My name is Sophia Radcliffe, and I am a retired Social Worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. I am only writing this because I am no longer working with the ministry, and have no obligations to keep my personal experiences to myself, however I will not use real names to protect the identity of the survivors. I have been given permission to share this story by my former client, Mrs. Sanderson, who is the only other person who knows the truth.
In the winter of 2003, I was given a case that would be the deciding factor in entering my early retirement. I had been a social worker for fourteen years by this point, and I honestly believed I had seen it all, but this case was interesting to say the least. The six-year-old girl that I was going to be working with had just been placed in the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital, and I was to meet with her every week until she was considered well enough to be moved to a foster home.
The following information is what I am able to share from her case file, news reports and the research that followed:
The girl’s father was a Lieutenant in the military and had been overseas when she was born, unaware of her existence until he came home to find his wife with a two year old girl. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Allan Blake returned with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had begun to suffer from paranoia believing that his wife had cheated on him, and that the girl wasn’t even his own daughter.
His wife, Katharine tried everything she could think of to convince him, even going so far as to take the family to get a paternity test, but by then the damage had been done. In his attempts to overlook his crumbling mental health, Allan took to heavy drinking and pushed himself away from his family, occasionally interacting with his wife, though he ignored the girl completely. According to their family Doctor, Katharine regularly brought her daughter in for checkups, and he had suspected that she was being abused. However with the mother saying everything was alright, and having no proof that the bruises were anything other than playtime injuries, the doctors kept quiet and decided to simply keep and eye on them.
I remember hearing the news story just a few nights before, on Christmas Eve, about a man who had attacked his wife and daughter with the knife they had used to carve the turkey. A neighbor reported that he had been watching for his brother and sister-in-law to come for dinner, and noticed that the power in the Blake home suddenly went out, and that the only source of light was from the fireplace in the living room. Wanting to be helpful, the neighbor headed over with a couple flashlights and candles, but stopped when he saw a strange looking man in a suit standing in the living room with Katharine, who was holding the poker to the fireplace while covered in blood. Horrified, he ran back to his home and called the police.
When police arrived at the scene, Allan was dead, having been beaten to death with the poker, and Katharine herself was bleeding out, with over twenty cuts on her body, screaming about a thin man that had broken into her home before she died of a sudden heart attack. The girl seemed to be unharmed, though highly disturbed by the events, and was brought to the hospital for further monitoring, just in case. Though as it turned out, the girl had her share of trauma, screaming whenever she saw a reflective surface, screaming about the same thin-man that had terrified her mother.
Nine years passed, and the girl, named Kenna, had long been released and sent all kinds of homes in an attempt to find a family that could help her with her unusual symptoms. She had been diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia, and was still unable to bear looking in the mirror for fear of seeing the figure that had haunted her since her parents deaths. I remember one day when she told me that if she did look in the mirror long enough, she could hear him whispering to her, though when I asked what he was saying, she refused to say another word.
It was on Kenna’s fifteenth birthday that I told her I found a family that was willing to take her in and help her keep healthy. I had been visiting with them for weeks, scheduled and unscheduled, so that I could see them at their best as well as their worst, and was confident I had found a good fit. Mrs Sanderson had a well kept home, a nineteen-year-old daughter named Gwen, and two sons, Heath and Paul, aged seventeen and sixteen respectively. The family was fully prepared for her, adding another bed to Gwen’s room and clearing the one side of posters and belongings so that Kenna could have her own space. To my pleasant surprise, they had even gone so far as to install small curtains over all of the mirrors in the house, so they could be easily covered when they were not in use, to minimize the chances of her having a breakdown.
After her birthday lunch, I took Kenna to the Sanderson’s place, made sure she had all her things (there wasn’t much) and reminded her to make sure she took her medication. We sat and talked with her new foster-mother and siblings, as it was a Sunday afternoon and most of them were home. They all seemed to hit it off well, and I took my leave once Kenna told me she had unpacked. I told her I would continue visiting for a while until I knew for sure whether it was going to work or not, and that I would be in touch.
After four months, I closed her file. Everyone makes mistakes, and after reading Kenna’s diary that was recovered, I know just how wrong I was. These are just a few of the entries, though almost every day was disturbing to read.
February 23, 2012
I’m starting to think Ms Radcliffe made a mistake when she left me here. Mrs. Sanderson is okay I guess, but Heath and Paul are horrible, and I’m not even sure Gwen is human. How can someone be such a nightmare? She wouldn’t stop complaining that she had to cover her mirror with “ugly curtains” and she’s refusing to leave it covered. It points right at my bed and I saw him again, hovering over me, watching me with his empty face.
I screamed – I couldn’t help it! All she did was call her brothers in so they could all laugh at me.
I hate them. I’m just glad they haven’t found you.
March 17, 2012
While Mrs. Sanderson was out today, Heath and Paul jumped out at me, dressed like what they think the Thin Man looks like. I shouldn’t have told them anything. Gwen thought it was hilarious, of course and took it one step further. She made them hold me down while she sat on me – she’s really heavy – and made me look in her hand held mirror for 10 whole minutes before they got bored and wandered off.
