I got a package in the mail today. I rarely get anything but junk mail, so the thick cardboard package was exciting. Inside was a journal and a sheet of paper. The journal was from a college friend, Michael Halvers. The note was from the Police Department of Anna’s Crossing, IA. I’ve included some photos below.
Odd that they would send me something, especially if Michael is dead. We were close friends sophomore year, but he moved on in to Video Production, and I stayed with English. It is a little odd to get this out of the blue, but intriguing in a way.
I began to look through the journal, but most of the pages were blank. It seems that Michael only wrote in the first part of it. I tried to scan and photograph the pages with writing. However, my scanner doesn’t seem to be working, and the stupid camera couldn’t focus on the bright pages.
I read the first few pages, and think that it is interesting. I’ve decided to transcribe the entire journal, which I will include below.
Michael Halver’s Journal
This is the official production notebook for ‘Murderer in the Night.’ This is an independent documentary that is focused on the disappearances of six (or more?) people from the town of Anna’s Corners, IA.
The crew is Michael Halvers and Rick Tomlin on camera and sound, and Ashley Smith for research and as the host.
June 2, 2011
June 3, 2011 – Morning
I picked up Rick, and we drove over to Ashley’s apartment with all of our gear. We loaded it in to her van, which we will be using as our production van, and set out to Anna’s Corners. Right now, Ashley is driving, and all of us are excited about what we will find in the town.
Personally, I hope that something creepy is going on. Maybe the murderer/kidnapper is a kindly old grandma everyone in town knows. Maybe it is the Fire Chief. Maybe it’s a wacko who lives outside of town in an abandoned barn. Whatever it is, we are all excited to finally be on our own shoot.
June 3, 2011 – Afternoon
After traveling through some construction on Hwy 27 heading in to town, we arrived safely in Anna’s Corners. We checked in to Kincaid’s B&B, where we will be staying, and then went immediately to visit the mayor. The small town hall stands in the middle of main street, with tall faux-marble columns on the outside. We made sure to get a number of good establishing shots of the town, which is quite nice.
Once we got in to the town hall, the mayor was out to lunch, so we instead went downstairs to the police department. Two small offices and a single jail cell made up the entire place. Luckily, despite his gruff appearance, Sheriff Brent Mosley was more than willing to talk with us on camera.
Ashley interviewed him for more than forty minutes, and much of it is good footage too. He told us not to take the law in to our own hands, but was more than willing to take our advice if we had any ideas. The guy seemed totally stumped.
Afterwards, we went upstairs and talked with the mayor. He couldn’t offer any new information, and hinted that he did not want his town branded as harboring murderers. He was nice enough, but it seems like he might be hiding something. I’ll have Ashley look in to it later.
June 3, 2011 – Evening
We got more footage shot around the town, along with some local color. That is to say, everyone’s crack-pot theories about what is going on. Some old woman said it was the devil incarnate that was controlling the minds of those who didn’t go to church. Some kid thought it was aliens. Most of the townspeople think it is one of there own. There is a lot of distrust around here.
On a positive note, I got us a meeting with Dr. Harrier at Sunnydale Hospital, which is in the next town over. She is taking care of Larry Barnes, the victim who was found a few nights ago. It was that news story that got us started on this adventure. Hopefully, she’ll be willing to talk.
June 4, 2011 – Morning
We got an early start. We were up and filming at dawn. We’ve already recorded over five hours of video. I don’t even care I’m working on a Saturday. Ashley found out a little more last night online. According to her, there is another town where the same thing happened six years ago. However, they arrested someone there.
Rick suggested we try and get an interview with the murderer, Mr. Daniel Welk. I was on the phone this morning, but nothing came of it. We are almost to Sunnydale hospital, after that we’ll see if we can find anything else out.
June 4, 2011 – Afternoon
Dr. Harrier is amazing! She not only told us all about Larry Barnes, but let us meet and film him!
Larry was found by Sheriff Mosley wandering the streets of Anna’s Corners, babbling nonsense to himself. He was arrested, but then released and taken to the hospital when it became clear he wasn’t in his right mind. He has been at the hospital 5 days, and Dr. Harrier still does not know what is wrong.
She believes he has been traumatized. I think that the murderer tried to get him, he escaped, and now he is afraid he will be found.
When we were with Larry, he only muttered and stared off in to the distance. Ashley tried to question him, but got no response. The words I could understand him saying were ‘dark’ or ‘park’ and ‘mistake.’ Rick says he heard ‘ankle’ and Ashley thought for sure she heard ‘trapped.’
The other odd thing is that Larry would not go outside. He would walk around the hospital, but would not take a step out in to the courtyard. It was a sunny courtyard, filled with thick grass and surrounded by flowers. I think he might be afraid of the open sky.
After leaving the hospital, with much good footage, we decided to seek out the ‘park’ Larry mentioned. In Anna’s Corners, there is a large city park. Rosenfeld Park has baseball diamonds, a playground, a small pond, and a small wooded area. We’re heading there now. Maybe we can find something.
June 4, 2011 – Evening
When we arrived at the park, Sheriff Mosley was already there. His squad car was parked on the grass just outside the playground, and an ambulance stood next to it. He was talking with two teenagers. After he finished, he walked over to us, telling us to shut off the camera.
“What is it?” I asked.
“We found one the victims,” he said. He went on to say that the two teenagers had found a hand sticking out of the ground. The county was digging up the body, but it was one of the people who had gone missing. Maybe they would find evidence.
“Can we film the rest of the park?” I asked.
Sheriff Mosley had no problem with that. Rick and I got some great shots of the abandoned playground and baseballs fields in the setting sun, along with a monologue from Ashley about her thoughts so far. There was also some animal running around the park, but we couldn’t get it on film. Would’ve added a good scare. The sun’s set, and we are off to grab a bite to eat.
