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OK, so I'm claustrophobic, I have been since I was teeny, tiny, tight spaces for me are the stuff of nightmares, which is why on a recent trip to Vietnam with my family perfusing our guide, which invites me to explore the caves, to see for myself. Where they live, where they fought in the Vietnam War or as he calls it, the war of American aggression.
I tell this nice man, the smiling man, I tell him that as a cornfed Michigander, there is no way, no power on God's green earth that is going to squeeze me into a tiny underground, hand dug sliver of a cave constructed for someone half my size. No way. I'm my boy, my son. He says he'll do it. And lickety split, he hops down into the hole on the earth and he disappears. Pride, shame, pride.
And I think, wow, wow, if he can do it, I think, how bad can it really be? So I crawled down after him, trying to follow him down this tiny space, bent over and fought and fought by, I make the first turn. Pitch blackness, black, like there has never been light black, like there's no such thing as light but dirt walls of this tomb, they press on my shoulders from each side and I can't even scream.
I can't move, I can't breathe on my knees, I flee, crawling backwards, backwards. And out into the open air, open sky, tourists taking pictures, kids eating popsicles, a beautiful sunny day, I look around and 100 feet away, my boy pops out from underneath the ground. Laugh and laugh.
And dad is great. Right? Right. When I was in Washington, I'm saying this right now, begging to whoever might be listening when my time comes, scatter my ashes, shoot me into space, do whatever you have to do. But please, please, please, please don't bury me on the ground to stop. Now, now, now, now, now. Now, today, we're going down under to Australia, the original upside down cake, we're going to a tiny rural town called Yungaburra.
It's inland, it's chilly, it's foggy. And our story storyteller Blair go there with his parents implication they'd stayed in old cabin surrounded by bushland, red earth, towering eucalyptus trees and out in the wilderness behind their cabin was an old farmhouse. The local said it's one of the very first buildings built in Yungaburra. But I'll let Blair tell you more about that. Spooked, spooked, spooked, spooked. The farmhouse, it was about 500, 600 meters away from the cabin that we stayed in.
It was a lot older. It had paint peeling off it. The corrugated tin roof was rusting. All the steps were rotten. And it was in a desolate state, the driveway leading up to both of the houses. It went zigzag zigzag direction, going up and up.
And along the side of it, there was a cliff with a pond at the bottom, only a small cliff.
It was a normal trip, it was one of the usual ones it would take. I was about 13 at the time, so I was a bit older. That night, I was with my friend Alex and his sister Olivia, and they were my childhood friends, they lived there full time and I was just at their house in town.
We're playing video games, you know, playing some board games. I think we had a pretty big game of Monopoly that night.
It was getting light, it was about 11, 30, and I decided I better get back to the cabin. I'm sure my parents were worrying about me, so I was walking along the streets of Yungaburra and I made my way back to the cabin. It was cold. I was really cold.
And I only had, like, a really thin jumper on. So I was, like, shivering a lot. I thought to myself, I should have gotten a bigger jumper or I should have left earlier.
It was my fault and I should have done something beforehand and thought about it a bit more. But I was cold and I was walking along.
The town was dead quiet. That was no traffic.
And I managed to work my way through the little streets of the town, finally find that driveway that the start of this somewhat steep incline of a zigzag dirt road back to the cabin. But at the foot of the entrance was the driveway. At no streetlights, lights, it was pitch black. It looked ominous. Yungaburra is one of the only few places in northern Queensland that gets fog because it gets cold winter. So when the fog, very light fog at first start to roll in, it started to scare me.
I start to think something's going to happen or something's going on. So it started to form all around the street, and that's when the lights became a bit dimmer from the street lights from the main road. And that's when the heavy fog came in. Then it started to get really, really heavy. I could no longer see my feet below me, and all I could see in front of me was white, like there was I was in the middle of what seemed like a cloud, and I just could not see anything that was I couldn't see the straight lines.
And that's when it's when the heavy of fog fog that I've like I've never seen. And I and I thought to myself, I don't know what I'm going to do, I felt I felt stuck. My torch was useless, it was there was nothing that it was doing, it was definitely not giving me any headway in front of me. The fog was just so thick that I just couldn't see. I was stunned like I was I was frozen for the first time.
