Grim Reaper Encounters - Part II


(Part I)

Another event occurred a year later when I was about  to celebrate my 9th birthday.  At that time, we lived out in the country just north of Biloxi.  These were great times for kids my age.  Parents didn't worry about people coming by and kidnapping their kids.  So, we were able to do as we wished as long as we came home at the time we were told.  Summer vacation was about to end and two events were coming up; my 9th birthday and the start of my 4th grade year. 

I have always dreaded my birthdays, even then because I knew school was about to start in September.  So, myself and a friend of mine named Ronnie, decided to take one last bicycle trip.  This usually meant about a two mile cycling trip on one of the few paved roads in our area.  This trip would be different in that Ronnie's brother, Bill, would accompany us.  Neither one of us were happy about him coming along since we had to peddle slower so Bill could keep up.  If Bill couldn't come, then Ronnie could not go on the bicycling trip.  So, off all three of us went on our last fun-filled bicycle trip of the summer.  Only two of us would come back alive.

We made the two-mile trip about 30 minutes later than usual due to Bill.  Ronnie was really upset with his brother.  He was yelling at him, threatening him and so on.  I finally told Ronnie to just cool down.  What's done is done.  Bill is with us and we have to make do.  For his part, Bill said nothing to his irate brother.  Our destination, as always, was the waterfall.  This "waterfall" was about six or seven feet high.  It fed into a creek that went by my house, some 150 feet or so.  It was lots of fun there.  The creek, at that point, was only about 4 feet deep.  But, it was always cold, even in the hottest days of summer.  It was lots of fun frolicking around in the cold water.  Ronnie had dunked me and I was about to return the favor when I noticed Bill was missing.  "Bill!!!," I yelled.  Ronnie was upset now.  We both yelled about two more times when we saw Bill at the top of the waterfall smiling.  I also saw a man with blonde hair, in a tan-colored shirt and black pants directly behind Bill.  Panicked, I told Ronnie we had to go get Bill, there is a  man up there.  Ronnie looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  "It's only Bill.  What are you talking about, David.  It's not funny," said Ronnie.  I started running up there and so did Ronnie.  Bill was still looking at me with that odd smile on his face.  The man was still there.  "Who are you?" I asked the man.  He only looked at me with an expressionless face.  No movement, no blinking of his eyes, no nothing.   Now, both Bill and Ronnie looked at me as if I had completely lost it.  "David, this isn't funny.  Stop it!!!!," said Ronnie.  As Ronnie stepped toward Bill, he must have stepped on one of the many slippery, flat rocks in the creek.  Ronnie lost his balance and fell over the waterfall into the creek below.  Both Bill and I roared with laughter.  Neither one of us thought for a minute that Ronnie had hurt himself.

But, Ronnie had hurt himself.  When we got down from the top of the waterfall to the creek below, Ronnie was face-down in the water.  I pulled him up and discovered he was not breathing.  He also had blood pouring from the left side of his head.  I screamed at Bill to go get help at the Holloway residence, about a half-mile from us.  Bill took off on his bike, crying as hard as he could.  I lifted Ronnie up, and got him in a sitting position.  This got him to breathing again.  I had two blue towels that I had brought with me.  Both were blood red quickly as I tried wrapping them around Ronnie's head.  As I was doing this, I noticed the blonde haired man in tan shirt was only about 10 feet away from us. "Why don't you help me???," I asked frantically.  He, once again, just stared motionless at me.  I was only nine-years old.  But, I knew some choice words and I used them against this man.  It had no effect on him.  Finally, the man did make a move.  He looked to his left, looked back at me and disappeared into the forest.  Almost immediately, Bill and Mr. Holloway showed up in his pickup truck.  We took Ronnie to the hospital with Ronnie bleeding all over us.  Ronnie stopped breathing as soon as we got to the hospital.  None of the doctors could revive him.  A fractured skull usually meant death in 1960.  Plus, Ronnie had lost a lot of blood.  It was a miracle he lasted as long as he did.

I know how all this sounds.  The bald man at the park, the blonde haired man in tan shirt at the waterfall, as grim reapers, is a bit too difficult to believe.  But, someone or something showed up at traumatic events where death was a factor in my youth.  As I said this happened five or six times in my life.  I can't say specifically it was five or if it was six since the last time I recall this happening was when I was 14 years old (which will be for another post).  But, this did happen and the memory of each event sticks with me at my advanced age.

That includes the man in the closet as well. 

