Originating in April 2008, this blog has a number of topics to read. However, focus of stories are now on the supernatural, the paranormal and the macabre.....enter at your own risk....

11/05/2016

An Ominous Presence





Today we are pleased to present Denise Green as a guest poster on the topic of the Supernatural/Paranormal.  Denise is a Homemaking Engineer (homemaker) in Jasper, Alabama.  Denise was born and lived the first 23 years of her life in Iuka, Mississippi. She is the proud mother of three girls, all graduates of Mississippi State University and one boy, a graduate of Georgia Tech.  Her husband, Paul, is a retired Human Resources Director at a Water Works agency in Alabama.  Denise's hobbies consist of genealogy, cooking, reading and American History. Both Denise and Paul are still suffering from "empty nest syndrome" and have two beagles, Frick and Frack, to take up some of the loneliness.

If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. 

Editor's Note - This story is quite long.  It is quite a bit longer than the usual story on this topic.  So, when you read it, make sure you have a little time on your hands. Thanks!

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Before I start this story, I must tell you the main character in this story is my grandmother Charlotte.  She is telling the story through her own experiences. I have formed it all in one big story. It is she that gets credit for this story, not me.  Grandma was a teenager back in the 1930s, which is when this story takes place.  So, please bear that in mind as you read this story.  It is a story that has passed down through our entire family.  It takes place in Tishomingo County, Mississippi.  It is written in first person narrative.  I take the vast majority of the story straight from the diary of my beloved grandmother. I will provide comments with inserts [ ].

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We lived near what is now Tishomingo State Park in the northern part of Mississippi.  When the news broke that ground was going to be broken for a state park, people reacted with mixed feelings about the whole thing.  In 1932, people were more concerned about the Great Depression, getting food on the table and having work were priorities.  Now, the state government thought it was a great idea to spend sparse state funds on a new state park.  It made no sense to most folks, including my dad, who was beside himself with anger over this project.  When my father found out he would be getting a job in construction, his anger turned to happiness almost overnight.  But, he still had misgivings about it.  There had been rumors of burial grounds from the Chickasaw Indians [This is NOT another Indian burial grounds type story] who were forced off this land by the U.S. government to what is now, Oklahoma.  In fact, some human bones were uncovered by the heavy machines  of the day.  They were transferred to Memphis and nothing else was said about them.

Within the first week, strange things started happening.  A tree that seemed completely stable, fell on a bulldozer, killing the driver almost instantly.  Another man was crushed by a crane moving dirt up a slope and so on.  In all, in the first 90 days, 5 men were killed and 12 were injured, 4 of whom, were seriously injured.  As bad as these accidents were, that wasn't the thing that bothered most.  Construction work of any type was dangerous in the 1930s.  But, what bothered dad and so many others was the "feeling" of being watched.  It was something my father was reluctant to talk about and would always change the subject.  Despite the scarcity of work during this time, men started quitting on the job.  Some said they felt uneasy or spooked about working there.  Joshua Abbott, my father's best friend, said he felt like he was having the life sucked out of him when he worked on the site of the new state park.  Mr. Abbott said one time, he went to relieve himself in some nearby bushes.  Someone pushed him as he finished his business.  Turning around, thinking it was a co-worker, Mr. Abbott said there was only a bit of morning fog near him.  Men would get to the point they would not relieve themselves by going alone.  They would go in at least duos or threesomes to go urinate.

Strange things continued to happen in and around the site.  Two brothers, who were said to be very close to one another, got into a fight after work at a nearby speakeasy [For those not familiar, a speakeasy was an illegal bar selling alcoholic beverages].  The older brother was killed when his younger brother knocked him down.  He suffered a fractured skull.  The fight was over who would sit where in the bar.   Men who were normally mild-mannered would go home, fight with their wives and inexplicably leave in the middle of the night, never to return.  As one might imagine, turnover was rapid at the work site of the new state park.  Suicides were a problem also.  In the first six months, 8 men committed suicide, 2 doing the deed on the job at the site. Many townspeople were starting to talk that maybe all the construction going on was upsetting some long dead spirits that were exacting revenge for doing so.

I lived with my parents about 3 miles outside of the construction site for the new state park.  We lived on a dirt road called Mashburn Road.  It was named after old man Jonathan Mashburn who many thought was strange and mysterious in his own right.  There were about 8 families that lived on Mashburn Road.  We had all known each other for years and years.  There was some kin who lived in this part of Tishomingo County.  But, for the most part, we were all friends and neighbors who looked out for one another.  Strange things that had been taking place at the new park were starting to take place at different areas adjacent to the park, including Mashburn Road where I lived.  One night, I had just finished my bath and was getting my self ready for a date with Dewayne Miller.  I heard a sound just outside my bedroom window.  It was sort of like a low-pitched squeal.  We did have pigs and thought maybe one had gotten out of the pen.  But, there was nothing there.  There was instead a "presence" of something there.  It was a sense of something foreboding and sinister.  I became very scared and closed the window.  Now, as I was gathering my wits, I felt something was in the bedroom with me.  The very light from the bare bulb in the bedroom seemed to retreat to within a foot of itself.  I tried to scream, but my voice was dry and hoarse.  I felt myself going faint, and the room seemed to start spinning.

I reached out to the chester drawers, only to knock over my water glass and fall to the floor.  The sound got a reaction from my mother who was putting dinner on the table. "Charlotte, Charlotte dear?  Are you okay?" she asked.  I could not speak.  This brought my mother quickly into my room.  I had momentarily blacked out and my breathing was faint.  My father was alerted and he went to fetch Doc Smithers to our home.  Doc Smithers said I appeared anemic and needed to be eating better.  My mother took immediate exception to this statement.  Mother made it clear I ate 3 meals a day and she always ensured I did eat.  Doc Smithers then asked that my parents leave the room.  After they left, he asked me if I had been having sexual relations with any of the boys on Mashburn Road.  I was horrified.  I was still a virgin and had not let any boy so much as move their hand above or below my wrist.  I assured Doc Smithers this was not the case.  I was upset with him for asking.  He made it clear, as a physician, he had to ask me.  He was fearful I might be pregnant.  That was not possible.

