I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog

Pranks are all fun and games until something goes horribly wrong. But occasionally, the fun lies in not knowing which way things will go. We are working with GSN’s terrifying new game show Hellevator, to bring you a story about what can go wrong when a mean-spirited game goes too far. Catch the series premiere of Hellevator Wednesday October 21 at 8/7c.

30dagarmedanalhus / CC BY http://2.0 / flickr.com/photos/-dear-diary/5034427856/30dagarmedanalhus / CC BY http://2.0 / flickr.com/photos/-dear-diary/5034427856/

Before you say anything, yes, I’ll be going to the police. But I wanted to share this with you first.

So my local grocery store, it has this cool thing, see? Right as you walk out with your groceries, there’s this bookshelf. It’s not tidy or orderly but it’s cool, it’s a used book service. You can bring your own for others to read or you can grab one to take home, just stick a dollar in the jar for charity. Honor system.

I’ve snagged a few good ones, nothing super popular or anything but some good true crime stuff. Couple of old mysteries. Then… this.

I first noticed its worn, rosy pink leather with the word “SECRETS” debossed in faded silver. A lock hung uselessly off the side of the book, broken.

I’ll be honest, I thought it was a gimmick. “Secrets” was the title and it was clever marketing shit to get me to pick it up. I thumbed through it–handwritten pages, a pale pink ribbon to mark your spot–and decided to bring the thing home.

I already told you, I’m going to the police. But this is what I found inside, starting on page one.

March 11, 1991

Brad is gone and it’s all my fault. It’s been three days.

I know I flew off the handle. I said things I can’t take back but goddamn it he’s just such a jerk sometimes. We’re supposed to do that big-brother little-sister shit but that got old after we graduated high school.
Mom’s inconsolable. She keeps saying it’s just one of his pranks. “He’ll be back, Jennifer. He’s just playing one of his ‘games’.”

I know all about Brad’s “games”. He was famous for them as a kid and you’d think he’d grow out of it, a guy in his 20s with a job and car insurance, but no—Brad still found time to pour icewater in my shower or trap my deodorant in a jello mold. I don’t know why I moved in with him in the first place.

Yes I do. Because I don’t have the money for my own place.

But Brad was nice about it, at first. He said it’d be fun to live together. Even offered to take me out for my birthday. I should’ve known better.

Mom gave me this journal when I was a little kid. I found it when I moved, thought it was lame and didn’t really give it a second thought. Now that Brad’s gone, though, I feel awful and I thought maybe writing about it would help. Anything’s better than listening to the police talking to Mom in the kitchen, telling her that they’re still looking, but more than 48 hours has passed and those are the most important when a person goes missing.

March 12, 1991

Brad is still gone. He’s still not home. The police told Mom he’s probably just blowing off some steam, he’s a youngish guy and he might just be slumming it somewhere, getting drunk or hooking up.
They don’t know that we were already drunk when it happened. I should’ve told them that in the beginning, I guess.

I thought I heard stuff moving around in my kitchen last night but when I got up, no one was out there. The cabinet doors were open but maybe I forgot to shut them.
I haven’t been sleeping much.

March 15, 1991

Mom just sits in her bedroom and cries. She won’t come out and talk to me so I go back to my empty apartment. It’s a lot quieter without Brad.

Brad’s been gone for a whole week now. They’ve been putting up pictures of his face all over town. He’ll probably be on the news soon.

I’m trying to make myself write about what happened but it’s hard.

We’d been drinking, like I said. Wandering back from downtown because we were celebrating my birthday and we were both too smashed to drive. Got to this sketchy part of town and I knew it was Brad, he’d lead us there on purpose.

I told him it was shitty, he was a guy and he might think it was funny—one of his “games”—but us girls know the bad part of town at night and drunk is just a recipe for disaster.

He didn’t care. He said, “C’mon, let’s check out this building, I hear it’s haunted!”

That’s Brad for you. I’m drunk and hungry on my birthday, thinking we might just have a good time as brother and sister for once, and he leads me to an abandoned building at midnight.

I begged him not to go in but he went ahead anyway and I didn’t have a choice — if I didn’t follow him, I’d be alone, so I went in with him.

He shouldn’t have gone there. He shouldn’t have made me go.

I don’t feel like writing anymore.