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Grim Reaper Encounters - Part I

I've stated a number of times, on this blog, I've had more than my share of supernatural encounters.  From the time I was four-years old, when I used to tell my mother about the "man in the closet," to my time as a 22 year old U.S. Navy sailor, spending a night at a haunted castle in Spain, I've had my fair share of what I consider supernatural encounters.  My memory of the "man in the closet" is sketchy.  But, even now, I remember the absolute fear every time my mother would open that closet door.
As a result, even at age 62, I am paranoid of closets.  I will share my experience as a 4 year old (as best as I can remember) at a later date (or maybe not...still unsettling even now).  For now, I will talk about something I have dreaded....the appearance of an individual whenever I was near the scene of death.  No, I'm not talking about my own death (obviously).  I'm talking about prior to someone I knew or even someone I didn't know, dying in front of me or near me.  Some would say it was the grim reaper.  It is the personification of death in the form of an entity.  Some call it the angel of death or the devil of death.  The Bible does refer to the "Angel of Death" when he reaps Egypt's firstborns.  In this case, the "Angel" was not thought to be connected to the devil.  So, I can't say what I saw was the proverbial grim reaper with the iconic scythe to reap the soon to be deceased.  But, I had five or six different experiences with something or someone prior to these deaths.  I was the only one who saw this thing. I'm going to relate two of those experiences in this post.

When I was eight-years of age, I was on a field trip with a number of third-grade classmates.  We had gone to Sea World in Biloxi, MS.  After we had lunch there, we went to a park where there were swings, monkey bars, see-saws and an assortment of other park activities.  I remember how much fun I was having and a chance to be away from school and home.  It was a very enjoyable occasion.  I had just gotten off the monkey bars when I decided I better go take a bathroom break to relieve myself.  So, as soon as I got off the monkey bars, I looked for a teacher to ask.  In those days, you did nothing without a teacher's permission.  I don't know how it is today.  But, back then, you asked for permission even for a bathroom break.    I first looked for my teacher, Mrs. Gromsley (not sure on the spelling, it has been many years).  She was sitting on a park bench with another teacher and a man wearing a long grayish suit.  I thought that was odd since it was the middle of September and it was probably 93 degrees in the shade.  I tentatively went to where she was and asked to go to the bathroom.  I looked at the man....his skin was chalk white and stared at me with these deep, black bags around his eyes.  He was also quite bald.  I looked at him and then asked Mrs. Gromsley for permission to go to the bathroom.  She immediately smiled, looked to her left to see what I was looking at, and told me to go to the bathroom.  I thought it odd she did not introduce me to the man.  But, I went to the bathroom.  After washing my hands, I went outside to quite a commotion going on.  One of the teachers was screaming , several other teachers were around the bench where Mrs. Gromsley and the other teacher had been sitting.  

Mrs. Gromsley had collapsed.  She was laying on the ground motionless and one of the other teachers was pushing on her chest.  A teacher apparently had found a pay phone (no such thing as cell phones in 1959 or 911 service).  and told the operator an ambulance was needed immediately at the park.  About thirty minutes later, an ambulance did finally arrive.  But, it was too late for Mrs. Gromsley.  I found out later from my mother that my beloved, gray-haired, third-grade teacher had died of a heart attack.  I remember crying about that.  I was not sure what death meant at eight-years old.  I just knew Mrs. Gromsley would not be teaching me any longer. 

Several days after my teacher's funeral, I asked the other teacher (whose name escapes me) who was the bald-headed man sitting next to Mrs. Gromsley on the park bench.  She looked at me with puzzlement.  "There was no man sitting next to Mrs. Gromsley in the park, David," said the teacher.  I insisted there was a man seated next to Mrs. Gromsley and he stared at me the entire time I was there.  She told me I had to be mistaken, that the death of my teacher had me seeing things.  I insisted that was not the case.  The teacher dismissed my statement.  I asked several other people who were near Mrs. Gromsley and the teacher that day.  No one saw any man.  Nothing.  Only I saw him.  I told my mother about it and she just hugged me.  No one believed me.  I know what I saw.  Grim Reaper?  You tell me. Yes, I was only eight years old with an imagination to match.  Yes, I had gone through a traumatic event.  Again, I know what I saw.
Part II 

