Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Real Ghost Story ~ Part 1

I absolutely adore this time of year so I thought what better way to celebrate than to tell you a few ghost stories. Most of the stories I'll tell happened directly to me or to a member of my family. Stay tuned....I'll save the BEST story for last!

My love of history and all things old came from my mom. We moved alot when I was a child - mostly in the south. Anytime we moved to a new place we'd always explore the old Civil War mansions, cemetaries, battlefields, forts - anything old with a story to tell: Old Salem in Winston Salem, NC where we learned about the Moravians and Selma, AL where I met renowned writer Kathryn T. Windham. I even have a signed copy of one of her books 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery. The inscription reads 'For Jamie, to add to the TRUE ghost tales you already know - Hauntingly Yours, Kathryn T. Windham and Jeffery'. Jeffery was the live in ghost at the Windham home. Jeffery's presence stirred Kathryn's interest in the subject of ghosts and she began a collection of authentic ghost stories from throughout the South.

It was May 31, 1986 when I met Kathryn. I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. I had no idea at the time that I'd soon be living my own ghost story.....

One afternoon my mom and I were exploring a local cemetary. I often wondered whether I was the only child who enjoyed a walk through a graveyard - it's a bit macabre, I know. But our interest was not really in the dead but in the stories they had to tell. On these trips we often never visited the newer more recent graves. Just the ones who's stones had turned color over time and were inscribed in such a way as you don't see now. This particular cemetary was a small one. One lone dirt road seperated the newer part of the cemetary from the old. It was small enough that one could easily see from one side to the other without an obstructed view and the dirt road used to enter the cemetary was the same road used to exit it. Making our way past the stones we began to walk along the dirt road. We noticed a car parked alongside the road at one of the newer graves approximately 100 feet from where we were standing. The flowers and tent still stood from the graveside service. Next to the car stood an older couple silently looking down at what surely must have been a beloved relative. We knew that a 16 year old girl had been killed in a car accident earlier in the week and had recently been buried here. It made all the sense in the world that these two people were her loving grandparents come to pay their last respects. Not wanting to be rude and intrude my mom and I stood alongside the road and waited until they were done before we finished our walk to our car which was parked just past their car. We made ourselves seem busy and continued to look down - trying desperately to give them their privacy. Only a few moments had passed when I looked up. At first I was confused and just stared in the direction of our car....and then it hit me. They were gone....car and all. Completely disappeared. No sound of car doors closing, no sound of an engine turning over and here we were standing in the road they would have had to drive out! I looked over at my mom and could tell by her pale face she'd seen it too. I said 'Where'd they go?'. She was stunned. She looked down at me and said you saw it, too? She thought she was losing her mind. Well, you'd have thought we'd have gotten out of there like our pants were on fire but we were determined to figure out what had just happened. We looked that cemetary up one side and down the other. We finally realized there would have been no way they could have left the cemetary without driving down the road....the one we'd been standing in.

I often wondered who these people had been. We hadn't noticed a car come in that day. We assumed they'd done so when we'd been on the far side of the older section of the cemetary but still as small as it was we thought it odd that we hadn't noticed them driving through the entrance. How had they gotten there? Where did they go? We never found out. But one thing is for sure....they were there and then they were gone and they could NOT have driven out of there.
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