Out of the Black

Philip DeFord

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Well, I guess I’ve just got to start this damn thing. I’m keeping a journal for my first year of university life, both because I’ve heard all the cool kids do it and because my therapist tells me I should. My name is Chris Jacobson, I’m 24 years old, and this is my first year at the University of Oregon. I was born and raised in Eugene, went to elementary school a block from my house, that sort of thing. When I graduated high school, I started going to Lane CC, the local community college. I took a year off in between my first and second years there, and after I left with a transfer degree I worked for a year to save for U of O’s sky-high tuition costs. I’m currently living in the dorms with a roommate (not because I need to, but because I want to get away from my family), and I’m taking classes with the goal of becoming a journalist.

I’ve also got depression, which is why I’ve got the therapist. It’s not very serious most of the time, but this shift to university life really has me worried. I can’t really put my finger down on it, but I guess I’m just afraid to start moving away from the life I’ve known for so long – I’d really love to move down to California for a reporting job after I graduate, but the thought of leaving this familiar city has me shaken. I know it’s normal to have that separation anxiety or whatever, but I feel like it’s really hitting me harder than my friends. Not that I have a whole lot of those, but the guys I talk to all say they’re just excited to leave this place.

Anyway, I’m rambling. I’m seeing one of the University’s counselors for both academic and personal reasons, and she recommended keeping a journal. I don’t really understand what she’s expecting out of this, but I’ll be a good little boy and follow orders. I really don’t know where to go from here. I guess I’m going to leave this as it is, and I’ll check back in next week.

Later (are you supposed to tell your journal good-bye?)

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Hey. Just checking in for my weekly rant. Nothing much to say…

Well, actually, I guess I can talk about Trent. I used to have this really good friend named Trent when I was a kid. He lived right next door, and we did pretty much everything together. We’d have sleepovers like every night, we’d watch scary movies, we’d sneak out and go buy energy drinks (the height of cool back then)… Pretty much, we were “besties.” Anyway, when we were about 9 or 10, I don’t really remember all that much, Trent’s family moved down to Medford. We used to write letters and stuff, but we eventually lost contact after a few years. I really don’t know why I’m thinking about him, but for some reason I’ve been kind of preoccupied with memories for the past few days. I keep thinking about all the stuff we used to do together, all the fun times we had, and I wonder where he is. I bet he’s got Facebook or something, I should go find him.

As far as the mental-health battle goes, I’m doing fine, I guess. I’ve started playing a lot of video games with my roommate (his name’s John, 23, also in a writing program – pretty cool guy), which actually really helps with the anxiety I get. And they say video games rot your brain.

Anyway, I’ve rambled into my computer for long enough – it’s time to say goodbye and go to sleep.

Goodbye, journal (I’ve officially decided you do, in fact, say goodbye to a journal). I’ll talk to you next week.

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Hey! So, I was thinking about Trent today, and I remembered the idea I’d had about looking him up on Facebook. I typed his name in about an hour ago, and I totally found him! The really cool thing is that we’re both actually going to U of O right now, and we’re both free at the same times. Today’s Saturday, so we’re going to meet up and chill, maybe have some coffee or something. I’m gonna cut this short though, because I’m supposed to meet him downtown in like half an hour. Peace!

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Oh, God. I’ve got such a bad hangover. I’m gonna be quick here.

So, I met up with Trent, and he’s just as cool as I remember. We got to talking about stuff, and it turns out he’s in the same journalism program I am, and we’re actually graduating at the same time next year. In fact, it’s kind of crazy that we haven’t met before now. He seemed a little distant, which is weird for him – he was always the one with initiative in our little group of two, and it was almost like I could never get him to shut up. Anyway, we decided to go out for drinks (Trent’s idea – I usually don’t drink much), and stayed out at Tracktown (little local pizza place) until like 2 or 3. We finally stumbled back to our respective dorms, and said goodbye.

Now I’m gonna go drink some coffee and maybe slam my head in the door until it stops hurting so much.

