Dubbed the Rain Boy in 1983, Donnie Decker was visiting his friend’s house when he abruptly went into a trance-like state. Immediately after, the ceiling began to drip water and a mist filled the room. His friends immediately called on the landlord who was alarmed by what he was seeing. Some time later, Donnie was at a restaurant with other companions when rain started pouring down their heads. The restaurant owner immediately forced him out. Years later, due to a petty crime, Donnie was put into jail where he caused chaos when rain started to pour down in his cell. After angry inmates complained, Donnie explained that he could make it rain when he wanted to, and proved his point by dumping rain on the jailor on duty. Eventually, he was released from jail and found a job as a cook at a local restaurant. His present whereabouts is unknown – as is the cause of the mysterious rain.
I’m NOT saying this is real. I just find it interesting. One reminder: NONE of the stuff said below are in my own words, but instead in the words of an intern at Nickelodeon.
“I want to start off by saying if you want an answer at the end, prepare to be disappointed. There just isn’t one.”
“I was an intern at Nickelodeon Studios for a year in 2005 for my degree in animation. It wasn’t paid of course, most internships aren’t, but it did have some perks beyond education. To adults it might not seem like a big one, but most kids at the time would shit themselves over it. Since I worked directly with the editors and animators, I got to view the new episodes days before they aired.”
“I’ll get right to it without giving too many unnecessary details. They had very recently made the Spongebob movie and the entire staff was somewhat sapped of creativity so it took them longer to start up the season. But the delay lasted longer for more upsetting reasons. There was a problem with the series 4 premier that set everyone and everything back for several months.”
“Me and two other interns were in the editing room along with the lead animators and sound editors for the final cut. We received the copy that was supposed to be “Fear of a Krabby Patty” and gathered around the screen to watch. Now, given that it isn’t final yet animators often put up a mock title card, sort of an inside joke for us, with phony, often times lewd titles, such as “How sex doesn’t work” instead of “Rock-a-by-Bivalve” when spongebob and patrick adopt a sea scallop. Nothing particularly funny but work related chuckles. So when we saw the title card “Squidward’s Suicide” we didn’t think it more than a morbid joke. One of the interns did a small throat laugh at it. The happy-go-lucky music plays as is normal.”
“The story began with Squidard practicing his clarinet, hitting a few sour notes like normal. We hear Spongebob laughing outside and Squidard stops, yelling at him to keep it down as he has a concert that night and needs to practice. Spongebob says okay and goes to see Sandy with with Patrick. The bubbles splash screen comes up and we see the ending of Squidward’s concert. This is when things began to seem off. While playing, a few frames repeat themselves, but the sound doesn’t (at this point sound is synced up with animation so yes that’s not common) but when he stops playing, the sound finishes as if the skip never happened. There is slight mummuring in the crowed before they begin to boo him. Not normal cartoon booing that is common in the show, but you could very clearly hear malace in it. Squidward’s in full frame and looks visibly afraid. The shot goes to the crowd, with Spongebob in center frame, and he too is booing, very much unlike him. That isn’t the oddest thing, though. What is odd is everyone had hyper realistic eyes. Very detailed. Clearly not shots of real people’s eyes, but something a bit more real than CGI. The pupils were red. Some of us looked at eachother, obviously confused, but since we weren’t the writers we didn’t question its appeal to children, yet.”
“The shot goes to Squidward sitting on the edge of his bed, looking very forlorn. The view out of his porthole window is of a night sky so it isn’t very long after the concert. The unsettling part is at this point there is no sound. Literally no sound. Not even the feedback from the speakers in the room. It’s as if the speakers were turned off, though their status showed them working perfectly. He just sat there, blinking, in this silence for about 30 seconds, then he started to sob softly. He put his hands (tentacles) over his eyes and cried quietly for a full minute more, all the while a sound in the background very slowly growing from nothing to barely audible. It sounded like a slight breeze through a forest.”
