When I first took the job as a pest exterminator, I was told I would have my fair share of unpleasant encounters.
Nothing, however, could have prepared me for what I would discover in Susan Powell’s home one cold December morning in Utah.
It all started when I received a complaint from her husband, Josh Powell, about a persistent scraping noise that was keeping him and his wife up throughout the night. I proposed that it was a rodent and asked him if he had tried any poisonous traps, which he said wouldn’t work since the noise was coming from within their bedroom wall.
Next, I told him to check around the exterior of his house for any noticeable holes where a rodent could have slipped through, he said there were none.
Running low on options, I called the Powell’s landlord and asked him about the foundation. He mentioned that there was a hinged door that would provide access to a crawl space beneath their house. I decided to settle on the idea that it was nothing more than a curious mole who had managed to tunnel underneath the house.
I brought over several below-ground mole traps that resembled a smaller version of what fellow pest trappers like me call a bear shoe, and helped Josh set them up around the house. A few days later, Josh called me again and said the scraping hadn’t stopped, so I told him I’d come over and take a look under his house.
When I arrived, I was greeted at the door by Susan, who looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks. The bags under her eyes were as dark as her pupils. Her hair, which was neatly combed only a few days ago, now hung wild and matted like an old sticky mop. She called for Josh and I met him out back by the hinged door.
He yelled through the floor for Susan to bang on the bedroom wall, and we crawled hand and foot to the spot. I carefully analyzed the dirt as we went, but I couldn’t find any evidence of pests; instead, it looked as if it was painted. There were streaks, like brush strokes, running every which direction.
When we got to the spot, I inspected the long scratches that ran across a small portion of the wall. I had never seen scratches like this on a building’s foundation, they were surprisingly deep and left the wood slightly splintered.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to proceed, so I called my boss and sent him pictures of the engravings. He suggested that I leave a little of everything down there, so I did. I placed poison pellets along the side of the wall, I placed mole traps surrounding the area, and I even placed a bear shoe directly in front of the markings. Nothing, neither coon nor rat, was going to have an easy time getting to that wall.
I gave the Powells my phone number before taking my leave.
I answered the phone around 1 AM to a barely understandable Josh. He was speaking so fast, my still-waking up brain couldn’t process what he was saying. When he tried to explain again after a deep breath, he told me that whatever it was had stumbled into the bear trap, roared, and hit the wall with surprising force. I asked him if it had left, and he said he believed so, but that he feared for his family’s safety. I told him he would be alright, and that I would install a motion sensor camera outside his house the next day.
He sounded disappointed, but agreed and hung up.
The next day, I could see the fear in Josh’s eyes as we stood outside the hinged door. It was a face commonly seen at the showing of a horror movie. There was a slight blood trail leading from the door to a thick patch of woods that shadowed his house. We looked at each other, and crawled underneath.
The dirt inside was stained with blood, and no longer maintained the beautiful brush stoke pattern I had looked forward to seeing, instead it was thrown about viciously as if something had made a quick escape. When we got to the spot, I was shocked to see a few boards lying splintered in the dirt. Whatever the creature was, it was big—big enough to rip an entire board from the foundation.
I took photos of the mess, a small blood sample, and set up a motion censored camera over watching the hinged door, and called it a day.
Josh said he was going to take his children camping and leave for the night. Susan, for some reason, decided to stay home alone.
The next day I returned to the Powell’s house before Josh and the kids. I rang their home phone to let Susan know I was going to grab my camera and leave, but she didn’t answer, so I went and knocked on the door instead, but again, there was no answer.
On my way to the camera I passed by the hinged door, and was stopped by a strange footprint. I briefly inspected it, but it wasn’t recognizable in the least bit, and not easily describable either. I shrugged it off, and decided to peek under the house. I instantly noticed a light shining in the distance. When I got closer I noticed it was a large hole leading into their bedroom. I called Susan’s name, but I only heard silence.
Without thinking twice, I climbed through the hole and looked around. There was a wet spot on the carpet by the bed with an empty glass laying nearby, but there was nobody in the room. I walked into the hallway and saw a large streak of blood leading to the bathroom. I instantly gagged, and seriously reconsidered just taking my camera and my leave, but curiosity gave me the strength to cautiously tread further. When I was about 5 feet from the bathroom, a voice spoke to me.
“No come in here.” The voice said. My body froze, as I felt like I had just awoken from a falling dream. It wasn’t Susan’s nor Josh’s voice. It was more mock-like, high pitched, and really raspy—something you would imagine a gremlin to sound like.
“Big mess, Leave.” The voice said “You finish, I come back to clean.” It had a childish tonality to it. My mind was screaming for me to run, but my body was rooted to the floorboards.
“Wh—Who are you?” I managed to sputter out.
“Am you.” It said.
The next thing I heard was a loud crunch, like that of a snapping bone, which sent a shiver shuddering down my spine, exposing my mortality. I didn’t want to imagine that thing eating Susan, but it’s all I could think about. I threw up several times as I hastily made my way back through the hole and out into the morning sun.
On my way back to my office, I dialed the police with shaky fingers. They had to ask me to slow down several times before understanding me.
Finally, the lady on the phone told me she was sending a squad car over immediately and asked if I needed anything. I told her no, and returned to my office.
As soon as I arrived, I uploaded the film to my computer. All of the photos seemed to be of Susan washing dishes in her kitchen window. I slammed my hands down on my keyboard as I stared at the last picture. It was taken around 12 AM of Susan filling a glass of water from the sink.
Just when I was about to give up, another photo uploaded—it was taken at 12:53 AM. I clicked next expecting Susan to still be in the window; however, she wasn’t. I got anxious as my attention shifted to the darker portion of the picture. That’s when my eyes fell upon a large gangly figure with a hunched over posture and long pointy ears. It stood about 6’6 off the ground with arms that reached down to its knees. It was peeling the hinged door open with one hand, while the other dangled to the side with long claw like fingers.
I must have stared at the picture for a whole 10 minutes before remembering to blink.
Before I could make copies of the photos or see the results of the blood sample, they were confiscated by federal agents. The whole mess was cleaned up, and when I asked any questions, they said it was classified. The local papers reported that Susan had mysteriously disappeared, and marked Josh Powell as the lead suspect in the investigation. When I tried to speak up for him, I was called insane.
To this day, I do not know what it was I saw outside Susan Powell’s house, and I never spoke to Josh again.