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It was love at first sight
David S. Wills

Meeting a Messiah

November 11th, 2009
by David S. Wills


His name was Daniel and I think he was a paedophile. Whether he was or he wasn’t, he certainly was a violent and delusional man, and his brief stint in my life was alarmingly full of coincidence and fear.

Our first encounter was on the subway in downtown Daegu. I was on my way home and I heard someone shouting, “Hey! Wait up!” and when I looked around there was a bear of a man chasing me down the platform.

His appearance was awesome. Daniel was around 6’5 and he was as wide as a bull. He was immensely hairy, too. From his face to his hands he was covered in a thick layer of red hair. He wore a giant LA Lakers shirt over a grey t-shirt, and denim shorts with hi-tops. His hair was huge and frizzy, adding another for inches to his height, and was kept back from his face by a white sweat band.

“Hey! How’re you doin’?” His voice was gravelly. He sounded like a professional wrestler. He spoke so forcefully that pleasantries sounded demanding. I was scared that my response wouldn’t satisfy him.

“Oh, hey…” I said, pretending I wasn’t shocked by his appearance. I knew instantly that I didn’t know him. You remember a person like Daniel.

“I’m Daniel,” he said.


He turned away from me and introduced himself to every single person on the train – “Annyeonghasseyo! Annyeonghasseyo!” – and then turned back to me and grilled me with questions.

I answered his questions as briefly as I possibly could, bearing in mind that I didn’t want to offend this giant weirdo.

It wasn’t that he was an awful person, but that he was loud and forceful. I’m a quiet guy. I answer questions when people ask them quietly and politely; not when they’re barked at me.

“I was a teacher in LA,” he told me. “But I had to come to Korea. Something happened… They took my job. Fucking bullshit, man. A guy can’t fuck up once?”

Daniel got off the train after three stops and I was glad to see the back of him. Daegu is a smallish city, but I knew there was a good chance I’d never see him again. I hoped that if I did I’d see him before he saw me and be able to run away.

It was about two days later and I was in a bar called Nu Skool, drunk to the point of blurred vision and trying to forget that I was surrounded by soldiers and hip-hop ‘music’ when Daniel stepped back into my life.

Daniel didn’t walk into Nu Skool… He burst in. He exploded through the door, speaking in tongues and waving a sports sock full of billiard balls in the air. There were tears in his eyes and he looked ready to murder someone.

I was snapped out of my drunken funk.

The problem with running into Nu Skool with a sock full of billiard balls, looking ready to murder someone, is that Nu Skool is a hangout for soldiers. Luckily for Daniel there weren’t many soldiers there at that time, but there were some, and the non-soldiers were all pretty huge guys, too. They surrounded him instantly, keeping just enough distance to avoid getting their jaws ripped off by the weapon.

I watched as I came to realise fully just who this guy was. At first I’d been shocked by the sight of a maniac, but now I knew I knew the maniac! I felt some weird responsibility. Everything suggested this incident was heading towards an extremely bloody conclusion, and I wondered if perhaps my prior acquaintance with the maniac might manage to avoid that.

I approached Daniel very slowly as he stood swinging his sock. He was no longer spitting outright gibberish, but instead was screaming “I’ll kill you all!” at the room full of people. The look on his huge face said that he meant it.

I got as close as I could, trying to smile. I wanted to offer him a friendly face, because it was obvious that Daniel was about to die the minute he dropped the sock. People don’t like being threatened for no reason, and these weren’t reasonable people. Daniel was in trouble.

“Hey,” I said, too quietly. “Daniel, remember me?”

He looked at me but nothing seemed to register. He looked at me in spite of the fact my voice probably wasn’t audible, but he didn’t seem to recall who I was…

About two minutes later Daniel was outside with blood on his face. He got off lightly, and so did everyone else. His sock smashed a few lights and busted up a door, but made contact with no one, and the guys in the bar hit him only enough to subdue him, then dragged him outside and left him on the street.

I went down to talk to him, half expecting him to kill. But I have a lot of experience dealing with intoxicated people, and I’ve never been afraid of them.

He was screaming in rage when I got down there, and I knew that even the lacklustre Korean police would have to show up eventually.

“Daniel,” I said. “Remember me?”

“Yeah, I remember you. From the subway, right?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You alright, man?”

“They’re out to get me… They all want to kill me… But I’ll get them…”

That was some nice, clichéd paranoid ranting.

“Why don’t you go home, man. It’s alright. They’re not worth the bother. Just take it easy and get out before the police come. C’mon man.”