“The screen slowly begins to zoom in on his face. By slow I mean it’s only noticeable if you look at shots 10 seconds apart side by side. His sobbing gets louder, more full of hurt and anger. The screen then twitches a bit, as if it twists in on itself, for a split second then back to normal. The wind-through-the-trees sound gets slowly louder and more severe, as if a storm is brewing somewhere. The eerie part is this sound, and Squidward’s sobbing, sounded real, as if the sound wasn’t coming from the speakers but as if the speakers were holes the sound was coming through from the other side. As good as sound as the studio likes to have, they don’t purchase the equipment to be that good to produce sound of that quality.”
“Below the sound of the wind and sobbing, very faint, something sounded like laughing. It came at odd intervals and never lasted more than a second so you had a hard time pinning it (we watched this show twice, so pardon me if things sound too specific but I’ve had time to think about them). After 30 seconds of this, the screen blurred and twitched violently and something flashed over the screen, as if a single frame was replaced. The lead animation editor paused and rewound frame by frame. What we saw was horrible. It was a still photo of a dead child. He couldn’t have been more than 6. The face was mangled and bloodied, one eye dangling over his upturned face, popped. He was naked down to his underwear, his stomach crudely cut open and his entrails laying beside him. He was laying on some pavement that was probably a road. The most upsetting part was that there was a shadow of the photographer. There was no crime tape, no evidence tags or markers, and the angle was completely off for a shot designed to be evidence. It would seem the photographer was the person responsible for the child’s death.”
“We were of course mortified, but pressed on, hoping that it was just a sick joke. The screen flipped back to Squidward, still sobbing, louder than before, and half body in frame. There was now what appeard to be blood running down his face from his eyes. The blood was also done in a hyper realistic style, looking as if you touched it you’d get blood on your fingers. The wind sounded now as if it were that of a gale blowing through the forest; there were even snapping sounds of branches. The laughing, a deep baritone, lasting at longer intervals and coming more frequently. After about 20 seconds, the screen again twisted and showed a single frame photo. The editor was reluctant to go back, we all were, but he knew he had to. This time the photo was that of what appeared to be a little girl, no older than the first child. She was laying on her stomach, her barrettes in a pool of blood next to her. Her left eye was too popped out and popped, naked except for underpants. Her entrails were piled on top of her above another crude cut along her back. Again the body was on the street and the photographer’s shadow was visible, very similar in size and shape to the first. I had to choke back vomit and one intern, the only female in the room, ran out.”
“The show resumed. About 5 seconds after this second photo played, Squidward went silent, as did all sound, like it was when this scene started. He put his tentacles down and his eyes were now done in hyper realism like the others were in the beginning of this episode. They were bleeding, bloodshot, and pulsating. He just stared at the screen, as if watching the viewer. After about 10 seconds, he started sobbing, this time not covering his eyes. The sound was piercing and loud, and most fear inducing of all is his sobbing was mixed with screams. Tears and blood were dripping down his face at a heavy rate. The wind sound came back, and so did the deep voiced laughing, and this time the still photo lasted for a good 5 frames. The animator was able to stop it on the 4th and backed up. This time the photo was of a boy, about the same age, but this time the scene was different. The entrails were just being pulled out from a stomach wound by a large hand, the right eye popped and dangling, blood trickling down it. The animator proceeded. It was hard to believe, but the next one was different but we couldn’t tell what. He went on to the next, same thing. He want back to the first and played them quicker and I lost it. I vomited on the floor, the animating and sound editors gasping at the screen. The 5 frames were not as if they were 5 different photos, they were played out as if they were frames from a video. We saw the hand slowly lift out the guts, we saw the kid’s eyes focus on it, we even saw two frames of the kid beginning to blink. The lead sound editor told us to stop, he had to call in the creator to see this. Mr. Hillenburg arrived within about 15 minutes. He was confused as to why he was called down there, so the editor just continued the episode.”
