Growing up, there was no house in my hometown that the kids passed warily, whispering amongst themselves as they eyed the dilapidated structure and weed-riddled, overgrown yard reined in by nothing more than a decaying wrought iron fence.
However, I know from the television and movies I’ve consumed over my life, that everyone else had such a landmark in their life.
In fact, I can think of nothing in my small hometown that had a paranormal bent to it – no legends, no lore, no creatures lurking in the woods. There was simply no sinister goings on and never had been in my hometown.
(perhaps the townsfolk lacked imagination)
The closest thing to the macabre I recall was one grave.
On the southwest edge of town, one street led to a small, non-descript bridge which sped travellers into a vast stretch of sparsely populated farmland. There were fewer homes as you approached the bridge, even though it was no more than a twenty-minute walk from the center of town.
It was dark out that way at night.
A classmate lived in a large two-story house which was one of the last homes before reaching the bridge. Running past their home, off that main street, was a tree-lined lane which led to,a half-mile or so from the street, a cemetary.
The trees grew more dense as you walked deeper into the grounds, culminating in a woods, separated from the cemetary by a small ravine. There, under a canopy of thick trees, was a rectangular, stone slab, with weather-worn scripture quotes and no name. At one end of the slab was a small stone lamb with no head.
The story our classmate had told us was that, a hundred years or more earlier, the property had been owned by a vicious racist. One day, as he was hunting in those woods, he spotted a young Native American girl on the far side of the ravine.
Then, like Roland did to Van Owen in Warren Zevon’s Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner, the racist land owner raised his gun and blew off the Native American girl’s head. I remember our classmate saying, “Her head popped off and rolled into the ravine.”
It was the Native American girl supposedly buried beneath that slab.
It would make the tale more eerie I suppose if I could tell you that townsfolk had claimed to have seen a headless spirit or heard mournful wails from those woods. But, as far as I know, there no such stories.
There was little reason to go back there. There were a number of places for the high school kids to escape from supervision, so that cemetary wasn’t even a gathering place where minors might smoke or drink.
I might have to trek back there the next time I visit.
I truly wish I had a copy of The Shagg’s song It’s Halloween (It’s time for games/It’s time for fun/Not just for one but for everyone). Here are some other songs instead…
Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
from Dead Man’s Party
Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
from I Want Candy
David Bowie- Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
The Ramones- Pet Sematary
from Brain Drain