The Story Of "Dear David," Twitter's Infamous Child Ghost, Has Only Gotten Creepier

So, hey, remember Dear David, Twitter’s favorite child ghost who may or may not be trying to kill illustrator and writer Adam Ellis? It’s been a few weeks since he first arrived on the scene, but his story isn’t showing signs of getting resolved anytime soon. In fact, updates on “Dear David” are freakier than ever, regardless as to whether you actually believe in ghosts or not.

To recap, it all began several months ago when Ellis began dreaming of a strange boy with a misshapen head. A girl in a later dream told him that the boy was called Dear David; when speaking with Dear David in yet another dream later on, Ellis learned that he had been killed in an accident in a store. However, during this same dream, Ellis made the mistake of asking Dear David three questions instead of the two recommended by the girl — and after that, it started to look like the “ghost” (if that’s what it is) had made its way out of the dream world and was stalking Ellis in real life.

When we last checked in with Ellis, he had observed somebizarre behavior from his cats and taken some pictures of the hallway right outsidehis front door that looked like they might have something indistinct lurking withinthem. He found the photos especially terrifying; on Aug. 9, he left it at this:

Bustle’s Madeleine Aggeler spoke with Ellis shortly after he tweeted those photos to see what he planned to do next. He said at the time that he had started using “a sleep recorder at night to see if it captures anything,” but that he hadn’t yet sought out the help of a medium or other spiritual guide. “I’ve had probably 100 people DM me either claiming to be mediums or recommending mediums they know. A few people are also trying to get me in touch with their priests,” he said. “It’s hard to tell who’s serious and who’s just trying to get in on this ‘game’ they think I’m playing. But no, I haven’t involved a medium yet. In the movies, the usually just piss the ghost off, so I’m trying to take my time before making any decisions.” He also said that he doesn’t yet have the desire to make his story a book or a movie because “I feel like I’m in the middle of something I don’t understand yet.”

In the weeks since, Ellis has continued to document the strange goings-on in his apartment and post them on Twitter; he’s also compiled the tweets into a Storify, although sometimes it takes him a little while to update the Storify with the latest tweets. (Right now, for example, the last tweet in the Storify is dated Aug. 15, while the latest related tweet in his actual Twitter feed is from Aug. 28.) Here are the highlights of what’s been happening:

The Sleep App Recordings

Remember that sleep recorder Ellis mentioned he was starting to use? On Aug. 11, he posted a couple of strange recordings the app had captured. Not all of the 33 recordings are useful; in fact, he noted that “most of them are pretty vague,” having recorded things like “passing cars and the like.” There were three, however, that Ellis considered of interest:

On their own, they’re not that remarkable; remember, Ellis has cats, and cats tend to move around a lot at night. I’ve caught some pretty weird-sounding stuff on my own sleep app which turned out to be my cats batting at the blinds and whatnot, so, y’know, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the cats might be responsible for some of what Ellis’ recorder caught. Make note of the static, though — that one will be important later on.

The Face In The Background

On Aug. 12, Ellis left town for the weekend. He posted this selfie as he headed out the door. But is there… something else… there? This Twitter user thinks so:

The prevailing belief is that it looks kind of like Ellis’ illustration of what Dear David looked like the first time he dreamed about him:


The Polaroids

After that weekend trip (or maybe during it), Ellis bought a Fujifilm Instax camera — one of those cute little devices that have brought Polaroids back into vogue. The first couple of photos he took with it, which he posted on Aug. 14, didn’t turn up anything weird; they’re just shots of his apartment, one of which included the rocking chair in which Dear David first appeared. (As Ellis described it to Madeleine Aggeler, "It's not a spooky rocking chair. It's a cute modern rocking chair.") But then he took a picture of the hallway outside his front door — the door at which the cats have been gathering every night around midnight — and, well…

It wasn’t just the result of Ellis accidentally covering the lens with his finger, either; here’s how doing just that compares with the black hallway photo:

It happened over and over again — every time he took a photo of the hallway, the portion of the photo depicting the hallway developed black:

And when a couple of eagle-eyed Twitter users took a closer look at the finger-on-lens comparison photo, they spotted what looks like another face hovering in the darkness just above the Polaroid on the left:

Is it the same face as the one that appeared in Ellis’ selfie? Could be.

