My Dearest Lilly,
I’m writing this because I feel it would be far too difficult to talk to you in person. I also need you to hear me out, without rolling your eyes or interrupting me. There are some things that have happened that your father and I never told you about. We tried to bury it and move on because as quickly as it all had come into our lives, it was gone. Sometimes, I wonder if the whole thing had just been a figment of our collective imaginations; Maybe we were all just stressed out at the time of my pregnancy with you, having just moved into a new house, and trying to prepare everything for your arrival. However, as your mother, knowing that you are currently carrying my unborn granddaughter in your belly, I feel it is my responsibility to tell you what happened to us when I was still pregnant with you.
When I saw you last weekend, you looked so tired. I know the dark circles under your eyes weren’t the shade of exhaustion that typically comes with the third trimester of pregnancy. They looked far too familiar, like the ones I had carried under my eyes during that spring of 2019. I’m going to go with my instincts and trust that they mark the presence of something far more sinister.
You see, Lilly, It all started that spring when you were still growing in my belly. Your father and I had rented this house on the west side of Detroit. With your big brother and grandma also living with us, we needed a house with more space to accommodate our growing family. We were running out of time and funds, so when we found that place, we eagerly took it and never looked back.
In the beginning, we were so happy. The house was everything we needed. Your brother, almost three years old at that time, finally got his own bedroom. We were so excited to make a home for ourselves and prepare to welcome you, because we knew you were coming that summer. We were so relieved to have a place to call our own again. It was nice to not have to answer to anybody.
The first two months of living there are kind of a blur now. Strangely enough, nothing really happened during that time. All of the activity started that April.
The first strange occurrence that I can remember, happened when I was trying to take a nap upstairs. Our bedroom was finally completely unpacked, and I was exhausted. I had been having difficulty sleeping lately. With my pregnant belly, finding a comfortable position to sleep in had become a challenge. When I was finally about to drift off to sleep, I heard a creaking coming from the floorboards in our room. Initially, I had thought that it was your father, coming home early from work. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes that I realized not only was the creaking actually coming from behind the headboard of our bed but that the sounds were coming from inside of our bedroom wall.
When your father got home later that day to find me sleeping on the couch, I told him what I had heard, and he validated that he had been hearing strange noises coming from inside the walls for a few days. He said that he would hear scratching from inside of the walls sometimes late at night when I was asleep, but he didn’t want to wake me up or scare me. Your father even said that he tried to investigate what the source of the noises were on his own, but found that the door to the cubby that lead to the inside of the walls had been drilled shut by either the landlord or a previous tenant of the home.
After we both confirmed to each other what we had been hearing, it got worse. Lilly, I swear, there were nights where the scratching in the walls turned in to thumping. Only then, it wasn’t just coming from inside of the walls, It sounded like it would move up the walls, and in to the ceiling. However, that was impossible, because there wasn’t enough space between the roof and our ceiling for any animal to wedge itself up there, let alone move around. But I swear to you, that is what we heard. Except it sounded more human than animal; Boney knees and elbows scurrying clumsily across our bedroom ceiling.
I hated sleeping in that room without your father. On days when I couldn’t take it anymore and desperately needed to take a nap while your father was at work, I would lay down in the living room, on the couch. However, it wasn’t long before strange things started happening in there, too.
One night after work, your father was in the living room playing video games while sitting on the couch. He had this headset on that allowed him to hear what was going on in the game, and interact with other people who were playing the game in different locations. At the time, he was really focused on what was happening on the TV screen in front of him. Then, out of nowhere, he felt someone physically tap on his headset, on the piece that had been covering his ear. His automatic assumption had been that your brother, Brayden, had snuck out of his room and on to the couch while your father was distracted. When he looked around and discovered that he was all alone in the room, he quickly got up and checked in on Brayden, only to find him sound asleep. As well as everyone else in the house.
Later that week, I was sitting in the living room and folding laundry when I heard your grandma call me from her bedroom. I tossed the clothes aside, carefully got up, and waddled my pregnant self in to her bedroom to see what she wanted. When I got there, she looked at me in confusion.
“Well, what do you want?” I asked, impatient with the way she was just staring at me.
“What? Nothing.” She said.
“Then why the hell did you just call me and make me come all the way in here?”
“Megan,” she said, sitting up from her bed, “I never called you. I was laying in here looking at my phone.”
I wasn’t the only one hearing voices. It might have been that same day when your father was sitting in the living room, and Grandma came in and said, “What?”
Your father looked at her and said “I didn’t say anything.”
“Benny, I just heard you call my name. What’s up?”
He looked at her and laughed nervously, “Tammy, I didn’t call you. I swear.”
Then, they both heard me call “Hey you guys, come here for a second!” from the kitchen.
Your father and grandmother both looked at each other suspiciously, then walked in to the kitchen, only to find it empty. They both started yelling my name, thinking I might have gone down stairs.
