The Babysitters

British ghost investigator and teller of creepy stories, Tom Slemen, tells us some strange but true stories that happened in the United States -

Two Babysitter Tales

The following chilling story took allegedly took place in Bakersfield, California in 1984, although I suspect the story is a widely-travelled urban myth. It illustrates the dangers of trusting people you hardly know to mind your children.

In August 1984, Doctor Mallory Kline and his wife Marjorie had to travel to Santa Barbara to attend a health convention, and desperately needed a babysitter to mind their 8-month-old child. Marjorie Kline phoned a babysitting agency, but was told that all the girls were unavailable, but Marjorie was informed that they could provide her with a babysitter in two days, as they needed 48 hours notice. Marjorie said that would be too late; she really needed a babysitter right away for tonight, but the agency couldn't help.

Marjorie's son, Dexter, who was in hospital recovering from a motorcycle smash, phoned his mum and told her that Vanessa, one of his ex-girlfriends could babysit for her.

"Oh I don't know. That girl was always a bit spaced out." said Marjorie, but she really needed someone to mind her child. She thought about phoning her parents in Fullerton, but they wouldn't be able to make it to the house on time. Marjorie therefore decided to give her son's exgirlfriend a try, and she asked him for Vanessa's number.

Vanessa agreed to babysit, and arrived that afternoon at four. She looked like a real hippie. She had long unkempt red hair and a multicoloured bandanna tied around her head. She wore a long shawl with the image of a cannabis leaf embroided on the back and wore a long striped skirt down to her sandalled feet.

"Oh, I'm glad you could make it Vanessa." said Mrs Kline, admitting the 20-year-old girl into the penthouse.

" 'kay, I made it. It's nice to be here." said Vanessa, in a sleepy voice, and she looked about nodding and smiling saying, "Wow. I'm getting pink sort of vibes from this place already."

Dr Kline stopped fixing his tie and glanced at his wife with a worried expression. Mrs Kline whispered to her concerned husband, "Everything will be fine dear. Vanessa's just a little laid back." and she gave a little nervous laugh.

"I don't know Marjorie;" confessed the doctor; "perhaps we'd be better leaving the baby with the neighbours."

"Don't be silly dear. Vanessa will be alright." said Marjorie. Dr Kline shook his head at the girl and went outside to the car.

Vanessa sat on the sofa and picked up the remote control. She switched to the MTV music channel and just sat there, smiling at an Alice Cooper video. She said, "I'm sure that guy's my spiritual father."

Dr Kline honked the horn of his saloon car outside and Marjorie went through all the instructions with the girl and told her where everything was and when the baby should be fed. Five minutes later, the Klines were heading down the freeway. They would be back in the morning around eleven.

The convention went well, and the Klines stayed over with friends at Santa Barbara. Around midnight, Dr Kline decided to phone Vanessa to see how the baby was. The phone rang and rang without any answer for about ten minutes, then Vanessa answered and said, "Hi. This is, erm, erm, I can't remember who I am." and she started giggling.

"Vanessa!" Dr Kline shouted down the phone.

"That's it - Vanessa. That's the name they gave me but I think I'm someone else. I feel sort of like something green."

"What on earth are you talking about?" Dr Kline hollered down the phone.

"Sorry Doc," said Vanessa, "the little acid fairies in my head are kicking my brain cells around. Wow, Doc, when you speak I can see electric blue diamond shapes. Really cool."

By now, Dr Kline was terrified. He realised that Vanessa had taken some sort of hallucinogenic drug. Marjorie saw her husband's hand tremble as it held the receiver, and she took a deep breath and asked him, "Dear? What's wrong? Is the baby okay? Dear, what's wrong?"

"Don't worry Marj." said her husband, trying to put on a brave front. He said to Vanessa, "Look, how is the baby?"

