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.
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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!
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 [ ].
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 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.
[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 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.]
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