There continued to be unusual events happening on Mashburn Road.  The Ladner family lost their eldest son, Jack, to unknown circumstances.  The county coroner could not determine a reason for death.   He was a healthy, robust 19-year-old young man who worked maintaining trestles for the railroad in Tishomingo County.  He was found face down in his bed.  Doc Smithers noticed that the skin around Jack's nose was very pale and blood was leaking from his nose and mouth.  He said those are symptoms of someone who was smothered to death.  The coroner said there was no way to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.  There were more deaths, such as in the Watkins family (only daughter dying mysterious and without obvious signs), the Bowens family (Mrs. Bowens seemed to die under same circumstances as Jack, along with her youngest daughter, Madeline), the McNeil family (lost their only 2 children to same fate as Jack Ladner).  In fact, all 8 families on Mashburn Road had suffered some kind of family tragedy except us.  When they all learned I had suffered a near fatal event, people started wanting answers.   So, many on Mashburn Road began to suspect there was some sort of evil spirit that had descended upon our area.  Mashburn Road was not the only people near the state park construction site to experience tragedy.  Families as far away as 10 miles began to suffer a similar death. Tishomingo County Sheriff Tom Haskell started an investigation, thinking it was some kind of chemicals or some other agent used at the construction site.  Construction was halted when the park was about 50% complete.  State investigators, federal agents and  scientists gathered to get samples of the soil, air samples and so forth.

Everyone who suffered the loss of a loved one said all these officials were wasting time and effort.  Everyone who suffered a loss told Sheriff Haskell the same thing;  preceding a family death(s), there was an ominous, foreboding presence either in the home or near it.  Sheriff Haskell dismissed this as hysteria of losing a loved one.  Everyone, including my mother, made it clear this simply was not the case.  Everyone, including those other families inside the 10-mile radius, all repeated the same story of an ominous presence in the house.  Some reported a grayish darkness in the room. I made it known I experienced the same thing.  Still, Sheriff Haskell did not listen to us.  He said he can only investigate physical parts of this world, not the non-physical part. We understood that.  But, he was not taking us seriously about our story of the ominous presence.  It was with a great sense of satisfaction Sheriff Haskell was voted out of office 5 months later.

Work had ground to a stop.  There was a clearing of trees still going on and the state even stopped that.  But, the same ominous presence continued to wreak havoc in north Mississippi.  Deaths continued to occur for no obvious reason.  The only real constant was that all families, which had lost a loved one, was never revisited by this monstrous entity that we now called the "Ominous Presence."   As I said, our family was the only family that had not suffered the loss of a loved one on Mashburn Road. I came close to losing my life.  But, for the assistance of the Lord, I would have suffered the fate of many others.  My mother felt the Ominous Presence would revisit us because it failed in its attempt with me.  Mother took steps to ensure it did not come back for a second attempt.  In each windowsill of our house, mother placed a crucifix.  There was only the bathroom window that she could not place a crucifix due to a lack of a windowsill.  She instead placed the crucifix on the inside bathroom door.  My father thought the entire thing was nonsense.  He was not getting paid due to the work stoppage.  People who had been struggling before construction began, were in even worse condition due to the construction site being shut down.  Priests, ministers, pastors of every religious faith were leading people in prayer at church, at tent revivals and at the state park construction site itself.  Despite all this, nothing seemed to be working.  People still suffered unknown tragedies.

As this horror continued to play itself out, life went on as much as possible.  Construction on the state park started up, albeit, on a very limited basis.  We were now 10 months into this ongoing struggle against the Ominous Presence.   The deaths had slowed to a trickle.  In the past 2 months, there had been "only" 4 deaths, one, of which, was a suicide.  But, reports of this foreboding presence were continuing.  One Friday night, I was preparing for my bath.  I was testing the water for the lukewarm temperature I favored.  As I sat by the tub, I felt a familiar presence in the bathroom.  I began to feel a heavy presence, a chill in the air and the air being sucked out of my body as before.  I remember thinking, how could this be happening again?  Then I remembered the crucifix not being on the window due to no windowsill.  It was a mistake that my mother did not anticipate.  I turned to the bathroom door to discover the crucifix was now upside down.  I felt a touch upon my throat.  It was tightening and choking off my breath.  I felt myself gurgling, saliva was flowing from my mouth and I was feeling myself losing consciousness ever so slowly.   I tried to scream and nothing came out of my mouth.  I remember asking God for help, for assistance from this evil, this murderous presence out to correct its mistake with me.  The last thing I remember was the bathroom door opening and hearing, "IN JESUS NAME..."  I then blacked out.

Later on, as I recovered on the couch with Doc Smithers checking my pulse, my mother stood over me.  It was my mother who came through the door to rebuke the evil spirit, the ominous presence that had come to right a wrong by choking the life out of me.  After Doc Smithers left, mother said she felt something wrong in the house.  Suddenly, she stated she felt this overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom to check on me.  She saw a dark, grayish cloud in the shape of a goat's head surrounding me.  Mother said this evil entity saw her and started to move toward her (which is what mother wanted), she shouted at the top of her lungs, "IN JESUS NAME, I REBUKE YOU AND COMMAND YOU, IN JESUS NAME, TO LEAVE OUR HOUSE, OUR NEIGHBORS OUR LIVES AND CAST YOURSELF BACK INTO THE DEPTHS OF HELL WHERE YOU BELONG."  Mother said the entity, the ominous presence, then let out a scream, a roar if you will, and disappeared out the window.  Mother then picked me up and dragged me out of the bathroom.  I remember none of this.  I was out for a period of about 5 minutes when mother brought me into the world once again with a cold, wet rag.

I would like to tell you that this was the final time the Ominous Presence made any attempts on the lives of people in north Mississippi.  But, it was not.  For another two weeks, people reported numerous attempts on the lives of people in the 10-mile radius of the new state park being constructed.  But, while they were many more attempts [It was as if the entity was trying to prove something], there were no further lives taken by this entity.  It appears the entity had been weakened by possibly failing to take my life a second time and by mother rebuking it.  After nearly a year, the horror that had enveloped Tishomingo County and taken so many lives, faded into nothingness, obscurity and history.  Tishomingo State Park was eventually completed years later and life then went on as the stranglehold of the Great Depression began to weaken its evil grip on north Mississippi and the nation.  No one in my family or other townsfolk liked to discuss the Ominous Presence and the days, weeks and months that saw no comparison to this evil entity.  I eventually married and had children of my own.  To each of them, I dedicate this story so that they may know of it.  I want them to also know that despite the horrors of this time, there were brave people who stood firm in their faith and conviction against this horror, this Ominous Presence.

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[Despite researching on various government sites about this story in 1932, there was the only mention of a flu outbreak,  tuberculosis victims and suicide causing a total of about 35 unexplained deaths during the year.  I personally believe it was double that number due to my grandmother's diary and research I have done.  Newspapers mentioned the evil grip of disease and Great Depression hopelessness as the cause of so many deaths.  But, there was no mention of the Ominous Presence my grandmother spoke of so eloquently.  My grandmother went to her grave stating this story is entirely true.  But, even in today's Tishomingo County, you will find few of the elders who want to discuss the story you have just read.  I believe with all my heart the story is true, although there are few, if any, people still alive today who remember this story as told through the eyes of my Grandmother Charlotte.  There has never been any other mention of another evil grip on this area since the 1932 horror that took place.  But, as you visit this state park, at least in my mind, you get the feeling there is something lying dormant here as if it is waiting for the proper time to make its presence known once again.]  


