In 1990 I was a corporal in the Marine Corps counting down the last six months of my tour of duty at Camp Butler, on the island of Okinawa. Being an NCO, I managed to get my own room. Although made for two people, the room was small. When you entered, there was a wall locker then a bunk on either side and on the far wall was a desk, a small fridge, and an end table situated near a window. Hanging on the wall above the bunk on the left of the room was an old, large mirror held in a strange looking, heavy wooden frame. I took the bunk on the right.
Having recently been promoted, most of my friends were of lesser rank than me and I let them hide in my room whenever the needed to shirk any unwanted duty that came up. They never stayed long, though.
At first they would try to nap but complained of angry, violent dreams. Arguments would break out and even a few fist fights occurred over even the most trivial of things. People would enter the best of friends but leave angry, sad, or depressed.
A few of us were sitting around talking once when one of them, who had entered in the best of moods, suddenly became upset about something and jumped at me, getting me into a choke hold that took the other two with him to release me from. Later he apologized and said he had no idea what had come over him.
Another time my best friend was napping while I read a book when he suddenly sat up, looked off into space and said "I can't take this anymore", leaving abruptly with no explanation. He never stayed in that room again for more than a few minutes at a time. Feelings of dread, depression, and anger were only highlighted by the noises that came from the room.
I cannot count the number of times a sergeant who lived in the room next to me would come banging on my door telling me to turn down my music or the TV I had. The problem was, I was a very quiet person, only listening to music on my headphones and, on the rare occasion, I would watch TV, kept it down to a low volume. Numerous times he would complain about loud parties I was having only to find that I was alone in my room writing letters or reading when he came in to see what was going on.
During this time I had use of an acoustic guitar and was writing my own songs. Since there was a lull in traffic out in the hall and most people were away for the weekend, I decided to record a song I had just written to see what it sounded like. I am a horrible singer but wanted to hear how the words flowed with the song; so I turned on the recorder and very quietly strummed out my tune and sang along. I did this a few times until I had it the way I wanted then listened to what I had. On the recording, I could hear the soft notes of the guitar and my horrible, whispery voice.
Suddenly, I began to hear people howling like dogs. I shut the machine off and rewound it. Again, I could hear my feeble attempt at singing and then a chorus of people howling. It sounded as if they were making fun of my lack of musical talent. I was completely embarrassed and decided to wait until later to record my songs when I was completely alone. It did not hit me until later that the hallways and other rooms were empty at that time and that, upon listening again, the howling was coming from INSIDE the room.
The room had, to some degree, the same effect on me as it did everyone else and it was easy to see that the mirror was causing it. When I had company I noticed people would shy away from it. They would sit as far from it as possible and glance toward it now and then as if to make sure it hadn't moved.
The mirror stood out and although I used it, I didn't like to. I tried to avoid looking at it whenever I came or went, which was nearly impossible since it was so big.
Once, after work was over for the day but the sun still shining bright, I was getting ready to go out. It was the weekend and I was to meet some friends nearby. I had showered and dressed and was about to leave when I remembered something I had left on the desk. Retrieving it, I went toward the door, quickly checking myself in the mirror. I stopped and looked again. I still have a hard time believing what I saw. There, in front of my own reflection, was the clear image of a human arm. It was tan and slightly dirty looking; stretched out as if to shake someone's hand. There was no body or blood or anything just an arm from the shoulder to the fingers.
I am unsure as to how long I stood there staring at it. A full 30 seconds at least, before it quickly faded away. It seemed as if I were in a trance the whole time, just looking at what should not be there. I couldn't move or even really comprehend what I was seeing. Once it was gone though I came to; feeling cold and as if I were going to faint. I bolted for the door.
Not quite sure what to make of all this, I met my friends feeling strange and confused, but said nothing. I needed more time to think about it. Soon after, the friend who had me in the choke hold was promoted and moved in with me. It took a week but he finally said what everyone else had been thinking. He told me he couldn't stand the mirror and refused to stay another night in the room if it was not removed from the wall. He couldn't pinpoint one exact thing, but said the mirror exuded a strong sense of well...evil.
Hearing this, I blurted out my own story about what I had seen and we both agreed to do something. There really wasn't any place to store the thing and when we tried to toss it out, we were told by an anal superior we couldn't dispose of government property without proper permission and to put it back in the room (yes, he kept checking to see if we did). So we took it off the wall, wrapped it in a heavy blanket, and placed it behind the refrigerator with the glass facing the wall. This sounds silly, but it worked.
After that, there were no more bad dreams or fights to deal with and things were noticeably better. It was as if someone had turned on a switch and all the darkness fell away.
We had one more room inspection before leaving Okinawa and returning to the States so we cleaned everything up, but forgot to place the mirror back on the wall. The officer giving the inspection was a friendly, easy-going lieutenant and he gave us only one bad mark. The wrapped up mirror behind our fridge.
When he asked why it was like that, my roommate, much to my embarrassment, told him the whole story. The lieutenant listened, nodded, and then ordered us to unwrap the mirror. He looked at it, nodded again, crossed off the one bad mark he had written down, and said, "Wrap it back up. It looks better that way".
We did just that, leaving it covered up for the next tenants to find.