In case you were living under a Twitter rock in 2017, then you probably caught wind of the creepily enthralling “Dear David” story — a supposedly true tale that developed over a series of tweets by writer and illustrator Adam Ellis. For months, Ellis weaved a haunting Twitter story about how his apartment was being haunted by the ghost of a dead child (named Dear David) and documented all the strange and seemingly supernatural experiences that came along with it. If you’re just catching up, Ellis’ Wakelet serves as a catch-all for every Twitter thread he launched throughout the tale. But we’ve compiled an even more concise summary, complete with some discoveries made by Ellis’ Twitter followers, too.
To offer some background, the “Dear David” story thread debuted during the summer of 2017. Through hundreds of spine-tingling tweets, Ellis painted a horror-movie-worthy picture of his haunting, complete with frightening yet engrossing photos, videos, sound recordings, and descriptions of spectral visits from Dear David himself. Whether you’re of the opinion that the ongoing saga is an exercise in extremely creative storytelling or social media proof of an actual haunting, you can probably understand why Ellis’ nearly one million followers kept their eyes glue to their Twitter feeds as the “Dear David” story unfolded.
If you’re ready to dive into the “Dear David” full story, we’ve broken down the key points and tweets into a list of titled and dated entries, complete with embedded media and additional commentary. The embeds focus largely on the media Ellis posted himself — photos, videos, audio recordings, etc. — but we’ve also included some edited versions of photos and poignant tweets from Ellis’ followers to help shed light on details that some of us may have missed.
We’ll keep updating this post if and when more of the story unfolds, but here’s a tweet-by-tweet account of the “Dear David” full story — from the very first nightmare through the conclusion.
Aug. 7, 2017: Weird Dreams And Suspicious Cats
Ellis began his story with a thread dated Aug. 7. In it, he described a weird dream he had several months prior about a child with a misshapen head appearing seated on a green rocking chair he kept in his bedroom.
In the dream, the child had gotten out of the armchair and begun “shambling” towards Ellis, who sat in bed feeling paralyzed. He awoke before the child reached him.
A few nights after this initial dream, Ellis had a second dream in which a little girl told him who he was dealing with: “Dear David.”
She told Ellis that David is dead; additionally, she explained the rules of interacting with David to Ellis: He only appears at midnight, and if you see him, you can ask him two questions as long as you say the words “Dear David” first. However, you are never, ever to ask him three questions — he’ll kill you if you do.
So, in a different dream, Ellis tried asking David some questions…
… Except that he made a mistake: He asked three questions instead of stopping at two.
Still, though, he attempted to get to the bottom of the whole thing the next day, Googling around for kids named David (or Daniel, or Dylan, or Devon — can’t hurt to be thorough) who may have died in stores in New York after being crushed by a falling shelf. He turned up nothing.
Not too long after that, the apartment above his vacated, so Ellis moved upstairs. He stopped thinking about David during this time, because, well… he didn’t have any reason to. He wrote that he suspected David may have lost track of him because he moved.
But then we get to the point of the current thread:
Additionally, when Ellis looked through the peephole, he said he was positive he saw something moving on the other side. “And that's where I am right now,” he concluded. “Dear David found me, I think. I don't know what to do. I'll keep you updated.”
Aug. 8 - 9, 2017: More Odd Feline Behavior And Some Curious Photographs
Late on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 8 — late enough for it to technically be the early morning hours of Wednesday, Aug. 9 — Ellis continued his story in another reply to the original thread. One cat in particular — I believe it’s the cat we’d later come to know as Maxwell — seemed to be especially concerned with something outside Ellis’ apartment door.
Ellis was curious, but still frightened, so he took a photograph of the hallway outside his door through the peephole. He had trouble seeing anything in it, though, so he bucked up his courage, opened the door, and took a second photograph of the hallway with nothing obstructing the camera’s lens.