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

All right, back to the Thursday schedule. So yeah, Trent and I have been hanging out a lot this past week. He’s not like I remember him – back when we were kids, he was always very confident, very self-assured. Now, he’s… Well, I don’t want to say paranoid, but it’s close to that. He’s fidgety, he looks scared most of the time, and I swear sometimes I catch him staring off into the distance at something only he can see. I know that sounds really hokey, but that’s how he is. He’s still got his wit and intelligence – that much is obvious – but I think he might be into something. He told me that after Medford, his family moved around a whole lot more, mostly Oregon but also Northern California and Southern Washington. I’m starting to wonder if maybe his dad made a deal with the mafia or something. I know I’m reading way too much into this, but I can’t help it – this Trent is definitely different, and it’s kind of got me on edge. In any case, I’m going to cut this short, because I’ve got midterms coming up I should really be studying for.

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I talked to Trent about his behavior this week. He told me what happened to him. I’m not sure if I believe him.

So apparently when Trent’s family was living in Medford, he made a friend who lived out in the rural outskirts of the city. His parents would drive him out for playdates all the time. One day, Trent’s parents dropped him off at this friend’s house, only the friend decided he didn’t want to play. Trent, undaunted, decided he’d explore some woods next to this friend’s house. He was wandering through, going mostly in a straight line, when he saw someone out of the corner of his eye. A really tall guy in a suit is what he says. Anyway, he said he started feeling really scared when he saw this guy, and he ran out of the forest and called his parents to pick him up. He says that when he looked back at the forest on the drive home, he could see the guy looking back at him, only this guy didn’t have a face.

That’s what Trent told me, and I think it’s pretty obvious why I don’t believe him. A creepy guy in a suit who terrorizes children in the woods? Sounds like a really bad horror film to me. Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that whatever actually happened in those woods, Trent’s scarred from it. It was clearly a struggle for Trent to even tell me this story, and I’m starting to wonder what’s going on in his head. I’d guess he’s got some kind of paranoia disorder, if not schizophrenia. I didn’t say any of this to him, obviously, but I’m worried. I think I’m going to mention this to my counselor next time I see her.

On the upside, though, hanging out with Trent has really helped with the whole depression thing – I spend so much time now worrying about him, I really don’t have time to worry about myself.

Sarcasm really doesn’t work that well in writing.

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I told my counselor about Trent’s story and behavior, and she seems to agree that he might have some kind of mental issue going on. I’m planning on talking to him about counseling the next time I see him.

In related news, I really can’t focus lately. My counselor said it might be because of this… Well, she called it an “obsession” with Trent, but that’s a little harsh – I’m just worried about the guy. Anyway, this really kinda blows, because I’m right in the middle of a writing piece for my journalism class. I don’t know if it’s stress from school, or maybe stress from moving out, or what, but I need to figure it out.

I really don’t feel like writing any more right now, so I’m gonna go play some Halo or something.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

I’ve been thinking about Trent’s story, and that guy he says he saw. A tall, suited man in a forest without a face. There’s something about this that bugs me. I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel intrigued by this. I might ask Trent to tell me about it again the next time I see him.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Well, I guess I got what I asked for. I told Trent about the strange fascination I’d been having with the man he mentioned, and his first response was small, forlorn nod. “That’s how it starts,” he said. “That’s how what starts,” I asked him. “I don’t really know what to say, except for stay away.” He wouldn’t look me in the eye when he was saying this. “Trust me on this – you don’t want to know about this guy.”

“You don’t want to know about this guy.” That not only sounds ominous as hell, it sounds like a challenge. I pressed him for more, but all I got was that after he’d seen the strange man for the first time, he started noticing him in other places – he’d be walking down a hall at school and catch a glimpse out a window. He’d be sitting in a car, driving from Grants Pass to Salem, and notice him standing amongst the trees on off the side of the road. He’d notice him in abandoned parks and dry streambeds, standing on darkened street corners and watching through faraway windows. The only consistency seems to be that nobody else ever sees the Operator – he’s always alone, and he’s always watching.