“What’s up?” I asked, walking into the kitchen behind them, “Why are you yelling? I just got Brayden to lay down for a nap.”
They both turned around and stared at me in horror.
“You were in Brayden’s room this whole time?” Grandma asked.
“Then who the hell just called us in to the kitchen?” Your father asked, locking the door to the basement.
“Who called me in to the living room right before that?” Grandma asked, terrified.
I looked back and forth between their faces, just to make sure they weren’t trying to pull one over on me. When I decided that they were both genuinely confused and frightened, I said, “Was it like earlier when you called me in to your bedroom, but it wasn’t you?” I asked Grandma, goosebumps consuming every inch of my body.
A few nights later, I was awoken by my phone at 4 in the morning. It was your grandmother, calling me from her room downstairs. When I answered, she was sobbing.
“Megan can you come down here please?”
“Mom, what’s wrong? What time is it?”
“Please hurry,” She whispered, terrified, “And don’t hang up until you get here.”
“Mom, I gotta pee-”
“No!” She started sobbing again, “Come down here right now!”
So, I waddled as quickly as my swollen ankles would allow, and rushed in to her room. I turned the light on, and found her hiding under her blankets in bed.
“Mom, what the hell?”
I turned the light on and hurried over to her bed.
She pulled the covers off of her and looked at me in complete fear.
“There was someone, or something here,” She choked, “I felt it sit on the edge of my bed! I thought it was Brayden crawling into bed with me, but it didn’t move. I just felt the weight on my mattress and blankets, and then it was just still and silent and wouldn’t move. I couldn’t pull the blankets out from under its weight or anything! If it was Brayden, he would have moved. He would have struggled to climb into bed with me. It wasn’t him!”
“Mom, hold on,” I handed her the box of tissues off of her night stand. “Are you sure it wasn’t-”
“It wasn’t a dream, Megan! I felt it sitting here with me! I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and hid under what blankets I could and called you. It was still sitting there as I was on the phone with you! When I heard your footsteps coming down the stairs, I felt it move. It got up, but I don’t think it left. It’s still in here, I can feel it-”
“Mom, it’s okay. I believe you. weird stuff has been happening around here lately.”
She blew her nose and nodded in agreement.
“I know you’re scared, but I’m gonna go check on Brayden real quick. I gotta make sure he’s okay.”
Thankfully, when I checked on your brother that night, he was fine. He was sound asleep in his bed. However, the phone that we kept in his room that doubled as a nightlight as well as a source of soothing music to help him sleep, had been turned off and was on the floor on the other side of the room. We always kept it on the dresser, where he couldn’t reach it. judging from where we usually kept it and where I found it, there is no way it just fell off of the dresser. It was like something had to have grabbed it and flung it to the other side of his bedroom. This realization scared the hell out of me, because now, whatever had been happening in our house was getting physical. What else could it do?
All of these occurrences had happened inside of the first two weeks of April. On April 15th, 2019, I had one of the scariest nightmares of my life.
I had dreamed that your cousins, the ones I used to babysit as children, were staying at our house. They were little again, and they had been sleeping on our bedroom floor. In my dream, one of them had awoken and was crying. She pointed down the hallway toward the stairs and said, “There’s something there!”
I tried to soothe her, but she wouldn’t calm down.
“Something is over there!” she insisted.
Just then, in the dream, I heard a noise coming from the hallway. It was a rapid thudding, accompanied by quick, raspy breathing. The only way to describe it is that it sounded like something was crawling quickly toward us.
“Okay you two, get up here!” I yelled, frantically grabbing at the children, trying to yank them in to my bed with me, “Get in this bed right now! I don’t know what that is but I want you to get behind me right now-”
And then I saw it.
A grotesque hand reached around the corner of my dream and grabbed the edge of the wall. The fingers were long and inhuman, the knuckles gnarled as if they had been riddled with decades of arthritis. In that moment, I prayed as hard as I could not to have to see who– or what— was attached to that hand.
Before I could scream, I saw a face peek around the corner and glare at me. It was the most disgusting, horrific face that I have ever seen. It makes me feel physically ill to even write about it now. It was the face of what can only be described as a hag. As soon as we made eye contact, the thing unhinged its jaw and let out the shrillest, most nauseating scream I have ever heard in my life. Then it turned away, shape shifting in to a dark shadow, and flew into the bathroom.
Running on pure rage and adrenaline, I jumped off of the bed and chased after it. I entered the bathroom just in time to watch the dark mass fly down the drain of the bathroom sink and disappear.
I awoke from that dream in a cold sweat. I got up, ran to the bathroom, and threw up.
The second half of that April was pretty stagnant, as far as any paranormal activity goes. I mean, your father and I continued hearing the scratching and thumping in the walls and ceiling. As a result, we were exhausted and irritable all of the time, but there were no more nightmares or physical evidence of anything strange happening.
