I'm always waiting for that strange, paranormal thing to happen to me, because I just didn't believe in that kind of stuff. It sounded so far fetched, but I wanted to believe. My friends and I are horror fanatics, even after the things that happened to us eight years ago.
We were fourteen, loved watching scary movies, and playing scary video games. One of my friends, Angela, had a favorite game called Fatal Frame. She had played it some time ago, but it was a rented copy, so she couldn't show it to us. However, we went over to Blockbuster (heh, remember those?) and tried to find the game. They didn't have it, but they did have Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly.
Angela and I were immediately attracted to its beautiful cover; creepy and dark, two identical girls with long black hair and a red rope tied to their kimonos, linking them together. There were candles and red butterflies in the background, and the image was bordered with what looked like red paint strokes. We rented it, very excited to play.
I was staying with Angela because my parents went on vacation to France for four weeks. We invited our friend Sarah over to spend the night. Sarah was also excited to see the game, even though she was not as "brave" as us, for lack of a better word. It was pretty late at night, for it was the summer and we didn't care about sleeping late in the mornings. As I popped the disk into her PlayStation 2, Angela read the back of the case and laughed.
"What?" I asked, and she showed my the back of the case.
"It says, 'warning: do not play this game alone,'" she replied. Sarah and I laughed.
"I'm gonna enjoy this!" I said excitedly. Sarah and I were Angela's audience, for she was the best in horror games. I thoroughly enjoy watching people play video games, even as much as I enjoy playing them myself. Sarah was sitting on Angela's bed, and Angela and I were sitting on the floor right in front of the TV. I know, I know... bad for your eyes, yadda yadda...
We played through the night. At some point, we got so lost, we had to look at a walkthrough. We didn't like doing that, but sometimes... you just gotta. We reached the ghost called Kusabi, who seemed to be summoned by Sae, one of the ghost twins who looked just like Mio and Mayu. We learned the hard way that we couldn't defeat Kusabi at all. He wouldn't take damage, and guess what! He killed us in one hit! So we had to start again from the last save point, which was found in front of the door that lead into Kusabi's room.
Now, I'll need to tell you that Angela's PS2 has seen a lot of action, meaning, it was getting old and frequently caused disks to either freeze or load very slowly. So, upon entering the Kusabi room, the game froze on the completely black loading screen. We waited a few minutes, and finally realized we were going to be waiting for a long time.
So, for at least a half an hour, Angela, Sarah, and I were talking about stupid crap like all teenagers do, when Angela wanted to get up to get a snack. I loved her to death, but truth was, she wasn't exactly... skinny. She was actually quite heavy. So what she did to stand up was put both hands behind her, resting on the edge of the bed, and pushed herself up. She ended up doing some odd twisting thing that amused Sarah and I, so we asked her to try it again. She sat back on the floor and was about to repeat the action, when she stared at the TV, horrified.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"I... just saw a face... on the TV..." she said quietly. When Angela is scared, she rarely actually screams. I do however, and so does Sarah. Anyway, we looked at the TV and saw nothing but black screen.
"You must be smoking something," I joked. None of us did drugs, of course, but we would say things like that for a laugh.
"Just watch, maybe it'll happen again..." said Angela. Sarah moved to the end of the bed to where we were sitting and held onto us. Then, as we stared, a frighteningly white ghostly face faded into view on the screen. It was a woman with a sunken-in face, and eyes dark and lifeless. Her hair was black, stringy, and sticking out at odd angles. There was no blood on her, but her face alone was disturbing enough without it. The three of us screamed, including Angela, and we flashed out of the room, shutting the bedroom door behind us.
Sitting on the living room couch, we were completely silent, petrified. None of us had actually seen a real ghost! But was that an actual ghost, or was it part of the game? I ran this by the girls.
"It's a ghost game," I whispered. "Maybe the game unfroze, but it was left alone long enough for some sort of... screen saver to show."
"Video games don't usually have screen savers," said Sarah, trembling. "That was something... oh God... that was something..."
"Calm down, maybe Sam is right," said Angela. "Let's... let's go check the game..."
"I'm not going back in there!" Sarah exclaimed.
"Fine," said Angela, sounding annoyed. "I'll go." She went back down the short hall and into her room. After a few seconds, she called out, "It's okay! The game unfroze!" Sarah and I slowly entered the room, looking at the screen. Mio and Mayu were standing next to the red lantern, which was the save point. I exhaled softly.