I can’t resist poking around some more. I’m going to do some research online, try to figure out if there are any ghost stories or urban legends from Southern Oregon. I’d question Trent more, but he seems kinda skittish lately, and he won’t answer my texts. Anyway, I’ll check back in later.

Friday, October 29th, 2010

All right, if I’ve learned anything these past 12 hours, it’s that you don’t pull an all-nighter to look at scary shit on the internet. Ever. I don’t think I could have gone to bed after the first hour, much less after I found what I was looking for.

What Trent described kinda sounds like this mythological beastie called Slenderman. Well, I say mythological, but he’s really more of an internet urban legend. There are stories from people who’ve supposedly met this thing, and he/it/they/fuck-I-don’t-know is something not to be trifled with. There aren’t very many confirmed sightings, but anecdotally he seems to be attracted to people who are also attracted to him. He stalks people who do research on him, finding those most drawn to his presence, and for some reason there are people who are drawn to his presence. I suppose I can kind of understand the attraction – I myself still feel this desire to learn more about him, even after learning about this – but overall it seems like a cleverly crafted urban legend. A scary-as-fuck urban legend that kept me from sleeping all night, but nothing more than fiction when it comes down to it. I’m not quite willing to rule out the Slenderman angle from Trent’s condition, but at the same time I’m inclined to believe that it’s pure fantasy.

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I’m scared.

I know it’s just the Slenderman thing, but I’m unsettled, and I have been all week. I can’t find Trent, but to be honest I haven’t been looking too hard. I don’t want to talk to him about the things that scare him, and for some reason everything else just seems to pale in comparison to the whole idea of Slenderman or whatever it is that’s chasing him. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I keep finding myself in strange places. Sleepwalking. I’ve got a history of it, usually when I’m upset, so I suppose it shouldn’t be that surprising, but still. It’s not a pleasant thing to wake up and realize you’ve walked (in your boxers no less) down to the convenience store, and have to run back to your dorm before you freeze to death. John says he hasn’t noticed me leaving, but he wakes up when I get back in.

That’s probably another thing, now that I think about it. It’s starting to get really cold, and I think the heating in our dorm is broken. I’ll feel the heat coming out of the vent, and then it’ll go glacially cold in the span of just a few seconds. It doesn’t happen regularly, just when I’m on the computer, so I’m wondering if the wiring or something is wrong in here.

In any case, I’m going to go try to get some sleep now. I’ll check back if I find anything.

Friday, November 5th, 2010

“Nobody else ever sees the Operator.”

I didn’t write those words.

In my October 28th entry, I was talking about what Trent told me, about how this stranger kept popping up all throughout his life. I was talking about how Trent was apparently the only one who could see this stranger he kept noting. I was talking about a stranger.

I don’t know what an Operator is.

I didn’t write that. That sentence was supposed to say “…nobody else ever sees the stranger…”

This scares me.

I was going over my journal in an effort to glean any new information I may have missed from Trent’s story and what he told me when I noticed this. I don’t know when this got changed, or if it was changed at all. For all I know, I typed this originally. All I do know is that this isn’t what it’s supposed to say, and that’s not what’s on the page.

I’m going to read up on Slenderman some more. For some reason, the idea of a creepy legend sounds like a perfect fit for what’s going on here. I know it’s got to be something else, but Slenderman gives me something to focus on.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

This last week has been unsettling. I haven’t had a chance to write in my journal until today, and there’s a lot to cover.

I saw Trent. It was just for a moment, and across a crowded room, but I caught a glimpse of him. At least, I think it was him. He looked gaunt and sallow, and I could tell even from a distance that he hadn’t slept recently. I called his name, and he looked at me. To be fair, I was loud enough that most of the crowd looked at me too, but I saw his face turn my way. He looked fucking terrified. Then someone stepped between us, and he was gone. I don’t know if he ran, or if he just disappeared – hell, I don’t even know if he was really there. The only thing I do know is that he’s probably suffering the same symptoms I am.