When he compared the two photos, he became convinced that there was something lurking in the first one — the one he took through the peephole. So, he took a second peephole photograph just to be sure:
Unsure what else to do, he deadbolted his door and climbed into bed. “I am pretty scared,” he wrote.
In the replies to this thread, Ellis also revealed that his building used to be an old house; it had been converted into apartments some time ago:
Aug. 10 - 11, 2017: More Of The Same
Several nights passed with the cats continuing to gather at the door around midnight.
He noted that he was intending to get a sleep app to see if he could record anything happening while he was asleep; additionally, he attempted to draw a line of protection in front of the door with salt, as several Twitter users had suggested in comments replying to his previous tweets.
Things didn’t really start to pick up until the next morning, though.
Aug. 11, 2017: The Sleep App Recordings
In the morning on Aug. 11 — a Friday — Ellis shared the results of his sleep app experiment. Although most of the recordings weren’t of interest, there were three he thought might be worth listening to a little more closely:
However, he didn’t know enough about them to be able to theorize much about what they might mean.
Aug. 12, 2017: The Face In The Photograph
The next day — Saturday — Ellis posted a selfie letting his followers know he was getting out of his possibly haunted apartment for the weekend. However, a follower found something disturbing in one of the glass panes in the door behind Ellis in the photograph:
Aug. 14, 2017: The Polaroids
Late in the evening, as Aug. 13 ticked over to Aug. 14, Ellis began posting some experiments he had just conducted around his apartment with a Polaroid camera. (The specific kind of camera he used was a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, which seems to be quite popular with The Youths these days.) His first photographs turned out pretty normal:
But then when he took one of the hallway outside his front door, the image developed totally black:
It wasn’t the result of his finger covering the lens; he took another photograph under those conditions for comparison purposes, and the two images look quite different:
He even took some videos with his phone of him taking photos with his Instax:
And again, photos taken of the hallway developed black:
The eeriest image of all resulted when Ellis stood inside his apartment and took a photograph of the hallway through the door at a distance:
Hello, dark, scary void. How are you today?
Aug. 14 - 21: What People Found In The Polaroids
This is where things started to get a little complicated. Perhaps inspired by what Twitter user @Psy_Kin_Editing found in Ellis’ previous selfie, folks all over the internet started running the images of the Polaroids Ellis had posted through photo editing programs to see what they might be able to find in them.
They found a lot.
In the picture of the two Polaroids Ellis took to compare the first one that developed black on its own with one he took with his finger of the lens, there appeared to be a face lurking in the darkness just above the edge of the Polaroid on the right; you can see that face in @BeardoRunner's tweet up top here.
In the Polaroid of the black doorway, a figure looked like it was looming in the hallway:
And even in the seemingly innocuous Polaroid of Ellis’ bedroom, some followers thought they might have found a demon in the closet:
At this point, it was still unclear whether what we were seeing was actually something, or the result of pareidolia.
Aug. 14 - 15, 2017: Sage
Throughout the entire saga, followers had been suggesting that Ellis get some sage and smudge his apartment to cleanse it of bad energy or spirits. So, on Aug. 14, he finally did — although he noted that he wasn’t convinced it was going to accomplish much.
The next morning, he confirmed the inefficacy of the sage:
David had returned in his dreams that night.
Aug. 18, 2017: A Storm Is Coming
Late at night (that is, in the early morning, really), Ellis tweeted a short update. Maxwell was continuing to hover around the front door at midnight every night; at around 3 a.m. every night, his sleep tracker started recording about five minutes of static; and that morning, he had woken up to what he thought felt like a small earthquake. He remarked that it felt like there was a storm coming.
And the next day (that is, later that morning)… a storm was literally coming.
Aug. 18 - 21, 2017: The Dream, The Bruise, And The Warehouse
Ellis began the next thread on Aug. 21, a Monday night. In it, he described falling asleep unexpectedly early on Friday night — the night that bananas storm was supposed to hit (it ended up not being as bad as it was expected to be) — and dreaming of David again. David was pulling him by the arm through some sort of warehouse:
And when he woke up, Ellis had a weird bruise on his arm:
He admitted that the bruise could have had some perfectly reasonable explanation — maybe he injured himself during the day and didn’t notice it until the next morning — but the coincidence was still odd.