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Gout in Big Toe - Update

I made a post back in December 2011 about a gout attack I was having in the big toe of my right foot. You can read that post HERE.  Long story short, I had never had gout prior to that attack almost two years ago.  I talked about how bad the pain was, how I couldn't even put a sheet over my foot without the pain being unbearable.  I went to my GP about it.  He gave me some pain medication, inflammation meds and told me to stay off of it for a period of about 7-10 days.  Well, how the hell was I supposed to stay off my feet for 7-10 days? 
I couldn't do that.  Ridiculous.  Anyway I did get better.  I was able to get back on my treadmill, albeit at a slower pace than I was accustomed at the time.  But, not long after that, the gout came back.  I decided to continue on the treadmill regardless.  Pretty soon I discovered what a foolhardy idea that was as I tried to get up out of bed to walk one morning.  I was almost unable to walk at all.  So, I made another appointment to my doctor.  This time he had a blood sample taken (why he didn't do that the first time, I have no idea) to determine if my uric acid levels were high.  A week later his nurse called me to tell me the tests came back to find that, indeed, my uric acid level was high, much too high.  I was prescribed a daily dose of Allopurinol.  Allopurinol is used to combat uric acid in your blood.  Apparently, uric acid is the culprit of my gout attacks.

My doctor started me out on one dose a day (in the evening I should say because that is when I took it) of Allopurinol..  So, I took this for about three months until it was time for my semi-annual checkup.  Again, a blood sample was taken.  About a week later, I got another call from my doctor's nurse.  She told me my uric acid was again too high.  I was told to double my dosage in the attempt to bring my uric acid level down.  I started that double dosage back in June.  The gout in big toe has not left me.  I have good days when it is not so bad, like today, for example.  I was told by a friend that Black Cherry Concentrate juice is very good for gout.  I started taking it back in early August.  Thus far, I have to say the results are mixed.  I still have gout in that big toe of mine.  That tells me my uric acid level is still too high.  I'm not sure what is going to happen next.  Maybe I have not given the Black Cherry juice enough time.  I don't know.  But, I have noticed the pain seems to be spreading from the big toe to up to the top of my right foot.  So, it appears that I'm going to go back to the doctor real soon for gout.  It just doesn't seem to want to leave me.

If anyone has any ideas on how to treat gout, whether it be ideas to discuss with my doctor or home remedies, I'm ready to try them.  You can leave a comment here or fill out my contact form.


Some Facts About World War II

Since Saving Private Ryan hit the silver screen, back in 1998, I have become something of a WWII buff.  I had not really delved into all that transpired prior to, during and after WWII.  What some people don't realize is what a miracle it was that the Allies were able to eventually destroy the war machines of German, Italy and Japan.  In fact, things could have changed for the worse if not for some events that changed history.  That is something I will dig into deeper in another blog post. 

For now, I'm just going to relate some facts about WWII.  Some are stated matter of factually.  Some are downright bizarre.  For example, are you aware that Japan and Russia still have not signed a peace treaty to end WWII? They are still at a state of war with one another.  The reason for not signing the peace treaty?  It seems there is still disputes over four islands.  The four Southern Kurile islands remain an issue of conflict between Japan and Russia.  Until that is resolved satisfactorily, there will be no official peace treaty between these two countries to end hostilities of nearly 70 years ago. Let's look at a few more facts surrounding WWII.

The Eastern Front was a disaster for Germany.  Hitler's decision to open another front of the war was ridiculous from a military standpoint.  In fact, for every five German soldiers who died in WWII, four died on the Eastern Front

Eighty percent of Soviet males, born in 1923, did not survive WWII.  And you wonder why there is a shortage of males in Russia even today? In fact, more Russians (military and civilians) lost their lives during the Siege of Leningrad than did American and British soldiers combined in all of WWII

Out of the 40,000 German men who served on U-Boats in WWII, only about 10,000 survived.  That is about a 75% fatality rate.  I'm not sure why they volunteered.  Well, maybe they were forced to "volunteer."

A cat named Sam survived three ships sinking during WWII.  Sam first served on the mighty German warship "Bismark."   Only 115 men survived the sinking, including one cat named Sam.  He was then put aboard the HMS Cossack.  This ship sank less than five months later.  Sam was then transferred to the HMS Ark Royal, a British aircraft carrier.  Unfortunately, for Sam, it too was sunk less than a month later.  The decision was then made to "retire" Sam since the "Unsinkable Sam" had only six more lives left in him.

Germans developed, late in the war, the first jet fighters of the 20th Century.  The  Messerschmitt ME-262 was a devastating weapon that was deployed far too late to counter the course of the war.  There was no time for testing of the jet fighter.  Thusly, it was not nearly as formidable as it could have been.

