April 2, 1974

Much time has passed and I haven't felt like writing nor had much time to write. I know that it doesn't feel like almost a year has gone by – it is still just as bad as it was. I have not been well, nor have I been sleeping properly. Things between Samara and Richard are the same, he does not acknowledge this child at all and she ignores him whenever they have the displeasure of being in the same room together. He is annoyed by her presence and I know that anger stems from fear – I am just weary from being in the middle, but I do understand Richard better than I ever have. Every day it becomes more and more apparent that there is something wrong with Samara, Richard just perceived it sooner than I did. I did not want to think there was something wrong…but the fabricated images in all of the photos we take, the animals dislike her, she never seems happy. I don't know where we failed – I tried to do everything right.

It had to have been the time spent in that clinic with Dr. Mundue. I wonder: what did this doctor do to my child? What did he do to me? I remember walking through the halls and seeing dozens of desperate-eyed women like me, with hopes as large as their growing bellies. My God, what if there are more of them? I have no way to contact any of these mothers to find out if they are having problems as well. I don't even know if they were able to carry their children to term like me. Perhaps Samara really does have some form of autism that the doctors don't understand or have not encountered. The tests that we put her through were not entirely conclusive, but Dr. Grasnik really did not think that it was autism. She knows that Samara is not a slow learner, she learns things in an appropriate manner for her age group, it just appears to be some sort of social retardation. But, in the middle of the night when I lie awake, I know it is something else, too - something that we cannot explain.

I have not been able to sleep since the terrifying dream I suffered the other night. I was walking through the field near our tree as the light from the sun was starting to fade, when I saw the silhouette of a boy hanging from one of the branches. It was dusk and I could not make out the face of the boy so I moved closer. The body swung sharply to the right and I saw his profile and fell to the ground screaming. I have never felt so much anguish. It was Richard as a child and I knew that his death was my fault – I was responsible. He killed himself because of my selfishness. I just had to have a baby and up heave our perfect lives into a total mess. It was one of the worst nightmares I have ever had because I realized how much Richard meant to me and how much I couldn't lose him. The child within him is dying and it is all my responsibility.

Death is not a new concept here as of late. The horses are having problems breeding – they are able to become pregnant, however, the foals are dying in utero and Richard is highly distraught. So far, we have not lost any of the mares, but I feel that has just been luck. There have been six failed pregnancies in the past three months. I cannot believe that not one has been successful. Richard is so afraid that we will lose our beloved horses, he has stopped the breeding temporarily. We love these horses dearly and are terrified.

August 23, 1974

Times have been appalling since I last wrote. We have lost three of our female horses – the most recent one died this morning and Richard is beside himself with grief. He has raised most of these horses since they were born; he has seen several generations come and go, but never like this, never in such a violent manner. I fear some kind of unexplained madness has overtaken them. If we had lost them to a natural cause, I think it would not be as traumatic for us. They all appeared to have committed suicide - no, not so much suicide as a horrific kind of self-slaughter. It began with Bennie, one of our youngest mares, who was standing in her stall when she became highly agitated suddenly and began throwing herself against the walls of the pen. Richard rushed to her side immediately, urging her to calm down, but knew better than to try to enter the stall while she was thrashing. He tried to grab her bridle to restrain her, but she was moving too quickly and jerked away. The wood, splintering into pieces from the blows against it, began to gouge into her skin and slice it away in strips. She seemed completely oblivious to the pain she must have been suffering, she just slammed harder and harder until she was exhausted and coated with sweat and blood. She finally collapsed to the ground completely battered and broken, wheezing and then stopped breathing completely. I stood screaming and crying and Richard just sank to the floor in a state of shock. He told me he has never seen anything like that in his entire life of horse breeding and cannot begin to explain what caused her to behave that way. He had once seen a horse injure itself when it was frightened in its stall by a bird that had accidentally found its way inside, but once it realized what was creating the noise and flutter, it calmed down. This was different, he said. That was complete self-destruction, and when he looked into her eyes during the event, she seemed to be in her own panicked world. She did not even acknowledge that Richard was even there trying to help her. There was no way to break through that frightened paralysis of her mind.

