Cat Butrick / Essay / October 2018

Photos to the Other Side

Written by Cat Butrick

I kill people.

I killed my maternal great-grandmother, paternal grandmother, and maternal grandfather all before I turned nine, and yet I never laid a violent hand on them. As much as I wish I could give you a horror story about another sociopathic child, I unfortunately can’t because the truth is: I’m cursed.

At least that’s what my mom and sister say.

For as long as I can remember, they have called me “The Angel of Death” and preached that everytime I take a photo with someone, they die. Now don’t start thinking: “Omg I’m never being in any photo with this girl.” You are most likely safe.

There are requirements:

  1. Only two people, including myself, can be in the photo.
  2. I must be sitting/standing directly in front of the other person.
  3. The person must be over the age of 60.

The first two requirements are ones my family developed based on observation. The last is one I added, since I have taken many photos that meet the first two criteria without resulting in death. However, if all three requirements are met, the person will be dead within six months, and the photo we took together will be their last.

The curse started out as nothing more than a spooky story. My mother noticed the similarities between the photos (shown below). In both of them, I am sitting on my great-grandmother and grandfather’s laps, minding my own two-year-old business. Both of these photos were also their final ones. My grandfather died suddenly two months later, and my great-grandmother died a month after our photo. For years, my family and I thought it was simply a coincidence. I couldn’t possibly be responsible for their deaths… could I?

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The reality of the curse did not truly set in until years later while I was visiting my grandmother. My parents, sisters, and I flew down to Florida for Memere’s 80th birthday party. I can remember the scene clear as day.

The air was thick. Not like the normal Florida humidity. It was heavy, almost as if the atmosphere was already mourning my grandmother’s fate. All of my father’s side of the family was gathered in the small condo: chatting loudly, eating, and enjoying the overall joyous atmosphere. Despite the condo being a comfortable 72 degrees, I remember it being ice cold.

After all of the festivities were over (the cake eaten and presents opened), it was time for my family and me to return to the hotel. However, right as we were walking out the door, my grandmother called out: “Wait! Wait! I need a picture with Catherine! I haven’t taken one with her in years! Come here, come sit on my lap!”

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Upon hearing her final sentence, my mom and I locked eyes, both knowing we could not allow Memere to take the photo with me that she wanted.

“Oh no, you don’t want that,” my mom said, laughing. “She’s cursed. If you take the photo, it will be your last!”

“Oh hush. It’ll be just fine. Come here! Come here!” Memere replied nonchalantly. Cautiously, I walked over to her.

“Memere you really don’t want to,” I whispered. Whether it was my worried tone or frightened eyes that convinced her, my grandmother caved.

“Alright. Diane, hop in the picture. She can sit on your lap, I guess. I don’t want to die just yet.” Clearly relieved, my mother walked over, picked me up and placed me on her lap.

The photo was taken. My mom and I were at ease, believing we had just saved my grandmother’s life. The next morning, we traveled home, and did not think anything of the photo for months. Five months to be exact.

We received news that exactly five months after the photo was taken, my grandmother died suddenly of a heart attack three feet away from the chair she was sitting in for the picture—the last picture ever taken of her.

Apparently the curse does not care about our assumed requirements, so be careful and know that your photo with me may very well be your ticket to the other side.

 

 

 

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