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I had an awesome childhood. Like most kids growing up in the 90's, my TV schedule consisted mostly of SpongeBob, Power Rangers, and Transformers. For the most part, I wasn't into really kiddy shows like Barney or Mr. Rogers or anything like that. But the other day, I was talking with my mom about when I was a little kid. At one point during the conversation, she brought up the topic of an old TV show I sometimes watched. It was called Stubb's Clubhouse.
I was unaware of the show she was referring to at first, but then the memories came flying back. I remembered it so clearly almost instantly. Basically, Stubb's Clubhouse was a cheesy low-budget kid show starring a clown named Stubb. He had a rainbow-colored jacket, a hat, and if my memory serves, he wore black pants with stars on them. The show was kind of a rip-off of Peewee's Playhouse, even I as a young kid could tell that.
Basically, Stubb lived in a big clubhouse, which strangely enough, looked just like a normal house. I assume that was due to their low budget. Stubb had a group of friends who lived in the clubhouse. I don't remember much, but I vaguely remember a poodle and a man in a really badly-made elephant costume.
Like I said, I don't remember much about the show. I didn't watch it very much, mainly for two reasons:
- It aired at a very strange, and late time. Around 10:30, which is bizarre for a kid's show.
- It only aired on a really obscure channel called Channel Beebo, which only aired shows for about 3 years. Then, the channel was shut down for unknown reasons.
The only other thing I remember about the show was the theme song was sung by a woman who sounded like she was half-asleep while singing it, and the background music was played entirely on a xylophone.
In around November of 2006, I had just turned 14 (this was a few days after the conversation with my mom) and I decided to treat myself to a little trip to Half-Price Books. See, I like Half-Price Books more than Barnes & Nobles because you can find older books and movies, as opposed to the up-to-date stuff at B&N. So, I was browsing through the video tapes, searching for a tape of one of my favorite shows, Street Sharks (a show about anthropomorphic sharks that fought crime). I was going through the tapes in alphabetical order, and I had just reached the "S" section when something caught my eye: it was a tape labeled Stubb's Clubhouse. The case had no logo or picture to indicate it was Stubb; it was just a plain bland case that had a piece of tape on the side with "Stubb's Clubhouse" written on it in black Sharpie.
I was still kind of curious about this show that I had barely remembered, and plus I couldn't find Street Sharks, so I decided to buy Stubb. It was pretty cheap, even for a Half-Price Books tape, being only 75 cents. But hey, it was a bargain. I took it to the checkout counter. The woman working there looked at the tape, and then stared at me. She timidly asked, "Are sure you want to buy THIS tape?" I politely said yes, and she rung it up. I went home, got out my VCR, and hooked it up to the TV in the living room where my 6-year old sister Emily was playing with Barbies. She asked me what I was doing, and I told her that I had gotten a tape at Half-Price Books that we could watch together. I put the tape in, and the standard "copyright infringement warning" message came up as usual.
The tape started at the theme song of the first episode, complete with xylophone music and sleepy singer. The episode started out in the clubhouse where Stubb introduced himself and told the viewers that we were going on a field trip.
There was a very bad rough cut to a playground in the middle of a grassy park. There was a group of small children, about as old as my sister, playing on a merry-go-round. Stubb walked up to them and they all ran to give him hugs. After that, Stubb looked at the camera and asked if the kids at home would like to play too. As assumed, Emily piped up: "Yes!" and Stubb replied, "Alrightey-o! Then come on down to the playground and play with me!"
Emily asked me if she could go to the playground with Stubb, but I told her that this was filmed. However, I saw something interesting out of the corner of my eye. We have a playground in our neighborhood, about a block from our house, but close enough that we can see it from our living room window.