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9/10/2016

Legend of Slaughter Hill







Today we are pleased to present Dennis Tarsut as our guest poster on the topic of the Paranormal/Supernatural.  Dennis is the senior account executive at a major medical supply company in Dallas, Texas.  He graduated from the University of Arkansas -  Little Rock in 1989.  A 50-year-old father of two daughters, ages 24 and 21, he will become a grandfather for the first time in December of this year.  An accomplished golfer, Dennis travels all over the country to play at the various golf courses, including the Augusta National Golf Club (The Masters).  Dennis and his wife participate in rescues of dogs and cats at local animal shelters in Dallas in their free time.

If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. 
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The election of Andrew Jackson in 1828, brought forth long-held desires for the lands of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole Indians came to a head with the federal Indian Removal Act of 1830. This act allowed the forcible removal of the five tribes to new lands in the Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma). All five tribes passed through Arkansas, and many of the territory's most prominent figures made substantial fortunes from removal. It was one of the most sickening and shameful episodes in U.S. history as the U.S. federal government literally made old men, women and children go on a forced march from their sacred lands.  The Native Americans had lived on this land for centuries.  When given no choice, tribal leaders saw that the very survival of their tribes was in mortal danger of becoming extinct.  Many of these Native Americans died on the long, arduous journey.  Living in North Little Rock, I was able to venture to one of the routes taken by these people.  There is a simple monument to commemorate this rape and humiliation of these Native Americans. Now, the Choctaw tribe was the first to agree to the removal treaty.  It is that tribe for which this story is about.  It may seem farfetched to believe.  But, I have seen it with my own two eyes.

After signing the removal treaty, the Choctaw tribe began their journey to land which would be "their land into perpetuity" as they were told.   The journey began in what is now called West Memphis.  After arriving in North Little Rock, as the legend goes, several elders thought they should spend the night to rest.  It had been harder on the Choctaw tribe than originally thought.  Federal troops had their orders.  They had to have this tribe on "their land" at a certain date or they would have some explaining to do.  The legend continues that 14 Choctaw decided they had had enough.  So, an escape was planned that night.  Eight women, five men, and one child were going to make a run to a destination of where no one really knows.  But, they had all they wanted of the forced march.  They made their escape under a moonlit night. But, they soon found themselves surrounded on a small hill.  The circumstances are not clear of what exactly happened.  But, a shot was fired and then the troops fired on all 14, killing all 14 Native Americans.  As it turned out, all 14 were unarmed except for one woman who had a skinning knife.  Not long afterward, sightings of apparitions around the hill were reported by locals.  It became known as "Slaughter Hill."

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When I was a small boy, I lived about 5 miles from the purported "Slaughter Hill."   There had been sightings and sounds coming from this area for over a century.   But, I had never seen anything unusual for the entire 14 years of my life while living in this area.  I had spent several nights camped near (no one is willing to actually camp on the hill itself) Slaughter Hill.  Again, I had never heard or saw anything out of the norm camping near the hill.  Two weeks after my 14th birthday, in June of 1980, we again decided to camp out near Slaughter Hill.  It was myself, two of my best friends, Doug and Matt, and my little brother, Gerald, age 11.  Gerald didn't really want to go.  But, my dad insisted he get out of the house and camp out with his big brother.  To be honest, I didn't want Gerald to go either.  But, I accepted my fate with him tagging along.

We got to the site about 6PM that June night.  It was hot, muggy and the mosquitoes were about to carry us off unless we started up the camp fire real quick.  We had two tents with mosquito netting.  That helped out a lot.  We had ice, soft drinks, slim jims, chips and P&J sandwiches which we wolfed down in record time.  We were camped about 20-25 feet from the actual Slaughter Hill.  That was closer than we normally would camp.  I was about to bring that to the attention of the guys when we heard a noise come from the direction of the hill.  This was around 8PM as I recall.  Matt said it sounded like a moan.  He thought it came from us.  But, I knew it had not.  It came from the direction of the hill.  We all were discussing this when we heard a subtle, but clear audible "cough." This time, we all knew it did not come from our group of four.  It came from the hill itself.

We all four stood up to look at the hill this time.  There was certainly some activity around the very top of the hill itself.  Fog had started to move in this area.  The fog was not dense.  But, it was enough to send the shivers up your spine.  Suddenly, and without any warning, we heard a woman SCREAM!!!  We looked around in astonishment!  We could see nothing except a small swirling of the fog at the top of Slaughter Hill.   Then we heard voices.  We only knew what was being said was not English.  Matt, who has always said he was part Seminole, said it was a Native American dialect, possibly Cherokee or Choctaw.  But, he did not fully understand the words.  We then saw what has stuck with me for the past thirty-six years.  We saw blurry, human forms that began to take shape at the top of the hill where the fog had been swirling just a few moments ago.  Gerald started crying and said he wanted to go home.  But, myself, Matt and Doug were simply too awestruck to even move.  The forms slowly took shape in the form of people, five Native American men, eight Native American women, and one Native American child, approximately 8 years old.  They had solidified, they were moving as a group closer together.  I could see the fear on their faces.  They were not three-dimensional.  The closest I could describe them was what you see from an old photo negative.  You know how people's skin is dark, their hair is white, their eyes are white-grayish?  That is how they looked, like a super large photo negative.  They were all fearful of something and two women pointed out in a direction of something that brought terror to her and the other members of the party.  Screams, shouts, arms were flailing at whatever terror they saw.  Then as the voices reached a crescendo, the expected sound of gunfire broke out.  The first to drop down was what appeared to be an old Native American woman.  Then one after another, with screams and shouts of anger, all fell down.  Just as it had suddenly begun, it ended with crickets (which had gone strangely quiet) chirping, and the ever-present mosquitoes biting us again.  The scene before us had slowly disappeared.  I couldn't help but think how many times had this scene taken place over the years with no one present.  I'll never know, of course.

We all just stood there and looked at what we had just witnessed.  I don't know how long we looked at the top of Slaughter Hill.  Perhaps as much as five minutes before someone spoke.  It was Doug wanting to gather up our tents and equipment and walk the five miles home. Our parents would have been upset had we left and walked home.  So, after some convincing, we all stayed put for the night.  No further incidents took place.  But, to say we slept afterward would be incorrect.  None of us could sleep.  I stayed up, looking at the horrible scene we had witnessed.  I thought I heard more groans and gasps that night.  But, I did not mention it to any of the guys.  What we had witnessed was something that had happened almost two centuries prior.  Innocent people were slaughtered for no reason other than that they wanted to return to their sacred lands.  I was filled with anguish for the rest of the night.

