In December of 1997, in the small village of Svetly in the Tomsk region of Siberia, a series of strange events began. A family of four, and their pet dog, were living in a three bedroom apartment on the 8th floor of a nine-story building. The family had been living there for a decade before these strange events began. Like most poltergeist cases, the beginning of this one seems to correlate with the teenage son, Petya, hitting puberty.
It started out as knocks. Mainly focused on the front door, but sometimes windows and walls would also sound out. The knocking always seems to begin when the father, Anatoly, would return home from work, and would continue on into the night. Many times he would get up to investigate the knocks, and several times he found strange puddles of water outside of his door. These puddles always appeared to have depth, but would never seem to drain away. Other times the puddle would seem to vanish, evaporating in a moment’s notice.
The knocking continued, and the people in the apartment began to lose sleep. Anatoly became obsessed with catching what he was sure was simply pranksters. He would wait by the door, swinging it open upon a knock, and searching up and down the apartment building, only to find nothing. He even devised a way to unlatch the door at a distance, letting his dog, Jack, out to greet the unwelcome intruder. Again, no one was behind the door, and the dog stood at the staircase, stricken with freight.
Lights, specifically one in the kitchen, began to turn on and off by themselves, and the doorbell, which had been disconnected for years, began to ring incessantly. It got to the point where they had to remove it entirely. This is when things began to move.
Anatoly opened up his refrigerator one morning to find his small black-and-white TV set had been stuffed inside. Another instance the telephone appeared in the fridge, as well as a piece of piping where the eggs should be. Conversely the eggs had been shattered at the balcony door. The family actually watched one of these eggs float from the kitchen, turn a curve, and smash itself into the door. This would occur without the fridge door being opened.
One evening, Anatoly returned from work and left a bag of clothing and supplies by the door. When he returned the bag was gone, and was nowhere to be found in the apartment. Articles of clothes from the bag began to appear around the house, including a pair of pants that flew across his view. Eventually the bag was found, it was inside of a birdcage. When they tried to remove it, they found the door of the birdcage was much too small for the bag to have fit in, and they had to disassemble it. It was around this time that they began to seek help.
A variety of people, from local government officials, scientists, investigative journalists, and of course psychics, visited the apartment and tried to help. ‘Cleansing rituals’ seemed to have no effect, the family continued to be plagued. But a group of researchers did see that there was indeed a variety of anomalous activity occurring. They decided, as well as a few interested TV programs, to bring in cameras. This brought its own challenges, as they would find electrical equipment to malfunction quite often inside the apartment.
The family pointed to the front entrance hallway as the location with the most activity. As the family sat in the adjacent living room, the doorway acted as a screen to what they began to call ‘theatrical performances.’ Things would often fly from the hallway and smash against the inside of the front door. Shoes, crutches, and the bathroom door, which was located at the end of the hallway, would fly at high speed and smash into the front door, while the family watched on from the living room. In one instance, there appeared to be a person covered in a sheet who walked into the doorway. The family was understandably terrified by this intruder, and the family dog reacted, it grabbed the sheet and tore, only to reveal that nothing had been underneath it.
In the spring of 1998, the poltergeist entered into what the researchers would call its ‘writing phase.’ They would go on to collect over 200 writing samples that they believed were produced by the poltergeist. It would write messages in pencil, ballpoint pen, lipstick, a ‘brilliant green solution’, plasticine, egg yolk, candle wax, detergent as well as other things. Oftentimes these messages would appear on scraps of paper that would fall from the ceiling, or be sent flying into the room with force, always having no discernable source. Other times they would appear on walls and mirrors, and on the inside and outside of windows, the latter a detail that is evermore intriguing when you recall that they’re on the 8th floor.
These notes were oftentimes threatening messages, often focused at the researchers, or at the wife, Lyuba. But now the researchers and family had a line of communication, and perhaps most intriguing, they began to receive intelligent responses. When they asked what its name was, a piece of plastic appeared, with the name ‘Fotyma’ spelled out on it in candle wax. When they asked how long they would have to put up with this paranormal nuisance, they found the year 2001 and a heart drawn onto their front door in lipstick.
In the Summer of 1998, the phenomenon began to get dangerous. Events of spontaneous combustion began. Coats and newspapers would catch fire suddenly. The notes that the entity left behind were particularly prone to these bizarre fast-acting flames. It was also begging to mess with the piping, causing floods frequently.
Then, in September of 1998 the phenomenon seemed to stop. Nothing occurred for exactly 40 days. A researcher was nearby in a car, and was considering visiting the apartment to check for any updates to the case, despite the quiet period. Meanwhile, at the apartment, knocks began, and the family found a note written in a strange ‘runic’ style threatening the researcher by name.
