When I began this project, my intentions were to translate and transfer my research into a novel. That was the plan anyway. But after conducting interviews with the family involved, I decided to let their words stand on their own. They are far more powerful and chilling than anything I could fictionalize.
And to be perfectly honest, I just want to be done with this. I don’t think I have the mental stamina to turn these horrific revelations into a novel.
What follows is a transcript of the interviews I recorded of the four members of the Tenner family. This will be the first of four such releases.
Do what you will with this.
But be careful.
October 12th, 2016
(Audio recorder initiated)
ME: Please state your name and age.
CLARE: My name is Clare…I’m fourteen.
ME: Thank you Clare for agreeing to do this. I know it must not be easy considering everything you went through.
ME: If at any point you feel uncomfortable or wish to stop, please let me know and we’ll end the interview, ok?
ME: Are you ready to begin?
CLARE: I think so…yeah.
ME: Ok (papers shuffled). Since you’re the first one I’m questioning, would you mind describing your family? What was it like at home? Did you get along with your younger brother and parents?
CLARE: Things were fine before it all started. We all got along as much as the next family. We had fights and stuff, but who doesn’t? Dad and Mom loved each other and worked hard to make sure my brother and I had good lives. I don’t know…there isn’t really anything special to say about us. We were just a normal family.
ME: Ok, that’s fine. I just wanted to clarify what the foundation of your home life was like before continuing. You lived on a farm, correct?
ME: Care to elaborate a little?
CLARE: Sorry…yeah, we lived there my whole life. Dad had a couple cows and pigs and grew corn in the fields out back. We weren’t too far from town so we usually ended up selling most of our stock to locals. That’s how Dad and Mom liked it.
ME: Was it lonely living out there?
CLARE: (clears throat) I wouldn’t say so. I had friends at school and stuff. I think Ross would get lonely though.
ME: Your brother?
ME: What makes you say that?
CLARE: I don’t know…I guess it’s cause he never had any friends over to the house like I did. He kinda always stuck to himself. He doesn’t talk much. But he’s sweet. He’s a sweet boy.
ME: You love your brother?
CLARE: Of course I do.
ME: And your parents?
ME: Can we talk about what happened?
CLARE: I’m assuming that’s why I’m here.
ME: When did you notice things starting to change?
CLARE: I guess it was early that summer. It was hot. I remember being hot the first time it happened.
ME: The first time what happened?
CLARE: That I knew something was wrong.
ME: Before we go on I just want to clarify something.
ME: You never saw this…this thing did you?
CLARE: (long pause) No. Never.
ME: Only your father and brother did, correct?
ME: But you could hear it?
ME: Could you explain what that was like?
CLARE: (long pause) Like I said, it was hot the first time I noticed it. I was in bed and it was dark out. Everyone was asleep. Except for me. My bedroom door was open and I was sweating like crazy, wishing for the thousandth time we had A/C in our house. I was lying above the covers. And that’s when I felt…something.
ME: Something physical?
CLARE: No…it was just this feeling. This awful, heavy feeling. Like something had just walked into the room. Something bad. I remember my heart started to race and I didn’t know why.
ME: What happened then?
CLARE: I turned over on my side, facing the closet. When I did that, I was suddenly struck with this terrible, horrible fear. It came at me from all sides and I knew it had something to do with that awful feeling, that energy that had entered the room.
ME: What did you do?
CLARE: Nothing. I couldn’t explain it and so I tried to just shake it off. That’s when I got this…this image or thought. It was like something had shoved it inside my head and it was all I could think about.
ME: What were you thinking?
CLARE: (her face pales) That something was in the closet.
ME: Did you hear anything coming from the closet?
CLARE: No, but like I said it was as if someone had crammed that idea into my head from the outside. Like something wanted me to know that.
ME: Did you investigate?
CLARE: I was too scared. I just lay there, staring at it, at the closet door. God I was so scared (long pause). But after a couple minutes, I did hear something.
ME: From the closet?
CLARE: No…from the hallway. Like I said, my bedroom door was open.
ME: What did you hear?
CLARE: A voice. Something was saying my name very quietly over and over again. It was like someone was standing just outside the door, out of eyesight.
ME: Did it say anything else to you?
CLARE: It told me to come with it.
ME: Could you describe the voice?