It was some time before I told my parents about what we saw that night.  My mother said we must have been dreaming.  I regretted telling them, especially since we were told we could not go back if we were going to scare them with such horrific tales of ghostly figures.  We did go back the next summer and for summers after that.  But, outside of a few groans, moans and audible coughs, we saw nothing else at Slaughter Hill.  As I enter mid-life, I think back on that night.  I think about a people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone to live their lives in peace and tranquility.  The treatment of the Native Americans is a sin that our government has yet to fully come to terms with as of this date.  They are still relegated to living on reservations, alcoholism is a problem among them all there and the mistreatment of the only true Americans continues to this day.

People still say the Legend of Slaughter Hill is just that, a legend.  But, it's not a legend to me, Gerald, Doug or Matt.  To us, it is all too real and will remain so, at least with this writer, until the day he dies.

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4/22/2016

Creature of Bell Cup Road










Today we are pleased to present Henry Wakefield as our guest poster on the topic of the Paranormal/Supernatural.  Henry is a 41-year-old graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  Henry works as a computer engineer at a Fortune 500 company. Henry is the father of a fantastic 8-year-old boy who is going to be a major league baseball prospect someday.  Living in Houston presently, Henry enjoys golf, baseball, football and working for Habitat for Humanity on weekends.

If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. 

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I grew up in the Hill Country of Texas, specifically Bandera County.  This area of Texas is known for it's tall hills, and thin layers of soil atop limestone and granite.  It is typically a very dry area and prone to flash flooding.  I experienced the horror of flash flooding several times while in Bandera County.  My family lost all their belongings twice.  It was a tough area to live. But, we would not have lived anywhere else in the world.


There are superstitions about this area of the great state of Texas.  There were all kinds of old tales of strange goings on and the like. But, the one tale that I discovered to be true was the Creature of Bell Cup Road.  Now, this creature was not something that people liked to talk about.  People thought if you even talked about something supernatural, you were a candidate for the state mental facility.  I experienced first-hand that the Creature of Bell Cup Road was not a superstition.  It was real and it was a threat to the people who lived in this area.  Few people ever saw this Creature.  Those that did claim to see it, said it was pale, thin and fragile looking.  My experience taught me that was all true.  But, it exhibited great strength by the mere fact that several cattle had been torn in half, not cut, but torn in half.  The strength it took to do that boggles the mind.  So, now, I must begin my story and my encounter with the Creature of Bell Cup Road...

I lived near a subdivision that was never completed for reasons that are still not clear to most.  I felt I knew why it was never completed. We'll get to that later.  The subdivision was for middle-class families near a densely wooded area.  Initially, the first five homes built were bought very quickly.  Several more homes were being built in the anticipation they would be bought just as quickly as the first five.  That would never happen.  The families that bought those first five homes either abandoned them to the bank or never moved into their new homes.  The construction companies abandoned the completion of this new subdivision as well.  The name of the subdivision was Bell Cup Estates.  The main road was Bell Cup Road that dead-ended at the partially completed homes.  At the end of  Bell Cup Road sat an abandoned 1975 Ford truck on blocks.  Whoever financed this investment must have lost a ton of money.  No one ever came here...except, of course, teenagers who were looking for something to do. I was one of those teenagers back in July of 1988.

I was 13 years old back in 1988.  I was just at that point where I was confused by all the changes in my body and my sudden interest in girls.  Two other confused teenagers were Carl, who was also 13 and Jerry who was the old man of the trio at age 14.  For the most part, we stayed out of trouble.  We had one bad habit...we couldn't stay away from the abandoned homes at Bell Cup Estates.  I mean we had explored as much of the high hill country as we could or were confident to explore.  There were certain places even we didn't want to explore. In fact, my mother warned me to stay away from a certain area even hunters refused to go hunting.  That got my attention.  Hunting in Texas is almost a religion.  If hunters shied away from an area, it had to be for a good reason.  Of course, that area was adjacent to Bell Cup Road. Many a time we would go to Bell Cup Road to just hang out at the old abandoned Ford truck.  It was during one of these "hanging out" times that we all witnessed something that even to this day sends shivers down my spine.

It was toward the latter part of July when on a particularly hot afternoon, the inevitable desire to go to Bell Cup Estates came up between the three of us.  The homes themselves were a shambles.  All the windows had been knocked out, all copper tubing, A/C units had long since been hauled away by vandals.  It was shameful the way those homes had been treated as I remember now.  I never partook in the looting of these homes.  I can't say that for Carl.  Carl came from a very poor family not far from where I lived.  There were times Carl came to our house and said he had not eaten since breakfast of the previous day.  Mom always felt sympathy for Carl and would feed him. So, I looked over Carl's stealing as much as I could.  Anyway, we all decided to make haste to our favorite hangout.  It was about a 30-minute bike ride from my house, where we would all meet up each day.  Immediately, we jumped up in the old Ford pickup on blocks.  It was getting kinda shaky with the continual jumping up and down on it.  I warned Carl and Jerry about that.  But, it was as if they were tone deaf to my warnings now.  I looked at my watch and noticed it was just after 5PM.  We had about 2 more hours of daylight left before I had to head home.  My parents were easy on me about going wherever I wanted.  But, the one standing rule is home by dark if not sooner.  I always obeyed that one rule. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and I did it once.

We had been at Bell Cup Road about an hour before the "huffing" sound from the densely forested area adjacent to Bell Cup Road got started.  We all three looked at each other as if to say in unison, "What the hell was that?"   Have you ever heard an African male lion huffing at the zoo or on TV?  It was like that.  There was no roar or anything similar to that.  Just the constant huffing.  This went on for about 2 or 3 minutes.  During the huffing, none of us said a word.  It just vibrated your bones, it was so deep and powerful.  It was LOUD also. After it stopped, Jerry said maybe we should all head home.  But, Carl and I wanted to see what it was.  So, like a couple of idiots, we headed toward the dense vegetation about 50 yards from the Ford truck.  We couldn't go far because we didn't have anything to cut at the vegetation.  The stems on some of the vegetation were as tough and thick as a rope.  We turned to go back to see an anxious Jerry waiting for us in the bed of the truck.  It was now getting dark.  I looked at my watch again.  It was now 7:10PM.  I knew I should have gone home.  I wish I had now.  But, like Carl, my curiosity had gotten the best of me.  So, we sat in the truck and waited.

