In the Fall of 1956, in the states of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, a series of strange and disturbing occurrences haunted the records of provincial police stations.
A person, and it was always someone who lived alone, would come in to the station clutching a collection of Polaroid photographs.
Each of them showed the same thing: a photograph of the person's sleeping figure, and a date.
The dates always started from about a week before, and moved on, to two weeks from the day they showed the photos to the police.
As the dates moved forward, the position of the camera drew closer and closer, until there was nothing in the frame but the face of the sleeping person,
a slight frown casting a shadow across their features. These people would report that the photographs had arrived in an unmarked brown envelope, slipped under their front door earlier that day.
Officers would always visit the house to check for signs of intrusion, but finding no evidence, could do nothing more than instruct them to lock up at night, and to be on their guard.
Two days later, without fail, these people would turn up again. This time, visibly distressed, often outright terrified, they would hand over another set of Polaroids.
They were labelled with the same set of dates, but this time the photos were taken from the point of view of the sleeper.
They showed a man of indeterminate age, grinning widely and staring intently into the camera.
With each passing day he got closer and closer, leaning over the bed towards the viewer, his rictus grin and intense stare never changing, until his face filled the frame.
At this point, most of the local police stations involved posted a guard on the person’s house.
There was never any sign of trouble however, and the sleepers quickly became sullen and withdrawn, eventually asking the police to leave.
Every single one of them ended their lives before reaching the final date on the photographs.
Police were completely unable to find any workable leads in these cases and soon they were all but forgotten,
the officers in question all too happy to rid themselves of the disturbing pictures.
Most of them suffered nightmares all winter, dreaming of a figure leaning over their bed, grinning down at them.
The last known case was in October 1956, in Pennsylvania.
What nobody has been able to satisfactorily explain, is just who the grinning man is, nor why a new set of photographs turned up in the Library of Congress archives the following year,
showing the same man and a new set of sleepers, all of them dated Fall 2016.