When I was growing up, strange and inexplicable events were common in that old house on Hutchens Road. Well, actually, it was a new house and we were the first family to live in it. We weren’t the first to occupy that lot, however. Rumor had it that the old cemetery just beyond the limits of our backyard had originally extended right up to the street. Our home and the home next to us were built over the final resting place of numerous slaves, Indians, Yankee soldiers, and other poor souls who were not considered important enough to restrain progress in the form of a housing development. Perhaps it was just a rumor, a tale invented to explain the many dark and mysterious occurrences that transpired in that locality.
For instance, my toys would often disappear right out of our backyard and would sometimes reappear in the yard, bedroom, or closet of one of the boys who lived up the street. The mystery of these nomadic playthings was never solved, but when that boy moved away, these strange transportations ceased. Possibly one of the poltergeists that dwelt on our lot had taken a liking to him. Then again, maybe the boy himself was possessed of telekinetic powers.
Speaking of telekinesis, my brother Daran was surrounded by such events throughout our childhood. Cookies, potato chips, and other snacks were known to vanish when he was in the vicinity. Often, he would try to divert attention from this occult power of his by some ruse, such as hiding a bag of crumbs underneath my bed. He also once made a small, harmless snake disappear in our house, which, in turn, produced some interesting changes in my mother’s behavior. The snake eventually rematerialized in a mop.
In all seriousness, my mother reported that many times she would awaken feeling a “presence” standing beside the bed that she took to be one of us kids. But when she spoke there was no answer. She would turn on the light, and no one would be there. Sometimes when she and dad would be up late at night, they would hear soft footsteps in the hallway and would call out to us, investigate, and find us all sound asleep in our beds.
I, myself, can recall only once when I was personally involved in one of these paranormal events. Our home there on Hutchens Road had three bedrooms and so, as the much-favored only female child, my sister, Lynndale, had a room to herself while Daran and I were forced to bunk together. One night she retired to her solitary room, crawled into her bed, and, by the light of her bedside lamp, began to read the Bible. As anyone knows, wayward spirits are not likely to tolerate such an activity, and she suddenly found herself in total darkness as the single light was unplugged from its outlet. She began to hear strange sounds, and she cried out for mother.
I was there first, however, and quickly dove under her bed, from whence I was certain the supernatural emanations arose. Our parents were there a moment later and turned on the light. Finding me under the bed, they completely misunderstood the circumstances and immediately accused me of perpetrating a cruel and childish prank upon my sister, the light and glory of their lives. An immediate and severe exorcism was threatened. I believe my mother’s exact words to my father were, “just beat the devil out of him!”
As any paranormal investigator will tell you, dealing with the supernatural can be extremely hazardous to one’s health.