I spoke with a soft voice. It seems to work well with drunks. Always make it seem like you’re on their side, and you can manipulate their feeble minds…

But was he drunk? I realised just then that he might not be drunk at all, and I ran back upstairs. A few moments later – apparently – the police arrived and took Daniel away.

When I went upstairs two people warned me that Daniel had been stalking them, phoning them in the night and telling them that he wasn’t human. He was something very different.

The third appearance of Daniel was the most troubling. It was what scarred me the most and what sticks with me today, as a warning to avoid the weirdoes of the world.

I was climbing a mountain miles from Daegu, all by myself, when I saw him. I was in the middle of nowhere and there he was, too. He was climbing the same path as me, faster and gaining on me. I knew he hadn’t seen me, so I kept walking. I didn’t know what else to do.

Daniel soon caught up with me and turned and saw me. There was no shock; no surprise. “David,” he said, calmly. I said hello.

He had two people with him – an old Korean man and young Korean boy. They both looked alarmingly tranquil. I wondered if he’d drugged them.

“David,” the old man said. “Hello.”

The young boy also said hello, addressing me by my name.

“David from the farm in California,” the old man said. “I know you.”

Daniel laughed as my skin froze. I had not said a word to him about my time in California. All he knew was my first name and a few details about me. He’d tracked me down and converted these drugged out Koreans into some weird following…

“Literature student. Beatdom magazine. From St. Andrews.” The old guy knew everything about me. I felt sick to my stomach. “You went to Denver, San Francisco, LA.”

Daniel kept laughing. “They know you,” he said. “I know you.”

“I was just heading back,” I lied. “I’m too tired to climb.” I wanted to turn and run back down the mountain but I was afraid he might somehow catch me. What if he had a gun? Something about him scared me so much I couldn’t even flee.

“Ok, let’s go,” he said. “We’ll ride back to Daegu together. I know where you live.”

On the way back down I tried not to speak. He’d taken the little I’d told him and presumably cyber-stalked me, so I didn’t want to give him anything else, in case there was something he didn’t yet know.

“You saw me,” Daniel said. “You saw what they did. I just wanted a drink…”

I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.

“I brought the weapon because I wanted to drink. So shit. I just thought it would help me relax.”

“Ok.” I tried to sound sincere. Don’t let him know you think he’s crazy.

“You know what the sad part is? The cops took the sock. It wasn’t even my sock.” He turned and stroked the boy’s face. “It was his sock. They took his sock…” Daniel looked to the skies, tears in his eyes. “I’ll get them all. I’ll get them for what they did to his sock.”

I nodded to show him I didn’t think he was crazy, and then began walking really quickly. I shouted back, “I’ve got to hurry! I’ll see you in Daegu!” and then took off running down the hill. I knew Daniel couldn’t keep up because he was so huge, but I didn’t know what he might do if we ever met again.

Two days later I got an e-mail. It included many accurate facts about me and my life, along with some weird ranting about the injustice of Nu Skool, the bar that was now suing him for damaging their property, and the education system that threatened to remove him from his job, based upon the criminal charges of damage from that night, as well as “things from my past they just discovered.”

He warned me that if I didn’t go to the police immediately and tell them he was an innocent man, he’d “get” me. I made a note to avoid going out in public ever again.

But I’m a crafty bastard, too, and I reverse stalked Daniel. He’d stalked me to get my e-mail address, so I used his to stalk him right back. What I found scared me.

Daniel had a MySpace page and Facebook page, with no friends over the age of about seventeen. He also liked to inform people of his apparent supernatural abilities. Apparently Daniel was an alien with a claim to being the Second Coming of Christ. He called himself a ‘Messiah’.

He also took pictures of his own faeces and posted them for all to see. They were impressively large.

I kept my distance from populated areas until my cyber-stalking informed me of the fact that Daniel had been kicked out of Korea, due to various problems with various employers. Only then did I dare climb a mountain, go out for a drink, or travel on public transport.

About six months ago I was overcome with a strange feeling – the feeling that Daniel had died somewhere.

Daniel and Nu Skool are not real names.

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Comment by Simone
2009-11-11 03:01:52

Holy Crap! I think I’d totally freak out if this happened to me. Daniel sounds like a real creep.

Big ups to you for not going postal on the guy when you found out he was stalking you. I know I probably would’ve. Then again, he did threaten you so I suppose your course of action was probably best.

Great post, David.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 03:05:11

I would’ve, except he was MASSIVE! He scared me too much to do anything in revenge.

