I have had a fascination and affinity for supernatural and paranormal things since I was a child. I always loved a good ghost story (and still do). I have encountered some strange things over the years. I won’t go into details of all of that, but “Darker than the Night” (included in “Trespass“) was based on one of these experiences.
I was in in college. Two friends (a guy we’ll call J and a girl we’ll call V) invited me to go to the beach to visit a “haunted” church. Too much time has passed for me to accurately recall the story about the church. I seem to remember that someone had burned the church down twice and possibly that one or more persons had died in the fire – I can’t be sure about those details, though. What I can be sure of is what happened when we went there.
To get to the church, we drove down a long road that didn’t have much else on it. This gave me a sense of being out in the middle of nowhere when we pulled alongside the road and parked. The church had a fence around it and we had to walk around to a place where the chain links had been pulled away from the posts and we could crawl through.
I was apprehensive about the whole thing. I never liked doing things that could get me in trouble and trespassing on the church property made me very uncomfortable. I went along, though. I also knew that I wanted to have unusual experiences and I figured it would make a cool story.
The bell tower of the church was still standing, but without a bell. The openings on the bell tower were large and you could see the moonlight through it easily. Several walls were also intact. We walked around the remains of the church. V kept saying that she felt hands touching her. Not being able to verify this in any way, I was a bit skeptical.
As we walked about and talked, we came across what I can best describe as a shadow-wall. I’m not sure how to describe this adequately except that one of the broken pieces of wall extended out into a 3-dimensional wall-shaped shadow. It was as if the wall had a shadow extension. I walked around it, looking at it and the surroundings from different angles to determine what could be causing it. J put his hand in it. I felt that was not a good idea.
About that time, V said that she could see some dark shape circling the bell tower. We hung around for a bit longer, talking about the shadow wall and what had happened at the church and why it might be haunted. Somewhat suddenly, V said that we needed to go.
The three of us hurried across the property and squeezed our way out through the fence. When we got to the car, V told us that the thing that was circling the tower was starting to crawl down. The thought of that freaked me out a bit. I was in the back seat of the car as we drove away and I remember looking back at the tower as we left. The openings in the tower were impossibly dark based on the size of the openings and the moonlight that should have been shining through.
The experience left quite an impression. And if you’ve read the story, you know how this inspired it.