THE TERRIFYING TALE
OF A CHILDS INVISIBLE FRIEND
East Parade, 1975, the not so distant past. In one of these flats lived a two year old girl, Mary with her Mum Sarah and Dad, John. She was a happy girl, living with her mum and dad who moved into the flat when Mary was born. In that first year everything was fine, there was nothing strange about their first home. Not until Mary reached the age of two and she started to talk.
A two year old Mary began talking to her invisible friend. Dad was out working all day so Mum and Mary would sit and play together with Mary’s friend. Tea parties were a lot of fun and it was during one of these games where Mum was distracted.
A knock on the front door was nothing unusual, Sarah left Mary on the living room floor and answered the door. No one was there. She leaned out a little expecting to see some naughty kids running off. Confused she closed the door and headed back to Mary, only to find that Mary was still playing happily with her invisible friend.
A few minutes later there was another knock at the door, this time Sarah listened to the knock and waited, another knock, the knocking wasn’t coming from the front door, it was coming from upstairs. She waited and listened… there it was, clearly someone knocking upstairs.
Confused and a little apprehensive, Sarah picked up Mary and headed to the bottom of the stairs. She paused, holding her breath… nothing.
She made her way up stairs until she came to the landing where she could see all three doors that lead to her room, Mary’s room and the bathroom. Knock, knock, knock. It was coming from Mary’s room. Someone was inside.
‘Hello?” she called out. No answer. Tentatively and against all rational thought, she made her way to the bedroom. She pushed the door open slowly and rushed inside to catch the intruder. The room was empty. Sarah searched the wardrobe, nothing, under the bed, nothing. The room was empty. Sarah sat with Mary on the bed, Sarah’s heart pounded in her chest.
Laughing out loud she said playfully to Mary “Silly Mummy, there isn’t anyone in your room.” Mary replied “Yes there is.”
Sarah’s smile dropped “Who is in here little one?”
“Mr Badder” answered Mary, pointing to a dark corner of the room.
Sarah’s skin prickled, the hairs standing on the back of her neck, she looked into the corner and laughed unconvincingly, “Silly sausage, come on let’s go and finish our tea party.” With that Sarah hastily returned to the living room and was secretly begging her husband to return home from work as quickly as possible.
For ten minutes the tea party continued with much merriment until, BANG, BANG BANG! Both Sarah and Mary jumped out of their skin. Sarah scooped up Mary and began to leave the house. In the hallway, Sarah glanced upstairs, BANG, BANG, BANG! This time the bathroom door shuddered, as if someone or something was trapped inside trying to escape.
“Silly Mr Badder” giggled Mary. Sarah darted a look to her daughter, smiled and fled the house to her neighbours. Here they stayed until her husband returned from work.
The next few months, almost daily, the knocking and banging on the bathroom door got worse and worse. Mary explained that Mr Badder was stuck inside and wanted to come out to play. Sarah and John were scared, they couldn’t put up with it any longer and things got so bad that they applied for a council house and moved out to Newby Crescent in Jennyfields.
The new house was calm all but for a week or so. Then strange things happened, Mary kept talking to her invisible friend and her parents were confused and scared as the little girls friend was called Mr Badder, the man from their old house.
When her parents quizzed her Mary explained that he was the man from their old house that visits her in the night. Over time Mary began to withdraw and was much more quiet than her parents thought she should be. She began to complain that she was scared of Mr Badder and that she didn’t want to play anymore.
They were convinced that it was simply her imagination. Mary got worse, not eating, she grew pale and couldn’t sleep. Her parents asked her to describe Mr Badder and she said he had hair on his chin, a long dark coat with buttons and sleeves and a tall hat that was flat on the top
Her parents eventually took her to the doctors surprisingly the doctor recommended they seek spiritual help and said to speak to their local church. Sarah and John thought this a little too much and decided to ignore the problem in the hope it would go away.
It only got worse.
On one occasion in the height of a roasting summer Sarah went to her daughters room to see if she was ok as she had been awfully quiet. Upon opening the door she was hit with a blast of cold air, stepping into the freezing room she found her tiny daughter in tears.
“Mr Badder has been again” she said through tiny sobs.