"What baby? I put the turkey in the oven Doc. Hope you're not a vegan. Oh yeah, and the cat's in the microwave; doing nicely. Smell's a bit burnt. Purple smoke's rising."

Dr Kline almost fainted. He felt his legs go weak under him. Vanessa suddenly said, "I'm having flashbacks now." and let out a terrible scream, then hung up.

The Klines were suddenly dialling the Bakersfield Police Department. Within minutes, two patrol cars had been scrambled, and were speeding to the luxurious Klines residence in Bakersfield. Two police officers hammered on the door, and Vanessa answered. She was seized by one of the the policemen and pushed to the kitchen, where smoke was bilowing out the gas oven and the microwave oven.

"What have you done with the child?" asked the stern-looking lawman.

Vanessa started crying, and sobbed, "The turkey or the baby is in the oven and the cat is in the microwave oven. I think they're overdone. That isn't a crime is it officer?"

One of the policemen pulled the girl from the smoke-filled house to radio the fire service then raced from the patrol car with a fire extinguisher. The other policeman opened the oven door in an effort to get what he suspected was the 8-month-old baby. As soon as the oven door opened, thick black toxic smoke billowed out, and a blackened arm fell onto the floor. The policeman almost threw up and ran out the house coughing.

The Klines were informed of the gruesome scenario, and all their friends rallied around them to confort the couple. The phone rang, and a policeman said, "Dr Kline?"

"Yes, speaking." said the Doctor, grabbing his wife's hand tightly, bracing himself for the horrible news.

"Your baby is safe sir." said the policeman. "The girl put a baby doll in the oven and incinerated it, then put a Sylvester cat toy in the microwave. The fumes could have easily harmed her and the baby, but everything is under control now."

"Thank God! Thank God!" said Dr Kline, and he was moved to tears.

Vanessa was given a suspended sentence for taking LSD and was put under psychiatric observation in a rehab clinic. The Klines never trusted anybody to babysit for their child ever again...and who could blame them?

************************************************** ********

The next story concerning a babysitter also took place in California in 1968...

In the Fall of 1968, beautiful 15-year-old Jennifer Lewis of San Francisco was asked to mind Owen, the only child of the Clarke family. The baby had just turned two years of age and was little trouble to Jennifer, and at nine o'clock on the night she was minding him, the little boy began to yawn. Jennifer put the baby to bed and then went downstairs to watch TV. She knew the Clarkes would be returning from a house-warming party around midnight, but the time started to drag by.

The phone rang, startling Jennifer, and when she answered, it was Mark, her boyfriend. He was also 15 years old. For weeks he'd been pestering Jennifer to have sex with him, as he was keen to lose his virginity. Jennifer had constantly turned him down, saying she would only have sex when she felt the time was right, and only if Mark took the precaution of at least obtaining a condom. Mark however, didn't have the courage to buy the contraceptives, and said he'd "pull out" when he got too excited.

Upon this stormy night, Mark's voice on the telephone was very reassuring to Jennifer, but then the subject turned to sex again. Mark suggested coming over to the Clarkes. He said he wanted to make love to Jennifer in the couple's bed, and how much of a giggle that would be.

Jennifer said, "Oh shut up. Talk romantic like you used to. Say how much you love me."

Mark grumbled and answered, "You know I love you. So how about it?"

Jennifer slammed down the telephone. As she walked away, it rang again.

She picked it up and was just about to screech down it, but it wasn't Mark. It was Mr Clarke, and he asked how little Owen was.

"Oh he's tucked up in bed Mr Clarke." Jennifer answered.

"Don't call me Mr Clarke, it's Tony." Mr Clarke said. He sounded slurred with the drink.

"Okay - Tony." Jennifer said, and giggled.

"You have a cute laugh Jennifer." Mr Clarke told her.

"Thanks. Will you be back soon sir?" Jennifer asked, and glanced at the wall clock.

"Yeah. Why? You missing me?" Mr Clarke chuckled.

