IT’S now 10 years – almost to the day – since Kerry C, a long-time reader, sent me a chilling story which probably generated more correspondence than any other I’ve ever published.
Kerry’s auntie, Dawn M, worked at the MetroCentre.
On New Year’s Eve, Dawn’s husband, Ray, received a phone call from her.
She had a headache, she said, and was finishing work early.
Could he drive to the MetroCentre to pick her up?
Dawn’s husband duly obliged, and found his wife waiting in the car park.
They exchanged a few brief words as Ray pulled out of the car park, and then they headed for home.
Several minutes into the journey, Ray noticed that Dawn still had the hood of her coat pulled tightly around her face.
“Why don’t you take your hood off?”, he asked. “It’s warm in the car now.”
“No, I’ll just leave it up, thanks.” replied Dawn.
Ray thought this was strange, but didn’t say anything.
Before too long they were home, and, as Ray parked his car in the garage, his wife entered the house.
When Ray entered his home he expected to see Dawn in the kitchen making a cup of tea, but she was nowhere to be seen.
He shouted up the stairs, but no one answered. Puzzled, he was just about to go and see if Dawn was lying down when his mobile phone rang.
“Hi, Ray; it’s me, Dawn. How much longer are you going to be?”
Puzzled, Ray said, “Dawn? Where are you?”
“I’m waiting in the car park - haven’t you left the house yet?”
Ray felt his spine turn to ice. He had just picked ‘Dawn’ up from work.If the person he’d picked up wasn’t Dawn, then who was it?
But then again, if he had brought Dawn home, who was this pretending to be her on the telephone?
“Dawn, stop winding me up. Where are you?” he asked, expecting his wife to simply confess that the whole thing had been a practical joke.
It soon became apparent, however, that his wife WAS still at work.
After checking the house and making sure it was empty, he drove all the way back to the MetroCentre, hoping that the mystery would eventually unravel itself.
Sure enough, Dawn was standing in the car park. Ray also noticed that she was dressed identically to the first ‘Dawn’.
Ray got out of the car and immediately said to his wife, “Take off your hood”.
Dawn was puzzled, but complied with her husband’s request.
Ray stared at her intently, making sure that this person really was his wife.
Dawn repeatedly asked Ray to explain his strange behaviour. “Wait till we get home”, he said, “and then I’ll tell you.”
Later, Ray explained how he’d picked up a woman he THOUGHT was his wife and driven her home.
“She looked like you and talked like you. The only thing that was strange was that she wouldn’t take her hood down.”
When Dawn could see that Ray was serious, she admitted to feeling frightened.
They searched the house once again, making doubly sure that there wasn’t a ‘mad woman’ lurking in a cupboard somewhere.
The mystery was never solved, but Kerry says it affected her uncle badly for several months.
“He got really depressed and couldn’t get it out of his mind”, she said.
“He’s terrified that he’ll see her again, but he wants to know who she was, and how she managed to fool him.”
I’ve since discovered that Ray has moved house. He could never settle in his previous residence after what happened.
Well, guess what? On the 10th anniversary of Ray’s chilling experience, another reader has been in touch with a very similar story to tell, and all will be revealed next week ...
* Had a strange experience? Tell Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org