About 7:30PM, it was really starting to get dark.  I knew that meant trouble for me when I got home.  I was given a lot of freedom at my home.  My parents didn't want me to feel fenced in at home.  But, their one standing rule of being home before dark is something they did not give me leeway on ever.   As we stared at the dark, foreboding vegetation before us, Jerry said, "Why don't we all just go home now?  Whatever the hell it was..." and then we heard the first SCREAM.  It was very similar to the scream of a woman who had been hurt if that makes any sense to you.  "EEEEEEHHHHHHHH!!!!!," this creature screamed!  We could not see it.  But, it was extremely close by.  Suddenly, the old Ford truck moved and lifted up about four feet off the cement blocks it had been resting seemingly forever.  We all jumped off the truck to see a sight that will live with me forever.  Under the truck was the Creature that we had always heard was a superstition.  It was definitely the Creature of Bell Cup Road that was now staring at us and screaming...EEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!   Now, everybody, I've told this story to always ask me the same question...WHY didn't you guys run?!?!  The only thing I can tell you is that we were in shock.  We just stood there as if we were mannequins in a clothing store.  Carl was directly behind the truck as the thin, fragile and apparently pale, stick-legged creature (it was about 6'5-6'7) lifted the truck up over its head!  I finally came to my senses and yelled at Carl to get away from the damn truck!  The Creature again screamed....

"EEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHH" screamed the enraged Creature that was now no longer superstition.  It was now threatening us with its incredible strength.  That truck still had its engine inside, although there were parts missing (starter, carburetor, etc).  So, it still weighed about 4,000lbs, give or take.  This creature lifted the truck up over its head...and held it.  As I said, I screamed at Carl to get away from the truck and now I was joined by Jerry who also was screaming at him.  I ran to grab Carl....and I started toward him about 3 seconds too late.  The Creature dropped the truck, tailgate first toward Carl.  The truck twisted, turned as the Creature tossed it in Carl's direction.  I then heard more screaming.  Only it was coming from me this time.  The Creature of Bell Cup Road gave one more scream and ran with quickness and speed that would have put a Cheetah to shame.  I never saw it again.  I never wanted to see it again.  The tailgate end of the truck had landed on Carl, just above his knees.  The screams that Carl gave rivaled those of the Creature of Bell Cup Road.  We could not pull Carl from under the truck.  Carl finally and mercifully passed out.  We again tried to lift the truck.  But, we could not budge the truck.  Jerry took off running toward his bike.  I could only guess he was going for help.  I stayed behind and held Carl in my arms, praying he would not wake up.

Help did arrive for Carl.  Carl lost his legs as we all feared he would.  His prosthetic legs were a constant reminder to me of what transpired, that day.  Police did not believe our story of the Creature.  They theorized that we were playing on the truck and it flipped over.  Of course, no one could explain how a truck sitting on blocks flipped over backward and twisted toward Carl.  It HAD to have been pushed in that direction.

Of course, only the three of us knew what happened.  We all were questioned separately and gave exact stories.  Carl didn't give his story for two weeks after he lost his legs.  Jerry and I were cleared of any wrongdoing after Carl gave his account.  Jerry is now an assistant football coach at a major university in Texas.  Jerry drifted apart from Carl and me over the years.  We very rarely discussed that tragic night at Bell Cup Road.  It's just something we wanted to blot out of our lives.  Carl did odd jobs at various businesses in the city.  His problem wasn't so much his prosthetic legs.  It was his heavy drinking that put Carl in abject poverty.  I did as much as I could for Carl.  In some ways, I felt responsible for not getting to Carl in time before the Creature threw (yes, threw the truck) the truck at Carl.  He always told me that I was talking nonsense.  In December of 2005, Carl put a revolver to his right temple and pulled the trigger.  The Creature finally claimed its victim.

I never went back to Bell Cup Estates after that incident.  I was grounded for six weeks by my parents.  My dad wanted to ground me until I was 21 years old.  It didn't matter. After what happened to Carl, none of us wanted to go back.  There have been a smattering of sightings or sounds of the Creature of Bell Cup Road after our encounter with that creature.  But, all that did was feed into the superstition that few believed.  Funny thing is, last I heard, the entire abandoned subdivision was leveled by bulldozers.  It has now been taken over by the dense, thick vegetation that was nearby.  But, in my nightmares, I still hear Carl screaming.  And I still hear that Creature screaming...and lifting that old Ford truck up...and he's always looking right at me.

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11/30/2015

Scarecrow at Murdoch Cornfield










Today we are pleased to present Gerald Florshan as our guest poster on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural.  Gerald has been happily married to Betty Florshan for the past 41 years.  The couple have four sons, ages 38, 35, 33 and 30.  Gerald is a retired employee from a chemical company in central Iowa.  His hobbies consist of genealogy, wood sculpting, reading and doing work with the church in his area.  Gerald is also a big fan of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes of which, all four sons attended and graduated.

If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. 

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I grew up and have lived my entire life in the central part of Iowa.  Some call it God's Country.  I just call it home.  If you love cornfields, Iowa is the place for you.  Don't settle for that cheap corn they have in that forsaken place called Nebraska.  Cornfields are common a sight here as lakes are in Minnesota and wheat fields in Kansas.  Miles and miles of nothing but cornfields in Iowa.  What is also common in those cornfields are scarecrows.  For the most part, scarecrows do serve as a way to deter crows and other scavengers.  But, I can't tell you the number of times I have personally witnessed crows just sitting on the "arms" of scarecrows just whiling away the day.  However, they do usually work.  In fact, some scarecrows work too well.  Hence, the basis of my story...

We moved to a nice home out in the farming country of Iowa.  Hell, all of Iowa is basically farming country.  But, this was really out there.  I was all of 6 years old when my mom and dad moved out to this small, but quaint little home.  My father was an interstate trucker and stayed gone most of the time.   His visits were brief, but always a joyous occasion for both mom and me.  As it turns out, I never had any other siblings.  Mom had a girl that was stillborn when I was only 3 years old.  My parents avoided that subject like the plague.  It was just too painful for them.

As the years rolled by, I grew accustomed to country life and the nice people that you meet there.  One of those people was Mr. Murdoch.  Mr. Murdoch had a farm of cornfield after cornfield, sheep, cows, pigs and so forth.  He was one of the few wealthy farmers I had ever met.  Mr. Murdoch was also an extremely nice man.  He was great to my mom and me when dad was on those long-distance hauls.  He always told dad he'd "look in on us" to make sure everything was okay.  I think he visited us mostly because he was enamored with my mom who was a real beauty back in the day.  A bit more on that later.