Odder yet, though, was this: When he left his apartment to go get breakfast the next morning — something he does every Saturday — he passed by a food cart repair depot that’s right by his apartment…. or at least, it used to be right by his apartment. Ellis noted that he’s lived in that apartment building for four years, and in all that time, he’d never seen the depot anything less than bustling — but that day, it was silent.
When he took a quick peek inside, he found it almost empty. The depot had been completely cleared out. All that was there was a chair — a green one.
Remember the rocking chair David had first shown up on? That was green, too. Curious.
In any event, on his way back from the coffee shop, Ellis saw that the warehouse had been shut up tight.
The coincidences creeped him out, but he wasn’t sure what to do with it all.
“It was a strange weekend,” he concluded. I'll say.
Aug. 25, 2017: “No Caller ID”
At the end of the week, Ellis tweeted that some “small” things had been happening in his apartment — but they, uh… we not actually that small. First, the cats had changed up their “Hey, let’s hang out by the door” routine; instead of gathering at midnight, they started doing it a few hours earlier.
This, admittedly, wasn’t a huge update — but then Ellis dropped a bomb: He said he’d been getting phone calls from a masked number shortly after the cats did their thing.
And it was happening every dang night.
He thought at first that maybe it was a robo-call… but then he picked up one of the calls. This is what happened he did:
(Anyone else getting some Balloon Boy vibes here?)
Aug. 28 - Sept. 11, 2017: The Pet Cam Videos
The evening of Aug. 28 — another Monday (he seems to update a lot on Mondays) — Ellis tweeted a couple of things: First, he said that he’d moved the rocking chair out of his room a few weeks prior; second, he said he was going to Japan on vacation in three weeks; and third, he wrote that he hoped maybe David would lose track of him while he was gone. After all, that was what had seemed to happen for a time after he moved to the upstairs apartment.
But he also wrote with a bigger update. In preparation for his trip, he’d gotten a pet cam so he could keep an eye on his cats while he was away. The pet cam activates whenever it detects motion; then it pings you on your phone to let you know what it saw. He tested it out during a brief weekend trip — and some of the footage was pretty disturbing:
At about the six-second mark, the green rocking chair — the one on which David had first appeared, which Ellis had subsequently moved from his bedroom to the living room — began rocking on its own.
Then, around half an hour later, he got another alert. This time, it showed this:
At the 12-second mark, a turtle shell Ellis had hanging on his wall hit the deck.
Ellis said he couldn’t account for the movement; he said it couldn’t have been the wind, as he doesn’t keep the windows open during the summer. He didn’t know what to make of it.
For what it’s worth, some followers started tweeting that it looked like a blue chair in the background of one of the videos vanished and reappeared at one point:
But that turned out just to be a trick of the light. If you brighten up the picture in which it looks like it’s “vanished,” you can still see it:
So… at least there’s that.
On Sept. 5, Ellis began a new thread with a simple, yet horrifying opening:
He went on to talk more about the pet cam: He’d been leaving it on 24-7, he said, and periodically reviewing the footage to see if it caught anything unusual — and the footage recorded on Saturday the previous weekend (Sept. 3) definitely showed some strange goings-on. First, it caught Maxwell the cat getting spooked by something:
Then it recorded Maxwell standing straight up on his hind legs over and over again:
And then it recorded footage in which it honestly looked like Maxwell is batting at something us humans can’t see:
Ellis wrote that he didn’t think Maxwell was batting at a bug; first off, he doesn’t tend to do that with bugs (“He just eats them,” Ellis wrote), and second off, Ellis noted that he’d rarely seen bugs make their way into his apartment. “Something spooked him,” he wrote.
