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The Horrible Hag Of Detroit


When the William Adams family moved into the gray frame house at 5508 Martin Street in Detroit, Michigan, only the children & the dog seemed to sense that something loathsome had made its abode in the back bedroom.

There was certainly nothing about the physical appearance of the room, that made Adams & his wife Lillian suspect that the small bedroom could hold a thing of unspeakable terror. For one thing, it was such a tiny room. There was only space enough in the miniscule enclosure, for a bed & a built-in closet in one corner. Because it was so small, & so far removed from the rest of the house, Adams used to sleep in it when he came home from the midnight shift at the Cadillac plant. "Even after years of working the midnight shift," Adams explained , "I still have trouble, sometimes, sleeping in the daytime."

It was not long before Adams noticed the strange & uncomfortable effect that the back bedroom seemed to have on him. "I started having the most horrible nightmares you can imagine.," he said later to a reporter from the 'Detroit Free Press'. "They would leave me limp with fear, because they were so real. I would find myself sitting in the bed screaming, till my throat was sore. "One of the dreams was when I found myself opening a door, & a mutilated body fell out."

The ghastly nightmares began to rob Adams of so much sleep, that he told his wife, "If this doesn't stop, I don't know what I'll do, I'm about ready to see a psychiatrist."

It was only after he had resumed sleeping in the master bedroom, that he began to associate the nightmares with the back bedroom. "I didn't have any bad dreams when I slept in our bedroom. The nightmares would come only when I slept in that terrible room."

In August of 1962, Adams' grandmother came to visit them from Georgia. Both the Adamses assumed that Bill's reaction to the room, had been some kind of personal association, so they gave Grandmother Adams the back bedroom for use during her stay.

The next morning, she came to the breakfast table pale & shaken. "There are terrible sounds in that room." she told them. "All night long, I thought someone was trying to break in. I refuse to sleep in that room again."

Grandmother Adams became so uneasy in the house, that she cut short her stay, & returned to Georgia.

For the first time, Bill & Lillian began to realize that there was something terrible about that room. They began to recall things---small things that had seemed inconsequential at the time. They remembered, for example, that their small terrier refused to enter the room, that their 5 small children, always avoided the room when they played about the house. What strange thing was tainting the atmosphere, in the tiny back bedroom?

On October 27th, an old friend from Georgia, Shirley Patterson, arrived to spend a few days with the Adamses in Detroit, before he drove a new car back home to Decatur. Adams knew that Patterson was a practical, matter-of-fact Southerner. Bill & Lillian decided he would be their final test. If Patterson could spend a night in the back bedroom without suffering any ill effects, or reporting anything strange, perhaps they had merely let their imaginations gain the upper hand. They would not even mention their own unpleasant experiences with the room. Patterson would be able to explode all the fantasies that they had built up about the room.

"I didn't know anything about the room." Patterson said later. "There was no reason for me to suspect anything. No reason to be afraid. "It seems that I was in the bed for just a few minutes. I dont know whether I was asleep or not. I was facing the wall, & then I felt something turn me over. Don't ask me to describe the feeling. All I know, is that it rolled me over, & then I saw it standing outdide the bedroom door.

"At first I thought it was Lillian, but I started to tremble. It was a woman with long hair, & she had her back to me, looking into the kitchen. She was wearing a short fur coat, & a kind of blue dress."

Patterson screamed as loud as he could, & ran toward the figure. At the moment he approached it, every light in the house went out.. He continued to stumble around in the darkness until, a moment later, the lights came back on again. He met Lillian in the kitchen. Bill had left shortly before, for the midnight shift at the plant. "In the bedroom,"Patterson began, "I saw..." His words of explanation were suddenly interrupted by a terrible wailing---a mournful, half-human, half-animal sound, that left both of them speechless with fright.

"It was nothing I'd ever heard before," Lillian Adams recalled later, "and then there was an awful smell, that made both of us sick. It was coming from the room where we heard the moaning."

As if the unearthly moaning & the nauseating stench were not enough, a heavy trapdoor in the floor of the utility room, raised itself several inches into the air, & then fell back into place again. Below the trapdoor, was a set of flimsy stairs that led to a partially dug-out basement. Freeing themselves at last from the spell of terror that had completely engulfed them, the frightened man & woman called the police. Within a few minutes, officers were searching the house from attic, to incomplete basement. They were able to find nothing that would give a rational explanation to the apparition which Patterson had seen, or to the eerie moaning & the sickening odor, which both Patterson & Lillian Adams had noted.

When Adams got home from the plant on Sunday October 28th, his wife & friend were waiting up for him. As calmly as they could, they told him what they had experienced that night. "I'm not the kind of guy who believes in ghosts--at least I didn't then," Adams said. "I'm a grown man with a family. I've been in the Army. I just couldn't convince myself that there was anything to it. I had to try again, & see what would happen." That night, at about 7:30 p.m., Adams lay down on the bed of the back bedroom. He had reached a decision that night, once & for all; he would either conquer whatever inhabited the room, or he would admit defeat, & let the thing have the bedroom---& the house---to itself.

He had lain in the bedroom for quite some time, when he thought he heard Lillian moving in the room. He had left his friend & his wife sitting silently in the front room, with a small table lamp providing their only light. "Lil," Adams whispered sharply, "You'd better leave the room if we're ever going to get anything settled. It probably won't show itself, if there's 2 of us in here." There was no answer, & no sound of movement, but Adams still sensed a presence in the room.

"I turned over to look, & the face was inches away from me. It was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. The eyes stared past me, & the mouth moved to talk, but only a hissing noise came out--- and a terrible stench !" Adams ran out of the back bedroom in a state of near hysteria. He was screaming wildly, & he ripped handfuls of hair from his head, as he ran into the kitchen. Patterson tried to grab him & hold him down, but Adams flailed away at his friend as if he were beserk. Finally Lillian & Patterson managed to throw a blanket over Bill, & wrestle him to the floor. The same nauseating stench they had noticed the night before, once again permeated the house..

An hour after Bill had regained his senses, & told of the ghastly & indescribably evil face he had seen, the house on Martin Street was empty. Adams had admitted defeat. The horrid hag could keep her bedroom, & her house. They grabbed the sleeping children from their beds, & fled in the night to neighbors. The next morning they moved in with Mrs. Adams' parents, who live in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit..

"All I could think of that next morning," Adams remarked, "was that if the bedroom door had been closed that Sunday night, I would have killed myself beating against it to get out". With the help of friends & relatives, the Adamses found another house to rent, & moved all their furniture out of the house on Martin Street, during a series of daylight visits.

Mrs. Adams brother, Leo Sanocki, & her sister Virginia arrived at the house one night, to see for themselves if there was anything to Lillian & Bill's wild tale of an ugly hag that haunted the back bedroom. "I stood out in the kitchen, & Leo said he was going lie down on the bed for 10 minutes in the dark, " said Virginia Sanocki. "A few minutes later, I heard this awful groan come from the bedroom.If it was Leo, I have never heard him make a sound like that before. "Then he came rushing through the door into the kitchen, with the most horrible look on his face, like he was scared out of his mind. I asked him what he saw, but he wouldn't tell me anything."

Leo Sanocki refused to disclose what he had seen in that back bedroom in the house on 5508 Martin Street in Detroit. And, as the landlord absolutely refused to let any investigators into the house with electronic equipment, it is unlikely that we shall ever know what mission kept the horrible hag haunting that bedroom in Detroit----

or at least, not until the house is rented out again.

by Brad Steiger