“I want to make it clear that I have no interest in doing any sort of show for your channel. So do you still want to meet up?”
I’ve previously blogged about how one of the perks of overseeing the creative content for our upcoming YOMYOMF YouTube Network is the chance to meet interesting people I would otherwise not have access to (see examples here and here). And from the stories I heard about “Jenny” (not her real name), she certainly fit under the “interesting” category so even if she didn’t want anything to do with our network, if she was open to meeting—why not?
Oh, and Jenny’s an alleged psychic who has a special “relationship” with the shadow people.
Part of the challenge of putting together our YouTube network is making sure that we have a wide variety of programming. So I’m on the lookout for appropriate ideas in every genre—scripted and unscripted, animation, comedy, action, food, how to, fashion, sports, music, etc…
And one genre I’m especially interested in is horror. I think the do-it-yourself YouTube aesthetic is perfectly suited for this genre (witness all the “found footage” horror projects) and I’d love to get some scary shit on our channel for October and Halloween.
And that’s how I stumbled upon Jenny. An acquaintance of mine attends a Korean church in Orange County and told me about Jenny, who is Korean American and also attends the church. Several years ago, one of the young girls at the church starting acting peculiarly. The details remain hush hush to this day but rumors that made the rounds during that time was that the young girl was being harassed by some sort of malevolent supernatural entity and that the clergy was unable to do anything to help her.
Enter Jenny. Jenny allegedly spent some time with the afflicted girl in her home and all was well after that.
“So do you know what was wrong with the girl exactly?” I asked my friend.
“Supposedly she was being haunted by shadow people.”
I was already familiar with the concept of shadow people. There isn’t one accepted explanation for what they are, but it is generally understood that they are different from ghosts. They usually appear in a form that lives up to their name—as completely black silhouetted shadows, although occasionally witnesses can make out their eyes, which tend to be red or yellow. Some people think shadow people are demons, others just the products of imagination or sleep deprivation or mental illness and there’s even the Stephen Hawking-endorsed explanation that they are some sort of inter-dimensional beings.
As usual, I remain skeptical about this sort of stuff, but I always try to keep an open mind. After all, I may have had my own childhood encounter with a shadow person thingie (more on this later). At the least, I was curious to meet with Jenny and hear her story.
According to Jenny, she has a long history with these shadow people. She remembers first seeing them when she was four. She’d wake up in the middle of the night and there’d be four or five of these shadowy figures standing over her bed, looking down on her with their red eyes and no other discernable features. She’d close her eyes and pull the blankets over her head hoping they’d go away. After a few minutes, she’d muster up her courage and look out…and they’d still be there. It wasn’t until the light of day that they’d go away.
Jenny was too scared to tell her parents or anyone else and lived in fear of the night. Soon, the shadow people started talking to her. Not talking exactly, but communicating with her nonetheless. It was almost as if she could hear their thoughts. And this was what they told her to do…take a metal fork and stick it into the electric socket on her wall. She did as she was told and was electrocuted and passed out for a few minutes. When she came to, she realized what the shadow people really wanted—they wanted her to die.
Now, Jenny was really scared and finally told her parents. Of course, her parents dismissed her fears as just nightmares or an overactive imagination. That is until one night when her mom walked into Jenny’s room to check on her and saw one of the shadow people standing over her daughter’s bed. When the thing saw her mom, it seemed to run with superhuman strength into the closet and disappeared.
After that, her parents called in their minister to bless the house and remove the “evil” that was there. It seemed to work, but the shadow people would occasionally return. Jenny even asked her school psychiatrist to examine her thinking she might be crazy, but she found nothing wrong with her. Eventually, as Jenny got older the shadow people sightings became rarer and by the time she hit high school, they were long forgotten. Until one night during her sophomore year of college.
Her roommates had left early for the winter holidays and Jenny was alone in her apartment. She went to bed around ten, but woke up an hour later completely paralyzed. She couldn’t move and an impending sense of dread overcame her. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. Then, she saw them, materializing out of her closet—the shadow people. They were back.
One of them moved toward her bed and stopped just inches from her face. She could make out its eyes and though it didn’t have a mouth, she knew it was smiling. She also knew it was going to do something really bad to her. So she called up all her strength to open her mouth and started praying to God at the top of her voice. After what felt like hours, the shadow people disappeared.
Jenny realized that these things would probably follow her around for the rest of her life so she wanted to be ready. She was already a sociology major focusing on world religions so she decided to focus her studies on the tools and rituals that different religions used to combat what we would refer to as supernatural evil. She studied with Buddhist monks in Thailand and also spent time in the Middle East and Haiti and learned as much as she could about the subject.
Now, she tries to use her knowledge and skills to help other people who are experiencing similar things that she did as a young girl. She doesn’t advertise her services or take payment (she has a normal day job), but she gets plenty of referrals from people who swear she’s helped them when no one else could.
Again, there’s a part of me that is skeptical about all of this, but Jenny seems sincere and the fact that she wants to keep a low-profile about her abilities makes me think that whether what she’s telling me is true or not, she genuinely believes it. I ask her again if she’d be interested in developing a show idea around her experiences and again she politely declines. And as we’re about to conclude, she smiles and says, “you’ve seen them too, haven’t you?”
“The shadow people—you saw one when you were a child, right?”
At first, I’m taken aback. Yes, I did see something that fits that description in my attic when I was very little, but how would she know? Then, it dawns on me that I’ve written a blog about my encounter and she probably read that and recognized the sketch I included of what I saw that day:
But then, she continues to bring up other “strange” incidents I’ve experienced throughout my life—things very few people know about and even one event I had completely forgotten about until she tells me.
“How do you know all that?”
She smiles again. This is getting creepy. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to meet up with this chick. “Well, they know who you are,” Jenny says. “It’s like if you’re walking through a dark, cold forest at night and you see a fire. You’re going to go to the fire to warm yourself. Well, some people are like that fire and they’re going to naturally attract some of the things that live in the darkness. And you’re like that fire.”
OK, is she just trying to fuck with me now? This is just a joke to scare me, right?
“But you have nothing to worry about, “ she says. “There’s a lot of warmth around you so you’ll be OK.” She goes on to perfectly describe my deceased grandmother and other family members that she says are “protecting” me. “Just make sure to offer them thanks once in awhile. I think they’d appreciate that.”
The way she says this last thing actually does make me feel better. If she was trying to fuck with me and scare me, she has now found a way to make me feel…safe and warm. Still, I think I’ll be keeping an eye out for any errant shadows when I go to bed tonight.