Jennifer then heard a furious-sounding Mrs Clarke telling him to hang up. Which he did.

Then the phone rang again. Jennifer answered. It was Mark, and he was fuming.

"Who were you just talking to? I got a busy signal when I called you." Mark sounded suspicious.

"A guy who likes me. Why?" Jennifer said. She knew the effect those words would have on her boyfriend.

"Oh a guy? I see. Are you gonna do it with him then huh?" Mark shouted.

"Oh go and take a long walk off a short pier Mark." Jennifer dismissed his paranoia, and was ready to hang up.

"I knew you were seeing someone! That's it! I'm coming over there!" Mark threatened.

"You do that Mark and the cops will be waiting!" Jennifer screamed and slammed down the phone.

Owen started crying upstairs. Jennifer went to reassure him everything was okay. Ten minutes later, the little boy fell asleep as his babysitter was telling him a story.

As Jennifer came downstairs there was a knock at the door. A single knock.

"Go away Mark." said Jennifer. She wanted to scream at him but Owen would be disturbed again.

The handle turned slowly on the front door, then the door shook.

Jennifer said, "That's it, I am calling the police." And she put the safety chain on. Now Mark was scaring her. She wondered if he had been drinking,

The phone rang again. Jennifer answered it, and a familiar but tearful-sounding voice choked: "Sorry. Are you really seeing someone else?"

It was Mark.

Then who was at the door?

Jennifer placed the receiver down and went to the hallway. "Mr Clarke?"

There was no answer. Whoever it was started to boot the door.

Jennifer screamed. The door opened a few inches. Only the chain prevented the stranger from entering. A black shiny glove came around the door and attempted to unfasten the safety chain. Then Jennifer saw a glimpse of two eyes. They were staring madly through holes in a balaclava.

"Open the ****ing door." said a low gruffy voice.

Jennifer turned and rushed back to the phone. She dialled 911, but all she could hear was Mark's voice saying: "Who's that with you?"

"Mark! Put the phone down! I am trying to call the police!" Jennifer shouted down the mouthpiece, and glanced back at the door, which was making a splintering sound.

"Why do you want to call the police? I haven't done anything!" Mark protested.

"Put the phone down! There's a man trying to get me!" Jennifer screamed.

Owen started crying again upstairs.

Then she saw the silhouette of the masked man. His shadow moved across the blinds of the window. The shadow told her that he was holding a knife.

He knocked on the window. "Let me in." he said in a menacing deep voice, almost singing the words. He sounded unbalanced.

Jennifer tapped the telephone repeatedly with her fingers, trying desperately to cut Mark off so she could dial the police, but he refused to hang up.

Suddenly, the front door burst open with tremendous force and Jennifer screamed. A policeman rushed down the hallway bradishing a gun. He glanced around, then entered the living room. He asked, "Where is he?"

Two more armed policemen entered the room. They grabbed Jennifer and led her into the hallway. Another policeman was coming down the stairs with Owen in his arms.

The knifeman had vanished back into the stormy night.

It transpired that an elderly neighbor had saved Jennifer's life. The old man across the avenue had spotted the masked man prowling in the garden and had telephoned the police.

But the police thought the masked knifeman was no run-of-the mill burglar. They thought it was likely that the knifeman had been the serial killer they called Zodiac, who remained at large in San Francisco up until the 1970s, until he retired or perhaps died. He was never caught.

Jennifer and Mark later split up. (external - login to view)
Those might of happened, but I don't believe it. I remember hearing the 2nd one when I was younger and it was told to babysitters to scare them. If they happened then I haven't heard anything about them. Then I don't really believe things like that because there'd have to be a police report in records about both of those incidents. *is a fun spoiler XD*
Both stories looked very vague and so... eerrr... unrealistic...
Lieutenant Governor
It's scary 'cause, even if it didn't, it could happen. Gives me chills just thinking about it.
High Five.
High Five.
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