I could try and find my way behind me and go maybe go back to Oliviers and Alex's place, but there was so many corners and so many streets that I couldn't really do that. That didn't seem feasible. But yet to try and get up my driveway, there was that small cliff with a pond at the bottom, and it was definitely high enough for you to fall in and really hurt yourself.
So my first thought was to actually just sit down where I was and do the right thing and just wait it out.
It was very surreal, like for the options, because I had none. I sat down very briefly, and that's that's when I saw that little flickering amber light in the distance. It was a flame, so it was an old style, like kerosene or gasoline lantern in the distance. So I saw it start to come down the driveway and it made it to about halfway on the driveway. It was my mom said. I heard to say, Sunny, is that you come here out of the fog, just follow my light.
And I breathed a sigh of relief. I honestly thought, cool, I'm out of here. You know, I'm going back home and it's all good. If I walk very slowly, I can just follow the light and I can follow my mom's voice and work my way up the zigzag of the driveway.
So I was walking very slowly, each step, each step one by one, and the land would move at the same pace that I was kind of moving. It took about two, three minutes to get up the driveway and I saw her walk up some steps because it went higher. It leveled up. And when I saw the light climb up the steps, I stopped. I stopped and thought, oh, the house is right there. And I heard a creaky door, like a very old rusted door open, and I followed her light, but then when it went inside the house after the door opened, it went out.
So I called out, I said, Mom, can you turn that light back on, I'm not at the cabin yet, you know, I'm not at the.
Silence was, I could hear was like crickets chirping and frogs, you know, it was just. So I followed in the direction path where I saw the light, and that's when I. The wooden guardrail looks like, OK, I am back at the house until I got onto the doorstep and realized I definitely wasn't.
So what was in front of me was that old, desolate, abandoned farmhouse that was next to the cabin. Instantly, my knees just fell weak, like I felt like I was about to fall over. Like, my like my legs couldn't support me anymore.
It's like. I may follow it to this abandoned farmhouse. Then a voice that no longer sounded like my mom, and instead it had a very British accent, she said nasty weather out there.
It was it was like a mother's voice that had a very strong British accent beforehand.
She had an Australian accent. She sounded like my mom, and it turned into a very old style British accent.
And it was it was very it was a young she wasn't all it wasn't crikey. It was a very clean, smooth sentence. And I realized that it was not my mom. This voice had transferred somehow from my mom's voice to this other person's voice, and it was coming from inside the house. The door of the house was open and it was creaking in the wind. I saw no one in the house. There was no lights in the house.
And I was stuck. I was frozen to the ground. I could not move.
This is something that's trying to lure me and get me. That's what I thought. I just thought it was trying to get me. I thought to myself, you know, I could either turn around and go back into the field and try and find my house because it was to the right of me. So I thought maybe if I ran to the right, I could somehow find my house or I could go inside the house I was at. And that option was ruled out straight away.
I knew I wasn't going to set foot inside that house that I was standing on. So I thought, OK, I'm going to leave. So I ran down the steps and as I was running, I heard that British accent yell at me going, Where are you going? My son come back here, like in a demanding voice. It was very is very demanding because his son. Where you going? Going come back here like she was yelling and I didn't I didn't look back.
I just ran. I ran for it and I was running to the right and I just I fell over, I did something, hit my foot and all that, my knee, and it was a huge rock. I was just a huge rock I ran into and I fell flat onto my face and got cuts all up my hair.
And I realized I turned around and it wasn't a rock, but it was a tombstone.
I couldn't see much on the tombstone. It was only a little I think it said something about a mother and father on there and I saw that turned around, saw that tombstone, and I screamed. I absolutely screamed. So I got up. And that's when six little amber lights that looked similar to the one I saw beforehand started to surround me. And that was slowly, slowly in a circle shape, just coming together, closing me in in the middle.
I saw a gap between two of them and ran for it. So I sprinted through the gap of one of these lights running again, not looking back again, just looking in front of me. And that's when I ran into a wall and blacked out. And I remember my dad. He came over, apparently he heard something smack into the wall, so he came over, he got me, picked me up and he just took me inside. And I remember going to sleep and I remember going into the bedroom that I had.
I just I think I just passed out from exhaustion or from just fear. I knew the next morning we were leaving early because that was our last night there, so I woke up and I didn't quite remember what happened yet. So I thought, oh, I better get ready. We better get going. And that's when, you know, mom and dad said that we're going to spend like an extra half a day here. That's when I realized that something had happened last night and it was not good at all.
