The World Inside the Closet

The names of people and locations in the following article have been changed for the sake of the privacy.

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The home of the Smith family in New Jersey seems like an ordinary, middle-class residence. From the outside it is a two story domicile on a half-acre lot. It is totally normal and from all appearances is constructed similarly to its neighbors. Brian and Jane Smith have two sons, named Josh and Kevin, aged 6 and 4.

Both boys love to explore their house for nooks and crannies. So they were elated when they discovered the eaves closet on the second floor of the house. Subsequently the boys would be gone for long hours at a time. Then they would reappear downstairs, dusty and excited. When asked by their parents where they had been, Josh replied they were exploring caves. Thinking the boys were playing games of imagination, Brian and Jane didn’t worry.

Josh and Kevin made a whole game out of exploring the eaves closet. They would tie handkerchiefs around their mouths to protect from dust and they would both bring along flashlights. They also got in the habit of leaving the door open so they could easily find their way back. Brian and Jane remember hearing both boys refer to a new imaginary friend around this time, one “Mister Scruffum”.

However, one day the boys forgot to close the door behind them after an adventure. Later that evening, Jane wondered where the family cat was, as she hadn’t seen him all day. Josh and Kevin, guessing where the cat had gone, donned their handkerchiefs and grabbed their flashlights and headed inside the closet. Josh even brought snacks and juice boxes for them to eat. He assumed they were going to be gone a long time.

And so they were. Bedtime came and went with no sign of the boys. Brian checked outside while Jane checked the upstairs. She noticed the eaves closet door cracked open. She peered inside to be safe but saw nothing except the few boxes, spare blankets, sleeping bags, and a backup AC unit, all of which blocked her view of either end of the eaves closet. Seeing nothing, Jane closed the door.

The next morning with no sign of either boy, the Smiths called the police. Even before the police arrived, Brian and Jane had figured their sons had gone to look for their lost, beloved cat. When the police arrived and they heard the story, they organized a search of the area and soon after logged Josh and Kevin Smith as missing persons. The hypothesis is that they went off into the nearby woods to look for their cat, who must have gotten outside.

No sign of the Smith boys was found for two days. Brian and Jane feared the worst. Then, in the middle of third day, little footsteps were heard descending the stairs. Brian rushed from the living and saw a filthy Josh and Kevin hobbling down the steps.

Their faces were covered in dust. Their knees were stained and bruised. Both desperately needed baths and were severely dehydrated. Both also needed immediate changes of clothes. The boys, especially Josh, didn’t seem to mind that much. All he was concerned about was that he hadn’t found their cat and he said that once he was ready, was going back in to look.

Brian and Jane, and the police who had already arrived, were perplexed at this. They asked Josh where he and his brother had been. Josh got nervous but eventually told them they had been in the eaves closet. Jane said she had looked there the evening they disappeared. Josh would say no more, but Kevin finally admitted in private to Jane—to whom he was especially close—that the closet was far bigger than it seemed from the outside.

Brian, Jane, and a police detective went upstairs. They opened the eaves closet and had a look inside. The inside of the closet was unfinished, with a plywood floor and exposed ceiling struts with squares of insulation in between. The Smiths began to fear their boys’ imagination had gone too far, to the point of delusion, when the detective shone his flashlight down both ends of the closet. He said he should have seen either end of the closet, but couldn’t even though the entire length of it was no more than 20 or 25 feet. He pulled out the boxes and other stuff and showed the Smiths. Instead of the light of his flashlight reflecting off the insulation that should have been at either end, the darkness inside the closet just kept going.

Brian and Jane were stunned: they had never realized the closet was so big—longer than the room it was in and perhaps even the house—and they swore it had been a very normal closet when they moved in when Josh was a baby.

The eaves closet was too narrow for Brian or the detective to comfortably fit inside, so Jane took the flashlight and crawled inside. She went down the right side. She crawled and crawled for more than a dozen feet, expecting at any moment to find the end. She never did. The police detective followed her outside, walking from room to room and listening to her scuffling movements through the wall. When he reached the end of the house, he could still hear Jane, muffled and increasingly distant through the wall. Brian called Jane back.

