Many of the stories collected on this site are tales of woodland beasts, supernatural entities or the ghosts of lost children. Mine, however, is true. The events that spanned over the course of eight years have been burning in my memory, and because of the sensitive nature of many of the people, places and things, I shall use false names, mostly because of confidentiality, but partly because I don’t want someone hacking my IP address.
It began when I worked for the police in the UK. I won’t say much more about my location, but I will say that I dealt with a lot of records, and digging through old files. It all started in September of 2008, and as these things often are, it was a dark and stormy night, and I was about to head home after searching through some records. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I noticed that I kept yawning. I had been looking for R. Hendley because he was on trial and several personal files were needed to help charge him. I had found a large yellow folder, with numerous papers stacked on top of each other with the name R. Hendley stamped in red across the cover. I drove home later that night and I had taken the large file with me so I could take some notes and organise the mess of papers and send them to my superiors. I had only just sat down and opened the file when I realized that it was the wrong R. Hendley. After a photograph fell out of the front page, I noticed that this Hendley was wearing a naval uniform, and was sitting on the deck of a ship with what must have been friends. It must of been the lack of sleep that had caused me to take the wrong file, and so I decided I would rest and take it back tomorrow morning. I put the photo back in its place and glanced at the information at the top of the page.
Robert Hendley: Born April 23 1982 Died February 2 2008
Served as logistics officer on H.M.S. Redemption 2007-2008.
He had died that year. At this point, curiosity got the better of me, and I looked through to cause of death. Car crash. Oh well, nothing interesting. I put the papers back in order and went back the next day to get the right file and put back the wrong one.
Three months passed and I had forgotten about R. Hendley. That is until one morning; I was getting too chatty with a friend of mine in the hallway, and accidentally bumped into another coworker. She was holding a file, one very similar to the one from three months prior, but I didn’t notice that at the time. The contents of the file spilled out over the marble flooring, and as I bent down to help pick it up, repeatedly apologizing, I noticed as I picked up the page that at the top was basic information; however, I noticed in particular the name and dates written at the top.
Served as navigational officer on H.M.S. Redemption 2007-2008
Died in automobile collision.
I almost instantly remembered R. Hendley, and for a few seconds I stared at the words before my colleague asked me for it. I handed it to her, and as she placed it back into the folder with a red stamped name that read "Richard Fielding". I knew that it could just be a coincidence. However, later that afternoon when I had some spare time, I checked out a copy of the file of Richard Fielding using the large desktop computer in my office. Sure enough, there it was, the file included the date of death in September of 2008, like Hendley, and the date of service aboard the H.M.S. Redemption. Although the papers and information was extensive, I could only find one or two pages of interest. Both the files of Hendley and Fielding were filled with useless information concerning taxes and property values, as well as the whereabouts of friends and family. What I did find, was the connective cases of three other individuals. The car crash that had claimed the life of Fielding was still technically under investigation, and did its best to prove it was an accident. The file on Hendley’s car crash was very vague, but did however mention that the crash was dismissed quickly as a collision. However, a witness account gathered from the police said that Hendley didn’t have a driver’s license. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
A week had passed and I had taken a break from my personal investigation, when I had started to notice strange things going on at work, and at home. I sometimes saw the same sort of people on the bus ride home, always one or two men dressed in gray overcoats and hats reading newspapers. This may have just been me, as I have an overactive imagination, but they would always get on one stop after I had got on, and always got off at the same time as me. Perhaps they just lived close to me. I never found out. I did notice that some things would go missing from my apartment, usually small things like a tissue box, and once even a vase that had been given to me by an aunt. Although the strange little things did sometimes bother me, at the time I didn’t really make any connection to work, until the disappearance of the copies of the files I had taken home. When I returned to my job, I did some more digging, this time I tried finding information on the H.M.S. Redemption. I used the files and documents I had available, I searched it on the internet using different search engines, I even looked on the royal navy’s website as well as the British Library website, and the enormous file system on our computer. I could find nothing.
