making it too vivid for the truth at times, but as it is not my experience I felt I should just leave it in his words as much as I can):
A few years back I met up with a buddy of mine from our military days who is now a mountie in the witness protection program. Gerry worked particularly as a coordinator with witness protection in the UK and other commonwealth countries. We were both in town for work, and he asked me if I was interested in looking at the case he was there for. Apparently a protectee has vanished in very strange circumstances, and the RCMP is turning rocks over trying to find him.
I had pretty much done what I came to do, and I got curious so I said sure. Next morning, we were driving to where the witness was living, some distance outside the city at the foot of the Rockies, and he was telling me about this guy on the way.
So, this witness was someone they were looking after for the National Crime Agency in the UK. They would at times ask for assistance and send protectees over if it's considered too risky to keep them in the country, and the reverse happens sometimes too. Normally, he would be spending the rest of his life in a British prison for being involved in human trafficking, if he didn't offer something to Brit authorities in exchange for immunity and protection.
It's not as big a problem on this side of the ocean, but in the UK there are some communities -particularly those with West African roots- who have entrenched beliefs in possession and witchcraft and the like; and if they think that a kid is possessed by a demon or is a witch (the signs can be as stupid as refusing to listen to parents) they would send them to the old country in order to be 'exorcised' or 'cleansed' by a religious quack or a shaman. These rituals are brutal and prolonged torture, and the kids in a lot of cases, unfortunately, even die, or are even dismembered for body parts to be used for magic. Naturally, the Brit authorities want to protect their young and vulnerable citizens and rescue them from this gruesome fate.
It turns out that along with human trafficking, this asshole also ran an operation for smuggling these kids in and out of Britain to African countries, mostly Liberia, Nigeria and Togo, and that in exchange for dropping charges and protecting him from those he would finger, he would testify against the people involved and the people who sent their children or were trying to. The government considered the safety of these poor kids and rescuing them from their guardians a priority, so they cut him a deal. A total of over 40 people were arrested and put on trial, and around 20 boys and girls aged between 7 and 15 were rescued. Needless to say, this made our friend Asshole very unpopular with a lot of people who now would like him very much to die in a horrible way, and the British government sent him to Canada under witness protection with a new identity. Things were OK until three days earlier, when he didn't show up for a meeting with RCMP officers and he just disappeared, and now they are scrambling trying to find him.
We arrived in the evening, and he exited the highway down a narrow country road cutting through what must have been the thickest woods I've ever seen in the Norhern Hemisphere for what felt like ages. If nothing else, anybody wanting to off Asshole would sure have a lot of trouble finding or getting to him. The road finally starts to widen as it breaks out of the woods into a wide clearing that ends at a sheer cliff face that must be at least 70 meters high, and ends at the building that must be where Asshole was now residing. He stopped the car and we both dismounted, walking towards it.
My first impression is that there must be serious money made trading in human flesh. There's no way the government is going to pay for a clearly custom-designed, country bungalow or the 4x4 Lexus in the carport, no matter what Asshole witnessed for them. My second impression is that I would make a better architect than whoever designed this, because it was at least four times as long as it is wide making it look like a very expensive trailer home; and one side of its length is stuck to the cliff face, so basically the house is only getting sunlight from one side of its silly length. My third and more important impression is that it would be next to impossible to sneak up on whoever is in that house, because it was on top of a rising incline and Gerry pointed out the three concealed high res FLIR security cameras placed on the front of the house and at the edge of the treeline facing the house from both sides of the road approaching it, so that they are fully covering the clearing. To approach without being seen, you'd have to jump off the cliff and fall in through the roof.
We stopped just outside the door to light up, we wanted to keep contamination to a minimum in case it turned out to be a crime scene at some point. While we smoked, it started getting dark and unusually quiet. There was a bit of wind, and the rustling of the trees at least made things less creepy. The whole atmosphere felt bizarre. I started to ask Gerry questions.
"Your fella sure made a nice setup for himself here. Did anything new about where he might be come up?"
"Nope. Still have no idea. Frankly, people are getting really pissed off and saying just let him risk his ass, after all he's a criminal of the worst sort, and it's not like he's a big fish or still has something to offer, so if he wants to risk his ass we should let him and not waste taxpayers' money... But of course we know that's not how it works."
"It's not considered foul play then? He just ran off?"
"A lot feel that way. I don't know how I feel honestly... I met with him a few times and he was scared of SOMEthing. He was superstitious as fuck, always having something tied around his neck or wrist, or a problem with meeting at certain place, or crossing over through doorways, all kinds of crazy shit that used to drive us nuts. Doesn't like it when new people show up and is suspicious of strangers, particularly black people."
