This happened when I was in college. I lived in Isla Vista, the student community at UCSB, notorious for being a party school. It fully lived up to its reputation. I like to party, but holy shit! These people were off the wall. As such, there were a lot of people who put themselves in dangerous situations, drinking to excess, not being careful, not locking doors, etc. It had a very isolated and insular vibe, and anyone who was hanging around who wasn’t college-aged immediately looked out of place and strange.
One night after having a few drinks, I came home to my small house where I lived with 2 other girls, probably around 2:30am. We were all serious students (I was probably the least serious, actually), and when we partied it was not your typical UCSB mega-rager. More like a small get together with friends. We would often have a few people spend the night, sleep on our furniture or in our beds as the case may be.
That night my roommates had had a few people over who I didn’t know, and I saw when I returned home that one of them had opted to sleep on the couch from the shadow that I saw there (I didn’t turn the light so I wouldn’t wake anyone up). But as I was passing the couch to enter my bedroom, I noticed that the figure was lying very stiff. He just had this weird energy to him. He was lying down, but it was like he was putting all of his energy into lying as still and rigid as possible. I paused, and the guy quickly jerked his head to face me, without moving his limbs, so quickly that it startled me. I could see his wide open eyes glinting in the dark.
Figuring that I’d startled him or that he was drunk or maybe on some kind of stimulant and unable to sleep, I just hurried past into my bedroom and locked the door. the dude made me nervous and I wasn’t taking any chances. I fell asleep.
At 4:30 am I woke up. There was a strange sound at the door almost like somebody was drumming their fingers against the wood very quietly. I lay still and listened. There were more quiet sounds like someone scratching the door with their fingers, which got louder and louder until it was clear that he was using both hands and scratching as fast and as hard as possible. It created an extremely loud and intimidating sound that filled me with fear.
I got my cell phone and texted my roommate because I was afraid to make a sound. “Your friend is freaking me out, is he coked out? Can you talk to him? He’s banging and scratching on my door.”
She didn’t text me back, probably because she was asleep. I texted my other roommate to the same effect, covering all my bases. Keep in mind that the scratching has been going on at this point for a couple minutes. I have no idea how he could have sustained it, scratching a wooden door with your fingernails can’t feel good. He also grabbed at the knob and jiggled it super forcefully.
Because neither of them answered, I decided to call and really wake them up, though i was scared to make a sound. I know it sounds stupid but there was something seriously horrifying about being teased like this through the door. I knew that he was trying to terrify me. i felt like a little kid but I could tell this guy was fucked up or something and maybe the police needed to be called, and I wanted to loop my roommates in since it was one of their friends.
The scratching stopped abruptly and I called my roommate, who answered sleepily. “Yo, your friend is messed up, can you please deal with it? Do we need to call the cops? He’s seriously scaring me and he was scratching at my bedroom door, really fucking weird.”
She didn’t say anything for several seconds and when she did speak, her voice had no sleepiness in it at all. “What friend?” She said. “That fucking guy that was sleeping on the couch!” I said. She was quiet again. “We didn’t have any guys over,” she said. “Call the police.” My adrenaline surged and I told her to please lock the bedroom door as quickly as possible. I realized that I hadn’t heard scratching in a while and I had no clue where the dude had gone.
Suddenly I heard a loud banging in the other end of the house, where my roommates, Lauren and Monica, shared a bedroom. The bangs were followed by the sound of them screaming in fear. I quickly dialed the police as this maniac proceeded to bang against the (luckily) locked bedroom door of my two roommates as they screamed. The heaviness of the blows left no doubt that he was trying to break the door down.
I’d told the 911 operator the situation and she’d dispatched two squad cars.
The police in Isla Vista are generally used to peeling drunks off the sidewalk and breaking up brawling frat bros. This was really serious and strange and I think the dispatcher got the sense from my tone how terrified I was, and she stayed on the phone with me. At one point the banging stopped and everything was quiet for a while. I talked with the dispatcher and suddenly looked down to see that this guy had slipped his fingers through the 1-inch gap between my door and the floor and was just kind of waggling them around, making this weird growling sound. I screamed and backed away, which is my biggest regret about this situation, since when I look back it would have been so awesome to just stomp the shit out of those fingers and hear the guy howl in pain.
When the cops rolled up, I heard running and the sound of our sliding glass door opening and closing, and then he was gone. The cops never caught him.
He had broken in through our side door by jimmying the lock somehow. My door was covered in what turned out to be huge gauges he’d made using a pair of scissors, which he discarded on the ground before he left.
What terrifies me most about this was that I walked right past him. I looked him right in the face. I realize now that he was not trying to sleep or on drugs, but was lying so stiff like that because he was hiding. He probably heard me open the door, and freaked out because he hadn’t realized there was another girl living there, and tried to blend into the couch in the darkness.
Producer’s note: this story is excerpted from Reddit user MauraGrace‘s account of her story.