Then, on April 30th, 2019, everything came to a head. It was my 25th birthday, and we were all sleep-deprived, including your grandmother who had been terrified to sleep in her own room, absolutely insistent that there was a presence in there. On that day, your father and I had wanted to go out and run some errands, and we asked your grandma to watch your brother, so we wouldn’t have to get him dressed and worry about him coming with us. We wanted to get things done quickly, and it would just be easier to leave your brother home. Of course, we were all tired and snapping at each other on this day. Grandma was giving me a hard time about having to babysit, so I finally got fed up and told her we would just take Brayden with us. At the last minute, Grandma changed her mind and agreed to watch him for us. I still thank God that she did.
I had grabbed your brother’s coat and a blanket, because I had thought we were going to have to take him with us. When grandma finally said she would watch him, I was so exhausted and frustrated and desperate to get the hell out of the house, that I took his coat and blanket with me without realizing it. When I got in the car, I sat with them on my belly, then put my seat belt on.
Lilly, I don’t even remember where we were headed on that day. All I know is, one minute your father was driving and everything was fine, and then the next, I heard a high-pitched, eerily shrill scream that was familiar in the most awful way. Then, our car lurched forward, then sideways. There was an explosion of glass all around us. The little shards of glass flew in front of my face in slow motion, collecting the sunlight and shimmering with the promise of tomorrow and the potential death of that day. In that moment, all I could think of was you as my head whipped involuntarily this way and that. When the car finally fell silent again, the only heartbeat I was desperate to hear was your own.
As it turns out, some asshole had run a red light. The scream that I had heard, the same exact one from my nightmare, had been his tires skidding across the pavement. Somehow, he had managed to hit the back of our vehicle, spin out, then come back and hit us from the side.
When the initial shock passed, and we realized we were both okay, your father and I both turned and looked at the back seat. We both gasped in horror as we saw your brother’s car seat mangled in the wreckage, among the shattered glass and the dented frame of the back car door.
Returning home later that day, after assessing our injuries and discussing the damages and everything that had happened, we realized how truly lucky we were. All at once, everything began to add up in a way that, to this day, I cannot believe was a coincidence.
You see, Lilly, if all of these strange things hadn’t been happening in our home for the last month, we all wouldn’t have been so exhausted. If we weren’t so exhausted that morning, we would have taken your brother with us. Brayden would have been in that car seat during the collision of that other vehicle. Brayden would not have come home with us. He would not have survived.
If Brayden had come with us, he also would have been wearing his winter coat and that blanket I brought for him. If he had been wearing his winter coat and using that blanket, I never would have absentmindedly placed them on my pregnant belly before putting on my seat belt that day. If I didn’t have Brayden’s coat and blanket with me to cushion the impact of my belly against that seat belt, I might have ended up with far worse injuries than whiplash that day. What I’m saying, Lilly, is that you might not be here, reading this letter.
As terrifying as that month had been for us, looking back now, I can’t help but wonder if maybe that horrifying woman, who we all believe was also the source of all of the paranormal activity that had been occurring around our house, had possibly been an omen. Maybe the purpose of her presence in our lives had been to prepare and warn us of what was yet to come. Maybe, in some way, she had been protecting us, from the sinister intentions of something else.
All I know is, after that car accident, everything stopped. We never heard voices that we had mistaken for each other calling our names from different rooms in the house. Grandma began to sleep normally again, because she felt as though the presence had finally left. Nothing ever visited her bedside again. Nothing moved in Brayden’s room without explanation after that. Even the scratching and thumping in our bedroom walls and ceiling stopped after that car crash.
I have spent days upon days researching and looking for a plausible explanation for what happened to us that spring. At the time, we had thought that she simply came with the house. We thought maybe, she was a spirit residing within the walls who we had awoken after moving in. However, that never made sense, because the activity didn’t start until two months after we had already been there. There was something about that April, like it had been cursed. The only thing I have come up with– the only thing that kind of fits our experience– is this creature, known as The Banshee. Irish Lore has it that The Banshee is an ancient female spirit whose screams forewarn of an impending death within a household. In our situation, her scream sounded exactly like the screeching tires of the vehicle who ran the red light and almost took everything from us on that fateful day, all of those years ago.
As I mentioned earlier, I am writing this letter to you because I have noticed how you have been plagued with exhaustion lately. I have also noticed how you and your husband have been snapping at each other in a way that I have never seen before. I know something is happening.
Tell me, have you been having nightmares? Are you hearing voices calling to you from another room, only to find that nobody is there? Has there been scratching or any other noises coming from within your bedroom walls?
Lilly, I felt a presence sit on my bed last night. I believe it is her. I think this woman, this Banshee, has returned to warn us once again. Only this time, I believe she has come for you.