"That's a novel approach to racism. I suppose you asked him if he was worried about anyone in particular?"
"It would be easier to list those he's NOT worried about. He's a nasty piece of work, and the people he fucks over when he snitched are even worse. He was acting paranoid about everybody, especially after a day when he said he received a call about a Juju-Marabout."
Hoo boy, I thought to myself. It was starting to get really dark, and memories from Africa started flooding back in with horror stories I heard around fires in the humid jungle nights.
"You look like you heard of it before?"
"When I was stationed in Rwanda and other places. Juju-Marabouts are sort of witch doctors, and they're supposed to be very powerful with black magic and demons and the like. It's a real serious thing over there and people are terrified of them. If any of the locals working for us stole anything, we didn't call in MPs or involve the local police, we would just threaten them with calling in the local Marabout and they would shit themselves and do anything so you wouldn't bring him in. People in some places buried their dead relatives at home to watch out for them, because they're afraid of the bodies being dug up to be used for magic if they left them in cemeteries. They supposedly can put curses on you, summon demons and raise the dead to harm and kill you. Real Blair Witch Project stuff. "
"...Right. So our witness you're thinking is scared that the people he hung up to dry in his place might use one of these Marabouts for revenge?"
"It's not as bad as it used to be, but fear of magic runs in the blood of whole communities over there, Gerry, and some governments literally have laws against it. There were times when even kids were killed because they were believed to be witches. It wouldn't surprise me if something or someone spooked him into running off to where even YOU guys don't know where he is and holing up with garlic and a stake or whatever the hell they use over there for protection."
Gerry grunts, crushing the stub of his finished cigarette. "Well, let's get you a look inside and get the fuck out of here. This place is really starting to creep me out and grating at my nerves. If he's got the money for thermal cameras I don't know why he didn't put up any lights."
As I finish off my cig, he turned to the door and unlocked it. The loud consecutive clacks told me that the heavy door had reinforced locks, and I whistled as I walked in behind him when I saw the key panel for what was clearly an alarm system.
"Yeah I know. Wait until you see the inside," Gerry said, flicking a light on as we went in.
When I crossed the threshold into a foyer/cloakroom and looked in, I suddenly knew why the house looked like a trailer from the outside. The foyer opened into a reception/living room via sliding door, and as we walked to the same kind of door on the other end and slid it open, we walked into a kitchen and dining room, with yet again the same kind of door at the far end. The rooms in this house were in a consecutive row, on after the other, separated by sliding doors that have locks only on the side going in. All windows were on the wall away from the cliffside, with an iron grille I was sure the security system covered them as well.
(OP's Note: Below is a diagram MJ made on his computer describing the house's layout and showed me.)
Another thing was that as we entered every room, there was a camera above the door opposite, and some strange and familiar bundle of what looked like a clumsy made small doll wrapped with a pouch stuffed with what looked liked grass or herb with a thong from which some sort of tooth or claw dangling from it. Gerry asked me if I noticed it, and I said I did. Reminded me of charms and talismans I saw being sold on the streets back in Rwanda as protection against bad Juju and lucky charm.
After the kitchen and dining room, we crossed into what looked like an office including a desk with a computer, and some sort of skull next to it. Looked like a monkey's. Next to that there was a primitive brazier that contained something Asshole burned in it giving off a pungent dung-y smell, and a pile of notes. Some melted candles on the desk told me that whatever it was he did here he tried to do in the dark, suggesting a ritual of some kind. All of this is starting to get uncomfortably familiar.
Gerry turned to me. "If you thought all this was freaky, wait until you see what's in his bedroom." He slid open the door to the last room in the house and as we walked in he flicked the light switch on.
All the other rooms looked relatively tidy, but the bedroom looked like a bar after a brawl. A dresser was turned over with drawers' contents spilling out. The bed misaligned with the wall it was against and the mattress, sheets and pillows half off it, and in the tangle I saw what looked like a gun holster. The closet looked like it was blown open and his clothes, boxes and papers were all over the floor. A full length mirror hanging from the wall sported a large crack, and a large towel was hanging off a corner suggesting it was used to cover the mirror at some point. On another wall was a large HD screen, split with the three thermal outside cams at the top and the indoor cams covering the approach to the bedroom at the bottom. In addition to only having a lock on this side of it, the bedroom door also had heavy bolts. An awful smell was giving me the urge to gag.
Gerry pointed with his chin at a rumpled plastic bag in a corner. "Try not to touch anything, but there's dead cat in that. Neck's broken." That explained the smell. I could see an eye, wide open and milky, and its lower jaw misaligned with the top tongue sticking out. There was a snapped cord tied around the bag. It was hanging from somewhere.
