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The Closet


For nine months, my husband and I occupied one of the upstairs bedrooms of his parents crowded three-bedroom home. After the wedding, it's a Hmong tradition to have the bride reside with the groom's side of the family. Primary reason is to have the wife get accustomed to how the family functions and to assist with the household chores.

It was a cold December weekend when the husband and I were to move to our tiny, one-bedroom apartment on the north side of town. His parents were out of town attending a wedding with the majority of his siblings. The only people left at home were the both of us, his 4-year old sister Heidi, and his younger brother who stayed behind to help with the move.

Now to give you a background of his parents' house, which they still reside in today, was built back in the 1920's. While renovating the living room, we found old newspapers dating back to 1924 - they were used as instillation in the walls. The house has an eerie appearance and dark areas where no matter how much sunlight came into the home, that area would still be dark as shadows. Moving on to the basement - I remember my husband telling me that when they moved in 18 some years ago, the basement had dirt ground that they had to replace with concrete. Today, the basement is still unfinished and with minimal lighting, it's a frightening place to be if one was alone.

So with the four of us at home, Heidi and I were upstairs packing the small, fragile items while the husband and his brother were downstairs, loading our things into the moving truck. The only thing left in our room was the clothes in the closet, the TV, some DVD's, and my treasures (junk according to the husband). While I packed the treasures into a box, Heidi was watching Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in the room. I never like to be upstairs in that house by myself. I noticed Heidi kept looking at the closet, I thought perhaps she wanted to play dress up so I pulled out some of my old party dresses and laid them on the floor for her to pick out. But she didn't bother to look at them because she was still focused on the closet. I was a bit concerned, so I sat in the middle between her and the closet. I veered her attention back to the TV screen. Every three minutes or so, Heidi leaned over me and stared at the closet. "What is it?" I asked. "Nothing" she replied. We continued watching the movie. I was so glued to the set that the next thing I knew, she was standing in front of the closet with the door open.

"What are you looking at?" I asked her. I was looking at the giant stuffed bear the husband had given me for Valentine's, "Is this what you want?" "No, Nyab, what is that?" Heidi asked without pointing to anything in particular. (Nyab translates to sister-in-law in the Hmong language). I looked around the closet, didn't notice anything unusual. "What is what?" I asked, now very confused. So I opened the closet door further and went through the objects in it - nothing was out of the ordinary just clothes, shoes, and stuffed animals I was going to donate to Goodwill.

All of a sudden, Heidi screamed and pointed to something in the closet, "That Nyab, what's that?" I looked, again... nothing out of the ordinary, "I don't see what you're looking at." Then suddenly Heidi was jumping up and down, still focused on whatever it was in the closet, and her eyes were wide. "It's a boy, he's as tall as I, who is he Nyab? What is the boy doing in your closet?" she questioned. "What boy?" I asked, still searching through the heap of toys. A few seconds later, it hit me that this was an entity that allowed Heidi to see him but not me. I screamed and ran downstairs with Heidi trailing behind me.

Although I didn't see or heard anything, I was still afraid. When we got downstairs and joined the guys, Heidi was giggling. I told the husband what happened. He asked Heidi what she saw and she replied, "I saw a boy sitting in Nyab's closet. He was as tall as I am and he kept looking at me. I tried to talk to him but he can't talk back. It's so funny because Nyab was so scared." She continued giggling. I was relieved that she found the situation amusing. I can still picture her face when she saw the boy - she went pale and her eyes were wider than ever and I was so afraid it was going to traumatize her.

It's been two years since the incident. The younger brother and his new bride are living in that very room today. Recently, the wife said she had a bad dream and she woke up to find a dark figure standing by the closet. I guess the boy is still there.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, KkodakK, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-02-10)
Hi Kkodakk,
I would say he is still there also, though I wonder why no one has yet tried to release him. How said for a little one to be bound to a closet. I would assume that you all were not the only ones that he had shown himself to, as they younger brothers wife sees something too.
Do you know who he is, or have an idea?
Thank you.
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
15 years ago (2007-10-10)
thank you for sharing your story. I enjoy hearing cultural traditions in with the stories.

It sounds as if there is definitely some activity in the home, ith the age it is I am not suprised.

God Bless!
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
15 years ago (2007-10-10)
Hi Kkodakk. I realy liked your story. It must have scared you to see your sister in law scared like that. It could have been a jikoe but I know that kids at the age of 4 don't joke like that. They don't even know how to. Did your husbands younger brother, s wife see anything like that before? Maybe somthing is wrong with the closet? See you soon and take care

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