|Theories|| · Demonic presence|
· Overactive imagination
The Harlequin was a bizarre demonic entity reportedly witnessed by a man named Dan Mitchell during his childhood in his hometown in southern Wisconsin. The entity would prance around Mitchell’s room telling him stories through dance, theatrics, and sometimes through its always open, round mouth.
The Harlequin was described as a thin, androgynous creature with large, wide-open eyes appeared, bringing with it a damp, fresh smell, like summer rain. “Its face looked like it was in a perpetual state of shock,” Mitchell, now 35 and married with children, said. “I would tell my mom about this and she always thought it was just my imagination getting the best of me.” With its motley, strange clothing, the entity looked “like a harlequin,” but it called itself the Tooth Fairy. (mysteriousuniverse.org)
There are several explanations as to what the creature could be. Theories include:
- A demonic entity
- An overactive imagination
As far as the young Mitchell knew his family never saw the Harlequin, nor did they believe he saw it. “I know this sounds crazy, but I assure you that I remember this high strangeness almost as well as I remember the normal events of my childhood,” he said.
Like a night in spring 1981 when the Mitchell family sat down for dinner. “I remember that my dad was very agitated,” Mitchell said. “He kept saying that he was hearing somebody walking around upstairs. I was terrified by this because my Dad was so agitated and I had never seen him scared like that. He was a very tough guy.” Then Mitchell’s father shot up from the dinner table, terror freezing his face. “Immediately there was a voice that he heard coming from upstairs,” Mitchell said. “While I want to say that it sounded like a sinister and terrifying laugh, I believe it was just a howl of some sort that caused a tingling feeling up my spine.”
Then his father laughed, the look of terror still gripping him. “He was frozen with this awful look on his face,” he said. “Everybody at the table was just frozen. The next thing I remember is waking up at the dinner table with milk spilled all over myself and the table.” His family simply resumed eating dinner, the laugh seemingly forgotten. “This situation was so traumatic to my young mind that I honestly believe that I have blotted a large portion of this event out,” Mitchell said. “I have always thought that whatever was visiting me in my room at night was this ‘person’ walking around in the upstairs of our house, possibly looking for me or wondering where I had went.”Mitchell recently mentioned the dinner event to his father. “My dad turned white like he thought it was a bad dream he had,” he said. “He really was adamant about not talking about the subject any further when I kept pursuing it.” But Mitchell later found his family had known about this visitor all along. (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Trying to pull more information from his mother and brothers, Mitchell found a number of strange occurrences surrounding his family during the 1980s. “So far one of my brothers doesn’t have any memories of anything strange going on in the first house, but he does have a really creepy memory of the house we moved into after that one,” Mitchell said. His brother remembers he and Mitchell bicycling near their home when a “homeless guy on a weird looking bicycle” began chasing them. “He described the bicycle as being overly large, like a three-wheeler, something you’d see in a circus,” Mitchell said. “And what’s creepy about that is that I have a similar memory, but I always thought it was a dream. He remembers this well because he was terrified that the guy was going to catch up with me because I had fallen so far behind him.” (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Mitchell knows his father saw the Harlequin at least once – they were together when it happened. As Mitchell grew, the entity’s visits to his room stopped, but he knew the Harlequin hadn’t left him. In 1991, Mitchell, then 15, and his father were driving from the family’s cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin into the nearby town of Eagle River when they encountered someone on the road. “There (was) this steep hill we would drive down on our way into town,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes as we were driving, my dad would turn out the headlights on his truck as we flew down this hill. We were on our way into town one night when he did this.” One night Mitchell’s father thought better of it and turned on the headlights and they saw someone walking up the hill. “When we got to the top of the hill in the truck, this guy was walking on the gravel road pushing a stroller,” Mitchell said. “Now, it was probably 9:30 at night, pitch black, and who would push a stroller in the pitch black?” As Mitchell’s father drove by the figure, Mitchell knew something was wrong. “I could tell this guy was hiding his face,” he said. “There was just something not right about it.” When the figure disappeared in the distance and darkness, Mitchell could feel they’d just driven by the Harlequin. “My Dad looked a little bothered by it as well,” Mitchell said. “But he didn’t say anything probably to keep me calm. I was really not wanting to go back to the cottage because it was headed that way.” (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Mitchell didn’t see the Harlequin again until 1994. “I ran into this same being years later,” he said. “I was driving with a few friends late at night on our way home from a party.” The young men saw a teenage girl walking in the street in front of the car, her movements strange and jerky. “We thought that maybe she was drunk,” Mitchell said. “Someone in the car thought it was a friend of theirs so we were going to pick her up and give her a ride home.” As they slowed to pull closer, the girl began to walk toward the car. As she closed to near 30 feet, Mitchell realized the person was wearing a bad wig. “My first impression was that it was a man dressed like a woman,” he said. “She looked incredibly angry and was making even jerkier movements that were almost threatening.”