This reminds me of the "Liberty Fries" episode years back when France refused to let the USA use French airspace to strike Libya.  During WWII, the American hamburger was given the name Liberty Burger because of the German sounding name of "hamburger."

Over 1,500,000 Purple Heart medals were made because it was expected that the invasion of Japan would cause, at minimum, over a million U.S. casualties. Called "Operation Downfall," this medal program was discontinued after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It took until the beginning of this decade to finally finish off that supply made in WWII.

William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, was in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He changed his name after the war.  Who can blame him?

Calvin Graham probably doesn't ring a bell for some WWII buffs.  But, he was the youngest known enlistee in the U.S. military during WWII.  He enlisted right after the Pearl Harbor bombing at the tender age of just 12 years old.  Graham served honorably in WWII, fighting gallantly at the Battle of Guadalcanal.  His fire control efforts, aboard the USS South Dakota, earned him the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.  Calvin Graham was thrown in the brig for three months after it was discovered he lied about his age. He was soon released and dishonorably discharged from the Navy.  He was also stripped of all his medals.  It was not until 1978 that Calvin Graham was given an honorable discharge.  In 1988, he had all his medals restored except the Purple Heart.  Calvin Graham finally got his Purple Heart reinstated, but two years after his death in 1992.

Just a few facts about an amazing and tragic time in world history.


Simo Hayha - The White Death

I doubt many people have ever even heard of Simo Hayha.  You can chalk me up as one of them as I was doing a little research and just stumbled upon his name.  Simo Hayha was a peaceful, easygoing type of guy from Finland.  Simo served his mandatory one-year tour in the Finland military.  After his time in the military, Simo Hayha returned to the sedate life as a farmer.  But, that all changed in 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded his home country of Finland. 

During the ensuing fighting, Simo took to fighting in the forest where the majority of the fighting was taking place.  Simo Hayha took to the forest with his trusty rifle and took the fight to the invading Soviets.  He fought them in heavy snow and temperatures in the 20-40 degree range....below zero range, that is.  Simo Hayha was killing Soviet soldiers by the dozens.  He was picking them off like turkeys in a turkey shoot.  Very soon, Simo Hayha was being referred to as the "White Death" as in reference to his white camouflage battle fatigues he wore.  No one ever saw him in action.  If they did, it was too late for them because Simo was a deadly, deadly shot.

The Soviets had all of Simo Hayha they were going to take.  So, they sent out soldiers whose only mission was to kill Simo Hayha.  Simo killed them all.  The Soviets sent out an entire task force with one objective; kill Simo Hayha.  Simo killed every damn one of them.  The Soviets sent out entire teams of counter-snipers with one objective.  Yes, you guessed it, to kill Simo Hayha by any means necessary.  You probably see a pattern here by now.  Yes, Simo Hayha killed all the counter-snipers whose job was to take out one sniper by the name of Simo Hayha.  In fact, in almost four months Simo Hayha killed over 700 Soviet soldiers with his rifle and SMG.  Finally, enough was enough.  The Soviets carpet bombed the entire forested area that the "White Death" was thought to be.  Simo caught some shrapnel during the bombing.  But, soon enough, Simo Hayha was back to doing what he does best, killing Soviet soldiers.

On March 6, 1940, someone finally got a shot in on Simo Hayha by hitting him in the head with an "exploding bullet."   It blew off half his head.  Some soldiers found him and brought him back to base.  You see, Simo Hayha, the White Death, was still alive!  Simo regained consciousness a week after being shot.  On the final day of the war!  Later in life, Simo was asked how he became such a good shooter.  His reply?  "Practice."    Indeed he did. 


Stormy Night in an Abandoned House

As I have stated on previous occasions, I have had several encounters with the supernatural in my life.  Most of it started during my early youth and on up to my early 20s.  At age 62 the only supernatural event in my life is waking up each morning to discover I'm alive for another day. The story I'm about to share concerns my time when I lived in the southern most part of Alabama.  I lived not far from Kali Oka Road which is where my story on the Legend of Crybaby Bridge originated.  This story happened when I was 15 years old about two weeks before Christmas in 1966.   There's nothing really supernatural/paranormal that took place in this story.  Well, that's not completely true.  I'll let you be the judge on that toward the end of the story.