"Again, careful not to contaminate anything in case crime scene people will come. Look in here." He was in a the bathroom that was connected to the bedroom. I gingerly walk over.
Yet more stink fought over my nostrils with the dead cat. It was coming from what was clearly vomit in the toilet seat. You don't need too much detail, but it included what looked like maggots and flies. I barely stopped myself from adding my own lunch to it.
"There's blood at the sink too. At least that's what it looks like."
By now, curiosity and interest were quickly dissipating, replaced by edgy discomfort and some nausea. I reluctantly looked at the sink, and sure enough it was covered with it. It didn't look enough to be a life-threatening amount to bleed, but it looked like it was sprayed over the sink.
I follow droplets to the bathtub, and inside it was a Beretta M9 semiauto. That explained the holster in the bedroom. There were two spent bullet casings in the tub. I'd need a closer look to be positive, but they looked like bullets from the gun.
Gerry caught me looking at it. "Notice anything strange? Besides all the obvious."
I looked at the walls, floor, ceiling and line of sight into the bedroom. Nope. "Where the fuck are the bullets?"
"Don't know. We didn't want to move anything so I can't be 100 percent sure, but it looks like we have two bullets fired that are unaccounted for."
"Jeez Gerry, you sure you don't have enough for a criminal investigation? This is too fucked up to be explained away by him going on a spur of the moment vacation."
Gerry shook his head, "Nope. I know, but there is nothing here from a law enforcement perspective: No crime, no probable cause, no sign of forced entry... Hell, if I wasn't Witness Protection dealing with this guy we'd be breaking and entering right now. Here, there's one more thing you should see in the bedroom."
I followed him back into the bedroom... He stepped behind the bed and I heard a loud double CLACK of deadbolt lock and he slid another door open, the muffled night noise and night draft filling the room. I hadn't noticed it at first because of the mess, and it opened outside into the carport right next to the truck. If he wanted to, Asshole could have rolled out of bed straight into the driver seat and taken off.
Gerry slid the door shut, locking it again."That's the end of the freaky-ass tour, MJ, and that's the last but not least bit of freaky: Wherever he went, why the hell would he leave without his ride? I don't see him riding in someone else's car. He trusted nobody. And the way he set this place up so nobody gets here."
The location. The way the house was built. The thermal cameras outside and the ones over the doors inside, but not the bedroom itself. The voodoo shit hanging alongside them. The locks. The gun. The doorway from bedroom to the car. I've seen this kind of half-mad paranoid fear before and I shook my head. "No Gerry. He set it up so somebody doesn't get here, realized he couldn't stop them, so instead he set it up so he can see them coming."
Gerry frowned, nodded after what I said sank in. "Let's get out of here. This stench is making me seriously sick."
I followed, closing the doors locked behind us, thinking what it would feel like with this guy looking through his cameras at whoever/whatever was after him struggling through the barricade, getting ready for fight with his weapon or flight with his truck as the threat got closer. The fact that we could not touch any of the recorded camera footage to see what might have happened was maddening.
The night had fallen completely, and the stars were out but no moon, so Gerry turned on a flashlight he carried on him so we could see. The cool air was somehow claustrophobic, night noises seemed subdued and muffled and I could feel myself perspire. I just wanted to leave this place and go get a drink somewhere and get the nasty out of my nose and mouth.
...Then it occurred to me as Gerry was punching the code to lock the alarm. "Gerry, on the screen in the bedroom, did you see the carport?"
"The carport? No."
"Why the fuck not?"
Gerry's eyes widened. Of course why the fuck not. Every inch of the house and area around it was covered, why the hell not the escape route? We dashed around the corner to the carport...
...And I grab his arm pulling him back violently as his light hit a the shimmering length of a snake's body, maybe two. Not any old snake(s) either. I remember the look very well from manuals and guides the UN provided, and the open mouth of the visible head was clearly dark colored. Fucking African Black Mamba.
Not sure if it/they were still alive, but I shushed Gerry and pulled him further back. These fucking things are the only snakes on earth that chase you to kill you. What the hell was that doing here??? A hissing noise confirmed that there was at least one snake that was alive; it cut through a loud cricket chirping and whistling that was of a tempo, volume, and speed that I am not familiar with at all, definitely not on this side of the world.
