This Is My Story!
My name is Cassie Woods and I was held against my will in the Chester Terrace Sanitarium in the town of Port Angeles, Washington from 1969 to 1976. I lived in isolation for years tormented by memories of that night I stumbled on a doorway between two worlds. From that moment I fought for my sanity, my life and the child who I held in my arms! I’m dead now and I linger within the walls of this sanitarium which has long since been closed and abandoned. I died afraid, alone, abused, over medicated, neglected and mis-diagnosed but most of all disbelieved by everyone of what I had encountered and faced. This is my story.
When I was twenty-two, my life seemed full of hope and aspirations. I was carefree, attending college and majoring in biology. I lived in a small studio apartment just off campus. I had friends and while I wasn’t a magnet to men I wasn’t a plain Jane either. I remember that December 3, 1969 morning as if it were yesterday. It was a snowy morning as I drove down the steep hill in my 1965 VW bug trying my best to not slide sideways or hit any of the parked cars.
That was when I lost control spinning on the black ice under the snow and hit the snow bank hard. I was stunned for a few minutes from hitting my head on the steering wheel. When I looked to my left and then my right, my eyes began to focus more clearly Suddenly I realized, to my disbelief, I wasn’t on the hill I had slid down a few moments ago. I was in some sort of single story low income housing project. I saw a sign post that said West Park Apartments to my right. Though there was snow on the ground I had never heard of West Park Apartments. I had lived in Port Angeles all my life. In fact as I looked around the landscape didn’t even look like my town.
My first thought was that I must have passed out from the impact and was dreaming. But when I struggled to get out of my car I felt soreness in my leg and left shoulder as well as my forehead. To make matters worse when I got out of my car I slipped and fell down and the pain all too well reminded me I wasn’t dreaming. But where was I? My mind was frantic trying to find a rational explanation.
I grabbed hold of my car door to pull myself to my feet as I carefully brushed the snow off of my clothes. I didn’t see a single person in any direction. In fact not only didn’t I see any other cars but the complex looked like it hadn’t been lived in for years. The lawns and trees looked overgrown and untrimmed. Curtains on the windows looked tattered and torn. I leaned inside my VW and tried to turn the engine over, nothing happened.
So I picked up my purse, locked my car and decided to walk to the nearest apartment to see if I could use their phone. Door after door I went to but no one answered my knock. Come to think about it I don’t remember seeing a dog, cat, squirrel, or even the sound of a bird. I heard only an eerie deathly silence. I was cold and my feet were frozen as I walked to another apartment door. This time I knocked harder and with more urgency and the door pushed open a few inches.
I called out “Hello. Is anyone home? Can I use your phone please?” But there was only the smell of dust and dampness and silence. I pushed the door open further and slowly light filled the room. The inside of the apartment was clean and tidy. It was the sort of place I might find myself living one day. It was sparsely furnished but nice. I stepped inside to look for a telephone. I could tell children lived here once by the toys on the floor.
As I walked down the hall I kept calling out, “Hello?’” afraid I would startle someone but no one was home. In truth I believed it had been years since someone had lived here. I wondered why management hadn’t cleaned up the place, painted it and re-rented it. That was when I made that one fatal mistake that all people do when they find themselves in danger.
That one thing they shouldn’t have done but did! I walked into the last room at the end of the hallway. As I stepped into the room, it was the barest room of all it was a room without windows, without a bed or dresser, in fact, there wasn’t even a closet. I can’t remember if I shut the door behind me when I entered the room or if something unseen shut it. Suddenly, it became pitch black and I screamed.
As I screamed it sounded like the voices of a hundred people of all ages were screaming at the same time. My heart was racing a hundred miles per hour and I felt tears roll down my face. Then I felt other people, many other people, bumping into me as if they were unaware I was in the room. It was all I could do to keep from being knocked to the floor.
Suddenly as the darkness and screams began their voices faded away and light filled the room. I was gasping trying to catch my breath and sanity because there were no light fixtures in the room. This room should still be pitch black I thought to myself as I wiped tears from my eyes. Yet the fear I was feeling, pounding in my mind, and the beat of my heart pounding like thunder was just the very beginning of this nightmare. A nightmare that would haunt me long beyond my death.
I wanted to leave that room. As I turned around to my shock and horror I saw only walls. I spun around in all four directions only to find that each wall was a solid wall with no door. This had to be a dream. This couldn’t possibly be happening. I realized I was trapped. There was no furniture to sit on so I knelt down and sat on the floor and cried. When I could cry no more I looked up and tried my damndest to find the source of the light in the room.
The harder I looked the harder it was to see where the light was dimmest and where it was brightest. It seemed the light shined from every direction. The floor was cold and I was getting colder by the minute. I was shivering. Then I saw something that I swear couldn’t possibly happen. The wall to my left now had a long sliding glass window about six feet long and three feet tall. Oddly enough, it was about four feet off the ground.