However, my curiosity had peaked, and I decided to continue looking. Instead of looking up H.M.S. Redemption as a ship, I instead started looking for those who had served on the Redemption. I found five different files, all of which were on that of Royal Naval officers serving on the vessel. Two of those files I had already come across, those of Hendley and Fielding, however, for the three others, I looked for paper copies in our records department. What I found was startling. Four out of the five Naval officers had died in car crashes, all in 2008 just after apparently returning from active duty on the Redemption. The names of Hendley, Fielding, Stevens and Finch were all stamped red on large folders, which I read through. The folder of Henry Dunthorn, however, had been tiny in comparison, only three pages. The name was only inside the file, the front cover bore only a number. I found that his last known place of residence was in Devon, living with his parents. On the last page, after kin information, I found one last line.
I had been a bit disappointed by the fact that the last officer was unaccounted for. I found it strange that the records department would be so careless as to lose the file on Henry Dunthorn. However, it was strange how the one file that had the information of the officer who was still alive was skeletal in comparison to those of the dead. I did now know his home, or at least his parent’s home, and I had also found a faded photograph of the naval officer. Maybe they would know something, but it would be ridiculous to try and pursue this person all the way to Devon for something that could just be a coincidence.
I had left work at 7PM as I usually would on a Wednesday; the rain had been heavy, and I had to borrow a coat to get to my car. I struggled to get the door open as the key was slippery in my hand. I looked up to see a man in a gray overcoat reading a newspaper beneath a street light. I found this deeply disconcerting, and I hurried to get the door open. I started up the car and started the drive home. I decided to take the shortest route home, the way that went down a small lane behind a nearby hospital. The street was dimly lit, but I did my best to get home as soon as possible. I looked at the clock on the dashboard of my car and that was the last thing I remembered. A passing cyclist found me and thankfully, I was rushed to the hospital. The doctors said the the car must have hit me and backed out, because no car was found anywhere in the vicinity of the crash. Although my injuries were severe, I recovered in only one month, and was back at work by December. I thought it hard to believe that the crash was caused by the government or something, but at the back of my mind, a thought persisted that maybe there was something far more sinister behind the death of the four naval officers and the files, or lack thereof, of Henry Dunthorn.
After Christmas I was fired from my job. I honestly didn’t know why, as the only explanation from my superior was that I was “distracted from my work”, even though I had been as diligent as ever with my job, despite the personal project which only took time out of my personal schedule. I hardly ever thought about the Redemption or the officers, and now since I no longer had permanent access to huge databases, I decided to give up. I later got a job at a library, and from there I now own a bookshop. Although the trail did end, I did post my findings on a forum for government cover ups, but less than an hour after posting it, it was removed.
In fact, seven years passed until I gained any interest in the case of the Redemption. A month ago, I was driving to Cornwall to see my parents, and on the way I stopped at a pub in Devon. I had been driving for several hours, and I needed to stretch my legs for a bit. I took a seat in the corner of the pub, and, even though I was driving, ordered a pint. The day was overcast as I looked out the window, and it looked like to might rain later. The pub had only a few people inside, as the area was very rural, and I assumed that only a few regulars ever frequented it during the day. I was about to leave when the door of the pub opened, and I noticed that someone else had come in. I briefly glanced at them, and immediately recognized them from the faded photograph from the file of Henry Dunthorn. He had asked for a pint when I approached him and asked if his name was Henry Dunthorn. His tired face looked pale as I asked the question, and he asked me if I worked for the government.
“Not any more,” I had said, and he looked a bit more relieved.
“Can you tell me about the H.M.S. Redemption?”
The following is a rough transcript of the conversation that went on between us as we talked at his house in Devon. I will add that the house was a half hour drive from the pub, up an old gravel road. The nearest village is twenty minutes away, as isolated as you could get. I recorded the whole thing on my phone, and have added who is speaking and when. M is me, and H is Henry.
M: Okay, so I’m going to start with some basic questions. Are you sure you’re alright with me recording this?