There was also a chair lying on its side on the ground and some scattered tools under the camera we were expecting to find. The nightmare scene also included what looked like a bloody handprint in a dent on the side of the truck, and dragged along its length. There was a dent and crack on this side of the hidden sliding door too. Gerry could think what he liked, but my brain was screaming at me what it saw: Asshole was trying to fix this camera when something happened, and by the look of things here and in his bedroom it was something pretty bad.
A puddle of what looked like the vomit we saw in the toilet was also by the back taillight of the truck, except it now also included what was clearly teeth and molars. Another handprint was on the taillight. A few yards past there was a single flip-flop, and a small satchel from which some shit spilled out, most notably what looked like an old finger with a cracked yellow nail.
There was a patch of weeds and grass growth nearby, and the way they were flattened hinted that what lost the slipper and satchel was dragged that way down the incline towards the treeline. The crickets or whatever the fuck they were are screeching louder, and I heard the Mamba hissing behind us. This was enough for Gerry and we ran down back to the car and he phoned for backup.
I can't tell you anything more right now. The RCMP as a rule does not give out details or comment on investigations early, and whatever they saw in the camera videos is still pretty much classified, so Gerry can't really tell me anything yet. I might be able to tell you more later if you're still interested.
I am interested, but this kind of freaked me out. I've always wanted to go on holiday in Africa for a Safari trip, but this crap is sort of putting me off the idea! I hope you enjoyed it.
MJ just sent me something today he managed to get. This is a picture of the house from one of the cams on the treeline, from the night RCMP thinks something went down. If you look under the front of the truck, you can see what I think is the Black Mamba(s) or whatever type of snake it was.
It turns out the snake -there was only one found- actually WAS a Black Mamba. It was confirmed by a toxicologist who specialized in snake venoms. MJ sent me a picture of the critter:
Apparently, they had to wait for some pest control people specializing in snakes to remove it before they could process the place: Black Mambas are big, this one is over two meters in length (probably why MJ thought there was two of them), and they are one of the most aggressive species in the world known to attack people. It's native to Africa, so how it got there at the scene is another mystery.
What MJ is sure of is: (A) It couldn't have been there very long before it was found, because it wouldn't likely have survived the cold; and (B) It did not bite anyone, because Black Mamba bites kill within minutes and there was no body around the area. Unless the body was taken somewhere else.
This is getting very bizzare as well as creeping me the fuck out.
Just heard from MJ again. Apparently, the two bullets from Asshole's gun were actually found. They were outside the house, one at the bottom of the incline beyond the carport, the other further on near the treeline.
The bullets were hollow point, and have 'flowered', meaning that they were all blown out and crushed. So they hit something and didn't just get spent, and they fell off whatever they hit first one then the other.
He doesn't know what investigators think of this and I know almost nothing about guns, but even I know that bullets only fly in a straight line until they hit something and they don't fucking turn corners and open doors and shit. Something was shot in that bathroom at close range, and the bullets fell off it outside. That's the only explanation I can think of. Unless the RCMP would finally stop with that 'investigation ongoing' crap and tell me something I don't know.
While waiting to hear back from MJ, I thought I might try to find some info by myself.
I know a foreign student from Senegal, his name is Bassirou, who came to study in university here and we became friends, even after he went back we stayed in touch by email and Skype. Since he's from that part of the world where Asshole was plying his 'trade', I thought he can tell me something about all this Juju stuff; so I forwarded MJ's account and asked him if he can tell me something about it.
He actually gave me a Skype call. He was very worried for me and wanted to know how am I involved in this shit. I assured him that I wasn't and that I'm only getting this stuff second-hand at best because it morbidly fascinated me. He laughed when I told him I'm just posting a story on Reddit.
His concerns allayed, he said he'd talk to a relative of his who is actually a Marabout 'expert' and he'll send me any explanations this guy gives him. The day after he sent me an email that details the significance of some of the stuff described, which I put in below after I edited some grammar and spelling mistakes:
- The talisman pouches hanging around the house:
- Based on the description given by MJ, it sounds like a charm used in West African countries to protect against black magic. He sent an example of the sort of thing.
Usually, it's just one, and worn on someone's person, so no clue as to why Asshole had so many and over the doors. Maybe he thought it afforded more protection.
- The smelly brazier and skull in the office/den:
- There are some items missing/not mentioned, but a setup like this is used in some regions to induce a sort of trance for the purpose of divination or get communication from spirits or ancestors.
- The dead cat bag in the bedroom:
- This is a bit puzzling as well as disturbing. In African Juju, a dead animal is a way to put a curse on the people who live in the dwelling where it was placed (he said usually with a talisman of some kind attached, so I guess that's why it was in a bag). Cats are commonly used:
But in that case, Asshole wouldn't have done it to himself, so how did it get there then?