The kicker, though, was actually back in that first video — and Ellis’ Twitter followers spotted it pretty quickly: At around the 18-second mark, a green glass jar sitting on the coffee table moved of its own accord.
It’s worth noting that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the jar moving on its own; another Twitter user chimed in with a link discussing the physics of the whole thing:
The relevant portion is this:
When a wet glass is placed on a smooth, wet surface, a ring of water first makes a seal around the bottom edge of the glass. Then, as the glass continues toward the countertop, air that is under the glass bottom is compressed. Under ideal conditions, this small volume of pressurized air is able to support the weight of the glass. The water around the bottom edge of the glass functions as a seal to prevent the air from escaping. For a short time, the glass is floating on the surface water, and moves with almost no friction.
But, wrote Ellis, “It’s odd behavior from Maxwell, in any event. Things feel off this week. I can’t explain it.”
On Sept. 11, the pet cam caught something else: a small knitted cactus falling from that same shelf where the turtle shell hung.
David does not appear to like that shelf.
Sept. 16, 2017: Nightmares And The Return Of The Warehouse
In update that Ellis tweeted the evening of Sept. 16, he talked about a few things: weird dreams he’d had recently, including one about a severed head and others about “dark figures staring in my windows, even though I live on the second floor,” as well as another incident that involved the seemingly abandoned warehouse near his apartment.
After he had the severed head dream, Ellis went for a walk to a nearby bodega in order to clear his own head a bit. The walk to the bodega took him past the warehouse — in fact, pretty much everywhere he goes, it takes him past the warehouse — and although he hurried past it on the way there, something weird happened on the way home:
He saw a window, so he opted to — very quickly — snap a photo and GTFO.
He didn’t stop to look at the photo until he got home. When he did, this is what he saw:
You know where this is going, right? Especially after what ended up turning up in some of the other photos he’d taken?
He thought he saw David lurking by the door.
And, hey, remember when Ellis’ Twitter followers started tinkering with those Polaroids he took of his apartment and found all sorts of unsettling things in them? The same thing happened here — only a lot more so. Here’s some of what they found:
Is it possible that all of this could be chalked up to pareidolia and/or Photoshopping? Absolutely. Does that stop it from being eerie AF? Not one bit.
Sept. 22 - Oct. 5, 2017: Adam In Japan
Not much happened over the next few weeks; after Ellis left for his trip, he mostly stayed off Twitter. He did post this cute and somewhat tongue-in-cheek photo from a shrine he visited while he was away:
But on his last full day in the country, he stumbled across something… unnerving:
At first, it just looked like a statue. But when he looked closer at one portion of it…
… Ellis found a deadringer for David.
The statue is called “Mori-no-uta,” or “Song of the Forest.” Located in Nakajima Park in Sapporo, it’s a work by Japanese artist Takeo Yamauchi. I suspect its resemblance to David is a coincidence, but the fact that it looks so much like Ellis’ original drawing of David is pretty spooky.
Oct. 6 - 14, 2017: Electrical Issues And More Peephole Photos
It’s at about this point that Ellis’ updates began to slow down a bit; he started posting about once every week-and-a-half to two weeks instead of every few days. Each one is fairly elaborate, though, so when there’s an update, it’s an update. In the middle of October, he told us about some issues he’d been having with the electricity in his apartment — light bulbs burning out with a shocking degree of frequency, an LED backlight strip that plugged into his TV turning off and on of its own volition before dying entirely, etc.
After the backlight incident, which happened in the wee hours of the morning, Ellis couldn’t get back to sleep, so he went to a 24-hour diner near his apartment, had some eggs, and then went home to shower and get ready for the day before heading into work early.
While he was completing his morning ablutions, he said he started hearing some weird scratching noises outside his front door. After everything that had happened so far, he couldn’t bring himself to actually look through the peephole — so instead, he just held his phone up to it and snapped a picture. Here’s what he saw when he looked at the photo:
Do you see it?