The house has been so quiet since this morning. Richard is in a form of displacement – he does not want to be in the house or in the barn and the stables have always been his refuge from everything. He looks so desolate and lost wandering around the grounds, and I know that though he says that he is fine, acting ever as stoic as he always does, the truth is reflected deeply in his eyes. All of these events are destroying him at the core. His distant and miserable daughter who treats him as if he were as important as dirt, his beloved horses and ranch are slowly dissolving into ruin and me, the worst of all…his insane wife who has been anything but a wife to him all this time. I am too demented to be of any help to him, a shelter from the storm that has come from all directions. In a rare moment of discussion, Richard has told me how worried he is about me. I don't sleep enough, I am still hearing voices during the day and seeing horrible images too disturbing to even describe. He has also told me things that seem impossible yet make so much sense about Samara. We accepted long ago that she is different, but we never realized just how different she was and it is most disconcerting. Last week, when Richard was cleaning a part of the barn, he found some strange markings behind some things in the corner of the room. When he pulled back the objects, he found the most curious images upon the wall. Not drawn onto the wall, mind you, but burned right into the surface of the wood. From what he could make out, there were some trees, some pictures of Samara's toys and other things too hard to explain. He asked Michael about it and he seemed just as baffled as Richard. Upon closer inspection, he said that they looked similar to the pictures that show up in the background of Samara's photos from time to time. He knows that she has caused this, but has absolutely no idea how she has done it. It alarms him terribly – he is so uncomfortable around this child and after all I have been through and seen firsthand, I can understand it. There is something incredibly wrong with Samara and we are at a loss as to what should be done about it. Richard keeps saying we should just put her away somewhere, but part of me feels that she is our child and doesn't mean to do what she does. The other half is afraid that even if we did lock her up, it would not help matters and everything would just grow worse anyway. Richard and I have decided to home school Samara since next year she will be five and at the proper age for kindergarten. We cannot allow this child to go to school, her antisocial behavior seems to be a permanent given and I am afraid that she might harm other children since her temper flares when she does not get her own way. This just means she will be around the house just as often as always. I don't know what else to do.

January 19, 1975

Weeks and months are just slipping by quickly. I have spent some time seeing Dr. Scott and he has tried various medications and therapy in the past months to keep my illness under control. It does seem to be helping somewhat. However, misery does not just exist at home anymore - problems seem to be intensifying on the Island as there have been fewer and fewer catches during the fishing season. People are starting to whisper about extreme bad luck or some kind of curse. One can hear their voices like humming within a beehive anytime one goes around town. I know my sick condition has leaked out among the savages – I get more and more stares and people going out of their way to avoid me or any conversation with me. They treat me like I have some sort of mad contagion that they might catch if they come anywhere near me. I have heard the strains of "that poor man" behind a display at the market which I can only conclude must be a reference to Richard and his burden of a family. Of course, I was not alone. I only feel comfortable going into town if someone accompanies me and Michael was there. Though things with the ranch are very tough at the moment, we have hired a new housekeeper to help me around the house and with Samara. Ruth is a very sweet girl, it is her first job in this domestic position, but her personality and gentleness have been extremely beneficial. Samara seems indifferent to her, but Samara seems indifferent to everyone. I am glad she hasn't thrown anymore tantrums with this new girl. At least it gives me a chance to get out once in awhile.

It is not just the townspeople that have been avoiding me. I have not spoken to any of my closest friends for over a year. I know Samara is the reason for their absence. If they have children, they do not want them around her and even if they don't have them, Samara makes everyone extremely uncomfortable. This isolation has become a comfort and a curse – there is a part of me that wishes I had more of a social life, but in this state, I would not be much company for anyone. Richard has tried to do things to keep me occupied and in a happier place. He gave me a beautiful onyx locket with a diamond in the center. It has a picture of him and me when we were younger, in our early years of marriage when we appeared blissful and hopeful. The future was still ahead of us and we were unaware what would become of our life. We had our horses, everyone was healthy - I almost wish I hadn't known the sunshine years. It makes things even more bleak now.

July 29, 1975

I am at the end of my rope. If anything else goes awry, I don't know what I'm going to do. Samara disappeared on the ranch today. She toddled off while Michael was supposed to be keeping an eye on her, but you cannot just "keep an eye on her", it's not that simple. We looked everywhere – all through the house and the stables, though I knew she wasn't in the stables because it was so quiet and the horses were completely calm. Michael, Richard, Ruth and I searched everywhere, calling her name over and over until I heard a terrible yell from the distance. It was a male voice and I started running. I tripped over a tangle of roots hidden in the grass and fell, but I didn't even feel it. I had to get to the sound. I had to know what had happened.

It was Richard. He was moving in circles, flailing his arms and swatting at the air. At first I could not tell what was going on, but then I heard the angry hum. He had wandered into a giant hornet's nest and was getting stung repeatedly. He was blinded by the commotion until Michael came rushing with a bucket of water that he threw upon Richard, grabbing his arm and dragging him to the safety of the barn. After it was over, he had over twenty-five stings and was in horrible pain. Ruth ran and got cold compresses for him and some ointment for the sores. I came to his side, trying to comfort him the best I could…it was so awful. He was just staring into space in shock. I was crying and saying his name over and over before his eyes finally met mine.