- Foul vomit with maggots in toilet, outside containing teeth:
- Apparently, barfing is a frequent prop in Juju tradition. A ritual resulting in a person vomiting can be proof of guilt, or divine punishment for an affront against spirits. The maggots are supposed to mean being eaten alive from the inside by your misdeed, and the teeth show the person's rotting and decay.
- The Black Mamba:
- Like cats and crows in Western witchcraft, snakes are linked with sorcery and malice. In Juju folklore and religion, they are frequent agents in curses and killing enemies. The Black Mamba -along with its cousin, the Green Mamba- is one of the most frequently summoned by the Marabout or Witch because of its very deadly bite, aggressiveness and not being afraid of people. They are used both practically as a murder weapon and as part of ritual, and Bassirou says his relative can't really tell which is it here.
This is starting to go way out there in the occult and supernatural, and honestly, I don't know what to think. I don't really believe in all this magic stuff, but that doesn't mean the belief and myth are any less dangerous and deadly. Jonestown, anyone?
I hope I hear from MJ again soon.
FINAL UPDATE (30-June-2018):
MJ got in touch. He said this will be the last thing he's going to be able to get, as any more would need to be cleared by someone higher up than Gerry. I'm going to put in his exact words as in the email he sent me:
I've attached two more stills from the outdoor cam. That's all that I can get.
Right now this affair is being treated as a possible homicide, based on what you can sort of see from the stills, of course they have a lot more material they're not sharing.
The reason for the possible homicide is the brighter trail you see in the left of the second still. When they checked they found traces of blood on the ground right where the trail is, and that's a lot of blood. The small bit near the top is where they found the vomit with the teeth.
From the first still they got a description for a suspect, based on geometry and the camera angle of a figure at the bottom right of the first image: Male, very lean almost emaciated, unusually tall (measurements show close to over two meters), quite long limbed, a larger head with an extremely heavy (possibly dedeformed) jaw and high neck, and either slightly hunchbacked or with a curved spine. They might issue a statement asking for the public to help once they can provide more details.
You'll notice this 'suspect' is very dark in the image instead of bright. They believe the reason there was no heat signature is because he was aware of the cameras and was wearing a sort of outfit that trapped in body heat and obscuring it from the infrared. To me this makes no sense. I've worked in location security for a while now, and I've never heard of a body hugging suit against thermal vision (no before you ask wetsuits can't do that). Also, even if that existed, you can't wear it for very long because you'll die from overheating and suffocation.
In the first still you can also see in the carport a figure that looks like is fiddling with the camera over the concealed doorway to the bedroom. Probably Asshole working on it when he found out it wasn't online.
RCMP are usually tight-lipped about theories as to how a crime went down, and without any other information they have I can't really give anything more than guesses, but this is what to me it looks like:
- Asshole clearly disappeared/died the same night these images and the one I sent you earlier were taken.
- At one point he saw the camera in the carport wasn't working, so he went out to fix it, which explains the chair and tools.
- While he was doing it, the 'suspect' showed up. Asshole tried to escape back inside, but either he saw 'suspect' too late or 'suspect' was very very quick and followed Asshole inside before he can lock the hidden door and get his sidearm.
- A struggle happened that trashed the bedroom to hell and Asshole ended up in the bathroom and he fired at 'suspect' twice.
- Minutes later, Asshole was dragged outside and towards the treeline, probably by 'suspect' who if he was wearing some kind of suit it must have been some very sexy kevlar, because apparently the spent bullets hit him and fell off him as he was pulling Asshole away (the crushed bullets were found along the drag line). It's not clear who dropped the satchel with the finger.
- It's also not clear if the Mamba bit Asshole, though my guess is that he was bitten because vomitting is a symptom of a Black Mamba's bite. I can't dwell on the maggots or the teeth because they give me nightmares. It would also make sense because the vomit outside means that he being dragged alive, and the trail is too smooth for a struggle so he must have been unable to as he was pulled away.
You must leave it at that Billy, trust me on this. I can't really say what else happened, but I've been in that part of the planet for a long time and saw some very bad things some people there are capable of that would make you sick to your stomach. This person was not a nice man who did evil things for others worse than he is from a place that in many ways is still primitive, dark and people live and die by rules and nature we do not understand and I think would be too dangerous for us to try. I know enough to want to stay away, and so should you.
That's it. I got this from him the day before, and I slept badly after reading it and I had a nightmare that I can't remember other than it being horrible!
I am still curious though, so if anyone by any chance hears more about this from somewhere or has any ideas, please let me know. Just be careful please.
Written by BillFany