June 4, 2011 – Night
After grabbing a late dinner at the local diner, Rick and Ashley wanted to go back to the park. Something about it seemed to be drawing them. I don’t get hunches like they do, so I was willing to go with it.
The park was abandoned, empty except for a few frogs in the pond and a cloud of moths hovering around the only lit lamp in the parking lot. We got out the gear, but it was odd. I felt like we were being watched. I looked up the street, to see if Sheriff Mosley’s car was there. But we were completely alone.
Rick and Ashley wandered over to the playground, but I didn’t want to leave the parking lot. It was strange, but I felt safer in the light. They began to walk towards the woods, but I told them we had to leave. The seemed reluctant, but came back. Once we were back at the B&B, I felt better. Maybe I’m letting this story get to me.
June 5 – Early Morning
Something was at my window. I woke Rick up, but he said he didn’t see anything. I don’t know what it was, an animal, the shadow of a tree branch. No. Something was at the window, looking at me.
June 5, 2011 – Morning
Maybe I was tired last night. Looking out the window this morning there was only a flower garden with little yellow flowers. I didn’t see any footprints, and I don’t know why someone would be watching me anyway.
Anyway, today we are heading down to the county prison to visit David Welks, accused of 8 murders that bear a striking similarity to the ones here. All the victims disappeared at night, within three weeks, all in the same area. Maybe he can shed some light on this.
June 5 – Afternoon
Getting in to a prison is tough, but Rick called in a favor and got us in on a Sunday. We were escorted to a small room, and allowed one camera and a single microphone. Then, we waiting in the hot room for over twenty minutes before they brought David in. You’d think we were the murderers!
It didn’t matter, cause in the end it was good footage, I guess. The first thing David told us is that he was innocent. Seeing as he plead guilty at the trial, this seemed a little odd. But he told us he plead guilty and asked for life in prison. He hoped he would be safe and never have to step foot outside again.
Something attacked him six years ago as he was walking down a dirt road. It grabbed him, and tried to take him. He fought it off, and made a run for it. His girlfriend, she didn’t make it. When the cops found him hiding in his home, he was more than willing to go with them.
He wouldn’t say any more, but told us that Anna’s Corners wasn’t safe. That we should leave. I think he saw the camera and wanted to put on a big show for it. Oh well, we’ve got plenty of other footage. Now, Sheriff Mosley wants us to meet him.
June 5 – Evening
How about The Strangler in the Night? According to the coroner, the cause of death was suffocation. There are no signs of a fight, not even any marks of the victim’s neck. They weren’t drowned, because there was no water in the lungs. So, someone must have gagged them or something else. Someone they trusted.
Mosley isn’t sure what to do, the whole town is on edge. The county crime scene people found two more bodies in different parts of the park. The whole place is cordoned off with police tape, and they won’t let us in.
On an odd note, we had to have the van towed. We went out of town on a small dirt road to shoot some generic coverage, and someone popped all of our tires while we were filming. The weird part is that we were no more than a hundred feet away and surrounded by empty fields. None of us saw anyone.
Someone was watching us as we walked back to the B&B after dinner. We were walking through a neighborhood, and something was moving in the shadows across the street. Rick said it was just our shadows from the street lamps, but Ashley saw it too.
I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t a human. It was low, and had a tapered shape. I couldn’t get it on video, but Ashley will back me up. It was following us.
It’s here, outside the window. Rick saw it too. We got out flashlights, but couldn’t see anything. We didn’t wake Ashley in her room. We’ve left the light on, maybe we can get some more sleep.
Ashley saw it too. She won’t talk about it, but we are all in one room. We have all the lights on, the curtains closed. None of us wants to look out. It is 4:15, just over an hour until sunrise. Then we can pack up and leave.
The van still is not fixed. The mechanic said it should be done by this afternoon. Meanwhile, Mosley called me. We should go see him.
Mosley got more from the coroner. The victims all were suffocated, but have no marks. Except they all have bruises on their ankles. It seems they all tripped on something, and that let the killer catch them. Mosley showed us a photo, but something about it was odd.
We went to the mechanic, which is on the edge of town. The van was parked in the gravel lot. The mechanic was nowhere to be found. We left him some cash, and got out of there. We are packing up at the B&B, and will be getting out town quickly.
The construction crew wouldn’t let us through. The whole highway was shut down, they said. Something about unstable ground. We pulled off to the side. Ahead, there was a giant sink hole, nearly a hundred feet across. It had swallowed up the entire work site. A bulldozer lay on its side in the middle, half sunk in the sand.
We went back to town, and tried one of the side roads. It was also collapsed. Something was digging underneath the roads, something that knew about us and didn’t want us to escape. Something under…
Something under ground. The bruises on the ankles. They were all the way around. Something grabbed the victims and pulled them under ground.
Where they suffocated.
We’ve got to go to the park, we’ve got to stop it. Mosley will bring his gun and we’ll kill it.
–Several Blank Pages–
It’s too late. We were wrong. It’s too strong. Rick already underground, dead, killed. Ashley, almost gone. Pulled her up. She ran in to the woods, I ran to the playground. I’m trapped, dirt all around.
It travels thru dirt like water, like a shark that can hunt anywhere. I’m not safe until I get to the pavement. Not possible, I can hear it, the shifting of the dirt. It’s hunting me.
I was stupid, I should have run earlier. I’m sorry, to everyone.
Please, if someone finds this, just stay away. From here. Everywhere. And stay on pavement, or concrete. Indoors. Who knows if water is safe. Maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s hunting us.
Just, please, watch where you step.