More Dreams

On the recommendation of pretty much everyone who’s been following the story on Twitter, Ellis burned sage in an attempt to cleanse his apartment of… whatever the heck is in there. (Sage has long been purported by many cultures and belief systems to be an effective way of cleansing your space, spiritually speaking.)

It… did not go as planned. After he burned the sage, Ellis dreamed about Dear David for the first time in ages:


Those dreams took place about six days apart — but the weirdest bit is what followed the second dream. That morning, Ellis went to get coffee at a shop in his neighborhood he’s been going to for years. The route he takes passes by a food cart repair depot he wrote is “always INCREDIBLY busy, especially on weekends.” That day, though? It looked like this:

And when he poked his head inside (because if you pass by a place that's usually bustling and is suddenly empty, that is obviously what you do), he saw this:

Maybe it’s a coincidence. But it’s still weird — dreaming of an empty warehouse, passing by an empty warehouse, finding a single chair in it the same color as the chair on which Dear David first appeared… it’s A Lot.

The Phone Calls

But wait! There’s more! On Aug. 25, Ellis observed that his cats had changed up their gathering-by-the-door routine: Instead of hovering around it at midnight every night, they started doing it at around 10 p.m. When they do this, they cry for about 15 minutes, “and then wander off as if nothing’s wrong.”

Part of the routine, though, doesn’t involve the cats; it involves Ellis’ phone. After the cats finish their door crying schtick, his phone now rings at around 10:30 p.m. That’s his call history up there.

Reasonably, Ellis thought it might be a telemarketer or robocall, so in an effort to get the calls to stop, he picked up the phone once… and he heard this:

Remember the static from the sleep app recordings? This is why I told you to keep it in mind. What’s more, Ellis had earlier observed that his sleep recorder has developed a habit of recording static at around 3 a.m. most nights.

But the static wasn’t the only thing Ellis heard when he picked up the phone — he stayed on the line. And then this happened:

After that, he turned on all the lights and watched TV untilthe sun came up. And, I mean, fair — it would be, uh, a little tough to get tosleep after experiencing something like that. It’s true that it could have beena crank call, but it’s still full of NOPE.

The Pet Cam

Ellis moved the green rocking chair out of his bedroom and into the living room. (Honestly, I’m surprised it took him this long to do that, but maybe that’s just me.) He also bought a pet cam — not specifically for ghost-hunting, but it’s turning out to be more useful than you’d think for that purpose. You see, Ellis is going on vacation to Japan in a couple of weeks; he got the pet cam so he can keep an eye on his cats while he’s gone. It runs 24/7, and it pings your phone whenever it detects motion or sound. While he was testing it out over the weekend, though, two of those pings were… not the cats. Here’s what he saw after he got the first ping, which he posted on Aug. 28:

And here’s what he saw after he got the second one:

The item that falls from the wall at around the 11-second mark is a turtle shell. He noted that neither case could be explained by wind or a breeze; he keeps the windows shut and the AC on during the summer.

So: What Now?

And that’s where we’re at now. Are there reasonable explanations for a lot of what’s been going on? Yes. The Polaroids could be the result of user error (if the brightness dial isn’t set to the right setting on Instax cameras, your film could develop black or blank); the “faces” in all those pictures might be a result of humans’ tendency to look for and find patterns where there are none (the phenomenon is called pareidolia); the phone calls could be other people pranking Ellis; heck, the whole thing could even be a well-constructed hoax, although Ellis maintains that it’s all real.

As we wait for the next part of the tale to unfold, the only thing that’s left is for us to be our own judges. If you believe in ghosts, maybe we are looking at a haunting.If you don’t, maybe we’re looking at a series of odd but explainable occurrences which our brains are trying to make sense of by weaving a story linking them all together. Either way, though, it’s one heck of a story — and we’ll be with it every step of the way.

Follow Ellis on Twitter here, and keep up with the Storify here.