One of Mitchell’s buddies whispered in fear. “Oh, my God,” the boy said. “Look at her eyes.” Mitchell knew those overly large, round eyes – they were the eyes of the Harlequin. “The guy riding shotgun with me wet his pants during the encounter,” Mitchell said. “My original thought was that he did it because he was horribly drunk, but I do remember he had sobered up pretty well by the time we even got into the car that night. It always seemed to me like an over reaction to this odd looking person outside the car.” Somebody in the car said, “floor it,” and Mitchell did, but the car didn’t move. “The car died and we were basically pulled out,” he said. “The next thing everybody remembers is being a mile down the street (back in the car) wondering how we made it there that quickly.” Everyone was terrified. “There was panic in that car,” he said. “I can tell you that every guy I dropped off that night made a mad dash to their front doors. I, unfortunately, had to drive back that way, but luckily didn’t see her again.”He’s convinced the thing he and his friends saw that night was the Harlequin. “I got a pretty good look at her and I can tell you that it was obvious that she was trying to disguise herself,” he said. “It was the same face of perpetual shock, but this time it terrified me completely. I had the feeling that she was yelling at me for some reason. My honest impression that night was that this person was dead or simply not human.” (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Mitchell and his family lived with his mother-in-law in a Milwaukee suburb briefly in 2009, just a few blocks from the house where he grew up – the house where he first experienced the Harlequin. When they moved in he found it was waiting for him. “I was helping my mother-in-law clean out her basement and organize a few things,” he said. “I woke up fairly early to get a head start on it before everybody started to wake up.”
Mitchell started working in the basement about 6:30 a.m. when he heard a noise from the top of the stairs. “Within the first 10 minutes of going downstairs to organize, I keep hearing a tapping noise coming from upstairs by the back door,” Mitchell said. “It sounds like someone was gently tapping the window of the back door.” At first he thought wind caused the sound, until it grew louder. “Almost instantly it goes from a tapping to some quick thuds on the door that just stop abruptly,” Mitchell said. “It sounded like someone was knocking rather desperately. I was actually pretty startled by it.”
Mitchell grabbed a piece of pipe for protection and slowly ascended the steps. “I get to the top of the stairs and notice that whoever was knocking on the door was walking away toward the alley,” he said. “I can only see this person from the back and my heart utterly sank. I knew immediately what I was looking at.” It was the Harlequin.
The entity walked from the door like a bad theater actor. It wore a blonde wig, black winter cap and reddish-pink pants, legs pulled to the knees revealing unnaturally pale skin. It also wore penny-loafers with no socks and a winter coat with ruffles sewn onto it. “For a brief second I thought maybe it was a homeless person, but there is just no way,” he said. “These things communicate they aren’t human just by their presence. I can’t describe this; you just can’t mistake it once you see it.”