"Let's play something else..." I suggested, and the others agreed. Angela took out the Fatal Frame II disk and replaced it with the Sims 2.
We played for quite some time, trying to see whose character would last longer without a shower, while Sarah watched from the bed again. Then, one of my goals was to change clothes, so I went to the dresser. It loaded slowly, but eventually got there. I put my alien girl into something sexy, and then exited. We waited, watching the familiar screen saying, "Saving game. Please do not turn off your console or disconnect controller."
This honestly took forever. Angela started complaining about her piece of shit PlayStation, when the screen suddenly started to flicker.
"Aw, don't tell me my TV's going out too!" she exclaimed. The screen turned completely black, and the Sims 2 background music began skipping like an extremely scratched CD. Then, to our horror, that same ghostly face appeared right before our eyes. I couldn't breathe.
"No..." said Sarah weakly. "No no no no no no no..." She was letting out terrified squeaks as we stared, unable to take our eyes off the face. The ghost's eyes slowly looked right at us, and then began to move her lips, as if speaking, though no sound came out. Angela jabbed the power button, turning the TV off, and all three of us ran into the living room again.
All of us agreed to sleep out there instead of the room; we just couldn't handle being in there. It was so unbelievable, we had trouble sleeping. Finally, somehow, we managed it.
We slept in until like one o'clock in the morning. Angela's mother complained about the noise last night and wondered why the hell we slept in the living room. Angela was about to tell her what happened, when we suddenly noticed Sarah was gone.
"Maybe she went home in the middle of the night?" I suggested.
"Let's go check," said Angela. We got properly dressed, left the house, and made our way down the road; Sarah didn't live too far away. We knocked on the door, and her mom answered.
"Is Sarah here?" I asked her.
"No, I thought she spent the night at your house," said her mother. Angela and I exchanged worried looks and hurried back to her house. We searched every room, including Angela's, but Sarah was nowhere to be found.
The police were called, and they conducted a search. Angela and I spent a few days trying to get a hold of our other friends to check if they'd seen her, but no one had. Her mother was a wreck, but the police assured her they'd find Sarah.
"Should we tell them what happened?" I asked.
"Sam, do you really think they'd believe that we saw a ghost?" she said angrily. "I dunno what we should do, okay? What the hell happened? Why did that ghost show up?"
"Maybe it was the game..." I said softly.
"A haunted horror game? How often do you hear about those? Usually it's completely innocent games like Majora's Mask or Sonic the Hedgehog."
"I can't think of anything else it could be..."
"Let's go see if the other copies at Blockbuster have the same warning on the back cover," said Angela. We took the game with us so that we could return it. After dropping into the return slot, we went over to check the other copies. Each one said, "WARNING: Do not play this game alone!"
"Well that's not it," I said. "Did we just... get a haunted copy or something?"
"I don't know," said Angela. "But it appeared when playing the Sims, so it must've transferred onto my PS2! That bitch!"
"What do we do?" I asked timidly.
"We could go around the internet and see if anyone has seen her too," Angela replied.
Returning to her house, we immediately hopped onto the computer and feverishly searched Fatal Frame forums for any hint of a haunted copy. We found absolutely nothing. We decided to create an account on one of the forums and post a new thread.
- "my friends and I recently rented fatal frame 2 for ps2, and somthing really strange hapened. my crappy PS2 froze and after a wile we saw a ghost woman on the screen we though it was part of the game but than we were playing the sims 2 and she showed up again! now our other friend is missing, and we dont know what to do!!! sas any one else experenced this????"
"How is that?" said Angela after she finished writing the post.
"Sounds good, but..." I fixed all the spelling and punctuation errors in the post and submitted it. We actually sat there and refreshed it like every ten minutes, but we only got replies saying, "you're BSing," or, "it's a fuckin ghost game!"
It wasn't until a week later we finally got a response. Sarah was still missing, and she was put on Amber Alert. We checked the forum again and saw a response from someone called AnOnOmOuS, and they had no icon.
- "Hello, I saw your post and was shocked. This happened to me a long time ago, but I rented my copy from GameStop. After seeing the ghost woman on my screen, I tried playing my other games, but no matter which game I put in, she would always appear. I took the game back, thinking that would help, but it didn't. Then I looked at my memory card and saw that every single save icon for every single game was just a black box. And then she appeared AGAIN without even being in game. I deleted the Fatal Frame II data, but that didn't keep her away. I got a new memory card, transferred all my data onto it, but again it didn't help. It seemed like the ghost had actually infected the games' data completely. So then I tried erasing all game data on both cards, which was really sad because I had a lot of Final Fantasy on there, and those games are long. I tried playing another game, but she still appeared! I was so scared and so frustrated, I took both memory cards and smashed them with a hammer. They SCREAMED at me! I was so shocked, but then tried my game once again. I played for a few hours without any appearance of the ghost.
