The mirror of shadows

You can read it on r/nosleep, or you can read it here under the ‘more’ tag.


There is a mirror somewhere out there, which is both beautiful, horrifying, and I believe dangerous – and how do I know this? Because it used to belong to my grandmother.  I am going to try to account for this as well as I can, but it is both many years ago, and it is a strange story – maybe not real scary as some of the other accounts you read here, but none the less, it is true.

Something happened some weeks ago which prompted me to write this warning for anyone in the market for a beautiful mirror, and maybe you already met it, maybe it hangs in your grandmothers bedroom, or maybe at your favorite café – I do not know.

The mirror is about as tall as an average ten year old, and has a heavy ornate wooden frame painted gold. And honestly it doesn’t look all that different from any other mirror, I have seen many like it in different thrift stores, but luckily I never ran across ‘it’ – the real mirror, my grandmothers mirror.

My grandmother’s house has a first floor, the stairs start in the hall and ends on a repos on the first floor. To your left is a little bathroom, and to your right is a guest room, and right in front of you is a wall, this wall is where the mirror hung, and when I say hung – it is because she no longer owns this mirror.

The mirror was right in front of the door to the guest bedroom, and because there was a long windowless hallway down around the corner from where the mirror hung, the door to the guest bedroom was always open, this allowed light into the hallway without having to turn on the light – because electricity cost money, sunlight does not.

As I remember it, the mirror has been there through my entire childhood, I am not sure if it was an heirloom or if it my grandparents bought it, but if there is anything I know as an adult, then it is that haunted items have a funny way of surviving, though that is a story for another time.

The mirror, my grandmothers haunted mirror – I hated it as a child, it was big and looming, and looked mostly like a doorway to another place, like a dark, twisted Narnia. But I am getting ahead of myself now.

I can’t tell you when it began, or when I noticed the first time. But I remember me and my only cousin close to my own age, were playing with dolls on the repos, when we were kids this was a great place to play, because we could hear the adults in the kitchen or living room, but we were still alone and most importantly not in the way. I remember the sky was blue in that way only a sunny day with intense frost can look, and I remember that cause I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror, the stark blue skies outside, mirrored from the window in the guest bedroom. Now my grandmother is from a generation that used those fine laced curtains under their regular curtains, so even with the curtains drawn, there would still be the thin lace covering the window, so nosey neighbors or bypassers couldn’t look in. If you ask me why the hell she would have the lace curtain on a first floor bedroom, with no neighbor straight across, I would not know what to answer you. Cause I simply don’t know – or understand that myself.

The reason that I am talking about that stupid lace curtain, is that it was everyone’s favorite excuse for what we saw, maybe it was even mine for a while.

I remember my cousin and I both just stopped playing and stared at the mirror, it is hard to explain what it was we saw, but the mirror would perfectly mirror the world outside, just like one could expect, but there were something moving, squirming, dancing.

Let me rephrase that, there was many things moving.

Now it could have been the lace curtain moving in the wind, but the window was not open – I would have recalled being cold, sitting still this close to an open window in the winter. No one believed us, but I am telling you the things we saw in the mirror, were not the curtain. The curtain was white, the figures were mostly transparent grey. And somehow the dancing shadows defied logic, darting from one side to the other of the mirror. I remember my cousin and I calmly collected our dolls and went to play downstairs, and didn’t talk about what we saw in the mirror for years.

Now this was not like in the movies, we had no disappearing pets, or people gone mad – but there was those shadows moving where no shadows ought to be, best I can describe it is like flames dancing, only grey. If you attempted to mirror yourself in it, it wasn’t like your face was distorted, or something scary happened, but you were overwhelmed by the urge to get away, the closer to the mirrors surface you were, the more your flight instinct kicked in.

It felt like the mirror wanted to harm you, like it somehow had malicious intent. Like the tendrils pretending to be joyful dancing creatures where demons just waiting to reach out a grab you and pull you into their nightmare mirror world if you dared to blink.

I should say that it wasn’t like they were always there, sometimes it was just a little flicker of something off in the corner. I don’t think you would even notice that flicker if you didn’t look for it. It was mostly like seeing something moving in your peripheral vision.

Now you might wonder if it was different at night – And it was. It was like the darkness and moonlight reflected in the mirror gave the shadows more substance, made them well – darker and more solid. I hated passing that mirror in the dark with a passion, I would always refuse to look at it, and would shield the side of my face towards the mirror with my hand so I couldn’t see it. Years later, in adulthood I spoke with my cousin about this, and she had the same story, which is funny since we never did talk about it as children.

I can’t remember anything catastrophic happening in my life or any of my family members life as long as the mirror was in my grandmothers possession, and the adults would laugh at my concern. Maybe it was because I had a lot of these stories in my grandmother’s house, like the sad lady by the washing machine in the basement, or the mudroom wolf visions. Those are also stories for another day, and I am mentioning them here because I think most of the adults around me must have believed I had an over active imagination when I talked about evil dancing shadows in the mirror. And truthfully my grandmother’s house has a lot of nooks and crannies that could, would and should scare a child – Thing is that I was not easily scared as a child. However, this mirror scared me, and the worst part is that I can’t even explain why.

My grandmother is a pragmatic woman, always was – but none the less, someday the mirror was just gone. I asked her where she had put it, but she either couldn’t or wouldn’t answer me; she told me she didn’t remember. I don’t believe her at all. Now here is the kicker, as an adult she and I talked about some of the things I experienced in her house as a child, and she reluctantly told me that she had also seen the sad lady in the basement. Now if she had seen her, why would I believe she had not seen the weird shadows in the mirror, and why is she dodging my questions when I ask where the mirror went. I think she knows exactly what I am talking about, both then and now, and I think she got rid of this mirror on purpose and downplays it, because she is not ready to open the can of worms that is all the stories we kids have about her house.

Now the reason I am writing this is because I have honestly not given this mirror thought in over twenty years, but just the other night I had a nightmare and this mirror was there but the shadows was dancing next to it, not inside it. I woke with a sense of dread and a sense that I have to warn you all, see I think this mirror might have been weaker when I was a child, or maybe there is another reason for it to ‘just’ observe. I know that it sounds strange, but that is the feeling I have all these years later, as a child I didn’t know what I know now, and I also didn’t have the words to explain what I felt and saw. It is true as I keep saying through this entire post, that I am not really aware of what the mirror can do, or if I am right. But it feels like it was observing us.

I called my cousin and told her about the nightmare, and spoke to her about those years, and what we recalled as children. that feeling of danger that would radiate from it, making you think twice before you walked past it, because maybe this time of all the times you made it past it – they would reach out and grab you. The more we spoke we realized that none of us have large mirrors in our homes, I wonder if that is a coincidence or if it could be because we experienced something bad with large mirrors, something that traumatized us enough so we don’t recall, but still have this seemingly unfounded phobia of large mirrors.

I do not know. I simply don’t remember. But I know that I was and am afraid of whatever is inside that mirror. So trust me when I say, if you see a large mirror with an ornate golden frame – and something catches your attention from the corner of your eye, like the mirror image that is supposed to be there isn’t quite right. Get rid of it, destroy it, find another favorite café – do whatever you have to do.

I believe this mirror is a nightmare waiting to happen, I think it watches us and I am afraid to even think of why.

One response to “The mirror of shadows

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