H: Yeah, well, I suppose the more people that know the better.
M: What exactly was the H.M.S. Redemption?
H: It was a minesweeper, a Hunt class we were operating in the North Sea. You have no idea how many mines were left over from the war.
M: From WWII?
H: Yeah that's right.
M: How many people were on your ship?
H: Well there was the captain and five other officers, as well as 30 ratings.
M: What were the names of the other officers?
H: Well there were two logistics officers, Albert Finch and Bob Hendley. Then there was also a warfare officer; she was called Margaret Stevens. And then there was a navigations officer; he was a close friend of mine, Fielding. Richard Fielding. He was a good bloke.
M: And what did you do?
H: I was an engineer.
M: Do you know where these people are now?
M: Do you know how they died?
H: The watchers got them.
M: The watchers? What are the watchers?
H: They um… I can’t… Can we talk about the ship?
M: Sure, so what exactly happened to the Redemption? I couldn’t find any government documents.
H: (He sighed and took a deep breath.)
M: It’s fine, we can stop if you like.
H: No. No, people need to know. I suppose I should start at the beginning. We were in the North sea as I’ve just told you, and doing mine hunting operations. It was in August, and for the past week had been blowing up mines. You see, it's easiest to just blow it up using on ship weapons, and we had already destroyed about 10. We were on our eighth day of the mission when we got a transmission. The radio operator reported hearing a great amount of static on the line, but among the inaudible message, he deciphered an SOS signal as well as a series of coordinates. I may also mention that the day after the transmission he complained of ear pains, and the day after that, he had to go to the infirmary. We altered course to try and reach the signal to see if there was a ship in distress, normal protocol really. Anyway, it was my shift as officer of the watch, that was when I first saw it.
H: At first I thought it was some kind of whale; it was all white, and bloody huge.
M: When did you first notice it?
H: August 16th, two days before…
M: Before what?
H: I’ll get to that. On the second day I saw it again, only it was closer. I tried reporting it to the captain but he was preoccupied. I tried to tell the other officers, but they wouldn’t believe me, except for Fielding. It happened on the third day, it was August 18th, and in the middle of the night when there was this great bloody crash.
M: Like an explosion?
H: No, not like that. It was more… It was more like something had grazed the side of the ship, it started rocking like crazy. The captain told me to check below to see if there was damage to the engine while the navigational officer tried to see if there was anything on the radar. It was hard to get down the stairway because the ship was listing to starboard. I managed to get down below when I saw several ratings trying to hammer in metal blocks to stop the leaking.
M: So there was a hole?
H: No, there was… There was a long gash along the starboard side of the ship, the metal had torn off electric pipes and damaged the engine, and there were sparks everywhere.
M: Well what could have caused it?
H: I’ll get to that. There was a petty officer trying to organise a fire crew, because the sparks from torn wires had lit a drum of leaking oil. I was stumbling around trying to get a grip on the railing, when I saw it happen. There was an enormous scraping sound before a sudden ripping of metal as another gash was ripped on the other side of the bottom deck. (Long sigh)
M: Would you like to stop?
H: No. But… I went back up, and told the captain. He was still on the bridge. We, um… We tried to evacuate the ship as soon as possible. Some of the rates got out the rafts out of the storage.
M: So what caused it?
H: I’m getting to it, alright? The ship was sinking fast, and everyone was trying to get off, but then I caught a glimpse. There was a large amount of swelling underneath us, not from the ship, and I could see it. An enormous white shape under us.
M: So this is the thing from before, are you going to tell me you saw Moby Dick?
H: No, it… It had arms. It was like, I can’t even really describe it. Like half whale, half giant. It must have been at least 100 feet long. The um… The captain insisted on leaving last, but, the ship was sinking too quickly, and one of the pipes had burst, throwing metal shrapnel everywhere. The captain, he was… hit in the face by a shaft of steel. I um… I managed to get off with the other officers on a raft, I saw the petty officer and the other ratings on other lifeboats, we didn’t see them again.
M: What do you think happened to them?