Looks like going away for a few weeks didn’t dissuade David, after all.
“I think maybe it's time to get someone else involved. It's obvious this isn't going to stop until I do something,” Ellis concluded. “I'm just not sure what that is yet. I'll let you all know when I figure it out.”
Oct. 15 - 26, 2017: The Cleansing, The Hearse, And The Figure On The Rooftop
After his last update, Ellis had a friend perform a cleansing ritual in his apartment, which seemed to help somewhat, according to the tweets above. Things got weird again fairly quickly, however. First, remember the warehouse? The one near Ellis’ apartment that keeps popping up time and time again? Well, on his way to work one day, he said that he saw it open again — and this time, there was something in it: a hearse. Just, y’know, parked all casual-like in a space that was once devoted to fixing food carts.
For what it’s worth, I played around with the photo a bit, but I didn’t see anything weird in it — no faces or other odd figures — and it doesn’t seem like anyone else on Twitter did, either, so it might just have been a coincidence. (It was the Halloween season, after all; maybe it was a prop being stored for a haunted house or something like that.)
But the next part of the update doesn’t seem at all like a coincidence. Ellis wrote that on the evening of Oct. 25, he was heading into the kitchen to grab a beer from the fridge when he spotted something frightening out the window: A person, standing on the roof opposite his apartment, staring at him. Ellis dropped to the ground, grabbed his phone, and took a photo through the window:
Here’s the brightened-up version of that photo:
Alas, though, that’s the only photo Ellis managed to get; when he tried to take another, he found that the figure had vanished:
But that, it turned out, was just a prelude to the next set of photos.
Nov. 5, 2017: Photographic Evidence
The next update came on Nov. 6. In it, Ellis wrote that he’d had a dream the previous night (Nov. 5, for those keeping track) — a dream quite similar to the very first one about David he had way back when. As in that previous dream, in this one, Ellis was lying in bed while David appeared on a chair nearby. This time, though, Ellis wasn’t quite as paralyzed as he had been the first time round; this time, he could move his hands a bit. So, when David began to approach, Ellis grabbed his phone (in the dream, that is) and started to take some pictures. He woke up right as David reached his bed and began to crawl up it.
Being able to move in the dream wasn’t the only thing that was different this time, though. When Ellis looked at the camera roll on his phone, he saw dozens of photos that had been taken in the dark the night before; apparently he wasn't just taking pictures in the dream, but also in real life. These three images were of particular note:
Guess what happens when you brighten these suckers up?
Well, hi there, David.
Since these photos are obviously not the result of pareidolia, at this point, it became crystal clear that there were only two options for what was going on: Either Ellis was spinning one hell of a yarn, complete with manufactured photos… or he was actually being hunted by an angry child ghost. It was up to readers to decide which explanation they believed.
Nov. 6 - 16, 2017: The Crawlspace, Part 1
For anyone who was concerned after the last update that David had finally gotten Ellis, however, we received good news on Nov. 16: The ghost hadn’t won just yet. What’s more, Ellis made a discovery about his apartment building that might just be a game changer.
Ellis had previously established that his apartment building was actually a house that had been converted into something kind of like a duplex. When he first encountered David, he was living in the first floor unit; by the time everything really started to ramp up, he’d moved to the second floor unit. He believed the building looked something like this:
But, while he was tweeting the previous update, he said that he had started hearing some loud thudding noises coming from above his apartment — which meant that his previous understanding of the building was incorrect. There was, he noted, “no way to access the roof”; nor was the sound the banging of old pipes. “It was distinctly the sound of something falling to the floor,” he wrote. “My building is old and makes lots of noises, but this was a new sound and it startled me.”
And hey, guess what he found when he went out into the hallway outside his apartment to investigate?
Yep. A hatch. A creepy hatch. In the ceiling.
It appeared to be pretty high up there, too.
