The 13th Floor

One Horrifying Reason You Should NEVER Download “KNOB.exe”

Today’s entry comes from the journal of Sally Goodman from Dayton, Ohio — one of three siblings who have posted on various discussion boards about the paranormal experiences which seem to have plagued the Goodman family for years. While her brothers John and Henry have written about freakish spectral intruders in their own homes, Sally’s unique encounter reportedly occurred by way of her laptop — thanks to a USB drive containing a single executable file titled KNOB.exe.

Consider Sally’s tale an object lesson: if you find a thumb drive or any other storage device laying around, and you’re certain it doesn’t belong to you… for crying out loud, don’t plug it into your computer, much less run any of the files you might find stored there. Hell, after reading this, I’d be inclined to set that drive on fire before anyone else found it.

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But Sally Goodman did run that program, which she found on the floor of a storage closet on the day she moved into a new apartment… and despite her taking several intensive precautions against viruses, and even quarantining her machine from the web, something still got in… something she never could have imagined in her worst nightmares.

KNOB turned out to be an extremely simplistic 16-bit platform game of some sort, in which the player controlled a crude figure, guiding it through city streets and dodging traffic through each level. Sally found it boring and repetitive, but her curiosity drove her to continue playing… especially after it seemed that the figure would leap and attack passers-by, who could then be heard screaming in uncomfortably realistic voices.

Image Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

When she reached Level 5, the details of the game began to change, and she recalls how her blood ran cold when she realized where the strange figure was standing: in a crude digital recreation of the storage closet in which she’d found the USB drive earlier that day.

That’s when the figure in the game began to move on its own. It left the virtual model of Sally’s apartment (which matched the floorplan, however crudely, in every detail) and moved outside, finally standing at her bedroom window.

Sally describes tenuously looking toward that window in the real world… and staring directly into the eyes of a beast.


Matching the movements of its crude avatar on the laptop screen, a horrific creature smiled and wordlessly beckoned… and to her intense horror, Sally realized she was walking toward the thing, unable to resist its silent call.

As Sally drew closer to the creature — close enough to see its white, reptilian skin and empty black stare — it held up a tattered piece of paper. Her captive eyes followed the thing’s claw-like finger as it pointed to what was apparently a simple map. Though paralyzed in terror, Sally felt a triggered memory, whether real or imagined: somehow, she knew where the map would take her.

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That’s when the creature suddenly lashed out at her throat…

…and Sally awakened, heart pounding, her sheets drenched in sweat. She wrote about the details of the nightmare in her journal while the memories were still vivid in her mind. The only things she couldn’t remember were the moment she’d stopped playing the game, and when she fell asleep. She also noted how the game had caused her laptop’s operating system to crash.

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While documenting her dream, she realized she could remember the monster’s map clearly… and despite its crude directions, she believed she knew where the thing wanted her to go. If she was right, this was a real location, in the woods of a local park.

For security, Sally notified her brothers where she was going, and recorded her trip to the park with a body-cam linked to her smartphone, set to automatically upload all video and image files to a virtual server. Strangely, many of those files became corrupted — but enough fragments remained to stitch together a brief visual account of what she found in those woods.

The clip posted below is all that remains of those recordings:

After this encounter, Sally claims she promptly destroyed the USB drive containing the KNOB file; she not only smashed it, but burned the pieces.

“The disturbing part is the hissing sound the drive made when I did this,” she writes, “like some terrible snake…”

Sally’s journal entry ends here, but an attached epilogue quotes a local news clipping:

Police are investigating multiple sightings of a human-like creature in Dayton over the past month. Witnesses consistently describe it as the size of a man, but with scaly, pale white skin and sunken black eyes, and a threatening posture described as “malicious.” Some witnesses have even reported packs of the creatures roving in packs, and violently attacking people at random.


It would be easy to dismiss these claims as a hoax, were it not for the deaths of several individuals in the exact same locations where the creatures have been sighted. As of today, Dayton police have not issued further details about these deaths, releasing only a brief statement to the press, stating that a thorough investigation is underway.