My daddy had a loud smack because I smacked onto the wall that was directly adjacent to my parents bedroom. So he heard me just thumping into the wall and he heard that thump and he went out and to see what it was and and he saw me there on the ground. So he picked me up and put me back the side. He told me that he saw one little gasoline, kerosene light out in the distance near the farmhouse, so he saw one of the things that I saw.
Alex and Olivia, they, um, they they both came over that morning and we went out onto the patio and we sat out there and I could just see the old desolate other farmhouse in the distance.
And they told me about like I told them what happened then, that's when, you know, both Olivia and Alex started to tell me. They said that. It was one of the first buildings built and in the early, early 20th century and was a man who lived there.
She had a son and one night during winter, her son was downtown and he was playing with some friends around 10:00.
I think Olivia said and he realized that it was getting light and so did end and started to worry because it was getting light. So she actually got up and went near the driveway. And that's when her son was like, okay, well, I'm going to go home. So he started to go home and he got to the driveway. And that's apparently when heavy fog came in and had a kerosene lamp and she was carrying it and she heard footsteps.
She didn't see her son. She apparently heard footsteps. So she said, son, is that you follow my light and my voice. And that's what I heard.
And so her son tried to follow the light and voice so and managed to walk all the way back to her house and. She turned on the house's light and that was still all just heavy fog, and that's when she realized that her son wasn't there with her like she was by herself.
So she ran back out there with the kerosene lamp going, you know, Son, where are you? Where are you? Come here. Out of the fog. And there was no reply. She sat down and she didn't know what to do. She honestly had no clue what to do now. The next morning, she got up. She went looking. She went searching. She went looking downtown. She went up and down everywhere searching for her son.
It wasn't until she was walking back to her house that she found him at the bottom of the pond, gone, just passed away from falling down the cliff and hitting his head.
So Olivia told me that Ann was the thing that I heard and that kerosene lamp was hers and she was stuck in like a loop doing. That searching for her son, so she thought that I was her son, she mistakes them whether or not it's a mistake or she knows and she's trying to trap someone, that's what I don't know. But she definitely thought I was her son. And what I tripped on that would have been the son's grave. When they told me that, I realized that I was lucky, my first thought was that I am never, ever stepping back there.
I'm never, ever going back and I still haven't. And I'm not going to for as long as I live because I realized how lucky I was. She was definitely trying to get me to come into the house like I felt like she was trying to get me to go inside. But what she would have done after that, I don't really know. I don't want to know when this happened, it felt like an or whatever it was I was trying to reach out to me.
It wasn't just something that happened. It's like she was trying to reach out and just lure me like she had a will to do that. But I did feel sorry for her because it's it's just sad that she lost a son that was probably the worst moment of her life.
And that's where she's stuck in that loop. It probably is her help. Thank you, Blair, for finding your way out of the fog and bringing back such a story. I'll tell you this, Liz. If your voice ever called to me from deep in the darkness is going to have to mind its own business. That story comes to us from our own SPOO correspondent, Rita Webber. The original score for that story was by Lauren Nelson. Spooks, if you think it's over, you couldn't be more wrong.
Season four, we walk this path together. Thirty two, all new episodes get Gispert Fix filled at luminary dot com geffray, be terrified. Beware. And remember, if you like your storytelling in the light of day, get the amazing, stupendous and incredible SNAP Judgment podcast. Storytelling with a beat scoop was created of a tune that never gets lost in the fog. If you hear someone whispering in your ear in the dark of night, you can be certain that it's probably Mr.
Mark restitch maybe an assessment. Our chief spook star is Eliza Smith, Chris Hambrick. And when Eliza Yates, Zoe Ferrigno, Lauren Newsome, Leon Morimoto, Renzo Gourriel, Jacob Talika, Marissa, Dodge, Granovetter, SEMICON, Tiffany, Tulisa, Danford, Fernando Fernandez, are your God through this force? And. Yes. The voice from the deep fog may well with advice threats, please. On how you should handle your own light, which ignore it.
Put sand in your ears, cut your ears off if you have to do whatever it is you have to do. Ever, never, ever, ever turn out the lights. This episode of Spooked was some in the dark of night by luminary media. For all the newest episodes of Spooked, go to luminary podcasts, dotcom or download the Luminary mobile app.