It was in the town of Belford, Massachusetts that I learned the story of Carol Kosach and the Belford Mall suicide. Stories of the suicide circulated in the news and gossip spread around between the cafes, restaurants, and bars along the narrow old streets of Belford central square. In such a town, news spread quickly and everyone shared similar sentiments about the nature of those grisly deaths in the backrooms. 

Belford was one of the old towns first settled by Puritan colonists, founded in the 1640s. In the fields and orchards along Musketaquid River, secret destroyers of astral power have been known to spread to those who incidentally beheld the stranger things that have moved through Massachusetts aether, even far before the first Puritan people came upon the ridged hills of these cryptic wood. Between the 1870s and 1940s, there was a cruel purge of anyone who thought to be infected with madness of other worldly beings. Belford sent anyone under suspicion of contact with the entities into an institution with those deemed mentally unfit for society. 

Belford Sanitarium was erected on a slanting field near a bog west of Belford’s old lumber mill, a colonial reconstruction of the original mill from 1645. According to the studies of Musketaquid lore, the grounds were once used for natives to perform rituals seeking unspeakable cosmic manifestations. It is said that phantoms left behind by the Musketaquid stalked the halls of Belford Sanitarium, stirring cruel torture upon the inmates and orderlies alike. In fact, one infamous case accounts for a man named Dr. Danvers who became consumed by visions of an elder Cthell being speaking from subterranean places below Belford. In 1928, Dr. Danvers went mad and set a fire in Belford Sanitarium’s western wing, killing 14 people before the flames were put out. Danvers himself was never found, though a note left for his wife at their home written in doctor’s handwriting said that he was “floating off with the leaves to find God.”

Eventually the Belford Sanitarium was abandoned. The 1960s introduced all sorts of ideas that allowed for entity-stricken folks to fit into some niches of common society, on the right drugs especially. After the Belford Sanitarium was demolished, stories of paranormal activity returned to the woods of Musketaquid valley. People claimed to see flares of strange light that came from the swamp at night accompanied by loud piercing gurgling sounds unknown to any animal in the region. The phenomena was mostly suppressed by media, but were nonetheless regularly interwoven with Belford’s folk tale lore. As for the scientists from prestigious Massachusetts universities, none could form a consensus on the cause for these wild bog stories. 

In 1979, the field used by Belford Sanitarium was purchased by a company from Boston. It was turned into a shopping mall. That shopping mall could have been built right on top of an aethereal war zone of celestial forces, but nobody cared, because people came and bought things.

Over the decades, nothing out of the ordinary happened, at least until the Carol Kosach suicide a few years ago. Carol was a 24-year-old who worked at the flower boutique & gift shop at Belford Mall. Having seen a picture of her myself, I can attest that she was quite a lovely looking girl with charmed brown eyes that shined with her cheeky smile. Those who worked with her said she was diligent, humble, and respectful to all who came into the floral shop. No one could have sensed the secret madness stirring in her beneath that consummate veil of trained customer service. It came as if from nowhere when she was found dead in a mall backroom corridor, hanging from an auxiliary pipe in the ceiling scaffolding with her wrists slit bleeding blood all over the stone floor. A single black candle was lit with a slip of paper that contained numerous words written in an indecipherable language, quickly passed off as nonsense by all of the town’s authorities, but those that knew the horrid tales of Belford Sanitarium guessed it might have been the old Musketaquid haunts come back to claim another soul. 

Having heard enough about these Musketaquid lights in the bog, I decided to make a hastily visit into the muddy wood west of the old lumber mill. The occasion came on the night of December 5th, a night I won’t ever forget. Parking my car in a Christmas dressed neighborhood lit with festivity, I went through a clearing in the trees off to the side of the road, and followed my compass west down an old trail with a flashlight in hand to see through the dark tangle of deathly branches in winter’s cold. Quickly, I began to question my own sanity, having caught the chill air on my face less than ten minutes before fighting off the urge to go back. Driving home to a glass of eggnog and Christmas specials on the tube, yeah that would have been a normal thing to do.

It was the face of Carol Kosach that kept me walking through the trail. I could almost feel her strangulation and desperately futile last glimpses of existence inside that cursed hallway. I came upon a chain link fence about a half mile walk down trail. Signs marked DO NOT ENTER: PRIVATE PROPERTY were spaced out down the length of the fence which seemed to go on for four or five acres until it disappeared into the trees. I knew that the property had in fact belonged to the town, from conversation with a friend Dan O’Shea, who told me about this lot one night while out drinking with him at a bar in Belford’s town square. The property was used by scientists in the 1970s for research into the nature of Belford’s paranormal lights. Once they ended their operations, they technically gave the town back the land, but no one used the lot for anything in Belford for nearly 30 years. The fence was rusted and torn apart in many places, so I found one such hole to enter through and made my way down the other side.

