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The Invisible Strangler on the Farm

This story was published in the December 1912 issue of “The Occult Review.” It was recounted by Mary L. Lewis, a collector of folklore and stories of unusual incidents.

“The Occult Review” was a popular British illustrated monthly magazine published from 1905 to 1951. It mainly featured writings from prominent occultists of the time, such as Aleister Crowley or Meredith Starr, but also printed stories about various paranormal phenomena.

Once, a couple named the Caxtons hastily abandoned their farm in South Africa and moved to Wales, United Kingdom. When asked about the reasons, they told this story.

When the Caxtons acquired this farm, they already knew that its former owner was a very wicked man who had amassed many enemies. Eventually, one of his enemies poisoned him, and after his death, strange events began to occur on the farm.

First and foremost, the livestock suffered: cows, chickens, goats, and others began to die “unnatural deaths,” but crops also failed to grow, and other eerie things happened. The whole district feared this place and refused to even approach the farm.

But none of this deterred the Caxtons, as they considered themselves “strong-willed, fearless, and determined to succeed.” So they bought the farm (most likely at a very large discount) and were full of hope to soon start making a profit from it.

However, soon they witnessed with their own eyes that something was indeed amiss. First, they began to hear strange sounds frequently: as if a rider was galloping to the house, then dismounting, rushing to the door, and furiously pounding on it with fists. But when they opened the door, there was no one outside.

Then, one night, an unnamed traveler asked to spend the night in their home since there were no guest rooms in the house. They let him sleep in the living room. In the morning, he met the hosts in a state of great fear and told them that someone had attacked him during the night, trying to strangle him, but he saw no one.

But even this did not alarm the Caxtons, and they tried to continue working on the farm. However, all their efforts were in vain: the livestock continued to perish for unknown reasons, and the crops failed to grow. Eventually, they went bankrupt and decided to leave for Britain to be with their relatives.

On the last night before departure, when all their belongings were already packed, the husband lay down to sleep in the living room on a bare mattress. And in the middle of the night, he woke up feeling something jumping on him and grabbing his throat. The Caxton didn’t see anyone, but he could keenly feel the little claws of this creature scratching his neck.

Caxton began to fight for his life, but the creature resisted and was unexpectedly strong. Only when Caxton fell off the mattress and was thrown against the wall did the creature leave him alone.

The next morning, looking in the mirror, Caxton saw that his throat and chest were covered with large red fingerprints. These marks remained on his skin for several subsequent days. The shock from the nighttime attack caused a nervous breakdown for Caxton.

The person who shared this story with the folklore collector Mary L. Lewis added their own opinion in the letter:

“My theory on this matter is that the previous owner, being a very evil person, was attached to the land and, prematurely departing from life, was very strong and simply tried to acquire a new body… Most likely, it was in this room (the living room) that he died, and since he was stronger there than anywhere else, the sleeping person, of course, was exactly what he needed.”

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