The three were more than confused. They had absolutely no idea what was happening or how this was possible. The eaves closet was, as far as they knew, longer than the house was. They tried to come up with all manner of explanations, but after Brian and the detective crammed themselves inside and crawled around for themselves, they all had to accept that the eaves closet was not ordinary.

 

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More police were brought in. A hole was drilled into the closet at the end of the house. When someone crawled inside, they could see the hole and look through it into the room beyond, yet the passage of the closet continued on, well past the exterior wall of the house.

When a drill was used on the closet walls beyond the boundaries of the house, the drill bored through wood until it reached the end of the bit.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, police investigators discovered a descending staircase 45 feet down the righthand side. The stairs, made of unfinished plywood like the rest of the closet floor, descended down 7 steps, then the passage continued as normal.

A police officer recommended inviting the American Society of Paranormal and Extraordinary Research (ASPER) to the investigation. The officer had a cousin who worked for ASPER. The head detective agreed, as it would allow the police to continue to investigate the house, which they would not have if they had told a federal agency of the house.

ASPER, a privately-funded research organization with a keen interesting in investigating reports of the paranormal along scientific guidelines, sent a crew equipped with a remote probe. The team set up shop and sent the drone into the closet.  What they found they’ve likened to a cave system or anthill.

Both the left and right sides of the eaves closet continue on to a still undetermined end. They’ve found more staircases, which go both up and down, as well as large “caverns”. The eaves closet is 2 feet high from the tallest point of the sloped ceiling to the floor. These open areas are as tall as 6 feet. The tallest of these even had plywood lofts for added floorspace. The passage of the closet never turns, but always runs straight in either direction. There are ramps found that descend at 45° angles to as much as 15 feet down. As of writing this, there have been found 9 instances where the passage splits in two: one going above while the other goes below the plane of the normal passage. These branched passages always reunite later. There are also 3 instances where a plywood “bridge” crosses a pit filled with squares of fiberglass insulation.

closet_map
A segment of the team’s map. It shows a vertically forked section leading to one of the “caverns”. The red “X” signifies prints were found there.

The only unique location found to date lies 100 yards down the lefthand side. The space, measuring only 10 feet long, was unique because the passage actually widened from its regular 3 1/2 feet to 10 1/2 feet. The space, dubbed “the fort” by the ASPER team, reaches an astonishing 16 feet high. There are a number of plywood platforms along the walls, connected by either plywood bridges or ladder rungs made of the same wood as the struts. The place has the haphazard look and layout of a treehouse.

It was at the fort that the next major discovery were made: signs of life. Traces of Josh and Kevin’s adventures were found in the form of hand and knee prints in the dust and discarded juice boxes. But at the fort, signs of someone or something other than the boys was discovered. Strange, lateral markings in the dust and large balls of fur were found in abundance. There was also what looked like a nest or tent made of fiberglass insulation high up among the platforms. Scratches were seen on the ceiling struts.

The cat, by the way, has not been found nor has any discernible sign of it.

After hearing the full story, the ASPER team believes all these markings were made by “Mister Scruffum”, Josh and Kevin’s supposed imaginary friend. They are still on the lookout for more definitive signs of his existence and have found more of the fur balls and thin marks in the dust outside the fort. Josh and Kevin have not given any more details on Mister Scruffum.

Upon these revelations, the Smiths moved permanently into a new house. Josh and Kevin were not happy to leave their home and the source of so many hours of entertainment, but Brian and Jane became worried for their family’s safety.

ASPER bought the house from them to continue their investigation. The police have kept the whole affair quiet, but since I have contacts in ASPER, I am able to share this story with you.

As of the time of writing, ASPER has explored a total of 13 3/4 miles of passages with no end in sight. If this whole story is true—which I have no reason to think it isn’t—this is the strangest, most puzzling, most unexplained discovery made. A dream of mine is to go to the house and see the closet for myself. To date the exploration is ongoing, with new discoveries being made weekly.

If I hear of any groundbreaking revelations, I will of course report them here.

No matter how familiar we are with a place—even one has intimate as our own homes—we can still make shocking discoveries; learn things we never knew about the place. Who’s to say what’s lurking inside your own home? What undiscovered mysteries hide just under the surface, waiting to be discovered. It makes you think what secret worlds might be hiding in your own closet…

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