Sarah called a friend, Carl who was deemed to have psychic abilities. Even before Sarah spoke he said “I know what you are calling me for, Lucy has a visitor hasn’t she?”
The parents decided to let Carl come round for a few days to see if he could get a sense of what was going on. He’d already said that he knew Mary had “a visitor” but he asked Mary parents not to tell him any more details so that he could see if he saw or sensed the same thing without being influenced.
One evening during this period, Mary’s parents and Carl were downstairs chatting when they heard Mary screaming from her room. Carl ran upstairs and was taken aback with what he saw. He described in his own words, seeing a man in Victorian style clothing and a top hat by Mary’s bedside. The man disappeared when he entered the room. The description matched Mary’s description exactly.
Now Mary’s parents were terrified. They didn’t know what to do. Carl said that he could try to just ask "Mr Badder" to go but he felt like it was a much stronger presence than anything he’d seen, felt or heard before so he wasn’t sure that it would do much good.
He didn’t do this type of thing for a living. He was just a window cleaner and a family friend. He did seem to have an incredible gift though. He never used it for financial gain or notoriety and kept it between close friends only. Often giving guidance to friends from visions he had of the future. (Later in life when Mary’s husband met Carl in 2004 he told him a few things that would happen in the future and they came true).
Carl sadly passed about 2014 but remained very close to the family up until he died. He was a very good and trustworthy man and the family had no reason to doubt him.
Carl and Mary’s parents asked the presence to leave but sadly things only got worse. One day Sarah was ironing in the living room when Mary said to her “What’s the man doing here again Mummy?”
Knowing they were alone in the house Sarah replied with “What man? There’s no one there!” “Yes there is” replied Mary, “He’s standing behind you”.
Sarah tentatively turned around slowly with glassy eyes. “What’s he doing little one?” she asked.
"He’s going huuuuuhuuuuhuuuuhuuuu” said Mary in a deep, guttural moan and making heavy breathing noises.
Sarah bundled Mary up straight away and took off to the neighbour’s house.
The very same neighbour that babysat one evening and Mary’s parents came home to find her in tears saying that she was never going to babysit again but she wouldn’t tell them why. They never found out to this day but assumed it had something to do with Mr Badder.
Feeling desperate, Mary’s parents realised it was time to make a call to the spiritualist church. They explained the entire situation and they were told that it sounded like they had a malevolent spirit in the house and the only way to get rid of it would be for a specialist priest to come and perform an exorcism. Something that the parents would have baulked at previously was now seeming like a ray of hope. They arranged for someone to come out and visit them asap.
Sarah and John began to have a bit of hope that things might get better. Mary was becoming increasingly withdrawn and sleep deprived and they said they'd try anything to get their happy little girl back to normal. It wasn’t a conventional method of seeking help but then it wasn’t a conventional situation.
Unfortunately the day before the priest was due to come, they received a telephone call from the spiritualist church to say that the only qualified priest in the district that could perform exorcisms had sadly passed away. There was nobody that could come and help them. Not for a long while anyway.
They were once again alone with their fear.
Feeling like there was little else he could to help, John decided to redecorate Mary’s bedroom to attempt to brighten it a little. As he pulled out the wardrobe to paint the wall, he noticed an old mirror that had been wedged down the side of it. It had come with them when they moved from the old flat on East Parade.
The mirror was originally from the inside of an old Victorian wardrobe. It wasn’t much to look at, had no frame and wasn’t worth anything so he decided to take it to the tip.
He bundled it into the back of the car, drove it down Wetherby Road and threw it into the skip. He was quite surprised by the sturdiness of the thing. It crashed against the iron side of the skip as it landed and remained fully intact. He drove away thinking nothing of it.
Mr Badder never made another appearance. Not once.
Everything in this story is absolutely true. Mary contacted Haunted Yorkshire and decided to share her story, now grown up she said
“It hasn’t ‘haunted’ my adulthood. I feel very detached from the tale yet remember the name Mr Badder like a long lost toy.I spoke to my mum about it yesterday and she corrected me that the banging sounds in the flat on East Parade weren’t from the front internal door but rather from the bathroom in the flat at night. Which was the room that the Victorian Mirror stood.”