“Once the few frames were shown, all screaming, all sound again stopped. Squidward was just staring at the viewer, full frame of the face, for about 3 seconds. The shot quickly panned out and that deep voice said “DO IT” and we see in Squidward’s hands a shotgun. He immediately puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. Realistic blood and brain matter splatters the wall behind him, and his bed, and he flies back with the force. The last 5 seconds of this episode show his body on the bod, on his side, one eye dangling on what’s left of his head above the floor, staring blankly at it. Then the episode ends.”
“Mr Hillenburg is obviously angry at this. He demanded to know wht the hell was going on. Most people left the room at this point, so it was just a handful of us to watch it again. Viewing the episode twice only served to imprint the entirety of it in my mind and cause me horrible nightmares. I’m sorry I stayed.”
“The only theory we could think of was the file was edited by someone in the chain from the drawing studio to here. The CTO was called in to analyze when it happened. The analysis of the file did show it was edited over by new material. However, the timestamp of it was a mere 24 seconds before we began viewing it. All equipment involved was examined for foreign software and hardware as well as glitches, as if the time stamp may have glitched and showed the wrong time, but everything checked out fine. We don’t know what happened and to this day nobody does. There was an investigation due to the nature of the photos, but nothing came of it. No child seen was identified and no clues were gathered from the data involved nor physical clues in the photos. I never believed in unexplainable phenomena before, but now that I have something happen and can’t prove anything about it beyond anecdotal evidence, I think twice about things.”
This is the music responsible for the infamous “Lavender Town Syndrome”.
This tune affected hundreds of children negatively, causing headaches and strange behavior. The frequency and pitch of the background tones is considered hazardous to young and / or sensitive ears, and overexposure can cause emotional trauma and even vomiting.
When thinking back to my earliest memories, nothing is concrete. A string of hazy images come to mind like random snapshots out of time, each one associated with certain feelings and emotions. They are imbued with a mystical dreamlike quality, a gift born of childhood naivety. The magic of every Christmas when Santa was still real, for example, is an experience of pure joy that is lost with maturity.
Many of these snapshots are impossible to place in any sort of context. They’re just…there, sunken in the crevices of the brain without rhyme or reason: playing with my dad’s beard in a wood-paneled room, him smiling down at me – comforting. Or discovering a long row of marching ants in someone’s wooded backyard, all by myself – exciting. Some of them don’t even seem real in hindsight. Did I actually fall from that tree by the lake, only to land on my feet without a scratch? Was it really a dream?
I don’t think so. Sure, I have memories of distant dreams, but there is a clear distinction between the dreams and reality of my past. I don’t know how I can tell, I just can. And for this reason one memory has always troubled me. The experience was so surreal, and yet certain details stand out with marked clarity.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I couldn’t have been older than five or six. My brother and I were sleeping in our bunk bed. Because he was older, he got the top bunk. I had just woken up, but it was still nighttime. Something felt different. I remember seeing and smelling the rain, but not hearing any. The window was open and it was very cold in the room. Why was the window open? The curtains were gently flapping but there was no breeze. The quiet was so intense it buzzed through my ears. I’d been lying on my side, with one arm dangling off the edge of the bed. Gradually I became aware that it was warmer near the floor. I felt some kind of heated breeze gently strike my hand, coming and going in short bursts. Finally I recognized it as someone’s breathing.
Then the woman slid out from under my bed. The nightlight showed that she had long blondish hair and wore a white nightgown, and in the dimness I thought it was my mother. I wasn’t at all scared. It’s funny how a child’s mind works. What’s mommy doing under the bed? Must be getting something, or checking for monsters. I was too tired to say anything and remained motionless, watching. The woman was on her back, but her face stayed in the shadows. She rolled over and crawled on all fours to the far end of the bed, then glided up the ladder to the top bunk. Her every movement was silky smooth and completely silent. She reminded me of a white ribbon dancing in the wind. I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep.
