Unfriendly Eyes

Old Farm

It seems my High Strangeness series has attracted its fair share of interest. Today a reader relates his own encounter with the unexplained.

I have a tale to tell, similar to some of those recounted by your friends or other readers. This one comes from the mid-‘80s. We were recently married and now looking for a house, with interest rates finally below two digits.
The event happened in daylight, mid- to late afternoon, on a spring day.
Our realtor had found a property which was close to my wife’s dreams and our needs, so we went out into the country to look at it–an old single-family farmhouse on several acres, small stream, with woods around.  
It was delightful at first sight, with the usual work needed to upgrade an old house to something more modern. However, as we went through the house from ground floor to attic, I began to feel uneasy for no apparent reason, and got an odd impression from part of the big attic room.  
We had taken our time looking through the house, so it’s later afternoon and the shadows were beginning to fall in the hollow. Our last stops were outside to look at the grounds, couple of out-buildings, and the stream. Everything was fine, except a section of grass near the house that I didn’t want to get closer to.  
Suddenly I had enough, and didn’t want to let the shadows fall any deeper. I felt as if unfriendly eyes were watching from two directions on the surrounding hills. Casual looks showed no one there, or no obvious paths or gravel tracks. In one of those directions, I got a vague impression of a spectral wall rising up above the treetops.  
There was no way that I’d want to be there at twilight or after dark. I simply noted that we had to get going, and told the realtor that it wasn’t quite what we needed, and to keep searching. Didn’t tell my wife about this until recently, and I think she doesn’t really grasp the meaning behind it.
A couple weeks after we’d been shown the house, we read a newspaper account of the 50th anniversary of an infamous hex trial. On that property we saw, or at the adjacent house about a quarter mile down the road, a hoodoo man had been ritually killed and burned for putting curses on another farmer and his family. The murder trial was shocking to the local communities and opened up a lot of half-hidden folk practices. Old tomes such as “The Long-Lost Friend” were mentioned in the newspaper account and in a book written about the trial. I looked those up, and had the hair standing up on my neck from reading about the occult books. The section of grass?  That was where the witchman was burned, if I read the accounts correctly.
My thought was that we’d dodged something serious through intervention of my guardian angel, because otherwise, the property would looked perfect. Perhaps too perfect. I’m glad to have never found out.
One final note:  now that I cleared some of my required reading list, I can return to enjoying Souldancer and work my way through trans-dimensional Purgatory. Thank you for a most intriguing series.
Best regards,


  1. One fascinating thing I've noticed with these stories is how often our foundational beliefs are disconnected from our actual experiences. I've listened to a few videos reading out people on Reddit recounting apparently supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events. A significant portion of them start out with the person disclaiming any belief in the supernatural, but . . . .

    I don't know what to make of this tendency of human nature.

    1. Naturalism is a religion, and it is one that many people believe in, whether they know it or not.

      Scientists (and "I Fucking Love Science-tists") take the place of clergy in this religion. And indoctrination of it takes place in the schools, all throughout society.

    2. On the other hand, I've not personally experienced or witnessed anything obviously supernatural, yet I believe it exists. So maybe I'm just as inconsistent as them.

      Ultimately, what you believe determines so much more than simple experience. I think this came from Jordan Peterson (yes, fishy, but he says some true things), that your experience does not determine your reality, but your choices. Two men may grow up with alcoholic abusive parents. One may say, Well, that's who my parents were and that's just kind of who I am,and go on to do the same. The other may say, Having experienced that myself, I refuse to perpetuate that awfulness, and never touch a drink in his life. The stories we tell ourselves are far more powerful than we realize.

    3. You have not personally witnessed something that falls within the scope of your beliefs. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      They have witnessed something outside the scope of their beliefs. Presence of evidence is evidence of presence.

      Vital difference, that.

    4. The supernatural didn't go away just because a bunch of puffed-up Frenchmen and Germans proclaimed its nonexistence 200 years ago.

    5. In fact
      It comes back with a vengeance. Just look at the youngsters attracted to the Tridentian mass. Or young millennial women leaving the workforce to be stay at home moms

    6. France has not had a large increase of exorcisms for nothing.

    7. I hadn't heard about that, but I'm not surprised.

  2. Wow.

    It reminds me of a horror novel I attempted to read a few years back by Brian Keene, Dark Hollow.

    At one point in the novel, the protagonist/victim enlists the aid of an Amish Pow-wow practitioner. An ex-girlfriend of mine, from Pennsylvania (who is of German descent but not Amish) spoke of it by a different name called Speilwerk or Spellwerk or Speelwerk. Something like that. German isn't one of my languages so I'm not sure. I'm not sure its not traditional German and not something that was created by immigrants after they arrived. Her aunt was a practitioner.

    I was never able to finish the novel by the way, and I can't recommend it. It descended into nihilistic orgy of violently salacious scenes. Turned my stomach.

    Brian Keene: Not my thing.

    I'm very glad the teller of this tale listened to his intuition or guardian angel. Even when the cause of the foreboding is not supernatural, it usually ends poorly when we don't.

    What does it say about me that I look forward to these tales? Is it the primal thought that if there is a dark, there must be a light?

    1. I didn't reproduce the entirety of my conversation with the reader who sent this story in. He called the fellow who'd placed the hex, and who'd been burned for his trouble, a pow-wow man. He also specified that these events took place in a German-American settlement.