About another half mile down the road was when I first began to suspect a feeling of being watched by some presence that might have been following me through the trees. I turned often, forcing my light into the trees only to find nothing but shadows from an endless dead treeline. Again, I questioned my sanity, telling myself that I was just getting the spooks for nothing. The sounds of shuffling feet in the bushes were nothing to be alarmed by, just rodents wandering the forest floor, a coyote maybe sneaking around in the bushes. 

I walked through the woods for maybe another nine acres up over a rocky hill and down the other side when I came upon the thing that left a mark on me forever. I could never forget what I saw in the darkness just where the hill’s slippery slope descended into murky bog water.

There in the bog appeared to me a figure of gray skin and wrinkled sickly sagging flesh in the beam of my flashlight. The unmistakable gurgling came with a sharp vibration when it opened its mouth, striking me with shock. I was revolted and nearly ran, but then just as the bog being appeared, it disappeared into the light. This was not the light of my device which I used to get through the trail, no this was another light so bright that it shined with an all-consuming radiance. Even the flashlight beam was taken in by it.

Strange sigils formed out of spectral bands began to fly out of the light, wrapping themselves around me in a serpentine coil of otherworldly conjuration. The vibrating hum continued from somewhere in the blinding glow. My mind could not form any logic and at that moment it was like the abyss opened and struck me of my humanity. This was no longer Belford, I was no longer in the world. Did Carol Kosach come back here and become captured by the same strange bog being’s light? Was any of this related to the insidious madness of Dr. Danvers and his relations with subterranean horrors?

None of those questions were answered for me. None of the things that I saw or experienced on that night can be explained. It all happened so quickly, in fact, less than the time it takes to have a couple quick drags of smoke. The light faded. I was back in the mud. Just as I thought, the gray man was gone.

When I walked back to my car, one thing occurred to me. The suicide note that Carol Kosach wrote in her mysterious schizo babble language. I remembered the lines shown to me from pictures taken on someone’s phone, and could see them in my mind’s eye with clear visual acuity. I took out my phone to look at a photo of the note as it was shared around online. Checked to make sure I was remembering it all clearly, but it wasn’t just remembering.

Now I understood the language. The sick last words of Carol from the Belford Mall’s floral shop.





All of this written for some reason in a strange code that lacked any sort of sense in a prepared suicide note. Again, I could read it as if the code was known to me, in the aftermath of that otherworldly light bath of spectral sigils it all made sense. I could not help but find myself aghast at the notion that Carol Kosach and Dr. Danvers used the same exact line in their last notes to the world.

The next day, I asked my friend Dan O’Shea if he knew anything about strange coded messages related to the light, but dared not tell him what I saw. I pointed out my theory that Carol might have strung together a code. Dan said that it was a possibility that came up sometimes in discussions online. When I mentioned something about the last line in the note, that identical phrase with the haunting words of Dr. Danvers, my friend could not accept the seriousness of my theory and shunned me off like I was a crazy person. As it turns out, I was right not to tell him about my visit in the woods, lest he would have built the sanitarium up all over again to put me in it.

Now I am left with this awful revelation all to myself. No one will accept this notion as anything but the theory of a delusional man. I discovered the code of Carol Kosach’s suicide note in the astral light of Belford’s bogs. The secrets came to me from the gray man who speaks in gurgles. Carol Kosach and Dr. Danvers are related. All of this awful curse connected to the ancient Musketaquid and their secret destroyers of astral power. 

There came an awful trepidation that one day, this curse might come for me. The phantoms of Musketaquid forced me to flee from the town, and since then I have not gone back. Though when the leaves fall off the trees in the autumn and early days of winter, I will remember the twisted serendipity in Carol’s codified poetry left behind with her hanging corpse. I’ve fought off the temptation to fulfill my damned curiosity, but I know the sigils of the gray man’s astral light revealed their hidden truth for a reason. I am alone with this knowledge of the secret code that imprinted itself in the deep psyche of Dr. Danvers and Carol Kosach. 

— Nick lives in Massachusetts somewhere near the Concord River where he frequently experiences delusions with the local ghosts. He often posts schizobabble on his Twitter account @necrozoid and loves Boston sports.

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