March 17, 1991

I keep waking up in the middle of the night. Weird enough it’s the same time every night: 2:36 am. It’s probably just nerves but I feel like someone’s watching me.

Brad’s still gone.

March 18, 1991

Why did Brad insist on going in that building? Why couldn’t we have just had a nice time for my birthday?

I followed him into that building, this hulking monstrosity that was probably an old apartment complex or something, a place that no doubt wasn’t haunted at all but just an excuse for Brad to play one of his “games”. I mean, I should’ve known that, I guess.

He started running up the stairs. Taking them two at a time. I had to take off my heels to catch up to him and was scared the whole time like I might step on a hypodermic needle or something. This place was a real dump.

I almost fell down the stairs and that made me mad, I almost dropped my shoes and when I rounded the corner to tell him so Brad jumped out from behind a big hunk of concrete and yelled “BOO!” Like a stupid little kid.

Except it worked, I screamed and dropped my shoes AND my purse and they went tumbling down the broken concrete steps and Brad just laughed and laughed and laughed.

I got so mad. I started hitting him. I don’t think I would’ve been as mad if I hadn’t been drunk but I was.

He was laughing still, backing away and shielding himself with his arms while I slapped and shrieked that he was an asshole, he was the worst brother ever, he was a shitty person and a horrible roommate and the only reason I was even living with him was because I was too broke for my own place and if I had the money I wouldn’t bother to see him ever again.

Yeah, it was mean. But I meant it.

What I didn’t mean was for Brad to keep backing up while I swatted at him. I wanted him to stand there and take it but he kept laughing and backing up and all of a sudden he was gone.

He was there, right there in front of me, and then gone, down the open elevator shaft neither of us saw. Down all five floors. If I had to guess, it was probably 2:36 am.

I’m only writing this because my apartment isn’t so quiet anymore. Brad’s still gone but… he’s not.
I think he followed me home.

March 20, 1991

Okay, Brad, see? I’m doing it. I’m writing. Stop screaming at me. I can’t take the screaming.

When he fell down the elevator shaft I should’ve gone for help but I didn’t. I was scared, okay? I was worried someone would think I pushed him and I don’t know, maybe I sort of did, so I didn’t go for help. I covered him with rubble and debris and I left him there because I thought they’d find him and maybe think he got murdered for his wallet or something but they haven’t found him and at this point it’s too late to tell the cops or I’ll be implicated.

I can’t tell them, Brad, please stop screaming!

March 26, 1991

Brad wants me to go to the police but I can’t. I don’t want to go to prison. He keeps playing these pranks, stacking all my chairs on top of each other, turning all the pictures on the wall backwards, making the faucets run blood instead of water. It’s his stupid games but now they’re worse because he’s angry and now he has more power.

I hoped just writing it out would help but he’s not happy. He wants me to pay but I did, I paid just by being his sister. Something like this was bound to happen, you know? Him and his “games”.

I’m starting to get pretty scared but I don’t know what to do.

March 30, 1991

This is Jennifer I did it I pushed Brad

Brad is never coming back so I did what I had to do

Consider this my suicide note

Brad is gone and it’s all my fault TC mark

This post is brought to you by Hellevator – the terrifying new game show premiering Wed Oct 21 8/7 C on GSN.

I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog.Source: I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog

Write About the Same Stuff in a New Way

Writing about the day to day things and creating reports about things going on in your niche are not written about enough. You can read the full list on the original post. But, consider tackling the topics you write about over and over in a new way.

Write about how you write and research the topic and give sources for more information (the places you find your information). Write about something you did, outside of the Internet: an event you attended,  someone you met, something you left the building for.

From Copyblogger:

6. Behind the scenes

11. Field reports

Keep Features in WordPress Core to Keep it User Friendly

I’ve read about features being shuffled off into plugins instead of keeping them as part of the main WordPress (core files) which can be downloaded and installed for free (web hosting/ domain required). The problem with features being taken out of WordPress is where they go from there.

Premium versus Free

WordPress itself is still free. Plugins are less often free these days. There could be a free version, a limited version, and in a few cases just a pretty free face advertising the premium plugin. This is what I see happening to any features taken out of WordPress and left to develop as plugins instead. Wave good-bye to your features.

