The Tall Chameleon Man

04 September 2018 | Your Stories, Your True Encounters

I live in Ohio. Northeast Ohio to be more precise. In Northeast Ohio there is a small City named Newton Falls. This city is not much to speak about, save maybe it being the only place in the U.S. with all the same numbers in its zip code. Never the less, Newton Falls is the setting of my story, and it holds some infamy in my mind.

When I was between the ages of 6 and 9, my mom was friends with a woman who lived in Newton Falls (we’ll call her Tina). Her house was nice, and in a quiet, and somewhat secluded neighborhood. There were houses within 30 feet on one side of the house, while only one within 100 yards on the other side. Across the street were woods. How thick these woods really are, I do not know. The back yard was secluded from the parallel road behind it by a thick row of tall pines trees. I didn’t mind going to Tina’s house. She had 4 friendly dogs, a pool, video games, and a trampoline. My parents would often stay there until well after dark, talking playing games with their friends. I hated when they did this. Something always seemed off to me once the sun went down on their house. I do know if it was the lack of street lights, as I grew up in a city nearby and darkness was never this dark where I lived. Or maybe it was some things I experienced over those few years.

I remember the earliest years of their friendship, my parents would be there late, and would put me to bed in Tina’s bedroom. I was 6 so it wasn’t odd for them to want to stay their past 9pm, and normal for them to want me to get to sleep on my normal schedule. So into the room I would go. It was a nice bedroom, the bed was always made and clean, but the thing I hated the most were the dolls. Dozens of porcelain dolls lined up on the dresser at the foot of the bed, all facing me. I remember one in particular; a Red Skelton sad clown doll. The dolls never moved or did anything but sit there, but I hated it none the less.

Some time would go by before the first strange experience happened. I might have been 8 by this point. Tina had two daughters. They were teenagers, maybe only a few years apart in age. My brother was their age as well, and I wanted to hangout with them. What young boy doesn’t think teenagers are cool? One night my brother, myself, and these two girls sat out on the trampoline while all the adults sat inside talking. I could see them through the sliding glass door. One of the girls began a story about a serial killer that escaped the prison that her step dad worked at. His employment there lent credibility to her story in my mind. She said he got out, and made it as far as Newton Falls, before he was found and gunned down by police. I doubt any of her story was true, but at the time I was freaking out! This next part is what I still don’t understand. As she is telling the story, the figure of a man steps around the corner of their house. He wasn’t large, but he was tall. He had curly hair and thin limbs. The girls start screaming! My brother and I looked at each other, both a little freaked out at this point. While they screamed, this man walked closer and closer to us. His movements were like a chameleon; swaying forward and back, like he was mimicking a leaf or branch blowing in the wind. The girls stopped screaming, and his movement appeared to stop with them. They noticed this too, and yelled “He moves when we scream!” Which of course made them scream again. He continued his advance. Having truly only made it 4 feet into the back yard, and at this rate, we could have walked to get away from him. I had mounted some “courage” and yelled for him to go away.

Tina’s husband opened the sliding glass door to see why the girls were screaming. I kept my eye on this backyard intruder. As the sliding door opens, this man darts back in the direction he came from.

As we were getting into our car for the drive home, I looked out across the street to the woods. There stood a man, who walked backwards into the trees before I could utter a word to my parents.

I never saw this man again. I’m still not sure if it was just a prank the older kids were playing on me, but it scared me no less.

That next month I awoke from a terrifying nightmare. In my dream I was at Tina’s house in Newton Falls. I was standing in the same spot where I had seen the man back into the woods the previous month. I look across the street, this time to see a flat, treeless field with dozens of tombstones dotting it’s landscape. In the dream I was led into the cemetery. I entered the gates and saw a statue at the center of the tombstones ladened meadow. You would know the image if you saw it. Michelangelo’s grand work – Pietà, finished in 1499. For those not familiar, this statue is of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding the post crucifixion body of Christ across her lap, with his head drapped over her right arm. As I stepped closer and closer, against my urge to run away, Mary’s stone neck crackled and broke as she slowly lifted her head to glare at me. Her eyes were as gray as the stone she was made of, but I could see her looking through me. I awoke with a start! My heart was racing and my eyes darted around the room in terror. It was over, and I was safe in my bed. The strange thing about this dream was not just the connection to the house in Newton Falls. What worries me most about this dream now that I’m an adult is that when I was 8, I had no knowledge of Renaissance art. I didn’t even have knowledge of the word Renaissance. I only now know that the statue in that dream was this famous work from the 1400’s. I don’t know what to think about any of this.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Newton Falls. I only pray they never put a cemetery in those woods.

Submitted by Joe to Weird Darkness and My Haunted Life Too

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