"She did this," he said. "She did it."

I did not know what he meant. How could Samara sic hornets upon him? That made no sense; it was an accident. The ranch is so vast and wide that there could be dozens of those nests everywhere and it is very difficult to keep up with all of them. But when I talked to him again tonight, he explained that she had been hiding behind the tree and had called him to come to her. He had not seen the hornet's nest as it was too high and he suddenly felt stinging everywhere. He is telling me that our child led him to that nest so he would be injured and I do not know what to do anymore. What could make her do these things? Is there really a malicious streak or are we all so much at our wits' end that we don't know what to believe any longer. I am so tired from this. I am so tired from this. Why on earth did I ever create this problem to begin with?

I am still hearing voices during the day, much like radio static coming in and out. I cannot understand what it is being said, but it is a constant distraction. Dr. Scott is aware of this and has prescribed medication that is supposed to help, but it does not seem to be working. In fact, now the hallucinations are getting worse. Almost every time I close my eyes, I see the most horrible things: all sorts of death and destruction, maiming and other violent things. To describe it here would be torturous – I do not want to relive all of it once it passes for a short while.

May 7, 1976

I have not felt like writing much after my return from ECPH. Dr. Scott wanted to do some tests. He found nothing. Truth be told, I am afraid to write sometimes because my words are no longer my own. My thoughts are no longer my own. Writing has always been an outlet for me, but things have changed now. I am fearful of what I might read when I look back through my journal pages. Sometimes there are drawings I don't remember doing, confusing things. I have torn out many pages because it is disturbing to me. It is almost like a remote writing, like some ghost has taken my hand and drawn an alternate world.

May 23, 1976

There are lots of dead fish around. I am trying a new medicine from Dr. Scott. I haven't been to the barn in months. I have not been out anywhere except the hospital. The dead fish are causing problems with the economy on the island. There is no fault here. It is not my fault or Richard's fault. He is innocent. Samara brought me flowers when I came home and they were very pretty, such a good girl, so I put them in my bedroom by the window. I love my family so much, I want to be around them, but there is always something distressing. I opened my locket this morning and Richard's face is now a skull. It is now a skull and I cannot make it go back. Something about the channels. Maybe I will join the worms for lunch this afternoon.

December 10, 1976

There are times I just sit and look at her. I watch her as she plays quietly involved in her own little world and I can see such a resemblance to me at that age - the same shiny dark hair, similar facial features and physical build. She really is such a beautiful, little girl. I look at her and I think about how normal she seems just from appearance. And I pretend everything is fine – that I am a mother with a wonderful daughter who is everything I have ever wanted. Cheerful and bright and warm-natured. I imagine that she smiles and laughs and has a daddy who she loves and he adores her in return. That we live as a happy family and everything is just splendid and good. Then I cry for hours because it is not true and I don't know why it's not true. I don't know what has gone wrong. She is a part of us – she is made up of both of our genes, but it as if there is something added or missing, I'm not sure which is right.

Despite all that has occurred – I still love this child. You cannot carry a child you have wanted and loved so much for nine months, give birth to her and not have an attachment to her. Richard doesn't understand my feelings because he did not carry her inside him. He says I always make excuses for her, but I held her life inside me, I felt her grow all those months - there is a connection that only mothers understand. I know her behavior leaves much to be desired, I know Richard blames her for things that may or may not be her doing, but what I really know is that it is me that has failed somehow. I have failed this little girl and I don't know how I've done it. I don't know how to repair what is broken inside her. I can see it in her eyes sometimes, an almost pleading to fix whatever it is, to make her whole and well and happy. She has never been a happy child, and I accepted that as part of her personality. I should have done more to try to make her happy. I have always tried to give her comfort in the times that she has needed it. I hug her and kiss her on the cheek before she goes to bed every night. It is not enough. Emotional solace is not what she needs. I no longer know what it is that she longs for or needs.

April 8, 1977

The truth about despair is that it creeps in, almost spider-like. It grows and grows to incredible proportions and once you are trapped within that spider's belly - there is no form of escape. Something has become apparent very slowly. Samara and I were in the living room trying to play a game, but of course I was having much difficulty concentrating. I am on my tenth change of medication by Dr. Scott and it seems to be having no effect upon me. At least it causes less of a fog than the others, but the mist is not completely gone. We were playing checkers and I could not remember if I was the red or the black. I knew the black checkers were on my side, but when they started to move around the board, I kept forgetting which ones were mine. Samara did not seem to care about this much, but I was getting more and more frustrated with the situation. That is when I realized that this condition seems to get worse around her. My mind gets so cloudy, and it is hard to resist the horrible imagery of dark corners where horrors await me. I know she can project images onto film - we have been aware of this for years. Though unexplained and certainly frightening, it has given me a belief in the paranormal. No one outside our immediate family knows of her ability as it would create quite a stir. There is already enough of a stir going around on the island about Samara. Michael told Richard he overheard someone at the town bar call her "that devil child of theirs." I don't know how untrue that is anymore.

