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The Shadow


Heard the shadow knows. It's a shadow. It knows nothing.

Quote: Migdoel Torres


Before I get to the story, a little of where this true story came from. I have 4 sisters in total, two of whom I met when I was like 6 for one day. They were children from my father’s first wife. Both those girls are

older than I. Somehow after I met them we parted till two years ago when my son found the youngest of the two on Ancestry.com. For you nonbelievers in that DNA stuff, well it’s real.

So after 58 years, I met Green Eyes, not her real name but I guess you can guess why I call her that. After telling her the stories about our father and stories that petrified me as a child she told me a few stories

of what happened to her growing up. Things were so scary that it petrified her so much that she lost the use of her legs for a week. But I digress.


Unfortunately and upsetting to me, she grew up in an orphanage most of her young life after bouncing from relative to relative. When she was nine something happened to her that still affects her till this day.

On this particular moonlit night as she was staring out the window from the bed she was assigned to. The bed that was the fourth from the window. There were sixteen beds in all with 8 on each side, hers was the

fourth from the window. She remembers everyone being asleep that night.


As she stared out the window from her bed, she noticed a dark shadow appear from the window that had been illuminated by the moon's rays. She stared at it, trying to make out what she was looking at.

She sat up on the bed to get a better look. She noticed that somehow she could see through this shadow as if nothing was wearing a long hooded sheer gown and to make matters worse she was holding a pitchfork with her

left hand. All of a sudden it moved through and passed the window and toward her. She panicked and slipped back into the bed and covered herself with the blanket. As she pulled the cover of her head she saw the shadow

by the foot of her bed, pitchfork and all. She wanted to scream but the fear didn’t let her.

The shadow was like over five feet tall and looked taller as it floated up and down at the foot of her bed. All of a sudden the shadow spoke to her, “You’re the child of the universe!” And it started to leave

and slowly dissipate as it went back the way it came.


My sister was finally able to scream and she woke up all the kids. The nuns of the orphanage heard her and came running in. They consoled her the best they could as she was now hysterical. She kept repeating to

them what she saw. The nuns chucked it off to a nightmare that she had and sort of convinced her that maybe it was just a nightmare. At least doubt was put in her head but she knew deep inside that was no nightmare.

Four years went by and she was staying with her aunt, uncle, and cousin in a new home. The family had taken her in a couple of years earlier.


On this particular day, the whole family and some friends were making favors for a wedding that wasn’t too far away. The aunt was making dolls and dressing them with pieces of her wedding dress. The dolls were

beautiful. Well, my mischievous sister decided to rip the head off the bride's doll and her younger cousin squealed at her. Her aunt was livid and sent to her room. It was about 4 pm she recalls, very early in the day.

So huffing and puffing she went to her room murmuring under her breath, “What’s the big deal? All you have to do is pop the head back on.”

So as everyone stood making favors downstairs she went into her room without even closing the door and jumped on her bed. She knew she wasn’t going to sleep but she would try. As she punched her pillow more out of

anger more than it was to fluff it, she felt a cold chill in the air. She looked at the door and noticed the figure she had seen as a child years earlier.


The room wasn’t dark since it wasn’t even evening yet. Still there in front of her was a spirit, specter, phantom, wraith, soul, or whatever you want to call it, but in her eyes it was the same shadow she had seen at

the orphanage.

The shadow floated toward her as she hid under the covers in fear. Trembling inside and scared to yell, she hoped the shadow in their sheer hooded gown, holding the pitchfork would go away. But to make matters worse

the shadow again repeated what it had told her when she was nine, “You’re a child of the universe!”

Before the specter could finish talking, my sister jumped out of her bed and out the door. She ran into the hallway and saw no one there to help her. She saw her aunt’s bedroom door open and ran inside and hid behind

the door without closing it. The door was wide open and she hoped that the shadow would not follow her or see where she was hiding.

As she stood there frozen and trying not to breathe, she saw the shadow floating into the room. Upon seeing it she somehow screamed at the top of her lungs. That brought everyone that was downstairs running up. It also

made the specter vanish.


The family all ran straight into her room only to see she wasn’t there. They called her name out in a worrying tone, but she couldn’t answer, she was petrified. They scattered into the other rooms and soon they found

her in a catatonic state in the master bedroom. The uncle picked her up when he saw she couldn’t walk and placed her on their bed. The only words she remembers repeating were, “A person. A person.”

Her family and friends called the police and checked the house from top to bottom. A doctor was called because my sister was paralyzed. The doctor ruled out polio since although that was the disease running rampant

back then, he said it couldn’t be polio because she had never shown any symptoms of the disease. The doctor told her family that something had scared her to the point of paralysis, but that it would subside with time

and that’s what happened.

Days later she was able to move and speak. When she told her family what had happened, her family being devoted Italian Catholics and very superstitious, panicked and that another incident that had happened

weeks earlier about two eggs disappearing and then appearing once again in the same place, made her aunt call her mother and told her to come get her daughter. This is when she first found out who her real mother was.

But that’s another story.


Now I wanted to know what the specter told her meant and I tried to look it up. All I found was a quote written by Max Ehrmann with reads:

You are a child of the universe, no less then the trees and the stars: you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

P.S. Also see Max Ehemann’s poem “Desiderata” touching and connected to the quote.

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