It took me a second to make the connection, but it hit me that the playground in the video was the same as the playground in our neighborhood. Then it hit me even more; the same children in the show were playing on our playground right now. They were wearing the same clothes as they were in the video and they were performing the exact same actions, almost as if the video were being filmed live! Then I noticed something that disturbed me greatly; in the video, one of the children was holding Stubb's hand, and when I looked out the window, that same child was making a motion like he was holding someone's hand, but there was no one there. I was shocked. I immediately ejected the tape, much to Emily's sadness, as she was beginning to grow fond of the show. I took the tape and threw it in the garbage. I thought I was done with Stubb, but I was wrong...
The next day, when my mom picked Emily up from kindergarten, Emily told me that Stubb had been following their car driving a black van. She said she had looked out the back window and saw Stubb behind the wheel of the van. She told me that she had told mom, but mom didn't see any cars or vans whatsoever in her rear-view mirror. Emily told me she was confused and somewhat worried. I told her not to worry and to try and relax and let an adult handle the situation.
That night, I went against my best judgement and decided to fish the tape out of the trash and watch episode two. The theme song started, but something was wrong. The xylophone was very distorted, and the woman's voice was a lot deeper and a bit messed-up as well. The title came up again and the colors were more dull, being composed of shades of brown and gray, rather than the usual bright red and yellow. I decided to brush it off as a messed-up tape and continued watching. It roughly cut to a still image of Stubb staring at the camera. After a while, I realized that it wasn't a still image; it was a video of Stubb sitting motionless and staring directly at the viewer. Stubb would periodically turn his head as if cracking his stiff neck, but he would never blink. He did this the entire episode, which lasted around 20 minutes. But right before the episode ended, Stubb closed his eyes tightly while still staring, and then opened them to reveal pitch black eyes; nothing but inky blackness within his sockets. Suddenly, the tape cut to a picture of a house; my house. I frantically ejected the tape once more and stuck it in a drawer. I looked out the window at where the cameraman would have been, but there was neither anyone nor a trace of anyone there.
I tried to go to sleep that night, but I just couldn't. I ended up sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night and sitting in the kitchen all night, with the light on and a huge supply of caffeinated drinks. The morning soon came, and I was safe for a while. Unexpectedly, the rest of the day went off with no strange occurrences. Emily didn't see Stubb following them in his van, which was an enormous relief and a bit of hope that this might be over. But that night, I woke up in what could be described as "conscious sleepwalking," meaning I got up in the middle of the night and did something while being fully conscious and aware, but still drawn to do the thing by some urge.
I subconsciously took the tape from the drawer and placed it back into the VCR. I sat down on the couch and suddenly awoke from my sleep. I noticed I was on the couch, about to watch the tape. I wanted to take the tape out and go back upstairs, but a strange urge or force told me I needed to watch the final episode, Episode 3. The opening started, and this time, it was totally different. The xylophone had been replaced with a loud banging and the voice had now become a deep demonic-sounding voice, singing lyrics in a language I couldn't understand. The title came up, and the title card looked like it had been slashed by the claws of a large animal.
When the episode turned on, Stubb was sitting at a table with some children. He asked the children if they wanted to play a game, and they eagerly said yes. Stubb reached under the table, and revealed a large carving knife. He asked one of the children to place their arm on the table. A small girl did, and Stubb asked "Tell me how it feels." He then began to slowly slice a thin layer of flesh from the girl's arm, like he was peeling a potato. Blood immediately began to flow, and the room was filled with the sounds of the girl's screams. The other children didn't run; they just watched, calmly, as if they wanted to actually see the rest. He asked the girl, "Doesn't it feel happy?" Stubb continued to slice layer after layer of flesh from the girl's arm, until he hit bone. The girl was wailing like a banshee at this point, and I was in absolute shock. I felt like I would violently throw up at any moment. The girl's arm was drenched in blood, which had spilled onto the table and created a puddle on the tabletop. Stubb started laughing in a happy, clown-like way and the video ended. However, it then cut to another video. It was a video of Emily's room, right now. She was sound asleep. Standing over her bed and looking down at her was Stubb. Suddenly, he looked at the camera, with inky black eyes in his sockets.