CLARE: It was a calm male voice…very calm. And deep. Almost soothing if it hadn’t been so terrifying.
ME: Did you go to investigate?
CLARE: No, I stayed put, shaking in my bed. After a couple seconds the voice stopped. When it stopped, the feeling went away. That awful feeling. And so did the fear of the closet. I can’t really explain it. It just…evaporated.
ME: Did you tell your parents about it?
CLARE: I didn’t bother. I knew they’d just tell me I was dreaming. In fact, once morning came I wondered if I had been.
ME: How long was it before you experienced the phenomenon again?
CLARE: A couple days. It was at night again when everyone was asleep. I woke up because I thought I heard the front door open downstairs. I crawled out of bed and went out into the hallway. As soon as I did I felt that horrible energy again. It was so…heavy. Like something was watching me.
ME: Did you see anything?
CLARE: Yeah, the front door was wide open. I thought someone had broken in, but I caught sight of my dad walking out into the front yard and then around the house.
ME: Where was he going?
CLARE: To the barn. I slipped downstairs and followed him. I watched from the corner of the house as he went inside. He was…acting strange.
ME: What do you mean?
CLARE: Well…it was the way he walked. You know how you can identify someone by their walk?
CLARE: Well his was different now. If I hadn’t been familiar with his wardrobe, I would have thought it was someone else. It scared me.
ME: What did your father do in the barn?
CLARE: I don’t know. He was only in there a couple minutes. When he came out, he had this huge smile on his face and was carrying a bunch of tools…but as he got closer, I saw there was something wrong with his eyes.
ME: His eyes?
CLARE: Yeah…they were covered with something.
ME: Like a rag?
CLARE: No, like…it’s hard to describe.
ME: Take your time.
CLARE: (pause) It was like he had molded clay over his eyes. Blue clay. I don’t know how he saw anything, but he walked all the way around the other side of the house and straight into the cornfields.
ME: Did you follow him?
CLARE: No. Something stopped me.
ME: What do you mean?
CLARE: I was about to go get mom when I felt this…I felt something breathing against the back of my neck. I know what you’re going to say, but it wasn’t the wind. Because a second after I felt that, I heard that voice whisper something in my ear.
ME: What did it say?
CLARE: It told me to go back to bed.
ME: And did you?
CLARE: Yeah, I ran as fast as I could back upstairs. But when I reached the top of the stairs, I stopped. Ross was sitting cross legged in front of his bedroom door, crying. I went to him and knelt down at his side. He was really upset.
ME: Did he say anything?
CLARE: Yeah. He looked up at me, his little face twisted with grief, and told me he was sorry.
ME: Sorry for what?
CLARE: I asked him. He just shook his head and buried his face in his hands. That’s when I felt the energy again, that awful, heavy heat. I could feel it down the hall by the stairs, like it was coming toward us. Panicking, I picked Ross up and ran into his room. I slammed the door behind us and locked it.
ME: What was Ross doing during this?
CLARE: He just kept saying he was sorry and continued to weep. I pressed my back against the door and waited. My heart was racing. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Just that something was in the hall and it terrified me.
ME: Did anything else happen?
CLARE: I could feel the presence on the other side of the door, like it was pressed against the wood just like I was. I closed my eyes and right as I did, I heard that voice again. It was muffled and so calm…so horribly calm.
ME: What did it say to you?
CLARE: (long pause)
(Sidenote: At this point, Clare seemed to grow incredibly uncomfortable. She bit her lip and her eyes dropped to the table. She seemed reluctant to go on)
ME: Do we need to take a break?
CLARE: (stammering) Y-yes…yes I don’t think I can talk about this anymore today.
ME: Can you tell me what it said? And then we’ll be done for the day. Is that ok?
CLARE: (Long pause) Ok. It…it told me…it told me to let Ross go.
ME: Let him go?
(Clare nodded and was growing sickly pale)
ME: Did Ross hear the voice?
CLARE: Y-yes…he started crying even harder. He said something to me.
CLARE: (Struggling) He told me that the…voice…on the other side of the door…he told me that its name was Cloo.
(Author’s note: It was clear that Clare wasn’t going to be able to go on anymore. She stood up and wrapped her arms around herself and begged me to turn off the recorder. I complied and watched her leave. I was just as shaken as she was.)