In May 1999, a 13-year-old girl named Phoebe was sent to see a psychiatrist because of a self-image neurosis. The teenager was evidently developing an aversion to mirrors because she thought she looked ugly. Phoebe would periodically break down in tears in her room because she saw herself as fat and spotty. Her best friend Rachel had tried on numerous occasions to tell her that there was nothing ugly about her and that her figure was stick-like, but Phoebe thought her friend was just trying to make her feel better.
Phoebe's mother, Sue, had lost count of the number of times she had found the large ornate-bordered hall mirror with its oval looking glass covered with one of Phoebe's tee shirts. The girl had even taken the heavy mirror down once and put it outside for the garbage men to collect.
Now things had come to a head, so Hiram Davies, a soft-spoken psychologist attempted to assess Phoebe to see why she hated mirrors. Across his desk he posed the question to her. What the girl told him in reply fascinated Davies.
'I don't hate every mirror,' Phoebe said, 'but I used to once when I thought I looked fat. But the mirror in the hall, it hates me.'
'The mirror hates you?' Davies asked.
'Yeah, I bet you think I've lost the plot, but it's true. The mirror has something in it, something real evil.' Phoebe replied, sombre-voiced.
'Why do you think that?' the psychiatrist enquired, scribbling a short note in his pad.
'I just know. I mean, I saw it once. I told my mom but she thought I was nuts.' Phoebe's serious and sharp blue eyes skewered Davies. She looked as if she was reliving the uncanny incident she was describing.
'What did you see?' Davies asked, and he thought it sad that a girl as beautiful and intelligent as Phoebe should have this disorder.
'The glass in the mirror sort of quivered when I touched it. It felt like, like - ' Phoebe contorted her lips in disgust as she searchedin desperation for an adequately gross word in her vocabulary. Finally, she said: 'Like a slimy membrane.'
After a pause, Hiram Davies said, 'So you think the mirror is sort of possessed?'
Phoebe glared at him, 'I know this sounds like some far-fetched X Files crap but I swear before God - that mirror is evil.'
'Okay Phoebe, let's think about this.' The psychiatrist tried to calm the girl down, and nodded reassuringly.
'Look, my mom had a breakdown after we got that mirror.' Phoebe said.
'Yes?' the psychiatrist was waiting to see how Phoebe could link the mirror to her mother's breakdown.
'She said she was getting real bad crow's feet and wrinkles all over her face. She started losing her confidence after we got that mirror. Now, in Dad's shaving mirror her face looked okay, but in the hall mirror she looked like a dog.' Phoebe scowled and pointed her index fingers at her eyes, 'Her eyes looked all puffy and red.
'I see,' Davies tapped the top of his pen against his lip. 'Well maybe I should see this mirror,' he suggested.
'Please do,' Phoebe said enthusiastically. She then told Davies how the mirror had eroded the confidence of the other family members: 'Dad started using a hair dye because he thought he was going grey - after looking in the hall mirror. Then he said his hairline was receding. He started wearing a baseball cap, and Dad looked a moron. Then my older brother Jake, he said his ears were growing outwards. Oh yes, and he also started shaving his eyebrows because he thought they were joining in the middle. But he looks okay, it's the mirror. Perhaps I should just smash it.'
'No, don't do that Phobe.' Davies smirked, then flipped through his personal diary. 'I will call over to your place on Friday, at let me see - four o'clock.'
Mr Davies had a word with Phoebe's mother after the assessment interview and told her about the 'evil mirror'. Phoebe's mom was naturally concerned, but Davies assured her that girls and boys in their early teens often developed outlandish fixations and paranoid suspicions, but these psychological anomalies often vanished further on in adolescence. Davies added that he would look call at the house on Friday to look at the accursed mirror, just to make Phoebe face reality. It was worth a try.
Friday afternoon came and Mr Davies called. Phoebe answered, but her parents were not yet home from work. Her brother Jake was upstairs surfing the net.
'This is the mirror.' Phoebe pointed to the ovoid of mercurial silver on the darker side of the hall.
Davies said nothing. He simply walked over and pretended to inspect the looking glass. And he noticed something which unnerved him in the reflection. According to the reflected image, Davies had a lazy eye. His left eye was slightly pointing away at a noticeable angle.
'What's wrong?' Phoebe asked the psychiatrist after noting his concerned expression.
Mr Davies said, 'Nothing.' He rolled his eyes about, closed them, then looked again. Yes, his left eye was not looking straight at the mirror, it was definitely out of synchronization with the other eyeball.
'Touch it.' Phoebe challenged the psychiatrist. 'It feels slimy.'
Davies was surprised to feel a little reluctance in his arm as he slowly reached out to touch the crystal clear surface of the mirror. His fingers touched it, but it just felt like glass; cool and smooth.
'Does it feel slimy?' Phoebe asked, and waited tensely for an answer.
'No.' Davies intoned in a low serious voice, and continued to gaze at the mirror. He saw how obvious his wig looked. He realized how people must have laughed at him because of the toupe. It just looked like the hair of a young man placed on the head of a fifty-year-old. He was obviously fooling no one. Davies was left empty and small by the truthful mirror.
'Don't look Mr Davies!' Phoebe warned the psychiatrist.
'Huh?' Hiram Davies swung his head sideways at the young round worried face.
'It's affected you now hasn't it?' Phoebe said perceptively.
'It's strange. Not exactly flattering - ' Davies stammered.
'I told you. It's evil.' Phoebe said, and she suddenly took a deep breath, then ran upstairs. She returned with a baseball bat.
'Hey, don't - ' Mr Davies realized what the girl had in mind. He would have intervened but didn't want to risk being hit by the bat.
Phoebe slammed the baseball bat into the mirror repeatedly, swing after swing. Silver shards flew everywhere like dangerous confetti, but luckily, neither Phoebe nor the psychiatrist were cut by the flying pieces. The last swing of the bat sent the frame of the looking glass crashing to the carpeted floor.
Jake came running down the stairs after hearing the racket. He stopped halfway down the last flight and saw his sister wielding the bat. He looked at the psychiatrist and in a quite earnest voice he asked, 'Has she gone postal?'
'What's that?' Mr Davies gazed at the wooden backing of the mirror. On the wooden oval-shaped board that the silvered glass had been laid upon was a face. The face of a woman with a sinister smile. The face looked more photographic than a painted portrait, and as Phoebe and Mr Davies watched in frightened disbelief, the face rapidly faded. The psychiatrist picked up the smashed and splintered frame and took a close look. There was just a wood-grain pattern, and not a trace of the mysterious image.
Phoebe's father, Robert, later told Mr Davies and members of a paranormal research group how he had brought the mirror into the house in September 1998. His brother - an interior decorator - had found the mirror in the attic of a house that was being renovated. He gave the mirror to Robert, because he knew his brother liked antiques. The owners of the renovated house knew nothing of the people who had lived there before them, and so, no light was ever thrown upon the mystery of the spooky mirror and the creepy face concealed behind it's looking glass.
This story reproduced with permission from Tom Slemen
© Copyright 2004 by Tom Slemen. All Rights Reserved.
November 24, 2007