One of the things my little brother and I loved to do as youngsters was go coon hunting at night.  We usually would have my friend Charlie join us for these weekend excursions deep into the woods in south Alabama.  Unfortunately, my buddy Charlie couldn't accompany us this time. Coon hunting is a greatly respected sport in the South.  The fur is very valuable and some people eat the meat.  I wasn't one of them.  I went coon hunting the first time when I was all of 8 years old.  I kept doing it until I joined the Navy at age 19. I just lost interest after that.  I was never much of a hunter.  I see no sport in it now.  Anyway, on a late Saturday afternoon, just before sundown, in December of 1966, my brother started pushing me to go coon hunting with him.  He didn't have to push very hard.  I went to get my .20 gauge shotgun and Ben got his .410 shotgun.  We loaded up our shells, canteens, some sandwiches, snacks and headed out.  Well, of course, first we had to talk Mama into letting us go.  She knew these types of hunting expeditions could last all night.  So, she said we would have  until 6AM Sunday morning to be home.  "If you're not home in time to shower, get dressed for church, I'll send your Daddy looking for you.  You know he won't be happy to do that," our mother said to us.  With that thought in mind, we set out about 5PM.  It was nearly dark.  All we had was our black and tan beagle "Mister" and a black, Heinz 57 that took up at our house who we named "Shooter."  I don't remember why we named him Shooter.  But, he was a great dog and a damn good coon hunting dog as I recall.

Mister and Shooter set out sniffing everything as we took off into the woods for our Saturday night Coon Hunting adventure.  I guess we had been hunting about two hours when Mister let out that wail that Beagles are famous for doing.  Both he and Shooter took off.  We trailed as  best we could with our flashlights.  But, it was difficult to do.  Pretty soon, we lost track of them completely.  No howls or anything from them.  That kind of bothered me.  Both Ben and I hollered and yelled for the dogs.  We did not hear a thing.  Now, I was completely unnerved.  Those dogs should be howling and we should be able to hear them.  As we continued to search in the darkness, I heard the familiar, distant "boom" of thunder.  Like idiots, neither one of us checked to see if it was supposed to rain that night.  "David, we better find shelter soon.  I'm just now getting over that cold", said Ben.  He was right. Being out in the open like this with a winter rainstorm on the way was nothing to ignore.  I was worried about Mister and Shooter.  But, my more immediate concern was finding a place out of the impending rainstorm.  Ben mentioned the old Milsap House that  wasn't far from us.  The Milsap House belonged to a John and Mary Milsap.  They lived deep in the woods all their lives.  They never had children and rarely engaged in conversation with folks as I was told.  Both had been dead for about 10 years or more.  Mrs Milsap died of Cancer and Mr. Milsap committed suicide not long after she died.  It was very tragic and few folks liked talking about it.  They came to town rarely to buy a few things.  Other than that, no one ever saw them.

So, Ben and I decided to head toward the old Misap House as the heavy smell of rain in the air became thicker.  We had walked  about 20 minutes when the outline of the house came into view.  We made it up to the big front porch and hesitated.  No one ever came here.  None of the windows were broken out, the door was still locked from over 10 years ago.  Ben said we should just stay out on the front porch.  He did not want to break into the house.  I told him we didn't know how long this storm was going to last.  We needed to get in the house.  So, I took out my hunting knife and jimmied the lock.  The lock gave way easy....too easy as I remember now.   We both came into the house to find the all too familiar sheets over furniture like you see in any house that is not occupied.  As we focused our flashlights on the fireplace, the heavens just literally opened up outside.  I mean it was pouring down rain.  It was also getting cold.  I didn't expect none of this.  Missing dogs, heavy rain and cold(er) weather.  The only good thing was that there was firewood and some kindling.  After about 15 minutes, I was able to get a fire going that helped take away some of the cold in the house.  Ben and I sat down in a couple of chairs that Mr and Mrs Milsap must have used when they sat in front of the fireplace.  The fire felt good and the old house was starting to warm up somewhat.  "David, what do you suppose happened to Mister and Shooter", my very nervous little brother asked me.  "I don't know, Ben.  I can't figure that out.  They may have got turned around and went off in the wrong direction", I told Ben.  I didn't really believe that, of course.  It's highly unlikely that a beagle couldn't sniff his way back the way he came.  That really worried me.