In a weird sort of way it reminded me of a window on a maternity ward where newborn babies could be seen. Slowly I stood up as my bones ached from the coldness. Cautiously I walked closer and closer to the open window. I could see it was a small room maybe eight feet long by twelve feet wide. It was a room packed with boxes and crap. A cluttered mess. Almost like a storeroom. I looked but saw no door in that room either.
That was when I saw the small crib to the right of the window and the shape of a baby under the dusty yellow blanket. It looked like a child about eight months old and with each breath it took the blanket rose and fell. It was bundled very tightly. I pushed the sliding window open all the way and looked for a way to safely climb into the room to get the baby.
It was maternal instincts that urged me on I guess. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought to get into the room as I slid across the wide wooden counter and pushed boxes aside to step down to the floor. When I reached the side of the wooden crib I tried to pull back the babies blanket but it was wrapped too tightly around the small child so I carefully picked up the baby hoping not to wake it up and just rocked it in my arms.
I could hear the baby’s soft murmured breathing. I swayed to a lullaby remembered only in my mind as a child for a few moments before I took my right hand and ever so slowly lifted the blanket away from the babies face. To my horror I could see it was a girl. A baby girl that had been severely beaten. Her face was very black and blue and my heart was just about ripped out.
How could someone ever hurt a small defenseless child? When the baby suddenly opened up her eyes she had the most beautiful blue eyes and though her lips were healing and blood stained she smiled a smile that whispered, “I know you won’t hurt me.” Oh how I cried. I decided to take the little girl to the other room and in a few minutes she and I were in the room I had previously been in! But this time there was a door.
I could see it was the door I had used to come into the room. I quickly went to the door and opened it. I turned for just a moment to look back at the sliding glass window only to see that once again it had become a solid wall. I stepped back into the hallway when I was confronted by a ghostly apparition. It was the shape of a woman in a hovering thin mist of fog. I really couldn’t see her body but her facial features
I saw clearly as tears rolled down her cheeks as she looked at the baby in my arms. In a haunting pleading mother’s voice I recall to this very moment what she said to me. “You’re not from this world. I can sense the light around you as bright as the sun. You have the power to save my child and to take away her pain. But there is much danger in this place. There is an evilness that torments everyone here.
When it realizes you’re in our world it will come for you. Be not afraid child for it can’t take your life or your soul. No matter what it tries to do to you. Show strength and courage not fear. Face the demon instead of running. Defy him to take the child now in your arms. The longer Emily is held in your arms the sooner she will heal. Go to the cemetery at the west end of town. Find the huge oak tree.
Beside it will be a headstone bearing my name, Georgia Townsend. Help my child touch my headstone and you will both return to your world. Both of you will be safe from all that is evil here.” she told me anxiously. She saw tears flowing down my cheeks as I asked, “Who could beat a helpless child like this?” The ghost of Georgia Townsend replied, “The demon that lives in this world thrives on pain and suffering.
I sensed your presence when you entered this apartment. I fought against the demon trying to hide my daughter from him knowing you’re my baby’s only hope. If you allow him to take my baby you too will be trapped here for eternity. You will suffer as we all have pain without end. Hurry, make your way to the cemetery and don’t be fooled. The demon will try to use illusions to gain your confidence in the hopes of taking my daughter.
She is the last living soul in this world besides you. That’s why he’s kept her alive. He will not easily let you take her from this world. Your kindness will heal my baby and end her suffering.” she said in a frightened voice. As she said those words I knew her heart was being torn apart at the thought of never seeing her daughter again. “Go child! Find the cemetery and the headstone and let Emily touch it.” she said and as quickly as Georgia spoke to me she vanished.
Hurriedly I left that apartment. When I did the wind felt icy cold biting at my neck and cheeks as I tried to figure out which direction was west. I couldn’t see the sun to guide me because the sky was overcast. I bundled up Emily tighter and held her close to me as I began to walk down the sidewalk. I was frightened. Very frightened, but I also was very angry and my anger was now, my strength.
No one was going to hurt this child as long as I was alive. As I wandered down a street I looked for anything I could use as a weapon against an attack from anyone. But there was nothing I could find heavy enough, strong enough or deadly enough to protect me or Emily. That was when I saw the church. It was a small white church. The kind of church that would make the perfect postcard picture to mail to someone. I wasn’t expecting to find a weapon inside. Only sanctuary and comfort perhaps. But I was wrong.
When I turned he knob and entered I could see the inside had been destroyed as if a hurricane had passed through. Behind the podium where a priest would give his sermon to his congregation was a huge wooden cross. It was the only thing that wasn’t destroyed. But this cross was upside down and there was a body of a priest crucified to the cross.
He had been there a very long time because I could see his bones. The only sound heard at that moment was the peaceful sounds of Emily snoring. But silence came abruptly to an end as the room began to be filled with ghosts of men, women and children. I heard their anguished cries.