What’s more, its dimensions raised some… questions about the building:
It seemed probable that hatch led to a crawlspace directly above Ellis’ apartment — which, in turn, meant that the layout of the building actually looks like this:
What was in that three feet of space? Was it a crawlspace directly above Ellis’ apartment? He wasn’t sure, but he ordered a telescoping pole on Amazon so he could poke at the hatch from the stairs and check it out a bit later. And by “later,” I mean “after Thanksgiving.”
Nov. 24 - 28, 2017: The Crawlspace, Part 2
The pole, of course, didn’t arrive until after Ellis had left town for the holiday, so he didn’t get the package until he came home the evening of Friday, Nov. 24. Originally, he’d intended to examine the hatch on Saturday morning — but on Friday night, he said experienced some really terrifying sounds coming from above his apartment:
What’s more, when he was leaving to go get that bagel he had been planning to get, he noticed some “debris” on the stairs — right below the hatch. This prompted him to forget about the bagel, run back into his apartment, and get the telescoping pole. He took a video of what happened when he used the pole to nudge open the hatch:
This is what fell out:
That is a small child's shoe, and it is creepy AF. So, suitably freaked out, Ellis did what I would argue he should have done the moment he discovered the hatch: He called his landlord. The landlord brought a ladder, used it to open the hatch, looked around, and found… nothing.
Or at least, it seemed like nothing — at first. Spoiler: There was definitely something up there.
The thing he handed Ellis turned out to be an antique marble — a green one (there's that motif again; green like the rocking chair, green like the chair in the warehouse, green like the jar, and green like the turtle shell and the cactus):
I looked into the marble in more detail over here (click through to see the fruits of my labor), but the basic gist is this: Back when glass marbles were made by hand, rather than by machine, big ol’ scissors were used to cut them off of long strips of molten glass. The little bump on the top of the marble, which marks where the marble was cut, is called a pontil. We can probably date the marble Ellis’ landlord found to around the turn of the century.
Ellis ended the thread by saying that he was keeping the marble and the shoe on his dresser. I, for one, believe that to be A Bad Move, but, I mean, you do you, Adam.
Nov. 28 - 29, 2017: Will The “Real” Dear David Please Stand Up?
Following the Hatch Incident, a few of Ellis’ followers theorized that they may have identified the “real” Dear David: An anonymous murder victim from 1921 known as “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” Fauntleroy — who was named for the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, due to his very fine clothing — was a boy estimated to be between the ages of 5 and 7 years old who was found dead in a pond near the O’Laughlin Quarry in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1921. He had died after being struck on the head with a blunt object — a murder which remains unsolved to this very day.
The Twitter users who made the connection between Fauntleroy and David cited a few similarities as evidence: One, Fauntleroy was wearing leather shoes, and Ellis had just found a small leather shoe in is apartment; and two, a theory about Fauntleroy posited that he may have been kidnapped from a wealthy family, and there were a lot of wealthy families in New York at the time. Personally, I don’t think the evidence is strong enough to suggest that David is Fauntleroy for reasons I laid out here (click through); it’s still an interesting theory, though, so check it out if you feel so inclined. (For what it's worth, Ellis hasn’t commented on it either way.)
Nov. 29 - Dec. 12, 2017: While You Were Sleeping
Ellis didn’t post another update for two weeks, largely because he said he didn’t have anything of note to report. He wasn’t sleeping well, and he generally didn’t feel great, but nothing major had occurred… until Dec. 6. That night, Ellis wrote, he “woke up with a start and felt something strange, like something had just been watching me.” There was no one there when he turned on the light, of course, but he said he was experiencing the “tangible feeling of... badness” he's learned to associate with David.
After a couple of nights of this — waking up suddenly, feeling like he was being watched — Ellis downloaded an app on his phone that made it take photos automatically every 60 seconds and set it up on his bookcase. He left both it and a light on while he slept — and in the morning, he claimed he found some really disturbing pictures on his camera roll.