The thin, sexless thing walked to the end of the sidewalk that cut through the back yard and disappeared behind the garage. “I felt like I went instantly pale,” Mitchell said. “As it turned the corner to go behind our garage I caught a very quick glimpse of the eyes, the orbits were gigantic and the face was expressionless, almost mask-like. The thin mouth almost too small for the face.”The thumps on the door woke Mitchell’s wife and she rushed downstairs worried her husband had tripped on the stairs. She found her husband staring out the window of the back door. Mitchell’s voice quivered as he told her what he’d seen. (mysteriousuniverse.org)
Dreams bombarded Mitchell’s sleep one night in late April 2010; powerful, vivid dreams – and they were telling him something. “The dreams were so profound that I felt as though I had been told to be at a certain location at a certain time, which was this morning (April 29, 2010) before sunrise,” Mitchell said. “Against my own better judgment, I decided to go there while having the impression that nothing at all would happen, and the whole affair would be little more than a wild goose chase at best. I was profoundly wrong.” Mitchell walked out of his house before the sun crawled over the horizon, drove to a park with a playground near his house, and sat on the bench his dreams instructed him to sit on. He took nothing special with him; no cell phone, no camera, no audio recorder, and no weapons. However, as a precaution he taped his driver’s license to his leg in case his wife had to identify his remains. “That is how concerned I became before I left my house,” Mitchell said. “I was so anxious about this meeting that my hands were shaking.”
After sitting on the bench for about 10 minutes, Mitchell realized he wasn’t alone. “I felt that I had made a grave mistake by even showing up,” he said. “It was clear that my mind was not sufficiently prepared for the event.” A tingling grew in the back of his head as if something almost physical was pushing itself into his mind, something that began to swim there. “At that point I distinctly heard a voice say, ‘Do you remember when we used to dance and sing together, Danny?’” Mitchell said. “My heart dropped utterly because it was clear there was a presence right behind the bench I was sitting in. I have never heard a voice so incredibly rich, while possessing no accent or blemish of any kind. As nice as that may sound, this didn’t make this experience seem any less terrifying.” The thing behind him was the Harlequin. “There is no doubt in my mind of this,” Mitchell said. “I was solidly frozen in absolute terror. How I managed to not piss myself is a mystery.”Mitchell turned his head only slightly and made out the Harlequin’s thin form standing less than ten feet behind him. “It was just as I always remembered it, it was not a ‘grey’ or any other such being,” he said. “It was an old androgynous human-like being that still possessed the features of a child with that typical shocked look upon its face.” But unlike the thing he had always remembered, it didn’t call itself the Tooth Fairy. It gave Mitchell a hint at what it is. “It became clear almost immediately that I entered into the mind of something that exists so far beyond humanity that not even in my most profound moments of despair or spiritual elation, have I ever experienced anything like it,” Mitchell said. “It has a certain animal nature to it even though it is far above the animal kingdom in respect to its self-awareness. I am convinced that it has the potential to destroy the world if it wished.” Mitchell sensed no human morals, no human sympathy in this ancient entity. “This type of being operates by an entirely different set of rules, rules that transcend morality in ways we don’t understand,” he said. “At the same time, as nonsensical as it may sound, there was a genuine care that it had for me this morning. Even though I was completely terrified, and was possibly screaming, ‘Please don’t kill me,’ as I was running to my car, it became obvious to me that it felt a horrible sorrow at my response to what it was. It was as if I had rejected it completely.” (mysteriousuniverse.org)
- The clown-like Harlequin character dates back to 1300s Europe, appearing in Dante’s “Inferno” as one of Hell’s devils, and in much of the European theater. The Harlequin is traditionally physically agile while simultaneously being gluttonous and insipid. But this theatrical character is based on something ancient and real.
- Clown-like entities, almost always malign, show up frequently in Forteana. Other examples are the Phantom Clown phenomena and Solar Plexus Clown Gliders.
- Many cultures and religions possess the concept of a harlequin-like "trickster god", such as Coyote the Trickster or Loki.