During our game, I asked Samara outright if my sickness was of her doing. She looked at me quizzically, one of the few times I've actually seen much of an expression on her face, and she asked me what I meant. I told her I meant the pictures in my head - was she doing it and why was she doing it. She put down her checkers and sat quietly for a moment. I couldn't help it, I started to cry. The breaking point had passed far too long ago. I asked her if it was some kind of punishment. Was I not a good enough mother? What had I done to deserve this treatment? I loved her - how could she do this to me? She stood up and came over to me and hugged me, pleading with me not to be mad. She was sorry, but she didn't know "why".

"I don't know why, Mommy." What does that mean? How can she not know? She is old enough to be in control of her own actions! She is a child, but she is getting older. She knows right from wrong. We taught her that much, but...the things she shows you... What IS she?

She wanted to continue playing our game, but I was so worn out. She can just go back to her simple, autonomic behavior, as if our conversation had not just passed, as if nothing of great magnitude had just happened. It's not affecting her at all that she is making me so ill. I don't even know if she cares. I don't know what to think anymore. I got up from the table to go upstairs and rest when she called to me. I turned to her and responded, "Yes, Samara."

She looked at me with complete blankness in her eyes and said, "I think it's because I can."

May 16, 1977

I have been sedated and I am still feeling the after-effects. I cannot write long because I keep drifting, but something horrible happened this afternoon. We spent the day at the racetrack because Michael was going to be racing Apple Bee, one of our strongest horses. I know now we should have left her home with Ruth, but I thought Samara could use some quality time away from the ranch. She never gets away from the ranch. Apple Bee took a bad turn around the second time and fell. Michael was thrown several feet and landed badly on his head and neck. He didn't move and I just knew this was a really bad injury. He's been thrown before, but never like this. I know it was bad because he didn't get up. Many doctors came out on the field immediately and checked him over. The ambulance took too long to get there, and I remember thinking they had to immobilize him immediately. He landed on his head and neck. Richard rushed over as well and I was left there in the stands alone with Samara. She did not have much of a reaction to all of the panic and disorder around her. She just stared in one place. Poor dear Michael...please don't let it be as bad as I am afraid it is. He fell so badly. I saw it. We should have left her at home. We should have left her home.

May 24, 1977

Michael is still in the hospital. The doctors have tried to get down much of the swelling around his head and neck, but they say even when the swelling does go down, it will not change his condition by much. He is paralyzed from the neck down. I cannot bear this dreadful news. He is still hooked up to breathing machines because he has been unable to breathe on his own since the event. I have not been to see him. Richard won't let me go because he knows I am not well enough to deal with this much of a tragedy. I know he is right and at least he has been to visit him. Michael goes in and out of consciousness, but they say they don't believe he is in any pain. I am so distraught, I have not been able to leave the house this whole week. I keep replaying the fall over and over in my mind. I am sure I have help with this. Richard got a hold of Michael's parents last week as they were out of town and they have since returned to be with him. I can only imagine what they are thinking, that this is all our fault somehow. I know I am blaming myself.

I went down to the kitchen for a change of scenery since my bedroom walls were becoming tiresome. There were some small, yellow fuzzy things on the floor near the back kitchen door. I was not surprised that they turned out to be dead baby ducks. Their heads had been cut off cleanly with a blade, most likely from scissors of some kind. There were three. Samara had been watching a few of them yesterday and one had bitten her. I should have known that this would be her next course of action. One should never harm Samara; there are consequences. I cleaned them up quickly with disgust and disdain. I know I should tell Richard, but I don't know what he'll do. He has grown tired of this behavior as well.

June 5, 1977

Last night was spent in the strange universe of dreams. Things so familiar can seem so confusing in this realm. I dreamed of the Island, floated over the vastness of it while watching from above all the structures and nature, somewhat recognizable yet foreign from this unusual perspective. I came upon a stretch of land without any sign of vegetation. It was here that I returned to earth and surveyed this place of great menacing feeling. Thousands of hands came slowly from the ground, digging themselves out - bodies emerged in various stages of decomposition. I felt an overwhelming urge to scream, but the sound would not leave my throat. I had arrived at an Indian burial ground on the Island. I have heard there were several, but I never knew exactly where they were located. Even though most of their eyes had rotted away, I could feel accusing stares from all of them. I awoke in a terrible sweat with the pounding of their collective footsteps still in my ears. They are very angry.

