There is nothing I love more than a good ghost story. And hey, guess what? Today, the internet is happy to oblige. Adam Ellis’ Twitter thread about his supposedly haunted apartment is absolutely required reading for anyone who’s into weird, spooky stuff, whether or not it’s “real.” And judging from the audience response to it, there are pleeeeenty of folks out there who are in fact into weird, spooky stuff. Since Aug. 7 at 11:35 a.m. — when Ellis sent out the first tweet of the tale — the original thread has been retweeted almost 23,000 times and liked more than 30,000 times as of this writing. I’m willing to bet that it’s going to rack up plenty more shares, too. The story, you see, is ongoing.
Ellis is an illustrator and author. He’s created work for BuzzFeed, and he’s one of the hosts of the podcast Better Friendship Through Podcasting. He’s also apparently got a book scheduled to come out in 2018, according to his Twitter bio, so if you dig his stuff, stay tuned for that.
Oh, and he maybe lives in a haunted apartment — although honestly, I’m kind of starting to wonder if it’s Ellis himself that’s haunted, rather than his home. He’s calling the ghost Dear David (for reasons that will become clear shortly), and the spirit does not appear to be a benign one.
Ellis’ tale starts simply enough:
So, my apartment is currently being haunted by the ghost of a dead child and he's trying to kill me. (thread)— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 7, 2017
And by “simply,” I mean:
The supposed ghost made his first appearance in Ellis’ dreams, but it looks like he may have found his way into the real world — not unlike a certain iconic villain I could name…
In any event, the wee ghostie initially made his presence known while Ellis was experiencing an episode of sleep paralysis. It appeared to be a small boy with a misshapen head seated in a rocking chair Ellis had near his bed. After a time, the boy got out of the chair and started “shambling” toward the bed. Ellis woke up (screaming, he said) right before the boy reached the bed.
This is what Ellis said he looked like:
He had a huge misshapen head that was dented on one side. I did my best to draw it: pic.twitter.com/AJizlw7qXe— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 7, 2017
It’s not unusual for an experience like this to occur during sleep paralysis. In fact, it’s believed that many ghost sightings, alien abductions, and other things of that ilk might actually be the result of the disorder. As Bustle’s Claire Warner described it in 2016:
Later, though, Ellis has a few more dreams. And this is where it starts to get… weird.
First, he dreamed this:
I was like, "Who?" And she said, "Dear David. You saw him."— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 7, 2017
The girl told him that “Dear David” is dead and only reveals himself at midnight. If you say “Dear David,” you can ask him two questions — but the girl cautioned Ellis to never ask three questions. Doing so will apparently result in David killing you.
So the next time Ellis dreamed about David, he asked a few questions: How he died (“An accident in a store”) and what happened in the store (“A shelf was pushed on my head”). But then he said this:
I realize that I've asked a third question, which I'm not supposed to do. At that point, I wake up, absolutely terrified.— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 7, 2017
Ellis did some digging after that, but couldn’t find any information about a boy named David dying in an accident at a store in his city. Some time went by, Ellis moved into the apartment above the one he had experienced all the Dear David stuff in, and he forgot about the ghost.
But then… this:
For the past 4 nights, my cats gather at the front door at exactly midnight & just stare at it, almost like something is on the other side. pic.twitter.com/Y8nnVLv6b4— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 7, 2017
Apparently Ellis’ cats keep doing this at midnight on the dot every night. When he goes to look out the peephole, he’s positive that he sees movement on the other side, but when he opens the door, there’s no one there. He’s taken a few photos, though:
Is it just me or is is there something in the first photo, right where the bannister meets the shelves? Hiding on the stairs. pic.twitter.com/s1g9bRzOPj— ˗ˏˋ ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴇʟʟɪs ˊˎ˗ (@moby_dickhead) August 9, 2017
Remember how I said I wonder whether it’s Ellis, not the apartment, that’s haunted? This is why. He moved, and it’s still happening.
As of last night (technically the wee hours of this morning), he left his story here:
Now, here is where I think it’s worth noting that, by and large, when people think they see ghosts, they’re not actually seeing ghosts. It’s more likely that they've been exposed to infrasound, are surrounded by toxic mold, or are experiencing sleep paralysis. Additionally, this stuff is really, really easy to fake. I mean, consider how easy it was to create freaky, paranormal-looking images way back during the Victorian era, when Spiritualism was at its height. Then consider how many more tools we have available to accomplish even more sophisticated examples of “spirit photography” now, and, well… I’m not saying that the story is necessarily a hoax, but it’s worth keeping all of that in mind.
