"My bed was just a few feet from the door, and there was a window just above my head," Beckstrom shares. "Around 10:30 one night, it was just getting dark, [very] dark outside, and I was just dozing off when I heard footsteps coming up the stone steps."
These steps were distinct, unmistakable. "I was wondering who would be coming this late. Occasionally zone leaders came late or early in the morning, so I was just rolling over getting ready to open the door."
Beckstrom heard the steps reach the top landing as he opened the door. "Nobody was there," he remembers. After looking down the old stone flight of steps leading to the apartment, Beckstrom thought little of it. "I thought it was strange but figured it must have been someone walking around the house."
But just as he was attempting to sleep again, he heard the footsteps a second time. "I immediately opened the door and looked down the staircase. Again, nobody was there. This time I walked down the staircase and started looking around the outside of the house."
After discovering nothing, Elder Beckstrom returned to the apartment where he told his companion about the strange footsteps.
A few days later, the footsteps returned. "I said, 'Do you hear that? Somebody is on the steps again.' Elder Taylor started getting up to see as well. We opened the door and he even walked down the stairs and all around the house." But neither missionary ever found the source of the noise.
The isolation of the house made the footsteps seem even more sinister. Thoughts began entering Elder Beckstrom's head of people creeping around his apartment during the day and late at night to "mess with the missionaries."
Other possibilities seemed even more ominous, though they did cross the missionaries' minds. But the elders kept explaining away theirs fears, making a joke of their apartment's "ghost."
That is, until Elder Taylor woke his companion in the middle of the night with the words. "I think it's got me. I can't move my arms or legs."
A Midnight Scare
"It was a long day," Beckstrom remembers, recalling how twilight was just barely descending as the missionaries knelt for companion prayer around 10 at night.
After saying a quick personal prayer, Elder Beckstrom climbed in bed while his companion said his own prayers.
"I don’t know how much time elapsed, but [when I woke up] it was very dark. And then I remember hearing Elder Taylor say, 'I think it’s got me. I can’t move my arms and legs.'
"I woke up startled. . . . I was disoriented. It was dark. The moon was just starting to come through the window and I saw him on the floor and began wondering what was happening . . .
“I tried to find the light switch, and I couldn’t, even though I knew it was right there at the side of the door.
"So I half walked, half crawled, and I bumped into Elder Taylor on the floor."
When Elder Beckstrom bent down to touch Elder Taylor, he found that his arms were trembling and his skin felt ice cold.
"He said, 'I can’t move my legs. Something’s wrong. I don’t know what it is,'" Beckstrom says.
“I wondered if it was some medical thing. [Then Elder Taylor] said, 'It feels like somebody’s holding my legs so they can’t move.'"
That's when Elder Beckstrom went over to try turning on the lights once again. This time, he found the switch. Elder Taylor's knees were bent, almost as though he were in a crouching position huddled up on the floor. Then he began feeling as though pins and needles were filling his arms and legs as he slowly began straightening and moving them on his own.
"As we got talking, we realized he didn’t remember getting into bed and falling asleep," Beckstrom says. "He just must have fallen asleep while praying, and his legs fell asleep and he fell over. I guess when he hit the floor it woke him up and he realized he couldn’t feel his legs."
After discovering the source of his companion's sudden paralysis, Beckstrom says, "[Elder Taylor] said something like, 'For a second I thought that ghost had come in and got me.' We laughed about it. . . . he was laughing his head off."