I can feel the buried bodies around the island reverberating under my skin - they have become part of the island: their molecules are in the dirt, in the air - we are breathing them in, this sickness of decay. They have become a part of all of us.

It will be a long time before I sleep again.

July 11, 1977

I am so desperately unhappy and frightened. The visions have become even more unspeakable and I have not slept well for weeks. This lack of sleep is killing me slowly. Samara has become more and more difficult, especially where any discipline is concerned. One cannot even speak to her in a cross manner without her committing some sort of horrible retribution. So many animals have been harmed on the ranch - I am apalled that she could have perpetrated these dreadful acts. Death and suffering follow that girl like some kind of an atrocious plague.

Richard and I had a long discussion about Samara last night. He feels things have gotten to the point that we can no longer keep her here on the ranch - we cannot take care of her properly anymore. He called her "that thing to which I'd given birth" and that hurt me to my depths of my core. I cannot allow him to send her away - she is our child. No matter what she has done, no matter of what she is capable, she is still our little girl. How can I allow my child to bear any burden because of my sins? This is all my doing - I should have stopped with the last miscarriage. I should have known my body was only trying to do the most merciful thing for me by not allowing me to carry a child full term. I have lost everything dear to me because of my selfishness and obsession to be a mother. And, God help me, I still love her. I still love this abomination that should have never come into existence, because I know this inhuman behavior is not her fault. That clinic did this to her. Whatever pain I suffered in creating that pregnancy, she has suffered so many times more because the means used to conceive her has destroyed whatever might have been a normal child. I did this - by bringing her into this world, I have ruined everything I have ever loved. God forgive me for my sins.

July 17, 1977

My deepest fear has come true - Samara has been taken away from me. I am inconsolable. It is true that she attacked me with a knife in the living room because I told her she could not keep disrespecting her father and me in such a nasty manner. She moved so quickly across the table, I did not even have a chance to move away. It has taken quite a few stitches to close the wounds, but she didn't mean it. I know she didn't - she was just angry. Richard had her taken to ECPH where they are going to evaluate her. I am so horrified by this turn of events - she is going to become something of a sideshow freak when they find out about her abilities. I know Richard has reached the point where he does not care what happens to her anymore because he is tired of having to deal with this insanity all around him. He wants our lives to go back to the normalcy it held before Samara was here, but even as the blade slashed through my forearm again and again, I didn't want her to be taken. Richard will be so happy if they keep her there forever. He wants her to be institutionalized like a dirty little secret to be hidden away from everyone. He does not ever want her to come back, but I cannot live with the knowledge that my little girl is in that place. I wish she had just stabbed me to death. Death would be so much easier than watching her being put through this horror.

September 21, 1977

I have returned home after a lengthy stay at ECPH. The past few months are a complete loss. I remember there was a lot of physical pain and awakening from a deep sleep most of the time. I understand they kept me sedated for most of my stay; I also have snippets of memory about Dr. Scott. I know he was there, but it is all jumbled together, like viewing different scenes through a convex lens. There was much screaming.

I have lost so much weight that I have taken to wearing some of my mother's old clothes that had too much sentimental value to give away. She was several sizes smaller than me, and it gives me some comfort to wear her things – as if being coated in her protective skin though she is no longer here.

I am cold almost all the time and Dr. Scott has insisted I take several medications to keep me in a consistent state of neutral. I am so tired that it is cumbersome and time-consuming to write anything down anymore. But writing has always helped me clear my thoughts to some degree.

Everyone has taken great care not to mention her name around me, as if treating her like a subject not to be brought up in my presence will eliminate her existence as my daughter. She is still at ECPH – I can only imagine what torturous things are being done to her all this time. Even Richard does not bring up any discussion about her, but that is to be expected. I am sure he has not even visited her in the dreadful place. He is treating me as if we are the only two in the family, just as our lives were before she came to be.

I have been having terrible dreams.

November 11, 1977

Richard and I had a huge argument this morning. I told him that we cannot just pretend that Samara does not exist and it is not fair to this child to leave her in that cold, terrible place. Children do not belong in such a clinical, sterile atmosphere for months without their parents. Who knows what they are putting her through there all this time? I told him what he was doing to her was cruel. He asked me if I was talking about the same monstrous "thing" we had running around this ranch for seven years. He said I must be crazy to call that creature a "child." Had I forgotten all the heartache and problems that Samara created around our home? He said things are better since she left here, but it's not true. My visions haven't stopped and I have not slept well for months. Dr. Scott have given me some pills for depression, but they are not helping. I cannot stand it…I cannot stand having my little girl so far away from me. She cannot help what she is – she still needs her mother. She's only seven years old and she is all alone in that hospital, I cannot bear this any longer.