He’s getting closer. I wonder what’s going to happen if he catches me? I don’t know, but at this rate it would probably be better than staying here.
April 30, 2012
I had that dream again, about the night my parents died, and when I first saw the Thin Man. I was looking at the ornaments on the tree, the pretty red ones that were my favorite, and I saw daddy standing there with the knife looking at mom, the Thin Man standing behind him, saying something in his ear. I can see mom grab the poker and force it through daddy’s head, and keep beating him until there was only chunks left. She told me it would be okay, that I wouldn’t hurt anymore… I think that’s when she saw the Thin Man, watching her, with those long, black whisps coming off his back and picking up the knife. I saw him cut her up, but I couldn’t turn around… I could only see it through the reflection in the ornament.
That’s when the police show up and take me to their car, where I stay sitting by myself until I the big black bags mom and daddy are in come out on the stretchers. In the dream I’m looking through the rear-view mirror, and the Thin Man is looking back.
Why won’t that dream stop? I don’t want to think about it anymore!
I’m going to go downstairs and get some water. Goodnight.
May 3, 2012
It’s been three days since Mrs. Sanderson said I’m doing well enough that she thinks it’s time to take the curtains down. There must be a mirror in every room now, and whenever I walk by I can see him. I’ve been trying to cover them back up, but whenever I get close enough I see him waiting for me. I’m scared that if I don’t cover them again he’ll find me!
I’m going to go try again. Wish me luck.
May 4, 2012
I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM ALL! If Mrs Sanderson didn’t get rid of those stupid curtains this wouldn’t have happened! Yesterday Gwen said she was sorry, and that she was only mad that she had to share her room! She told Heath and Paul to help her get rid of the mirrors. They went to all the rooms and pulled them all down so I didn’t have to, and put them in the basement.
My medication makes me a really heavy sleeper, and I guess she noticed because I woke up to find the mirrors covered with all the mirrors in the house! They even put one on the back of the door so I wouldn’t come out! They were everywhere! EVERYWHERE!
He doesn’t have eyes, but I KNOW he was looking at me! He was looking and coming closer, and he was right in front of me! I could hear him just like I did before, but he’s wrong! I couldn’t do anything like that, I’m not like my parents!
When Mrs Sanderson came home, she heard me screaming and I got in trouble. She yelled at me! She HIT me! She told me I was being childish and needed to grow up and stop pretending there was a monster in the mirror!
I hate them but I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I’m not like that. I can’t. I’m not like my parents! I’m not. I can’t. Why won’t it stop?
I think I need a nap or something…
June 19, 2012
Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming. Don’t look, he’s coming.
July 31, 2012
I’m in the hospital. So tired. I don’t remember what happened, but I think I hurt Gwen. Everyone’s mad at me. I need to tell the nurse to cover the mirror. Why hasn’t anyone covered the mirror? Why is he standing there? He isn’t coming for me, but he’s laughing. I think he’s pleased that I hurt her, or amused.
The Doctor prescribed a higher dose. I need sleep.
August 4, 2012
She’s moving out! Gwen is going to college now, and she’s finally moving out at the end of the month so she can stay with her best friend while they’re going to school. I wish I could enjoy it more, but the meds have been really harsh lately. I’m always tired, and I keep on blacking out. I think I’ve been sleepwalking too because sometimes I wake up with grass and stuff on my feet.
Maybe with Gwen gone things will get better, but I doubt it. I just hope she doesn’t pull another stunt to make up for leaving.
September 13, 2012
He is here. I can’t see him, but he can see me. He’s never leaving, and I know he’s here for me. He won’t leave. He can’t leave. He won’t leave. Please don’t leave me. He isn’t leaving. It’s just him and me. Just me and him. He’s always been there. The only one that’s ever been there…
Kenna had a fondness for writing in purple ink, her writing neat, and tiny with little circles to dot the i’s. It was a normal girl’s diary, except that no one saw her as a normal girl. Her classmates saw her as the “crazy girl” who saw weird things and screamed at her own reflection – the girl with no real family or friends, except maybe me, but I left her.
While the whole diary itself was difficult for me to read, it was the last entry that I found most unnerving. Spread across two pages and, so far as the police have told me, written in the blood of her foster family:
October 26, 2012
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday dear Kenna
It’s just what I’ve always wanted…
Mrs Sanderson was the only survivor, having been found in critical condition on the kitchen floor. She was interviewed as soon as she was stable and had the ability to talk about what happened. The following is the conversation between Mrs Sanderson and Constable Wilder about the events of October 26th:
Mrs Sanderson – I was making a special dinner because my Gwen was coming home for the weekend, and I wanted her to feel like she never left. Heath and Paul were upstairs playing their video games and Kenna was in the living room doing some cleaning to get ready. I kept on hearing her talking to herself – well, I should say, I heard her talking to her mirror.
Constable Wilder – I’m sorry, I thought you said she was afraid of mirrors?
