American author Dean R. Koontz is one of the most successful horror and fantasy writers ever. As prolific and as widely read as Stephen King, Koontz’s books have sold millions of copies around the world, and just like King’s, many of them have been made into films. Among that mass literary output of Koontz, you will find a couple of chilling ghost novels. But did you know that Dean has a real life spooky tale to tell, which he experienced back in 1988?
On the afternoon of 20th September 1988, Koontz received a phone call. As his phone number was unlisted, the author assumed that the person on the other end would be somebody familiar to him. And indeed it was: his mother. Although the voice sounded distant, he knew it was definitely her. But then she uttered a strange message to him:
“Be careful,” she said. She repeated this warning three more times before the line went completely dead. Bemused by his mother’s words, Koontz then hung up the phone. Whatever did she mean? he mused. His bemusement was also joined by shock, for his mother had been dead for two decades!
Was somebody playing a sick joke on him? Well, Koontz doubted that possibility very much, for after all, his phone number was private, and he just couldn’t bring himself to suspect that anybody he knew would imitate his mother in such a morbid telephone prank. What could they have possibly gained from doing such a thing?
A couple of days later, still brooding on the strange phone call, Koontz paid a visit to his father, who was being treated on a psychiatric ward as a diagnosed sociopath. On that particular day, his father had been exceptionally troublesome and aggressive with both the staff and his fellow patients. He even then vented his irrational anger on his son, taking a lethal fishing knife out of a drawer and and attacking his Dean with a view to causing him serious harm – and, worse, perhaps even killing him.
However, having grown uneasy and alert to his father’s disposition that day, Dean managed to overpower the old man and dispossessed him of the knife.
Right to this day, Dean believes that, although he does retain some skepticism in these unexplained matters, the mysterious phone call he’d received a few days before he visited his father may well have been from his mother, who was possibly reaching out from the grave to him in an effort to warn him of the impending danger that awaited him on the psychiatric ward. He likes to think that she put him in the right frame of mind to be on his guard for any sudden assault form his mentally volatile father.