Richard and Dr. Scott have both told me that they are keeping Samara away for my own good, but how can I try to live a normal life knowing that my baby is locked away in an asylum at the mercy of these doctors and nurses? How can I go on knowing that?

February 20, 1978

I am back home after another episode. Richard found me unconscious on the floor of our bedroom two weeks ago and returned me to ECPH to see Dr. Scott. He diagnosed me with severe depression and said that all these months of extreme stress and lack of sleep had taken their toll on my physical body. I am suffering from nervous exhaustion and must make every effort to rest and sleep as much as possible. The sleeping pills that I have been given have done nothing. I spend time just staring into space and am surprised when someone tells me that several hours have gone past. I keep losing track of what is going on around me. I am told that I babble about all sorts of things when I am in this state. I don't remember anything. I am just an empty shell of the woman I once was. I can feel the sickness in my brain like an thick algae growing in all of the turns and crevices. It is eating me alive.

February 25, 1978

Samara has finally come back from ECPH at my urging a few days ago. Dr. Scott explained to us that there were very few options left for helping her since he is still unsure what causes her insomnia and her image projection ability. He seemed to be quite fascinated with the latter and has subjected her to many different tests with no explanation for the cause of her problems. Though he could not guarantee results, he wanted to try a form of psychosurgery on Samara as a last resort to perhaps gain a better idea of what is happening physically inside her skull. Richard didn't seem to care about the procedure either way, but I will not have them poking around my little girl's head without knowing exactly what they are searching for. There are so many dangers with this surgery, they could harm her terribly and I am too afraid to let them proceed. I insisted she be removed from ECPH immediately and brought home. This has been such an awful ordeal for her and I cannot allow her to be among strangers prodding her and studying her any longer. She is only a little girl and cannot help how she is. She needs to be home. Richard said he would abide by my decision on one condition, and I cannot imagine that he would really do such a thing.

March 15, 1978

I have been spending most of my time trying to sleep, though I have been unable for so long I wonder if I will ever sleep again. When I am able to sleep, the dreams have gotten more and more disjointed and horrific. There are times I don't know if I am awake or asleep because I see things everywhere: maggots in the breakfast cereal, patterns of looming monsters on the wall. Richard has Ruth stay by my side during the day for fear I will harm myself. I had an accident one morning while attempting to knit a sweater, I stabbed myself with one of the needles through my left hand so Richard is taking no chances.

Richard has banished Samara to the barn. He does not want her around since he knows my illness is her fault and he is concerned for my welfare. I have not seen her since he dragged her there kicking and screaming. I felt as if a part of myself died because she kept screaming my name over and over - "please, don't let daddy do this, mommy" and I spent the whole afternoon sobbing over the ruin of my life. How could I allow him to do this? I didn't allow him to do this - he did what he thought was necessary and now my little girl is secreted away like some farm animal. Samara is not a monster - she should not be locked up like this. He knows I am furious with him, but there is part of me that is almost relieved that he has done it. It does not seem to be helping with the visions, she is still able to project terrible things no matter how far away on the ranch he tries to keep her, but he does not know what else to do with her.

At night, I find myself in an empty field surrounded by wilting flowers and insects. They crawl all over me and it is as if I am dead. The stench from the decaying flowers is overwhelming, but I cannot leave. The ground becomes a casket and I understand I am trapped there forever.

July 12, 1978

I am bandaged and confused. It was the droplets of blood that I saw first only a little while after I climbed the ladder in the barn, droplets that became splatters and then grew to large puddles. The wooden board covered with blood was laying by my right side and Samara was dead to my left. My hands were smeared with red and my dress. I had killed her; I had beaten her to death and I had no memory of it. I don't understand. It was so clear, I could smell the iron and feel the wetness soaking into my dress. I could see the matted blood in her hair. Then it was Richard, grabbing and shaking me asking me why I had done it...why had I stabbed myself over and over again. He was holding me and we were on the floor and he was screaming for Ruth to call Dr. Grasnik and Dr. Scott. I still don't understand how I was on the kitchen floor because I had been in the barn and Samara was dead.