Comment by Irene Zion
2009-11-11 03:23:32

This is terrifying! The first encounter was unpleasant, the second was frightening and the last truly horrifying. I hope he is dead. The world is better off.
It’s amazing how you kept your cool under these circumstances.
(I’m shivering!)

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 03:25:24

“Kept you cool…”

Didn’t you read the part where I ran down the mountain??? Man, that guy freaked me out. And yes, the meetings kept getting worse. I don’t look forward to finding out he’s alive and still stalking me in ten years…

Comment by Matt
2009-11-11 07:47:34

Funny how we both write posts about creeps and use “Daniel” as a pseudonym.

Man, this is just spooky. Did you ever think about going to the authorities about this? I mean, dirty foreigner or not, there’ve got to be some laws in Korea to protect you, right?

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:39:02

Haha, I didn’t realise. I kept thinking of pseudonyms and then choosing the names of people I knew, and then realised I might have dumped them in the shit… Daniel is about the only name that doesn’t belong to someone I know.

And no, I didn’t go to the authorities. They don’t want to protect foreigners. There was a rapist in Korea that raped 44 women, and they were mostly foreigners. The police did nothing to protect them, and many of them were turned away from hospitals. No warnings were printed in the papers, and the guy was only arrested when he stole some jewelry from a man.

Comment by sheree
2009-11-11 09:34:27

This man needs medical attention. Somewhere in the world this man has a family who remembers him before his mind turned on him and drove him to post pictures of his own feces on his Facebook page.

Schizophrenia affects one per cent of the world’s population. I hope when he was deported that he was turned over to the authorities and given a proper diagnosis and treatment for his illness.

This is a sad and frightening story. I’m glad you managed to get away from him.

Comment by Mary
2009-11-11 12:06:32

I agree with you, Sheree. It sounds like this man was/is dangerous, but the worst thing about schizophrenia has got to be that it’s so hard to treat. You can’t force a person into treatment, and from what I understand about it, the treatments themselves can be pretty miserable.

Comment by sheree
2009-11-11 14:38:33

I was married to a man who lost his battle against schizophrenia in his youth and is paying for it with the rest of his life behind bars. I feel for the man in this story but I feel even more for the public at large as long as he’s free to roam unchecked country to country he poses a great threat to society.

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Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:41:32

I have no idea what the treatment involves. It can’t be easy, though. I can hardly imagine what is happening inside of the mind of a person who would think he was a Messiah.

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Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:40:20

I hope he got some help, too. He would never get it in Korea -nobody does. They don’t like to admit there are problems here. But yeah, he might have gotten help back in the States. Maybe his ‘death’ was just his recovery…

Comment by Zara Potts
2009-11-11 09:49:05

Oh. My. God.
This is one of the scariest stories I’ve heard.
Such a well told story, David. I was truly scared for you on the mountain.

Comment by Zara Potts
2009-11-11 16:07:15

Hmm. Actually that sounds a little cold hearted. I didn’t mean it to sound quite as harsh as that…

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:42:50

I understand. I’m just glad he’s not in my lief anymore. I hope he didn’t hurt anyone or threaten anyone else. I hope he’s getting the help he needed.

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Comment by Will Entrekin
2009-11-11 10:36:58

Was it the MySpace friends that made you think he was a pedophile? Or did he have a pedophile vibe about him? Because I was so ready for your story to include some sort of human trafficking or something.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; perturbing enough as it stands. Because yaysh. I tell ya, situations like this are why I tend toward being so intensely private about many things. Or at least maintaining the illusion thereof.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:45:00

It wasn’t the MySpace friends, per se. That made him seem a little pathetic, but not paedophillic. It was his vibe. And the references to things in his past. I got the strong impressive - and maybe I didn’t convey it very well - that when he said he came to Korea because of problems in America - that he meant he was kicked out of his old school for molesting children. He didn’t say it explicitly, but it felt like that was what he meant. Also, the thing with the boy on the mountain… Creepy.

Comment by Mary
2009-11-11 11:22:56

Well, now I’ve got a clear case of the heeby-jeebies. Yeeech.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:45:30

Good. Use that to avoid getting caught up in the web of weirdos.

Comment by Simon Smithson
2009-11-11 13:41:14

Youch. Yeah, crazy can be terrifying when it’s right up close and personal. And it has, apparently, tracked you down over the internet.

(Nu Skool is a great name for a made-up bar, however).