Most of the pictures were just of him sleeping in the empty room, but right toward the end, his phone snapped the following images:
What’s more, one Twitter follower strung the photos together into a GIF and discovered that David may have moved the camera in that last shot:
Ellis left it on this note:
And he left town for the holidays on Dec. 20:
And as his next update suggests, the holidays... were not as relaxing as he may have been hoping they'd be.
Dec. 20 - Dec. 26: Home For The Holidays
I'll cut right to the chase: David actually followed Ellis home to Montana, where he went to spend Christmas with family.
Not cool, David. You don't just crash someone's holiday.
Although Ellis noted that he actually felt better — "less tired, less foggy" — for the first couple of days in Montana, he quickly started to feel off again, which soon led to him feeling like there was something lurking outside the bathroom window every night. The first time he got that feeling, he discovered animal tracks outside the next day:
But the second time, he discovered human tracks:
Tiny ones. Child-sized ones. David-sized ones.
It appears that Ellis' apartment isn't haunted; rather, Ellis himself is.
Dec. 27, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018: Not-So-Happy New Year
In the same update, Ellis also detailed what happened to him over New Years'. He returned to New York the day after Christmas, still feeling watched, still "waking up right before something happens." Although he'd started using the app from the Dec. 12 update again, the pictures never showed anything out of the ordinary; personally, that's led me to wonder whether David has figured out how to avoid the camera.
On Jan. 1, Ellis dreamed about David again — a dream that ended with this horrifying moment:
And, hey, guess what Ellis saw when he grabbed his phone and looked at the camera roll?
Here's that photo brightened up:
Yep. The picture showed David plummeting from the ceiling, right on top of Ellis — just like the dream (which may not have been a dream after all) he had just had.
Jan. 13 - 14, 2018: The Instagram Possession
In a thread begun the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 16, Ellis brought a startling development to our attention: David had seemingly invaded his Instagram account, too. But that’s not all that was going on; the possibility that Ellis either has already been or will shortly be possessed by David suddenly appeared on the table, too.
Ellis actually began the update by saying that things had been better recently than they had previously been; he was sleeping through the night again and hadn’t been plagued by any weird dreams. He did, however, observe that he had started to “lose time” periodically — “Like I'll look up at the clock and realize a whole hour has gone by and I don't remember any of it,” he wrote — and that he had developed a habit of thinking a friend had said something that he had missed, only to find upon asking them about it that they hadn’t said anything at all.
More disturbing than that, though, was this: The previous Saturday (Jan. 13), he had gone to brunch with a friend and subsequently posted some photos from the morning on his Instagram Story (as seen up top here). The next day (Jan. 14), he woke up to find many more notifications in his Twitter mentions than usual, all of which were asking him what was going on with the aforementioned Story. His followers had taken screenshots of the Story in question; here’s what they looked like:
Ellis had no idea what had happened to that photo. He said it had looked fine when he posted it the previous day, but now? Not so much. In fact, if examined closely, the photo seemed to show David’s face superimposed on top of Ellis’.
Many users took that as a sign that David was actually possessing Ellis:
And, indeed, the signs — losing time, hearing things, etc. — are consistent with what folks who believe in demonic possession believe to be indications of a possession in action.
Ellis left it here:
As some followers pointed out, we could be in for an… interesting time soon:
Jan. 27 - 28, 2018: The Mysterious Cat Video
By the end of January, it had been quite some time since we’d seen Ellis’ cats behaving oddly. The last update that centered around bizarre pet behavior occurred on Sept. 5 — the videos in which Maxwell batted at something invisible in the living room while a green glass jar slid seemingly on its own across the coffee table. On Oct. 26, when Ellis showed us the pictures of someone watching him from the roof across from his apartment, he noted that the cats had stopped gathering at the door each night, but we hadn't heard much else.
But then, in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 28, the video seen here appeared on Ellis’ Twitter feed.
