Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Approaches

Kinda lacking inspiration for "Obama Sucks" type posts lately.  Or posts of any sort, to be more honest.  So let's shift gears.  We are out in the middle of nowhere, sitting around a campfire...  The occasional owl hoot or fluttering bat are the only sounds - except for that crunchy, dry leaf sound coming from off in the distance.  But that's just a deer, right?...  We're telling ghost stories...  OK, I'll go first...

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It is 1986.  I'm a skinny junior in high school with a '69 Camaro and an almost-mullet haircut...   My girl and I (well, I thought we were an item - she wasn't quite convinced yet) were bored and just kind of driving around the edges of town...
Actual pic of Granite Hill Cemetery
Granite Hill Cemetery is on a fairly steep hillside, with a network of twisty roads traversing it.  It is little used and falling into neglect...  Grass has given way to tall, ugly weeds...  Hardly any flowers or other tokens of rememberance... Patches of blackberries have colonized big chunks of land...  The trees are droopy and festooned with moss...  At night it seems like it is ALWAYS foggy...  Sometimes our little circle of friends would meet out here after dark and play capture the flag - but always in groups.  I get this crazy idea bouncing off the inside of my brain: "take her up to the top of the cemetery and try to get her scared!"...  So I pull in.  I'm already a little spooked, 'cuz this place is JUST FREAKIN' CREEPY but keeping a pretty good poker face.

"What are you doing?  Turn around!  This is stupid!"

"Heh!  You're scared already!"  (my bravado about half genuine, half feigned)

My Camaro, with its way-too-big camshaft, gurgles and farts as I slowly drive us up to the top.  The little roads all look pretty much alike.  I have to backtrack a few times, because only one fork goes to the top.  We get to the clearing at the top and park.  Shut off the engine...

"I'm scared, let's get out of here already!" as she scoots closer...

"It's working!!" I think to myself...

A little scritchy noise...  I roll down the window a tad...  Unmistakable animal footfalls...

"Let's GO!"

A momma deer and a fawn come out of the brush and walk by, surprisingly close. 

"Ha!  It's just a deer!"

"This isn't funny!"

A cottontail rabbit emerges from the blackberries.  I didn't even know there were any around here.  The whole scene is actually rather peaceful...  The moon is giving enough light through the cloudless sky that we can see pretty well now that our eyes are adjusting...  We sit and watch the critters for a while... 

A flickering light appears in the distance...

"Alright, I'm a fraidy-cat.  You've proved your point.  Can we go now?"

The light gets closer...

She is moving from scared to irate...  And scooting away from me... Dang!...

Sound of a train horn...  "Relax, it's just a train headlight"...

She lets out a sigh of relief and the train passes by us a couple hundred yards away...

The flickering light remains...

"I wonder what's up with that little light?  I'm going to go find out what it is."  (scared but trying to act cool through it)

"You're gonna WHAT?"

Start the car...  Drive towards the light..

"You're pissing me off!  I want to go home, NOW!"

Wrong little road, try again...  Finally...

A little kid's grave...  That little white wire fence stuff that people put around their flowerbeds marks the shape of a small gravesite...  Transformer toys and such sit silently within the wire boundaries of their eternal playpen...  A pinwheel is staked in the ground near the headstone...  Moonlight intermittently reflects off the spinning blades of the pinwheel...  "That's what we were seeing!"

"But there is NO wind!  Why is it spinning!?!" She asks, while I stifle my growing fears... "You're right.  This is weird.  I can't read the headstone, so I'm gonna move the car and aim the headlights at it."

"Why don't you just aim the headlights at the exit and get us the hell out of here!"

Now illuminated, I can see the etchings in the stone marker...  The pinwheel continues to spin in the oh-so-still evening air...

I read aloud the kid's name...  Tension builds... Then I read aloud his date of birth...  I'm genuinely scared now...  I read the date of his passing...  "...1987"

"But we're still in 1986!!!" she exclaims.  When I realize she's right, I abandon my fake machismo and we run to the car.  Tires burning, I drift around corners and speed away like life depended on it...  Maybe it did...

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OK.  That was a true story.  Clearly there was a typo on the marker but that possibility didn't even enter our fear-addled brains.  Now it's your turn.  Tell us the creepiest thing you've experienced and drop a link in the comments...  If you dare...

9 comments:

  1. That was a good one Innominatus. I'm afraid that I could not top it.

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  2. Can't top that Inn. Though I did once see a ghost at a Grateful Dead concert. (I made have been chemically enhanced at the time.)

    Go Yankees!