They began to see the entity more as well, almost always as a figure covered in a sheet. It would play hide and seek with Anatoly, and generally terrify the family. One night it left a message for Anatoly to take the dog for a walk at 4 a.m. He did so, and while descending the stairs of his building, he heard a massive crash coming from inside the elevator shaft. It was loud enough to wake up members of his family on the 8th floor, although it doesn’t say whether it awoke others in the building. The next day, they were naturally paranoid about the elevator, and cautioned people not to use it, only to find it in perfect working order.
By this time the family was well aware that the poltergeist, or whatever was responsible for these events, was specifically targeting the father, mostly appearing when he was around. Naturally suspicion fell on the children as well, but these anmoulspous events would continue to occur even when the children were out of the apartment.
One morning, they woke up to find that pasta, minced meat, and a cake had all been prepared in the kitchen overnight, somehow without waking a single occupant. A note had been left by the spirit as well, telling the husband to leave his wife, and the spirit will cook for him now. In addition to putting strain on his marriage, it began to hurt his work.
Anatoly was a mini bus driver, and on one winter night he parked the minibus in a nearby garage. The bus somehow started itself in the garage, and was left running for long enough that the engine gave out. His employers blamed him and/or his son who had a reputation as a trouble maker, and fired him. But in the snow that surrounded the garage outside there was only a small hole leading towards the door, much too small for any human or child to gain access through.
Fotyma at this point, began to spread to other apartments. Her name began to appear on neighbors walls, and their sinks and bathtubs started to fill up on their own as well. By the end of January 1999, the phenomenon had morphed again, into its ‘voice’ stage.
The voice at first, could only be heard giving off a shrill laughter or the occasional scream. The noise seemed to be coming exclusively from the bathroom at this point. Upon closer examination, it seems that they were coming from the toilet, from a small ventilation hole in the porcelain. Soon the voice turned from laughter and screams, into conversation. It would speak in two voices, a squeaky female voice, and a hoarse male voice. It would speak to Anatoly throughout the night, talking about his personal life, and the lives of people around him. The entity seemed to have profound knowledge about these people’s lives, with information going back into their childhoods. Despite using the hoarse male voice as often as the female one, Fotyma would always refer to herself using femanine language.
By this point, fires were becoming more common. Singed holes were appearing often on the clothing of the residents inside the house. Fotyma also became more interested in the phone lines as well. The phone inside the apartment would stop working for certain people at certain times, allowing family members to make calls, but not the investigators. It also started making calls around the village and surrounding town. People were receiving the calls and here the unique male voice that had become associated with the case. Many attempts to trace these calls were conducted, but to no avail.In December of 1997, in the small village of Svetly in the Tomsk region of Siberia, a series of strange events began. A family of four, and their pet dog, were living in a three bedroom apartment on the 8th floor of a nine-story building.
Then, in August of 2001, the entity made good on its promise and disappeared. It had left as quickly as it had arrived. But not before leaving investigators piles of evidence to sift through. The investigators of this case took hundreds of hours of tape and audio recordings, as well as collecting hundreds of samples of objects involved in the case for analysis.
Their video evidence can be viewed still today, and while there are several incidents of objects moving, they are far from convincing pieces of evidence. Because of the older style camera used, in combination with the angle the camera is filming at, it is impossible to rule out trickery. In fact several times during these clips, it looks as if the objects are being manipulated by a human being, but again, it is unclear in these videos. One of the more convincing videos is of a birdcage suddenly sliding into view from the hallway. This clip is intriguing because despite the rapid movement, the bird inside is still asleep. When the crew investigated further, going to the room where the birdcage was before its sudden appearance, they found the door to be blocked by the sleeping dog. The dog was nudged several times by the door before it awoke, showing that it was in quite a deep sleep before this disturbance. It would have been impossible for the kids sleeping in the room, to have removed the birdcage, slid it down the hall, returned to the room and their beds, all without disturbing either animals’ slumber, one of which was sleeping in front of a door they would have to use. Of course, that is assuming that no one has edited or doctored the footage.
But despite the suspect status of the film evidence collected, there was some evidence that was hard to dispute. The investigators recorded the voice of the entity several times throughout the investigation. They sent the tapes to a polytechnic university in Siberia for analysis. They found that oftentimes, the voice would hit a frequency of 800 hertz. This is a frequency that is impossible for any living creature to reach. However, they also noted that its speaking patterns were natural. An artificial voice would be using exact copies of the same words. When this entity spoke, there were subtle changes in pronunciation each time, something that only occurs in the patterns of living organisms.
Despite Foytmas current inactive status, there is still the occasional report for the region of Tomsk, of that strange voice calling to leave a strange message.
Written by: Anthony Tyler