August 9, 1978

When I was just a meager child of five, my mother and I used to have tea parties with my dolls outside on our front porch. I would line up all of my "children" and place in front of them petite plates and miniature cups with blue flowers decorating the edges. My mother would go to spectacular lengths to make everything just perfect. She made little butter and strawberry jam sandwiches that she would cut with painstaking detail into different shapes with cookie cutters. I remember how carefully she would have to hold the bread together in order to create such lovely hearts, squares and circles. She was so determined to keep the bread from falling apart and she would work so delicately - I would watch her face as she furrowed her brow in concentration. It was love that kept her at her task, even if a corner did not come out exactly right, she would just turn it over to hide its imperfection and keep going on until we had stacks of them on a large dish. Then we carried them outside where we would fight hungry insects to our prize, but she always helped me dish them out to each doll, calling each one by her name and thanking her for attending our party.

I was with my mother once again last night, in my dreams, sitting poised and proper, holding a cup of apple juice "tea" in my hand with one pinky extended outward just like real ladies did. I was five years old once more but so thankful for having this chance to spend some more time with my mother, since I knew she was really gone. We laughed and talked and the sandwiches tasted better than I ever remembered. I was so caught up in the moment that I was not paying attention to my saucer and it tumbled out of my tiny grip and shattered into a million pieces upon the ground. My real mother would have comforted me and reassured me that this accident was not intentional. She would have picked up the larger pieces gingerly and swept up the smaller pieces with an ever-present smile. I watched as the thing that wore my mother's skin chose the largest shard of porcelain and held it up in front of my diminutive face. As her lips slid back in a wrathful and maniacal grin, she sliced my jugular vein in one swift motion and warmth ran down my neck while she roared with laughter. My beloved mother slashed my throat; I do not want to go to sleep anymore.

August 13, 1978

What more can go wrong? This morning something unspeakable has happened. Several of our horses broke free from their stables, threw themselves into the ocean and drowned. I cannot believe it is true. I insisted Richard take me to the beach against his wishes - I had to see the remains for myself. They were all lying there in the wet sand, these huge hunks of meat that I had never seen before then. These were not our beloved horses. It was all a lie. There are so many flies everywhere. Why would they send themselves to this horrible fate? What horror were they all facing in life that was eons worse than death?

Samara was driving them mad like she is driving me mad. She is trying to destroy everything dear to us, this famine that has entered our lives. The horses could not bear this burden and I cannot either. Bless their poor, dear souls...they are free now. They are free.

God help us all.

Editor's Note: The following entries have been inserted in chronological order to the best of the Editor's knowledge since these journal entries were taken from subject Anna Morgan's ECPH files. They were not dated properly as Mrs. Morgan was unaware of the time passing during her brief stay in September 1978.

I had always imagined hell would be varying degrees of flickering, orange flames- not stark white walls and miles of porcelain tile - and windows - scores and scores of vacant, transparent glass with peeping-tom physicians. My little girl is in one of these rooms, though I am not aware which one. I know she is nearby because the emotional anguish she suffers at the hands of these doctors is reverberating through my head and I have spent the last three hours sobbing for her. They took off my restraints this morning, which gives me the ability to write for the moment, though it is only with a crayon on a sheet of paper - they will not give me anything sharp for obvious reasons. This numb fog throughout my mind has dissipated from Samara's projections. I cannot believe I am really here - when I can actually stay awake. My little girl, my little monster - what have we done to you?

It is an overwhelming sense of floating, really - I have become translucent and made of air where reality is just perception and nothing hurts. Numbness is not a strong enough definition because I have this sense of movement, a celestial spirit that has left its form and is just observing for the moment. I have become fascinated with my hands, all the bones and curves and detailed ridges - I am sorry I never learned how to read palms because I know I would surely find something horrible in all these mapped out lines. Dr. Scott met with me this afternoon and I don't remember what we talked about - I know Samara was part of the conversation, but it is all muck now, just some grey residue left over in the liquid that has become my brain. I have become water - I have become clear and lost.

It is the dead woman again. She is such a quiet visitor - she sneaks in through the wall and sits across from me in her dark, tattered dress but I do not recognize her since her face is far too mottled and decomposed. I know she is female from her shape and feminine hair. The first time I saw her, I was understandably alarmed since she looked so frightening standing before me with eyes of white, glistening with slime and smelling of decay, and I screamed until nurses came and shot me full of sedatives. My feelings toward her have changed now, however, since she has not done anything to harm me - she just watches patiently with those clouded, piscine eyes. I have started talking to her when I know no one is around to overhear me, but her only form of communication is nodding her head. I know somehow she understands what I am going through and this gives me comfort. She visited again last night, but Dr. Scott says that is not true, he says she is just another hallucination that my mind has created, but I know that just because he does not see her, does not mean that she is not there. She is different than the ripples of water that flow down the walls in the morning or the cracks that appear on the ceiling from time to time - I cannot express how I know that she is different, but she is real. I know that since I am becoming less vocally coherent during out sessions. Dr. Scott thinks I am getting worse, but I am getting better. I am getting better. I am seeing things with less confusion.