- "I know it's hard for any gamer to lose their save data, but there's no other way. You HAVE to destroy your memory card. That ghost is like a virus or something, spreading itself through that disk. God knows how many people have gotten it! I don't know why she's in that disk, and I don't care, just as long as I never see her again. I'm never renting another game. I'll just buy it if I want to play it so bad...
- "Sincerely, A Friend"
Angela and I stared at the response, which had also received many rude comments. Then we went into her room, turned on the PS2, and checked her memory card. Just as AnOnOmOuS had said, every icon for save data was a jet black, three dimensional cube, spinning slowly in their places. Just then, the ghost woman faded onto the screen, causing it to flicker with static.
"W-what do you want?" I asked the face, scared to the point that I started crying. The ghost moved her lips again, but we heard nothing. We even tried turning up the volume, but that didn't make a difference.
"Why are you here?" asked Angela, much more brave than I was. The woman continued to mouth, but... nothing.
"Let's just forget it!" I said, starting to feel a little hysterical. "Let's just destroy the damn card!" Angela turned off the console and ripped the memory card out. Then we went into the tool shed in the backyard and found a hammer. Angela set it on the concrete of her back porch, raised the hammer, and hit the card viciously, once, twice, three times... a piercing scream emanated from the cartridge as it was broken.
"I think..." said Angela, shaking and taking shuddering breaths. "I think that will do it..."
"What's that?!" I gasped, seeing a piece of the memory card that appeared to have scratches on it. It was the circuit that allowed the card to hold data. We found all the pieces and fit them together like a puzzle, and was astounded at what we found. "AnOnOmOuS" was the word scratched into the surface of the circuit. Was the ghost the one who replied to the thread we made? Why would she tell us how to destroy her?
"Sam, look..." said Angela suddenly. She was pointing at the 'S' written on it, and in very tiny letters was the name "SARAH" scratched into it.
"She took Sarah..." I whispered.
"Why...?" asked Angela. "And was it the ghost who responded to us, or was it Sarah?"
We went back inside and got back onto the computer, viewing our post. AnOnOmOuS' reply was no longer there, and the entire thread had been locked. We searched Google for the mysterious username, but got absolutely nothing.
I'm sorry to say that we never found out who the ghost was, who AnOnOmOuS was, or where Sarah went. Like I said before, this really happened to us, and we never touched a rental game ever again. Even to this day, we try searching for the username, but we can never find it. Maybe you guys have seen it before? And every day I wonder who's rented the disk... I wonder if they figured out how to destroy it... and what would happen if they didn't...
What was the ghost woman trying to tell us? We never found that out either. We never found a name or anything. Why was she in a Fatal Frame game and not something else? How did she die? What was her connection to the game?
Angela ran an idea by me. She said that the first Fatal Frame was based off a true story. She said, "What if the second one had some truth to it too? What if that ghost was really in that village long ago?"
"But why would she haunt that specific copy?" I asked.
"Maybe she can only be in one disk, so she gets into the memory card?" she suggested. "I don't know! I don't know what goes on in a ghost's head!" With that, we stopped discussing the matter. I wanted to just forget about it, but I couldn't.
About a year and a half ago, Angela started doing drugs and became a whole different person, lying and using me and her other old friends. So I ditched her; I hate druggies with a passion. I have no idea what happened to her, but every now and then, I see her mom come into my work. I've never asked about her.
Without her around, my mind involuntarily started remembering the events that had taken place eight years ago... and that's why I'm writing this. You may not believe me, you may refuse to believe me... but I want to warn you... to be careful when renting a game, especially Fatal Frame II. I know it's kind of hard to find PS2 games now anyway, especially now they've announced the PS4, but some places have old and/or used copies, so just be careful. Since we never figured out what that ghost wanted, I can't warn you of specific dangers, but it's best to avoid it anyway. You can never be too careful.
And now, even though I've never seen another ghost, I can't still say I don't believe in them. I'm still a horror fanatic, but I can't help looking over my shoulder periodically. I know I'm being repetitive, but I'm serious. Be careful, please.