I also remember my brother telling me about a weird dream the next morning. He’d dreamt of a woman who lived “under the floor” and came out at night to play in the rain. When her clothes got soaked, she went back inside and would whisper things to anyone who was sleeping. It became a recurring dream for him until our family moved out of that house.
Strange, what the brain chooses to remember.
Have you ever had an experience that suggested someone else was in your house, and just thought “I don’t wanna know” and left it? Sometimes, fear of the unknown just seems like the preferable option than facing a real, concrete danger. Normally it’s nothing, though. One time, the beeper function of my wireless housephone went off, when I was the only one home. It could only be called from the living room. Another time, I swear someone took some change from my desk. They’re all probably just slightly disconcerting tricks of the memory.
But what would you do when something truly suggestive happens? Would you run, or just ignore it, like I did?
Last Monday was a normal day. I got up, brushed my teeth, changed into school clothes… All little parts of my morning ritual. It seemed like it would be another totally un-noteworthy day, until I saw the strings.
There were three or four thick twine strings in my room. They criss-crossed between the walls around my bed, one attached to the door. No way would I have missed them before; I should have tripped over them. They were tied to pins in the walls, which had also not existed before ten seconds ago.
Nobody could have been in my room while I was in it, let alone set this up. It was early, and my brain wasn’t processing correctly. I simply discredited the sight, untied the strings and left for school, leaving them balled up on my desk.
It didn’t get any better later. Outside my house there were hundreds of them, tied between houses, around cars, across streets… This had to be some super elaborate prank. One of those hidden camera shows, or a comedy improv blog. They had gotten everyone else to play along too; passer-bys were tangled in them, tying them to objects they were walking towards and away from, as if they had been and were continuing to follow the course laid out for them.
I nervously continued my journey to school. On the bus, every except me was tied to the door. At school, groups of friends were tied to each other; teachers were tied to their desks and boards. Oddly enough, at this point all I could wonder was why I had been left out.
When my friend Lucy sat beside me in first period, she simply plonked her bag down on my lap and rested her chin in her hand, looking right past me to the window outside.
“Come on, I didn’t expect you to be in on this too. “
She sighed and started taking books from her bag. All the books were tied to her hands. I grinned, and yanked one of the strings off a book. She didn’t seem to notice, instead simply disregarding the book completely, letting it drop to the floor without a moment’s hesitation.
“Um.” I leaned down, picking up her book and placing it back on her desk. She took no notice.
“Well, if that’s how we’re gonna play it.” I smiled, trying to look playful, but really just trying to hide my nervousness. I bundled all the strings attached to her together with one hand, then pulled them all free.
She blinked, turning to stare at me.
“Holy crap, Martin. You’re like a ninja or something.”
“I’ve been sitting here for maybe ten minutes.” I smiled again, relieved my friend had finally “noticed” me.
“Where did all these strings come from??” She gasped, seemingly noticing for the first time.
“I assumed you were all fucking with me…”
She stood up, backing into a corner. No one else in the class noticed.
“They weren’t here just a minute ago! Do you see them too??” Her tone made it clear she was genuinely scared.
“No. Didn’t you-. “ I was interrupted by my teacher slamming the door behind her. Everyone except me and Lucy murmured a good morning, and still, no one seemed to pay either of us any notice.
“People have been ignoring me all day.” I said to Lucy, before turning to our teacher. “Hey! Dumb bitch! You can’t teach for shit!”
“I’m getting away from all this shit.” Lucy pulled a few strings aside and left the class. I followed, and surprise-surprise, no one else noticed.
We wandered the corridors, leaving and entering classes as we saw fit. Whenever we untied a chair or book from someone else, it was like it suddenly didn’t matter to them. It didn’t exist.
I showed her the street outside; there were more strings than when I came in this morning. Twice as many. We carefully picked our way through the tangle, making our way to a nearby coffee shop. Not particularly grand, I know. But what would you do in our situation? As I said, fear of the unknown sometimes seems like the safer option. On a few occasions, I suggested we untie a few more people. Lucy was opposed to it, remembering how terrified she’d been.