H: What do you think? It probably went after them. We were the lucky ones.
M: So what do you think it was then?
H: I honestly don’t know, but I’ll tell you this. I knew it then as I know it know, that thing was stalking us from the day we received that transmission. It knew where we were going.
M: How did you survive the sinking of the ship?
H: Well, as I said, me and the other officers made it onto the life raft; we stayed there for three days and three nights, before we were picked up by a Norwegian freighter. After two weeks, we were back in Britain, but that's when they questioned us.
H: Oh I don’t know, government cronies. We were there for a few days, they asked us about how the ship was sunk; I told them it was engine failure because of an undetonated mine. I felt as if I told them what really happened, they would think I wasn’t serious.
M: And what about the others?
H: Well I don’t know what they told them, but what I do know is, a week after we got back, they started dropping like flies. Finch was the first to go; he was in a collision on a country road. Then Hendley and Stevens; they died together, Stevens in the passenger seat, and Hendley at the wheel.
M: So that leaves?
H: Richard. He was killed three weeks after. I had talked to him the day before about the others. We had decided to try and get off the radar. The last time I talked to him he said he had something to tell me. That night, his car flipped over; his head was squashed like a watermelon.
M: And so how have you survived this long?
H: Well, as I said. I got off the radar. I deserted technically. I came here, my mum’s old house. No one looked for me. I’m safe for now.
M: Well do you have any proof that this happened?
(At this point he walked over to a large chest of drawers and pulled out what looked like a rock. It was about two feet in length, and was thin and sharp.)
H: I grabbed it from the deck of the Redemption.
M:What is it?
H: Take a look.
M: A tooth?
H: That's right, or a claw.
H: It must have been at least 100 feet long.
(I was amazed to say the least. At this point I had all the proof I needed, but I didn't know for what. I couldn't exactly go to the press. Henry gave me the tooth for safekeeping, and I did take a picture with my phone.)
M: So, you said something about watchers.
H: Well, yes. That’s what we called them, me and Fielding. They um… We first noticed them after we got back. They were on the tube to my flat. I thought nothing of them at first. Gray overcoats, a newspaper and a hat. Could just be someone going home. But then we started seeing them every day.
M: Hang on, gray overcoats?
H: Yeah. That’s right, why?
M: I saw some on my way home from work and another before my accident, I was in a car crash.
H: When was this?
M: Seven years ago.
H: So you haven’t see them since?
M: Well how do you know there’s a they?
H: One night, a week since we came back, I was on a bus going home. It was just me, until the next stop. One by one, five different watchers all got on, all wearing the gray overcoats, all reading newspapers.
M: Did you see their faces?
H: No. You never do. You see, they watch you. Every time I would look out a window, I would see them. Every time I went outside my apartment, one was in the stairwell. That’s why I came here. I bought a car, a used one, and drove all the way here. I haven’t seen them since.
M: So you think you’re alright then?
H: For now.
M: Well do you think they have something to do with the government?
H: You want to know what I think?
(I won’t go so far as in mentioning all of the theories that Henry had developed, ranging from a genetically engineered animal, to an alien underwater spaceship.)
END OF RECORDING
I have been pondering for some time whether or not I should post this on the internet, but as Henry said, people need to know. Although I disagree with most of Henry’s theories, I have plenty of my own. What made me decide to finally post this, however, was when I saw in the obituary section of my morning paper the name of Henry Dunthorn, who died in a housefire. I can only imagine who, or what, is behind it. Since my meeting, I have noticed things go missing. Although I took a picture of the tooth that Henry gave to me, it has since vanished, along with my phone with the recording. Fortunately, I took the transcript and faxed it to as many people as I know. But it hasn’t ended. I know it. Every time I look outside my bedroom window I see them. The gray overcoats, the newspaper, and the black hats. I can’t go outside, I don’t sleep, I can only wait. I wait for the inevitable. I know what comes next. I can only leave this post as a note of my story, a story that touches the surface of something more, something far more sinister. Something that someone doesn’t want people to know about.