I do understand plugin developers want to be paid too. I have paid for plugins and usually lived to regret it. Paid plugins need to be supported. This does not mean people need to keep buying them, keeping the developer happy with a lot of sales. No, once I buy a plugin (or other software) I like to know it will be supported (if not actively developed it should at least continue to work). Paying for a plugin does not guarantee it will be there, functional, when you want it.

Features in WordPress core tend to be more reliable that way.

Software Conflicts

Another problem with plugins is discovering they are not what you expected and then trying several others hoping to find that one magic plugin that does the job. All plugins are not created equal. They conflict with other plugins and, they don’t always work smoothly with your site theme. Trying several plugins is risky, all that installing, activating and deleting leaves a load of junk on the back end of your site. You don’t see it, but it’s there, lurking, a possible conflict of interest when you least expect it.

Software Evolution

Features in WordPress core are far more likely to keep evolving and getting better than features taken out of it. That is just simple logic.

Look at post formats. They were taken out of WordPress and have been left as an empty little icon you can add to your posts, signifying nothing really because you can’t add style to the post formatting unless you modify the CSS/ HTML of your site files. Not everyone wants to do that. So post formatting is kind of a dead fish. It could be a better solution than page building plugins. It could have meant we did not need page building plugins.

Instead, page building plugins have evolved and page formatting has stalled out somewhere along the way. Formatting would have been less complicated, more user friendly. But, WordPress is run by developers who sell plugins. There is that bias towards being commercially friendly and less user friendly.

 

Has WordPress Jumped the Shark?

I think WordPress is in danger of “jumping the shark”, becoming too complicated and loaded with too many features. Google has mostly forgotten all about Blogger, but it may become a better alternative for a lot of people who just want a simple business site. WordPress seems to be something for people who want to spend time and money on a fancy site with a lot of features. How many businesses really need all of that? Not many.

As someone who has kept sites for many years and used WordPress most of the time, I’m not planning to use a lot of customized posts. I don’t need them. I want to focus on content, not spend a lot of time on formatting.

I will add that if people are building a site to function as a web directory, job board, or any of a hundred other things – WordPress isn’t an essential element. It may even be a hindrance. WordPress is still a customized blog at heart.

Note: I posted this as a comment on WPTavern. The post there was about new custom formatting for WordPress posts. It got me thinking about how WordPress is used, who uses it and whether it is really still sustainable for the general blog user – people who are not web developers and may not want to spend that kind of time or money on a site for their business, or hobby, etc. Most of us have a limited budget. How important is it to have a fancy site with a lot of features versus just having a site up and functioning?

Is WordPress still a good option for putting up a site? Or, do you need to be (or pay) a web designer/ developer to work with WordPress?

Has WordPress Jumped the Shark?

I think WordPress is in danger of “jumping the shark”, becoming too complicated and loaded with too many features. Google has mostly forgotten all about Blogger, but it may become a better alternative for a lot of people who just want a simple business site. WordPress seems to be something for people who want to spend time and money on a fancy site with a lot of features. How many businesses really need all of that? Not many.
As someone who has kept sites for many years and used WordPress most of the time, I’m not planning to use a lot of customized posts. I don’t need them. I want to focus on content, not spend a lot of time on formatting.
I will add that if people are building a site to function as a web directory, job board, or any of a hundred other things – WordPress isn’t an essential element. It may even be a hindrance. WordPress is still a customized blog at heart.
Note: I posted this as a comment on WPTavern. The post there was about new custom formatting for WordPress posts. It got me thinking about how WordPress is used, who uses it and whether it is really still sustainable for the general blog user – people who are not web developers and may not want to spend that kind of time or money on a site for their business, or hobby, etc. Most of us have a limited budget. How important is it to have a fancy site with a lot of features versus just having a site up and functioning?
Is WordPress still a good option for putting up a site? Or, do you need to be (or pay) a web designer/ developer to work with WordPress?

Are Email Marketers all Smoking Crack?

I had another email from someone selling me a newsletter/ campaign about building up my email marketing plan. (You know the drill). I’m not in the least interested in any email marketing. I don’t see the sense of it.

First, email is far too cluttered to be reliable as a method of communication.

Second, and more to the point, hasn’t texting pretty much replaced email these days?

Writing from the point of view of someone who does not own a mobile phone or do any texting, even I can see that a plan to market via email is something of a dinosaur. So why haven’t all these ever so savvy marketing people?

Where are the texting marketing plans?

Where are the sploggy newsletters being sent to everyone’s mobile phones?