In the coffee shop, we grabbed a couple of sandwiches and drinks from the fridge. We found a table, untied all strings attached to the chairs, and sat down. We both ate in silence, both of us too scared, both of us distracting ourselves by watching the strangers in the shop, oblivious to the strings.
After twenty minutes, Lucy spoke up. “Now she’s gonna take that sandwich.” She said, pointing at a woman across the shop. Sure enough, she walked to the fridge and took the plastic wrapped sandwich she was tied to. “She pays for it and leaves.” She did so, according to the prophecies of the strings. “That guy doesn’t intend to pay.” I watched as a man took his coffee and ran out of the store, the two servers just looking too exasperated to go after him.
“This is horrible.” She whimpered. “Let’s go. Please.”
Outside wasn’t much better. Everyone just followed the strings’ instructions, going about their daily lives. Lucy announced she was going home to sleep this off, and I agreed to walk her home. She only lived ten minutes away.
Away from the busier part of town there were fewer strings. It was nicer; we could pretend it wasn’t happening.
When we turned onto Lucy’s street, she stopped, her mouth falling open.
“What now?” I broke the silence, my voice sounding surprisingly small.
”Look.” She pointed outside one of her neighbours houses.
I saw it clearly, and I’ll take my memory of that moment ‘til the day I die. A little dark imp, maybe three feet tall, walking along with its knuckles on the ground, almost like a monkey. It had two bulbous yellow eyes taking up about half its face, and no mouth or any other facial features. It was holding a hammer and a ball of twine, which it was letting out behind it.
It walked quickly and quietly from the front door of the house to the mailbox. It stopped, hammered a nail into the side of the box, and tied it’s string around it. It turned to face us, and stopped when it spotted us.
My bottom fell out even further than it had already been, but it just stared with a look of surprise and curiosity. You could almost say it was the more frightened one. Suddenly, it beckoned to us with its tiny hand.
I looked at Lucy, she hadn’t moved. I looked back at the imp, which stared at me.
I halved the distance between us, and then halved it again. This wasn’t fear of the unknown anymore; it was fear of this little guy. Didn’t seem like anything to be scared of. When I was a meter away from it, it extended its hand.
“Uh. Hi.” I shook it. It nodded in approval, blinking its massive yellow eyes up at me.
“So you’re the ones in charge of the strings?” It nodded eagerly. I called Lucy over, but she stayed where she was.
“There are more of you?” Another nod. I wanted to ask it so many questions, about what it was and where it came from, but it seemed for now I was stuck with only yes or no questions.
“Do we even have free will?”
It just looked at me, almost sadly. I immediately felt sick to my stomach, and couldn’t bear looking at the little monster anymore. I grabbed Lucy, who had been listening to our exchange, and now sat on the curb with her head in her hands.
We entered her house, and I made her a cup of tea. When I found her in the living room, she had untied her dog and was curled up with it, crying. I set the tea down and sat beside her.
“I’m so scared.” She whispered after a good ten minutes of sobbing. I didn’t answer. I couldn’t.
“I’m going to sleep” She mumbled suddenly, and was under within the minute. Sleep was starting to sound pretty good all of a sudden, my eyelids suddenly felt like they were being weighed down.
I collapsed to the rug, and the last thing I heard before I fell asleep was the scurrying of several sets of little feet nearby.
I felt much better the next day, as if the whole affair had been a dream. I’d probably have believed that if I hadn’t been awoken by Lucy’s mother that morning, wondering what I was doing sleeping over without permission or something.
Over breakfast, Lucy asked me why I looked so pale and nervous. I turned to her and smiled, mumbling something to her about feeling sick.
But the truth was, I was scared because I couldn’t see any strings, and was wondering whether my actions were truly my own.