At age 12, I no longer had to take the bus to go to an elementary school 10 miles away.  I was now in walking distance of the junior high school (or middle school as it is commonly referred to nowadays) as a lean, mean 7th grader.  I only had to walk about 2 miles down a dirt road to my school.  I was tall for 12 years old and had long legs.  So, that 2 mile walk was nothing to me.  Sometimes, Mr. Murdoch or another neighbor would give me a lift to school.  Most times, I just enjoyed the walk.  The dirt road encompassed one of the many cornfields owned by Mr. Murdoch.  It was at the midway point of this walk when I would see one of Mr. Murdoch's many scarecrows.  THE Scarecrow, as I frequently would refer to it.  This particular scarecrow was just...different.  The other scarecrows didn't bother me in the least.  But, I got the distinct feeling this scarecrow was staring at me as I passed by.  Sometimes, I would look over my should to get another look.  It seemed as if it also had partially turned its head to take another look at me.   I would look again and it was looking straight ahead as it normally would do.  I know it sounds ridiculous.  But, it seemed this scarecrow was alive.  I got to the point, I dreaded my walk due to this one particular scarecrow on Mr. Murdoch's Farm.  I looked for alternative routes to school.  There were none that I could find.  I could walk through other cornfields of other farmers.  But, while most farmers are friendly folks, they would want an explanation of why I was walking through their cornfields instead of taking the dirt road to school.

I need to describe this scarecrow.  For starters, it had the pumpkin cutout, for a head, that you see on Halloween. Over time, that pumpkin head would shrink, making it even scarier looking.  Mr. Murdoch was known for his sense of humor.  He said this worked better than a long, floppy hat on a ball of straw.  There was an old overcoat on the scarecrow, with the coat arms covering up the sticks.  It was spooky looking.  I thought that the way it looked was making me have delusions. I was wrong about that.  I was not delusional at all.  This thing was not shifting in the wind.  It was not "settling in" on support beams.  This thing had movement.

One cold November morning, it was still dark as I walked on the dirt road to my school.  I knew Mr. Scarecrow would be dead ahead.  I was scared, damned scared.  As I approached the midway point, I noticed the scarecrow was not on his usual perch.  Relief just washed over me.  Perhaps Mr. Murdoch had grown tired of it or had no use for it.  I thought, why didn't I just tell Mr. Murdoch he didn't need a scarecrow that close to the road anyway.  As that thought crossed my mind, I saw the scarecrow.  It was sitting about 10 feet from it's perch looking my way.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I've been scared in my life many times.  But, I was never more scared than I was that moment as a 12 year old.  I could not decide what to do.  Continue on to school past this damn demon from hell or turn around and lie to mom about a sore throat.  Mom already had enough problems to cope with and didn't need the added worry of a "sick" child.  It was dark, even at 7AM, it was like midnight in November.  As I steadily and hurriedly walked past the scarecrow, I breathed a deep sigh of relief.  I did that just a second too soon. "What's wrong, sonny boy?  Cat got your tongue hee hee heeeee?"  I instantly froze.   I slowly turned around and looked at the back of the scarecrow.  "Come on back and let's chat a while.  I'm just here all alone with nothing else to do."  I turned and ran toward the school as fast as I've ever run in my entire life.  I was out of breath.  I doubt I ran that last mile under 4 minutes.  But, I bet I came damn close.

I was in a daze most of that day as a result.  My math teacher asked me if I was okay.  I told her I didn't feel good, but I felt I could make it through the day.  Once I got home, I had to tell mom, at long last, about THE Scarecrow in Mr. Murdoch's cornfield.  After I told her the story, I was waiting for her to either laugh or give me an understanding, but firm talk.  I got neither.  She just looked at me with those big beautiful blue eyes my mom had, with her arms crossed and a wisp of her red hair falling down across her forehead.  "I've noticed something unusual about that scarecrow also, Gerald.  When Henry takes me to the vegetable stand in his little blue truck,  I've noticed that thing kind of twist its head to look at me," my mother said.  I learned two things right away.  I learned what Mr. Murdoch's first name was.  I learned that mom and Mr. Murdoch went to places together.  But, that didn't interest me at the time.  "Mom, he spoke to me this morning.  I know how this sounds.  But, this thing did speak to me.  I'm scared," I told my mother.  My mother looked at me a bit concerned now.  I didn't know if mom was just humoring me or if she was being serious.  "Did it make any threatening words to you, sweetheart?," mom asked.  I told her no.  My mother assured me that she would ask "Hen...aaah, Mr. Murdoch to do something with the scarecrow.  That thing is scaring you and me both."  When my mom said she was going to do something, she did it.  She sealed her promise with a big smile and a kiss.

The next morning, the scarecrow was up at its usual perch on the support beams.  I stopped and looked at it.  I was so scared, I was about to pee in my pants.   Mr. Murdoch was supposed to take the damn scarecrow down!  I walked slowly toward THE Scarecrow.  It appeared especially sinister looking this cold, dark morning.  I could hear my feet cracking the frozen ground as I walked up toward it.  "YOU LITTLE SONOFABITCH!!! HAVE ME TAKEN DOWN, YOU LITTLE SHIT? I'LL TAKE YOU DOWN INTO THE BOWELS OF HELL WITH ME!, the scarecrow screamed at me with such venom and hate!  It jumped down off its perch and started coming toward me.  I threw down my notebooks and ran as hard as I could back home.  I heard something behind me....IT WAS THE SCARECROW AND HE WAS GAINING ON ME.  "MOM!!!! MOM!!!  HELP ME!!!  HELP ME!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.  My mother heard me, in the dark, in the cold, she heard me.  Out she came out of our home and she saw in the moonlight what was chasing me.  "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY CHILD YOU DEMON FROM HELL!!!  YOU CAN'T HARM ME OR MY BLOOD ANY LONGER!  BE GONE NOW!" my mom roared at the scarecrow.  The Scarecrow saw my mom, roared back at her and then just ran back down the road from whence it came.  But, mom then yelled something unintelligible (at least to me) at the scarecrow.  To this day, I don't know what she said or what language (if, indeed, it was a language) that was used by her.  It appeared to do the trick.  The Scarecrow hauled ass back down the road.

It took the rest of that day for both me and my mom to calm down.  I was almost in a catatonic state.  Mom said some words in a language I, again, did not recognize.  But, it seemed to calm me down and her as well.  My mother seemed to know what it was that was chasing me.  I asked her about that.  She dismissed it as just her recognizing evil.  And that scarecrow was evil.  I didn't buy that at the time.  I still don't.  There was more to this than mom was letting me know.  Was my mom some kind of witch or something?  She always had a "way" about her.  My mother was just different.  Whenever I got very sick, I would hear those strange words again.  In just a few minutes, I was much better.

That night, as I lay in bed, I heard mom talking on the phone.  I had to get up to listen. "...you know damn well what I'm talking about, Henry.  That Voo Doo woman is the cause of all this.  I warned you about her.  But, no, you didn't listen.  Now, burn that damn scarecrow witch doll with the potions you have now....you'll do it or you won't get any more from me....oh, I think you know what I'm talking about, Henry.  You won't be getting any nookie until you do as I tell you to do.  End of story.  Now, do it."   I was only 12 years old.  But, I knew what was going on now between mom and Mr. Murdoch.  I knew what "nookie" meant also.  I suddenly felt sorry for my dad.  But, he probably knew mom got lonely.