The Milsap House was spooky as you probably can imagine.  It didn't help that it was raining so hard that limbs were snapping off trees.  There was no way we could head home in that.  Surprisingly, there were no leaks in this old house.  Mr. Milsap must have kept this house in good condition.  Ben and I started eating a sandwich and opened up our canteens of water.  I wasn't really hungry.  But, I had to convey to Ben I wasn't scared.  It didn't take much to scare Ben (see Summers at Grandma's House).  The last thing I wanted was for him to start crying.  So, I had to show him I wasn't scared, even though I definitely was scared.  I was especially confused about our dogs.  Where the hell were they?  They should be here with us.  The fact they weren't was very unsettling to me.  Suddenly, I heard a "CRACK" from the attic.  It was loud enough to be heard over the rain.  "WHAT WAS THAT," Ben frantically screamed out.  We both stood up, looked around the ceiling.  I don't know how long we stood like that....maybe five minutes or so.  We sat back down with  the storm worsening outside.  I just knew Mama was going to be mad, not to mention my Dad.  I should have checked the weather before going out.  My father always warned me to do that.  As I sat thinking about my parents anger wtih me, we heard another "CRACK" from the attic, only it was louder this time.  Ben ran to me and held me scared out of his mind.  This time, I was visibly shaken also.  I couldn't hide it.  If it was water coming in, it wasn't making its way into the living room.  I added wood to the fire in the fireplace as if that would scare it all away, whatever the hell it was up there.  I wasn't about to climb up there to find out what it was. We heard about three more loud cracks in that attic that night that I simply can't explain.  It was as if someone was breaking boards in half.  But, we had no choice but to stay inside since the rain was so heavy outside.

We settled back into our chairs and fell asleep.  I woke up to scratching at the front door. I checked my watch and it was 2:30AM. The rain had all but stopped.  My first thought was not to go to the door since I was still unnerved about the loud cracks up in the attic.  "It might be Mister and Shooter, David!!!" my happy brother shouted.  I opened the door slowly to see two of the wettest dogs I had ever seen.  I didn't recognize them at first.  Neither did Ben.  In fact, they didn't look like the two dogs we had grown so fond of and had loved for so long.  Both dogs.....had turned a visible shade of white.  Both dogs were shaking as if they had seen something that was unimaginable, something far beyond what they could comprehend.  It wasn't a coon, bobcat or one of the rare Alabama black bears.  They would have had at least a few scratches if they had met up with one of those predators.  No, these two dogs were greatly frightened by something.  Shooter was whining almost uncontrollably.  Mister seemed to be in a daze, but he trembled even more than Shooter.  We tried giving them something to eat.  But, they refused.  Neither wanted to lay down or even move.  It was now about 3AM.  I needed to get Ben and myself home.  I knew our parents were already upset with us.  But, these dogs didn't seem to want to leave the house.  I can't say I blamed them at all.  But, we had to go.  It took some encouragement, but we managed to get them out of the house and to walking.  I put out the fire in the fireplace before we left.  Smoke was pouring out of the chimney as I looked at the roof.  I hoped Mr. and Mrs Milsap would not mind us using their house as safe shelter from the terrible rainstorm.  But, I have a feeling, if they could speak, they would have been upset about it. The fact that I jimmied their front door open probably would not have made them happy either.  I closed it behind me and off into the darkness Ben and I went.

We both made it back home about 5:30AM, enough time to shower, get dressed and eat breakfast before Sunday School.  Mom told me not to expect to go coon hunting anytime soon.  My dad wasn't happy with us.  But, he didn't say anything.  As for what happened that night in the Milsap's House, I guess I'll never know.  Maybe it was heat rising from the fireplace that caused some old boards in the attic to pop.  At least, I want to believe that.  Deep down, I think it had to be something much more.  Those cracking sounds were far too loud for it to be board settling due to heat from the fireplace.  I'll just leave that right there for you to ponder.  As for our dogs, my dad asked us about what happened to the dogs that could have caused that color change. I told him I had no idea.  That was the truth.  Shooter kept his white shade until he just up and disappeared about four months later.  He had stayed sickly after that night, eating just enough to stay alive.  I guess Shooter just wanted to go somewhere to die. As for Mister, my beagle, he gradually got his natural black and tan color back.  Even Mister stayed on edge for the rest of his life.  He never would go off into the woods with us again, no matter how much we tried to tempt him with sausage or his favorite ham bones from the butcher.  Mister wasn't the same dog any longer.  He even snapped at me once a few days after that coon hunting night that caused him and us so much trouble. He had never done that before.  Mister died about two years later as his health slowly deteriorated.  I'll always believe it was due to whatever Mister and Shooter saw that night we went coon hunting.  My brother and I eventually went coon hunting again.  But, it was never near, nowhere near the old abandoned house in the woods known as the Milsap House.

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