Just over eleven years ago, Insidious entered our lives as one of the most terrifying films on the big screen, at least it would be for my friends and I. Yet, it was more than just the shrill violins and Darth Maul’s evil cousin that would haunt us for years to come; it was everything else that happened during that night in Dover, Massachusetts.
There were five of us that had gone to see the movie, and, just as every other teenager at the time, we had spent time at the mall aimlessly wandering around thinking we were the coolest kids on the block. On the ride home, we hit a Ben and Jerry’s, grabbed some cones, and jammed to music way too loud and obnoxious.
It was late, almost midnight, as we drove through the forest that is Dover. We decided to play a (really dumb) driving game. Street lights are few and far between on the long and winding streets of Dover, and we thought it would be a great test of courage to switch off our headlights and see how far we could drive before turning them back on. Needless to say, it was dangerous, and should not have been done, but we were young (I was nineteen at the time), and thought we were invincible.
We only managed a few rounds, each time turning the lights off for two or three seconds at a time, but as we passed one street light close to my friend's home, we would soon discover something insidious had followed us home.
I turned the headlights back on, and right there running across the road and into the trees was something most definitely larger than your average dog, but smaller than a deer. It darted away quickly, none of us getting a good look at it, but all screaming, terrified of what it was. I raced us to my buddies house, launching the car into his family’s garage, and running manacly into his home.
Now, his home had a feature, where at eleven P.M. all the lights in the home would turn off so as to save on electricity. His mother was home (asleep in bed), and all the lights were off, but as we darted up to the second floor to the playroom above the garage, we turned on every light we could, but also closed every door on our way.
The play room was large, with one solid wall where the door was, as well as the TV, but the other three walls were covered completely with windows. We quickly shut all the shades and huddled in the room, throwing on the TV as background noise, thinking maybe this would help calm us down.
A few minutes passed, and finally we were brave enough to look through the shades back out into the streets. My friend lived in essentially a small mansion, on a corner lot of about 5 acres. His house was located close to the street (most of the land was behind and to the side of his home) and as we gazed out through the shades and towards the crossroads where a single street light illuminated the center of the intersection, we saw it. It sat directly in the center of the cone of light, right there on its hind legs, staring directly at us.
The seconds felt like hours as we dared not look away, and suddenly it took off towards the home, becoming lost in the darkness of the night. Being the the brave teens that we were, we flooded into my friend’s mother’s room, waking her up with our screams and telling her the story and begging her to call someone, anyone to help.
But, thinking we were pranking her (we did that from time to time) she walked out into the driveway, lights illuminating her property, and not a single trace of the creature was seen or heard.
We couldn’t believe it, and we tried desperately to stay up all night in case it came back. As the night moved forward, most of us had fallen asleep, and around three am, I told my friend to wait while I went to the bathroom before he fell asleep.
I entered the hallway, and all the lights had been turned off (I figured his mother had done so as she made her way back to bed). As I made it to the first doorway to the left, I noticed the next one was slightly ajar, and the lights, though dim, were lit.
I ran back to the playroom and told my friend about it, and we slid the couch in front of the door that night. The single room with the light on was actually the entrance to the attic, which he claimed was always kept locked unless they needed to go up there to grab whatever they needed from storage.
April 11, 2011 is still the scariest night of my life, and I doubt any other night will ever be as terrifying for me. We still cannot fathom what had chased us that night. Perhaps it was just someone’s large dog that had gotten out, or maybe just a really aggressive deer. Or perhaps, it was the fabled Dover Demon, coming out from hiding almost thirty four years later to the day.