Folks on Twitter are having a wide range of reactions, but at least the majority of them seem to be aimed at assuring Ellis that he's not alone, whether or not they believe in ghosts themselves.
Some are concerned for his health in a very real way:
This is scary AF, have you checked the carbon monoxide levels? I'm hoping that's it...— Candice Dayoan (@candicecd) August 7, 2017
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause "confusion," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and hallucinations are another symptom. Although for what it's worth, Joe Nickell, senior research fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, told NBC in 2009 that he's never seen a situation in which a "ghost" sighting could be chalked up to carbon-monoxide-poisoning-induced hallucinations.
Others noted that his cats' behavior might indeed be significant:
Cats were what got me. My grandma used to say if a cat was giving off signs someone's there, then someone's there even if u can't see them.— Jess Flores (@MildredPierce_) August 7, 2017
He tried to jump out at every stop, but when they got to Shiloh, he shivered in a corner of the backseat and wouldn't move. 2/2.— Abigail Strom (@AbigailStrom) August 7, 2017
Some have offered some suggestions for how Ellis might protect himself:
I would suggest putting salt at the edge of the door but you have cats. Maybe a horseshoe over the door & a blessing. Good luck.— Janan Amirah (@jananamirah) August 7, 2017
If you do sage your apartment make sure to go through with sweet grass afterward. Sage clears negative energy and sweet grass brings in good— Laura-Jane Tyers (@LJTyers) August 7, 2017
And some have suggested some less supernatural explanations for what might be going on:
My bf also just suggested that it might be a rat on a route outside your door. Could explain the cats.— Evan Scott ⚫ (@probablyup) August 7, 2017
To be honest, I'm not sure these alternatives would make me feel any better. about the situation. Maybe that's just me, though.
More than one person noted that this story would make hell of a movie:
Really, cash in dude. You already have a following that's freaked out. Plus based on a true story. Making lemons out of lemonade.— Elegance (@ElegantBW) August 7, 2017
No joke, if you die can I have the movie rights to this story?— Ben Greenberg (@Benjy_Greenberg) August 7, 2017
Carbon Monoxide-a horror film— Matthew A. Sheehan (@MatthewASheehan) August 7, 2017
Some tried to keep things light:
You should have asked if he was going to help pay rent since he's always in your house lol— YourFavoriteDad (@PopeLaFlare) August 7, 2017
I have a ghost story too! A girl I was dating suddenly stopped returning my calls, texts, unfriended me; never heard from her again. Scary.— Andrew (@AceFaceAndrew) August 8, 2017
While others had a lot of Feels about the whole thing:
I have experienced every possible human emotion while reading this.— Julie (@Buellie1208) August 7, 2017
I had no business reading this thread. My anxiety just shot thru the roof & now I gotta check for "Dear David" too. pic.twitter.com/EjJcEiv1nR— Myra B.B. Monkhouse (@Rayee_xoxo) August 7, 2017
Many told their own stories:
I grew up in a haunted house. We tried to get it smudged & the professional took one step in the house & walked away. ADVICE: make friends.— Chainsaw Skiles (@sarahskiles) August 7, 2017
In all honesty something similar used to happen to me, but it was just a man with a coat and a hat. He used to just watch me sleep.— Kiki (@kikilagringa) August 7, 2017
My best friend had a friend who lived in a house that was haunted. A ghost kid came into her room & asked "how's the weather".— Lisa Burgner (@mk3zombie) August 7, 2017
Although there were some skeptics in the house, too:
Not sure if this is legit or you are market testing a new storyline… But I'm going to follow you because this is interesting— Gridiron Dragon (@GridironDragon) August 8, 2017
But these two? They're the ones who dared to say what we're all really thinking:
Who on earth owns a rocking chair?! People who get haunted, that's who.— Adam (@SitDownDisco) August 8, 2017
I'm just going to offer that this is exactly what you should have expected putting a rocking chair at the foot of your bed.— Andrew Gatto (@AndrewGatto) August 7, 2017
Lesson #1 of how to survive a horror movie: Never bring a rocking chair into your home.
Ellis has been updating the story as he goes, so head on over to his Twitter page if you're interested in seeing how it all continues to unfold.