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Valley of Shadows

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North Idaho, the Flesh and a Little Devil

It was mid May, about 7 pm as Sarah stood watching the storm and dreading the night o come. She and her husband had moved here to the old house in Careywood a few months ago from Moscow, Idaho. Eric had gotten work at the lumber mill on the other side of Athol. This house was closer, and cheaper than anything in Coeur d’Alene or Sandpoint. Working swing, her husband usually got home about 1 am.

U.S. 95 was only a few hundred yards away, but to Sarah, especially on a night like this, it may as well have been a light-year. There was little traffic. Many were already at the Lost in the 50s event in Sandpoint or had gotten off the road in anticipation of the thunderstorm now rolling in.

At first the house, built during the days of World War I, seemed a welcome respite from the hectic life of the early 21st Century. As the days progressed, however, an unsettling aura coalesced upon the house that neither she nor her husband could understand. Pregnant with their first child, Sarah began having disturbing nightmares, even demonic in nature. When she was three months along, visions of deformed beings in an extruding tunnel of thick smoke from which forms and ideas of death spewed forth.

The May night and thunderstorm passed and as she usually did, she waited up for Eric to get home from work so she could sleep with some peace of mind.

The summer passed and in September, she gave birth to a healthy son, Sean. The dreams ended and life settled down to a normal routine.

Two of the next three years, Sean, seemed a normal baby, then toddler. But when he turned three, things that had gone mostly unnoticed now came to the forefront. Both Sarah and Eric would leave the kitchen for only a moment or so and upon returning, every cupboard door would be opened. Sean would be standing there with a perplexed look. He couldn’t have been responsible and all they could get out of him as to what took place was a noncommittal shrug.

Then there was the door leading to the cellar that had bothered them from the beginning in a formless way. It would stay closed during the cupboard openings, because for some reason, it sported three rusty deadbolts on the upside. They had never been able to open the door and go down. Eric joked that it was as if someone was trying to keep something from getting out.

The winter of 2007-08, Sean came into his parent’s bedroom late at night during one blizzard. He spoke with his yet limited vocabulary of the shadows that would follow him around the house and to one of the old out buildings that comprised the old town of Careywood several generations earlier.

Things finally came to a head when Sarah found her son sitting on a hallway chair, attempting to cut his left wrist with a bent tin can. Snatching it away, she asked what he was doing, to which Sean replied, “The little man at the end of my bed last night thought it would be something fun to do.”

Thinking that maybe it was a mentally disturbed intruder, Eric and Sarah sat up with their son the next night, but when nothing unusual happened, decided Sean had an overactive imagination.

They were just about to go to their room when an odd “non-glow” began forming at the end of Sean’s bed. There, in the middle of the phenomena, stood a 4-foot-tall Imp. Its head was too small for its shoulders as its mouth was too wide for its face. Short arms ended in six finger hands sprouting three inch long nails.

The thing, dressed in gray rags, stood, grinning at them with a huge toothy leer. It gave a silent exclamation they heard in their heads and suddenly it just wasn’t there. Their son slept through the entire episode.

All three slept in the main bedroom the next three nights then moved back to Moscow the following week when their lease was up. The house, however, is still there and may yet be rented out to other unsuspecting people, here in the Valley of Shadows.

(Author’s note: Most of my sources do not wish to reveal their real names. Also, while the specific facts of the accounts related in this column are accurate as told to me, mundane assumptions have been made for points of reference.)

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

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