As I got up for school the next morning, mom told me she was going to walk me to school that morning.  I told her she would have to walk back that two miles also.  She said Mr. Duncan, who owned the general store a few miles from us, would be there to drive her back home.  It seems that mom was spreading her wings, as it were.  But, she was a beauty and knew the effect she had on men in order to get what she wanted. As we started our walk toward school and, hopefully, a missing scarecrow, she told me there was no need to tell anyone what we witnessed with the scarecrow, especially dad.  I asked her why she wanted to keep all this a secret.  She told me that a lot of people in the "natural world" don't believe in evil spirits and the occult.   I didn't quite understand that.  But, I did as mom told me....until I got married and told my wife all about that time at Mr. Murdoch's farm.  We made it to the midway point, and as expected, the scarecrow was gone.  Even the support beams were gone.  I guess the threat of "nookie" (or lack of getting it) was enough to get Mr. Murdoch's attention.  We made small talk the rest of the way to school and, sure enough, Mr. Duncan was there waiting on mom. I also noticed our kitchen had more groceries than usual that day when I got home from school.

I loved my mom, warts and all.  By no means was she perfect.  But, she loved me with a ferocity that was overwhelming at times. Was she into witchcraft, or possibly Voo Doo?  Maybe.  It didn't matter at the time.  When something from that world reached out to cause harm to her baby, she reacted as any mother would when her "blood" was threatened. Mom's claws came out and she would defend me to the death. She always showed she loved me more than anything on earth.  She proved it not only that day "The Scarecrow" gave chase to me, but for the rest of her life until she passed away at age 85.

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11/16/2015

Near Death Experience











Today we are pleased to present William J. Bartean as our guest poster on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural.  Born and raised in Austin, Texas,  William is a 54-year-old microbiologist with undergrad and postgraduate degrees in Microbiology from a New England university.  William has been divorced for the past eight years, with four wonderful children, three handsome sons, and one beautiful daughter.  In William's spare time he devotes himself to such endeavors as golf, skeet shooting, tennis, jogging, rock hunting and participating in Regenerative Farming with Planetsave, in an effort to combat Global Warming. 

 If you have a story to share relating to the paranormal/supernatural, click HERE for details.  Also, to answer many questions, there is no charge for guest posting on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural. 

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To begin, I must say to one and all, that I have not ever believed in the paranormal or in any type of supernatural phenomena.   I have been an avowed atheist for as far back as I could hold a cognitive thought process.  I was never allowed to believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or any other childhood nonsense.  So, from the very beginning, my perception of life was colored to my parent's way of thinking.  This being said, I did find it remarkable that so many people believed in a supreme being who is creator over all (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) in this universe. That's as far as I will go in my proselytizing as I promised the owners of this blog.

What also puzzled me is why are there so many people who believe in an afterlife or a Heaven, as it were.  Again, I considered the very notion of afterlife absurd.   Eight years ago, my entire perception went about a fundamental change (which I will get to in a moment).   Oh, I can't say to you I believe in a supreme being, Heaven....but, the subject of an afterlife has caused me to carefully weigh my teachings, my very work as a researcher.  I know there are those who say that death causes the brain to undergo certain chemical changes to induce people into believing they see a bright light, long dead relatives and so forth.  I am at a crossroads on this issue.  But, let me begin my story.....

In October of 2007, I had just completed the paperwork on my divorce to my wife of 27 years.  We were in the 90 day period of waiting before it went into effect.  I was devastated.  I was unable to concentrate on my work, I was not eating well and was losing weight (that's about the only good thing about a divorce).  I decided I needed some time away from work, family and friends.  So, I decided to take a month off despite the protests of my superiors who warned me I might not have a job when I came back.  I told them I was more than willing to take that risk.  But, I knew that they would never do that.  I'm too valuable to them even if I do say so myself.   So, I packed as many belongings as I could get in my 2004 Jeep Liberty and took off from my quaint New England home.  I had no real destination in mind.  I was just going to go as far west as I could go.  Hell, I might even write a book about my adventures!  Things never quite turn out the way you want them to in life.

I took off on a Sunday morning from my home and decided to make my way to Davenport, Iowa where one of my best friends from college had given me an open invitation to stay with him and his wife.  So, off I went.  I was in no hurry.  I would drive about 4 or 5 hours and then explore wherever I was on I-90.  As it just so happens, I noticed this incredible rock formation on the third day of my journey in northern Indiana.  Those rock formations appeared to be prehistoric.  I just had to stop.  I got my handy rock hammer, steel brush and started looking around.  After about an hour, I decided it was nothing there that would warrant any further analysis.  So, after taking a couple of samples, I put my tools away and got back in my Jeep.  I noticed traffic had picked up on the interstate since I had been rock hunting (one of my hobbies).  I was going to have a hard time getting back on the interstate and into the flow of traffic.

I remember getting into the merge lane and no one was letting me merge back onto the interstate.  I was pissed!  I found myself driving on the emergency lane now still trying to get back on the interstate.  I was concentrating on the driver-side mirror and felt myself going down a slope. I was probably doing about 55MPH.  It was too late to stop in time for the parked semi-tractor trailer.  The last thing I remember was a loud WHOOSH, like a large gust of wind had hit me.  I didn't feel any pain,  Everything around me was totally black and silent.  I had no idea where I was.  I just knew I was not on I-90.  I'm thinking...."This must be death...I'm dead."  But, I knew that was not possible.  Dead men don't think or even dream.  I think, therefore, I am.  I still had my sense of humor.  So, reasoning told me I was still alive.  But, where was I?  The total darkness began to give way to a tiny dot of light above me.  The tiny light began to lighten everything around me.  It still was not like daylight.  But, I could see.  It was like wearing dark sunglasses in the sun.  It was about that much light.  In front of me was a building.  I noticed I was standing up.  Before the light, I did not know if I was sitting, laying or standing.  So, I started walking to the building.  It was a sort of plain, concrete building that you see in industrial complexes all over the country.  As I was walking, I noticed there was an echo from my steps.  This scared me for some reason.

