It only seems fitting with Halloween coming up that we dip into the subject of law enforcement encounters with the unexplained.
When you are out there at all hours of the night holding back evil, you tend to find it…more likely, it finds you.
Law enforcement can be a scary profession.
Most of the time the risks we encounter can be explained by the actions of people, and occasionally animals.
But sometimes….things get weird.
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Clearing a structure by yourself is a no-no, but it happens all the time. Limited resources are often to blame.
Where I lived, a few fortunate people had second homes out in remote areas.
They also had alarms in these mountain hideaways.
When the weather got especially cold, or if a bear or burglar got especially bold, the alarm would go off and the lucky, lone, deputy would ride out to handle the matter.
On one particular call, I found an unlocked door at the back of a huge house.
I entered, hearing an audible alarm from within.
Gun drawn, I slowly crept through the home. My normal process is clearing methodically, sweeping for threats.
I soon realized there was a 100-watt speaker in a corner bedroom making the noise — the equivalent of a police or ambulance siren blowing full blast.
Despite my normal process, I saved that room for last.
When I entered the noise was so loud, it felt deafening.
I struggled to even think clearly and something very primal within me screamed for me to get out of the room.
I cleared the closet, even looked under the bed, then fled the maddening wail.
Aside from the dizzying volume, I could not hear if anyone was in the house with me.
Limiting my senses offered that critical element needed for every horror story – isolation.
I swept out of the room with that terrible screech peeling away and rounded a corner.
There, I saw movement and quickly spun, raising my gun.
The siren droned on as I realized the person I was seeing was raising a gun at me!
At the time I carried a Beretta 92F and I had just about pressed all the slack out of the double-action trigger when I made a critical realization.
I was facing a wall mirror behind a spiral staircase, only catching partial reflections of what was going on.
I had just about killed my own reflection!
Death Scene Haunting
There is a very stark reality about police work that is not often discussed.
We are unrestrained witnesses to human life.
This means we see it all….the good, the bad, and the end.
I’m sorry to say I have been present at a lot of places where people died. It’s part of the job.
Sometimes people die in accidents, sometimes they are killed, and other times they have medical episodes.
Men and women of all ages, even children sometimes share this finality.
I believe I have seen the human body in most states of disrepair.
Going to a remote location to recover a person’s body gives pause, and if you have a bent toward introspection as I do, it can be disturbing.
The gruesome nature of these events can be difficult at times to deal with, but sadly, you can get used to this to some degree.
What used to mess with me was the sudden finality of it all. I pondered a person’s life in totality — who they knew, loved, hated, revered.
All our lives are intermingled through connections. They are often huge portions of the peoples’ lives who we are closest with.
Then one day, we are gone.
I sometimes wondered about the deads’ hopes, aspirations, fears, and the people they left behind. Critically, I thought of the hole they left in their wake.
Perhaps worst of all, I sometimes imagined their final moments.
Eventually, I learned this was just part of my process for dealing with these things I saw.
But someone’s death often stayed with me for weeks, months, even years, haunting my thoughts.
An Unknown Presence
Once again I was back out to another remote “cabin” in the mountains, at the Devil’s Hour to be precise.
This time I had a responder from the alarm company with me.
Sometimes temperatures would bottom out at this time, causing alarms to sound.
The responder and I met up at the gate and drove the long, private driveway to the front of the house.
Once there, we got out and approached the door. This time I was surprised because the responder had brought a German Shephard along with him.
The responder recently found some intruders in a remote home despite a long history of “false alarms.”
This frightening occurrence caused him to bring a K9 companion and I didn’t mind one bit!
I can’t explain why, but there was something creepy going on in this house. I felt it when I pulled up.
We went into the house and he deactivated the alarm panel while I pulled cover. He then went back out to collect the dog.
At once the lanky Shepherd dropped out of the passenger seat and loped along next to the responder on a leash.
Upon coming around the corner of the truck and facing the front door, the dog locked up on all fours, even skidding in the gravel.
I felt a big chill run down my spine.
I’ve always been keen to take note of an animal’s behavior for valid clues in my immediate environment.
The dog’s refusal to even come to the door shook me.
The responder pulled, coaxed, swore, and cajoled, but that damn dog would not come in the house for anything.
He was happy to wait in the truck. To me, this did not bode well. But I had a job to do.
I cleared the first floor pretty quickly and felt a foreboding sense, but at least there was no alarm blaring.
The process was simple, turn on lights, enter room, clear, move to the next.
Upon reaching a set of stairs I headed up and found a kid’s bedroom on the right and many other rooms staggered down the hallway.
It was a tactical nightmare because of the angles, but I got through it with this prevailing sense of unease.
Finally, with the house clear, I turned off all the lights and went back downstairs to speak to the alarm guy.
When I got there, I was trying to establish what had set off the alarm. I inquired what sensor had popped and was told it was the kid’s bedroom.
I told the alarm company rep that was odd as I hadn’t noticed anything in the room. I stuck my head around the corner and peered upstairs again toward the kid’s room.
The light, which I distinctly remembered turning off, was on again.
I felt the chill down my spine widen to other places and the hair on the back of my neck stood up on end.
I had no reasonable explanation for this.
I asked the responder if the lights were tied to the alarm system. He swallowed hard and shook his head no.
I probably should have left at that point. It would have been the sensible thing to do…but duty prevailed.
I girded my loins, called myself a few motivating names, and marched up the stairs before turning off the light, AGAIN.
I recall how thankful I was to leave that place but watched nervously in my rear-view mirror, half expecting a light to pop on upstairs.
As I said, law enforcement can be a scary profession. I have seen and experienced things I still carry with me.
While I could have called up death threats, rifles pointed at me, being shot at, frightening fights, gruesome crime scenes, a few harrowing bear encounters, strange lights in the sky, and cow mutilations…I stuck with the light-hearted spirit of Halloween.
Stay safe out there no matter your profession and spare some thoughts for the people facing those very real bumps in the night.
Have you had any creepy encounters? Tell us about them in the comments below! And while we’re talking spooky, check out our goulash piece on zombies!