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  3. I was on manuevers out at old Ft. Ord here in California. It was probably 1983 or thereabouts. I had the duty so I was patrolling the perimeter of our bivouc at o dark thirty, quite alone except for the sleepers. I suddenly had the feeling that someone was near, watching me. I turned a quick circle and saw no one but the feeling persisted. I was a little freaked and trying really hard to see in the stygian darkness. As I searched I caught a hint of movement and solidity out of the corner of my left eye. I turned to look but whatever it was vanished. Then, as suddenly as it had come, the feeling left. I didn't see or feel anything the rest of my watch.
    It wasn't an officer or one of the guys pulling a prank or someone would have talked or teased me about it. I still have no explaination.
    Not the most frightened I've ever been (I've had people point guns at me after all) but definitely the most freaked out. I was on Hyper Alert for the rest of the problem.
    Dude, the WV was evolv. I swear.

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  4. Honestly Inno I have too many to recount and not one was scary except one and it was scary for a different reason really.

    I was working the 2nd shift about 20 years ago and driving home about 1:30am. This was very routine, little if any other traffic. Since I had just clocked-out at work I was totally sober.

    I had caught the green light at a intersection right at the border of the city I lived and once I reached past the street I saw a girl right in my path! Mind you I was traveling at 40 mph and I slammed on the brakes while cutting the wheel all the while knowing in my mind I had just killed someone.

    When my car came to a distorted halt, I leaped from it in some strange belief I could help this poor girl, I damn near went into shock.

    I looked as though to confirm my worst fear and there was nothing, nothing at all. I checked my entire car as I was sure I had inadvertently hit someone, but nothing.

    By this time the police saw me and my car in the middle of the road and stopped. I told them exactly what I stated here, they looked and also gave me a sobriety test and both were negative.

    To this day I can describe her; Long flowing blonde hair, a long white gown, slim figure and a sad look upon her face.

    I still live in the same area and cross that intersection quite often and yes, I still look for her and wonder how many other people have "hit" her???????

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  5. OK here's mine ... Obama is President for two more years.

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  6. Matt, Infidel - no need to "top" anything. It isn't a contest and there is no prize. And go current and former MLB teams from NY!

    Six - Creepy. I don't think I'd be able to let go of that "being watched" feeling so easily.

    Christopher - Dude. That's like "straight out of a Steven King movie" kind of scary.

    Odie - Maybe I wasn't clear: This was supposed to be about stuff that scared us to the edge of death. Not stuff that pushed us over the edge of death and laughed at us as we fell!

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  7. I was 18, and a Freshman at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA (1977). I had made a buddy who was a good bit older than me (about 10 years older). He was out of the Army, and attending college on the G.I. bill.

    He asked me one afternoon if I wanted to go with him down to the old place he grew up in, in Atlanta, LA (just a tiny hamlet). I was down for it. We got there late in the afternoon, and the house had fallen to pieces. Literally, no doors or windows, huge chunks of old tin roof missing, etc.

    He had not been back in years and years, and his folks had both passed away. We walked into the house, and I could see many emotions in his face. He found old picture albums, and little toys he remembered as a child. And, an old rusted out pickup sat in the yard, and he managed to open the door and sit in it for a long time.

    (I found out later that it had been quite a troubling childhood).

    As darkness fell, there was no light (it was in the country), and he knew we had to move on along, even though I could tell he would have stayed for days, looking for another treasure to sift through, or another memory to work out.

    But, as we headed up the lane to the highway, I saw it...something almost like Christopher described. Not 20 feet from the driveway (if you could call it that), standing next to the old barbed wire fence was a young woman in a white robe, almost illuminated from within, just staring at my car (Did I mention that we had taken my car)?

    I thought I was seeing things (and frankly freaked out), and just drove on past, hit the highway, and headed back to Ruston. We drove for many miles, and finally, I couldn't stand it, and asked my Pal, "Mike, did you see that woman standing at the end of the lane when we pulled out?"

    He said, "Yeah, I saw her. And, I got a good idea who she was." I was just about to open my mouth to ask when something caught me, so I didn't.

    It had been quite an emotional day for my friend, and he had sat stonefaced and quiet on the ride back...I knew he had a lot on his mind.

    Later, his fiance' told me in San Antonio, TX (actually on their wedding day) that she had never met any of Mike's family, and that he didn't talk about them much at all. Except for his older Sister, who had passed away at home in her teens due to some kind of terrible accident.

    I got goose bumps, but kept my mouth shut...I mean, it was their wedding day, and I thought, no need to stir anything up. But, I'm pretty sure (if there is such a thing as sticking around after we croak...and this episode made me rethink some of my previous beliefs), that it probably was his Sister.

    Okay, so it's not a spooky story, but it certainly has haunted me these 33 years.

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  8. Oh, BTW, Inno...that was a good story you told. I would have tinkled my pants.

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  9. Great scary stories all! Mine is not "ghosty" or anything. But the hair all over my body was tighter than a G string...on a banjo.

    I came out our front door having heard some big dogs barking and such, and was getting ready to head off to work. I saw a big Weimeraner at the end of the sidewalk looking at me. I was in the process of shoo-ing her away when the Rottweiler just on the other side of the hedge "woof-ed" at me. THAT's when my hair clenched, along with other parts. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of things that didn't unclench for several hours.

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Family-friendly phrasing heartily encouraged.

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