Looking back from today, that period of my life is like a bad dream. A nightmare that lasted for nearly four years, changing me forever. Part of which, is the key to my sobriety.

I had recently lost everything. When I say everything, I mean everything and everyone. More than anything, I wanted to be left alone, just a man taking a late-night walk through the streets of Denver. It didn’t bother me that most people would consider such a thing dangerous, even reckless, especially since I was just outside of a neighborhood with one of the highest crime rates in the city. I wasn’t scared. I’ve seen much worse than hooded drug pushers in that area, many of whom are homeowners. Some of which do not sleep.

Following a night of cat and mouse, I planted myself on a stone bench between the street corner and the alley. There were two types of alleys in that neighborhood. Those with what appeared to be normal with random lighting, such as what someone would attach to their garage door. And, the other kind. Those without a single pole light or any other type of lighting whatsoever. I’m speaking of alleys so black that only a few types of people would even consider strolling from one end to the other during the night. The alley to my left was of the normal variety, not necessarily a bonus in my situation. I sat and waited for the first of them to show.

My patience was gone, and the realization that I may need to wrap things up with sudden, conflict-ending violence had replaced that area of my personality friends refer to as ‘ disarming’.

It took less than one minute for someone to step from around the corner, approach with caution, and sit on the other end of the stone bench. With the intention of using myself as bait, I’d intentionally left more than enough space for another person to join me. The plan had been a success, and I now faced one of the three guys who had been following me. I could hear his tired breath and smell the sweat from beneath his dark blue hoody.

Moments later the stranger began to whisper in a raspy, unintelligible voice. As I sat listening, I contemplated my surreal situation. I’d been trying to lose them on foot for several hours. I was tired, but not as tired as my final pursuer. The man, a white male in his mid twenties, seemed exhausted and completely spent.

I didn’t say a word as he continued to mutter something about not being able to continue the chase, and desperately needing to get back home to his wife or girlfriend. Pieces and fragments have faded over the past few years, but the basics are still etched into my memory. Bottom line, this guy had been following me for whatever reason; almost like a Pokemon chase. Neither now nor then have I ever resembled anything even close to a Pokemon character.


One year before this incident (2015), I met someone who claimed to be a victim of Gangstalking. At the time, he sounded paranoid and possibly delusional. My experiences since then have opened my mind to other possibilities.

Joseph Shanklin

July 13, 2022

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