The building had no parking lot.  It was just a very fine grain of sand, not unlike what you would find at any of the white beaches in Florida.  I remember opening the door and walking inside.  There was a spiral staircase and a desk like what a receptionist would have to greet visitors.  But, there was no one around.  "HELLO!" I yelled.  It was an immediate echo right back.  Suddenly, without any warning, I was once again surrounded by total blackness.  This time, I felt my body moving at an incredible rate of speed!  I don't know how long this lasted.  But, I suddenly found myself laying down in an open field.  The sky was an incredible blue, more beautiful than any other blue sky I've seen in my life.  There was a mild temperature.  A light breeze was blowing.  This seemed real to me, unlike the building with the echoes.  I stood up, looked around and saw only a smattering of trees to my right.  I was in a field of maybe knee-high grain that seemed to whistle with the light breeze.  I slowly looked around.  There was nothing to see.  I remember I decided to walk in the direction of the trees.  They appeared to be about a mile away.  But, no matter how much I walked, I didn't seem to be going anywhere.  I was frustrated beyond words.  "Where am I?  What do you want with me," I asked fervently to the blue sky above.  Nothing in reply.  I pinched myself to make sure I was real.  I felt the pinch, but there was no pain.  Just a slight pressure.  "Yes, you are real.  And, you are in a real place, William," said a voice completely out of nowhere.

I know this sounds like all the other proverbial stories of an afterlife.  The man in a white robe, floating toward you.  That's exactly what happened. It's almost a cliche.  But, that is what I saw before me.  Now, I was really scared.  He came to a stop approximately 10 feet in front of me.  "Am I dead?  Is this Heaven?" I asked the long-robed man (whose feet didn't seem to even touch the ground).  The white-robed man looked at me with an amused look on his face.  "Heaven?  How can you be in a place in which you do not believe, William?"  I really hate people answering a question with another question.  But, decided I was in no position to bring that up.  "I don't know where I am.  I'm scared and I'm alone.  Please help me. Please", I pleaded with the white robed man. I started sobbing.  I don't remember the last time I truly cried.  "There, there William.  You have nothing to fear.  You are in no danger. In fact, you are about to go back to your life soon enough.  But, you are in a sort of weigh station of life right now.  I want to remind you that Man doesn't have all the answers as you and others of your persuasion seem to think.  Man has this idea that his answers are absolutes. You are babes lost in the wilderness of ignorance. You know as much as an infant child, maybe less in some respects.  Just remember this....open your mind to other possibilities, William.  Now, I've done as I was told to do. The rest is up to you."  After saying this, the man in the white robe gave me a kindly smile and faded away into nothing.  What I typed above is what he said as best as I can remember.  I think I got the gist of it, regardless.

After the man in the white robe vanished, I thought sure I was going to wake up from this dream or nightmare.  I was wrong.  I stood there for a length of time of which I'm still not sure how long it really lasted.  So, being the impatient man I am, I asked, "Okay, what's next?  Is this all there is?  Is this my eternity now, to spend it here in this cow pasture?"  Those were the wrong questions to ask.  Upon that last question, the wind picked up quickly, very quickly.  I was now in the middle of the pasture with gale force winds.  The blue sky, that was so pristine and beautiful, now was dark, foreboding with rumbling clouds rolling.  I was very afraid, very confused now.  The wind was so powerful now that I was in danger of being blown away completely.  Eventually, that is exactly what happened as I had nothing to hold onto to prevent myself from going airborne.  As I'm flying through the air, I screamed out, "Is this all you got?  You can't do any better?"  I got my answer on that one also.  The wind died down completely, and I started falling.  I was falling so fast until my eyelids would not stay shut.  I tried to scream, and nothing came out.  I felt as if my body was going to be ripped apart by the speed I was approaching.  Then, I came to an abrupt stop.  Looking around, I saw distant fires and heard screams pleading for mercy.  I felt an intense heat of which I have never felt before.  It was unbearable.  I thought to myself, "Is this what religions refer to as hell?"  I was completely ignorant about what the various regions believed due to my parents refusing to let me read the Christian bible or any other religious documents. Yes, I tried reading the bible and other religious literature. I just couldn't get interested

I felt as if my flesh would melt right off me.  I knew I would not be able to stand this for very long.  I too began to ask for mercy, for a reprieve from this godforsaken land of hell-fire.   I received no answer this time.  I tried walking in the slippery rock and gravel that was before me now.  I slipped and remember feeling tremendous pain and heat in my left knee.  I got up and tried walking again, only to fall onto my left knee again.  The pain was more than I could take.  I was now screaming, screaming for all I was worth.  It was a scream of outrage, of horror and despair.  I remember screaming, crying and asking for mercy from someone, from something.  Anything.  Finally, I said something I thought I would never say, "God...please help me. Deliver me from this horror." 

My next conscious thought was looking up at some florescent lights that were above me.  I was in, what appeared to me, a recovery room.  I had a tight plastic wrap around my chest, my right arm was in a splint, I was able to move my left hand and felt another huge wrap around my head.  I tried moving my right leg only to discover my foot was heavily wrapped as well.  My left leg was very painful, but I could move it.  As it turns out, I had suffered head trauma and other injuries so severe, I had been placed in a medically induced coma for 36 hours.  The physicians thought I would most likely have brain damage.  I had a broken right ankle and foot.  I had a crushed sternum, two broken ribs and a dislocated right shoulder.  That doesn't take into account all the contusions and cuts I had.  I was told when I regained consciousness my chances of surviving this were still about 50/50.  Four weeks later, I amazed everyone by sitting up in my bed to eat solid food.  All in all, I was in the hospital for six weeks and in rehab for three months.  I endured five more surgeries to my shattered right ankle, foot and to my sternum over the next three years.  I still go in to see doctors about pain in both legs.  I have dizzy spells and probably will for the rest of my life.  Doctors are amazed I'm alive.  Quite frankly, so am I.

As I was leaving the hospital for my journey to the rehab center near my home, one doctor came up to me to ask a question.  "William, do you remember a fire of any type breaking out in the car upon impact with the tractor-trailer rig?," he asked.  I told him the last thing I remember was seeing the semi and knowing there was no way I was going to avoid hitting it.  He said there was no report of fire breaking out when I hit the semi.  The doctor further stated he was one of the doctors who evaluated me when I was brought unconscious into the ER.  One of the things he noticed was that I had a third-degree burn on my left knee about the size of a baseball.  When he came back to check me out post-op, the burn was virtually gone.  He had never seen any kind of burn fade that quickly.  A third-degree healing time is much longer, at least three weeks, he said.  I told him he must be mistaken.  No one had mentioned anything about me having a burn.  He shrugged and walked off.

Of course, I had an idea why my left knee was burned as I already stated.  But, I did not want to talk about my experience and it was an experience.  I do not now believe it was a dream or nightmare.  Do I believe I was in hell?  I don't know how to answer this.  I know all my education and training teaches me that God, Heaven, an afterlife is for the simpletons of the world.  I also know what I experienced and I will go to my grave believing it was all real.  It was all too real.  So, I am on a journey of discovery, much the way I am as a microbiologist.  I collect samples, weigh evidence and reach conclusions based on what I learn.  I'm doing presently the same thing in my search for evidence of an afterlife.  My Near Death Experience (NDE) was my first bit of tantalizing evidence.  I am continuing my journey into the unknown even now.

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