I hope the guy gets treated too - and I’m very glad the situation didn’t get any worse than it did for you.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 18:47:07

Well, that’s the problem with the internet, right? You know a person’s name and a few details and you can find out a whole lot more… Just enough to scare them, anyone.

Isn’t that right, Simon, or should I say, Mr. Rupert Sanchez?

Comment by Phat B
2009-11-11 21:00:29

Alright here’s the plan. TNB pays for David S. Wills to fly out to LA. We get him good and drunk, and then just follow him from a distance of about 100 feet. We’ll take him on a tour of all the major drinking hubs. Vegas. Chicago. NYC. Indian Reservations. Kimberly and Stefan can work the cameras so as to document it for posterity. Ready, break.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 21:08:05

I really, really like that idea.

Comment by jmblaine
2009-11-11 21:26:30

Man did this story ring a bell.

I’ve known a lot of Daniels.

Here’s a tidbit: Saw one about a week ago and committed him to the state hospital.
“Get you Satan,” he sneered at me.
“Be good, Daniel,” I said as the sheriffs led him away.

Due to cuts and bed shortages Daniel was kept briefly and released the same day.

This sort of thing happens everyday.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-11 21:37:21

Oh my god… That’s horrible. It’s such a shame that these people don’t get help.

Thanks for sharing.

Comment by tip robin
2009-11-12 18:06:05

Eerie story David. You could really turn this into some decent fiction. What I mean is Daniel sounds like a character worth pursuing as a literary type, that’s all. Yeah, he’s a pedophile with a Christ complex, but the fact that you didn’t know that til after is even spookier, and parallels real life (I would imagine) quite frequently. Of course, I wouldn’t base a novel around him or anything, but this could easily be a taut short story.

Anyway, even if you don’t, good stuff. (As you can see, I like to take real experiences and turn them into third-person stories, as I did with the Atheist one.)

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-12 23:43:43

Thanks, Tip. I’ve written so much about Korea but I keep on finding inspiration. Daniel would make a good character for a short story, but I’m no good at short stories. I don’t read enough of them to get the structure. I can write things under 3,000 words or over 50,000 words. Nothing in between. I’ve written two novels since being in Korea (only one of them was good, and neither have been published… yet) and Daniel didn’t make his way into either. Maybe he’ll make the third…

Comment by James D. Irwin
2009-11-12 23:59:01

I think this is my favourite yet.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-13 00:00:32

Thanks, Jim. It took the longest time to write. I don’t know why. It’s just not easy to get a guy like ‘Daniel’ onto paper in any accurate way. But I think I did a decent job. If people are alarmed, I succeeded.

Comment by James D. Irwin
2009-11-13 00:59:39

The thing is, I think, the fact that being cyber-stalked can happen to pretty much anyone… and that’s what makes it all the more terrifying.

Most of us are just lucky enough not to get cyber-stalked by bear-man pedophiles, if at all…

The guy is kind of tragic, but ”You know what the sad part is? The cops took the sock. It wasn’t even my sock.” is fucking comedy genius…

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Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-13 01:03:42

Yeah, he was real upset about it. I would have laughed, but I was so disgusted at the boy even being with him… And he was so delusional.

Comment by D.R. Haney
2009-11-13 03:52:40

Gripping story, David. I’ve been in similar situations with people that I knew were unbalanced, but not to Daniel’s extent. I knew a guy in New York who I was sure was capable of senseless violence, and I once armed myself with a knife when he turned up unexpectedly at my apartment. I’ve often wondered what became of that guy. I think everyone who met him had the sense that he was a time bomb. Yet there was something kind of sad about him too.

Anyway, I’m sorry for my own sake that it’s taken me as long as I did to read and comment, since, again, it really had me glued to the screen — at a moment when I should be sleeping. And now to do what I should.

Thanks for writing this.

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-13 03:55:15

Thank you. I wonder how many of these people flip and stop being ‘that guy’… Like, do they ever become ‘normal’. If you went looking for him would he have calmed down? I wonder.

Comment by Paul Clayton
2009-11-13 09:05:49

David, that’s really spooky. I’ve had a few run ins with crazy people, but nobody that comes up to Daniel. These people show up infrequently in your life and then you usually read about them in the paper, or see them on the local news. It’s a good thing… Ahhh! Watch out! He’s right behind you!

Comment by David S. Wills
2009-11-13 18:47:03

Oh Jesus, Paul, did he get you? That bastard must have tracked me down to the TNB and started wiping out my readers! Damn you, Daniel, damn you!

Comment by workingportal.com
2015-08-23 09:19:41

Very good article. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

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