Adam Ellis, who says he's been haunted by the ghost of Dear David, said an unsettling image was posted to his Instagram story.


Did ‘Dear David,’ the child ghost, show up in an Instagram Story?

'I know what it looks like. What it probably is.'


Kris Seavers

Internet Culture

Published Jan 17, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 4:23 am CDT

New York-based illustrator Adam Ellis hasn’t posted about “Dear David,” the child ghost he says is haunting his apartment, since David followed him home to Montana for the holidays.

But with the revelation of an unsettling Instagram photo, the haunting saga just took a Black Mirror-like turn.

Ellis tweeted Tuesday to explain to his loyal following that after the latest update—wherein Ellis found small footprints in the snow in Montana and photos of a childish figure in his bedroom back in New York—things had settled down.

“I wasn’t having dreams anymore and I was feeling better,” Ellis wrote. “I was sleeping through the night again.”

Except that sometimes he still got a weird feeling—like that long stretches of time were passing without him realizing, and he thought he was hearing people speak to him when they weren’t. But in general, things were fine.

“Despite all that, I felt ready to put it all behind me,” he said, referring to the chilling ghost encounters that had fatigued him since August, including unexplained moving furniture and snapshots of a boyish figure in the dark.

But when he opened Twitter to share that David seemed to be gone for good, Ellis noticed he had an unusual number of notifications.

“Everyone was tweeting to me about something I’d posted to my Instagram Story the day before, saying they saw something weird,” Ellis wrote. “The stories are expired now but I have screenshots, and I don’t know how to explain it.”

On Sunday, he had gone out to brunch, snapping photos of his food and his friends for his Instagram Story.

“They’re totally boring brunch photos,” Ellis said. “But the next day I had a zillion messages about the third photo I posted. People had taken screenshots and sent them to me.”

He then posted the screenshot. It’s a distorted selfie of Ellis and his friend. The colors are highly saturated, and Ellis’ face, in particular, looks like it’s been overlaid with another image—possibly of another face.

“I have no clue what happened,” Ellis wrote. “It looked perfectly fine on my phone when I uploaded it. I’d say it was just a glitch but I can’t make sense of what’s happening with my face.”

But, he admitted, there’s at least one viable explanation. David.

“I know what it looks like,” Ellis said. “What it probably is.”

Still, Ellis seemed resigned, as if he didn’t want to face the possible reality that the child ghost who had been taunting him in his nightmares and lurking in his apartment had infiltrated his social media, too.

“I don’t know if I care anymore,” Ellis wrote. “I really just want things to be normal again and things feel normal enough right now. I don’t know. I guess I’ll keep you updated if something happens.”

There’s one last detail. Ellis, who up to now was known to work for BuzzFeed, appears to have quit his job. A comic drawn by Ellis posted to Reddit on Wednesday explained the decision.

“I quit my job at BuzzFeed last week,” the comic says, showing a cartoon Ellis leaving the BuzzFeed office and walking the streets of New York City. “It felt so strange to be walking home for the last time. Even though I knew it was time, I second guessed the decision right up until the end. I don’t even really know what I’m gonna do next. Honestly, I’m really nervous. But I have to believe I’m on the right track.”

Adam Ellis, the illustrator behind the 'Dear David' ghost saga, created a comic about leaving his job at BuzzFeed.

Only time will tell if the Dear David saga will follow Ellis into his next chapter of life.

Until then, read the entire ghost story on his Storify.

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*First Published: Jan 17, 2018, 9:53 pm CST