Her lips have started to come off. I noticed them starting to peel away this morning after breakfast, the large chunks of dark gray and brown skin revealing rotted teeth, but I am far too polite to mention it to her. I wish she could say something to me, our daily conversations are so one-sided and I am growing tired of listening to my own voice. I talked to her about Samara for awhile today and all the horrible things I know they are doing to her somewhere around this place. My heart is destroyed because it is my selfishness that has put us all here.

There was a bit of a fuss earlier – I spent the morning peeling the skin off my forearm to find long, skinny worms underneath. They restrained me and sewed up the wounds but I kept asking if they would take the worms out, please just take the worms out. I can feel them crawling, they are making their way to my heart.

September 23, 1978

Something must be done. Something must be done or we will all be dead. More horses are dying and there is much whispering around the Island. I hear them. I hear them in my brief moments of sleep and in the kitchen and beneath the stairs - they are everywhere. In the walls. In the bed sheets. The dead woman has been following me around - stepped out of a closet this afternoon to visit. She brushes her hair and clumps fall on the floor. I sweep them up before Richard sees them. Richard doesn't know and I won't tell him. I told him to have the surgery for Samara needs it. Maybe it will save the left horses. The ones that are left. There are so few. Please, Richard...take her for the surgery. Maybe if the God is a merciful one, she will die then.

September 30, 1978

Dr. Scott is dead. They found him on the floor of the recovery room this morning. The nurses said there was something wrong with his face and they don't know what. Something quite bad. Poor man...he was such a good man. He took many secrets with him. Such a kindhearted man. Why would he die? I do not understand. Perhaps it was a heart attack. Maybe he was ill.

I cannot sleep. The dead woman came back today and is skeletal. I so am tired. Samara is still at the hospital. Richard will take her home in a week. Maybe the surgery has helped. I have not seen her in so long. Maybe she is a normal little girl now. Maybe she is finally healed and whole.

October 24, 1978

I am home from ECPH once again, hopefully for good. There were men at the ranch today. Richard tried to keep it from me, but they came to study the horses in an attempt to find out what was happening to them. I laughed the first really good laugh in a long time...we know what is wrong with them. The surgery has not stopped her, her behavior has only gotten worse. The pictures are worse. Richard sees them too, sometimes. What have we done?

They quarantined the ranch about a week ago and said that they would check the grass for some kind of toxin that could be possibly causing the madness. They also mentioned that it was possible they could have been infected with some unknown disease and have taken a few of the carcasses in order to perform some necropsies to study their neurological systems. Of course, they will find nothing. We all just stay silent and let these men do what they think is necessary. If only they knew that this infection does not start in the brain, it starts in the barn.

After this is over, Richard wants us to get away from here for awhile. Shelter Mountain is a beautiful place and so peaceful. He said we need to avoid the public for some time because there is too much going on in the media about us and the ranch. He wonders if the ranch will ever be the same after all of this. We have lost so much. The island has lost so much - it has been suffering for so long from so many problems. People have lost jobs and all sorts of income. There has not been a good catch of fish for months. We need a change of scenery.

November 13, 1978

Shelter Mountain is as beautiful as it always has been - such an amazing view all around. We are surrounded with miles of green and forest. I am pleased we have ended up in such a peaceful place because things have changed. The sun is shining and we are sheltered by so much life here. I am happy for the first time in months because I have found freedom. I know now what I must do to fix things. All will be right with the world once again. Richard will go back to smiling and laughing and we will return to a glorious time before all the horror and mistake. We can rebuild. We will find a way. It will all be all right soon.

November 20, 1978

Time. It has been nothing but curses and cruelty - it had set its own course of destruction since the beginning. Oceans of dire hours have come in waves with nary an apology or an explanation of their sinister intentions. What has made it choose us as its victims? What horrible transgressions could we have committed for all to be destroyed and broken beyond repair?

What I must do - oh, my little girl - it has never truly been her fault; it was my selfish wants and dreams that put her here, but they will never accept that. She is the great monster of the village and they will come in frenzied dozens, bearing torches and stones or locks without keys, but I am her mother and it is my duty to protect her. I cannot let them punish her for her sickness. She never meant to do what she has done and I love her, no matter what she has done, and these miserable people do not even know the price to be paid for their assured safety.

Samara, my love, I am so sorry that you have only known anguish and confusion. I am so sorry that you were given breath only to suffer in this life. My heart is comprised of nothing but blood and despair for you, for you will never know peace on earth, but that will change. A brief moment of pain is worth all the good that is coming soon. My darling, I am so sorry. You were all I ever wanted.

Richard, my love.

Forgive me.