Mrs Sanderson – She was, for most of the time she was with us, but… she had a turn-around after a recent hospital stay. She seemed to find comfort in the mirrors after that, and carried a compact mirror around with her wherever she went. Her teachers were concerned because she had started talking to it at school.
Constable Wilder – And what kinds of things did she talk about?
Mrs Sanderson – It varied, actually. She would sometimes tell it to be quiet, get into an argument, or sometimes she would whisper to it about not wanting to hurt, or not wanting to hurt someone.
Constable Wilder – And you didn’t think to inform her doctor?
Mrs Sanderson – The doctor said that her confronting the mirror was an improvement and didn’t seem overly disturbed by anything. He just told us that increasing the medication a little would keep her calm and she would get over everything.
Constable Wilder – I see. Please continue.
Mrs Sanderson – Right. While I was chopping the vegetables, I heard Kenna scream and loud crash from the other room. When I went to find out what had happened, I saw her sitting on the floor, with pieces of my Grandmother’s antique mirror all over the place. She had a few shards caught in her hair, and sticking out of the skin on her face and arms. There were also some minor cuts on her clothes, but jeans are pretty hardy and that black turtle neck of hers is fairly thick, so I imagine the pieces just got stuck. Anyways, the mirror looked like it had exploded somehow.
Constable Wilder – Any ideas on how that could have happened?Did Kenna say anything about it?
Mrs Sanderson – No, not about the mirror. All she said was that she heard something buzzing and it wasn’t stopping, but I couldn’t hear anything. I thought it might have been a result of some head trauma because of the mirror, so I just took her to the kitchen where I could keep an eye on her and called the ambulance.
Constable Wilder – Alright, what happened next?
Mrs Sanderson – She dropped the glass and started crying, clutching at her head in pain, covering her ears and screaming for it to stop. I thought I’d take that chance to get the glass away from her, but the screaming got worse and she snatched it from me. I think that’s when she attacked me.
Constable Wilder – You aren’t sure?
Mrs Sanderson – It’s mostly a blur after that point, to be honest. There was so much pain that I wasn’t really taking it all in. I know she stabbed me thirty-six times, from what the doctor told me when I woke up. Anyways, that’s…. that when…
Constable Wilder – Take your time Mrs. Sanderson, I’m in no hurry. Would you like another glass of water?…… Okay then, whenever you’re ready.
Mrs Sanderson – Heath and Paul came into the kitchen to find out what was going on with Kenna. They were very fond of her… must have been worried.
Constable Wilder – … from the evidence we’ve uncovered, it seems as though the boys were contributing factors to her breakdown. Were you aware they were bullying her?
Mrs Sanderson – Are you going to trust what lunatic wrote in some book over my boys who aren’t here to defend themselves?
Constable Wilder – …. the evidence-
Mrs Sanderson – They were good boys! Do you want to know what happened or not?
Constable Wilder – Um, yes Ma’am. Please, continue.
Mrs Sanderson – Hmph. As I was saying, my boys came to check on their DEAR foster sister. I remember her screeching like a banshee when she attacked Heath, and she… she… s-st-stabbed him b-between t-the eyes. And t-then she went a-after Paul…
Talking about the deaths of her children was understandably too much for the poor woman to handle. Mrs Sanderson unfortunately never recovered from the incident, having suffered severe nerve damage and is unable to perform basic tasks without difficulty. She is currently living in an undisclosed location with a live-in caregiver and is undergoing intensive therapy sessions concerning her fear of the “Thin Man” and the “Fractured Girl” she had taken into her home.
The rest of the Sanderson family was butchered. Heath Sanderson died instantly when the mirror fragment pierced his brain, and a large chunk broke off in his head. Paul was found in the living room, almost to the front door, and police believe he had been stabbed repeatedly in the back with a kitchen knife. By the blood on the floor, it seems he survived long enough to pull himself the rest of the way to the front door, but was unable to reach the knob.
Finally, there was Gwen Sanderson, found upstairs in her old bedroom, halfway under her bed, as though she had been dragged out from under it. She had been cut and mutilated, with 13 pieces of the mirror jabbed all over her body, including two almost identical pieces lodged in the girl’s eyes. Her face was frozen in sheer terror, her mouth stretched open in a silent scream as her hands clutched at her scratched cheeks, bits of skin under her nails. The autopsy revealed that she had actually died of a heart attack, and the investigators believe the mutilation had happened afterwards for the thrill of revenge.
The case file for Kenna Blake was the most earth-shattering I had ever encountered as a Social Worker. It’s an emotional job, full of turmoil and heartache, but isn’t without it’s rewards when things go well. However when things go wrong, it can be fatal. I will never forgive myself for what happened to that poor girl, and to the family I placed her with.
Kenna Blake, that “Fracture” of a girl, has never been found.
Update: I just found out last night, that Mrs Sanderson passed away last night. She was found sitting at her vanity, head resting on her folded arms as though she were sleeping. They’re saying she died of a heart attack, but that doesn’t explain why the mirror on the vanity had been smashed in, or why they found traces of the glass in her eyes.