Why don’t I see people complaining about the marketing they get via text?

It’s a mystery to me. But, those still selling email marketing are working from old technology and should really move on and stop beating the same poor, old, dead horse.

 

Content Curation Makes a Better Web Directory

The first two points are the best, I think.

A niche has a better chance these days. Think content curation. Actually, think content curation for the second point too. You should build more than a bundle of links. Content curation is about showcasing great links and adding more to them. Create a whole package presentation around the niche. Don’t stop at listing sites.

Write about the niche. This could be interviews with the very people who run the sites you want to list in the directory. How smart is that? Not only are you building your authority, learning more about the niche but you are far more likely to sell links (or make money from ads) if you have something people actually want and can’t find elsewhere.

  1. Start with a Niche – Find a topic you’re seriously passionate about, from birds to routers to online clothing merchants.
  2. Don’t Just Make a Directory – Put great content about your subject on the site: blog posts, articles, tools, resource lists, charts, diagrams, investigative journalism, etc.
  3. Offer to Review Sites in Your Niche – But, for goodness sake, only include them if you’d really, honestly endorse them.
  4. Provide a Reason Why They’re Listed – Imagine a fellow hobbyist or researcher in your topic of interest in real life – if you couldn’t sit down with that person at a table and show them on your laptop why you included a particular site, DON’T include it.
  5. Don’t Offer Gimmicks or Link Juice – Offer listings on a site that real people who are really interested in your topic read and use and enjoy. If you start down the path of selling links for search engine value, you’ve lost your way. It can always be a secret side benefit, and plenty of folks who’ll come to you for links will be thinking about it, but if you want to be truly immune to any future penalties or devaluations, you can’t make it a focus.

Source: What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones – Moz

A 5-Step Plan to Become Seriously Influential Online

This post about building authority online is good for beginning bloggers but also those who have burnt out and want to try again. Do try again. Don’t expect instant success.

Step 1: Narrow your focus.

Step 2: Stop reading just blog posts.

Step 3: Write authoritative articles.

  • Answer specific questions.
  • Quote other authorities in your industry.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a contrarian view.
  • Use stats and detailed case studies to add substance.
  • Repeat your ideas.

Step 4: Build an Audience.

Step 5: Build a Fan Club.

Real authorities solve their audience’s problems. Consistently. Repeatedly.

That’s why people listen to them. And spread their ideas.

via –No Authority Yet? Here’s a 5-Step Plan to Become Seriously Influential Online – Enchanting Marketing.

If you start with the first three steps you’re on the right track. Work on building an audience and fans once you have a body of work to present to them. It’s not true that once you build it they will come. You do have to reach out there and let people know you are there. Too much information overload with repetitive and sub-standard content has created a lot of stuff no one wants to read. So, you do need to shine your own light to help people find you and show them you actually have something worth the visit to your site.

Narrowing your focus or deciding on a niche is not as easy as it seems. I have so much I want to find out more about and then so much to share once I do get information and resources. I end up being all over the place when it comes to my niche and focus. There is also the problem of spreading yourself too thin and burning out. So, getting and keeping a focus early on is good for your site, your authority and yourself. It gives you authority and keeps it all sustainable.

Reading just blog posts for our information and sources for interviews does limit us. Don’t forget there is a lot you can do offline, contact local people directly, read books from before the Internet and find information which hasn’t made it out of print books yet. Build a history of information with various sources – that is the area to grow and evolve and find contacts in which will also give you knowledge to share.

Writing articles we tend to fall into standard post formats and get comfortable there. Evolve with post style to have variety in your niche. Read about other post formats and when you read other blogs look at what they do and think about your own reactions to it. What kind of posts work best for you as a reader in your niche? Use this research about post style when you write your own blog.

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.


Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.

caribounow

You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

#Apartment Life

#ApartmentLifeFound on Twitter: #ApartmentLife

Most of us have lived in an apartment at some time in our lives. I have, a few times and places. It is a good experience in spite of small things like limited space, smells from other people living in the same building, old buildings which could use more TLC and so on. My only real problem with apartment living was knowing it was all temporary, eventually I would be moving again. I came to need the feeling of having roots in one place and knowing I had some say in what happened with the place I hung my hat.

Have some fun on Twitter (or just make a few up without posting them) and come up with thoughts on your own difficulties with #ApartmentLife.