I haven’t slept well since last week. I keep sleepwalking, and what few dreams I do remember are nightmares. I think I’m getting sick, too, probably from the cold in my room and the fact that I keep waking up half a mile away from the dorms. My roommate says I keep waking him up with my coughing.

Also, I’ve set up my webcam to take video while I sleep – I want to make sure John isn’t just playing tricks on me. I don’t think he’s the type of guy to mess with someone’s head like this, or change words in a journal, but I can’t rule it out. In any case, though, I should at least be able to see when I get up, and maybe see if there’s a pattern. With any luck, I might even be able to figure out a way of normalizing my sleep schedule.

I’m going to try and get some more sleep now. I’ll check my webcam footage and tell you how it goes in the morning.

Sweet dreams.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I might need to call the police about this.

I checked my webcam video from last night. All is well until about 2:45AM, at which time something appears in my window. John and I sleep on a ground-level floor, and I can see a surprisingly high level of foot traffic outside the window in the pictures, but between 2:44 and 50 seconds and 2:47 and 20 seconds, a silhouette darkens one side of the frame. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions, but the more I look at this figure, the more I realize it matches perfectly the accounts given of Slenderman. It’s a disturbing similarity.

Believe it or not, though, this isn’t the freakiest part. At 3:00 AM, the video goes all fuzzy and distorted, but you can barely see something come into my room. John and I were lucky enough to score a dorm with two separate bedrooms, and the shadow I see entering my room isn’t him. It’s too tall. Tall and slender.

I see something cross the room and enter my closet. Nothing moves until, at 3:16, I suddenly bolt out of bed and leave. At 3:18 I can be seen outside my window, staring back in for a full 20 or 30 seconds. Then I’m gone, and the video goes back to normal. The next few hours are empty, but at 5:12 I’m suddenly back in bed with a brief flash of distortion.

I don’t remember any of this. John doesn’t, either. I showed him what I found, and he’s worried now too. I mean, the previous times I’ve sleepwalked I’ve woken up outside. I’ve never gone out and returned back to bed… Unless I have, and I can’t remember it. God, this is messed up.

In any case, I alerted campus security and showed them the video. They said they’d do hourly sweeps through our building, and try to have someone check in my window every half hour or so.

I don’t know if I’ll even be able to get to sleep this next week. I’m not sure I want to try.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

/found you/


Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

fire, hot and sweet, takes what it wants and gives nothing back. the great consumer, it abhors that which is ordered and seeks to defile the world so that it may exist in a state of power over all else.


/why not/

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

They found Trent’s body charred to a crisp and abandoned half a mile from my apartment.

I woke up this morning with no memories of anything from last Friday onwards.

And I reeked of smoke.

My head aches, my muscles scream at me from exhaustion, and most troubling of all is the fact that my arms are scorched.

I’ve got these fluid-looking scars covering the entirety of my arms, like I’d been badly burned when I was a child. The problem, of course, is that no such marks ever existed. They must not be there. Just like Trent. He’s not really dead. He’s just gone. Obviously he’s not dead. He can’t be. That doesn’t even make any sense.

I’m losing my grip here. I can’t keep holding on – everything in me is just telling me to let go, except for that one corner of my mind which is screaming for all its worth that I need to hold on. I don’t know why, but I know that’s the part that Trent put there. I was never as strong as he was – he was the one to take initiative, he was the one to have ideas, he was the one who dragged me along for the rides. He was the one who inspired me. And now he’s gone. And I did it.

They’re knocking on my door. I know I’ll have to go with them. And so I’m going to end this here. Because I’m sure they won’t let me keep my journal with me when I go. But don’t worry – I’m sure this won’t be the last entry.

He’s still here to keep you company. I can feel it. That blast of cold.

Ah, yes.Time to go now.

Thursday, November 18th


/time to go now/

/time to wake up/

/wake up now/


/wake up chris/


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