In it, Maxwell — the cat who seems to be the most sensitive to whatever is going on in Ellis’ apartment (he’s got two cats, remember; Maxwell is the white one with tabby patches, while Pepper is solid black with yellow eyes) — is sitting in front of a door, meowing the same way he did way back when this whole thing started. It’s not totally clear where in Ellis’ apartment we are; it’s probably his living room, though, and Maxwell is probably meowing at the front door. (We can make these assumptions based on the color of the walls — yellow, like all the living room shots we've seen throughout the saga — and the fact that there seems to be a small table with dark legs right by the door which looks a lot the table seen in this video from September.) The cat does this for around 30 seconds, although towards the end of the video, he turns around and faces the camera while continuing to meow. And then the video abruptly ends.
Maxwell’s behavior wasn’t the weirdest part about the video, though. That honor went to the angle from it was shot: From the floor, with something large and undefinable in the foreground on the left-hand side.
Also, there was no thread accompanying the video, making for another huge departure from Ellis’ usual format. And, if you freeze the video on the last frame and enhance the contrast… this emerges:
David’s face appears to be superimposed over the cat.
Put all of these elements together, and — especially in light of the previous update — many of Ellis’ followers came to one conclusion, and one conclusion alone:
Ellis may have finally been possessed by David.
Feb. 3, 2018: "Everything Is Fine"
That's all there was to Ellis' next update: Just those three words. You'll note that the tweet itself is also a departure from his usual style; Ellis is typically good about using capital letters, punctuation, and correct grammar, but here, we're looking at something written in all lowercase letters, with no punctuation, and with a weird, extra space in between two of the words.
Everything is... probably not fine.
Feb. 6, 2018: A Personal Update... Or Is It?
Something puzzling happened just a few days after the "everything is fine" tweet: Ellis appeared to break character, posting a personal announcement. The announcement resumed the threaded format he'd used for most of the Dear David story, although it was much shorter than usual — just three tweets long. In it, he restated something he'd previously said on Instagram a few weeks earlier: that he had left his full-time position at BuzzFeed in order to put his focus on his own projects.
Followers weren't sure whether the announcement was part of the story or not; however, the third tweet in the threat arguably tipped the scale towards the "Yes, it's part of the story" side: There was a strange, extra space between the words "feel" and "good."
There was also a strange, extra space between the words "is" and "fine" in the "everything is fine" update from Feb. 3.
The coincidence... didn't actually seem coincidental.
Feb. 13 - 14, 2018: "Everything Will Be Like It Was Before"
The plot thickened again the evening of Feb. 13 into Feb. 14. A tweet appeared on Ellis' timeline that, like the "everything is fine" tweet, lacked the capitalization and punctuation Ellis himself typically uses when he writes; also, it included an emoticon — another oddity, since Ellis hasn't used anything resembling an emoticon or emoji in his previous threads. This tweeted seemed to strengthen the idea that David had possessed Ellis, or at the very least, taken over his Twitter account.
Another video quite similar to the one from Jan. 28 appeared, too. Again, it was shot from a low angle, and again, it showed Maxwell meowing plaintively at Ellis' front door. A strange object was still positioned in the foreground, although this time, we could sort of make out what it was: It appeared to be a nylon, drawstring bag.
Both this video and the Jan. 28 one were posted just after midnight — that is, right around the time that Ellis said his cats started acting up every night way back at the beginning of the story.
June 6, 2018: "The Untitled Dear David Project"
After those videos, the story seemed to stall — so much so that it looked like it had ended up completely. About a month after the last February video, Ellis tweeted that he was alive and well and that things had just been quiet; his Twitter feed also returned to normal, featuring comics, photographs, and messages unconnected to the ghost story.
Ellis also told TheWrap that what he's been experiencing is absolutely real. Not everyone on Twitter believes him, but, well... do with that what you will. Whatever the case, it's clear that Dear David isn't quite finished with Ellis — or the rest of us — just yet.
This post will be updated as the story continues, so stay tuned for the next installment!
Additional reporting by Nina Kahn.